Yoga is becoming the mother of physical activity with its widespread followers worldwide. Originating from India, people living in every part of the world are under the clutches of this powerful group of physical, mental and spiritual practices.
If you keenly notice, most of the strengthening and stretching exercises for back pain/injury are modifications of yoga poses. This isn’t surprising as mobility, flexibility and strength, that are critical for a healthy back, are possible through consistent yoga practice. The ten different yoga moves discussed here can relieve you of an achy back. But, it is better to confirm with your physician before you start on any of these asanas if you have severe pain.
Before you start:
This position relieves tension in your lower back and helps you warm up, if you have been sitting/standing for prolonged time periods. Kneel down on all fours keeping the shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees. Take a deep breath, tuck your toes and arch your back. Extend your arms while you push the belly towards the earth and look up. While exhaling, untuck your toes, keep your palms against the earth’s surface and round the back. Repeat this for five circles.
Apart from providing core strength to your body, the bird dog position helps strengthen your upper back, neck and lower back.
Downward Facing Dog
This position helps stretching the hips, spine and hamstrings simultaneously. It also acts as a total-body energizer and helps relieve stress.
This offers total relief from lower back pain.
Strengthening core muscles is critical to improve back stability. Plank pose tones all core muscles of the body, including abdomen, chest and low back. This position helps prepare the body for challenging arm balances.
This pose works on strengthening your core muscles extensively and improves overall balance.
This works wonders on the back muscles and relieves the tired back instantaneously. It helps soothe your brain, stress and depression. Apart from yoga, there are various other mind-relaxing techniques mentioned at www.firsteatright.com that can help to alleviate stress.
Supine twist position relieves the lower back pain and helps loosen your shoulders.
This position increases motion of the femur in the hip socket and prepares your body for backbends.
Legs Up the Wall
While increasing blood flow to the legs, it allows the lower back muscles to completely relax.
Muscle mass decreases as a person grows old and this affects physical function leading to decreased quality of life and sometimes premature death too. This loss in muscle mass is greatly due to the inability of the aging muscle to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis in response to nutritional stimuli. When some intervention is used to supersede this anabolic resistance, it may help to slow/prevent the deterioration of muscle mass in the elderly population.
Sarcopenia is the decline of the skeletal muscle tissue with age and certain evidence point to the fact that omega-3 fatty acids might be useful in treating sarcopenia. The study involved sixteen older adults who were healthy, not obese, not involved in regular physical activity, were not habituated to consuming fish-oil supplements, were not under medication that could affect muscle protein metabolism, did not consume tobacco products and were not in the habit of drinking excessive alcohol.
After the initial screening, subjects were assigned to either omega-3 fatty acid or corn oil group. These subjects were similar in age, sex, BMI, body composition, health and metabolic status. The research proved that omega-3 fatty acids and not corn oil supplementation increases muscle anabolic signaling activity. Although the exact mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids act on the muscle protein synthesis process is not entirely clear, results indicate the advantages of including omega-3s in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in plentiful in different kinds of fish, help to improve blood vessel health, cell membrane strength and prevent heart attack and stroke. The detailed description on the numerous sources of this fatty acid is available in the website www.firsteatright.com. Hence it is recommended that older adults consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements to promote heart health and prevent muscle deterioration.
One might wonder what is the connection between food poisoning and flu? The simple reason for the connection is that often the symptoms are similar if not identical.
Bacteria in Food
Not all bacteria in food are harmful, some are bad while some others are good for the gut and essential to produce certain foods (for instance, bacteria species help in the production of delicious and tasty yogurts). Foods such as meat, poultry and egg products are not sterile when we purchase them, and we need to ensure that they are properly cooked, stored and handled to prevent any foodborne illnesses.
While flu and food poisoning are two entirely different infections, their symptoms are similar. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever are common symptoms of food poisoning. Due to the similarities between the two infections, people often assume food poisoning to be the root cause of the problem and wait for a while before turning up at the doctor’s clinic. Symptoms can occur anytime between 4 hours to one week after consuming the food and can last anywhere between 24 hours and one week which is another cause for the symptoms of food poisoning to go unnoticed.
Foodborne illness attacks certain groups of people vigorously. Pregnant women, elderly people, infants, children and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease or transplant patients are at an increased risk. Such people need immediate medical attention, otherwise the effects of foodborne illness can also be fatal.
Reasons for Food Poisoning
If you have any doubts that you have been affected by food poisoning, it is better to seek medical attention, if required. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or if you are among the individuals in the high-risk category, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately.
If you have guessed the root cause of the infection, take precautionary measures. If the food you ate at home is the culprit, label it as harmful so that rest of your family members don’t consume it. If the food you ate in a restaurant can be attributed to the infection, keep the health department informed. But, if you feel that the poisoning has occurred over a period of time, you cannot do anything about it and you can only take precautionary food preparation measures to avoid it in the future.
Techniques to Avoid Foodborne Illness
The four keywords clean, separate, cook and chill must help you prevent food poisoning. Before and during food preparation ensure to keep your hands and the cooking surface hygienic by washing them frequently and correctly. Always keep raw meat set aside from other food items while preparing meals. Use a food thermometer whenever you cook raw meat, poultry, egg products and fish cooking them to the right temperature (and maintaining it at 140oF after cooking) to kill any harmful bacteria that might be present. Techniques to handle a food thermometer are mentioned at www.firsteatright.com. Also make sure that you refrigerate any perishable food within two hours of cooking and store it properly to curb the presence of any harmful bacteria, thereby assuring you of a healthy and safe body.
Going through a workout session successfully by overcoming exhaustion is a strenuous task. When iron levels are incompetent, it is an even more difficult task. A worthy workout session needs energy to start your exercise regime in the first place, sail through it smoothly and finish it in style. If you want to know how iron fits in between all these and how you can improve iron intake, please read further below.
Oxygen-Carbon Dioxide Cycle
Iron acts as the carrier between oxygen and carbon dioxide helping to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and expelling the excess carbon dioxide out of the body. Oxygen is the gas needed for our survival and any complaints of fatigue, dizziness, headache, pale skin, brittle nails, frequent cold and nail color changes are indicative of iron deficiency anemia for which the individual needs to get tested immediately. Statistics show that almost 50% of the women living in our nation suffer from iron deficiency which is a pathetic situation that needs immediate attention.
Advantages of being a Carnivore
While we advocate the advantages of eating a plant-based diet, non-vegetarians hold an advantageous position over plant eaters when it comes to iron. That’s because, meat contains more iron than plant-based foods and iron from plants (non-heme iron) is only half absorbed compared to the iron absorbed from meat (heme iron). Hence, vegetarians need to consume twice as much iron as non-vegetarians to fulfill iron requirements. While meat eaters can consume 8-18 mg of iron per day (menstruating women need 18 mg due to blood loss every month), vegetarians need 14-33 mg per day to stay free from iron deficiency.
The Golden Foods that Contain Iron
All pulses (black beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas) are protein-rich nutrients that are also filled with antioxidants. Other sources of iron include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, turkey breast, salmon, mussels, oysters, salmon and tuna. Antioxidants safeguard our body against the action of free radicals and for detailed information on this, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Avoid Coffee & Tea to Increase Iron Absorption
While there is no research that directly links coffee and tea intake to increased anemia, it is better that you decrease the consumption of these beverages if you wish to absorb iron into your body. This is because, you decrease the absorption of iron by as much as 40% when you drink coffee and by as much as 70% when you drink tea.
Nutrients to Boost Iron Absorption
Vitamin C helps to absorb as much iron as possible from foods. The secret to this is to consume vitamin C-rich foods alongside non-heme iron-rich foods for maximum absorption of iron by the human body. This is a boon for vegetarians to increase their iron absorption. For example, squeeze lime (vitamin C) over broccoli, add few slices of berries over iron-fortified cereal or add tomatoes to iron-rich lentils and rice to enhance iron absorption by the body. Use vitamin C sources such as oranges, bell peppers, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and strawberries wisely with non-heme iron foods for maximum benefit.
Never choose supplements over iron-rich foods unless prescribed by your physician. The multivitamins that you consume have the ability to provide sufficient iron to your body and ensure that you take no more than 45 mg of iron daily unless guided by a professional. This is because, increased quantities of iron in the body can be toxic for some people, such as those suffering from a condition known as hemochromatosis. Stomach upset and constipation is also possible in certain cases.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.