To look good later, start now

Jul 17, 2012, 07:35 IST | The Features Team

Wellness expert Namita Jain shares tips on how to eat better, boost your metabolism and stay positive, while beating lifestyle disease in her latest book, Sexy at Sixty. Here are extracts from the book to help get you on the road to wellness before you hit 60

Listen to your heart (pg 53)
If you’ve been raised on a staple diet of Hindi movies, you could be forgiven for believing that heart attacks almost always involve sudden, severe chest pains that being about much clutching at the heart and collapsing! Most people experience much subtler symptoms: a hurting arm, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, pain in the jaw, neck, shoulder, dizziness and tiredness. This makes it imperative that you remain alert to any symptom that’s out of the ordinary. And even if it proves to be nothing more than indigestion (at least you can laugh at it), it should not stop you from seeking immediate medical attention.

Posture Perfect (pgs 139, 140, 143)
You may not know it, but there are actually different kinds of bad posture (with scientific names too!), depending on which way your body tends to stoop. Here are three out of the eight most common ones:
1. Kyphosis: Or the hunchback posture. Here are the upper back is excessively rounded.
2. Scoliosis: Or the sideways posture. Here the spine tends to lean more to one side.
3. Lordosis: Or the potbellied posture. Here the lower spine tends to excessively curve inwards.

The Causes
There are several reasons why people tend to develop poor posture over a period of time. Here a re a few reasons:
Impossible high heels look delectable, but can take a toll on your spinal cord.
Overcome it: Don’t throw away those high-heeled Jimmy Choo sandals away. Flaunt them by all means, but only for shorter duration and when not too much walking/ standing up is involved. Keep a pair of sensible and comfortable shoes handy in your car. To be slipped into when the party is over.

An improper bra size is likely to tug at your breasts and consequently at your back.
Overcome it: Spend some time on getting the measurements right and try out different styles before choosing ones that falls in line with your centre of gravity.

Spending hours hunched before the computer screen may pass off as your job; but it isn’t doing any favours to your back. In fact, it’s what can give rise to a hunched back in the long run.

Overcome it: Invest in a chair with a straight back, arm support and a firm cushion. When seated, tuck a small, firm cushion in the small of your back for support. Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly. Necessity is the mother of invention, as Mandar, an architect, so aptly demonstrates: ‘I put a carton under my desk to rest my feet on.’ The screen of the computer should be at eye level, so that the spine and neck are not strained. Avoid sitting for long periods. Take frequent breaks to move and stretch your muscles, if your job keeps you standing for long hours, use your breaks to sit down and relax.

Tomato - is high in Gamma-Amino Butyric Acis (GABA), a compound that lowers blood pressure

Friends and Foes (pgs 55 to 57)
In every sphere of life it is essential that you learn to sift the friends from the foes. The same rules apply to your food as well.

Friends (will give your heart a helping hand)
Celery - helps lower blood pressure
Garlic - is beneficial for the heart
Saffron - contains crocetin that helps lower blood pressure
Fish - is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart diseases and strokes
Low-fat milk and milk products - are calcium-rich and don’t contain as much saturated fat as their regular counterparts
Sprouts - are packed with nutrients, especially proteins
Whole grains - are nutritious and they come with the added advantage of being high in fibre
Fresh fruits and vegetables - surely no list is complete without them
Nuts (only consume a fistful) and seeds - are a source of good mono and polyunsaturated fats, so say yes to almonds, walnuts, flax and sunflower seeds

FOES (don’t have your best interests at heart)
Salt - causes water retention and high blood pressure. Restrict intake to a teaspoon per day
Processed and packaged foods - including canned soups, ketchups, sauces and pickles. Again, far too much salt and other preservatives go into their making.
Red meat - has too much cholesterol to do your heart any good
Snacks like chips and fried nuts - count as junk food; best excluded from your diet.

> Consume whole grain instead of refined ones: add atta (wholewheat flour) instead of maida (refined flour) to thicken soups and sauces.
> Boost fibre intake. Eat the skin of the fruit
> Prepare for hunger pangs. Keep handy some kurmura or any roasted savoury for when you feel ‘snacky’
> Vary your cereals. Try bajra, ragi, brown rice and oatmeal as cereal options to whole wheat

Osteoporosis Fight Plan: Exercise (abbreviated exercise plan)
Exercise is crucial, whether or not you already have osteoporosis.
If you do, ask your doctor to recommend a safe workout based on the severity of your condition and current health status.

Stand tall facing the wall. Place palms flat on the wall; more than a shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows and bring chest closer towards the wall. Repeat.

Bicep curls
Sit or stand tall. Hold weight in your palms and bend your elbows slowly, tensing the bicep muscles as you lift up. Then lower down.

Calf lifts
Stand tall. Slowly raise yourself up on your toes, tensing your calf muscles, and then lower yourself.

Extracts taken from Sexy at Sixty -- Health and Beauty at Every Age; Namita Jain; `200; published by Westland. Available in leading book stores. 

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