Healthy Planet

Trying to Eat Healthy? Here's Your Go-To Guide

Healthy Food
Welcome to the world of healthy eating!  We all know that food is an essential part of our daily lives, but it's not just about satisfying our hunger. What we eat directly impacts our overall health and well-being. With so much information out there about what's good and bad for us, it can be challenging to know where to start.  But fear not; we'll explore everything you need to know about healthy eating, from the benefits of a balanced diet to easy and delicious recipes that you can incorporate into your daily routine.  So, whether you're looking to improve your energy levels, maintain a healthy weight, or simply feel your best – read on to learn everything you need to know about what healthy eating entails! How Does Healthy Eating Make A Difference? Healthy eating is not just a trend. It is a lifestyle that can significantly impact overall health and well-being. The food that we consume provides our bodies with the essential nutrients needed for optimal functioning. Continually consuming unhealthy foods can lead to a host of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. The benefits of healthy eating are numerous. These include maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of chronic disease, reducing the risk of cognitive decline, improving energy levels, and enhancing overall mood. Consuming a diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats can provide the body with all the key nutrients it needs to thrive. On the other hand, consuming an unhealthy diet high in processed foods, added sugars, refined grains, and saturated or trans fats can lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic health conditions. Making the switch to healthy eating can seem daunting, but it does not have to be complicated.  Small changes like incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, choosing whole grains over processed (refined) ones, and swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier options can make a big difference. This means choosing brown rice over white, quinoa over couscous, or steel-cut oats over instant.  Healthy eating isn't just about restriction and deprivation, it's about nourishing your body with the right foods to help it function at its best. This means eating as close as possible to the unrefined whole food source as possible. By making healthy eating a priority, you're investing in your long-term health and well-being, and setting yourself up for a happier, healthier future. Busting The Myth! Well, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to follow a specific diet for healthy eating. That being said, you can benefit from implementing certain eating habits. For example, following a low-carb diet can work wonders for you if done right, while you can just as easily maintain optimal health on a high-carb diet.  Generally speaking, eating healthy does not necessarily demand adhering to diets or following a set of dietary rules religiously. The basic mantra of healthy eating is to fuel your body with nutritious whole foods, which in turn, ensure holistic wellness. Your location, socio-economic status, culture, and many other factors might determine the specifics.  What Does Healthy Eating Comprise Nutrient density: Nutrient density refers to the nutrient content of a particular food, relative to its calorie content. In other words, it's a measure of how many essential nutrients a food contains per calorie. Foods that are nutrient-dense are generally those that provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients per serving, while also being relatively low in calories. These types of foods are important for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and oily fish. These foods are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and they also provide important nutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fat. On the other hand, foods that are not nutrient-dense, such as processed snacks and sugary drinks, are often high in calories but provide very few essential nutrients. These types of foods can contribute to weight gain and chronic health problems when consumed in excess. Choosing nutrient-dense foods is an important part of a healthy diet. By focusing on foods that provide a high amount of essential nutrients per calorie, you can ensure that you're getting the nutrients your body needs to function properly while also maintaining a healthy weight. Diet Diversity: Diet diversity refers to the variety of different foods and food groups that are included in a person's diet. It is an important aspect of healthy eating because a diverse diet can provide a wide range of nutrients and help to reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Eating a varied diet can also help to ...

The Paleo Diet: How It Works, What to Eat, and Its Risks

Paleo Diet
Dieting is something of a fad these days. Everyone from your university friend to your neighbour is on some kind of diet. Some of the popular ones are keto, intermittent fasting, Mediterranean, raw food, and vegan. People follow different diets for a variety of reasons. While some want to lose weight, others simply want to lead a healthy life. Many people’s food choices are based on ethical and environmental considerations.  One popular diet that many are getting on board with is the paleo diet. Based on the foods that early humans ate thousands of years ago, the paleo diet plan is diverse in nature. Let’s look at it in detail to see how.  What Is a Paleo Diet and How Does It Work? Do you know what early humans ate? Some might say they ate plant-based foods like fruits and nuts, while others believe that they ate a lot of meat. Although it’s difficult to determine an exact answer to this question, a general understanding of Stone Age eating habits is the basis of the paleo diet.  Also called the caveman diet, paleo is designed to reflect what hunters and gatherers ate ages ago. It emulates the eating habits of humans of the Paleolithic period (2.5 million to 10,000 years ago). Following a paleo diet plan means returning to the way these early humans ate.  As you may have guessed by now, a paleo diet plan usually consists of foods that are obtained from nature by hunting and gathering. They include fresh, whole foods derived directly from nature and various types of meats obtained by hunting. The Foundation of the Paleo Diet About 44% of adults in Canada have at least one of the common chronic diseases. They include hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, osteoporosis, and anxiety disorders.  Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada, followed by heart diseases and stroke. Like many other countries, the nation is also facing alarming rates of obesity, which is a leading factor in several health issues.  A report from 2017 places Canada amongst the most overweight countries, with 25.8% of the population 15 years and over being considered overweight.  Unhealthy eating habits, along with sedentary lifestyles and high stress levels, can contribute to health issues. The food you eat impacts the health of your mind and body. Maintaining a healthy diet is known to have positive mental and emotional effects. Reducing stress and anxiety also results in better health.  Paleo diet proponents believe that the emergence of farming changed the way people ate. It added dairy, grains, legumes, and other foods to their menu. These advances led to the modern diet, which is loaded with sugary and processed foods. These foods aren’t compatible with the natural system of our body and lead to an increase in health problems.  The paleo diet emphasizes whole foods - nutrition in its purest form - as a solution to various modern health problems. By eating these foods, you’ll get more nutrients, improve your energy level, boost your immunity, lose weight, decrease inflammation, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and keep chronic conditions at bay. Taking in a high volume of nutrients in their natural forms and reducing the intake of unhealthy, processed foods, sugar, and salt is a sound practice. The paleo diet goes the extra mile to cut out grains, legumes, and dairy items, which came into the picture as a result of farming. Foods to Eat and Avoid While on a Paleo Diet People of the Paleolithic period ate what they could find in the region they lived in, so there’s no one way to follow a paleo diet; however, paleo focuses on healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals in their purest forms. This rules out any processed, sugary, or farmed foods. Under such restrictions, it might be difficult to figure out your paleo meals.  The key to a paleo diet plan is to include foods that can be easily hunted or gathered. Here’s what you can eat if you’re on a paleo diet. Fresh Meat and Seafood The humans who existed in the Stone Age hunted animals to fill their stomachs. Therefore, most paleo diet plans include meat and seafood.  Proteins are the building blocks of your body, and meat is a great source of this nutrient. Considering the premise of this diet, grass-fed meat is ideal. It’s leaner and rich in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats that promote heart health. Similarly, wild seafood - preferably caught sustainably - is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Some common choices of meat and seafood are chicken, tuna, salmon, beef, turkey, cod, pork, and bacon. If you’re not a meat-eater, you can find vegan paleo protein in a variety of flavors to supply your daily requirement of this nutrient. Whole Fruits and Vegetables   Fresh fruits and veggies are colorful foods, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, that offer numerous health benefits. These foods are know ...

Eco-friendly Products for a Green Home

Eco Friendly Products
The eco-friendly trend is catching on around the globe. People are becoming more and more conscious of what they eat, drink, and use in their homes—and for good reason.  Plastic pollution is a major concern; of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes that have been produced, 6.3 billion metric tonnes have ended up as waste.  Around 91% of plastic is not recycled but added to landfills.  Canada generates 3.2 million tonnes of plastic annually.  Trillions of pieces of plastic in the ocean endanger and kill marine life.  The consumption of plastic particles is linked to birth defects, disruption of the endocrine system, cancer, and other serious health risks.  The chemicals in commonly used household products like detergents and cleaners clog the oceans and harm human and animal life.  In light of this, it’s no wonder that people are willing to exercise responsibility by switching to a green lifestyle. While it can be overwhelming, shifting to sustainable practices doesn’t have to be complicated.  Start small by replacing the household items you use every day with natural alternatives. We’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly products to help you get started.  Natural Home Products to Make Your Home Sustainable Reusable Bags and Pouches Single-use plastic is one of the biggest contributors to the world’s increasing waste problem. While some supermarkets have stopped giving out plastic bags, or begun charging for them, there’s still a long way to go.  When people don’t have their own, they end up buying a plastic bag. In addition, plastic pouches are commonly used to store essentials like stationery and makeup.   Avoid plastic bags, instead carry a reusable cloth bag whenever you go grocery shopping. Replace plastic pouches with cloth ones. Most of them come with lead-free zippers, and they are biodegradable. This is one of the easiest ways to protect the environment.  Eco-friendly Water Bottles Using fancy plastic bottles or buying single-use water bottles increases your environmental footprint. While some of them end up in rivers and oceans, others stay around for years on land.   Switch to eco-conscious materials like glass or stainless steel. Glass bottles are fragile, but they keep beverages cold for a long time and are recyclable. Stainless steel flasks and bottles are BPA- and toxin-free, sturdy, reusable, and maintain the temperature of beverages.  You don’t have to compromise on aesthetics, as they are available in various colors and designs. Sustainable Food and Beverage Containers Airtight plastic containers are common in the kitchen; however, plastic releases a number of chemicals when heated. These toxins enter the food, and eventually your body.  Making a shift to more sustainable natural home products is the simplest way to make your home environment-friendly. Opt for glass containers when storing cooked food, beverages, grains, and snacks at home.  Silicone bags and bowls are microwave-friendly and recyclable. These natural home products can be used to store veggies and fruits or to carry food while traveling.  Eco-friendly Snack Boxes and Bags Packing a lunch for school or the office seems innocent. After all, you’re eating healthy by bringing home-cooked food; however, the plastic boxes and bags used to carry the food add to the waste problem. In addition, don’t forget the chemicals that enter your food when you warm the plastic container.  Switch to eco-friendly lunch boxes that are made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel. They’re durable and can be used for years. You can heat food without worrying about toxins. Unbleached natural snack bags are a great alternative to plastic and other toxic wraps.  Biodegradable Garbage Bags Trash cans are usually lined with plastic bags that go into landfills and end up in oceans, where they last for years. They harm Mother Earth and endanger undersea life.  These days, you can get garbage or food waste bags made of plant-based materials like organic potato starch. You won’t have to worry about leaks because they’re as strong as plastic trash bags.  They’re also compostable and biodegradable, so they reduce the burden on the environment. Replace your plastic garbage bags with this eco-friendly alternative.  Natural Dishwashing Liquid If you haven’t read the list of ingredients in your dishwashing liquid or soap, do it. You’ll find several toxins, such as SLS, formaldehyde, and foaming agents, that are linked to serious issues, including respiratory problems and cancer. These toxins have a negative effect on our oceans and pollute the air.  Replace toxic detergents with natural, safe dishwashing liquids. They’re made of natural ingredients and are toxin-free, gluten-fre ...

Why are Natural Beauty Products the pick over Chemical Cosmetics?

Natural beauty products
We’ve heard people talk about organic farming and how avoiding chemicals is better for our health. The same is true with beauty products; 60% of whatever you apply to your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream, and can have an effect on your overall health. ‘Go Green-Go Organic’ is the best way to incorporate natural beauty products into your skincare regimen, resulting in glowing skin and a healthy body. Think about all the skincare products you use every day. Common ones include makeup, body lotion, body wash, body mist, face mist, and lip care products. If you want to stay healthy, you should check the ingredients in the products you use. Avoid using chemicals, as they strip away beauty oils from your skin. Non-organic products may contain a lot of toxic chemicals that can contribute to skin cancer. It’s quite obvious why people are getting so excited about natural skin supplements. Modern Beauty Trends Organic beauty trends indicate an increase of 9.9% from 2018 to 2024. People are becoming aware of the harsh effects chemical products may have on their skin, many women are turning to herbal products as an alternative.  The 2020 beauty spirit is soaring high as organic products gain popularity. From customized beauty products to microbiome skincare, the beauty trends this year are taking some intriguing directions. Microbiome Skincare Is Ruling the Industry Globally Google searches for the term “microbiome” have increased by 110%. Countries like the United Kingdom and Canada are focusing on these microorganisms to keep skin healthy and radiant. The market value of organic beauty products is expected to reach $28.7 billion USD by the end of 2024. Herbal products help balance the number of essential bacteria, while chemical products may harm those beneficial microorganisms, leaving rough, dry skin. On the surface of your skin, there are more than 3 trillion microorganisms. Every human being has a different set of microorganisms living on their skin. Natural beauty products can help maintain your skin's pH level. Maintaining bacterial homeostasis will help lead to acne-free skin and keep the skin hydrated and radiant for years. A Personalized Natural Product Awaits These days, skin swab tests to detect bacterial analysis and DNA are trending. The test results are used to formulate customized natural beauty products in Canada and other countries. These skincare companies analyze the different types of skin and use herbal products to enhance its texture and quality. Chemical components have been abandoned because natural ingredients not only bring out the best in your skin, but minimize your exposure to additional toxins. According to skincare experts, most cosmetic products contain parabens, and consumers prefer an eco-friendly approach. Skin Sensitivity Is Making People Turn Their Backs on chemical-laden Cosmetics Tips for choosing natural beauty products: Avoid parabens in any of your skincare products. Before using a natural product, be sure to check its authenticity. Over the past two years, cosmetic products have gone from 43% paraben-free to 54%. Many skincare companies use the word "natural" in their product advertising. Beware of claims made on product labels and packaging, often referred to as “green-washing”; do your research, look for product reviews and feedback before investing your time and money. How to Replace Paraben Cosmetics with Natural Beauty Products Chemical cosmetics often have unfavorable effects on your skin. Many chemicals are carcinogens, which can lead to breast cancer and skin cancer. A majority of women use products that are unregulated and potentially hazardous. This can make you skeptical of every cosmetic product. Thankfully, nontoxic cosmetics won’t degrade your skin quality or health. The green beauty revolution is gaining momentum, and is not going away anytime soon. You don't have to risk your health to be bold and beautiful anymore. Switch to Mineral Sun Protection As we know, sunscreen is meant to protect the skin from UV rays that can cause skin cancer, but some studies show that the product contains ingredients that lead to cancer. There are two types of sunscreen available in the market. The first one is a physical mineral-based sunscreen and the second one is chemical-based; the latter has the potential to seep into your skin. Many people choose a mineral-based sunscreen for this reason alone. Mineral sun protection creates a physical barrier between UV rays and your skin. Its natural active ingredient (zinc oxide) is even used to make face washes. Switch to Green Mascara Do your eyes water and burn after you apply mascara? This is a common problem for women. Chemical-laden mascara irritates the protective lining of your eyes, making them red and puffy. Mascara actually contains a lot of preservatives, so traditional ones pose ...

Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding Sports Nutrition

Sports Nutrition
Sports nutrition is the study and practice of nutrition and diet with regard to improving athletic performance. Nutrition is a significant aspect of numerous sports training regimens. It figures heavily into strength sports like weightlifting and bodybuilding, and endurance sports like cycling, running, swimming and paddling.  Sports nutrition concentrates on which foods and liquids an athlete takes in and how they do it. It manages the use of supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and organic substances that incorporate carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  How is sports nutrition different from regular nutrition? Sports nutrition varies from regular nutrition, since athletes require different measures of supplements and nutrients than non-athletes. For athletes to perform well, they have to train hard and fuel their bodies with the right foods and supplements. Nothing can substitute for a balanced diet. A healthy, energy-rich diet gives athletes the vitality and strength to play their best, and helps prevent injuries and enable quick recovery. Factors influencing nutritional requirements An effective sports nutrition plan cannot be administered with a one-size-fits-all approach. Athletes’ diets are tailored to their circumstances and needs. Some factors that influence nutritional needs include the athlete’s gender, weight, physique and BMI, the type of activity or exercise, and the time of day.  Factors that impede performance are exhaustion, injury and soreness; an appropriate eating program will diminish these problems. The key to an effective nutritional regimen is to include a variety of foods and to ensure all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients are covered. It’s important to choose whole unprocessed foods; for instance, an orange rather than orange juice. Eating natural, whole foods gives the athlete the greatest dietary benefit. 1. Gender There are clear contrasts between male and female anatomy. While the physiology is essentially the same, the way men and women process nutrients is different. Men have a lower ratio of muscle to fat; however, they tend to carry most of their fat in the adipose tissue located in the abdominal region. Women have a higher ratio of fat, which they store mostly in the subcutaneous layer of their hip region. 2. Anaerobic exercise  During anaerobic exercise, the process of glycolysis separates the sugars from starches for energy without the use of oxygen. This kind of exercise includes activities like power runs, resistance training, and exercises that use quick movements to work the muscles for force and speed, with short-time energy use. After this type of activity, the body needs to be refueled. 3. Aerobic exercise  Exercise that requires oxygen for cellular reactions is called cardiovascular conditioning, or cardio. Aerobic exercise includes activities like running, cycling, swimming, and paddling. Athletes who engage in aerobic exercise are working to build their endurance. They are training their slow-twitch muscles to absorb more oxygen and get it to their muscles.  Types of Nutrients Macronutrients Macronutrients make up the major sources of calories that give the body energy. They are needed for proper cell development and to maintain regular body functions. These nutrients are required by the body in large quantities to sustain life. There are three kinds of macronutrients:  Carbohydrates Proteins Fats Carbohydrates contribute significantly to waste disposal and intestinal health. Carbohydrates can be found in milk products, fruits, vegetables and grains, and give the body 4 calories for each gram.  Proteins are made out of chains of amino acids. They are mostly found in animal products, nuts and beans, and provide 4 calories per gram. Fats are the most energy-rich macronutrient and provide the most significant caloric content, giving the body 9 calories for every gram. Micronutrients Micronutrients are the 13 organic vitamins and seven inorganic minerals that the human body needs in small amounts every day. Micronutrients play a significant role in energy creation, hemoglobin synthesis, development, bone and immune health, and digestion. Though the required amounts are small, as the name suggests, it’s important to maintain the right level of these nutrients and minerals in the body.  The 13 vitamins can be sorted into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. The eight water-soluble nutrients –the vitamins B and vitamin C – must be taken every day, as the body can't store what it doesn't promptly utilize. Interestingly, the fat-soluble vitamins K, A, D and E can be stored in the body's fat tissue. Consequently, they don’t need to be consumed on a daily basis to maintain the correct levels. Hydration and performance Adequate hydration and electrolyte levels are fundamental for good he ...

Going Ketogenic? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a nutritional regimen that focuses on foods with a high fat, low carbohydrate content. The efficiency standard of this diet is high. More than 20 studies have shown that keto is not only effective for losing weight but can also boost your immune system and improve your overall health. It has also proved useful in treating illnesses like diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. Many people who follow the keto diet augment it with appropriate multivitamin supplements. Here is a thorough guide to the keto diet. What is a keto diet? The keto diet is a nutritional regimen that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It’s like a combination of low-carb and Atkins diets. It generally involves substituting a high intake of fat for carbohydrates in your diet. The restriction of carbohydrates forces the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. The keto diet can reduce insulin resistance and help control blood sugar levels. This is how it’s different from other diet plans. Some benefits of the keto diet are: Can lower triglyceride levels by up to 44% Can lower the frequency of seizures in 75.8% of epileptic children Athletes can burn 2.3 times more body fat when following a keto diet, making it highly effective for weight loss What makes the keto diet a good nutritional regimen? Researchers have stated that the keto diet is a great choice for regulating metabolic syndrome since it generates energy from fats and not carbohydrates. Macronutrient balance The balance of macronutrients is different in the keto diet: over 50% fat and around 10% carbohydrates. In a normal diet, the ratios are reversed.  A keto diet consists of 20% protein, which is higher than the amount in a regular diet. Calorie count Calorie counting is not as important in the keto diet, compared to this being the basis of a regular weight-loss diet. The keto diet is best suited to people who are prone to certain diseases or who want to shed a few pounds.  A normal diet is considered the easiest to follow. It doesn’t eliminate carbohydrates from the menu, but it keeps the fat content low and increases protein intake. The keto diet, on the other hand, requires you to consume foods that are rich in fats. For better results, you can complement a keto diet with physical training sessions, as well as multivitamin supplements. Exercise helps break down excess fat and stimulates the digestive system. Studies on the keto diet broadly state that people who engage in any type of physical activity have a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Consuming low-carb foods helps accelerate weight loss. People who suffer from obesity or other bodyweight problems may benefit from following the keto diet. It is known as a heart-healthy diet because it can reduce the amount of fat stored in the body and lower the risk of stroke or heart failure. Types of keto diets The keto diet has been modified to provide a wide range of benefits that meet different people’s requirements. The keto diet is widely accepted because it forces the body into a state of ketosis. In this state, the body stops using carbohydrates as its main source of energy and starts burning excess body fat, instead. Therapeutic keto diet The original version of the keto diet was developed in 1920 to treat convulsions. According to a study based on current treatment options in neurology, the therapeutic keto diet was mainly used to treat people suffering from epilepsy who had a low response to medication. The study shows that strictly adhering to the keto diet can lower the risk of seizures and lead to massive improvements in the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This diet features the lowest carbohydrate intake: 6% protein, 4% carbs, and 90% fats. This strictest interpretation of the keto diet is very tough to follow. Standard keto diet This is the most commonly practiced version of the keto diet. It derives 75% of its calories from fat, 5% from carbohydrates, and 20% from protein. The daily intake of carbohydrates is limited to between 20 and 30 grams. Compared to a regular diet, the standard keto diet is pretty low in carbohydrates and protein. Targeted keto diet for athletes This keto diet combines physical training with supplements and a low-carb intake ‒ a mere 25 grams of carbohydrates can be eaten after 30 to 45 minutes of vigorous exercise. The aim of this practice is to fuel your training session and let your body easily return to the ketosis state. On a keto diet, you consume carbohydrates that are easy for the body to break down, such as white rice, bread, avocado, kale, asparagus, and macadamia nuts. Your intake of carbohydrates should not add to your existing body fat. Strictly following the keto diet for 28 days is said to improve performance in endurance athletes. This generally suits people who do muscle-building workouts, including swi ...

12 Essential Tips to Make Working from Home More Productive

Work from home tips
Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have asked their employees to begin working from home. Although this scenario might sound quite exciting at first, you should know that you’ll have to deal with several unexpected challenges, particularly if you’re new to working remotely. Even if you are used to this setup, the unique circumstances during this period of isolation make it a completely new experience. But with the help of our handy tips, you can easily improve your productivity. These tips are useful not just for employees, but for team leaders and managers, as well. Let’s get started! 1. Stick to a Schedule The best part about working remotely is that you don’t have to wake up early, rush through your morning rituals, or travel to work. However, this does not mean it’s OK to completely scrap your daily routine. Since it’s likely that you will be cooped up in your house for a longer period of time, make sure that you remain active in order to stay healthy! Follow your normal schedule as much as possible, just like you used to when commuting to your office. 2. Set Up a Workspace When working from home, it’s crucial to set up a dedicated workspace so that you can get things done on time. You might be able to convert a spare bedroom into your home office. Even if you have space constraints, try to set up a desk for office work. Regardless of the location or type of space, dedicate a specific area in your house to work and use it only during your working hours. Just make sure the workspace is free from distractions so that you can concentrate on your tasks. 3. Create a Routine Even if you don’t have to wake up early to commute to work, it’s still important to create and follow a routine. You might get up a little later than usual, but make sure you get up at the same time every day. This way, you can avoid sleeping too much and also maintain a regular sleep cycle. If you like, you can also set alarms to signal lunch breaks, snack breaks, and the time to wrap up your workday. Doing so will improve your concentration, along with your productivity. 4. Set Boundaries Now that you have created a daily schedule and set up a dedicated workspace, it’s time for you to set some work boundaries. This is important because when you work remotely, you can easily end up working beyond your business hours. Figure out a time during the day when you feel your productivity is high, and ensure that you’re finishing the tasks at hand during those hours. Allocate your time properly and choose a specific time to wrap things up. That way you won’t work longer than you are supposed to. Share your schedule with other teammates, managers, and coworkers. 5. Stretch and Exercise Frequently When you’re working from home, it’s likely that you’ll become lazier. In order to prevent that from happening, make sure you stretch and exercise frequently.  This will help you boost your endorphins and will ultimately increase your interest level and happiness - two crucial factors in maintaining your productivity! Regular stretching and exercise will also help improve your posture. Be sure that you stretch two or three times throughout your day; doing so will prevent you from getting sore from sitting.  You can even write out some motivational quotes and leave them by your bedside. Those notes will be the first thing you read after waking up.  We recommend that you work out early in the morning because that’s when there are the fewest distractions. Also, you will feel energized for the rest of the day. 6. Take Breaks Sometimes when you work too many hours and over-commit yourself to office tasks, you end up sabotaging your productivity. That’s why it’s equally important to take breaks throughout the day. Although this seems a little counterintuitive, research suggests that taking occasional breaks helps you boost your creativity and productivity levels. If you fail to strike the right balance between your professional and personal lives, it will only cause you problems. To keep this from happening, work for a certain amount of time, take a 10-minute break, and then get back to work again. 7. Eat Healthy Foods Having complete access to your kitchen is another challenge of working remotely. Since you are at home all the time, you can easily be drawn to junk food the moment you take a snack or lunch break. These foods normally include: Leftover pizza Salted potato chips Cookies However, research suggests that eating more vegetables and fruits, along with vitamin and mineral supplements, has a positive impact on your productivity. With some additional planning, you can not only avoid eating unhealthy food but also vary your nutritious snacks. On the weekends, you could reward yourself with something sweet for not eating junk food throughout the week. If you’re in the habit of eating snacks frequently, then it’s time to take t ...

How to Boost Your Immune System

What is the immune system? The immune system is one of the most important mechanisms of the human body. This is because it’s the body’s natural defense against illness. The immune system attacks and destroys invading pathogens to keep the body free from disease.  This vast network of cells, tissues, proteins, and organs fights off diseases and infections by identifying viruses, bacteria and parasites, and neutralizing these threats. It is constantly at work.  Once this defense system encounters a pathogen, it deploys an immune response to fight and kill it. The most important thing about this system is that it can distinguish the body's healthy tissue from foreign, disease-causing tissue. Dead and faulty cells are also identified and eliminated by the immune system. How does the immune response work? The immune system can be activated by a lot of different organisms that the body doesn’t recognize. The substances that activate the immune response are called antigens.  Antigens include the proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When these antigens come into contact with the special receptors on the immune system cells, a whole series of processes are triggered in the body.  When the body is exposed to a disease-causing germ for the first time, the immune system usually stores data about the pathogen and how to fight it. Then, if the same type of germ invades again, the immune system recognizes it right away and starts fighting it sooner. Diseases related to the immune system The immune system is a very complex mechanism. This complexity means there are opportunities for disorders to disrupt the system. Following are the different types of immune system disorders: 1. Immunodeficiencies Immunodeficiency is the lack or absence of immune system cells in the body. Simply put, one or more parts of the immune system do not work properly.  Immunodeficiencies can be caused by a number of factors, including age, obesity and alcoholism.  In underdeveloped countries, malnutrition is a common cause of immunodeficiency. In some cases, the condition is inherited.  2. Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly targets and destroys the body’s healthy cells. In this case, the immune system is not able to distinguish between its own healthy cells and foreign pathogens or faulty cells.  The body’s cells also have surface proteins, called autoantibodies. But they are not the antibodies that should trigger the immune system.  When the immune system cannot distinguish its own tissues from foreign tissues, it attacks healthy, harmless cells in the body. Autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. 3. Hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity is when the immune system overreacts to such a degree that it damages healthy tissues. An example is anaphylaxis, when the body’s response to an allergen is so strong that it can be life-threatening. Immune System Boosters Some people have strong immune systems, while others have weak ones. The good news is that you can strengthen your immune system through a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle. Certain foods, supplements, and lifestyle changes will have a positive effect on your ability to stay healthy.  Herbs that boost the immune system Many natural substances are known to boost immunity. Since ancient times, herbs and spices have been in high demand for both their healing properties and their ability to help people stay well. According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicines and herbs as part of their primary healthcare.  Most of the preferred herbs are high in anti-inflammatory properties, which help bolster the body’s natural immunity. Most of these herbs and spices are relatively safe, compared to allopathic medicines like antibiotics, which can have serious side effects. Here’s a list of herbs and spices that can help improve immunity: 1. Holy basil  Holy basil is a very old medicinal herb. Its leaves are rich in phytonutrients.  Basil is also rich in chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals, and eugenol. Eugenol is a bioactive compound with antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, which can help reduce stress and lower plasma glucose levels.  How to consume basil: You can simply chew fresh basil leaves in the morning or infuse them in your morning tea. Just ensure that you wash them well in running water before using them. 1. Ginger  Ginger is widely used in Indian cooking to add flavor to dishes. This popular spice has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.  Since ancient times, ginger has been extensively used for treating asthma, travel sickness, morning sickness, colds, coughs, nausea, arthritis, gastrointestinal complaints, and even depres ...