A blueprint of Self-care Approach

             Identify your unique plans to change as per your ikigai. The word ‘Ikigai’ involves planning your routines and work schedules daily with a purpose. Every day is a new day, and if you miss any self-care goal due to procrastination, you always have the option to start a healthy routine each day.

             1. Time:

             Time plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health. Not just the wall clock set the internal biological clock as per a healthy routine. Get ready to go to bed by 9 pm. Read a book or do a breathing exercise to prepare for good night sleep. Switch off all the gadgets as possible that can hamper your sleep pattern. Work as per schedule the next morning to avoid anxiety and confusion. If you win the morning, you win the day.

            2. Food:

             Comfort your body by eating healthy. Food works as a fuel in your body to keep you going throughout the day. Our diet plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. Do you believe, one type of food can fulfill the demand for nutrients? Diet diversity is the key to meet the nutrients needed. Add a variety of colors in your diet with at least one food item from each of the food groups.

             The healthy foods include-

             Energy boosting foods: Whole grains and cereals are packed with energy dense nutrients. Add oats, brown rice, quinoa, nuts and seeds in your breakfast.

              Immune-boosting foods: Green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange colored fruits that are seasonal are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibers.

             Muscle building foods: For growth and muscle developments gorge on protein-rich foods in your diet. Such as homemade fruit smoothies, eggs, oatmeal, roasted lentils, milk, and cottage cheese keep hunger at bay for a longer duration.

             Replenish water regularly: Consume plenty of fluids such as buttermilk, lemonade, coconut water, and fruit infused water to keep of symptoms of tiredness, headache, and loss of concentration.

            3. Health & Fitness:

             For overall health, a shift in focus from weight-centric to weight inclusive approach is the need. Eat a well-balanced diet to enhance your metabolism. This also helps you ward off any symptoms of illness. Walk around 10000 steps daily. The key to health is diet diversity not dieting. Achieve a healthy weight; do not focus on weight loss.

             4. Hobbies/ Skills:

             Try to learn new skills each week or month as per your schedule. Learn a new foreign language, do painting, and indulge in playing the piano and cooking or other fun activities.

             5. Self-compassion:

             Journal daily, practice mindfulness, do breathing exercises for body kindness. Soak in the morning sunshine to enhance serotonin your happy hormone.

             “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – 14th Dalai Lama

              6. De-Stress: To overcome stress and other difficulties in life positive psychology techniques can sail you through ups and downs of life. These include:

             Acceptance Therapy:

             With the use of mindfulness technique when a person observes and accepts negative thoughts is more aware of their rather caught in the negative thoughts. A self-compassion practice adds a new dimension to the acceptance of ourselves when one is in pain and grief.

            Gratitude:

             Count on your blessings, be optimistic, focus on positive thoughts, savor pleasure and socialize with other people. Write a letter to yourself describing your thoughts, experiences, accomplishments, and learning. This helps to nurture positive feelings.

            Strength:

             Do not wait for big accomplishments rather enjoy small achievements at each step. This releases happy hormones that light up your mood and boost your health.

            Mindfulness:

             Mindfulness practice includes simple breathing exercisesthat help you focus on the ‘present moment’ rather magnify future thoughts. As thoughts affect your body and mind both.

  • Start with giving attention to your body sensations and thoughts in mind.
  • Then breathe in and out.
  • Give attention to your thoughts and other sensations like touch, sight, and sound. If you notice your mind getting distracted try to bring your focus again to the sensations of the moment.

              Key Takeaway:

  • Never skip your breakfast- include one fruit, whole grain, milk or milk products and healthy fat in your diet.
  • Stay hydrated- consume plenty of fluids and water-rich foods throughout the day. These include water chestnut, watermelon, and coconut water. Try to keep water nearby at all times.
  • Meditate for a few minutes to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Practice mindfulness and gratitude towards oneself and others to enhance happiness.

Related: Tips to wellness concepts around the World

Nutrition Facts Label you should Know about Added Sugar in Foods

Nutrition Facts Label

Why Sugar matters?

Sugars are basically soluble carbohydrates that provide energy to the body.  In other words, the simplest form of sugar is glucose that is used up by the brain, muscles and other major organs for their proper function.

But, how much sugar a person needs throughout the day and through what sources are a major concern.
Above all sugars are natural ingredient that forms the major part of our diet since ancient times.

Therefore, added sugar in foods is now required on the updated nutrition facts label. It will focus on added sugars included during processing of foods or sugars from honey, concentrated fruit juices.

To clarify it includes < 10% of total daily calories from added sugars.

Types of Sugar:

1. Fructose or fruit sugar
2. Glucose or dextrose
3. Sucrose or table sugar

The problem is added sugar in foods because it readily digested and absorbed in the body and lead to lows and highs in blood sugar levels. Whereas, the natural sugar in fruits has fiber that facilitates slow absorption.

Sugar is added while processing to enhance taste, flavor and to increase palatability and shelf-life to some extent. But, added sugar increases the risk of weight gain, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.

Nutrition facts food labels with Sugar guises are as follows:

1. Maltose
2. Sucrose
3. Glucose
4. Molasse
5. Corn syrup
6. Maple syrup
7. Brown sugar
8. Cane-sugar
9. Honey
10.Fruit juices concentrate

Look if Sugar Tricks you:

Not only sweet food products like candy, jams, biscuits, fruit juices but non-sweet foods also contain added sugars such as ready to eat breakfast cereals, bread, sodas, and noodles.

Sugar tricks your Brain to eat more:

Scientists investigated that the dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our brain activates reward system linked to positive emotions and desires.

Since our childhood eating sugar-sweetened foods is based on emotional need rather nutritional need. Chocolate, cakes and cookies were used as a gratification food when you win or lose by our parents and friends.

On the contrary, the dopamine reward system is associated with addictions, in which people develop an urge to uncontrollable and pleasurable behaviors such as taking drugs, binge eating etc.

Sugar has been reported as an addictive food similar to cocaine intake.

At present added sugar is present in almost every processed and packaged food by the marketers to attract more customers to buy more. Hence when you eat chips, cookies or pastries you end up eating whole portion of them as it gives you a jolt of energy and feel good emotions.

But, after half an hour of eating such foods sugar crash starts that leads to a cycle of cravings.

Overconsumption of sugar leads to neurological symptoms like depression, anxiety and slows down learning ability in the long run.

Also Read: To Quit Sugar and Salt Apply Health Behavior Modification

Till now, nutrition facts food label focus on the total amount of sugar per serving mentioned by the manufacturers but does not differentiate between added sugar and natural sugar. There is a need to classify added sugars and if any fermented foods (fermentation process requires the addition of sugar).

However, FDA (U.S Food & Drug Administration)approved a new nutrition facts label for packaged foods in 2016 to make consumers aware of a connection between diet and chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.

Now consumers can make more informed food choices. The new version of nutrition fact labels will be fully implemented by 2020.

CaloriesIt is the total number of calories or ‘energy’ obtained from all the sources (carbohydrates, protein, fat) in one serving of the food.

Daily Values– It is the reference amount of nutrients to be consumed that should not exceed each day (for children >=4 years and adults).

% Daily value– It determines how much is a nutrient in a serving of the food that contributes to total daily diet.

New established FDA dietary reference values (DRV) for added sugars (10% of total calories) are as follows:

For children (4-18 years and adults)- 50 g
For children (1-3 years) – 25 g

Note:

*No DV (Daily values) set for infants through 12 months and pregnant or lactating women.
*If added sugar < 1g in a serving then no mention of added sugar is required.

What consumers can decipher about ‘Added Sugars’ in new nutrition facts label:

1. ‘Dual column‘ labels to indicate both ‘per serving’ and ‘per package’ calories for food products that can be consumed in one sitting and multiple sitting.

2. Look for the ingredients that are listed by weight in descending order, it means the ingredients that weighs more are listed above and so on in decreasing order.

3. New footnote of %DV to better explain serving size of food per calories in daily diet.

4. Moreover, larger and bolder fonts for serving size, and calories.

5. An updated version of daily values.

Let’s have a look at the daily intake of food products with added sugar:

According to National diet and Nutrition Survey:

  1. Dairy products: 6% of daily intake of added sugar. Dairy products is one of the major portion of healthy meal but flavored milk, fruit yogurt and ice-cream contain added sugar. Fruit yogurt- 19g/100g, Flavored milk-25g sugar/100g (12g lactose & 13 g added sugar) , ice-cream- 21g sugar/100g.
  2.  2. Non-alcoholic drinks: 25% of daily intake of added sugar. It is typically sweetened with sugar. Such as, Fruit juice- 9g/100ml, Cola- 11g/100ml.
  3. Alcoholic drinks: 11% of daily intake of added sugar. For instance, alcohol is a non-nutrient drink and contain empty calories that is about 7Kcal/g. Tip: Try to cut down quantity of alcohol drink each day, take breaks and stay hydrated. Subsequently, benefits to exclude alcoholic drinks are- improved mood, sleeping pattern, restores heart strength and immunity.
  4.  Snacks whacks- Snacks like biscuits, cakes, cereal based breakfasts and chips is consumed more frequently in breakfast in all age group and available on top shelves of cereals in the market. For instance, biscuits– 10g/100g, ready to eat cereals- (occupy market with no added sugar claim but high in sugar guises like fructose, honey, molases, high fructose corn syrup).

Distribution of Added Sugar in Foods

According to U.S Dietary Guidelines & NHANES (2009-2010) beverages (soft drinks, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and flavored water except milk) account for 47% of added sugar in the diet. All added sugar in beverages and snacks and sweets (31%) together beverages, snacks (ready to eat meals, chips, fries) and sweets (jam, syrup, pudding etc.), grains (8%), dairy (4%), mixed dishes (6%) account for > 75 % of daily intake of all added sugar.

It’s not that complicated as you think:

There are some tips if you follow, you can overpower manufacturers who make your diet market driven and unhealthy for their profit.
1. Cut down on processed foods and drinks (contain hidden sugars or added sugars)

2. Sweeten your food with fruits, not artificial sweeteners (harmful for long-term use).

3. Cook your food at home more often (outside food mostly contain added sugars).

Related post: 6 health behavioral modifications to go for healthy food 

6 Tips to a Healthy New Year Resolution

Healthy New Year Resolution

Hello Readers,

 New Year Greetings to all. Today, I’ll write in hopes and share my experience of the truth of resolutions. Resolutions we make and/ or break that will nudge you to a healthier lifestyle.

You heard it right ‘the resolutions’, for me this word comes with a lot of emotional and physical baggage. To keep me motivated to achieve my goals either good health or good wealth.

For almost all of us, New Year comes with a nudge to make resolutions with gusto. Basically, to change habits, practices or clichés as well and is purely a subjective thing.

You try to acquaint yourself with some new skills or new goals to become a healthier version of you with each passing year. Evidently, to keep you motivated. All the commercials, newspapers and health websites show healthy recipes, gym subscriptions and motivational podcasts in an overwhelming amount.

We all get pretty excited to try new healthy diets, exercise regime. But in a couple of weeks or a month, most of us who were eager to start exercise or follow a particular diet fades away. Don’t worry about that because it’s a normal human tendency as experts say.

Mindfulness- In Practice

Psychologists suggest that happiness fades as one tries to achieve the next bigger or better things based on a concept known as hedonic treadmill. For instance, you take up keto diet for weight reduction and with time you see the results. But move on to next task without any acknowledge given to your earlier happiness of losing weight.

It is all because you reach a saturation point of happiness where one thing that made you happier soon comes to feel like the norm.

Giving thought to this, we all are on the same page, aren’t we? How hard we follow health experts’ advice to shed those extra kilos or eat nutritiously healthy food, cut back on sugar and salt and lip-smacking processed foods.

But how many of you have continued to stay on the course of improved health? What can we do to make our convictions transform into a good practice?

I’ll discuss some tips to healthy new year resolution that work best for me and to nudge you in a direction that may work for you as well.

# Nudge 1: Listen to your Body

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everything runs on the principle of energy so does your mind and body inside you. The gamut of positive emotions is the basic energy that drives us to do work. But, to inculcate this source of energy within you your attention has to be in the present.

Psychologists say that brain prioritizes one thing in detail at a time and filters out other processes as our brain runs on limited attention. Primarily, attention is a ‘spotlight’ that amplifies your process of perception at a particular moment.

You will be surprised to know that our brain has around 12 watts of power and with limited energy, it cannot focus on everything around you.

So why not put yourself in spotlight using brains function that is evolved to focus on what counts.

Finding you ikigai every morning develops attention, will power with simplicity and listening to your body is learning minimalism. For a healthier version, you start meditation a pathway to mindfulness.

 # Nudge 2: Find exercise and diet that suits you

It will take some trials of course. It’s not a problem if one exercise type didn’t work well for you because you have a lot of options such as brisk walking, jogging, cardio exercises, and weight training exercises.

Only 150 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended for moderate aerobic exercise and 75-minute vigorous exercise per week according to DHHS ( Department of Health and Human Services). Power yoga and 10 minutes of meditation are my best activities.

But which exercise goes well with your personality and energy level to be taken into account. Similarly, what food suits your physiology is to be considered. For me, plant-based diet, a handful of nuts and meditation have done wonders from improved sleep to creativity.

# Nudge 3: Find your exercise companion for the results

I know exercise can be a heavy task for people like us who are sedentary in lifestyle and to sustain on exercise routine takes an extra effort from ourselves. I used to give up before but what I discovered is that when we get a companion to exercise with can motivate us to continue.

As doing exercise together develops a sense of healthy competition that who can maintain one’s weight till longer time or who can lose weight fast. You can definitely try sacrificing something valuable to you such as a gifted pen, customized watch to give away if don’t reach your goal of maintaining weight and so on.

Also we all become supportive and friendly with each other that keep one on foot to go for exercise as well.

# Nudge 4: Learn the exercise of Gratitude

 A thankful heart is not only a virtue but the parent of all other virtues’’ – Cicero

Positive psychology proves that the exercise of gratitude gives a sense of kindness and happiness to achieve better health goals. It can be achieved in many ways. I journal every alternate day about what I like, what I have achieved and what I have to in the itinerary.

Because to acknowledge others’ good qualities be thankful to yourself first. Write a thank you letter or text a thank you message to your family and your loved ones.

You should also embrace nature as it gives us a sense of connection and satisfaction between the nature and us. Knowing feelings of others and yours enhance social and emotional intelligence.

Repeat positive affirmations in the present tense to rewire your brain. For instance, ‘I control my own feelings’ or ‘I prefer’ etc. Do you believe in affirmations, if yes how and if no, why?

# Nudge 5: Upgrade yourself with new skills

Expert says skill power is the new will power. Along with physical activity your mental activity, should be strengthened. Learning new things enhances the grey matter of the brain. If you enjoy doing something new happy hormones (endorphins) generate in your body and health and happiness are buddies as proved in many types of research.

 Sketching and painting are my stress busters and motivates to upgrade my skills from beginner to advanced levels. You can go for other activities as well like learn driving, learn new languages, photography or playing instruments and so on. It is all subjective to your choices. With new skills of creativity, you can develop an inventive solution to practical problems.

# Nudge 6: Reap happiness in daily activities

For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness- Ralph Waldo Emerson

To enjoy your work you don’t have to change your mindset. All you need to do is just be the ease with it. If you feel exhausted in daily routine take a day off, do breathing exercises (breathe in and breathe out). You can also go for digital detox for a month or so.

Be SMART in your approach to sustain your Healthy New Year Resolution:

  • Specific-observe your thoughts try doing something new.
  • Measurable– set goals that are attainable in the long-term.
  • Assignable– awareness is the key to mindfulness.
  • Realistic- thought bubbles are passing clouds just be at ease with your mind.
  • Time-related– Do not judge your mind and learn the exercise of gratitude to reap happiness with time.

Share your tips to Healthy New Year Resolution and nudges to sustain them.

 

5 Penny-pinching Hacks to Redeem Health Care Goals

Health Care Goals

5 Penny-pinching Hacks that can Work Best for you to Redeem Health Care Goals

Most of us, as the month ends start muddling through household expenditure budget. It is no surprise that we often surpass daily or monthly expenses. Moreover, health expenditure takes a backseat in comparison to other household expenses.

We are often left thinking of having some more money to cover health incurs. You might have heard people apply ‘foolish penny wise’ perspective in their life approach.

In today’s age of technology and gadgets, penny-pinching approaches can save some few pounds than ever before in the past for one’s health care goals. You can rely on penny-pinching efforts to do the work for you to avail health benefits without cutting you dreams.

1. Avail free health-checkups:

Health services are widely available by profit and non-profit organizations both. You should be aware of free health-checkup options to take advantage to your benefit. Today world-renowned hospitals and  established pathologies offer a range of free health-checkup options on special occasions or during holidays. It could be lipid profile test, ECG to whole body check packages at free of cost or at good discounts rates.

 2. Go for cashback offers:

Most of the online pharmacies and medical stores have cashback offers. When you buy their products ranging from medicines to fitness supplements.

They have a tie-up with different banks and e-wallet companies that offer a different range of discount and cashback offers. Before going the payment gateway. Always check if the offer is valid or not.

 3. App-solute benefits:

Health and fitness related apps or applications for Android phones and smartphones come to your rescue when you are on the go. You can always keep a track of your kilometers of walk or run. In addition, food or water intake on your health app in your mobile or smart watches. To name few such as GoogleFit– A science-based app that helps you track whether you reach the  recommended amount of physical activity for cardiovascular health and relaxed mind.

HF Path TM– A self-management tool for heart patients to manage your health. All in one stop solution for a weight check, spot symptoms, and medications recall. It helps you to connect with other heart patients who face the same challenges as you.

Headspace– Keeps you motivated with daily thoughts based on mindfulness, an approach towards mental and physical health. Learn to meditate with guided meditation sessions on different health-related topics.

MyFitnessPal– keep track on your diet plan to lose weight or to start a new diet with a database of over five million foods.

Instant Heart Rate– Fastest and accurate to keep a track of your heart rate during workouts so do not put pressure on the heart.

 4. Taking on membership benefits:

It is not a wise decision to accept any loyalty cards of every store. Despite the fact, if you happen to visit any store more frequently then it does make sense to take the membership card.

Its benefits range from a discount on anniversaries, birthdays and with reward points that can be redeemed later on. However, to make most of these benefits, analyze membership fees if any and expiry date of the card in advance.

 5. Redeem coupon and compare prices and benefits online:

With so much to offer to their customers, one can get really overwhelmed that which has a better deal which doesn’t. Scrolling through each site can be a tedious job so, there you can rely on price comparison websites.

Such websites display the price feeds from many portals at one place, definitely a one-stop solution to many problems. Here, one can explore customer reviews, specifications of products as well such as Paytm, Amazon, eBay and so on.

The bottom line:

To exercise a sense of responsibility by keeping a track on such penny-pinching approaches you will be financially disciplined. But, also makes you prioritize your health and overall well-being.

Did you find the penny-pinching hacks to upgrade your health care goals interesting? Share your ideas to redeem health care goals.

Tips to Wellness Concepts around the World

Wellness Around the World

Tips to Learn Wellness Concepts around the World From Ikigai, talkoot, shinrin-yoku to meraki.

So let’s take a journey of words that describe wellness concepts and understand its importance in your life.

  1. Ikigai- origin- Japan

    What is it– Finding your meaning in life.

How to include them– Get up early in the morning each day with a sense of awareness to infuse reason, happiness, and gratitude to your living.

Let yourself in the present moment and focus on what you love and enjoy to do, to eat, to work and to move.  Ikigai is your ingredient of happiness, longevity, and satisfaction to soak in every day. With each day comes new opportunities.

Do some soul-searching by paying attention to your thoughts and feelings and check in yourself.

What are your ikigai every morning?

   2.  Shinrin-yoku- origin- Japan

What is it– Shinrin-yoku translates to forest bathing. It is about embracing the outdoors and your connection with nature to de-stress, relax and enhance well-being.

How to include them– Go to outdoors and take up some activities like a walk in the greens, fire camping or just sleeping under the stars. You can also do some new activities like learning new languages, playing any instrument or cooking classes.

Just note what activities amplify your connection with nature. because 90% of the Americans stay indoors most of the times as reported by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This decreases your sense of wellness with nature.

   3. Talkoot- origin- Finland

    What is it– Finnish version of social wellness. It’s all about voluntarily  do something for the common good.

How to include them- It could be anything from helping an old man cross the road safely, give water and food to someone in need or cleaning your surroundings. Prioritize well-being of others more than yourself.

  4. Meraki- origin- Greek

   What is it-  The word Meraki is derived from Greek culture that translates to doing actions from the heart.

How to include them- Doing things that you love no matter how small or difficult. All it takes is your devotion to happiness as your end result. Whether it is making a morning coffee or compliment someone.

5. Mono no aware- origin- Japan

What is it- The word Mono no aware is a Japanese word of well-being that connotes to embrace impermanence nature of life.

How to include them- The constant change in nature whether in terms of changes in days and seasons is the law of nature. It is hard to hold on to everything that is changing. More you cling on to pleasant more is the suffering in your life.

If you are ready to change then you are at comfort with changing nature and hence, you will be in peace. Being aware of the present moment, not reacting to the unpleasant events and letting yourself flow with life makes you find a satisfactory place to land to enjoy transient beauty of nature as nothing is stable.

6. Shoganai- origin- Japan

What is it- Accepting and embracing the events in life that are changing constantly without complaining.

How to include them- It has been proved in many types of research that complaining is fascinating and it develops a constant urge in people to complain in every typical conversation. Complaining can take a toll on your health as when you complain there is a release of stress hormone (cortisol) that lead to an increase in blood pressure and negativity in mind. This process shifts all your energy from other vital activities needed for proper functioning of the organs in the body into a flight-fight mode.

By developing an attitude of gratitude, reframing your sentences in a positive way and talking on a specific topic helps reset your mind in a postive frame shifting mindset of complaining without purpose to a problem-solving complaining.

How do you appreciate small things in your life? Do share with us if you know about other wellness concepts that people think are untranslatable is that so?

Celebrate Christmas- Zeal of Wellness

Zeal Wellness

Celebrate this Christmas with Zeal of Wellness

The holiday season has arrived that starts with Christmas celebrations and New year on the board. These festivals are all about good and lavish foods, lighting, gifts and decorations along with social gatherings and parties. The feasting and decorations last for a year.

So gear yourself to ring the holiday with cheers of health and wellness.
Are you going to give a miss on your healthy diet plan or exercise routine? Maybe. But here are three important dimensions of wellness that is, environmental wellness, physical wellness, and social wellness you must stick to supercharge your festive mode.
But, to lead a healthy and disease free life it is important to give importance to your health and well-being each day, even during festival seasons.

Firstly, go green

Deck your home and workplace with eco-friendly, handcrafted Christmas decorations for a healthy environment. Light up your home with earthen lamps and candles with use of natural essential oils such as lavender and rose oil. Use wooden lamps and colorful decorative paper for gift wraps rather plastics that are harmful to the environment. You can also try handloom cloths that comes in various designs and ranges for decoration such as pottery, wall hangings or gift wraps to minimize harmful environmental impact. The art of handloom is traditional hand skill which uses no chemicals only skill preservation. Also bring home natural christmas tree not the artificial one.

Secondly, go healthy

Christmas and plum cakes are good buddies, one cannot imagine Christmas without traditional plum cakes and other desserts. Enjoy the mouth savoring home-baked cakes from chocolate fudge to banana walnut cake.
Why home-baked cakes? You can spend more quality time with family while preparing bake cakes which is without preservatives.
Most importantly, start your day with light exercise in the morning and a few minutes of meditation to give a boost to your festive mood.

Thirdly, go social

Gift your loved ones and friends with lifetime memories of wellness, sharing good food, good music, and happiness with others. Social interaction is also linked to better health as suggested by experts. You can get inspired for gifts this christmas based on six dimentions of wellness.
Share your mantra for a healthy routine this festive season.

6 Health Behavioral Modifications for Healthy Food

Healthy Food

Your health goals – prepare, practice, prevail

This is a world where economies are sustained, policies worth billion dollars made across geographies. Welcome to the world of health economics, where information of every sort woven into the very fundamentals of nutrition.

Learning from our own mistake is bygone in today’s time. Now rational decision-making is a tool to live healthy, wealthy and happy life following ‘nudge’ a term coined by Nobel Prize winner economist, Thaler.

Nudge draws human psychology and thinking to better the decision-making of an individual. By health behavioral modifications without any subsequent compulsion.

Behavioral economics: An Intriguing Factor

Nobel Prize winner Richard H Thaler (2018) has been much acclaimed for his remarkable contributions in the field of “Behavioral Economics”. One can easily draw the analogy from his empirical findings and insights of his Nudge theory, which are instrumental in getting to the thoughts of people in choosing between two options.

It is a human tendency that people go for easiest over the wisest, even presenting with facts about healthy eating people tend to choose processed foods like burger and chips over healthy alternatives.

Poor decision, lack of thinking on time and lethargic habits account for picking the wrong one even knowing its negative impacts on health. Having captured the essence of “Behavioral Economics”, the theory aligned itself accordingly and is poised to become one of the most profitable panaceas to all health-related issues.

Triad of Behavioral Economics, Psychology and Economics-

Thaler suggests that triad of behavioral economics, psychology, and economics contribute to irrational decision-making.

Decisions such as whether to go to graduate school, whether to continue on healthy lifestyle or how to save money for the retirement makes an important part of one’s planning in their life at one point of time.

Behavioral economics explains why an individual decides one thing instead of going for other alternatives. Also, behavioral economics can direct any individual in making rational decisions on health and happiness.

Thaler’s nudge theory improves self-control towards beneficial health behavioral modifications in terms of healthy eating habits.

# Nudge 1- For School/ College by Rearranging the Cafeteria

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Without changing any menus experiment with the way food is displayed and arranged influence the choice of kids. This experiment can be achieved by keeping healthy foods like fruit salad at the eye level and processed foods at the last counter.

Make healthy food a default option, for example replacing French fries with sliced apples in children’s meal and limiting portion sizes as well.

As a nutritionist, I’m sure this will surely increase the consumption of healthy foods and decrease that of unhealthy ones. By changing the way of context in which people will make decisions with possible alternatives to go with.

# Nudge 2- For Patients Providing them with Alternative Treatment Plans

A doctor can help a patient by providing alternative treatment plans so that one can go with a proper health plan that suits best to the patient. For instance, if you are suffering from chronic kidney disease and doctor proposes kidney transplant.

You will definitely want to know about the odds. Now a doctor can nudge by positive framing of the statement. For instance, “out of hundred patients who went for a kidney transplant, ninety are leading a healthy and normal life after six years.

Rather than a negative statement, “out of hundred patients ten are dead after kidney transplant”.

Even doctors are more likely to recommend the operation/ transplant responding to the framing effects of the two contrasting statements as mentioned above (1).

# Nudge 3- Healthy Eating by Resisting Temptation (2)

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When you are hungry and have an appetite for pizza as aromas coming from the kitchen, you are said to be in a hot state. When you think of pizza that you will consume on Sunday before dinner, you are in a cold state. As mentioned by behavioral economist George Loewenstein (1996) ‘hot-cold empathy gap’ (3).

It does not confirm that decisions/ desires made in cold state will not be altered when we are under the influence of arousal. These conditions can possibly explain the reason behind failure in exercise, quit smoking and alcohol.

# Nudge 4- Transform following the Herd

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Humans like to confirm other humans and learn from social influences. Ingredients of social nudge involve information and peer pressure or priming.

To its evidence one of the research findings also prove that obesity is contagious. In other words, if your friend is obese or overweight, you are likely to become to gain weight (4).

# Nudge 5- The Default Rule at your Rescue in Effective Decision Making

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The default rule basically comes at your rescue when you are uncertain in decision-making. For instance, whether investing or not in a healthcare plan, organ donation or savings for future. In this government official or private sectors can play a major role.

Further, in setting one policy as the default option if it results in effective outcome over numerous other options.

According to The World Health Report 2000 pronounced that increased public financing for healthcare is an integral part of the endeavor to achieve equity of access (5).

# Nudge 6- Self Control Approaches to harness the power of Nudge

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Recent studies in Neuroeconomics demonstrate the evidence of a bimodal system of self-control. To clarify, a myopic ‘doer’ increases arousal behavior and a far-sighted ‘planner’ that suppress temptation.

In case of smoking and over-eating, the two sides of the brain are in conflict. Either it will stop you or tempt you as one is bound to lose.

Tip: Get small packets of food you like a small plate and never keep tempting food in your refrigerator.

Bottom-line-

Appraisal tendency framework curtails rationality in decision-making. As different emotions trigger different cognitive and motivational way that limits the time to make decisions.

This can be achieved by better placement of healthier foods on the shelves of a supermarket. In addition, updating one’s kitchen cabinet with healthier alternatives.

Making rational decisions while picking up foods in grocery shop with a guided motivation.

Rational decision-making serves as a raw material to build a healthy foundation of an individual. A shift in thinking approach will surely lift your nutritional status by fostering healthy eating habits.

References:

  • Thaler R.H, Sunstein C.R (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. New York:  Yale University Press.
  • Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. ‘The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice’. Science 211 (1981): 453- 58.
  • Thaler, R.H, and Shefrin H.M. ‘An Economic Theory of Self Control’. Journal of Political Economy 89 (1981): 392-406.
  • Loewenstein G. ‘Out of control: Visceral Influences on Behavior’. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 65 (1996): 272-92.
  • Cialdini R. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Quill, 1993.
  • World Health Organization. World Health Report 2000- Health systems: Improving performance Geneva: World Health Organization; 2000.

5 REASONS TO CHOOSE YOGA HEALTH BENEFITS OVER CONVENTIONAL EXERCISES

Yoga Health Benefits

Introduction-

We all know the importance of healthy living, and you are reading this means you must be looking forward to a better life. The very first step is to know how to prepare for the healthy you. Tuck in your belt and go through this article, I’ll provide you with valuable information about the history of yoga and its usefulness.

The reasons to choose yoga health benefits as your motivator over conventional exercises are many; I’ll enlist the major five reasons.

You can motivate yourself and achieve your positive health score. Try to narrow down the types of yoga you want to pursue. Balance it by a realistic self-assessment and top it with a doddle of your motives carefully.

The fear of inexperienced and unknown in professional, as well as personal life creates stress and anxiety. To tide over this anxiety, we have a few tips for you.

Instead of stressing out over various health issues and constantly losing your focus. Yoga comes to your rescue and helps maintain your balance in all walks of life to make the most of your potential.

History of Yoga-                 

Yoga is an indispensable gift of ancient Indian heritage; it can be dated back to the century. It personifies amalgamation of mind and body, constraint and fulfillment, thought and action and a holistic approach to health and disease.

Yoga is not parallel to exercise but to develop consciousness and sense of connection with oneself, nature and the world.

Yoga as your health motivator over conventional exercise-

In a world where intelligence and conviction appear to be perfectly married with success creates a much stress to reach the goals of an individual. At a smaller, less profound level the same thing may be happening to you. The anxiety that is always omnipresent at the back of your mind needs to be curbing.

Yoga practice, unlike conventional exercises, doesn’t require much time, equipment, proper training. Moreover, one has the chance to get hurt on most of the exercise machines without much proper training.

Keep calm and stay focused and do yoga.

Yoga and its therapeutic approaches-

A randomized trial by John Hopkins Medicine suggests yoga health benefits more effective and safe for people suffering from two forms of arthritis after eight weeks of yoga sessions. 

According to their study yoga improves the overall physical and mental well-being of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. 

  1. Yoga and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): 

    Rheumatoid Arthritis                                       Photo creditpngtree

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling disease that affects 1 in 5 people under the age group of 65 years. This type of arthritis affects mobility and other daily life activities.

    There is no proper treatment of this disease also it leads to pain and stiffness in joints that makes people less active. Only proper management is the key to lessen the symptoms of arthritis.

    Yoga can ease rheumatoid arthritis pain and impacts about 20% improvement in pain, energy levels, and physical function. To protect vulnerable joints from a damage health professional can modify poses to accommodate individual abilities. 

    Frequent flare-up condition and damaged joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients make it difficult for them to go for regular exercise activity. But to keep moving vinyasa or flow yoga is the best alternative to hiccups in the exercise routine.

  2. Yoga and osteoporosis:Few exercise activities may put pressure on the spine. But, some yoga practices can cut down the risk of fracture and strengthen your bones. Expert suggests Yoga a safe option for people with osteoarthritis that improves ease in walking and flexibility.

  3. Yoga and stress:

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    According to an article published in JAMA about 60-80% of doctor visits are stress-related conditions. Chronic stress is one of the major reasons for increased biological aging and chronic inflammation. Both these conditions can trigger metabolic diseases from diabetes to heart disease.

    A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience reported positive impact of yoga and meditation. Its impact on physiological and immunological markers of stress and inflammation and improves overall well-being.

    Yoga is more effective than Chi meditation that alleviates stress. Practicing yoga in a long-term induces goal-oriented behavior using improved cognitive abilities. Whereas it mitigates army’s long-term goal that is impact of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

     Yoga, meditation and Tai chi is a novel approach to mind-body interventions. It can now reverse the stress inducing DNA reactions at molecular level that affects our health.

  4. Yoga and chronic back pain:Back Pain

                                Vectors graphics designed by  freepik

    A research study suggests yoga more effective over conventional exercise in case of back pain.

    As the patients assigned in the yoga group were better in performing daily activities with less pain than those in the exercise group.  Although exercise is recommended in patients with chronic back pain along with painkillers (NSAIDs) but its impact is not significant. On the other hand, yoga practice is a more effective and gentle program for people with this condition as reported by the experts.

  5. Yoga and Heart:  heart health

    Yoga may help you improve your cardiovascular health by improving its risk factors. Such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and stress. A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reported that yoga lowers risk of heart disease similar to any conventional exercises. According to Dr. Yeh, yoga is less strenuous and easy to practice over many types of exercise. Moreover, an add-on to a cardiac rehabilitation program to recover from a heart attack or heart surgery.

    According to a report published in Harvard Heart Letter, participants of all age group saw improvement in lowering high blood pressure. By five points and cholesterol by 12 points and lost about five pounds as well. The ability of yoga to unwind both physical and mental problems by letting go stress. With the practice you can soothe body and reset the mind to create positiive feedback loop. It involves applying techniques of mindfulness, gratitude and self-compassion. This results in better body awareness, better sleep, weight loss, greater happiness and well-being. Evidence suggests a “dose-response effect”– more you practice yoga, more you restore harmony with yourself and others.

    Share your views on yoga health benefits.

7 Powerful Behavioral Hacks for Healthy Weight Loss-

Healthy Weight Loss

Unsure of how to lose weight in a healthy way? Have diets you tried in the past did not deliver as proclaimed?

We indulge in one of a type of diet, as advertised to lose weight instantly, kicked off well, and then suddenly lose interest. Maybe due to meal restrictions, boredom, or could not match up to the diet plan and quit.

What’s next? We should try some other popular diet available or just let go of the desire of losing weight or pop weight loss pills that have flourished in the market?

Globally, obesity is a widespread metabolic problem and its frequency has tripled over the last four decades as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Obesity, the word in itself is enough to give chills to the spine of an obese person. In today’s fast pace world, weight loss and weight management seem invincible leading to a lot of stress.

The article explores weight management and eating behavior in context to self-regulation and motivation to long-term weight control.
The good news is that with an adept management technique you can reduce excess weight.

Right Approach- The very first response that triggers one’s mind is to abstain from food that leads to crash diet ultimately double weight gain. In contrary to it, behavior modification will serve as a motivating fuel to achieve weight goals.

How can you differentiate between obesity and overweight?

The definition for obesity and overweight is based on BMI or Body Mass Index. BMI or Body Mass Index is a parameter of weight-for-height to categorize adults into overweight or obesity.

BMI is measured as weight in kilograms divided by square of height in meters that is, (kg/m2) for adults.

  • Obesity: BMI >=30 kg/m2
  • Overweight: BMI>=25 kg/m2

Why these factors matter?

Experts have proven that factors like overweight, obesity and related factors such as over-eating, environmental factors are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and so on.

In addition, eating practices play a greater role in the development of effective interventions for healthy weight loss program.

Weight loss is challenging, the option is plenty but an effective solution to healthy weight loss rely on our behavior and how we modify them.

Recent researches have advocated skill power over will power to lose weight and keep it off.

In this article, I’ll discuss ‘Skill Power’ techniques that comprise powerful behavioral hacks or habits that can be tailored according to your requirements.

Firstly, track the type of hunger and before you eat anything you need to learn how to differentiate different types of hunger which are as follows:

  • Nutritional hunger- The trigger: starvation of nutrients

          Your action: Eat the right amount of nutrient and at the right time

  • Thirst hunger- The trigger: growling and empty stomach feeling, lack of water intake

         Your action: stay hydrated

  • Low blood sugar hungerThe trigger: hypoglycemia, dizziness, weakness

         Your action: Check your blood sugar levels, don’t skip dinner

  • Variety hungerThe trigger: A craving for something sweet, salty or creamy

          Your action: opt for low-calorie foods and go for portion control

  • Emotional hungerThe trigger: stress, anxiety or fear

         Your action: Seek ways to satisfy emotional voids

Harness Health benefits of Seasonal Foods

Get access to seasonal whole foods such as fruits and vegetables from your local farm or markets. These produce are usually fresher, palatable, healthy and cheaper when it is in season.

Seasonal produce also adds more color and variety in your diet; experts recommend about five servings of fruits and vegetables in one’s meal.

Read on: 10 Superfoods to Add to your Diet this Winter

Escape the Sugar Trap

According to experts, sugar acts as an addictive agent as it brings the neurobiological changes similar to those in drug addiction.

Sugar, a refined carbohydrate is a key ingredient in processed foods and drinks.

Now international dietary guidelines encourage minimizing sugar consumption mainly monosaccharide and disaccharide added to foods, fruit juices or drinks has been linked to atopic asthma.

Do Not Skip Breakfast

Breakfast is an utmost important part of a meal so do not skip breakfast. A good and healthy breakfast fuels your body and makes you ready for the day- it is one of the healthy behavioral hacks.

Include high fiber food in your breakfast such as oats, whole grains and products, nuts, fruita and vegetables.

Those who skip breakfast lead an unhealthy lifestyle in terms of poor dietary intake, frequent smoking and alcohol consumption, hormonal imbalances and altered biological clock.

Food addiction model suggests excessive consumption of sugar leads to binging behavior.

Eating a healthy breakfast maintains a healthier weight, cardiac and gut health. It has been proven in research that skipping breakfast has a strong correlation to the risk of developing atherosclerosis that involves hardening of arteries.

Portion Control

Familiarize yourself with standard serving sizes. Did you know that one serving of pasta is only 1/2 cup or about the front of the clenched fist? Or the recommended serving size of meat is only 3 ounce about the size of your palm?

Stay Focused for Positive Change

If you are struggling to adapt to certain behavior change such as taking up a particular diet, learn meditation or practice any physical activity. For instance, to shed those extra kilos or maintain optimal health-need not worry at all.

Research suggests it takes probably three months to change behaviors and if this change is for a healthier version of you the just stay motivated, focused and keep a check on your progress.

Related Post: 6 Health Behavioral Modifications to go for Healthy Food

Set Small and Realistic Goals-

A healthy approach involves taking small and realistic steps today to impact your health tomorrow. Do not indulge in any short-term or long-term methods rather give attention to whatever you do daily.

Bring a shift in your behavior gradually to incorporate healthy choices into your weight loss plan.

Focus to improve diet rather adapt to a certain diet. Do not set any goal solely to lose weight rather focus on overall health.

Related Post: 7 Ways to bring your Hormones into Harmony to Lose Weight

Quit Sugar and Salt with Health Behavioral Modification

Before investing investing in for a certain for a product to attain your health goals understand its repercussions.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 Quit Sugar- An approach to change your Diet Plan

‘One cannot fit a square peg in a round hole’. This analogy fits with the diets that work for everybody but didn’t pay off you in the long-term.

Because some diet or foods are not right for you, for your metabolism or your condition.

Here, come in play your genes and environment that influence on what and how much you eat .There is no term for bad food, only food products are used wrongly.

For instance, when one tries to forcibly fit a particular food to fulfill a need that is not intended for, it is likely to fail.

As in case of hidden sugar and sodium in processed foods. It is important to take into account the suitability of a food product.

To map it to your health goal, and preferences to get the best out of it.

A health behavioral modification is all about a modified eating habit and exercise that we hear so many times? Maybe not, because a macro-shift in choices you make each day is enough.

Such as experimentation with the low-fat diet or Mediterranean diet. Spend time in grocery shopping rather than watching T.V. This could be achieved when you set small and accurate goals. Also, put off the ‘doer’ that arouses temptation of over-eating.

 The Credibility of a Food Product

When your efforts are for long-term health goals like getting rid of those extra kilos or pain-free mornings.

It is inertia that keeps you from investing in choices that are designed healthy for an overall well-being. For this, one must go for a healthier version of the food.

A better option would be to understand the risks associated with the products available. Then select those that are best suited to your needs.

The Underlying Risk in Fixed Returns 

Processed foods, excess salt, sugar, and its products are easily available. It may be suitable when needed to eat something in an instant, while in a meeting or college fest, but it will harm you in return. 

So go for nutrients and not calories when you are hungry.

When Market dictates Food Preferences 

If you are inclined to invest in products depending upon how markets are expecting you to choose from. It is likely that your food choices are not aligned with health goals.

There is a need for skill, informed choices and time to make alterations based on expected market movement. Become your own choice architect to your health and well-being.

Identify foods that are structured to meet your needs. Make a habit to see to the pros and cons of each food product you buy and evaluate its consequences.

Sugar Withdrawl: An innocuous source of energy or not?

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What happens when you Quit Sugar? Sugar or dietary sugar falls under the carbohydrate category of food groups. Sugar forms a major portion of nutritive calorie in the human population.

Recent studies suggest that our body’s own detoxification system can overcome the deleterious effect of high blood sugar. Body’s own fat metabolism is the in-built detoxification system. 

A chemical reaction that involves a type of metabolite, ketone acetoacetate a by-product from fat metabolism quenches the reactive by-product of sugar metabolism that is, methylglyoxal which is toxic to the cells.

A 2018 report published in the Psychopharmacology Journal stated psychological factors to be the leading cause of anxiety, and mood disorders under hypoglycemic condition.

Scientists observed a bad eating behavior to be at fault. It is associated with sluggish nature and stress resulting from high levels of corticosteroid.

The drop in activity levels enhanced when given antidepressants rather glucose. Hence, identify your stressors whether it is nutritional hunger or emotional hunger and employ healthy eating habits into a possible remedy.

Halt the salt in your kitchen: Best Health Tip 

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Although salt is essential for the normal functioning of the body but the sodium in salt with potassium maintains fluid levels in the body.  Thereby, sodium facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction of muscle fibers.

But all this process requires less than one-tenth of a teaspoon per day. Choose fresh herbs and spices as an alternative to salt to flavor your dishes. It helps to minimize the risk of high blood pressure.

Related: Simple Swaps to employ Dash Diet

The bottom line:

When you find yourself either cutting back on your health goals like restoring to sugary products. Despite, having invested in a healthier version of food as you assume. It indicates that the money and time may be in the wrong food product.

A good diet should offer a plenty of choices, relatively few restrictions. With no expensive special foods on your grocery list. It should be something you can sustain for years.

It should be as good for your brain, heart, gut, bones as it is for your waistline.

This type of diet won’t give you a quick-fix but arsenal with a better nudge towards long-term healthy choices.

This will benefit not just a few people but a whole of you.

 

Thank you for reading!