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1. Paschimottanasana (Forward bend) on chair

– Sit on the edge of the chair. Keeping your legs straight, curl your toes in so that it is pointing towards the ceiling.
– Raise the arms and stretch them up to extend your spine and lift your chest
– Move the chest forward and while maintaining a concave back, move the arms forwards. Catch the big toes if possible. If not, place your palms on your legs as farther as you can while keeping the back concave.
– Hold the pose for 4-5 breaths and release

2. Ardha matsyendrasana (Half spinal Twist) on chair

– Sit comfortably on chair keeping back straight. Ensure your feet is firmly resting on the floor
– Catch the back rest of the chair with your left arm. Raise the right arm up. Bring your right arm around the outside of your left leg. Turn your chest, head and eyes to the left. Pull with the left arm to allow the chest to turn farther. Use the right arm to push the spine farther into the twist.
– Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Release and repeat on the other side.

3. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) on chair

– Sit comfortably on chair keeping back straight. Ensure your feet is firmly resting on the floor
– Hold the back of the chair taking the arms behind you
– Raise the chest and shoulders to look up
– Hold the pose for 5-6 breaths and release

IMAGE CREDIT- GETTY

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Purvottanasana or the Inclined plane pose

Benefits– Not only does it strengthen legs and arm muscles, it also strengthens your lower back and improves your sense of balance

Steps

1. While you sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out, place your hands few inches behind you making sure your fingers are pointing backwards.
2. Lean back slightly on your hands bringing your shoulder blades together
3. Lift the hips as high as you can, ensuring your knees are straight, feet are flat on the mat and not turning outwards.
4. At the final posture, body should be in a straight line. Hold the pose for 10 secs to 1 minute
5. Release the pose to sit on the mat and relax

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward dog pose

Benefits- It helps to tone up arms and legs, strengthen the ankles. It also helps develop speed and lightness in the legs, hence especially good for runners and sprinters

Steps

1. Lie down on your stomach with your palms by the sides of your chest. Fingers pointing towards the head. Feet slightly apart
2. Exhale and lift your trunk, till your arms are straight. Move your head inwards towards the feet.
3. Turning your toes under, lift your knees away from the floor. Keeping elbows and knees straight, press the heels down on the mat
4. Hold the pose for about a minute and remember to keep breathing.
5. To release, exhale and lift your head, bend your knees and lower your body on the mat and relax

Urdhva Dhanurasana or the wheel pose

Benefits- Since the arms and legs are actively engaged in the pose, it helps to strengthen them. Being a backbend pose, it also works to keep the spine healthy and elastic.

Steps

1. Lie on your back. Keep your palms under your shoulders, fingers pointing towards the feet.
2. Bend your knees, feet flat on the mat. Walk your feet closer to your hips.
3. Exhale, lift your trunk and rest the crown of your head on the mat
4. Exhale again, this time, raise your trunk and head both, till your arms are straight. Arch your back and keep pulling your thigh muscles up, so as to ensure your body weight is resting on your palms and soles of the feet
5. Stay in the pose for up to a minute and breathe normally
6. To release, exhale, bend your knees and elbows and lower down the body on the mat

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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Travelling can cause weight gain just as any other unplanned event in our life can, for eg, a family wedding or as simple as a late night movie for which you did not plan ahead. Failing to plan is planning to fail after all. Hence, travelling or any other real life situations that we often go through do not lead to weight gain but our approach towards it does. We need to plan for our food, exercise etc. before hand just as we plan other things in our itinerary. If that is done, travelling will only be a happy experience without the stress of gaining any weight.

IN-FLIGHT MEALS

During a flight journey because of reduced air pressure, our bodily function slows down and digestion gets sluggish. Keeping this in mind, one should follow these few points as mentioned below-

1. Do not leave home empty stomach. Have your meal just before you leave from home.

2. Carry some portable snacks like nuts/ dry fruits/ fresh fruit that can help you through the long check-ins and also upon arrival

3. For short duration flights, the in-flight meals can be brought from home (roti roll, sandwich, poha). For longer flights, you can choose to have one homemade meal (brought from home) and one in-flight meal. For the in-flight meal, choose hot meals (like rice & beans) instead of packed juices, muffins, cakes etc.

HYDRATION

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that
mild dehydration can cause metabolism to slow down by as much as 3 percent, causing weight gain. Hence, its important to stay well hydrated during travels as water also helps in digestion and flushing out of toxins from the body.

EXERCISES TO DO

I always recommend people to do Surya Namaskars while they are travelling as it helps to work out the entire body, without the need of any special equipment. Also, since it gets done within a short span of time (10-15 minutes) and can be done in the hotel room itself, it makes for a great choice for people looking out to fit in some exercise while they are traveling.

TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE ORDERING FOOD ON A JOURNEY

1. Always do a bit of research about good eating places before leaving for your holiday. Apps like zomato and trip advisor can help you to narrow down few options before you actually reach your destination.

2. Look out for places that serve fresh, local food.

3. Always order 2 items max for a main meal, for eg- warm salad and pizza if you are traveling in Europe OR Rice & curry for a holiday anywhere in Asia

4. Order dessert as a separate meal and avoid having it post a big meal

5. Instead of looking out for calories, look out for freshness in the meal- how fresh are the ingredients, how freshly is it prepared/ cooked etc. Needless to say, avoid pre-packaged sandwiches etc. that are prepared long time back and kept on the shelves

DRINKING DURING HOLIDAYS

Stay hydrated and take it slow

To pace yourself, have no more than one standard drink per hour, with water as “drink spacers” between your alcoholic drinks.

Note that for every person, no matter his size, it takes about 1 hour for the liver to completely digest one standard drink. Sipping on your drink slow and staying well hydrated, keeps the liver from being overloaded; it enables a person to maintain a safe blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and achieve the social relaxation effect that most people desire.

Unsure about the right diet for you? Are you torn between what you’d love to eat and what you hear is unhealthy for you? Sign up for a one-on-one nutrition & diet consultation with leading Mumbai dietitian Munmun Ganeriwal

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Image Credit – Scroll.in

Mumbai may not be Delhi yet, but the rising smog and air pollution is taking a toll on the health of city folks. Here’s few simple tips you may follow to bolster up your immunity and stay safe and healthy-

FOOD

1. Jaggery and Ghee – One of the richest sources of iron, JAGGERY helps in increasing the haemoglobin of the body. More RBCs (haemoglobin) = increased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This in turn, will help in increasing your lung capacity and ability to fight against the harmful effects of air pollution.

GHEE works as an anti inflammatory agent and will keep you away from allergies (like burning sensation in eyes, dry throat etc.)

HOW TO HAVE– Dip a small piece of jaggery in ghee and have it post meals.

2. Turmeric– Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports liver detoxification and due to its anti-microbial properties, it’s use is beneficial to fight against harmful bacteria.

HOW TO HAVE– Grandmom recommended and now approved by the
West, sip on the haldi doodh before you go to bed.

 

3. Tulsi– The combo of honey, ginger and tulsi works as a decongestant. The antibiotic, anti-bacterial and detox properties of tulsi also enhances hair health and help soothe your flared up & itchy, irritated skin.

HOW TO HAVE– Make a kadha or herbal decoction from a mix of tulsi, ginger, honey, cardamom and crushed pepper in boiling hot water. Excellent for cough, cold and flu.

– Apply Tulsi paste on skin

– Mix Tulsi powder with coconut oil and apply to scalp

 

4. Amla– One of the richest sources of Vit C, it equips your body to fight infections and improves the body’s immune response. It also helps in digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric and digestive juices. Healthier gut= Better immunity

HOW TO HAVE– You can make a chutney out of it and have it along with
your meals or have the probiotic-rich Amla murabba as any of your
mid- meals.

5. SAFFRON– The most expensive spice in the world, Kesar is rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, which in turn, helps prevent free radical damage and is beneficial in boosting resistance against infections.

HOW TO HAVE– Take 4-5 strands of kesar and soak it in water overnight or for 2-3 hours. Have it first thing in the morning along with its water in the morning.

 

EXERCISE

1. Surya namaskar (sun salutation) and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses help eliminate mucus and remove congestion in the respiratory organs.

2. Few simple poses or asanas that one can practise are the fish (matsyasana), boat (paripurna navasana), bow (dhanurasana), locust (salabhasana), and camel (ustrasana) poses, along with inversions like shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and the headstand (shirshasana).

These simple yoga poses will help get the blood flowing to increase immunity and build your health & vitality.

 

ADDITIONAL POINTERS

1. Steam inhalation with lemon grass– Lemongrass has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help you cope with cough, flu and cold. Loaded with Vitamin C, it also boosts the immune system of the body to fight the infection. For sinusitis, cold, and bronchitis a steam inhalation is very helpful. Boil a handful of lemon grass leaves in water & inhale.

2. Rub ghee inside your nostrils– Just before you step out of the house, apply a thin layer of ghee with your little finger to the insides of your nostrils. This helps get rid of the acute effects of pollution and prevents allergies, rhinitis etc.

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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High blood pressure or hypertension is one among the unholy trinity of lifestyle ailments (the others being diabetes and high cholesterol) that affects a growing section of our adult population. One of the problems with high blood pressure is that it can creep on you virtually undetected without any obvious symptoms.

As with diabetes, poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, irregular sleep and stress play a huge role in afflicting someone with high blood pressure. Therefore, it follows logically that addressing these key issues should provide practical, non-medical solutions to controlling blood pressure and staying healthy.

High blood pressure and the myth related to salt intake

Here’s a scenario you may be very familiar with. Mention the “BP problem” and you’ll quickly hear someone say, “namak kam karo” (cut the salt)! That is mainly because excess sodium in the diet is said to cause hypertension, something corroborated by The American Heart Association.

The real problem is when the need to reduce sodium consumption is selectively applied to items that are integral to Indian food culture such as papads and pickles, while there are no restrictions placed on processed food items such as “digestive oats” biscuits (sounds healthy, doesn’t it?) or packaged cereals. In contrast to the benefits of home-made food including papads and pickles – that are cooked with natural herbs and spices and loads of that priceless ingredient called love – the artificial preservatives in the processed food are more likely to cause long-term health issues.

The critical importance of salt as an essential component of good food has been long recognized universally. The salt temples of China are testimony to this fact, as is the infamous salt production ban imposed by the British in India during its colonization. So, the key point is that rather than eliminating salt from the diet to reduce high blood pressure, one should use salt judiciously. Here’s what I recommend in relation to your salt consumption:

¬ Use unrefined salt (Himalayan pink salt)/ black salt/ rock salt for the excellent balance of sodium and potassium that it provides. White, iodised salt gives only sodium, and no potassium. Moreover, black salt (“kaala namak”) – a good source of iodine, potassium and iron- is a natural digestive that also lends its own bit of flavor to the sherbet, fruits and salads, or the raitas that you choose to add it to!

¬ Avoid packaged, processed and industrialized foods, which reduce our body’s ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients. These foods affect the sodium to potassium ratio and the water balance, which in turn has a negative effective on blood pressure.

Pickles, papads and pressure

As briefly mentioned above, one of the first casualties of a problem with hypertension is pickles and papads, that tend to get eliminated from the dining table almost immediately. Not the most prudent choice!

There is a reason why the art of making delicious homemade pickles has been passed on from generation to generation; our ancestors probably recognized the benefits of pickles beyond being mere taste enhancers. Today, it is being increasingly acknowledged- even in the west- that traditional homemade pickles have just the right strain of probiotic bacteria that can play an important role in lowering of blood pressure.

Similarly, papad has its own benefits, a fact that certain communities in India -like the Sindhis, for example- seem to have fully absorbed based on their well-known affinity for this savory snack. Some of these benefits are fairly obvious if we just pay close attention to the ingredients of papad, namely various lentils/ daals (usually protein-rich) and a range of spices such as black pepper and cumin. The role of various spices in keeping us healthy merits a separate article by itself; for now, suffice to say that the spices just add a therapeutic quality to the papads. Let high blood pressure not be the reason for you to give up on home made papads.

Maintain healthy blood pressure with sound sleep

The importance of adequate duration and good quality sleep for our body and mind is only getting reinforced in study after study. Restorative sleep produces hormones important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Chronic sleep deprivation leads to an increase in cortisol levels that will in turn lead to insulin resistance and lifestyle diseases/problems like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Therefore, to maintain a healthy blood pressure and avoid other lifestyle diseases, give your body sufficient rest and sleep (6-8 hours of good quality of sleep is recommended). Also note that regulating the time you go to sleep and wake up is as important as the quantity of sleep.

Controlling blood pressure with holistic exercise

Walking may be a great first step towards keeping blood pressure normal, but that is certainly not enough. A holistic exercise regimen that includes cardio, strength training and yoga will go a long way in preventing the need for blood pressure medicines.

Strength training/ resistance training is known to increase the plasma adiponectin secretion by fat cells. Adiponectin helps prevent metabolic disorders like hypertension and reduces blood pressure. In fact, greater the adiponectin concentration, lower is the mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Studies have also shown a correlation between yoga and a lower blood pressure. Doing yoga two to three times a week is associated with a drop in blood pressure readings. The amount of change may be small but certainly have very significant long term benefits.

Watch your lifestyle

To conclude, you can maintain good control of your blood pressure by making suitable lifestyle adjustments.

Cut out processed, packaged food that are loaded with preservatives; enjoy traditional, home-made delights; have a holistic exercise regimen and give yourself the gift of good sleep. Just follow these “simple” tips and you may never be alarmed by the readings from the blood pressure monitor!

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References

1. Could Probiotics Help Tame High Blood Pressure, WebMD.com

2. Adiponectin and Hypertension, ResearchGates

3. Resistance Training Promotes Reduction in Blood Pressure and Increase Plasma Adiponectin of Hypertensive Elderly Patients, Journal of Hypertension

4. Yoga May Help Ease High Blood Pressure, WebMD.com

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with well-known Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods.

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