Air Travel: Staying Healthy While Flying

Originally published on DrZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Traveling the world is a part of many people’s lives with the goal of experiencing new cultures and seeing some of the most iconic landmarks around the globe. Flying, however, is typically the least enjoyable part for most. Aside from the tediousness of navigating your way through airport security and waiting for flight times, the actual flight itself can pose a number of public health concerns that often fall by the wayside.

While in-flight safety and technology has come a remarkably long way since the first commercial airplane, traveling at extreme heights is always challenging to the human body. At heights of over 30,000 feet, oxygen is much more scarce within a plane’s cabin, putting an added stress on the system trying to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. To combat this, it is suggested to take long, easy, deep breaths as consistently as possible. Though this can help, it is highly recommended that frequent air travelers consider the following in-flight strategies in order to maintain their overall health.

Get Up and Move

It is not uncommon for passengers to go the entire duration of their flights without standing. Depending on how long that flight may be, this can be extremely detrimental to the body. Staying seated for long periods of time can cause blood clots in the legs, or deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. These complications can even lead to dehydrations due to the lack of blood reaching your upper body.

If getting up and walking about the cabin is easier said than done, performing simple leg stretches in your seat is a great way to contract the muscles and promote blood flow. These can be anything from deep knee bends, to contracting the calf muscles, to tapping your feet (so long as you aren’t disturbing your fellow passengers).

Limit Your Food Intake

It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping food portion sizes to a bare minimum can help in preserving your health while traveling through the air. According to Pratima Raichur of Pratima Ayurvedic Skin Care, passing on colder foods and drinks can help decrease levels of “Vata,” a dry Ayurvedic constitution that increases in colder settings. Eating warm foods and drinking hot tea or coffee is easier on your digestive system at such heights.

Remain Hygienic

Being on an open plane with possibly hundreds of other people makes for a breeding ground of germs and airborne diseases. Be sure to pack simple hygienic carry ons such as liquid hand sanitizers (under 100ml in volume), tissues, and extra napkins, for example. Another strategy is avoiding sugary drinks, as this can promote the production of phlegm in the back of the throat, leading to coughing and sinus complications.

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Increasing Keratin Through Your Dietary Intake

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body on the inside as it is on the outside. Keratin is a protein that makes up your skin, nails, and hair. It is also found in your internal glands and organs. Keratin is less prone to tearing or scratching compared to any other protein found in the body. It is derived of wool, horn, and feathers of different animals and is often used in hair products. Keratin also strengthens the outer layer of the skin and boosts hair, skin, and nail growth. Keratin treatments and supplements can help strengthen your hair and keep it looking healthier, but there are several ways you can increase your natural keratin by adding certain foods to your diet.

Protein

Start by maintaining a diet that is rich in protein. Protein provides the body with amino acids needed to produce keratin. To prevent heart disease, avoid or limit your intake of fatty red meats. Choose fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, and lean meats instead to boost keratin production and enhance your hair, skin, and nails.

Iron

Foods that are rich in iron help transport oxygen from red blood cells to your hair follicles. Iron is found in animal protein and is easily absorbed by the body. Consume iron-rich foods found in both animal protein and plant foods including duck, turkey, shrimp, eggs, pork, lamb, beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and tofu.

Vitamins

Vitamin C aids in the absorption of vegetarian-based iron. To increase keratin production, eat grapefruit, oranges, papaya, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts at the same time that you eat vegetable-based protein. Vitamin B enhances red blood cells that carry nutrients to your follicles to grow hair. Foods with folate and vitamin B-6 and B-12 include oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, lentils, garbanzo beans, bananas, shellfish, white potatoes, chicken breasts, parsnips, spinach, and beets.

Biotin-Rich Foods

Biotin is essential in metabolizing amino acids that create keratin. It is also useful in strengthening the hair and nails. Dietary sources of biotin are found in raw egg whites, and egg yolks.

Implementing these foods in your diet will affect the growth of new keratin. However, one should not expect immediate results. It can take anywhere from six months to a year for you to see a visible change. Supplements, such as whey protein powder and salon keratin treatments, can help speed things up in some cases.

Fighting Constant Hunger and Maintaining Fitness

It isn’t something many people are proud to admit, but the average caloric intake of Americans today is 20% higher than it was in 1970, and more often than not, our average meals greatly exceed those of other countries in terms of size. So, why is it that many of us are so hungry so frequently? While excessive eating could certainly be a factor, it’s excessive snacking that seems to be our nutritional downfall.

According to personal trainer Sam Wood, there are various reasons why many people find it difficult to suppress their appetites throughout the day. From a sociological standpoint, we’ve been conditioned to believe that more is better when eating. Our average portion sizes as Americans are much larger than what is recommended by health professionals. Even worse, the actual food on our plates is not always what our bodies need.

One prominent issue that has taken the dietary world by storm is the notion that highly caloric foods are unhealthy. Believing this eliminates healthier fats and great sources of protein from one’s diet, seeing as both have higher calorie contents. Carbohydrates are another group of important nutrients that have been cast in a bad light as well, albeit they should be complex carbs and not processed. Complex carbs come with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The goal is to feel comfortably full for as long as possible. Healthy fats, foods rich in protein, and complex carbs will do just that.

The time of day at which you eat could also be beneficial (or detrimental) as well. For example, intermittent fasting allows you to eat all your daily foods within an 8-hour window, thus preventing you from snacking late at night, or eating too early, then feeling hungry again before 10:00 a.m. Though this may sound challenging, there are some helpful rules to abide by:

  • Never eat when bored or due to emotions
  • Meal prep
  • Grocery shop once a week
  • Shoot for 21 meals a week

Sticking to one strict routine can prove challenging. Don’t feel as though this is they key optimal fitness. Changing it up can actually be highly beneficial. For example, some of the most common breakfast foods include bagels, cereal, white toast, etc., all of which are high in carbs that lead to you quickly feeling hungry soon after. More filling foods like eggs, greek yogurt, quinoa can have you feeling fuller longer, while also giving you a protein boost early in your day.

Finding a diet that works for you is exactly that; one that is personal. Results will more than likely vary from person to person, but following these general guidelines could be very helpful.

The Healthiest Grocery Stores to Shop At

Your grocery shopping is extremely significant when it comes to the health of you and your family. There are many natural health food markets and supermarket chains that have expanded their health food offerings in recent years. More stores are beginning to exclude all foods and beverages that carry hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. Here is a list of the best grocery stores for your organic and all-natural health food needs.

  1. Whole Foods Market

You will find over 420 Whole Foods Market stores in the United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada. It is one of the largest supermarket chains in its class. Whole Foods has the widest variety of freshly caught seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef. Their prepared foods are clearly labeled and never contain any additives or preservatives.

  1. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s carries 80% of their own chain’s brands. While this grocery store is drastically smaller than your local supermarket, the food they do sell is often delicious and impressive. The meals in their brand contain no GMO’s, trans fats, MSG, or artificial preservatives. Trader Joe’s is truly unique and includes gourmet foods, vegetarian, organic, and alternative items for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

  1. Publix Super Markets

Publix stands out above their competition by making healthy eating a family affair. Pregnant women can join Publix Baby Club and receive newsletters about infants and earn special coupons. They have their own brand of pre-packaged organic foods called “GreenWide.” Publix makes it their focus to guide their patrons towards the produce that is the freshest and most nutritious.

  1. Natural Grocers

Based in Colorado, Natural Grocers now has over 90 stores in 14 states. You will find shelves stocked with organic produce, dietary supplements, vitamins, natural and organic food, and natural body products. Natural Grocers makes a free nutritional health coach available to all of its customers.

  1. Sprouts Farmers Market

Similar to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Sprouts is a chain of over 200 grocery stores that focus on healthy foods, supplements, and fresh produce. Their prices make them extremely competitive with their all-natural and higher-priced competitors. On a daily basis, you will find nutritious fruits, fresh vegetables, a full-service deli, wholesome grains, nuts and sweets, and seafood and meat counters that even make handmade sausages and burgers. Sprouts Farmers Market fully stocks their shelves with ready-to-eat meals, freshly baked goods, gluten-free groceries, and gourmet cheeses, as well.

Testosterone-Boosting Foods for the Male Diet

Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for hair growth, sperm production, and building healthy bones. As men age, or suffer from chronic illness, they lose testosterone which can cause low libido and other medical issues. Testosterone replacement therapy can help men by using medication in the form of pills, patches, or gels. However, there are natural ways to prevent low T levels; by consuming these testosterone-boosting foods.

  1. Tuna

Tuna fish is loaded with vitamin D, which is linked to testosterone production. Tuna is also rich in protein, low in calories, and good for heart health. Both fresh and canned fish can naturally boost testosterone levels. Besides tuna, sardines and salmon are other excellent sources of vitamin D.

  1. Egg yolks

Another rich source of vitamin D, egg yolks contain more nutrients than egg whites and can increase low testosterone. You can safely eat one egg yolk per day if your cholesterol levels are in check.

  1. Fortified cereals

If you have to watch your blood cholesterol, you can still raise your T levels during breakfast with fortified cereals. Many ready-to-eat kinds of cereals on the market today are enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, niacin, iron, riboflavin, and folic acid.

  1. Oysters

Zinc is a vital nutrient that keeps male hormones at regular levels from puberty through adulthood. Oysters are a good source of zinc and are beneficial for men with zinc deficiencies. A daily dose of zinc can increase T levels, especially during weight training. Consumption of oysters has shown to increase the amount of sperm in your semen. They also contain D-aspartic acid which dramatically increases the synthesis of testosterone in the testes.

  1. Beef

While eating too much beef has been linked to certain cancers, some cuts have nutrients to increase testosterone. Chuck roast and ground beef contain zinc, and beef liver has a high source of vitamin D. Choose only lean cuts of beef and avoid eating it on a regular basis.

  1. Beans

Beans are full of plant-based proteins, zinc, and vitamin D, and is powerful at protecting the heart. Choose from kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas or lentils to give yourself a good dose of testosterone-boosting nutrition. Beans provide a winning combo being both low in fat and high in protein.

Free Apps to Help Manage Mental Health

Originally published on DrZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues every day. While therapy can be expensive and out of reach for many, technology today is providing those with an alternative that offers valuable resources making therapeutic techniques more accessible. Within minutes, anyone can download a free app that incorporates Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the privacy of their home.

These apps can address obsessive-compulsive, addiction recovery, bipolar and anxiety disorder, and more. Health experts believe the following free apps can play an important role in the future of mental health.

  1. What’s Up

What’s up uses methods to help individual’s handle stress, anxiety, and depression. It has a built-in habit tracker that will teach you to break your harmful habits and maintain your positive ones. There is a page dedicated to pinpointing what you’re feeling at the time, and how to stop harmful internal monologues.

  1. MoodKit

Using the foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, MoodKit gives their users over 200 different activities to help improve their mood. The app was created by two psychologists with the goal in mind to develop healthy attitudes.

  1. Quit That

This free app helps users beat addictions such as smoking, drugs, or alcohol and monitors your progress. Users can track as many dependencies as they want and keep track of the hours and minutes they’ve been sober.

  1. Mind Shift

Mind Shift was designed specifically for young adults and teenagers struggling with anxiety. It encourages you to take charge of your life and avoid anxious thoughts and feelings. Mind Shift acts as an on-the-go guide at helping you face challenges and intense emotions.

  1. Self-Help For Anxiety Management (SAM)

For those who want to learn about self-help but are not keen to meditation, SAM is the perfect app for you. You can build your 24-hour toolkit to track your anxious behavior and thoughts. It includes a section with 25 different self-help techniques and an online community to connect with others.

  1. Stigma

Stigma is considered one of the best journaling apps around. Its word cloud technology recognizes the words you type the most and makes you reflect on why you keep choosing these words during intense emotions. It has a social network component that lets you message people going through the same thing.

Equipment for the Beginner DJ

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.net

When looking for starter equipment to begin DJing, it’s important to determine what you’re looking to use the equipment for. Are you looking to become involved in more casual DJing at house parties? If so, you can get away without an intensive arsenal of equipment and instead focus on putting your efforts into finding respectable computer and controller setups. Looking to pursue a DJ career where you’ll be performing at clubs and more high-profile venues? You’ll want to consider spending more money on equipment such as turntables and mixers to offer high-quality audio and gain practical and professional experience.

Below is a guide on what DJ equipment you’ll want to look into before getting started.

Computers and Interfaces

In terms of computers, you are free to use your own laptop if you already have one. With free software like Virtual DJ, you can use your computer to choose from libraries of digital music online. If you have a larger budget, you can look into software packages that come with DJ hardware or purchase professional DJ software separately.

Even if you’re using your own computer, you might want to consider investing in audio interfaces. Interfaces such as Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 are able to convert recordings into digital audio and also send digital audio to your venue’s sound system.

Controllers

While it’s possible to perform crossfading and other matches on your laptop’s keyboard, if you want more tactile control with knobs and faders, consider looking into controllers. The Traktor Kontrol S2 is a portable controller that’s compatible with Mac and PC and includes DJ software.

Turntables and CDJs

Turntables offer tactile control over audio files with scratches and other effects. Tables like Numark TT250USBs offer professional options for direct-drive turntables and also offer the option for converting analog records to digital files via computer USB connections. While turntables are tactile, some prove impractical to tote around and limit music selection due to their use of vinyls.

An alternative to a turntable is a CDJ setup. CDJs are digital decks similar to vinyl, but use CDs or a USB stick to provide easy navigation in accessing digital files with the same tactile control as turntables. Setups like Gemini CDJ-700 offer tactile control for audio along with easy-to-navigate touch-screen displays and additional customizable functions.

Mixers

Mixers provide control over audio sound and effects. The DJM-350 is an entry-level mixer that provides customizable controls and offers USB storage for optimal set organization and navigation.

Headphones

DJ headphones are crucial as they isolate and replicate audio sounds like you would be hearing them in the club. Headphones like Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2 isolate sound and separate deep bass and crisp treble frequencies to appropriately monitor feedback in clubs.