Stay Healthy, Stay Fit


Hernia’s are a common ailment with over 10% of the world, men, women and children, developing one at some point in their life. It occurs when an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue opening holding it in place. A hernia is referred to the sac that consists of the lining of the peritoneum/abdominal cavity after it enters through the hole in the stronger muscle region of the abdominal wall surrounding the muscle or fascia. A hernia may be visible as a bulge in the abdomen, upper thigh, belly button and groin areas, depending on the location of its occurrence. Groin hernias are the most common, making up to 9/10 of hernia cases.

Types of hernia: 1. Inguinal Hernia: Occurring mostly in men due to the improper closure of the inguinal canal after postpartum testicle descent. This is a groin hernia.

2. Incisional hernia: When the organ pushes through the surgical incision after surgery, mostly abdominal. It can occur many years later through the scar of the initial surgery too.

3. Femoral Hernia: Another groin hernia, but one which is more common in women. Usually observed as a bulge on the upper thigh, exactly below the groin.

4. Umbilical Hernia: Almost exclusively seen in children and babies under 6 months old. This bulge around the navel is usually seen due to the improper closing of the muscles around the navel.

5. Hiatal Hernia: This is an abdominal hernia that occurs in the stomach’s upper region. This is observed when a part of the stomach’s upper part enters the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm.

What can cause a hernia? A hernia is usually the result of a combination of weak muscles and straining due to lifting heavy objects. It is more likely to affect those born with weak abdominal muscles.

How do I know if I have a hernia? In a majority of cases, hernia patients do not exhibit many symptoms. What they might complain of though , is discomfort or pain which is exacerbated during standing, straining or while lifting heavy materials. Another common symptom is a sore and growing bump in the abdominal area. Major symptoms like nausea, vomiting, not being able to expel gas or have bowel movements occur when the hernia is strangulated, i.e., when it gets stuck due to increasing size and restricted blood supply. This is a medical emergency and should be operated on immediately.

Is surgery the only option? Not in all cases. Hernia treatment depends on the size of the hernia and the severity of the symptoms. In mild cases, lifestyle changes and medication may be enough to manage the situation. This is mostly true for hiatal hernias where dietary changes like avoiding heavy meals, lying down or bending over after meals can alleviate the symptoms. Keeping one’s body weight in check can also help. Hiatal hernia patients can also benefit from medications like antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors that reduce stomach acid.

If the hernia patient requires surgery, there are two options available depending on their case history. ● Open hernia repair or herniorrhaphy: The patient is provided either spinal, general or a combination of both anesthesias. An incision is then made in the groin and the hernia is moved back into the abdomen and the wall is reinforced with stitches. The weak muscles are reinforced through hernioplasty wherein they are provided additional support through the use of a synthetic mesh or screen. ● Laparoscopic surgery: A minimally invasive option that takes place under general anesthesia. Three incisions are made in the abdomen, one of them being through the umbilicus. The laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera at its end is then inserted through the umbilical port or opening. The camera then sends a magnified image from inside the body to a monitor, which gives the surgeon a close-up view of the hernia and allows them to repair the hernia with the help of a mesh. Patients undergoing laparoscopy experience a much shorter recovery period overall.

The type of surgery one undergoes totally depends on the surgeon, the type of hernia, its size and the patient’s history.

Is the recovery very painful? As with any surgery, there is a certain level of discomfort that is to be expected. However, this can be managed with pain medication. Resumption of normal activities depends on the patient’s progress and doctor’s evaluation, though vigorous activity and heavy lifting are restricted for several weeks. This holds true for both adults as well as children.

Living with hernia is no joke and left untreated, can cause fatal complications. If you or your loved ones are exhibiting symptoms of hernia, then going to a doctor for a full evaluation of the condition is a must. Early treatment is the best way to ensure a positive outcome.

1. Quit Smoking
while a lot of people don’t know this, smoking is directly related to a series of heart problems. Avoiding tobacco might be one of the best steps one can take to protect health and blood vessels. Smoking might be one of the most controllable factors when it comes to the risk of heart diseases. Quitting smoking is the smartest decision for one’s overall health and not just for the heart

2. Pay Attention To the Inches!
Studies all around the world have linked excess belly fat to higher blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. That puts your heart directly at risk. Hence, if you see yourself carrying extra weight than necessary, now would be an excellent time to apply yourself to a routine to shed it.

3. Don’t shy away from the bedroom
Having sex can be extremely good for the heart. While catering to your conjugal needs and adding pleasure to your life, sex also helps lower stress levels and hence your blood pressure. The oxytocin released as a result of sexual activity keeps you in a better mood too! Lower frequency of sexual activity has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

4. Top Up On those Antioxidants
Be on the lookout for antioxidant and fiber rich foods. Beans, Salsa etc are an unexpectedly yummy source of antioxidants. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower your level of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol.” Oats, barley, apples, pears, and avocados are other rich sources of soluble fiber.

5. Use your hands more
usually putting your hands to work helps your mind unwind. Activities like cooking, puzzles, board games, help stimulate the mind enough engaging other senses while relaxing you. This practice goes a long way in maintaining one’s heart health.

6. Some inexpensive wildly beneficial therapy!
Who would’ve thought, our pets offer more than good company and unconditional love. Owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function. They also provide other numerous health benefits. Having a pet may also help lower your chances of dying from heart disease.

7. Put on your Dancing Shoes!
No matter the type, dancing makes for a great heart-healthy workout. Like other forms of aerobic exercises, it raises your heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. In addition to dancing, yoga, aerobics or even routine stretching have an immense potential to keep your heart healthy.

8. More Salt? Think Again
Coronary Heart Disease can easily be sidestepped if each individual cuts down on his or her daily salt intake to half a teaspoon. There is a multitude of salt substitutes that are available in the market for anyone with a heart condition.

9. Know Your Cholesterols
Keep in mind the cholesterol that you need to avoid and the good cholesterol that needs to be accommodated in your diet. Consume Wine, in moderation, Fish and Nuts for good cholesterol. Avoid heavy intake of saturated fats.

10. Be Positive
A sunny outlook may be good for your heart, as well as your mood. According to studies, chronic stress, anxiety, and anger can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive outlook on life may help you stay healthier for longer.

The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich diet that has been gaining popularity not just in the fitness community, but all around the world. This weight loss plan is derived from the Atkins Diet (a commercially successful low carb, high protein diet which started the buzz around Low Carb diets). Currently, other low-carb diets such as the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are high-protein diets but are moderate in fat. In contrast, the ketogenic diet follows a distinct strategy towards consumable protein and fat content for achieving weight loss. In this approach, the content of fat is exceedingly high, generally 70% to 80%, with minimized protein consumption.

The basis of a Ketogenic diet is to deprive the body of its main source of energy- glucose. In place of it, an alternative fuel is created from the fat stored in the body. This fuel is called Ketones, which is where ‘Keto’ Diet is conferred from. The body requires glucose – derived from starchy/ carb rich foods, in a steady supply. Since it cannot store glucose, this glucose needs to be supplied daily. When that doesn’t happen, the body uses the stored glucose present in the liver. If the condition continues, the insulin levels in the blood declines and fat is automatically substituted as primary fuel.

The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. In the state of ketosis- a state even healthy people experience during fasting or strenuous exercise, ketone bodies accumulate in the blood. The duration it takes for a person to reach the state or the number of ketones accumulated, all differ individually. however if not done right, one can reach a harmful state called ketoacidosis, which is caused by the formation of dangerously toxic levels of acid produced in the blood by excessive ketone bodies.

While there are different versions of the diet that can be followed, all of them ban carb rich foods. These range from the obvious bread, cereal, pasta, rice to some non-obvious foods like beans, legumes and most fruits. Instead this diet promotes food high in saturated fat like lard, butter, fatty cuts of meat, processed meats as well as unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish.

Strategies propose following a ketogenic diet till you bring your weight to an appropriate level. After achieving the targeted weight loss, you may follow this diet for few days in a week or few weeks in a month, to prevent regaining weight. You can interchange the above phenomena by allowing higher carbohydrate consumption during the rest of the days. The amount of protein in a ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can come in the way of ketosis as the amino acids present can also be substituted for glucose. A ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass, including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.

It is important to keep in mind that while there is research present in favor of the effectiveness of this diet, it is only for the short term. It is also known to bring about other positive changes that come with being overweight such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.

However the diet comes not without its drawbacks. One may experience hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog.”- A cognitive dysfunction involving memory problems. While these conditions may subside, restricting oneself from eating all these readily accessible items on a daily basis may be challenging. Other not-so-good effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have arisen, which include an increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Other Possible nutrient deficiencies may appear if a variety of recommended foods on the ketogenic diet are excluded. Therefore it is integral to not only concentrate on eating high-fat foods, but also to combine in one’s diet, a variety of the allowed meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds regularly to ensure adequate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc)—nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains that are restricted from the diet.

Since whole food groups are not included, guidance from a registered dietitian may be helpful in maintaining a ketogenic diet that minimizes nutrient deficiencies.

1. Arrest your slouch
Slouching increases the stress on your spine. That in turn strains your bones muscles and joints required to hold the backbone in place. However the problems that come with a bad posture are more deep rooted than one imagines it to be. A constant hunch pushes your internal organs together, and eventually making it harder for your lungs and intestines to work. This in turn affects digestion and respiration.

2. Stand Up Straight
Standing up tall not only makes you feel better and look better but makes you look slimmer, even, in addition to all its health benefits. A quick tip to check your posture is to stand against a wall briefly to revisit the right spinal alignment. Your ears should be over the middle of your shoulders with your shoulders back, knees straight, and belly tucked in. Elongating the head towards the sky also pulls the body to its optimum resting posture.

3. Beware of the Comfort of a Desk
It’s natural to give into a slouched posture especially when seated, with your shoulders curving inwards towards the screen you’re facing. Sometimes it’s even comfortable to lean back. Try this instead: Sit all the way back in your chair. Place a small, rolled-up towel or lumbar cushion behind your mid-back to protect your spine’s natural curve. Placing your feet flat on the floor, knees at a ninety degree angle can do wonders.

4. Watch Out For ‘Text Neck’
On your smartphone all day long? Take a minute to stretch your neck. When you tilt your head down to check messages it really strains your spine. Over the course of a day — or year — that can add up. For a better view, lift the phone up and move your eyes, not your head.

5. Don’t Be a Low-Rider
Sure, it’s cool and comfy to recline during a long drive. But it isn’t great for your posture. Instead, pull your seat close to the steering wheel. Try not to lock your legs. Bend your knees slightly. They should be at hip level or a tad above. Don’t forget to put a pillow or rolled-up towel behind you for support.

6. Save Heels for a Big Night Out
Fashion over comfort? Maybe. Fashion over health? Never. Pumps and stilettos shift pressure right onto the base of your spine by over-arching your back. That can change the way your backbone lines up and put pressure on your nerves, which causes back pain. Sky-high shoes also puts more weight on your knees. Choose a lower, chunky heel for daily wear.

7. Are you sleeping right?
A soft mattress is really detrimental to a good posture. A firm one that retains the spine’s natural shape. Side sleeper? No problem. Keep a check on how inward your knees are bent. A pillow is not extremely necessary for a good snooze but if preferred, place a pillow under your head so it’s level with your spine. Back sleepers should ditch the thick pillow and opt for a small one under the neck.

8. Abs attention
Too many pounds around your belly puts added stress on your back. Often people with back problems are the ones suffering from mild to severe obesity. It is important to pay attention to the abdomen region to keep these back problems at bay.

Coffee has become an inseparable part of our lives. But is it a wise decision?
A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less prone to certain cancers, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia.
While there’s a widespread belief in its health benefits, coffee isn’t proven to prevent those conditions. There isn’t solid proof for the benefits of regular caffeine intake, hence researchers don’t advise on whether to have it at all or not, but they do take an interest in individual coffee habits and the consequent effects such as a better diet and mental capacity or sleep problems. There are cases of both potential health perks and a few cautions.

1. Improves energy levels and making one smarter and more alert

Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. The psychoactive stimulant called caffeine once absorbed into your bloodstream, travels to your brain. There it blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. This results in an increase in the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. This directly leads to improved brain functioning, which manifests itself in memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reflexes and general thinking and multitasking capacity. Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, which causes a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, moods, and various aspects of brain function.

2. Increased Fat Metabolism

In almost every form caffeine acts as an excellent fat burning supplement. It’s probably one of the few natural substances that can boost one’s metabolism rate by 3-11%.

3. Boosts Physical Ability

While it is mentally stimulating, caffeine also spikes the adrenaline levels (epinephrine) in the blood. This fight or flight hormone prepares the body for physical exertion.
As previously mentioned, the coffee aids the breakdown of body fat allowing fatty acids to be treated as fuel. This instantly results in an improved physical performance, almost by 15-20%. A lot of people prefer having a cup of strong coffee before a workout.

4. Provides Other Nutrients

Coffee Beans while being rich in caffeine also contain essential nutrients like Manganese, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin, Potassium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5 in small percentages of the Reference Daily Intake. Having multiple cups of coffee allows the amounts to add up significantly.

5. Reduced Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
A massive health problem, Type 2 Diabetes is currently affecting millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or a reduced ability to secrete insulin. Coffee drinkers are proven to have a significantly lesser chance of suffering from type 2 diabetes. Studies observe that people who drink the most coffee have a 23–50% lower risk of getting this disease.

6. Protection from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a disease common amongst people over 65. A neurodegenerative disease, it is the leading cause of dementia worldwide and a cure is yet to be found. In addition to eating healthy and exercising, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent the onset of disease. Drinking coffee has known to be incredibly effective, almost upto 65% in preventing the disease.

7. Reduced Risk of Parkinson’s
The condition of the death of dopamine generating neurons in the brain is known as Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative condition, right behind Alzheimer’s. Much like Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes precaution even more important. Drinking coffee allows a risk reduction range from 32–60%In this case. The benefit is actually attributed to caffeine itself and this risk prevention does not apply to decaffeinated drinks.

8. Liver Protection
An amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions, the liver is prone to several diseases including hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and many others. Almost all of these diseases lead to a condition where the liver is largely replaced by scar tissue- it’s known as Cirrhosis. Interestingly, coffee may protect against cirrhosis — people who drink 4 or more cups a day have up to a considerably lower risk.

9. Mood Elevation
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. Four or more cups of coffee a day reduces the tendency for depression by almost 12%. This in turn arrests suicide rates and also delinquent behaviour.

10. May Lower Risk of Certain Types of Cancer And Heart Conditions
Uncontrolled cell growth in your body which is commonly known as cancer, is the biggest cause of deaths in our country. Coffee appears to be effective in cases of two types of cancer: liver and colorectal cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth.Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer including a lowered risk of suffering a heart stroke.

11. May Help You Live Longer
Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that it could increase longevity. Several studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.

12. An indispensable source of antioxidants
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest components. That’s because coffee is quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get a higher amount of antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. Coffee might just be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

In conclusion
Coffee is a highly popular beverage around the globe that boasts of a number of impressive health benefits. Right from an energy booster, to helping burn fat and improving physical performance, it also lowers the risk of several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease. In fact, coffee may even boost longevity. If you enjoy its taste and tolerate its caffeine content, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day.