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Fuel Yourself For Football


The four pillars of nutrition for an athlete are:

1. Carbohydrates: To Fuel

Players need carbohydrates, and in abundance! Football players rely heavily on glycogen stores for energy. Carbohydrates are the go-to source of energy for intermittent sports, like football, where glycogen stores are often depleted during workouts and training.

  • Whole grains: oatmeal, 100% whole wheat bread, whole wheat or corn tortillas, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and low sugar cereals containing at least 5 g of protein per serving
  • Fruit: fresh whole fruit including apples, pears, bananas, melon, pineapple, cantaloupe
  • Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, spinach, peppers, zucchini, lettuce greens (the darker the better), squash, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, butternut squash
  • Beans and legumes: kidney beans, black beans, white beans, lentils
  • Dairy: Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, and chocolate milk

2. Protein: To Build And Repair

Players need enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and to repair muscle damage that occurs during training. Choosing lean, high quality protein at meals, but also before and after every workout is imperative.

  • Dairy and products
  • Skinless chicken
  • Beans and pulses
  • Eggs
  • Fish

3. Fat: Essential In Moderation

Football players also need good fat. Too much fat (usually the saturated fat) can put players at risk for increased fat mass, which only slow them down and kill performance goals.

  • Monounsaturated Fats: Olives and olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts (pistachios, macadamia, almonds, cashews) and sunflower seeds
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (polyunsaturated fats): fatty fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, trout), walnuts, flax and chia seeds

4. Hydration Is Key

Fluids are an essential part of a nutrition regime as they regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen around the body. Dehydration maybe a common phenomenon experienced as water and electrolyte loss occurs in the form of sweating. This may impair the functioning of the heart and body temperature regulation, leading to reduced performance.

  • Sports drinks (4–8% carbohydrates) when training for more than one hour
  • Cold water
  • Coconut water
  • Unsweetened fresh fruit juice
  • Homemade rehydrating fluid (1 liter water + 6 leveled tsp of sugar + ½ leveled tsp of salt)

Does Stress & Anxiety Cause Weight Gain?


Ever noticed how you reach for a bag of chips or chocolate bar when you are feeling low or anxious? Binge eating may seem like a quick fix for anxiety, but in time you’ll see its effects on how you look, feel, and, yes, weigh. This vicious cycle can also lead to problems ranging from acne, bloating, and puffiness to hypertension and heart disease. 

Stress And Your Weight: The Science Behind It All

1. Stress Response: When you become stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is secreted to help you cope. It assumes your body needs more calories and tries to provide this extra energy – by prompting you to eat more!

2. Cravings And Overeating: Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and also affects your blood sugar levels. High amounts of cortisol, over time, causes your body to be starved of glucose.

The more that happens, the more you crave calorie-dense foods that will boost your energy quickly – making you reach for the ice-cream and cake rather than the fruits and veggies!

3. Weight Gain And Other Problems: This cycle creates a pattern of overeating and weight gain over time. Besides making you feel sluggish and fatigued, obesity is linked to health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Be Mindful And Fight Stress

Practice mindfulness and work towards de-stressing and relaxing to see the many benefits – physical, mental and emotional! Add these simple steps to your routine:

1. Learn what triggers stress you out. Avoid them as much as possible or learn coping mechanisms to deal with them better.

2. Use simple stress management techniques to apply to your routine – doing yoga, keeping a journal, meditating, going for a walk, listening to music are all great!

3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Poor sleep can increase the effects of stress and heighten cortisol levels in your body.

4. Start exercising. Exercise releases endorphins in your body that elevate your mood. Include light weights, running, swimming, and resistance training for some variety.

5. Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water through the day and switch that cup of coffee that also increases cortisol to a detoxifying green tea.

6. Avoid the “hanger” pangs by always having a stash of healthy snacks to munch on. Carry a bag of nuts, seeds, or dry fruits with you.

7. Steer clear of overly strict diets that over-limit your calorie intake and force you to deprive yourself. This could just make your food cravings worse.

8. Make sure your meals are balanced – tuck into healthy carbs (whole grain bread, oats), protein (lentils, lean meats), veggies (carrots, spinach) and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, peanut butter) at every meal. This will curb the stress hormones and also ensure food isn’t causing you to stress out.

9. Slow down and enjoy your food. Instead of rushing through your food to get to the next thing, chew mindfully and savor every bite. This way, you’ll know when you are full and can avoid overeating (and then stressing about it!).

Stress and Diabetes: Break This Relationship Before It’s Too Late!


You may be doing heaps to fix your diet and fitness regimen to battle diabetes or related problems, but stress could undo the good work. On the other hand, having to cope with diabetes might put you on edge and leave your stressed out (and prone to further problems). It’s time to break that vicious cycle. And it’s easier than you’d think.  

Your Body And Stress: The Faceoff 

When you stress out, your body produces certain hormones that also raise blood sugar levels. To top it off, if you forget to take your meds or are negligent about your diet or fitness because you are stressed, that’s going to add up too. The spike in glucose levels can be a constant affair if your stress lingers and is chronic. 

From migraines to weight gain, your body also begins to show cracks in more ways than one.  If you’re living with constant stress you’re more likely to develop one or more of these health niggles  aside from  issues keeping that blood sugar in the normal range. 

Stress-Related Health Problems You’d Want To Avoid 

Break The Link: 10 Quick Tips To Control Stress

“Relaxing” and “not stressing out” is easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to help you figure out simple practical ways to do that. The good thing is these coping techniques and tips will help whether your stress is the result of diabetes or other diabetes-linked complications

  • Stick with your diet but plan ahead. Planning a menu after a long day can be stressful. If you use your weekends to chalk out menus and stock up on the right supplies, it can take the pressure off things during the week. Rope in family to help.
  • Identify your triggers for stress and see what you can do to fix the problem. Ask yourself questions like:  
    •   Are late-night work emails leaving you frustrated? Make a rule to avoid checking mail after a certain cut-off time or plan some de-stressor for after. 
    • Is mealtime stressful because you can’t have your favorite foods? Ask your nutritionist about cheat meals or indulging in some foods once in a way, in moderation. Find alternatives that work. 
  • Sleep well. Getting adequate rest is critical if you want to beat stress. Have a bedtime schedule that works for you. It could involve a warm bath, some gentle music, dim lighting, a little reading.  
  • Cut caffeine and alcohol intake and cut down or cut out smoking. They’re not doing your body any favors and can worsen diabetes-related issues. 
  • Exercise! Not only is it good for your body’s ability to regulate sugar levels better, but it is also a great stress-buster. Just pick some form of exercise you enjoy – even dancing or swimming can be great. Do a team sport if that’s more fun.  
  • Learn relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, Tai Chi or yoga to help calm your mind.  
  • Schedule regular spa sessions for massages to relax your body and mind. Use aroma oils at home – they can calm the mind. 
  • Make time to do the things you love. It will take your mind off your condition and help you unwind and let go of that stress. 
  • Make time to meet your friends and family. Having someone to talk to makes a world of difference!  
  • If you feel you need to speak to someone who can understand your problem, join a support group or reach out to a counselor

Your Blood Vessels Need A Good Night’s Sleep


Feeling tired, irritable or just not working your best after a night of bad sleep? If lack of sleep is stressing you out, it could be affecting your blood pressure too. 

Sleeping less than 6 hours has been linked to increased blood pressure.  A good night’s sleep, on the other hand, helps control your stress hormones and keeps your nervous system up and running. Since your blood helps regulate your stress hormones, the stress from not sleeping properly over a period of time can worsen your hypertension.  

According to experts, you need to get 7–8 hours of sound sleep to control your blood pressure and prevent it from snowballing into other complications.

If poor sleep is raising your pressure and bringing you down, act now. These 5 steps should help set you up for a good night’s sleep consistently.  

1. Be More Mindful 

Know what triggers off your stress and find some stress busters to cope better. Try mindfulness practices like yoga, deep breathing and meditation to clear your mind before you hit the bed. You could even try having a warm shower or bath before bed to relax your muscles and mind. 

2. Be Consistent 

Set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it no matter what. Say you aim for a sleep pattern of 10 pm to 6 am, your body will get used to it and you will naturally fall asleep faster at that time. 

3. Ready Your Room 

A chaotic room makes for a chaotic mind, so tidy up. Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet without any distractions. Invest in a comfortable mattress. 

4. Turn Off Screens 

Turn off all your screens and put your phone on airplane mode at least half an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from devices affects your sleep hormones, keeping you awake longer. 

5. Be More Active

Not only is physical activity known to reduce stress and relieve anxiety because of the endorphins released in your body, but it also helps you sleep deeper, which improves the overall quality of your sleep. It’s best to work out during the first half of the day. If you do exercise in the evening, be sure to wrap it up 3–4 hours before bedtime. Otherwise, it’s going to leave you overstimulated and delay sleep.  

Control Hypertension With A 30-Minute Workout


Did you know exercise can be as effective as some BP drugs in lowering blood pressure? Knock your systolic blood pressure down by 4 to 9 mm Hg by just working some physical activity into your routine every day. As little as 30 minutes can help.  

Strapped for time? Even 3 bursts of 10 minutes of working out could do the trick. It will also help keep your weight in check – being overweight is another reason for high BP. That’s twice the bang for your workout!

So, how do you get started?

6 Easy Ways To Build Exercise Into Your Routine

Work these aerobic activities into your routine with minimal effort: 

1. Take the stairs instead of the lift at home, the office, the mall, and everywhere you go. 

2. Walk – briskly (this is key!) – to the market to run errands instead of driving or taking an auto/cab. 

3. Start playing a sport with a friend – team games like football are active aerobic exercise, but a simple game of badminton can be great too! 

4. Make use of the clubhouse in your area or sign up to use a public swimming pool – it is also a great way too cool off and destress! Do laps and don’t “just chill.” 

5. Go dancing or just turn up the volume on your favorite tunes at home as you dance 30 minutes away. It won’t even feel like a task!

6. Cycling, walking, running, or jogging can work wonders, too, so mix it up.  

Bonus Tip! Get a fitness tracker and watch your “active minutes,” not just your step count. This measures the activity level that really counts toward your health. 

Yes, I Need A Drug-Free Way To Lower My BP. Tell Me More!

A Fitness Plan To Keep Your Blood Sugar In Control 


Adding some form of movement and exercise to your weekly routine won’t just make you lighter, it could also help stabilize your blood sugar and improve your diabetes. This is one tip most doctors swear by.

Regular exercise is known to help lower your HbA1c values and fight insulin resistance. And the bonus? Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels will improve, you’ll have more energy and strength, and feel more upbeat. So get moving today! 

1. Get The Combo Right 

STEP 1: Start with some aerobic activity like walking, cycling, jogging, or swimming.  These exercises help lower insulin resistance and blood pressure and the overall health of your heart. They will even lift your mood.  

STEP 2: Lift weights or exercise with resistance bands twice a week to add muscle mass to your body and cut down on excess fat, all of which will help control your diabetes and blood pressure. 

Try A Combination Workout

2. Stand Up, Move About

Even otherwise, for every 30 minutes you sit or are sedentary, get back on your feet for 3–5 minutes. Stretch, walk about, or try some nifty leg lifts, side lunges, arm stretches, or torso twists. This will help keep your blood sugar steady and burn some calories, too. 

3. Keep It Steady With The Right Snacks

Exercise can lower your glucose levels a tad too much if you don’t plan it properly, so make sure you fuel your workout. Generally, exercise 1–3 hours after a meal. Or grab a small snack before your workout –  yes, this is when you need to snack!  

A slice of whole grain bread with home-made peanut butter for protein, a small serving of oats with low-fat yogurt, or a piece of fruit like guava are all great options. Time your snack so you eat about 15–30 minutes before your workout. 

Round off your workout with a light snack in 15 minutes – a handful of trail mix, a granola bar, or whole-wheat crackers with some hung curd or paneer should do the trick. 

4. Stick To The Plan!

  • You need about 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week, so break it into chunks you can manage.
  • Get a workout in at least 2–3 times a week and promise yourself you’ll never go more than 2 days without some activity. 
  • Warm up for at least 5 minutes before starting to loosen your limbs. Cool down at the end of your routine to stretch your muscles and avoid injury. 
  • Stay well hydrated not only before, during, and after your exercise but through the day – dehydration can cause your blood sugar to go haywire. 
  • If you start feeling dizzy or sick while exercising, take a break and drink or eat something. Keep a snack like dry fruits handy for an immediate boost. 

The Dirt on Pica: Is Anemia Causing Weird Cravings?


Ever felt an unexplained appetite for raw rice or flour, mud, clay, or paper? A craving to constantly chew on non-food or non-nutritive substances can be a sign of an eating disorder called pica.  

Anemia, especially iron-deficiency anemia, is one of the known causes for this eating disorder. And while we know anemia can cause a host of symptoms, pica isn’t often usually on our radar.

Pica is simply a symptom that your body is trying to fix the deficiency (although ineffectively!) by making you crave things like mud, metal, or raw rice. You may also crave ice to overcome anemia-associated fatigue, even though it’s not nutritious! 

There are 400 types of anemia. Figuring out which kind you have is vital for the right treatment

How To Cure Your Pica Problem 

You’ll need to get treated for whatever is causing pica. So what should you do next? 

  • Watch for Symptoms. Notice what exactly you crave for and write it down. This could help with diagnosing the deficiency. 
  • Get Tested! Blood tests come next. One of the simplest ways to start is by checking for anemia – there are no known diagnostic tests for pica. Mineral and nutrient deficiency tests may also be needed. 
  • Treat the Anemia. Remember, it’s vital to go to a doctor to correctly diagnose the type of anemia you have. You may need to take supplements or treatment if the anemia is severe. 
  • Eat Better! Alongside treatment, you can also work on eating a more nutritious diet. Ensure you get the minimum recommended quantities of all nutrients, vitamins and minerals included.

Yes, I’m fed up off these odd symptoms! Tell me more about anemia.

Your 3 Food Mantras To Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels


Get your blood sugar levels and diabetes under control with a few steps that could change the way you look and feel. It’s not just about quitting carbs and your favorite sugary foods. Instead of giving everything up, make every bite count!  

Your 3 food mantras from today are:  

  1. Rope In The Right Foods:  
  • The right carbs aren’t going to hurt you, so pick wisely.  
    • Say yes to complex, fiber-rich carbs like whole wheat, rolled oats, bajra, jowar, ragi, dalia, and amaranth   
    • Go easy on refined or processed carbs like white rice, white pasta, regular noodles, instant noodles, and white bread  
    • You can have simple carbs like fruits with a low glycemic index: apples, strawberries, pears, oranges 
  • Stock up on other low glycemic index foods like peanuts, sweet potato, kale, cabbage, carrots, peas, and chickpeas  
  • Go green. Leafy greens are both delicious and low-carb and packed with vitamins. 
  • Not all fats are bad for you. A little variety – olive oil, fatty fish, nuts and seeds – will keep your meals interesting. 
  • Snack smart! Khakra, veggie sticks with hummus, sprout salad, roasted peanuts, cucumber raita will all keep you full and your blood sugar levels stable between meals. 

2. Get The Timing Right

Eating on a schedule keeps your blood sugar and energy levels steady. You are also unlikely to crave foods or binge if you eat at regular intervals. Make it a point to portion control, eating small quantities more frequently – that’s a great weight-loss tool too! 

3. Stop Worrying!

The minute you stress or obsess over what you can and can’t eat, mealtimes are going to become a chore. The worrying won’t do your blood sugar levels any favors either!

Instead, give yourself enough time to plan your meals and buy groceries. Try new recipes, join like-minded communities, and dig out those handy food hacks to keep it all interesting. And don’t forget to slow down and savor every morsel! 

For more in-depth info and tips to stay on top of diabetes, click here. 

Cut Back On Sodium: For the Love of Your Heart


Struggling to get your blood pressure under control? Having high BP doesn’t mean quitting all your favorite foods or being on a strict diet all the time. But do yourself (and your heart and kidneys!) a favor by cutting back on your salt intake.

When you eat more salt, it raises the amount of sodium in your blood stream and causes your body to retain more water. This in turn bumps up your blood pressure, straining your kidneys, aorta, and heart.

Be Smart About Your Sodium Intake

  • Be a label-reader and look for the hidden sodium in packaged foods. Watch out for words like “saline” and “sodium solution” in the fine print.
  • Steer clear of canned/frozen/processed foods. Go easy on papads, pickles, sauces, carbonated drinks, ready mixes, and baked goods (with baking soda or baking powder). Something as innocuous as a packet of ready-made soup may have over 900 – 1100 mg of sodium per serving!
  • When you dine out, ask for less salt in the dishes you choose.
  • Swap the salt for spices and herbs like paprika, cinnamon, coriander, dill, or mint to flavor your food.
  • Give yourself time to retrain your palate and get used to low-salt foods – your taste buds will eventually fall in line, we promise!

For more in-depth info and tips to tame your blood pressure, click here.

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