Feeling beat in lockdown? These dietary changes may boost your mood and health

Feeling beat in lockdown? These dietary changes may boost your mood and health

  • July 20, 2020
By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: July 20, 2020 4:40:18 pm





healthy eating, lockdown diet, immunity boosting, mental health, lockdown blues, health, mental health, indian express, indian express news Lockdown blues and feelings of despair can be fought back with clean diet. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Life has changed drastically in the last few months. The pandemic has confined most people to their homes, from where they have been working and juggling other chores. As such, people have been feeling the lockdown blues. These are typically feelings of despair that come with the uncertainty of the future.

But, there is a solution — there always is. Experts say that mental health and physical health are linked, and if you focus on one, you automatically focus on the other, too; both of them go hand in hand. It is imperative that we talk about how we are feeling inside our head, especially since these are unprecedented times and everyone is experiencing them differently.

ALSO READ | A new study shows how time-restricted diet can help in weight loss

If you are feeling beat of late, and are looking for ways to help yourself fight the blues, online fitness trainer and sports nutritionist Diksha Chhabra suggests you make some healthy dietary changes. “You can say a healthy gut is a happy gut. It can help you to beat all kinds of stress and anxiety, and make you feel good about yourself. The right kind of food affects the brain, and a balanced diet along with exercise, can overcome many mental health issues. Foods that are rich in certain chemicals, vitamins and minerals influence our biochemistry, thus lifting our mood immediately,” she says.

* Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate, with at least 70 per cent cocoa, is a great mood booster that fits the healthy diet bracket perfectly, because of less sugar content. It helps boost the endorphins in our body which, in turn, helps in easing any kind of emotional and mental stress.

* Omega 3: Omega 3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish, nuts and flaxseeds. They play a vital role in our body’s cell manufacturing, skin and hair health, which give us a feeling of happiness. In case you find it difficult to add naturally, omega 3 is available in form of supplements, too.

* Foods rich in vitamin D: Mushroom, poultry and milk are some rich sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be amplified through the sun, which is a natural source. It helps to regulate the serotonin levels in brain, which can ward off depression and anxiety.

ALSO READ | The Indian thali is great for building immunity: Celeb nutritionist Pooja Makhija

* Green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and B6. All of these essential micro nutrients play a vital role in regulating many brain activities.

* Probiotics: Food rich in probiotics and fermented food help in maintaining good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are the good bacteria living in our intestines, known for aiding digestion, boosting the immune system and cleaning our gut. A good gut health has a calming effect on the brain.

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Gurugram: A health worker collects swab sample from a woman for COVID-19 Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, in a containment zone in Gurugram, Thursday, July 16, 2020.

Coronavirus: Scientists unsure whether recovered Covid patients lose immunity with time – health

  • July 16, 2020

Recent studies suggest that those recovering from COVID-19 may have antibodies for only a few months, a signal that long-term immunity is difficult to achieve, but several scientists dispel the gloom and say it is too soon to determine if such individuals can contract the disease again.

Some special cells of the immune system may still offer protection against the disease, the scientists said as questions swirl on whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 can get it again — even those whose antibodies dwindle progressively as the days and weeks pass.

It is too soon to say whether people with lowered levels of novel coronavirus-blocking antibody levels (nAbs) after recovery are at risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease on re-exposure to the virus, Vineeta Bal, an immunologist from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research in Pune, told PTI.

“This pandemic is only six-seven months old, and reports of people testing positive for the virus for a second time, post-recovery, are mostly only from those who were first infected in January,” Bal said in a video interview.

The discussion – and disquiet amongst laypersons following news of the pandemic – intensified when a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, published in medRxiv last week, assessed 90 recovered COVID-19 patients in the UK and found their nAbs decreased between two fold and 23-fold during an 18-65 day follow-up period.

Another study, published last month in the journal Nature Medicine, surveyed the levels of antibodies in COVID-19 patients, including those who did not show symptoms, and revealed that nAbs lasted only two to three months after recovery. While reports of people testing positive for re-exposure to the virus emerge, it does not necessarily mean that those losing nAbs will develop the disease, said Bal, who was a member of the Prime Minister’s task force for women in science under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

It might take a year to get sufficient data to confirm this.

While antibody levels, as indicated by the two studies, may decrease in recovered individuals, other immune system players may still offer longer lasting immunity.

“Some reports say detectable T cells which may fight off infection and prevent the COVID-19 disease on re-exposure, can offer protection,” Bal said.

Commenting on the implications of the studies, immunologist Satyajit Rath from the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, said the findings are in line with how the human immune system interacts with coronaviruses such as those causing the common cold.

In Rath’s opinion, just like in other coronavirus infections, the more severe the COVID-19 disease, the higher the peak antibody levels’ in patients as well as the tendency of their nAb levels to go down in weeks-to-months.

Asymptomatic infected individuals make very little nAbs to begin with, and may both recover and be protected by non-antibody-based mechanisms, he explained in an email interview.

“There is also some evidence that virus-specific T cells are activated and expanded in infected people, and they too can plausibly provide accelerated recovery re-infection,” Rath said, adding a caveat that there is no direct evidence for such an actual causal relationship.

According to the immunologist, if antibodies do play a major role, the two studies could mean that long term immunity both individually, and for the population, may be difficult to achieve.

Under such a scenario, he said, people may periodically keep getting re-infected and the “virus may keep spreading around” until effective vaccines come into widespread use.

There is no good evidence yet about this, and it may or may not be the case, he said.

Another study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, also revealed the involvement of T cells.

The research, conducted by scientists from the Duke-Nus Medical School in Singapore, found that individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, or the 2002-03 SARS pandemic virus, or other coronaviruses, develop memory T cells.

These coronavirus-specific T cells could last in the body for over 15 years after people recover from infection, and can still proliferate once they encounter a protein from that virus.

According to this study, patients who had recovered from the 2002-03 SARS virus 17 years ago still possess virus-specific memory T cells which cross-reacted with the current pandemic virus.

However, whether such pre-existing T cells affect the clinical manifestation of COVID-19 remains to be studied, said Nina Le Bert, a co-author of this study.

“However, if an individual already has memory T cells which recognise the new infection, the adaptive immune response could start earlier and may reduce the severity of COVID-19,” she told PTI over email, wanting for more studies to confirm this.

According to Le Bert, the immune system is complex, and the different cell types usually complement each other.

“I believe that both cellular and antibody immunity will be equally important,” she added.

Discussing the implications of the involvement of T cells in vaccine development, Bal said, “For a vaccine to be effective, it needs to generate reasonable concentration of nAbs and cytotoxic T cells.” “Then they can kill viruses on re-exposure,” she said, adding that the combination makes “two components of a perfect vaccine”.

She cautioned that vaccines which rely more on cell mediated immunity may not be effective in every individual to the same extent, compared to those which boost an antibody response alone.

Bal explained that this is due to genetic diversity of the global human population.

“Human cells have surface proteins called HLA antigens which are different for every individual. So there is no way to trigger a cell mediated immune response in a universal vaccine that is generalisable to everyone,” she said.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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Four tips for staying safe at home

Four tips for staying safe at home

  • July 13, 2020

As the global pandemic continues to do its damage, the world is dealing with the unfortunate reality of uncertainty. For many, there’s no real clarity regarding when certain places and industries will get back to normal. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and fear. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can create an atmosphere of peace and happiness while you’re at home. Consider the following tips. 

1. Exercise

When you’re intentional about finding ways to get your heart rate up, you’ll boost your immune system and overall health. Go for a walk in the neighborhood. Head to the local basketball court to shoot a few hoops. If you love lifting weights, find interesting ways to use your body weight in order to increase your strength. If you can order exercise equipment, you can develop a home gym for an enhanced workout experience.

2. Rest

When you’re extremely stressed, it can be very difficult to maintain good health. In fact, stress decreases your immune system’s efficiency. Knowing this, it’s best to work on improving your sleep hygiene. Meditate before bed. Turn off all electronics an hour or two before it’s time for bed. Do something relaxing before you head to bed. Whether it’s a bubble bath, a yoga session or a good book, find ways to relax in order to get a good night’s rest.

3. Develop Hobbies

Develop hobbies that will help you to occupy your time. If you’ve always wanted to indulge in a few puzzles, now is the time to get them done. If you’re a lover of music, consider picking up a new instrument or learning a new genre of music. Read incessantly. Find good books on business, culture and art. Learn how to make bets online. Use platforms like comeon.com/in/ to learn and master the skill. When you know what you’re doing, betting can be extremely lucrative. Develop a schedule that’s infused with hobbies to keep yourself from getting bored, anxious and idle.

4. Connect with Loved Ones

For many people, staying safe at home equates to being isolated from people they love. If you’re in this position, it’s understandably difficult. However, do your best to get creative in the ways you connect with the people you love. If you have a smartphone or a laptop with a camera, use video conferencing software to your advantage. If you have people who are local, consider parking your cars next to each other. Roll down the windows, and have a great conversation as you maintain six feet of separation. If you do these types of dates a few times each week, you’ll be able to remain emotionally connected to the people you care about.

Even though the days might seem long, the years are shorter than most people realize. Knowing this, it’s best to embrace reality, live in the moment and work to make tomorrow a better experience. As you use these tips to remain safe at home, you’ll be able to shift your perspective, make great memories and make some extra money.

Back to school after lockdown? Now is the critical time for boosting your children’s immunity

Back to school after lockdown? Now is the critical time for boosting your children’s immunity

  • July 13, 2020

Medicinal plant native to South Africa proven to have immune boosting and protective effects

 

“Parents are rightly concerned about any increased exposure to illness or infection, especially for children who have underlying health conditions such as asthma,” said Joan van Wyngaard, a pharmacist at Nativa where Linctagon is manufactured.

“While parents may be anxious about a return to school, some who need to return to work have no choice but to send their children back to school. Furthermore, online or remote learning is not equitably accessible for all children, and even if children are working remotely, many find it limiting and it can be stressful on learners who thrive in a real classroom environment. Although schools are taking several precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of their learners and staff, there is still so much uncertainty about “getting back to normal” and by necessity, parents are being ultra-cautious. Any additional measures that individuals can take that will add a greater element of protection are worth considering,” she said.

 

With the imminent onset of winter, which brings seasonal upswing in cold and flu cases, there is a renewed focus on keeping healthy.  According to van Wyngaard, central to this is maintaining an optimally functioning immune system, and many people are increasingly looking to how best to strengthen their vital natural defence mechanisms1.

A healthy diet, exercise, limiting stress and getting enough sleep all contribute to the functioning of the immune system, yet few South Africans are aware of a small plant indigenous to South Africa which is believed to have strong immune boosting properties. Pelargonium sidoides, a humble shrub that grows abundantly in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho grasslands, is a medicinal plant native to South Africa. Its common names include Umckaloabo and South African Geranium.  It has been in the spotlight over the last few years regarding its proven potential to boost the immune system. In fact, the root extract of Pelargonium sidoides has been used for centuries by traditional healers as a tonic to boost immunity but also as a therapy for bacterial and viral infections of the lungs3 and is used worldwide in a myriad of cold and flu remedies5.

 

Van Wyngaard said that doing all you can to keep your immune response as strong as possible should be an important consideration all year round, especially in autumn and winter when colds and flu are more widespread and even more so now in these unprecedented times.

“At the forefront of disease prevention methods are the all-important steps of handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people and practicing good hygiene1 , practices which are now commonplace among all South Africans, but we should be adhering to this all year round. Generally, your immune system is designed to defend us against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it does fail, allowing germs in and making you sick2,” she said.

Van Wyngaard said the idea of being able to boost our immune systems has been the subject of much scientific study over the years2, and there is evidence that nutrition and other lifestyle measures can influence our immune system and our susceptibility to infectious diseases1. “Researchers are continuously exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on our immune response, as well as whether the use of herbs and supplements could have any beneficial effect2.”

Van Wyngaard explains that pharmaceutical biologists have been studying the Pelargonium sidoides plant in an attempt to describe its immune boosting properties and its mode of action, and in particular how it guards against the development of infections, finding that it has remarkable anti-infective properties3. Over 20 clinical studies about one particular extract of Pelargonium sidoides have been conducted globally involving more than 9 000 patients, including both adults and children3.

 

“In a nutshell, Pelargonium extracts boast proven efficacy in three ways: firstly, preventing pathogens from adhering to cells, secondly fighting viruses and thirdly by stimulating the immune system to hunt down invaders4,” she said.  “It’s South Africa’s home-grown fighter and we like to call it another weapon in our arsenal to help boost the immune system.”

This is more easily understood when you look at how we get sick in the first place.

Our respiratory systems have complex natural defence mechanisms. When someone with a viral infection coughs or sneezes nearby, microbes or pathogens can enter the nose or mouth and be trapped in mucous and tiny hair-like structures called cilia in nasal passages and airways4. This is called adhesion3. Our natural filtration system will attempt to clean the air entering our lungs4, and Pelargonium sidoides has been shown to increase the frequency with which these cilia beat, essentially sweeping the airways clean more often which further strengthens our primary defences against invading particles4. This is of particular importance as the increased frequency of the cilia could potentially prevent pathogenic particles from entering deep lung tissue3.

Pelargonium sidoides also act as an expectorant, assisting the body to expel contaminated mucous4. During an infection, this could once again reduce the number of microbes accessing the airway3.

Furthermore, researchers have also pointed to the viral suppression effects of Pelargonium extracts and the benefit this could have in preventing enveloped viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus and coxsackie virus from binding to host cells3.

 

Several clinical trials have looked specifically at the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of Pelargonium and its ability to stimulate the immune system. Research has shown that even low doses influence human white blood cells, causing the release of powerful natural antiviral factors called ‘interferons’, which interfere with the replication of viruses.  Clinical trials also show that Pelargonium extracts exhibit antibacterial properties which is particularly relevant to complications arising from infections especially in older and immune compromised patients.3

“Generally, Pelargonium extracts, available in over the counter colds and flu products, have been shown to inhibit “sickness behaviour”, and assist with the alleviation of symptoms  which in essence means that even if you do get sick, you should feel better faster4,” van Wyngaard said.

At this time of the year, and especially when we are all especially concerned about keeping healthy and supporting the immune system to fight disease, make sure that you’re looking after your children’s physical well-being by ensuring they follow a diet high in fruits and vegetables, getting them to exercise regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring they get a good night’s sleep and most importantly, remembering always to practice good hygiene1 and social distancing.

Go to https://www.linctagon.co.za/ for more information.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about more ways to boost your immune system.

This unregistered medicine has not been evaluated by SAHPRA for its quality, safety or intended use.

 

References:

  1. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Foods to Boost the Immune System (2020) at https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/foods-boost-immune-system (website accessed on 25 March 2020)
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. How to boost your immune system (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system (website accessed on 25 March 2020)
  3. Kolodziej, H.  2011.  Antimicrobial, antiviral and immunomodulatory activity studies of Pelargonium sidoides (Eps® 7630) in the context of Health Promotion.  Pharmaceuticals 4, 1295-1314.
  4. Schwabe – Kaloba® (Eps® 7630) Pelargonium Sidoides (http://www.schwabepharma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Kaloba-Monograph-PRINT.pdf)
  5. Moyo M, Van Staden J.  2014.  Medicinal properties and conservation of Pelargonium sidoides DC.  Journal of ethnopharmacology. 152:243-255.

 

This lockdown vacation activity is the therapy your brain needs

This lockdown vacation activity is the therapy your brain needs

  • July 12, 2020

For many of us, the forced confinement of lockdown has reiterated the importance of being out and about in nature – along with the benefits it can bring.

So as the UK begins to reopen, it’s likely that many people will be craving space away from crowds and busy, built-up areas. And given that, one in eight British households has no garden, there is likely to be a surge in people heading off to enjoy the great outdoors and British countryside.

Indeed, outdoor areas and activities – think gardens, national parks and coastal areas – are likely to be busier than usual. Predominantly indoor activities and venues, meanwhile – such as restaurants, museums and galleries – are likely to face lengthier periods of subdued demand.

As a result, the tourism industry is anticipating a surge in people taking active outdoor breaks close to home. In the US for example, a national marketing campaign from the National Park Foundation will promote lesser-known parks as destinations. While Airbnb’s recent Go Near initiative aims to support the “growing desire for domestic travel”.

In the UK, VisitBritain’s weekly UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report shows that 20% of adults in the UK plan to take a short break or holiday within the UK by September. Coastal areas (both urban and rural) are emerging as top destinations.

Heading outdoors — Spending time outdoors, can improve your blood pressure and digestion and boost the immune system. Spending time in green space, near trees, also means that we take in more oxygen, which in turn leads to release of the feelgood hormone serotonin.

Many families incorporate outdoor activity in green space into their holiday plans as a way of improving wellbeing and mental health. Active pursuits in the outdoors can also bring families together to enjoy themselves.

Camping, more than most forms of holiday, involves family members doing more together and encourages a more active, back-to-nature lifestyle. And, according to research from the University of Plymouth, children who go camping do better at school and are healthier and happier. So it’s a win-win.

The children who took part in the research were asked what they love about camping and the most common themes were making and meeting new friends, having fun, playing outside and learning various camping skills. Children also recognized camping’s value for problem-solving and working together – out in the fresh air, away from the TV and computers.

Quality family time — The make-up of family units has changed massively over the past two decades. And many families now live spread out – no longer in one place, town or city. So for many families, holidays offer the chance to spend time and reconnect with different generations of their family – along with quality time together that is so fundamental to family life.

Time outdoors can give families the chance to reconnect.Shutterstock/Maksym Gorpenyuk

For families with busy lives, where parents are often working long hours, the chance to be together on holiday can feel key to the survival of the family unit. And many working parents – mums in particular – have found that the struggle to balance work and childcare has been exacerbated during lockdown.

But of course, families struggling to spend time together is not a new phenomenon. In 2011 a Thomson Holiday report found that, more than one-quarter of working parents spent less than an hour a day with their children. This is despite wanting more time together.

Time for a break — The benefits of family holidays are numerous. They can give all members of the family time to regain balance, reconnect and restore equilibrium. Holidays are also often an opportunity for people to try new skills, sports or activities – which can help to boost confidence and self-esteem.

So don’t despair if you’re no longer heading abroad this summer. Instead, head for the great outdoors and enjoy some quality family time – away from the house and daily lockdown routine.

This will not only give you a chance to relax and unwind in a new environment but will also encourage children and other family members to try something new – whether it’s toasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs, swimming in rivers, stargazing – or simply just being close to nature.

This article was originally published on The Conversation by Carol Southall at Staffordshire University. Read the original article here.

Today immunity matters: Adroit Biomed Limited stands tall with our country's Lockdown heroes

Today immunity matters: Adroit Biomed Limited stands tall with our country’s Lockdown heroes

  • July 10, 2020

As the Coronavirus infection is spreading unhindered, our medical professionals and other health workers have waged a war against it and are working tirelessly to save lives and to reduce sufferings. Government machineries are putting in unprecedented efforts to control the spread and every Indian citizen owes a responsibility to pay their contribution merely by creating barriers at individual levels like social distancing, use of masks and sanitizers. COVID 19 poses a grave challenge to humanity and its battering many economies. In this many pharma companies across the globe are engaged to develop a vaccine to prevent the spread or to develop a treatment for better management of victims.

Adroit Biomed Limited is one such renowned pharmaceutical company who is constantly striving to do their bit for the betterment of the society and the nation. With the same motive Adroit Biomed Limited in association with Times of India honoured our lockdown heroes, who work tirelessly to keep us safe during pandemic. It’s not just about honouring the lockdown heroes but also about boosting their immunity too. Adroit also distributed their most acknowledged Immunity boosting product i.e. Escor-z Effervescent Tablets to the COVID warriors. It contains Phyllanthus Emblica i.e. Amla extract which is known as the richest source of natural Vitamin C. A perfect blend of Natural Vitamin C, polyphenolic antioxidants and Zinc in Escor-z helps boost immunity. It’s vegetarian, safe and comes in the form of a tasty fizz.
Vitamin C: An essential vitamin which is considered as very critical for the front line immune defence. Soldier cells in our blood need a very high amount of Vitamin C as they eat and kill invading bacteria or viruses. They accumulate around 100 times higher Vitamin C compared to blood as Vitamin C prepares and protects them in a fierce skirmish. Vitamin C has also been observed beneficial to reduce the respiratory tract infections and already couple of clinical trials have begun globally to see its effect to treat COVID-19 patients.

Polyphenolic Antioxidants and Flavonoids: These antioxidants can be obtained from many fruits and vegetables. They exert a complementary yet synergetic action on the immune system along with Vitamin C. Quercetin, Gallic Acid, Epigallocatechin and many more polyphenolic antioxidants have been documented for their positive effects on the immunity and in viral infections.
Zinc: This is a critical mineral which is important for optimal function of more than 300 enzymes. It is involved in early and proper identification of viruses, development of immune cells and also in production of antibodies. Unfortunately, Zinc deficiency is quite common in India and hence taking Zinc through supplements may be essential.

This pressing time of pandemic has taught us that boosting immunity is really important. The best thing is immunity is an integral, the most intelligent and the strongest barrier we have within us to ward of infections. It’s important to know that around 85% of Corona infections remain asymptomatic or have milder symptoms. Most of those who become critical or succumb, usually have poor immune defence. Surely, enhancing immunity improves the possibility of having milder infection. Therefore, boosting immunity is another way to fight off this infection. Right diet, regular exercise or yoga, keeping stress low and avoiding smoking are some means to keep your immune system strong. You may also resort to nutritional supplements in order to acquire the essential vitamins and minerals which are otherwise not readily available through diet.

Speaking on the significance of this day, Mr. Sushant Raorane (Co-Founder-Director of Adroit Biomed Limited) said “In India, where the infected cases are increasing every day, it is important that every citizen should understand that Immunity matters. We at Adroit are trying in all possible ways to make people aware of the importance of boosting immunity. This we are doing via the social media platforms, radio, TV etc. That’s because we know till we have the vaccine or the treatment for COVID we need to keep our Immunity going and head strong. While choosing the right nutritional supplement matters abiding by the other practices like social distancing, wearing masks and use of sanitizers is also crucial. We stand strong by our lockdown heroes and will help them in all possible ways and emerge out winning out of this crisis. So whether its lockdown or unlocking just remember immunity matters!! Stay healthy stay safe”.

About Adroit Biomed Ltd:
Adroit Biomed Limited is an innovation-driven leading pharmaceutical healthcare company dominating the Glutathione and Vitamin C market in India. As a science-driven company Adroit prides itself in offering exceptional quality products, which inspire real change in the world of dermatology. These products are manufactured using the state-of-the-art formulation manufacturing facilities, adhering to international standards and regulations. Using the world class ingredients and latest technology, Adroit has been delivering the highest quality products and forming an interface between innovation, technology, healthcare practitioners and patients.

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of Adroit Biomed Limited by Mediawire team.

Why going camping could be the answer to your lockdown holiday woes

Why going camping could be the answer to your lockdown holiday woes

  • July 8, 2020

For many of us, the forced confinement of lockdown has reiterated the importance of being out and about in nature – along with the benefits it can bring.

So as the UK begins to reopen, it’s likely that many people will be craving space away from crowds and busy, built-up areas. And given that, one in eight British households has no garden, there is likely to be a surge in people heading off to enjoy the great outdoors and British countryside.

Indeed, outdoor areas and activities – think gardens, national parks and coastal areas – are likely to be busier than usual. Predominantly indoor activities and venues, meanwhile – such as restaurants, museums and galleries – are likely to face lengthier periods of subdued demand.

As a result, the tourism industry is anticipating a surge in people taking active outdoor breaks close to home. In the US for example, a national marketing campaign from the National Park Foundation will promote lesser-known parks as destinations. While Airbnb’s recent Go Near initiative aims to support the “growing desire for domestic travel”.

In the UK, VisitBritain’s weekly UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report shows that 20% of adults in the UK plan to take a short break or holiday within the UK by September. Coastal areas (both urban and rural) are emerging as top destinations.

Heading outdoors

Spending time outdoors, can improve your blood pressure and digestion and boost the immune system. Spending time in green space, near trees, also means that we take in more oxygen, which in turn leads to release of the feelgood hormone serotonin.

Spending time outdoors can give you that natural boost.
DisobeyArt/Shutterstock

Many families incorporate outdoor activity in green space into their holiday plans as a way of improving wellbeing and mental health. Active pursuits in the outdoors can also bring families together to enjoy themselves.

Camping, more than most forms of holiday, involves family members doing more together and encourages a more active, back-to-nature lifestyle. And, according to research from the University of Plymouth, children who go camping do better at school and are healthier and happier. So it’s a win-win.

The children who took part in the research were asked what they love about camping and the most common themes were making and meeting new friends, having fun, playing outside and learning various camping skills. Children also recognised camping’s value for problem solving and working together – out in the fresh air, away from the TV and computers.

Quality family time

The make-up of family units has changed massively over the past two decades. And many families now live spread out – no longer in one place, town or city. So for many families, holidays offer the offer the chance to spend time and reconnect with different generations of their family – along with quality time together that is so fundamental to family life.

Time outdoors can give families the chance to reconnect.
Shutterstock/Maksym Gorpenyuk

For families with busy lives, where parents are often working long hours, the chance to be together on holiday can feel key to the survival of the family unit. And many working parents – mums in particular – have found that the struggle to balance work and childcare has been exacerbated during lockdown.

But of course, families struggling to spend time together is not a new phenomenon. In 2011 a Thomson Holiday report found that, more than one-quarter of working parents spent less than an hour a day with their children. This is despite wanting more time together.

Time for a break

The benefits of family holidays are numerous. They can give all members of the family time to regain balance, reconnect and restore equilibrium. Holidays are also often an opportunity for people to try new skills, sports or activities – which can help to boost confidence and self-esteem.

So don’t despair if you’re no longer heading abroad this summer. Instead, head for the great outdoors and enjoy some quality family time – away from the house and daily lockdown routine.

This will not only give you a chance to relax and unwind in a new environment but will also encourage children and other family members to try something new – whether it’s toasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs, swimming in rivers, stargazing – or simply just being close to nature.

UNLOCK 1.0: How To Boost Immunity And Stay Healthy Post Lockdown - Expert Diet Tips

UNLOCK 1.0: How To Boost Immunity And Stay Healthy Post Lockdown – Expert Diet Tips

  • June 28, 2020

It’s important to take care of diet to maintain immunity post lockdown.

Highlights

  • Unlock 1.0 may see people getting more exposed to Coronavirus.
  • It is even more important to build and maintain immunity now.
  • Here are some expert tips to help you boost immunity post lockdown.

COVID 19 or Coronavirus has kept us at home for the past few months, but with the announcement of Unlock 1.0, we are slowly going back to normal life, reclaiming our world. Stepping out means exposing ourselves more to the virus. The need of the hour is to keep up the immunity and stay protected to the best of our ability. So wearing a mask and social distancing is a must, but a healthy lifestyle will help us now more than ever to keep us protected.

Food is important for maintaining the integrity of our body. Certain foods have been associated with the ability to boost the immune system, but there is no one single food that does it all. Actually, research tells us that immunity is built up over a period of time, so daily intake of variety of nourishing, wholesome foods along with a healthy lifestyle is necessary to connect the dots.

Let’s start with some simple steps to stay protected.

(Also Read: Immunity-Boosting Summer Foods You Must Include In Your Daily Diet)

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Low immunity makes you vulnerable to illnesses. 

Nutrition Intervention:
Eat a healthy balanced meal daily. A healthy meal plan is one that includes whole grains and millets, which in addition to energy-filled and healthy carbs, add fiber and phytonutrients, both of which help keep our body healthy. Lots of fresh whole fruits and vegetables are rich sources of important vitamins and loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that keep our body de-stressed. Consume adequate milk, yogurt, and other milk products for calcium, Vitamin D (fortified milk), and quality proteins, which is the building block for our cells. 

Healthy fats from vegetables oils are also helpful, so are healthy protein packages like lean meats, chicken, eggs, fish and plant proteins like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Plant proteins also add fiber and phytonutrients to boost the immune system

Emphasise on these nutrients: Certain vitamins and minerals are associated with a more robust immune system. Vitamins A, C, E, D and B6 are helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system. Minerals that work positively for our immune system include zinc, copper and selenium. 

Prebiotic and probiotic foods, which encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria, are also important. They include non-digestible carbohydrates that become food for healthy gut bacteria. Whole foods like grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits are good sources. Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, idli, dosa, are all good sources of probiotics. Both Pre and Probiotics have a positive effect on enhancing the immunity quotient of our body.

Spices also play a major role in protecting our body as they have shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Traditional medicine has established the role of spices like turmeric, and herbs like Ashwagandha roots, in enhancing our ability to fight infections and inflammatory processes.

(Also Read: Top 7 Zinc-Rich Foods For Immunity You Can Include In Your Summer Diet)

Nutrient Food Source Action
Vitamin A & Beta carotene Green leafy vegetables, Papaya, Mango, all orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Animal Proteins Increase Killer T cells, the first antibody response
Vitamin C Citrus fruits, Papaya, Mango, Grapes, amla, Red bell peppers Phagocytes and T cells of the immune system need Vitamin C to function.
Vitamin E Green Leafy Vegetables, Fish, Nuts and seeds Enhances immune response by supporting various immune system mechanisms
Zinc Animal meat, Legumes and Millets Nuts and seeds Zinc is crucial for the development & functions of cells involved in the immune system
Selenium Walnut Organ meats, sea food Se regulates oxidative stress in nearly all tissues and cells of our body including those of the immune system.
Copper Whole grains, Beans, Nuts, Shell fish, Dried prunes Copper is needed by the immune system to perform several functions
Omega -3 fats Almonds, Walnuts, Fenugreek seeds, Flaxseeds, Mustard oil and fatty fish. Omega-3 fats activate cells from both the innate and adaptive immune systems, optimizing immune responses.

Other than food, habits that promote a healthy lifestyle also build up immunity, so…
De-Stress: Stress causes the immune system to work less efficiently, as the ability of the system to fight antigens reduces. Stress increases the release of Corticosteroid, the stress hormone, which is known to suppress the immune system. Also, when we are stressed, we may eat soul food, high sugar and fat foods or indulge in unhealthy binge-eating. 

Coping with stress needs you to do simple things that make you happy. Talk to people who make you happy, revisit or start a hobby to keep your mind occupied. If you are working from home, then organise your day and be stress free. Take short breaks, eat at regular times – it helps calm the body’s physiological system. Don’t fret and worry, get correct information from the right source, so that you can understand your risk profile and take correct precautions.  

Get Active: Set aside 30-45 minutes for good physical movement, you can do it at home. Include your family and make it a fun time.

Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of water; hydration keeps you feeling energetic and also helps with a good response to infections.

STAY SAFE, PRACTISE SOCIAL DISTANCING, WEAR A MASK .
 

About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

How to combat PCOS in the lockdown

How to combat PCOS in the lockdown

  • June 28, 2020
New Delhi, June 28 (IANSlife) One in every five women is affected by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); a hormonal disorder which causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.

It is a common lifestyle disorder in reproductive women, and it is known to be the root cause of many lifestyle disorders in the later stage of life if not controlled at an early stage. According to a study conducted by the department of endocrinology and metabolism (AIIMS), about 20-25 percent of Indian women of childbearing age are suffering from PCOS, while 60 per cent of women with PCOS are obese, 35-50 per cent have a fatty liver. About 70 per cent have insulin resistance, 60-70 per cent have high level of androgen and 40-60 per cent have glucose intolerance.

With so many of us stuck in lockdown and quarantine, it is not easy to cope with the anxiety of PCOS and coronavirus. Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida discusses some ways you can manage your PCOS, a by-product of the sedentary digital era.

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Diet management

Dr Ranjan: Since junk food is not easily available due to the lockdown, doctors suggests women should use the lockdown as an opportunity to lose weight by shunning high-calorie foods and going for oats, dalia, and poha instead. Food plays an important role in managing this condition. A person with PCOS has to keep her diet on check as weight gain can have adverse affect them. Junk foods including processed foods, sugary beverages, processed meats, red meats should be avoided.

Regular exercise is the key

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Ranjan: Weight loss is an effective way to manage PCOS. Various research have found out that women who does 3 hours of aerobic exercise per week had improved insulin sensitivity, cholesterol and visceral fat (that fat around your belly) even though they did not lose any weight. So, don’t get disheartened when your weighing machine is not showing any improvement in the weight management. Just continue doing your regular exercise.

You don’t need to join a gym or purchase a ton of expensive exercise equipment. All you need are some basic items that you can probably get from around the house. There are three basic principles of exercise, that when used, are instrumental: cardiovascular health, weight training, and flexibility. Menstrual cycles can be regularised with the help of regular exercise and hormonal pills (upon your doctor’s advice, of course).

Creating awareness about mental and emotional health

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Ranjan: PCOS women are more prone to mood swings, depression and other mental issues. Therefore, it is pivotal to include mental and emotional wellness in the PCOS management, PCOS is one of the most prevalent health condition of women not only in India but also in the world. But it’s sad that despite being so common endocrine (hormonal) disorder, this disease is poorly understood by many.

Since there is no permanent “cure” for PCOS, women struggle with their symptoms on a daily basis. The sheer weight of the continual battle often has its impact on a woman’s mental health. So, friends and family should be extra kind towads them.

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

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–IANS

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Heading back to work after Lockdown? Now is a critical time for boosting your immunity

Heading back to work after Lockdown? Now is a critical time for boosting your immunity

  • June 26, 2020

Conversations and news reports are focusing almost exclusively on a move to lockdown level three and beyond, and the reopening the economy brings renewed focus on keeping healthy, central to which is maintaining an optimally functioning immune system.

With the combined easing of lockdown levels which sees industries, business and retail starting to reopen, together with a seasonal upswing in cold and flu cases, many people are wondering how best to strengthen their vital natural defence mechanisms1.

Coupled with this, the imminent onset of winter which brings a related increase in cold and flu infections, sees the importance of boosting your immune system moving up the annual health agenda.

“While business and factories are taking several precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their staff, there is still so much uncertainty about “getting back to normal” and by necessity, people are being ultra-cautious. Any additional measures that individuals can take that will add a greater element of protection are worth considering,” says Joan van Wyngaard, a pharmacist at Nativa, where Linctagon® is manufactured.

A healthy diet, exercise, limiting stress and getting enough sleep all contribute to the functioning of the immune system, yet few South Africans are aware of a small plant indigenous to South Africa which is believed to have strong immune boosting properties. Pelargonium sidoides, a humble shrub that grows abundantly in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho grasslands, is a medicinal plant native to South Africa. Its common names include Umckaloabo and the South African Geranium.  It has been in the spotlight over the last few years regarding its proven potential to boost the immune system. In fact, the root extract of Pelargonium sidoides has been used for centuries by traditional healers as a tonic to boost immunity but also as a therapy for bacterial and viral infections of the lungs3 and is used worldwide in a myriad of cold and flu remedies5.

Van Wyngaard says doing all you can to keep your immune response as strong as possible should be an important consideration all year round, especially in autumn and winter when colds and flu are more widespread and even more so now in these unprecedented times.

“At the forefront of disease prevention methods are the all-important steps of handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people and practicing good hygiene1 practices which are now commonplace among all South Africans. We should be adhering to this all year round! Generally, our immune systems are designed to defend us against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it does fail, allowing germs in and making you sick2,” she says.

Van Wyngaard says the idea of being able to boost our immune systems has been the subject of much scientific study over the years2, and there is evidence that nutrition and other lifestyle measures can influence our immunity  and our susceptibility to infectious diseases1. “Researchers are continuously exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on our immune response, as well as whether the use of herbs and supplements could have any beneficial effect2.”

Van Wyngaard explains that pharmaceutical biologists have been studying the Pelargonium sidoides plant in an attempt to describe its immune boosting properties and its mode of action, and in particular how it guards against the development of infections, finding that it has remarkable anti-infective properties3. Over 20 clinical studies about one particular extract of Pelargonium sidoides have been conducted globally involving more than 9 000 patients, including both adults and children3.

“In a nutshell, Pelargonium extracts boast proven efficacy in three ways: firstly, preventing pathogens from adhering to cells, secondly fighting viruses and thirdly by stimulating the immune system to hunt down invaders4,” she says.  “It’s South Africa’s homegrown fighter and we like to call it another weapon in our arsenal to help boost the immune system.”

This is more easily understood when you look at how we get sick in the first place.

Our respiratory systems have complex natural defence mechanisms. When someone with a viral infection coughs or sneezes nearby, microbes or pathogens can enter the nose or mouth and be trapped in mucous and tiny hair-like structures called cilia in nasal passages and airways4. This is called adhesion3. Our natural filtration system will attempt to clean the air entering our lungs4, and Pelargonium sidoides has been shown to increase the frequency with which these cilia beat, essentially sweeping the airways clean more often which further strengthens our primary defences against invading particles4. This is of particular importance as the increased frequency of the cilia could potentially prevent pathogenic particles from entering deep lung tissue3.

Pelargonium sidoides also act as an expectorant, assisting the body to expel contaminated mucous4. During an infection, this could once again reduce the number of microbes accessing the airway3.

Furthermore, researchers have also pointed to the viral suppression effects of Pelargonium extracts and the benefit this could have in preventing enveloped viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus and coxsackie virus from binding to host cells3.

Several clinical trials have looked specifically at the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of Pelargonium and its ability to stimulate the immune system. Research has shown that even low doses influence human white blood cells, causing the release of powerful natural antiviral factors called ‘interferons’, which interfere with the replication of viruses.  Clinical trials also show that Pelargonium extracts exhibit antibacterial properties which is particularly relevant to complications arising from secondary infections especially in older and immune compromised patients.3

“Generally, Pelargonium extracts, available in over the counter colds and flu products, have been shown to help inhibit “sickness behaviour”, and assist with the alleviation of symptoms which in essence means that even if you do get sick, you should feel better faster,” van Wyngaard comments.

At this time of the year, and especially when we are all concerned about keeping healthy and supporting the immune system to fight disease, look after your physical wellbeing by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly if possible, maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate sleep, avoiding alcohol, minimising stress and avoiding of  cigarette smoking2.  And don’t forget to practice good hygiene1 and keep practising social distancing.

Go to https://www.linctagon.co.za/ for more information.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about more ways to boost your immune system.

This unregistered medicine has not been evaluated by SAHPRA for its quality, safety or intended use

Issued on behalf of Nativa by GGI Communications

 

References:

  1. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Foods to Boost the Immune System (2020) at https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/foods-boost-immune-system (website accessed on 25 March 2020)
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. How to boost your immune system (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system (website accessed on 25 March 2020)
  3. Kolodziej, H.  2011.  Antimicrobial, antiviral and immunomodulatory activity studies of Pelargonium sidoides (Eps® 7630) in the context of Health Promotion.  Pharmaceuticals 4, 1295-1314.
  4. Schwabe – Kaloba® (Eps® 7630) Pelargonium Sidoides (http://www.schwabepharma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Kaloba-Monograph-PRINT.pdf)
  5. Moyo M, Van Staden J.  2014.  Medicinal properties and conservation of Pelargonium sidoides DC.  Journal of ethnopharmacology. 152:243-255.

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