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Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

Sleep is a fundamental requirement just like food and diet is for the functioning of a healthy body. Sleep even lays the ground work for a productive day ahead. Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.

Studies show that women need more sleep than men. “Poor sleep certainly had a more profound effect on women than on men,” says Edward Suarez, Ph.D., an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine
“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England, told The Australian. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more it needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. Women tend to multi-task — they do lot at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”

It follows that, if men used their brains more during the day, they would need a couple of extra hours too. “A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman,” Horne said.
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital, but just as important is the quality of your sleep. Biological conditions of women are unique, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. All of these conditions can affect how well a woman sleeps. This is because the changing levels of hormones that a woman experiences throughout the month and over her lifetime, like the levels of estrogen and progesterone, have an impact on sleep.

Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease and obesity because lack of sleep causes increases secretion of the leptin hormone, which leads to excessive food cravings and may cause obesity. This even causes heart disease if left untreated. Lack of sleep leads to diabetes due to increased levels of the stress hormone, which stimulates the production of insulin and causes high blood sugar level, as well as more stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. However, these associations were weaker for men.
So go to bed at the same time every day of the week, avoid heavy meals before bed, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, nap occasionally to make up for lost sleep, eat healthy and exercise daily.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Childhood Obesity Can Have a Lifelong Impact

Childhood obesity is a medical condition that is regularly overlooked and ignored by parents of sufferers. Since obesity does not have any immediate impact on the health of the child, it is not paid much heed. Childhood obesity can not only have an impact on the child’s health, even worse is it’s lifelong impact. It is estimated that one in five children is overweight between the age of 6 to 17. Many of these children face a high risk of developing obesity related problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Here we will give you more information about the causes of childhood obesity along with it’s lifelong impacts.
The many reasons of childhood obesity:-

1. Eating Habits

Eating high calorie food such as sugary snacks, foods high on saturated fat and unhealthy beverages on a regular basis may lead to uncontrolled weight gain for your child.

2. Lack of exercise and physical activity

Children who rarely exercise or play some sport are more prone to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories as they consume.

3. Psychological factors and lack of productive activities

Some children tend to eat more just to avoid stress and boredom.

4. Family routines

If you tend to buy foods that are convenient to eat and tasty, such as cookies and chips, your child will have a higher risk of being obese. You have to inculcate good eating habits in your child and try to minimize their exposure to unhealthy foods.

Long term effects of childhood obesity

The long term effects of childhood obesity include pre-disposition to many life threatening lifestyle diseases as an adult. Some of the problems – Arteries becoming clogged may lead to strokes and heart attacks, the colon could get a tendency towards polyps that leads to colon cancer, the bones and joints can become over worked from carrying all the extra weight over the years, leading to joint dysfunctions.

Psychologically, an obese child tends to have low self esteem and depression. They also tend to be emotional about their weight, leading to further emotional overeating.

So one of the ways to reduce this problem is to improve diet and exercise habits of the child and to make it a permanent part of their lifestyle. Treating and preventing childhood obesity will protect your child’s health now, and in the future.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

7 health risks of diet cola

Diet cola is the companion of dieters everywhere because it seems to be a healthy choice. Diet cola satisfies your urge for sweet beverages. It includes artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. It may be free of calories but it is not free of side effects. Here are few reasons to avoid diet cola:-

1.Kidney damage:-
A study found a 30% drop in the level of

kidney function in those women who drank 2 or more servings of diet cola a day. This is because the artificial sweeteners in diet cola scar kidney tissues which affect the kidney blood filtration process.

2. Weight gain:-
Surprising, but true; diet cola consumption increases the risk of obesity. Researchers found that some people may feel that drinking diet cola gives them a “free pass” to eat high calorie unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain. Also, the sweet taste of diet cola makes us crave high calorie unhealthy foods. And depriving the body of these unhealthy foods confuses the brain, and the appetite increases in anticipation of the food it is expecting.

3. Total enamel damage:-
Most of the diet colas contain phosphoric acid and some citric acid for carbonation (process of dissolving carbon dioxide in liquid) which erodes tooth enamel.

4. Bone loss:-
Drinking diet cola can lead to bone loss because phosphoric acid in diet cola causes faster than normal excretion of the calcium in blood through urine. Your bones give up some of their calcium to the blood stream in order to maintain a constant level.

5. No nutritional value:-
Diet Cola might have close to no calories, but it has absolutely no nutrients and does not benefit the body in any way and only causes harm.

6. Causes depression/insomnia/fatigue:-
Artificial sweeteners in diet cola inhibit the function of serotonin(a neurotransmitter) and causes depression ,insomnia, irritability, fatigue and anxiety.

7. Heart attack:-
According to researches, consuming more than one diet cola a day may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack by 43%.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are Dates Healthy?

There are lots of speculations if dates are healthy or not? Calling it healthy or not so healthy depends on whether you should include it in your diet for its health benefits or you can use it as a substitute for sugar incase you are trying to lose weight. Dates are the fruits of the date palm which can be eaten fresh or dried though both the forms are nutritious. It helps in lowering cholesterol and and has anti-oxidation properties that protect the body against free radicals.

Dried Date fruit (Cr/freedigital)

Dates are high in fiber which relieves constipation and the high amount of carbohydrates in it provides high calories. The one drawback with dates is that it is high in glycemic index and contains a lot of sugar which can increase blood sugar levels. It is often substituted for sweets, candies or to control sweet craving as it is healthier than processed sugar and carries a lots of minerals and vitamins for the body to nourish with health benefits. But due to its high glycemic properties dates are associated with foods that can result in weight gain.

Dates have an average gylcemic index (GI) of 103, which is very high and not recommended for people on a weight loss program or suffering from high sugar levels. More and more health experts promote food that have low GI as the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and also beneficial for sustainable weight loss.Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food (GI < 55). Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate (55< GI <70). High Glycemic Index foods are with GI index more than 70 (GI >70).

Besides its single but important drawback dates have many other health benefits. They are high in potassium which maintains blood pressure and maintains nerves and muscles.The magnesium in dates help relive muscles, fatigue, nerves and reduces tension. Dates are rich in calcium, iron, copper and manganese with B vitamins to better enzyme activity. All the nutrition of the dried fruit promote better health.

You can eat the fruit raw or use your culinary skills in making delicious combinations with in in your diet. You could include it with milk, fruits, salads or bread. Its sweet and can be eaten when we are overburdened with work and mind seems wandering as it relives stress and anxiety with instant energy. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Pilates Exercises

Pilate is a form of exercise that works the abs and hips for a better balance in the body and to develop strength, flexibility, endurance and right spinal posture. It is a unique style of flowing stretching exercises that can be done with equipments, especially designed for pilates exercises, or even without any equipment using body weight for best results. It is controlled exercise where the mind controls muscles.

Women exercising(Cr/freedigital)

Doing pilates makes helps improve cordination between your legs, arms back and hips. Performing pilates requires a lot of concentration and requires focus on muscles being exercised. Pilates are easy to begin with as have been categorised in different routines for beginners, intermediate and experts. It is liked by dancers, gymnasts, celebs for better flexibility and strength in the body. It focuses on breathing and works the entire body for compounded results.

Benefits of Pilates

Builds Muscles: If you want lean and muscular body like some of the celebrities then pilates is the option for you. It works on the whole body rather than one muscle. It also helps build strength in the muscles for more power.

Mind Body Workout: It involves exercises and movements along with deep breathing. It tones the mind and improves concentration and better body awareness. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depressions.

Strengthening the core: Pilates strengthens the core and hips bringing about a straighter spine and posture to the body. It involves the abs and back at large and benefits in generating power in the body. A well built core give a good balance to the body making normal movements easier.

Getting Efficient: As pilates works on the whole body rather than a single part it develops muscles all over decreasing the possibility of injuries in the body. The pilates workout helps people with joint pains, back pains and muscle stiffness and is a complete whole body exercise.

It could seem difficult in the starting as it involves a lot of core exercises but as the saying goes no pain, no gain. It works your body for fitness and mind for daily life.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Think Before You Drink!

You stay away from the most obvious signs of sugar in your food,. Avoid desserts, don’t take sugar in your tea/coffee. But sometimes you ignore the not so obvious forms of sugar that might be harming you. To start the damage control right away here are a few ways how sugar is finding way to your system.

Carbonated Drink (Cr/freedigital)

Cola drinks(Regular and diet): The cola drinks are soda and added sweeteners and artificial colors present in it. The soda present in it increases the level of co2 in the body which results in the reduction of anti-oxidants in the body. It contains a high amount of sugar in it which is not good for the health (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are Diet Pills the Best Option!

Diet pills are getting more popular for fast weight loss. There are many successful as well as not so successful stories about these fat loss pills.  Lets explore more about these pills and how they really work. Quick weight loss without diet and exercise has created the hype around diet pills which is increasingly finding its space in drug stores & superstores. But the questions remains the same, is it a healthier
option and does it help in weight loss.

diet-pills (Cr/freedigital)

What is most commonly seen is that some diet pills work and some don’t depending upon the constitution of chemicals in the pills. Probability of effectiveness of the diet pills also varies with body type (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Iced Tea or Green Tea

You’ve heard that tea is good for health. So, many people drink tea any its variations instead of carbonated drinks, etc. Now tea variations are like iced tea, green tea, black tea, milk tea, etc. Some are healthy, some are not. We’ll tell you which ones to go for between iced tea and green tea.

iced-tea (Cr/freedigital)

Iced Tea is a popular choice as a daily beverage for refreshment. But most iced tea options contain (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Manage Menopause Weight Gain

Weight gain during menopause is a big concern for women. The menopausal phase triggers changes in body shape resulting on an average weight gain of about  5-10 kg. This weight is primarily  hormone related and has a direct impact on appetite, metabolism, and fat storage.  Therefore controlling weight during this time becomes extremely difficult due to fluctuating estrogen, testosterone, and androgen levels. These added kilos further aggravate depression and anxiety which in turns can bring on the hot flashes and disturbed sleep.

Estrogen plays a big role in menopausal weight gain especially as the estrogen levels decline with age as the body stops ovulating. Due to the decrease in estrogen levels produced by the ovaries, body searches for other sources to substitute the shortage of estrogen in the body. Meanwhile fat cells in our body have the natural capability to produce estrogen, hence the body starts restoring to these cells  to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unfortunately fat cells don’t burn calories the way muscle cells do, which causes this unwanted (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo