Move Together To Promote Mental Health

March 1st, 2010 healthwiki Mental Health 0

Although mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and the country, it is largely neglected and often overlooked in Bangladesh. World Health Organisation (WHO) has given utmost importance to promote mental health services and has been campaigning for the full incorporation of mental health in public health. But it is matter of great regret that many people including some of health professionals are very reluctant to give mental health a priority.

About 16.01 per cent adult and 18.35 per cent children are suffering from mental illness in Bangladesh. With this enormous disease burden, a very few number of mental health professionals are struggling to cope with mental disorders. There are only 120 psychiatrists in our country. Other mental health professionals (psychologists, psychiatric nurses etc) are also very limited in number.

WHO published an assessment instrument for mental health system in Bangladesh in 2007. It revealed — there are 0.073 psychiatrist and 0.00071 psychologist per 100000 populations. Total indoor beds for mental patients are only 813 against the whole population (0.58 bed/100000 people). With the lack of resources, we have many negative attitudes to the mental health issues.

WHO stated that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness, and it is vital to individuals, families and societies. Mental health is determined by socioeconomic factors, linked to behaviour. There are lots of impact on mental health from the global warming and climate change, but little crying we hear from the environmentalist on this issue.

Beside the individual disease burden, there is huge impact of mental health on social capital. The level of well being, physical health, knowledge and skill, productivity, quality of relationship, sexual satisfaction, trust, social cohesion all are integrated to mental health and ultimately linked with social capital. Good mental health is also an important resource for families, communities and nations. Mental health is a useful tool in the human rights framework.

Among the global disease burden, mental illnesses pose a bigger place than many of overemphasised physical illnesses. Our attitude towards mental health is running on the wrong track. It is time to change our attitude and false belief. Mental health concerns everyone as it is generated in our everyday lives at homes, schools and workplace. Positive mental health contributes to the social, human and economic capital of societies. To promote mental health, we all should move together.

A Path to Better Health

August 28th, 2009 healthwiki Health Resources 0

Like Islam, many of the world’s religions and spiritual practices include element of fasting as a way to boost their spiritual development. Alongside with the spiritual significance, fasting has certain physical, psychological and social benefits. By maintaining proper norms of Ramadan, we can get these benefits and move a significant step towards better health.

Increasingly, scientists are starting to recognise the benefits of fasting that reduces energy intake. Research on animals shows a restricted-calorie diet increases life span. There seem to be two mechanisms by which it amplifies life span.

First, it reduces free radical production, or the production of highly toxic forms of oxygen that damages cell and the second is that calorie restriction increases the resistance of cells to stress. Both of these are important in protecting against a number of different diseases that have a negative impact on life span. It helps in reducing cholesterol levels and improves blood glucose levels and provides protection of certain emerging diseases like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer etc.

Research by Zafar Nomani, Professor Emeritus of Human Nutrition and Foods, West Virginia University has shown that the basal metabolism of fasting individuals slows down during Ramadan. A person can stay healthy and active during Ramadan consuming a diet that is less than that of the normal intake but balanced in nutrients.

Some studies suggest that many people are consuming too many calories that are not nutritious and not consuming enough of the right kinds of calories. Cutting calories excessively and not paying attention to the quality of food may result in severe health consequences. This practice can affect our immune system, concentration and ability to focus.

Some people overeat during Ramadan and especially bulge their bellies with fried and fatty food. Studies indicate that health problems can emerge as a result of eating too much or eating a diet that is not balanced. The body has regulatory mechanisms that activate during fasting and we do not need to overeat to get the essential nutrients.

Changing the food habit is particularly important in Ramadan to get health benefits. Slow-digesting foods that contain grains and seeds like wheat, oats, beans, lentils and unpolished rice. These foods can last for up to eight hours, making them more suitable for fasting.

Dates and juices are good sources of sugars that can bring low blood glucose level to normal level rapidly. Indeed, breaking the fast with several dates is considered “sunnah” in Islam that was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Muslims are advised to refrain from not only food and water, but also from other bad habits like smoking, foul talk and harm to others. The restrictions — both caloric and behavioral — can be good for us holistically for sustaining good practice in time after Ramadan.

Vegetarian Diet Planning

June 5th, 2009 healthwiki Weight Loss 0

Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet is not as simple as scraping meat off your plate and eating what is left. You need to take extra steps to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional needs. Find out what you need to know about a plant-based diet.

Vegetarian diet planning
A healthy vegetarian diet consists primarily of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because the emphasis is on nonmeat food sources, a vegetarian diet generally contains less fat and cholesterol, and typically includes more fiber.

Meat alternatives
Drink fortified soymilk, rice milk or almond milk in place of cow’s milk.

Butter: When sautéing, use olive oil, water, vegetable broth, wine or fat-free cooking spray instead of butter. In baked goods, use canola oil.

Cheese: Use soy cheese or nutritional yeast flakes, which are available in health food stores.

Eggs: In baked goods, try commercial egg replacers a dry product made mostly of potato starch.

Ensuring adequate nutrition
A vegan diet, for example, eliminates food sources of vitamin B-12, as well as milk products, which are a good source of calcium. Other nutrients, such as iron and zinc, are available in a meatless diet, but you need to make an extra effort to ensure they are in yours.

Protein: Your body needs protein to maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Vegetarians who eat eggs or dairy products have convenient sources of protein. Other sources of protein include soy products, meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Calcium: This mineral helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Low-fat dairy foods and dark green vegetables, such as spinach, turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli, are good sources of calcium. Tofu enriched with calcium and fortified soy milk and fruit juices are other options.

Vitamin B-12: Your body needs vitamin B-12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products, including milk, eggs and cheese. Vegans can get vitamin B-12 from some enriched cereals, fortified soy products or by taking a supplement that contains this vitamin.

Iron: Like vitamin B-12, iron is a crucial component of red blood cells. Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. To help your body absorb nonanimal sources of iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C such as strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli at the same time you consume iron-containing foods.

Zinc: This mineral is an essential component of many enzymes and plays a role in cell division and in the formation of proteins. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, nuts and wheat germ.

Since no single food provides all of the nutrients that your body needs, eating a wide variety helps ensure that you get the necessary nutrients and other substances that promote good health.

One of The Most Basic Tenets of Weight Loss

January 25th, 2009 healthwiki Weight Loss 0

One of the most basic tenets of weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. It is not terribly complicated, but it can easily lead to one of the most common weight-loss misconceptions: The less you eat, the more you lose.

This truth does apply to a certain extent — if you eat more calories than your body needs to maintain your weight, you will gain weight. However, if you suddenly drop your caloric intake too low, your body will think you are starving and go into survival mode. If you do not eat enough, you will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

A healthy diet generally will not drop your caloric intake below 1,200 calories, but you will need to find your “magic number” for optimum weight loss. Research suggests that women who consume less than the optimal amount see their resting metabolic rate plummet by as much as 45 percent.

Don’t be surprised if you need to adjust your calories several times throughout your weight-loss journey, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Your calories will need to be adjusted to account for your changing weight, activity level and metabolism.

The best way to lose weight is to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders by eating enough calories, which can be accomplished by following these simple steps:

Always eat breakfast. may be there is no time for breakfast, you are not hungry enough and you can save some calories by skipping it. But this is completely wrong. While you are asleep, your metabolism slows down, and it does not pick back up until you eat something. Eating breakfast is crucial for boosting your metabolism first thing in the morning and burning more calories all day long. It does not need to be a hot-cooked breakfast that takes long to prepare, either.

Even if you just grab a piece of fruit and a string cheese on your way out the door, you need to at least eat something to get your system going in the morning.

Eat more often. That is right, eating every two to three hours will not only keep you from gorging at meals because you are starving, but it also keeps your metabolic rate higher because it takes more energy to digest food. Shoot for eating smaller meals and snacks — yes, you can snack! Aim for 200 to 400 calorie mini-meals every few hours and keep your metabolism stoked.

Plan your meals. It does take a little work to learn to plan ahead, but once you get into the groove, it is a piece of cake. You will find that by knowing what and when you are going to eat, you have more energy throughout the day and you will have a steadier stream of nutrients supplied to your body. The other key is to make sure you have proper snack foods on hand, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts — anything that is high in fiber is helpful, too.

Once you get your body used to a regular healthy routine, you will be on your way to serious weight loss without the starvation associated with it.

The New Year Health Guide For 2009

January 8th, 2009 healthwiki Health Resources 0

The New Year has just started. It is the perfect time for a fresh start. Many people are planning to make resolutions in health for the New Year to improve their life such as losing weight, exercising more, getting more organised or quitting smoking. But none of these will be effective without a proper health checklist, something that prioritises the important things you need to do this year, this decade and for the rest of your life. All you require is a roadmap to hit the highway to better health. The following things can help you to make 2009 your year of good health.

Control your weight
Measure your height and weight to figure out your body mass index (BMI). Or just measure your waist. Abdominal fat is a major health hazard for men. Risk mounts with waist sizes above 37.5 inches, and measurements of 40 inches and above are truly dangerous. Eat fewer calories and burn up more in exercise.

Eat right
Cut down on saturated fat and cholesterol by limiting red meat, whole-fat dairy products and egg yolk. Avoid fats in stick margarine, fried foods and many snack and junk foods. Eat lots of fishes. Load up on whole-grain products instead of refined grains and simple sugars. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut down on sodium (salt). And if you need to shed excess pounds, reduce your portion size, avoid calorie-dense foods, and cut your overall caloric intake.

Avoid tobacco
If you are a smoker, quitting is your first priority. Counselling and support groups can help in this regard. With physician’s advice you can use nicotine-replacement therapy or prescription medications, such as bupropion and varenicline (drugs used for cessation of smoking). Even if you do not smoke, you should resolve to help a buddy or relative who needs to kick the habit. And remember to protect yourself and your family by steering clear of secondhand smoke.

Exercise regularly
You do not have to hit the gym or train for a marathon to benefit from exercise. Build physical activity into your daily schedule. Take the stairs, do household chores, play active games with your kids. Above all, walk whenever and wherever you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day, either all at once or in smaller chunks. If you have diseases like asthma that do not allow more exercise or need special precaution then consult with your physician.

Reduce stress
Figure out what makes you tense and then try to change the things you can control. Talk over your problems and worries. Get enough sleep. Do things that are fun, especially with people you like. Avoid TV broadcasts and tabloids. Exercise to burn off stress. Avoid caffeine if it makes you jittery. Do not try to medicate yourself with alcohol or drugs. Learn to appreciate and enjoy life’s many little pleasures. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. Talk to your doctor if you need more help.

Protect yourself from infection
Be sure your immunisations are up to date. If you are ill, protect others by avoiding crowds and coughing into a tissue. Wash your hands often, and use an alcohol-based hand rub. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

Prevent accidents and injuries
Many result from careless behavior. Wear seatbelts and drive defensively. Check your house for clutter and cords that might trip you up. Hold the handrail when walking stairs.

Avoid environmental hazards
These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin. These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin.

Get good medical care
See your doctor regularly. Know your numbers cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight. Take your medication as directed. Keep a record of your major illnesses and tests, your medications, and your allergies. Listen to your body and let your doctor know if you do not feel well.

If it seems like a lot, it is. But there are 12 months in 2009 and only 10 resolutions. Pick the ones you need most, change slowly, and get your family and friends to sign on to your resolutions for health. Above all, do not give up if you slip from time to time. Your goal is not perfection, but health. Take the long view and keep plugging away. Any progress you make in 2009 will give you a leg up for 2010 and beyond. If you make 2009 your health year, it will be a happy new year.