Dimensions of Health

The five dimensional model of health includes physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. These health parameters were set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The quality of life of an individual or the overall well-being of an individual is determined by the interactions between these five dimensions. It’s important to understand these dimensions, and find ways to ensure a balance of mind, spirit, and body.

Physical

Physical health refers to the state of the body, and its ability to perform bodily functions. It refers to the aspects that are essential for keeping the body in the best condition. Following are a few ways to ensure good physical health:

➻ Eat nutritious food to keep the body and mind energized.
➻ Never skip meals or overeat.
➻ Water is essential for cleansing the body.
➻ Fitness through exercise will increase immunity and endurance levels of the body.
➻ Regular medical checkups can help in arresting illnesses in their early stages.
➻ Sleep at least for 7 uninterrupted hours daily.
➻ Avoid addictive substances.

Intellectual

This is a cognitive ability to develop skills and knowledge to enhance one’s life. Our intellectual capacity helps to stimulate our creativity and improve our decision-making ability. Here are ways to maintain intellectual health:

➻ Setting realistic goals will go a long way in keeping you healthy.
➻ Explore every opportunity with an open mind.
➻ Be aware of the demands and expectations others have from you.
➻ Have a positive outlook, especially when dealing with conflicts.

Emotional

Our ability to accept and cope with our own feelings, as well as emotions experienced by others is defined as emotional well-being. Emotions contribute to almost all aspects of our life, at times, even setting course of actions. Symptoms of emotional problems such as hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal tendencies are not always easily detectable, and these can have an adverse effect on one’s quality of life.

➻ Awareness and acceptance of our strength and shortcomings is essential for our emotional well-being.
➻ One should have the ability to handle stress and seek help, if needed.
➻ One should build strong communication networks among family, friends, and peers.

Social

Building and maintaining satisfying relationships comes naturally to us, as we are social animals. Being socially accepted is also connected to our emotional well-being.

➻ One should improve or enhance one’s ability to interact with people, and be receptive to their ideas with an open mind.
➻ One should accept and understand diverse cultural norms.
➻ One should build networks among different kinds of people.
➻ One should adopt a positive self-image.
➻ One should enhance interpersonal communication skills.

Spiritual

Our good health is incomplete without being spiritually healthy. Being spiritual translates to the ability and desire to seek meaning and purpose of life. Spiritual health refers to our personal beliefs and values. There are no prescribed ways to attain spiritual well-being. It’s more a matter of looking inwards to understand the meaning of our existence.

Life as we know is a puzzle; health dimensions are separate pieces that need to be fitted together to understand its meaning. Though we all seek a harmonious balance between the mind, body, and spirit to lead an optimal fulfilled life, it’s rarely attained in totality. Our own feelings of weakness and non-acceptance of life’s events causes distress in our daily life. Therefore, one needs to make efforts to understand the roles played by these dimensions, as that would help us attain good health and happiness.

Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa, also known as the Miracle Tree, is a multipurpose plant, as the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots, and even the bark of the tree can be utilized. It is also called the Drumstick Tree by Britishers, while in Philippines it is known as malunggay. The scientific name of this tree isMoringa oleifera. It is a powerhouse of minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Therefore, it is widely promoted in poverty-stricken areas, to counter malnutrition. While conventional treatment methods take months to counter this problem, consumption of the parts of this tree may take just a few days to treat it. Its uses range from being a water purifier to protecting the skin and also, to make perfumes and sprays. The gum of this tree is a diuretic and astringent and can be helpful in treating asthma.

Health Benefits

Seeds

  • The powdered form of moringa seeds is very well-known to treat scurvy, a common skin disease caused by bacterial infections.
  • Crushed seeds are beneficial for purifying and clarifying water to make it available for domestic purposes. The seeds also minimize bacterial concentration of the water, thereby, making it drinkable.
  • They can be used as a relaxant for epilepsy.
  • The seeds consumed in roasted form, encourage urination, thereby, treating urinary problems.
  • When the seeds are roasted, pounded, and mixed with coconut oil, can treat gout, arthritis, rheumatism, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. You just have to apply the above-mentioned mixture to the problem area and see the results.
  • Along with perfumes and sprays the seeds are also useful in manufacturing aromatherapy oils.

Leaves

  • Our body needs calcium for proper growth and maintenance of bones, to prevent and treat bone-related diseases, like osteoporosis. This calcium is normally obtained from milk through daily consumption. However, it may come to you as a surprise, that the leaves of moringa tree contain four times more calcium than that is present in milk. Also, the amount of protein in these leaves is twice the amount present in milk.
  • Bananas are a rich source of potassium, however, the drumstick leaves contain seven times more potassium than bananas.
  • The leaves also contain three times more iron than spinach. Hence, adequate consumption of these leaves can be helpful in preventing anemia.
  • The leaves are extremely beneficial in stimulating metabolism. They are the nutrition boosters, which are known to promote a feeling of well-being in people.
  • They are well-known to provide non-sugar based energy, which means, you can include these leaves in your weight loss diet. On the other hand, diabetics can also keep their sugar level under control.
  • The paste of the leaves beautifies the skin and is, therefore, applied by women to their skin regularly.
  • Oranges contain a large amount of vitamin C, however, the leaves of the miracle tree contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges.
  • The leaves are also rich in beta carotene containing three to five times more beta carotene than carrots.

Flowers

  • The flowers are an effective home remedy for cough and cold. In rural areas, people boil these flowers in water and drink it in the form of tea, for instant relief.
  • They improve the quality and flow of the breast milk when breastfeeding, if consumed in the form of a juice.
  • Like other parts of the tree, the flower juice also encourages urination, which helps in treating as well as preventing several urinary problems.

Pods

  • The pods or fruits of moringa are also known as drumsticks and they taste like asparagus.
  • These drumsticks, especially the raw peas inside these sticks, are a rich source of fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin C, which helps in treating problems related to the liver and the spleen.
  • High protein and fiber content in pods, helps in treating diarrhea.
  • These fruits are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is helpful in maintaining proper vision. Consumption of the pods helps in preventing night blindness and other eye problems in children as well as adults.

Roots

  • A mixture of pounded moringa roots and salt is made into a poultice, which is extremely beneficial for treating rheumatism, relieving arthritic pain, and minimizing lower back or kidney pain.
  • They are also helpful in treating cardiac as well as circulatory problems.
Other Benefits
  • It can be used as a source of bio-fuel.
  • Cooking oil can also be produced from this magical tree. The oil can offer several health benefits that one can get from sunflower oil and olive oil.

Moringa contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. With the endless health benefits, it can be termed as the most nutritious tree on the earth. There are no known side-effects of this magical tree, till date. However, it may interact with certain medications; for instance, if it is taken with drugs like aspirin or other blood thinners, it can increase the risk of bleeding. Hence, you can consult your health care professional, even if you have a slightest doubt about its side effects, prior to consumption. Apart from these possible side effects, it can be easily consumed by children as well as adults, as it is the most natural form of herb without any chemicals, even when consumed as a food supplement. Many people have already started using it in salads, porridge, pastas, breads, etc., to reap the everlasting health benefits of this extraordinary ‘Miracle Tree’.

What is a Balanced Health Triangle

Good health is often compared to a tripod stand. It has 3 legs―nutritious food, adequate sleep, and appropriate exercise. Without any one of these, it is impossible to strike a healthy balance in life.
The term ‘health triangle’ was conceptualized in 1997 by 120 eighth-graders of the Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska. The students were given a task of writing essays on health problems that plagued them and other eight graders in their district. The research was part of the district’s health curriculum that took approximately 10 days to finish. Everyday 1 hour of school time was dedicated to analyzing and pondering over various health issues. Finally, the study boiled down to researching on key aspects of health―physical, mental, and social―that affected overall well-being. The health triaSectionCardngle correlates all 3 aspects of health, meaning if any one aspect is not healthy, it can have a negative impact on the other two. It is elaborated below:

Consider a party person who may show good social skills, but the habit of partying late at night can disturb his sleeping pattern, in turn, affecting his physical and mental health. Now, consider a person who religiously follows his diet and exercise, but ignores attending social events and interacting with friends. This lack of social mobility can also be bad for mental health as the person may feel isolated, which may lead to depression. So, one can see how the sides of the triangle that stand for different aspects of life are interdependent on each other. Therefore, it is essential to balance all the sides of the triangle to achieve overall well-being. A balanced health triangle is an indication of high levels of well-being and life satisfaction. The following Buzzle article elaborates more on ways to have a balanced health triangle.

Balancing Health Triangle
In order to achieve a balanced health triangle, it is necessary to take care of the physical, mental, and social aspect of the health. Lifestyle changes that promotes overall well-being is the key to balancing the personal health triangle. It is discussed below.
Choose Healthy Foods
Making wise food choices is critical to balance the health triangle. Eating nutritious foods should be your top priority as it has a positive impact on your physical health and quality of life. The physical side of the health triangle depends on eating healthy foods. Follow a well-balanced diet, which means, eat healthy foods from each food group. Vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins are the 5 food groups that provide ample nutrition.
Add variety to your diet by including different foods within each food group. Fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, beans, peas, nuts (almonds and walnuts), salmon, and lean meat are some of the healthy choices from dairy and protein food groups. When it comes to eating healthy, one simply cannot forget fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Eating vegetables in the form of salads is an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. As far as grains are concerned, choose whole grain products as they are more nutritious than refined grain products.
Exercise Daily
Besides eating healthy foodstuffs, it is imperative to exercise daily to stay physically fit. Exercising for at least half an hour can go a long way in keeping you fit and fine. Simple low-impact activity, such as brisk walking for around 45 minutes, can provide high health dividends and balance the physical aspect of the triangle of health. If possible, you could go to a gym and get a good dose of cardio and weight training. In case you feel exercising at a gym is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to stay in shape. Going for swim or playing sports like soccer, basketball, and tennis, or any other activity that you enjoy along with your friends, can also help you to stay fit.
Stay Mentally Active
While physical activity is important, one should not ignore the mental aspect of life to achieve a balanced health triangle. So, to stay mentally active, one can solve crosswords, jigsaws, puzzles or any other brain teasers. These brain exercising games that boost mental activity have been proven to reduce the risk of age-related mental decline. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can also help improve mental health.
Avoid Unhealthy Influences
To maintain good health and to stay in the best of shape, refrain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Smoking and risky sexual behavior along with poor eating habits can negatively affect all 3 sides of the health triangle; hence, these need to be avoided.
Practice Good Grooming Habits
Practicing good grooming habits makes us feel good, which in turn has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. This also facilitates social interactions. So, make sure you shower everyday, wear deodorant, brush twice daily, put on clean, ironed clothes, wash your hands and shave whenever necessary, comb your hair, and most importantly, ensure that your shoes are clean and well-polished. These habits of good personal hygiene can also help increase confidence, self-esteem, and moreover, encourage positive interactions.

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health

Everyone encounters traffic, either vehicular or denizen traffic. The feeling of being stuck in a place full of vehicles or people gets overwhelming for many individuals, and is the main cause of stress-related disorders cropping up in today’s time.

At the 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, the American Heart Association stated, “People who have had a heart attack are likely to report having been in traffic shortly before their symptoms began.” This statement was from a German study, that determined that exposure to traffic was a key contributor to heart attacks.

When talking about traffic woes, we also need to take into consideration the pollution that we are exposed to. Breathing in toxic emissions from bikes, cars, trucks, and buses harm our lungs making us targets to various respiratory-related diseases. Given below is an in-depth exposition on how traffic affects our health and what we can do to retard some of these effects to live a longer and healthier life.

Health Effects of Traffic

Aches and Pains

Imagine yourself being tied down in one place, with your arms holding a wheel in front of you, but no scope for movement, with horns blaring in the background and poisonous smoke being sent your way, well, that is your situation when you are driving in traffic.

  • Due to your confinement, you tend to neglect your posture, and end up slouching in the car seat. While driving in a slouched position, pressure comes on your back and neck. The neck muscles are interrelated to your back and shoulders. Back pain is often due to poor posture which can have a negative effect on your health.
  • In the long run, this is not good as it makes a difference on your appearance, and also makes you prone to ailments like spondylitis, frozen shoulder, etc.
  • Your bad posture also puts stress on the joints of your elbows and knees, causing pain and fatigue to these areas of your body.
  • You might be wondering how driving in traffic puts stress on your joints? When you are driving in traffic, you are constantly shifting between the accelerator and brake (in automatic transmission cars), and clutch, brake, and accelerator (in manual transmission cars). This constant shifting puts pressure and stress on your knees, causing knee-related problems and aches.
  • The same goes for the elbows, if the car seat is not at a comfortable distance from the steering wheel, your elbows are constantly straight, or locked. This position is very bad for the ball-and-socket joints of the elbow.

What can you do: You can counteract these ill effects and posture problems, by sitting upright and having a support for your lower back and neck. Adjust the position of your seat in such a way that you can drive at ease without any discomfort. The backrest of the seat should be straight up, and not pulled down too much. These methods take off a lot of stress and help you drive the right way.

Risk of Heart Disease

Prolonged exposure to traffic pollution, is dangerous to your heart, and is associated with an increased risk of heart diseases.

  • According to a study presented at the EuroPRevent 2013 congress in Rome, people who are exposed to fine particle matter (PM) air pollution derived from traffic pollution, for a prolonged period of time, are at an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis.
  • Dr Hagen Kälsch, from West-German Heart Center in Essen, Germany explained that this study was conducted to establish whether the risk of heart diseases is associated with traffic noise or pollution, or both. He confirmed that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution and traffic noise are both linked with the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • The heart is a delicate organ and needs to be treated with care. Pollution, fluctuating stress levels, loud noises, inhalation of harmful gases, etc. are reasons why the condition of the heart may weaken and deteriorate with time. These factors are significantly associated with the risk of heart attack.
  • Dealing with inconsistent and rash drivers increases your stress levels, as you constantly get irate with the way they ride or drive, or jittery when they cut and zoom past you when you are driving peacefully. This can take a toll on your cardiovascular health.

What can you do: Regular exercise in fresh air, relaxing by getting massages, eating the right food, etc. can help your heart recover from the stress that it has gone through due to the chaotic traffic conditions. Deep breathing and meditation also help in reducing stress levels.

Respiratory Problems

Exposure to heavy traffic implies exposure to poisonous gases that are emitted by vehicles. It is believed that the transportation sector in the US, is responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Our lungs are like sponges, soaking in everything that is inhaled by our respiratory system. The smoke coming out of the tailpipes of cars, bikes, and buses have hydrocarbons, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, benzene, acetaldehyde, butadiene, and carbon dioxide, which present a serious threat to human health.
  • Prolonged exposure to vehicular traffic emissions can cause various respiratory diseases like, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, etc.
  • Another lung-related ailment, that can be blamed on long-term exposure to the hazardous pollutants emitted from vehicles in traffic, is cancer. Emissions from diesel vehicles are said to increase the risk of lung cancer.

What can you do: There are ways to avoid breathing in polluted air. If you can, avoid driving in parts of your town with heavy traffic congestion. However, if you find yourself driving through such areas, roll up your car windows to minimize exposure to harmful toxins. If you plan to go out for a stroll or run, do it in a place where you get loads of fresh air. Eat food that are rich in antioxidants, and exercise regularly so that your immune system is strong enough to fight off potential threats to your health.

Other Problems

Traveling from one place to another is inevitable. Given below are some other potential health risks associated with long-term exposure to traffic pollution.

  • The impact of traffic jams on the brain may be a causative factor in DNA and gene alteration.
  • Being exposed to harmful pollutants, leads to vitiated brain capacity and risk of brain damage.
  • Brain lesions, low IQ, lack of retention and concentration, epilepsy, migraines, blurry vision, etc. are the negative effects of pollutants on our central nervous system.
  • Long-term exposure to neurotoxins which are present in the smoke emitted from vehicles, causes degeneration, and in some extreme cases, irreparable damage to the central nervous system.
  • Fatigue, anxiety, and irritability, are also faced by thousands of commuters.
  • Exposure to high volume traffic, brings about mental and physical exhaustion.
  • Dealing with strangers on an everyday basis, especially in traffic, makes you lose your patience and cool. You actually feel like getting out of your car and giving everyone around you a piece of your mind.
  • You get irritated easily, you are snappy, and sometimes even get anxiety attacks.
  • Many a time you feel agitated and anxious while traveling. This may be because you worry that the traffic will make you late, which increases your stress levels.