How to Exercise for Brain Health

A man in blue sneakers about to lift a weight.

You have many good reasons to become more physically active: Doing so can boost mood, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep muscles strong. Now a growing body of evidence suggests that workouts may have brain benefits as well.

Much of the research on brain health and exercise is focused on aerobics. Yet a recent analysis from the University of Canberra in Australia found that certain nonaerobic activities can also help improve brain function in people over 50.

“Even when people did have some level of decline already, they were actually able to improve their cognitive function,” says the study’s author, Joseph Northey, a Ph.D. candidate in sport and exercise science.

We reviewed the most recent research to find tips on optimizing your exercise routine to help improve your brain health and keep your mind sharp.

Take a Brisk Walk

If you don’t exercise now, it’s easy to start. Just walk out your door and keep going.

It’s fine to start small. Build up from 10 minutes walking a day until you get to at least 30, says Elissa Burton, Ph.D., a research fellow in the school of physiotherapy and exercise science at Curtin University in Australia.

And if you can, pick up your pace. Getting your heart rate up will maximize the benefits to your brain, according to Helen Macpherson, Ph.D., a dementia research fellow at Deakin University in Australia. That means you should be exercising at an intensity where you start to find it difficult to have a conversation.

Do More Than the Minimum

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get 150 minutes of this sort of moderately intense aerobic exercise each week, which is five 30-minute workouts. But the biggest boost in brain health in the Canberra study was linked to exercise sessions of 45 to 60 minutes.

So try consolidating some workouts into a longer session. Or gradually work up to 45 to 60 minutes, five days per week.

Try Tai Chi

This Chinese martial art, which consists of slow, rhythmic movements, was one of several types of exercise tied to improved cognitive functioning in the recent Canberra study.

Plus it’s low-impact, which can be good for people who haven’t been active in awhile, Northey says. It’s also easy on your joints.

To learn the proper technique, it’s best to seek out a local class, Northey says. You can find instructors near you who are certified by the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association.

Resistance Training Can Help, Too

Resistance training, exercise that causes muscles to contract, is meant to strengthen, but it may also help protect against cognitive decline. And you don’t need weights or other equipment, Northey says. The CDC recommends resistance training at least twice per week. Here are three tips to get you started:

Stand up, sit down, repeat. As long as you’re steady on your feet, try standing up from a chair without using your hands. Do this in sets of five or more anytime you find yourself sitting around the house.

Make daily tasks harder. Choose stairs over elevators and escalators. You’ll get an aerobic workout and build muscle at the same time.

Join a class. Northey’s study found that group programs incorporating resistance and aerobic training were beneficial for the brain. Check out the offerings at your local YMCA or senior center, and remember to talk with your doctor before you start any new exercise program.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.


Yoga in the office? Firms should help us stay well, says public health chief

A standing desk is one of the ways firms can boost employees’ health.

Lunchtime yoga classes, providing help to remove ingrowing toenails and holding meetings while walking around the office – these are just some of the strategies that employers should use to boost staff fitness, according to the NHS public health chief.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, is also backing workplace running clubs, standing desks to improve posture and staff uniting to try to quit smoking as useful ways businesses can improve employee wellbeing.

In an interview with the Observer, Selbie made clear that Britain’s 5.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could do much more to tackle the £29bn annual bill for sickness absence while improving productivity and increasing profits at the same time.

“SMEs are the backbone of the nation’s workforce and can kickstart a revolution in helping their staff to improve their health. People spend 30, 40 or sometimes 50 hours a week at work. That’s a unique opportunity for employers to use that big chunk of someone’s week to care for their health,” said Selbie. His plea is aimed at the 5.5 million firms which make up 99% of all private sector businesses and employ 60% of those who work in the private sector.

“Forward-thinking companies are already offering help such as podiatry services to employees who are on their feet all day or group posture exercises for people who stand in the same position for a long time because of their job.

“Employers could adopt group exercise challenges, such as ‘Couch to 5k’ or lunchtime run clubs, and promote active travel like cycling to work. Being regularly active is one of the best ways to prevent and manage poor musculoskeletal health and combat stress, which are both major causes of sickness absence,” he added.

Employers should take a “bottom-up” approach to improving staff health and wellbeing by putting in place ideas that employees want, rather than things that would be “nice to have”, he said.

“We want to see every business take a custom-made approach to employee health by looking at what staff need. We encourage employers to create dynamic environments, workplaces where people can be more active, move more and change positions, with things like standing desks.”

Firms could encourage staff to hold “walking meetings” in the local park rather than sitting down in an office and always eat lunch somewhere other than their desk, Selbie said. Ergonomic assessments of posture could help identify stiffness and pain that may indicate that back problems are emerging which can then be tackled early.

He wants action to encourage more staff to cycle to work. HR Magazine recently found that 33% of employers believe that cyclists are more productive at work than non-cycling colleagues. In addition, 44% of bosses polled said cyclists were more productive

Firms could also use camaraderie between staff to help smokers quit. Selbie suggested using group workplace challenges, such as smokers all signing up to take part in Stoptober together, and that employers could alert workers when mobile bus clinics were due to be in the area.

The PHE boss wants businesses to help staff with their mental health too. “The main way to reduce stress levels is through training line managers in mental health and educating workforces to increase their mental health literacy, and to recognise the signs which indicate that they need support,” he said.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that small firms did not have the advantage of large corporations in being able to use their employees to get discount deals for gym memberships or private health providers, for example.

“The average small employer has around seven employees and their approach is often more akin to a family unit than it is a large business. So while many small businesses are not sedentary or desk-based in their work, we know that many are encouraging fitness breaks for running or gym classes, while others have indeed innovated through things such as walking meetings.

“The key is not to instruct or compel them, but for the small business owner and their team to come up with ideas that work for them.”

Selbie added: “Everyone benefits from a healthier workforce: employees, who will enjoy better health and be less likely to be off sick; employers, who will reap the benefits of increased productivity; and the NHS, which will have less poor health to deal with.”

and 89% thought that those who used two wheels had more energy during the day. Research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has found that physically active staff take 27% fewer sick days.


Tips For Eye Health and Maintaining Good Eyesight

Image result for Representative Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Mauro-Matacchione/ Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Mauro-Matacchione/
It’s the age of technology and we are more than ever using our eyes to check our phones, computer screens, gaming consoles and televisions, which can lead to eye fatigue. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and more to take care of eyes, suggest experts.

Ophthalmologists guide you to follow some simple steps:

 Adequate sleep is essential for eye health and allows the eyes to repair and recover. Eight hours of sound sleep at night will go a long way in attaining better visual quality.

* Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Vitamins and minerals along with green leafy vegetables and protein sources help to keep the eyes strong and sharp.

* Regular exercise not only keeps your body fit but also makes your eyes healthy by pumping more blood and oxygen to your eyes.

* A majority of office jobs require constant and direct glaring at the computer screen, making it difficult for your eyes. Make sure to take a break, every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.

* Regular physical exam at least twice a year will keep you aware and helps to take necessary action in time.

* Keep your eyes protected from exposure to harmful UV rays.


Why Donald Trump’s diet is bad for America’s health

President Trump can eat what he wants, but his attitudes toward wellness have major consequences for the nation at large. (Stephen Lovekin/Hill & Knowlton)

It was the fat joke heard ‘round the world. Pope Francis, speaking with Donald and Melania Trump during their recent visit, asked the first lady whether she’d been feeding her husband potica, a rich Slovenian dessert.

His Holiness wasn’t the only one eyeballing the president’s diet. Recently, the public learned that the White House kitchen staff knows to deliver their boss extra Thousand Island dressing and a double serving of ice cream while his guests get vinaigrette and a single scoop of vanilla, triggering sniggers about presidential gluttony.

And since Trump so shamelessly slings stingingly personal insults tied to fitness and body type — from “Miss Piggy” to “fat pig” to “Little Marco” – why resist the urge to poke his proverbial soft underbelly?

We should resist, because Trump’s attitudes toward healthy eating and exercise aren’t a joke — they have serious consequences for the nation’s health. First, they mark a dramatic pivot from his presidential predecessors on both sides of the aisle. Previous presidents saw projecting a personal embrace of healthy living as politically attractive, while Trump perceives just the opposite.

And second, in a nation already defined by highly unequal access to healthy food and exercise, Trump’s own inclinations threaten to make wellness an even lower public and private priority. Today, if your work schedule, child care and next meal are unpredictable, wellness is at best aspirational and at worst a cruel reminder of yet another dividing line between haves and have-nots. Trump’s attitudes and actions will only exacerbate this inequality — even as they thrill his fans.

American presidents have celebrated wellness as a personal and political virtue for so long it verges on cliché. Teddy Roosevelt famously advocated an outdoorsy “strenuous life,” which showcased his own swagger and resonated in a moment when urbanization and the expansion of white-collar work provoked anxiety that white men were becoming sedentary sissies.

Sixty years later, President-elect John F. Kennedy decried in Sports Illustrated that affluence had created a physically and morally “Soft American” unfit for Cold War citizenship. This essay painted JFK as a champion of “vigor” (even as he privately suffered from serious ailments) and boosted support for federally funded physical education and recreation programs.

Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were often photographed jogging, while a 1983 Parade spread featured Republican Ronald Reagan exercising on Nautilus machines and chopping wood. Fellow Republican George W. Bush installed a treadmill on Air Force One, required staffers to exercise and told Runner’s World in 2002 that at long last, “statistic after statistic is beginning to sink into the consciousness of the American people that exercise is one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle.”

President Trump, however, missed that memo. The president’s conspicuous contempt for self-care — unlike Obama’s occasional furtive cigarette — benefits him politically in part because it taps into the anti-Obama hatred that propelled him to power. The Obamas took the presidential embrace of healthy living as a vehicle to improve society and self to new levels.

Men’s Health dubbed Obama the “fittest president ever” and stealth video of his workout in a Warsaw hotel gym went viral. If Michelle Obama first drew notice for her sculpted biceps, her legacy became Let’s Move and lunchroom reform. So powerful is this association that a Tennessee school cafeteria worker recently told me that a Trump supporter crowed that serving her child chocolate milk and tater tots at school was a “personal F-U to Michelle Obama.”

Not only does Trump benefit from being the anti-Obama, but he also gives voice to a sense among his supporters that healthy eating and exercise have become increasingly elitist. Back in 2007, Obama caught blowback at an Iowa campaign stop for making casual reference to buying arugula at Whole Foods. Soon after, white working class reality TV star Mama June proudly told In Touch that despite her wealth, she served her family “sketti” — enriched spaghetti doused in butter and ketchup — rather than snobbishly preparing quinoa.

Trump’s self-fashioning as champion of the common man capitalizes on the contemporary association between wellness and unsavory cosmopolitan pretension. Yet his love of rich foods and leisure paradoxically trades on century-old tropes that also cast him as a kind of Everyman’s Billionaire. Until about 1920, the wealthy conspicuously consumed caloric foods and avoided exertion because few felt they could afford to do so.

Dominant scientific theory at the time argued that humans were born with a finite energy supply and that the better classes should conserve theirs for loftier ends than physical labor. When industrialization and the white-collar sector made food abundant and sedentary work more accessible however, resisting these temptations through diet and exercise became a display of upper-class restraint — as it remains today.

Trump, whose appeal to many stems from nostalgia, conjures an outdated but aspirational ideal of what wealth might feel, or taste, like. It’s why dropping $36 on an “haute burger” just after overwhelmingly capturing the working class white vote didn’t tarnish Trump’s legitimacy. It’s why the “cheap version of rich” marketed in every truffle-oil-soaked steak slung at his eponymous “Grille” still sells. Same goes for his peculiar but precedented explanation that he prefers relaxing at his various luxury properties to exercise that would deplete his “non-rechargeable battery.” In the throwback image of American abundance that Trump hawks, his supporters envision themselves as deserving fat cats consuming cake rather than kale.

And yet. While expending energy on exercise and dietary restraint may be undesirable for Trump’s everyman, it’s a requirement for the women in his orbit. Of the little we know about Melania Trump, her penchant for Pilates is widely reported and a former roommate remembered her consuming only vegetables and diligently wearing ankle weights around the house. First daughter Ivanka Trump’s diet and exercise routines have long been the stuff of lifestyle pubs, and she recently craved a sweat badly enough to cause controversy by enrolling at a D.C. studio under an alias.

In 1996, Trump himself set up a media scrum in a gym to film a tearful Alicia Machado exercising after she gained what he determined was an unacceptable amount of weight for Miss Universe. A viral meme in the wake of the January Women’s March announced, “In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

Clearly, Trump’s world is a sexist one in which wellness is a women’s issue. Weight control is appropriately top priority for the half of the population whose worth corresponds to their waistlines.

Unlike exercise and diet, sports — especially football — have long earned the approval of conservatives, including Trump, for building masculinity and competitiveness. The president’s apparently contradictory celebration of sport and scorn for healthy living actually corresponds to a longstanding cultural divide between the two. In the 1950s and 60s, straight American males were assumed to be so uninterested in diet and exercise that women’s magazines counseled wives to trim the fat from their husband’s roasts out of eyesight in order to safeguard the health of their hearts and egos.

By 1979, historian Christopher Lasch bemoaned the “degradation of sport” due to the “new sports for the noncompetitive” taking place in gyms and studios, which promoted bland “amateurism” in the name of inclusiveness and health promotion. (Some might consider this a forerunner to conservative complaints about participation trophies.) Thus, in the Trump playbook, sports are commendable for building manly character, while expanding opportunities to exercise and eat mindfully for health or beauty is feminine and inferior.

Making America Great Again will affect our collective wellbeing in subtle ways beyond the AHCA, cuts to Planned Parenthood and the deregulation of school nutrition that Trump embraces. Contemporary wellness culture is flawed, but has dramatically improved Americans’ lives and saved taxpayers millions. Diverse policies and programs ranging from Title IX, to yoga for the incarcerated, to corporate wellness initiatives, to body-positive activism have helped make the connection between healthy living and human flourishing widely accepted. Trump threatens to destroy those gains.

We owe our president the privacy to eat and exercise as he wishes, free from the fat-shaming cruelty for which his critics rightly fault him. But when he brandishes his unhealthy lifestyle to romanticize an era in which junk science upheld twisted ideas about gender, class and health, we owe it to each other to resist the deepening wellness divide, body, heart and mind.


‘Yoga Ganga’ of Chandigarh Police Police: Poster boys spread message of health and yoga

The Chandigarh Police has witnessed deaths of several police personnel due to heart attack, sugar and diabetes. Some policemen have suffered brain stroke and paralysis attack in the recent past.

At a time when Chandigarh Police personnel have been repeatedly found suffering from different diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, uric acid, cholesterol and weak eyesight during different health checkup camps, the police department has decided to explain them the virtues of yoga. In this regard, the police have released a poster called ‘Yoga Ganga’ featuring its three senior officers who are shown performing different yoga asanas.

These senior police officers are DIG Alok Kumar, SSP Eish Singhal and DSP Ram Gopal. “Eight other police personnel, including five women constables, are also featured in the poster doing different asanas. But we decided to display the pictures of senior police officers on top of the poster to motivate police personnel and to show seriousness of the police department towards health fitness,” a senior police officer said.

The poster was released on International Yoga Day but it was distributed and displayed at different police stations and Chandigarh Police headquarters in Sector 9 on Friday. While DIG Alok Kumar is shown performing Vajraasan and SSP Eish Singhal Utanmandukasan, DSP Ram Gopal is shown doing Padmasana (lotus position).

Significantly, DSP Ram Gopal has been an international level yoga practitioner and DIG Alok Kumar has been practising yoga for the last one decade. Sources said, “Once there was a plan to put DGP Tajender Singh Luthra on the poster while performing asanas but the idea did not materialise. The posters were distributed to all the police stations, police posts and different cells including crime branch and operations cell.”

In March 2017, a health checkup camp for police personnel especially deployed at police stations, crime branch, operations cell was held and 55 police personnel out of 90 were found suffering from different ailments, including hypertension, high BP, cholesterol and diabetes. A total of 80 cops were found affected from calcium deficiency, 40 were found diabetic, and 60 were found suffering from hypertension out of a total 200 cops in May 2016.
DIG Alok Kumar said, “The poster was released on International Yoga Day. Our aim is to make police personnel health-conscious.”

The Chandigarh Police has witnessed deaths of several police personnel due to heart attack, sugar and diabetes. Some policemen have suffered brain stroke and paralysis attack in the recent past.


Exercise, brain training may boost brain health in old age

 Music with a beat makes seniors exercise longer

Exercise, controlling blood pressure and some forms of brain training might preserve brain health.(Kzenon/

WASHINGTON — Are you seeking steps to keep your brain healthy in old age?

There are no proven ways to stave off mental decline or dementia. But a new report says there are hints that exercise, controlling blood pressure and some forms of brain training might offer some help.

Without proof, the government should not begin a public health campaign pushing strategies for aging brain health, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a report released Thursday.

But the public should be told the evidence is “encouraging,” though inconclusive, the report concluded. That way, people can use the information in deciding whether to invest time and money on different interventions.

The three highlighted strategies “do no harm,” said neuroscientist Alan Leshner, chairman of the National Academies committee. “At least two of them are really good for you” even if the brain link doesn’t pan out.

Scientists know that risky changes in the brain begin decades before symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other dementias become apparent, suggesting there’s a window when people might bolster their cognitive health. But the report says Americans face a “bewildering” array of products and strategies promoted for brain health despite little if any rigorous science to back them up.

The National Institute on Aging asked the prestigious National Academies to review the field. The committee said three interventions should be more closely studied to prove if they really can help:

— Getting high blood pressure under control, especially in middle age. People with hypertension need treatment anyway to prevent heart disease and strokes.

— Increased physical activity. Similar to the blood pressure advice, what’s good for the heart has long been deemed good for the brain.

— Cognitive training, specific techniques aimed at enhancing reasoning, problem solving, memory and speed of mental processing. While immediate task performance may improve, the committee said it’s not clear whether there’s lasting, meaningful benefit.

This is not merely “brain games” on your computer, Leshner said. The committee isn’t backing those costly computer-based programs. Indeed, the government fined one brain training company last year for misleading consumers.

Instead, the best study to date included training done in groups, providing social engagement too. And cognitively stimulating activities include such things as learning a new language, the report noted.

“Since generally keeping intellectually active appears to be good for you, do that,” Leshner advised, and if you’re considering a commercial program, ask the company to see studies backing it.

The Alzheimer’s Association had been awaiting the recommendations, and agreed that “more research is needed to determine what the optimal interventions should be,” said chief medical officer Maria Carrillo. “In the meantime, we recommend that people challenge their brains to maintain brain health.”


The dangerous diet that could ruin your health

Image result for The Mono Diet says you can eat as much as you want -- but only of one food, such as bananas.

The Mono Diet says you can eat as much as you want — but only of one food, such as bananas.

When Alicia Hunter, 49, heard about a diet where she could eat as much of her favorite fruit as she wanted, the Upper East Side woman was hooked. There was one small catch, though: It was the onlything she could eat.

“In an attempt to lose weight for the holidays, I ate only melon for almost 30 days after I heard about the Mono Diet,” says Hunter, an eyelash-extension professional. “I lost 7 pounds, but I never want [to eat] melon again.”

The diet dictates that you eat only one food for several weeks to lose weight fast, something that many experts warn is dangerous and only successful in the short term. Hunter, however, used it to kick-start a long-term weight-loss plan to shed the pounds, and raved about the benefits.

“I kept the weight off and actually lost another 8 pounds since then on other diets,” she says.

The Mono Diet (sometimes referred to as Banana Island or Monotrophic Diet) has become increasingly popular since a YouTube star nicknamed “Freelee the Banana Girl” (real name: Leanne Ratcliffe) boasted about her weight loss in 2014. She claimed to have lost 40 pounds eating close to 30 bananas a day.

‘It’s an incredibly restrictive and unbalanced diet and I do not recommend that anyone follow it.’

Since then, a new version, the Sweet Potato Diet, was released in April, touting how the spud can help you lose 12 pounds in just two weeks. Meanwhile, the hashtag #monomeal on Instagram, which highlights pictures of people’s meals containing a single food, has more than 38,000 posts, and the diet was one of the most searched in 2016, according to Google. Comedian and magician Penn Jillette even wrote a book last year about how he lost 100 pounds by eating nothing but potatoes for two weeks to kick off his diet. And Matt Damon revealed he ate only chicken breasts to drop weight for his role in “Courage Under Fire.”

“Yes, this diet can produce weight loss,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, registered dietitian and author of “Eating in Color.” “But, the weight loss is a result of caloric restriction — not because any particular food is magically producing weight loss. It’s an incredibly restrictive and unbalanced diet and I do not recommend that anyone follow it.”

In addition to a low caloric intake (Hunter estimates she ate about 800 calories a day worth of melon), which can cause symptoms like dizziness, a Mono Diet can also lead to some serious health problems. The diet landed Ashton Kutcher in the emergency room in 2013 after he followed the “Mucusless Diet Healing System,” and based his diet solely on fruit.

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Alicia HunterKimberly Bach

“I ended up in the hospital two days before we started shooting [‘Jobs’],” he told reporters at the Sundance Film Festival. Months later, at a press conference, he said that, “My insulin levels got pretty messed up and my pancreas kind of went . . . crazy. The levels were really off, and it was painful.”

Amy Gorin, a Jersey City-based registered dietitian and nutritionist, says such diets can have “a negative effect on your metabolism and may cause muscle loss. By eating just one food, you’d be taking in too much of certain vitamins or minerals — for example, potassium from bananas. Additionally, it will be very hard to maintain any weight loss once you go back to eating a normal diet.”

While Hunter didn’t have an issue keeping off the initial weight she lost, and raved about her glowing skin, others who tried it didn’t have as great an experience.

“I was desperate to lose weight, so I decided to eat only carrots for an entire month,” says New Jersey music teacher Beth Glickman, 58. “I lost about 10 pounds in one month, but the palms of my hands turned orange! Needless to say, the diet didn’t last much longer than that.”


An Instagram challenge fighting mental health taboos

An Instagram challenge fighting mental health taboos
The buzz surrounding mental health has only gotten stronger in the last couple of years. People have been rallying to eradicate the stigma attached to mental illnesses and celebrities like Carrie Fisher, and closer home Deepika Padukone, have only helped take the cause forward. And now, we have another campaign, that’s helping people deal with their own struggles with mental illness, in an artful and vibrant way — with the #insideoutchallenge. It involves using makeup (which can be seen as a metaphor for our public selves) to give expression to one’s inner struggles, right on your face.
Yes, we have had our share of hashtag challenges. So if you are on our way to dismissing this one as just another fad, pause and take a look at it. It’s not everyday that we see these challenges actually helping people in any way.

It was started by Canadian beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi, for whom it was an expression of her own inner struggles. “The Inside Out Challenge is a way to artistically represent what some of us feel on a day to day basis. Many people quietly suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses due to social stigma. The challenge: using makeup create an outward expression of what you or others feel on the inside!!!” she posted on Instagram. As Carrie Fisher said, ‘Take your broken heart and make it into art’. Under her first makeup post, in which she painted one half of her face to represent her inner turmoils, she recounted the incident that made her question people’s tendency to feel ashamed of their mental health. Her post read “A few weeks ago my partner and I attended my Christmas staff party. After dinner I experienced an anxiety attack and we decided to leave. I chose to disappear quietly without drawing much attention to myself. I spent the rest of the night holding on to my partner and crying, mentally battling the anxiety until it went away. The next day I was incredibly worried that my workmates were going to question my quick disappearance. I asked my partner what to say when faced with these questions, and without much thought she said to say that I had a headache. I agreed but quickly questioned my decision. Why did I have to be ashamed and lie about my anxiety attack? So many wonderful and amazing people suffer from the same mental illnesses that I do on a daily basis. Why can’t we just talk about it openly. Mental illness shouldn’t have to be hidden away, let’s start to talk about it.”

And now, her Instagram is flooded with women from all over using makeup as an outlet to vent about their struggles with mental illness. From anxiety to depression, eating disorders to bipolar disorders, PTSD to ADHD, women are freely talking about their struggles and this challenge is on its way to becoming a revolution of sorts. When asked about her decision to channel her ideas through makeup, she told us, “I chose to use makeup because it was something that I often used creatively on my fashion and makeup blog. Using make-up allows a person to visually create how they feel on the inside which can be very difficult to do, especially if you don’t know how to describe it in words. Make-up allows people to visually present these feelings no matter how they interpret them. Art can be very therapeutic and there’s no wrong way to create — that’s what’s so beautiful in sharing these looks.” While some of the makeup works are simple and to-the-point, others are more complex proclamations of finally being able to own one’s disorders. As many of these women have confessed with their ‘grams, this challenge has helped them face their inner demons and work towards taming them.

Here are some of the gorgeous, yet poignant results.


Spinal health is essential to combat back pain

Take care of your spine (Thinkstock)Take care of your spine (Thinkstock)
Experts feel that, when it comes to maintaining spinal health, even small changes can help with the healing process over a period of time. Here are some simple ways to support your spine. Keeping these tips in mind will help you prevent back pain issues.

Rest your spine in the correct way
When lying down, make sure that your mattress and pillows allow your spine to rest and be comfortable by giving it proper support. So choose the best mattress that does not harm your spine.

Strengthen your core
Your back and abdominal muscles need to be strong and supple always. Tone them through specific, targeted exercises. Strong core helps to support your spine and take the pressure off your lower back.

Wear the right shoes

Most do not know this, but your shoes are every important when it comes to your spine health. The right shoes support your lower back and keep your spine and body aligned.

Sitting the right way is essential

You must practise good ergonomics while sitting. Limiting the total amount of sitting time is essential. If your job entails sitting down for long, you must take 15 minute breaks every couple of hours. Your spine has to handle pressure if you are sitting for long and slouching or leaning aggravates back pain.

Choose the right chair

Sitting on a chair that encourages a good posture and supports all the natural curves of your back is essential if you want to deal with back pain for good.


Protein-carbohydrate combo good for gut health

NS | Nov 27, 2016, 12.39 PM IST

Protein-carbohydrate combo good for gut health (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images)Protein-carbohydrate combo good for gut health (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images)
Dietary combination of protein and carbohydrate may help promote good gut health as such a diet encourages cooperation between ourselves and bacteria in our gut, suggests new research.

“There are many different diet strategies that claim to promote gut health, and until now it has been very difficult to establish clear causality between various types of diet and their effect on the host’s microbiome,” said led author Andrew Holmes, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in Australia.

“This is because there are many complex factors at play, including food composition, eating pattern and genetic background,” Holmes said.

In this study, the researchers found that the availability of intestinal nitrogen to microbes in the gut plays a key role in regulating interactions between gut microbes and their host animal.

“This research really lays the groundwork for future modelling by setting out the rules for a general model of how diet shapes the gut ecosystem,” Holmes said.

“The simple explanation is that when we eat in a way that encourages cooperation between ourselves and bacteria we achieve a good microbiome, but when we eat in a way that doesn’t require cooperation this lets bacteria do whatever they want — and mischief can ensue,” Holmes explained.

Despite the huge diversity of gut bacteria, two main response patterns emerged in the study — microbe species either increased or decreased in their abundance depending on the animal’s protein and carbohydrate intake.

“The largest nutrient requirements for our gut bacteria are carbon and nitrogen in the foods we eat. As carbohydrates contain no nitrogen but protein does, the bacterial community response to the host animal’s diet is strongly affected by this diets’ protein-carbohydrate ratio,” Holmes said.

“The fact that this same pattern was seen across almost all groups of gut bacteria indicates that the makeup of the microbial ecosystem is fundamentally shaped by a need to access nitrogen in the intestinal environment,” Holmes added.

This new research — published in the journal Cell Metabolism — is the latest in a series stemming from a study in which 25 different diets composed of different amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat were systematically varied in 858 mice.

The researchers said their new model suggests that while high-carbohydrate diets were the most likely to support positive interactions in the microbiome, such benefits were relative to the protein intake of the host animal.

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