Nutrition for healthy aging

Making wise food choices and being focused on living a healthy lifestyle are key elements to avoiding age-related chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, obesity, and hypertension. Though aging is inevitable, healthy aging by taking care of your physical, mental, and cognitive health, helps you maintain your quality of life as you age. Growing older with a healthy body and mind is possible with a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet and taking care of your nutritional needs by eating healthy food is crucial for taking care of your health as you age.

Essential nutrients

Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are essential nutrients obtained from our diet. It is necessary to have a balance of these nutrients in our diet. To obtain these essential nutrients, include the foods listed here in your diet:

  • Variety of vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Sources of proteins such as eggs, fish, lean meat, nuts, seeds, beans, soy products, lentils, tofu, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Sources of unsaturated fats such as olive oil, salmon, sardines, corn oil, and avocado.
  • Calcium-rich food such as low-fat dairy products, and leafy greens.
Stay hydrated

Water is essential for life and has a vital role in several functions of our body. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration which can damage our health. It is important to keep drinking water in the required amounts throughout the day. Food rich in water content such as broths, soups, and fresh fruit juices, helps to avoid dehydration.

Food to avoid or limit
  • Food loaded with sugar such as doughnuts and sugary pastries.
  • High sodium foods such as potato chips and canned food.
  • Highly processed food.
  • Deep-fried food
  • Food high in saturated fats such as cream, lard, ice cream, and palm oil.

Pack your diet with nutritious food and eat different sources of nutrients in moderation to maintain a balance. Combine your healthy diet with some physical activity and a healthy lifestyle which will promote healthy aging and help you to make the most of your life.

How to explain healthy eating to children?

Educating and encouraging kids to eat healthy and nutritious food early in childhood helps them develop healthy eating habits and make the right food choices. Trying to explain nutrition to children with science-based concepts and details entirely, makes it difficult and non-interesting for them to listen and understand. Instead, try these simple and kid-friendly methods listed here, along with examples of situations and scenarios which help them understand the importance of nutrition and healthy eating.

What is healthy eating?
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Children, as well as adults, need a balanced diet comprising of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources. The snacks that are eaten in between meals are meant to give us energy and should not be poor in nutrition. Nutrient-rich food is vital for normal growth and development, as well as the normal functioning of our body.

Though nutrition is important at every age, child nutrition is given greater priority because childhood is the time for rapid growth, development, and activity. eating habits are formed in the first few years of life and it is difficult to change these food choices and habits later in life.

Ideas to explain healthy eating to children
  • Keep things simple and use the language that they understand easily.
  • Plan play-based food activities which is an engaging way to help kids explore and learn about food.
  • Involve them in food shopping and expose them to a variety of healthy foods.
  • Eat together as a family for at least one mealtime and be a role model by providing and choosing healthy food options.
  • Explain in positive words, using videos or pictures about how the food that we eat works in our body.
  • Allow them to have a hand in making the food with some simple tasks such as tossing a salad. This will help them know how the dishes and meals come together. This will also help you in teaching them to make simple healthy meals and enjoy homemade food as they grow.
  • Explain and focus on the beneficial aspects of eating healthy food, rather than the negative aspects of the foods that are poor in nutrients.
  • Avoid rigid rules and practices about healthy eating that could have a negative impact on children.
  • Show them foods that are high and low in nutrients and tell them which of them should be eaten regularly and which are to be eaten ‘sometimes’.
  • Instead of labeling certain foods as ‘bad’, tell them that there are foods that are low in nutrients and are not to be eaten regularly.

Educating children about healthy eating helps them apply this knowledge and develop healthy eating habits as they grow into adults and throughout their life. Healthy food contributes to the good health and normal functioning of our body and mind. Talking to children about healthy food and its goodness is useful to establish the foundation for their nutritional knowledge and eating habits for which they will be grateful to you later in life.

Your perspective shapes your life!

Have you ever met a person who can interpret everything happening around perfectly? The perspective with which we look at the world and people around us has an influence on our life and daily experiences. Most often what we focus upon in our lives is based on what we expect from a situation or people. It is largely based on our viewpoint and contributes to the way we feel, think and act. Learning, growing, and being positive can help us develop a better perspective in life and have a better approach toward any unexpected circumstances or responses from people in our life.

It is not necessary that the way our minds perceive certain situations in the world, is the only truth and they ought to unfold in the way we expect. There could be other reasons and possibilities which are beyond our viewpoint. Sometimes we don’t focus on the simple things in life, as we assume that it is not worth spending time on such simple matters, instead we focus only on the big picture and great outcomes that satisfy our expectations and make us feel good. Looking at things differently can help us realize that things aren’t as bad as they seem and could also allow us to open our minds to new perspectives and details.

Holding on to a particular perspective in life could block us from looking at the brighter side of any situation or person. It is easier many a time to argue that our viewpoint is absolutely correct and not give a thought to what the other person could be going through. In such circumstances, there is no room for thought in our minds to try and understand that there could be a different explanation for what is happening.

Our approach to life is influenced by our personal experiences, beliefs, dreams, opinions, and expectations. People differ in their perspectives, opinions, and decisions. It is a fact that our perspectives affect the people around us, which causes agreements, disagreements, arguments, or new friendships. Sometimes a small shift in our perspective could make life less stressful and more meaningful. Life is not the same for all and accepting another person’s viewpoint before we judge or decide is very important in relationships.

When we feel like situations or responses that we come across are beyond our control, it is crucial to focus on what matters the most. No matter how hard we try, things still go wrong at times. Instead of reacting based on what triggered us, widening our perspective can improve our attitude, help us learn life lessons from situations that we go through, grow and evolve into a better version of ourselves. Let us not let the difficult situations in life, destroy us. Choose a positive perspective and grow through your experiences in life.

Natural food for healing

Certain food helps our body recover well from the effects of stress, injury, or illness. There are several foods in nature that have some healing properties and work wonders on our health when consumed in the right amount. They can soothe your symptoms and help you feel better. Knowing these healing properties could help you make use of such natural food and recover better, as consuming health-promoting food is essential for quick healing.

Fresh leafy greens
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Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, watercress, swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, basil, and many others are highly nutritious as they are loaded with vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals. Eating a variety of them regularly as a part of your meals enhances your immune function, improves wound healing, and decreases inflammation.

Mushrooms
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Edible mushrooms are a low-calorie food, loaded with antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals. They have anti-inflammatory properties, boost the immune system and promote health. Mushrooms are easy to prepare and including them in the diet will help you strengthen your immunity and fight diseases.

Yogurt
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Yogurt is rich in calcium, proteins, vitamins, and probiotics/good bacteria. It strengthens bones, hydrates your body, promotes gut health, improves immune function, and eases gastrointestinal problems. To avoid the sugar content, prefer plain yogurt over flavored yogurt.

Avocado
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Avocados are highly nutritious as they contain healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They support digestive health, promote heart health, and contain anti-inflammatory compounds. They are versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes such as salads, spreads, smoothies, and many other recipes.

Berries
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Berries are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They promote heart health, eye health, skin health, and reduce inflammation. Berries help manage diabetes and blood pressure levels. They prevent constipation and promote gut health. Use them in salads, smoothies, toppings, or eat them as a snack.

Carrots
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Carrots are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and carbohydrates. They promote digestive health, wound healing, vision, and immune function. They are versatile and can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, boiled, or can be added to soups and stews.

Dried fruits
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Dried fruits are packed with proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. They improve digestion, boost energy, improve immunity and promote bone, heart, and skin health. They make a healthy and delicious snack and can be eaten raw or as a part of smoothies, milkshakes, and energy balls. Plain dry fruits are healthier than salted or glazed ones.

Papaya
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Papaya contains vitamins, antioxidants, carbohydrates, minerals, and dietary fiber. It promotes eye health, skin health, hair health, bone health, and digestion. Papaya aids in reducing inflammation, promotes wound healing, and prevents constipation.

Making these natural foods a part of your diet will nourish you with nutrients and natural compounds that are needed for optimal health, energy, and immunity which enables recovery from illness and stress.

5 ways to avoid getting frustrated as a parent

Do you find it difficult to control your anger or frustration when you react to your child’s behavior? Getting out of control, every time your child doesn’t follow instructions or does something that annoys you is not going to solve your problems or get your child to stop doing it the next time. Instead, it gives you harmful stress and negatively affects your child’s emotions.

The pressures of daily life and the stress that we go through during various situations in life could lead us to lose our patience at times. Parents often get overwhelmed due to the amount of stress and chores they handle which makes them feel helpless when they see their kids not doing what they are expected to do. Reacting immediately out of worry and anger creates more stress and does not let you help your child understand what’s gone wrong and what needs to be done. It could worsen the situation and give you unnecessary anxiety.

Here are a few helpful tips to stay in control and not lose your calm:

Change your perspective

Having a negative perspective can get you to lose your cool for every mistake that your child makes. Instead, a positive perspective that focuses on the reason behind the child’s behavior can help you figure out ways to manage the situation better and convince your child into doing the right thing. Take a pause and remember that children many times fail to respond as expected. They need guidance along the way and the way you react can either help the child learn from you or keep the behavior going.

Consider the consequence of your reaction

Instead of reacting immediately, consider what consequence your reaction is leading to. If it will help your child do better and make you feel better, go ahead with it. Certain reactions that are a result of extreme frustration can do more damage than any good. Respond in constructive ways that will teach your children the right behavior and help them remember what is expected of them.

Know your triggers

Many a time, triggers such as crying, refusing to eat, or making noise could get you to react in a way you never expected to behave. These are challenges that are sometimes tough to overcome. It is more of our negative response in such moments than the child’s behavior that is causing the problem. It is normal for kids to do such stuff in childhood at least once in a while. But reacting impulsively to triggers can’t help you in any way. Make it a point to identify your triggers and respond in positive ways.

Check your expectations

You can inculcate the values you want to see in your children by setting an example, correcting them gently, and being there to guide them. But, expecting perfection every single day is unrealistic, as there is no individual without any flaws and it applies to your child too. While setting expectations, do it based on your children’s capabilities and interests. Communicate your expectations clearly, but do not forget to appreciate their efforts and achievements on the journey.

Reflect on what has just happened

Learning from your experiences helps you handle situations better and makes it possible to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Take time to reflect on what happened and how can you handle it better if a similar situation arises again. It may also help you find healthy ways to handle your anger.

Taking responsibility for our behavior as parents helps us in setting an example for kids to learn to handle situations with a positive attitude and not let frustration worsen a situation. it also helps you manage stress and focus on disciplining your child constructively with positivity and confidence.

The beauty of being ‘You’

What makes life so special is that ‘Life’ is not a competition, but a journey that is different for each person on earth. So, stop comparing yourself to anyone and feel the beauty of little things in life, that go unnoticed many times because your attention is shifted entirely to the path that someone else is walking and you find it amazing. This could make you think that the grass is greener on the other side. It is important to remind yourself every day that, you don’t need to follow another person’s dream to make your life beautiful and happy. It is in accepting your journey and believing in your potential that you will bring meaning and beauty to your unique journey which can never be compared to anything or anyone.

It is important to know what you want from life and work on it, rather than trying to figure out what others would like to see you doing. Following the trends on social media only to impress others and not feeling the joy within your heart, won’t help you grow and explore your capabilities. Instead, being content with your life and being present in every moment that you live, with love and hope will help you grow gracefully and gives you the ability to help others grow without feeling envious or anxious. Knowing your strengths and embracing your shortcomings with the confidence of working on them and emerging stronger gives you the opportunity to work on yourself and see the better and more successful version of ‘You’ without comparing it to anyone else.

The next time you choose to post a selfie, visit a new place, choose to read a book, or take a new course, ask yourself the reason behind it. Is it to just be a part of social trends or to add value to life? If you choose the second option, you will see yourself moving forward no matter what comes your way. Have faith and courage to take a step forward, fulfill your dreams and become an inspiration to those around you who will look up to you and learn the importance of seeing the good in life.

Importance of emotional wellbeing in kids

Emotional health is just as important as physical health. It is important for kids to realize their abilities, learn to cope with emotions, and develop healthy social skills. To develop these positive traits, kids need a supportive environment. Adults have the responsibility to cultivate positive behavior in children and help them develop a positive perspective in life. The emotional needs of children shouldn’t be overlooked, as emotional health is vital for a child’s healthy development.

Children with good emotional health are able to

  • Face and overcome challenges positively
  • Have healthy relationships
  • Manage their emotions and responses well
  • Have good self-esteem
  • Grow into self-reliant and cheerful adults
  • Learn new skills

Sometimes, children learn certain things from parents that they don’t mean to teach the children. This happens when our children learn by watching us and imitating our behavior. To nurture the emotional well-being of our kids, we must first focus on our own emotional health. Have you seen toddlers pretend to talk like their parents on the phone using a toy? They observe everything we do. It is essential to be careful about the way we respond to situations and people in life so that we don’t give a negative message to our growing children.

Listening to your child and taking his/her feelings seriously is important. Spending some time with kids every day helps you learn about how they are feeling. Ignoring their feelings could lead them to frustration or withdrawal. It is also important that you don’t repeatedly force a child to open up but be patient and let the child feel comfortable.

A positive relationship with parents promotes the emotional well-being of children. The right support from home, school, and community fosters their emotional health and empowers them. Helping them learn from mistakes, accepting them for who they are, and correcting them gently are the building blocks of emotional health.

The 5 best healthy seeds to eat

Seeds are a good source of nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. Though they are tiny, seeds are dense in nutrients and a handful of them can be eaten with a snack or incorporated into smoothies, pudding, oatmeal, and many other foods. If you are looking for plant-based protein, seeds are a great choice.

Pumpkin seeds
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They are edible seeds of pumpkin fruit and are rich in proteins, antioxidants, minerals, healthy fats, and vitamins. They promote skin and bone health, improve sleep, support immunity, and provide energy.

You can have them roasted or blend them in smoothies and homemade sauces, add them crushed to salads, or make them a part of trail mix.

Flaxseeds
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They are rich in proteins, healthy fats, and digestive fiber. They help in relieving constipation, promote skin health, and are heart-friendly.

Ground flaxseeds can be added to breakfast cereals, yogurt, soups, stews, smoothies, and salads.

They must be consumed with plenty of water to avoid digestive problems.

Sunflower Seeds
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They are an excellent source of healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein. They make a convenient snack and can be eaten raw or roasted. Sunflower seeds contain nutrients that support the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and keep you energized.

They can be incorporated into trail mix, salads, oatmeal, stir-fried dishes, and baked goods.

Sesame Seeds
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They are rich in proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They promote heart, skin, and hair health, reduce digestive problems, reduce inflammation, and promote bone health.

Raw sesame seeds are used in making tahini paste. Toasted seeds can be sprinkled on soups, salads, and stir-fries. They can be incorporated into smoothies, hummus, garnishes, granola bars, cereals, and bread.

Chia Seeds
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They are high in healthy fats, proteins, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They support digestive health, heart health, and bone health.

Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, yogurt, cereals, salads, puddings, oatmeal, and energy bars.

Incorporate a small amount of seeds in your diet and enjoy their health benefits. Try replacing unhealthy snacks with nutritious seeds that are beneficial to your health. It is also important to strike a balance in your everyday diet and not overeat any food. Overindulging even in healthy foods can lead to health problems. Moderation is the key to good health.

Tips to relax on a holiday

Giving your mind and body a well-deserved break from everyday stress and taking an opportunity to relax and refresh is vital for your wellbeing. No matter how long or short your holiday period is, making time to turn off, rest, and relax helps restore your energy and happiness when you get back to your daily routine.

These tips could help you have a relaxing and rejuvenating break from your everyday stress and return to your daily routine, refreshed and energized.

Making your choice

When choosing a location to spend your holiday, it is important to make your choice depending on the kind of holiday you look forward to. A break from daily routine doesn’t mean the same to everyone. Some like going to adventurous places, while some like going to beaches or resorts, and some others prefer exploring the local culture. If you are going with your family or a group, it is important to ensure that your choice of location suits everyone.

Don’t exhaust yourself

Depending on the length of your holiday, plan the to-do list that doesn’t get you exhausted. If you want a relaxing break, avoid squeezing too many activities into your holiday. Overloading your holiday drains your energy and gives you stress. Use your break to enjoy and free yourself from unnecessary stress.

Pack right

Though packing your holiday bag is a chore, doing it right is essential for a happy holiday. Be realistic with your luggage limitations and make a list of your essentials so that you avoid packing what you actually don’t need. Make sure to have some space for your holiday mementos. Check ahead about the weather conditions and decide what clothes to take. Making a list of things to pack helps you avoid overpacking or underpacking.

Time in nature

Spending time in nature has many health benefits and it takes away your negative thoughts. Turn off screens and go outdoors to enjoy the goodness of spending time in nature. This is a great way to free yourself from stress and calm your mind. Simple things like watching the sunset, exploring a local park, or going to the beach can be helpful in refreshing your body and mind.

Time for yourself

Stress relief and relaxation help you have a great and memorable holiday. Make it a point to have some time for yourself to get enough rest, eat well, and stay hydrated so that you are able to truly enjoy your break and make the best of your holidays.

It is important to end your holidays feeling fresh and energized. Remember that your holiday is meant for relaxing and it is okay to miss out on doing certain things that make your schedule hectic. If mismanaged, holidays can bring you extra stress and take away all the fun. Plan well and make your holidays memorable.

Mother is a treasure

There cannot be just one thing to fondly remember about a mother. Every time you think of your mother, it’s a treasure of memories that you unwrap, beginning with mom’s food, her advice, her smile, her warmth and it goes on with unending fond memories. She is the world for her child. An irreplaceable treasure to the family, one with infinite patience towards her children. There isn’t one single word to describe all that a mother gives to the family. She is truly a treasure.

Here are a few inspiring qualities of mothers:

She loves you as you are, no matter what the world has to say about you.

She is always ready to listen to what you’ve got to say.

She never boasts about the sacrifices she made for you.

When you need her, she is right by your side, no matter how many times you have not been there for her.

She gives selflessly, without asking for anything in return.

She prioritizes your needs above anything else, even if it means not having enough for herself.

She has faith in your abilities, in spite of your mistakes and failures.

Her love is unconditional and can never be compared to anyone or anything else in life.

She teaches you to pray. You are always in her prayers and she helps you know God.

She tells you right from wrong, no matter how hard it becomes at times.

She is your first teacher. She taught you since you were a baby and you still have a lot to learn from her.

There is nothing that can describe a mom completely. Rather than looking for perfection in your mother, see the unconditional love and affection she gives and accept her as she is. Remind her that along with taking take care of her family, she needs to take care of herself too. This is one of the beautiful ways of being grateful to a mother.

How not to spoil your child

Raising a happy child is every parent’s dream, which is why parents do everything possible to fulfill their children’s dreams and make them happy. It is a beautiful feeling to see your child growing happy and healthy. But, it is equally important that you avoid spoiling your child with some common mistakes that parents sometimes don’t realize are leading to spoiling a child.

Overindulging

When you don’t miss giving your child everything he/she desires without ever saying ‘no’, you miss teaching them self-control or self-discipline. It is common for children to desire everything that they see other kids have. If parents try to satisfy their children by giving in to all of their demands, it results in overindulgence, which is the root of bad attitude such as disrespect and self-centredness.

Not limiting screen time

Too much screen time is not safe for your child’s health as well as behavior. Limiting screen time is very important to have a good relationship with your child. The harmful effects of prolonged screen time are obesity, sleep problems, and emotional and behavioral problems. Though technology is a part of life and can’t be entirely avoided, it is a parent’s responsibility to set a healthy limit on screen time.

Not letting your child get bored

Keeping children constantly engaged with scheduled activities to avoid boredom keeps them from discovering their interests and potential. Allow them to get creative during their free time with their choice of activity and make use of their imagination.

Negative judgment

When we rush to judge a child and apply labels without trying to know the cause of the behavior, we react but fail to respond positively. We don’t realize the effect of the words we use in our judgment, while the child feels the effect. When children are repeatedly judged for everything they do, they grow up with hurt feelings, which has an impact on their behavior.

False praise

It is important to encourage children and appreciate them. But praising them too much and when it’s not right to do so, can teach them not to appreciate others and also become less resilient. Encouraging children and appreciating their efforts or behavior helps them develop self-confidence. When they are wrong or need to improve, it is important to sincerely and politely let them know about it. This helps them develop a sense of responsibility and discipline.

Raising well-mannered kids doesn’t mean you must say ‘No’ to everything. It is important to understand their developmental needs and maintain a balance. Watching our own behavior is crucial to teaching our children to behave well. It is important that when children grow up, they are able to handle their adulthood with responsibility and confidence, have healthy relationships, and live happy life. The life skills required for such adulthood, are learned since childhood, and parenting plays a prominent role in it.

Tips for natural hair care

Using natural ways to take care of your hair protects you and the planet from the many harmful effects of chemicals used in several hair care products. Sometimes we feel the need for a single and easy solution for haircare when we get too busy to try any natural remedy. This leads us to opt for commercial products that are so very attractive and make us want to try them. Overdependence on such products causes harm to our scalp and hair. Instead, it is healthier to use what is available in nature to protect our hair from chemicals. Here are a few among the many natural remedies for haircare:

Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds help prevent hair loss and dandruff. They are beneficial for hair growth, as they nourish our hair with nutrients and strengthen them. A paste made from the fenugreek seeds can be applied to the scalp and rinsed after a few minutes.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil benefits hair and scalp. It prevents hair from damage and drying by moisturizing hair and soothing the scalp. After applying coconut oil to your hair, allow it to stay on your hair for at least 30 minutes. You may also leave it on longer before washing your hair.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera when used on the scalp and hair, gives you smooth hair, reduces dandruff, and repairs hair damage. It helps treat itchy scalp and strengthens hair. Use the natural gel from aloe vera leaves to apply to the scalp and hair. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then rinse off.

Gram Flour

Gram flour is a natural hair strengthener and improves hair growth. The nutrients in gram flour are beneficial for hair. You can make a paste with gram flour, a pinch of turmeric, and curd, or use water if you want to avoid using curd. Apply this paste to the scalp and hair. Rinse off after 30 minutes.

Brahmi oil

Brahmi oil is a natural hair conditioner. It strengthens hair and prevents hair loss. It also treats dry scalp and prevents dandruff. You can apply it directly on the scalp and hair and leave it on for at least an hour before rinsing off.

Egg white

Eggs contain essential nutrients and nourish your hair. Applying egg white to hair and scalp strengthens hair and cleanses the scalp. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and rinse off.

Hair health depends not just on external applications, but on other factors too.

  • It is important to eat a well-balanced diet to ensure that you get essential nutrients for your overall health.
  • Using very hot water to wash hair can cause damage to hair and scalp.
  • Make sure to wash your hair regularly and choose natural methods to treat your hair.
  • Make it a habit to detangle your hair often.
  • Dry your hair naturally. Blow drying often can damage your scalp.
  • Drink enough water and stay hydrated.

Take care of your hair with a good diet, and natural hair care methods. Try avoiding chemical treatments and sprays as much as possible.

Importance of homemade food in childhood

Well-nourished children grow up strong and healthy with a well-functioning immune system. Nourishment does not necessarily have to come solely from packaged nutrition products. When you make an effort to feed your child with your own healthy homemade food, you add personal touch and goodness to the growth of your little one. There are innumerable ways to make healthy food for little children at home.

Though commercially available foods are an easy option, you cannot entirely rely on them for your child’s nourishment and growth. Making an effort to feed your child with healthy and additive-free homemade food with a variety of nutritious ingredients in childhood will make it easier for you to introduce new food to kids as they grow, helps you ensure that your child is eating healthy and safe food and also encourages your child develop healthy eating habits early in life.

The sooner a child is introduced to nutritious homemade food, the easier you will find it to help them eat well-balanced food and naturally prefer homemade food. You can also reduce the risk of food allergies in children when you make food at home, as you are in control of the ingredients that go into the dish.

Among the best foods to introduce in early childhood are:

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  • Carrots
  • Banana
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Whole grains
  • Avocado
  • Egg
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Hummus

When introducing new food to children keep these points in mind:

  • Give them a small portion of the new food
  • Select food that is easy for toddlers to chew and soft
  • As much as possible provide them fresh and nutritious food
  • Avoid foods that could cause choking in toddlers
  • Avoid negotiating or rewarding for trying the new food
  • Stay positive and don’t give up your efforts

Eating homemade food that is free from chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, hormones, and unhealthy ingredients helps kids grow into healthy and happy adults. It equips them to choose healthier food options even when they eat outside at times. Make sure to switch off screens such as TV or laptops when eating at home and connect with each other over mealtime.

Probiotics-The helpful microbes for your gut

There are some bacteria that are called ‘good bacteria’ or ‘Probiotics’ because they keep your gut healthy and functioning well. There are both good and bad bacteria in our bodies. When the bad bacteria are in excess, you have an infection. Having good bacteria in your body, helps you keep out excess bad bacteria and maintain a balance that in turn keeps you healthy.

Some of the functions of these good bacteria are:

  • They support your immune function and reduce inflammation
  • Help you digest food
  • Support weight management
  • Avoid overgrowth of bad bacteria
  • Help in vitamin production

There are some foods that naturally contain these probiotics. Consuming such foods often but in a controlled amount, helps you have a proper or required level of good bacteria in your body, to stay healthy. Here is a list of the food that is a source of probiotics:

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  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kefir
  • Sourdough bread
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented food

Certain foods cause harm to the good bacteria in your gut. Consuming such food frequently can cause the levels of good bacteria in your body to drop and results in an imbalance of the gut bacteria. This condition is called dysbiosis, which gradually leads to infections and sickness. Avoid frequent consumption of the foods listed below, so that you don’t have an imbalance in your gut.

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  • Food high in sugar content
  • Highly processed food
  • Gluten rich food
  • Food with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

Apart from these foods, excessive stress and consumption of antibiotics too can damage your gut health. When consuming antibiotics, it is important to have probiotic-rich food, to avoid digestive problems.

Your gut plays a major role in your health and wellbeing. Eating a well-balanced diet with some probiotic-rich food and a healthy lifestyle helps you maintain a healthy gut naturally.

How to refresh after a stressful day?

Being stressed at times is normal and all of us cannot handle stress in the same way. What causes stress for one person may not have the same effect on another person’s life. But, when we remain unrelieved from stress for a long period, a lot of damage is caused to our overall health and wellbeing. By learning healthy ways to relieve stress, you can be peaceful and avoid the dangers that stress can cause to your health. Prioritizing your well-being by unwinding after a stressful day, and taking some time to relax and refresh is essential for a healthy life.

Fuel your body with refreshing food

Take care of yourself with nourishing and healthy food that will energize you and help you feel good after a busy and stressful day.

Take a walk outdoor

Walking outdoors and feeling the fresh air is natural stress relief. Walking in nature improves your mental well-being and also benefits your overall health.

Focus on activities that boost positivity

Activities that bring about positive feelings and moods, can help you overcome your negative emotions. Reading your favorite book, listening to a podcast, listening to relaxing music, or fun time with kids are a few activities that help boost positivity.

Exercise

Exercising helps you relax and refocus your mind. Among the many ways of incorporating exercise into your busy life, choose those that you feel will fit best in your schedule. For exercise to be effective, you need to make it a regular part of your life.

Positive connections

It is good to have positive connections like calling up a friend or talking to a family member who is supportive and positive. It is a great way to feel reassured and relaxed.

Minimize your screen time

Spending a lot of time watching phone or laptop screens causes stress and affects sleep quality. Reduce your screen time in order to have better sleep and relax your mind.

Spending time with pets

To feel relieved of stress and anxiety, spending time with pets is a wonderful way. It helps you get relief from stress and overcome the negative thoughts on your mind.

A structured plan

If you have a lot of pending tasks to complete at work and you feel stressed with the thought of it, prepare a structured to-do list, which will help you when you get back to work. Until then, let the tasks stay on the list and relax your mind.

Taking time for yourself is important for your health and wellbeing. Sometimes, you need to slow down and relax, enjoy the little things in life and get back to work feeling refreshed. This not only helps you stay healthy but also makes you more productive.

Empower your child against bullying

Bullying is one of the major problems experienced by several kids. It can happen anywhere, like the park, in a playground, at school, or online. When someone is intentionally hurting others physically, verbally, or emotionally, it is a sign of bullying. Some of the examples of bullying are:

  • Excluding someone from a group on purpose
  • Threatening
  • spreading rumors
  • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Telling other friends not to be friends with a particular child
  • Being rude or mean
  • Hitting/ pushing/ pinching/ tripping
  • Name-calling or taunting
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Bullying is more than teasing. It makes the victim feel uncomfortable and anxious. Though all kids are not bullies, there are some kids who try to dominate/control or blame others, show no empathy, and crave power and attention. There could be many reasons for such behavior. Some of the reasons could be:

  • It is possible that they learn this behavior at home
  • Watching similar behavior in adults close to them
  • They could have been bullied by others
  • Jealousy
  • To please the crowd of friends they want to stay with.
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It is important that we arm our children against bullying. Because it leaves long-lasting effects on a child who is bullied and nobody deserves to be bullied. Every child has the right to be safe and respected. Here are a few ways, that could be helpful to equip your child against bullying:

  • Help your child know what bullying is, by communicating about the signs of bullying. This helps them identify such behavior when they see it happening to themselves or their friends.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about school or online activities. Listen with patience and respond to your child’s concerns positively.
  • Empower your child by letting him/her know, how you can support the child and that it is okay to express their feelings and negative experiences to you.
  • It is important that we lead by example, as kids learn from our actions. If we always keep complaining about being victimized and show we are helpless, it could encourage kids to have a similar attitude toward their challenges.
  • Teach them about staying safe when online.

Bullying can have a negative impact on the health and happiness of children. It is necessary to teach our kids, that certain kind of behavior is unacceptable. Instead of waiting for our children to open up someday when they go through bad experiences, we must make it a point to stay connected with them by checking once in a while, about how are things going on and is there anything they would like to share?

Choosing healthy proteins

Proteins are an essential part of a healthy diet. Without proteins, our body cannot function properly and we could encounter several health problems. They are needed for the maintenance of every cell in our body and play key roles in several processes such as blood clotting, immune response, biochemical reactions, and many others.

To make proteins a part of your diet, you must know their natural and healthy sources. As there are several protein-rich foods and products available commercially, they can do more harm than good if you choose the wrong ones. Many such foods/products come along with unhealthy fats, harmful food additives, and large amounts of salt and sugar.

Watch this short video to know the details about the types of proteins, natural sources, and how to choose healthy proteins.

Nutritious snack ideas for little children

Parents usually try making every effort to see kids grow healthy and strong. It makes us happy to see them eat nutritious food without any fuss. But, children prefer taste over nutrients and we too had such preferences in our childhood, which is natural. Don’t you agree? But, we can’t blindly allow our little children to have their choice of less healthy food too often. So, we need to get creative and make healthy snacks that suit the taste of our kids.

Here are a few kid-friendly snack ideas, that are colorful, packed with nutrients, and taste great too. As kids differ in their food preferences, you can try making these snacks with ingredients that your child loves, by replacing any ingredient you feel that your child is either allergic to or doesn’t usually like eating, so that your efforts and the food don’t get wasted away.

Pita bread with hummus
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Hummus is a creamy spread made from chickpeas, tahini (paste of ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and ground cumin.

Pita bread with hummus makes a nutritious and tasty snack that can be paired with some sliced apples or carrots.

Energy balls

Energy balls made of all nutritious and natural ingredients such as dry fruits and nuts with no added sugar make a healthy and tasty snack.

For the energy ball recipe with dates, figs, and nuts, watch this video from my channel Rancy’s Insight

Peanut Butter dip with sliced apples, banana, and pears
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Peanut butter is nutrient-dense and pairing it with fruit slices makes a healthy snack that tastes great.

To make the peanut butter creamy and easy to dip, mix it with at least one tablespoon of plain yogurt.

Homemade sandwiches
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Using whole grain bread, veggies/chicken/egg and cheese make a delicious and nutritious snack.

You may also use avocado in a sandwich. As sandwiches are usually dry, it is important that you add a drink such as fresh fruit juice.

Rainbow fruit skewers
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Based on your child’s taste, you can choose fruits of different colors such as strawberries, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, dragon fruit, and melon.

Slice the bigger fruits and cut them into shapes and sizes of your choice. Use the type of skewers that kids are comfortable with. Fix the fruit slices on skewers in a pile. You can pair them with healthy dips.

Chapati (Indian flatbread) with paneer bhurji (Indian cottage cheese- scrambled)
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Crumbled Indian cottage cheese can be tossed with stir-fried onion, tomato, bell peppers, and spices of your choice.

It tastes wonderful and makes a nutrient-loaded snack that can be eaten with Indian flatbread made from whole wheat flour.

It is always good to know different ideas for kid-friendly nutritious snacks as we can’t keep serving them the same snack over and over again. Do share your own ideas of healthy snacks for kids, in the comments section, that can be helpful to parents.

Why should adults stay active?

Being physically active is necessary for a healthy body and mind. But many adults become physically inactive as years pass, which could be due to being busy with many responsibilities and duties, stress, or other reasons. Though we are busy with several tasks and can’t spare time to exercise, it is not right to neglect exercising, as some physical activity is necessary for all members of a family, and not just for kids or youngsters.

Here are a few among the many reasons, why physical activity should never be ignored. Regular exercising helps to:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases/conditions such as coronary heart disease, arthritis, and hypertension.
  • Manage stress positively
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Relax your mind
  • Promote blood flow and delay skin aging
  • Improve memory
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Strengthening your immune system

There are certain habits that cause us to be physically inactive, which some of us have not yet realized. Some common habits are:

  • Taking your car to reach places very close to your house, keeps you from walking.
  • Going to bed soon after dinner keeps you from losing weight and affects your digestion too.
  • A sedentary lifestyle such as sitting down and spending a long time watching TV or your phone keeps you from developing healthy hobbies that help you stay active and healthy.
  • Preferring to stay seated all time keeps you from moving. Instead, standing or moving during breaks keeps you from stiffness.

It’s never too late to start getting physically active. Some kind of physical activity is better than being inactive. Start slowly with the kind of physical activity you like and make it a point to do it regularly. It will improve your quality of life and contribute to your overall health and wellness.

How does your diet affect your skin and hair?

Did you know that the food you eat has a role to play in the health of your skin and hair too? Definitely, skincare and haircare products used externally help nourish and maintain healthy skin and hair. But, you can’t entirely rely on external applications alone. Eating nutritious food is important too, as nutritional deficiencies have a negative impact on our skin and hair.

Drinking enough water

Drinking enough water is essential for skin and hair health. Dehydration, which is caused due to drinking less water can lead to hair loss, dry scalp, and dry/dull skin. Water helps flush out toxins from our bodies and reduces the risk of skin/hair damage. Make it a habit to keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, which will keep you healthy and promotes naturally glowing skin and hair too.

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Antioxidants

Antioxidants have a remarkable role in protecting our body from cell damage called ‘oxidative stress’ which causes chronic diseases and also damages our skin and hair. Antioxidants prevent inflammation, reduce health risks and promote optimal health of skin and hair. Many antioxidants are found naturally in certain foods such as blueberries, strawberries, spinach, oranges, capsicum, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, whole grains. For detailed information about different antioxidants and their natural sources, visit my post on antioxidants with the link below https://naturalgoodnessalways.wordpress.com/2021/12/06/superhero-antioxidant/

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Healthy Fats

Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids are the healthy fats that promote healthy skin and hair. Natural sources of these healthy unsaturated fats are, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, tofu, shellfish and plant oils.

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Proteins

Our hair, nails and skin are made up mostly of proteins namely keratin, collagen and elastin. Intake of adequate protein is essential for healthy hair and skin. Consuming protein rich food is important for the formation of the proteins present in our skin and hair. The natural food sources loaded with proteins are eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, poultry, seafood and soy products.

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Vitamins and Minerals

Obtaining adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B7, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Zinc and Selenium, from our diet is crucial for healthy skin and hair. Natural sources of these nutrients are:

  • Vitamin A- carrots, spinach,sweet potato, Pumpkin.
  • Vitamin B7 or biotin – almonds, fish, whole grains, leafy greens.
  • Vitamin C – Guavas, bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin E – almonds, sunflower seeds and avocados.
  • Zinc – oysters, spinach, lentils.
  • Selenium – nuts, grains, fish and poultry.
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Eating unhealthy food frequently leads to insufficient amount of nutrients in our body. It is important to reduce or avoid consuming fried food, sugary food, red meat and highly processed food too often. Try to replace them with healthier options like food with healthy fats such as fish and naturally sweet food such as fruits.

References
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