#HealthFix: 5 Ways to Boost Your Wellness Quotient
Why you should quit nail biting, eat breakfast regularly, and more.
Breakfast, You Must
“Failing to break that overnight fast deprives your body of the fuel it needs to rev your metabolism and give you energy to kick-start the day,” says Neelanjana Singh, nutrition consultant at Delhi’s PSRI Hospital. Denying your body of that morning meal can also make you hungrier and more likely to overeat later, and may even affect your concentration and memory. “And if you skip breakfast often, you could permanently slow down your metabolism, putting you at risk for issues like weight gain and diabetes,” says Singh.
The fix: Use your weekends to prepare for the week. “Hard-boil a bunch of eggs, which are easy to grab in the morning; or stock up on portion packs of yoghurt and muesli to have with fruits and nuts,” says Singh. Smoothies are another easy option—just blend in yoghurt, fruits, nuts and seeds and savour to reap the benefits of a breakfast eaten within an hour or 1.5 hours of waking.
Jump For Your Bones
Here’s why jumping jacks should be a part of your everyday routine. A study published in American Journal of Health Promotion showed improvements in hip bone mass density in women who jumped compared to those who didn’t. Sixty pre-menopausal women, aged 25 to 50 years, were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two jumping groups (either 10 or 20 jumps, with 30 second rests between jumps, twice daily) for 16 weeks. Jumping was done barefoot, on a hard floor covered with a thin carpet, and women were instructed to jump as high as they could. Tests of hip bone mass density were made before the programme and at 8 and 16 weeks. Compared to the non-jumping controls, the 20-jump group showed significant gains at 8 weeks, and both groups showed significant gains at 16 weeks.
In addition to giving you ugh-looking fingernails, nail biting can damage future nail growth. “Chronic nail biting can change the shape of the nail permanently so that they grow shorter and wider, making nails look stubby,” says Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Apratim Goel, founder of Cutis Skin Studio. That’s because frequent nail-biters are constantly damaging their nail matrix—the delicate, soft-tissue structure that produces the hard nail. “Biting can also rip off the cuticles, leading to pain, sensitivity and infection. Moreover, the dirt and germs that collect under the nails can make their way into the stomach and up the risk of stomach infections and worms,” she warns. Nail biting also makes you appear uncertain and nervous. Since nail biting is often linked to anxiety, finding out why you have the urge to nibble is the first step (working with a psychologist or psychiatrist may help). Goel suggests investing in acrylic or gel nails. “These are thicker and stronger so harder to bite and break. Therefore, with time, it may help to cure your urge to bite them off,” adds Goel.
Raise an Alarm
If your hiccups don't stop in about 48 hours, it could be a sign of lung or oesophageal cancer. Ditto for stroke. Your central nervous system controls hiccups and brain issues, and some types of cancer affect that system.
High fibre content in wholegrains like oats and millets helps regulate cholesterol levels, explains Kedawat. A Harvard study, found, over 20 years, that those who enjoyed a morning bowl of wholegrain cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure. Oats and millets are also rich in the vasodilator, potassium. But stay away from the instant variety! Refined grains are steeped in glutens, associated with heart ailments.
Collated from articles previously published in Prevention magazine