How to Stay Healthy

So, rather than aiming at a balanced diet or a balanced workout or techniques to balance your mind; one needs to find a balance between all these three factors for healthy living. Here are some tips on staying healthy physically and mentally, which I have personally tried and tested.

How to Stay Fit Physically?

Diet: Try to eat as much as fruits and vegetables as you can. Fruits and vegetables provide enzymes to the body, which help to absorb the nutrients from your meal which is your main course. Drink as much water as possible throughout the day. The requirement of water is 1 liter per 45 pounds of weight. Try to eat as many types of cereals you can. Keep enhancing your diet plan by learning about different healthy foods.

Exercising: There are very few people who will go for exercising to maintain their health. Mostly people will initiate in some exercise due to weight loss or some other health problem. No matter which type of exercise you take up, whether it is just walking or jogging try to follow it regularly. The best exercise in my opinion is swimming which is almost injury-free, boosts metabolism, helps to build lean muscles, and improves flexibility.

Advanced Tips: If you are suffering from some health condition, which is as minor as the common cold or something serious like a sports injury, then try to understand the causes behind the health condition and try to avoid the causes, rather than popping pills to treat the health condition. For example, to avoid common cold load yourself with vitamin C rich food (Indian gooseberries, amla is one of the best source of vitamin C). To prevent any muscle soreness or injuries, make sure you do a good warm-up before any exercise and perform stretching after the workout.

How to Keep Yourself Healthy Mentally?

Breathing: Deep breathing is not only good for your lungs, but also can be used to calm your mind. Many meditations involve breathing as a technique. Just breathe your way out through stressful situations. By which I mean, take a deep breath whenever you get stressed, and breath out. Repeat it around 10 times.

Meditation: There are various techniques of meditation. Instead of following a spiritual or religious person, try to experiment with different techniques of meditation, and then whichever you feel suits you try to practice that technique for an hour a day. The various techniques for meditation are tantra, yoga, Zen, vipassana, Tibetan, Buddhist, etc.

Take a Break: This is something which everybody needs and should use for stress relief. Whenever you think something you have become overloaded with your work, studies, or responsibilities take a break. Plan a small vacation alone or with a friend or go to a garden and switch off your cell phone. Just forget everything and enjoy watching the trees, birds, people, etc.

It will not always be possible to follow these tips on a daily basis or regularly. So, try to eat as much healthy food as possible, get around 20 minutes of exercise minimum, whether it is just plain walking or climbing stairs, and try to learn some meditation and practice it for minimum half an hour a day.

Fasting Tips and Tricks

Fasting is the act of abstaining from water, food, or both for a certain period of time. It helps reduce medical and other problems that people may experience. It is used as a tool by many to reduce weight, detoxify, and improve the overall health. However, one should fast in a disciplined manner, and follow the basic tips in order to obtain good and quick results.

Tips
One should begin fasting with a moderate approach. The idea behind it is to prepare or condition the body slowly before moving towards a higher level.

One should get rid of alcohol and other addictive items such as nicotine and caffeine before commencing to fast. Abstinence from eating sugar, poultry products, and red meat is also important. It is necessary to avoid chewing gums, hard candies, and mints since these items are responsible for releasing digestive enzymes and increasing the appetite. Inclusion of fruits in the diet while simultaneously limiting the intake of nutrient supplements helps adjust the body to the fasting schedule easily.

In order to avoid irritation, headache, and other such symptoms which may occur in the initial days, one should have a single meal in a day at 3 pm and include juices, water, fruits, and vegetables in the diet. If one is thinking about juice fasting, care should be taken to drink fresh juices. These juices should not be stored for more than 24 hours since they lose their nutritional and therapeutic value. Hypoglycemic patients would require someone to supervise and schedule a fasting-diet plan. The intake of protein juices should be allowed in such cases.

One of the important tips is to drink sufficient water before the fast begins. The loss of fluids during the fast takes a toll on the body and creates problems in completing the fast successfully.

The use of natural diuretics in the diet helps lose the excess fluids, which in turn helps reduce body weight. Juniper, dandelion, and ginger are the commonly used diuretics.

Reforming and controlling the diet in a proper manner is the key to lose weight fast. Tips for losing weight include the incorporation of raw food items in the diet. One should avoid eating cooked legumes and cereals. The main advantage of doing this is that the result (weight loss) is obtained in a shorter time as compared to other methods or techniques. It is necessary to control the diet even after successfully completing the fasting period since overeating would result in acquiring the weight quickly.

Tips for Water Fasting
The practice of water fasting helps detoxify the body as well as reduce the excess weight. A 30-40 day water fast can help reduce as much as 60 pounds of weight. Since the digestive system gets rest and doesn’t use up energy which is otherwise needed in digestion, the body gets time to repair the damaged cells and tissues.

Before one begins with this type of fast, adequate rest needs to be taken. Lesser the responsibilities and work pressure, the better it is for the successful completion of the fast. One might experience blackouts and dizziness during the fasting period. Since the heart gets maximum rest during this period, one should be careful even while standing up. The advantage of water fast over the other types is that the degree or extent of hunger experienced is less in the former one.

Fasting is a healing process which helps improve the overall health and provides the necessary rest to the body (digestive system). Taking proper care and adopting the necessary tips on fasting will ensure that it’s easy to complete the fast successfully.

Why is Health Important

When we are talking of health, it is not just about a healthy body but also about sound mental health. Good health can be described as the condition where both our body as well as our mind are functioning properly. The main causes behind poor health conditions are diseases, improper diet, injury, mental stress, lack of hygiene, unhealthy lifestyle, etc. Over the past few years, our lifestyle has changed and we often tend to ignore the importance of healthy living in one way or the other.

Why is Health Important to Us?

There are several benefits of a healthy life. Your body becomes free from various forms of disorders and thus, you get a longer life. You can live a life without suffering from any aches, pain, or discomfort. In every sphere of your life, you will be able to perform to the best of your ability. Doing excellent work helps you to be a valuable member of a healthy society. Besides, when you are physically fit, it gets reflected on your face. So, you look attractive and start feeling good about yourself! If you have a fit body, then you can lead a physically active life even after growing old. This is because, the body can heal the regular wear and tear associated with aging faster. In short, health and wellness brings about a drastic improvement in the overall quality of your life.

Why is Health Important in the Workplace?

As an employee, you should take good care of your health, both in the workplace as well as at home. This will make you feel more energetic and you will be able to carry out both simple as well as strenuous tasks without pushing yourself too hard. As your mind and body is free from work pressure and mental stress, you can handle the daily chores at workplace with a positive attitude. You feel motivated to finish off the task at hand and will be interested to work on more number of things. Your mind develops a natural tendency to focus upon the positives and is not bothered much about the negatives. Most importantly, at the end of the day, you can sleep well and you do not have to start the next day with a body ache or joint pain or stomach upset. As a result, you do not need a medical leave too often and you will get your salary at the end of the month without any deductions!

Good health has a positive effect on the productivity of the employees. Therefore, an organization should also give the prior importance to the health care of its employees through its policies. When the organization is showing interests in the well-being of its employees, they in turn will also feel more responsible and loyal towards the organization. It improves employee retention, reduces absenteeism and cuts down on company’s health care costs.

Why is Health Important for Children?

Staying healthy is vital for proper growth and development of their mind and body. They require enough energy to spend the entire day in school. They should be able to focus in the classroom and fully participate in the activities on the field. For this, they need proper nutrition which includes carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, minerals, etc. Today, most parents have a basic knowledge of food and health related issues. However, they often fail to understand that regular medical check-up is a must for every child. This helps them to learn from the experts whether the child’s development in terms of height and weight is proper. They should also take the child for dental check-up and eye check-up on a regular basis. Even child behavior has to be monitored closely. This way any major health problem can be prevented in future.

Hope you have understood why is health important for every individual, young or old. It has a huge impact on your overall performance and efficiency. In other words, you have a better control over your life. For healthy living, a disciplined life is a must. You have to eat nutritious food and exercise regularly. Stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking and heavy drinking. It is also essential to keep the mind healthy by nurturing the right kind of thoughts and proper stress management.

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.

Top Health Insurance Companies

Buying a good and affordable health insurance plan in today’s world seems like a tough task. The cost of health insurance is increasing day by day due to the rise in the cost of health care in the US. A simple visit to the doctor’s clinic can cost around $200 to $300 and if the matter is serious, the patient can expect a large medical bill if he/she doesn’t have health insurance. The best way to be safe is to get an affordable health insurance plan that suits the investor’s profile, but for that the investor has to select a good health insurance company first.

Top Health Insurance Companies in USA

There are many health insurance companies in the US, but not all of them can be called the best choice for people. Today, people don’t need expensive plans, they need plans which can fit in their budget and protect them from uncertain situations. The following names stand out because they understand the thinking of an average American and make sure that he/she gets a plan that they can fit in their portfolio. Here are some great options.

Aetna International
I think most readers wouldn’t be surprised to find Aetna’s name on the top, after all it is the most popular health care service provider in the US. The company offers medical, dental, vision and life, disability and special insurance plans for students, pets, overall wellness, behavioral health care and pharmaceuticals and so on. Majority of the plans offered by the company are targeted towards serving individuals and their families, and some plans are focused towards various types of businesses in which employers offer health coverage plans for individuals.

BlueCross BlueShield Association
The BlueCross BlueShield Association is the parent company of 39 different companies which are independent, community based and locally operated for the benefit of American citizens. This company originated in the year 1929 in the land of Texas and was started especially for teachers as a non-profit health insurance plan. Almost 99 million people in the US are members of the BlueCross BlueShield Association and the company boasts an excellent track record for providing quality and affordable health insurance plans to its members. The company offers dental and medical coverage everywhere in the nation and some of their best plans are Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) and Health Savings Account (HAS). The company has its operation in all the 50 states of the country including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 97% of the hospitals and 90% physicians in the country are signed with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. All the 39 operating companies under the BlueCross BlueShield Association are independent, which means that there is no A.M. Best Company Rating for the entire company. However, every independent company of the BlueCross BlueShield Association has always bagged A Rating when it comes to customer service.

UnitedHealthcare
Founded in 1977, UnitedHealthcare today is one of the biggest names in the business of health insurance. Since the inception of the company, their main goal has remained the same; providing affordable and quality health insurance to US citizens. Today, UnitedHealthcare and its sister concern, Uprise Incorporated, serves more than 20 million people in the United States. They have tie ups with more than 5000 hospitals and over 4000 physicians. Their network has spread in all the 50 states and the company has received excellent reviews from many critics for its constant effort to bring in new and improved plans for its members. They offer disability, health, life, vision, dental and pharmacy plans for US citizens.

CIGNA Corporation
Another big player in the market of health care, CIGNA serves more than 10 million people in the US. CIGNA is an acronym used for a joint venture between two companies, INA (Insurance Company of North America) and CG (Connecticut General). These companies were formed in the year 1700 and 1800 respectively, which makes this joint venture one of the oldest companies in the US. They provide some excellent dental, medical, vision, behavioral, life and disability plans for clients. More than 15 million people are members of this company and the company has a large fan following in Canada as well.

Humana Health Insurance
Another name in the list of the top health insurance companies of the US. The working style of this company is very different from all the other health insurance companies. Humana has a very different approach and its health insurance plans are especially designed and fall into four categories; Group Health Insurance, Medicare Plans, Individual Health Insurance and Specialty Benefits. The company also provides consumer focused health plans which are aimed to provide maximum benefit to the members. They offer their services in 27 states mostly in the Eastern part of the US. They have an excellent rating from critics and the company is gearing up for some international expansion plans as well.

Well Point, Inc.
Well Point, Inc. is another big player in the world of health insurance. It provides affordable health insurance plans to more than 35 million people in the US. The company very well follows their motto, ‘Improving lives of the people we serve and the health of our community.’ They have a long history of providing affordable health insurance plans for people who can’t afford a big cover for their health. The company is one of the few privileged ones who give the best returns to its customers. Due to their excellent working style and a genuine effort to provide the best health insurance to America, Well Point, Inc. stands tall in this list.

Assurant
Assurant Heath, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of Assurant Insurance Company founded in 1969. The company is based in New York and has international operations in Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Assurant Health provides short term health insurance policies to people as well as students. Over 1 million people are covered by Assurant health insurance policies and the company has more than 200,000 agents throughout the country to provide the best service to its customers.

UniCare
UniCare is also a very familiar name in the health insurance market and now it is owned by Well Point Inc. This organization is focused on delivering quality products to its customers which are more than 13 million in number. They offer various health services such as health, life, pharmacy, dental and disability which are specially designed to satisfy customers from all walks of life. The company uses all its resources in making low-cost plans which an average man can afford.

GroupHealth Cooperative
GroupHealth Cooperative is a non-profit consumer driven health care organization which has been catering to the needs of people in Idaho and Washington since 1947. The company is considered a leader in delivering scientific driven health care products to people. GroupHealth Cooperative offers health plans for senior citizens, kids, parents, teenagers and government employees. They also have a very impressive task force which is appointed to make sure that the customers don’t face any difficulty in understanding the plans.

Mega Life and Health Insurance Company
This company is based in Oklahoma and caters to the needs of the American people. It also offers various health insurance to families and individuals through their special plans which are designed to make life comfortable. Its special plans aim at dental, vision and disability.

The US is one of the biggest countries in the world and it would be quite unfair to name just 10 health insurance companies. Here’s a list of some more big players of the health insurance market.

  • Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare
  • TUFTS Health Plan
  • Health New England
  • ConnectiCare
  • Kaiser Group Incorporated
  • HCSC Group
  • Coventry Health Care
  • The Regence Group
  • Health Net
  • Universal American Health Corporation
  • The Lifetime HealthCare Companies
  • WellCare Health Plans, Inc
  • Metropolitan Health Group
  • Green Valley Health Care
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthPartners

The Importance of Health Ethics

89987128The health concerns such as excessive drinking, smoking or obesity demand a responsible action on the part of the governments around the world, which may result in restrictions on human freedom to some extent. Therein comes our role of adhering to the ethical standards and following the rules laid down to nurture a healthy society. Initially, people thought that government initiatives such as pasteurization of milk was an ‘interference’ in the public choices of food. The contention slowly faded away. Now, in the 21st century, there is a need to act more responsibly on the individual level to overcome ‘lifestyle’ diseases. How far is a society willing to accept certain amount of responsibility for public health is an ethical issue.

Understanding Health Ethics
Public health is a broad term and includes the efforts of a society to prevent any form of illness and improve the health of the populace. It plays an important role in determining the effects of an initiative or a measure, in prevention of an illness. It focuses on inculcating healthful lifestyle in the society at large, than dealing with individual health issues. Medical ethics is a term related with health ethics, which primarily deals with keeping track of growing biomedical technology, research and medical care. The term ‘health’ is a generic one, and includes both medicine and health concerns. They treat the issues of justice, equality, and human rights as an integral part of health practices. It is important to keep these ideals in mind while providing a health care service.

Related Concerns
The practitioners of health services have a set of guiding principles which ensure certain standards and public trust in health care. The ethical code of conduct laid down ascertains a patient’s welfare. There are many situations in health care that have legal and social implications, for both the medical practitioner and the patient. For example, the confidentiality of a patient’s health records is the ethical responsibility of the physician handling the case. Another issue is the relevance of euthanasia or mercy killing. The question of ‘freeing’ a person from suffering is as much of an issue of morality as it is of medicine. In these contexts, ethical judgment and a guiding framework to deal with the issues becomes very important.

The importance of health ethics is a very relative concept in case of many individuals. A lady was about to deliver a baby, and medical complications required that blood transfusion be performed in order to save the mother. However, the lady was a strong adherent of some religious principle, and had already stated not to perform the transfusion even if that resulted in her death. Now, her husband gave the go-ahead for the procedure, and both the baby and the mother were saved. But, the mother filed a case against the concerned doctors, stating violation of her rights. Ethically, it may seem that saving her life was the right thing to do. But, the same can also be regarded as an infringement of the lady’s rights, which makes it unethical.

Thus, the importance and adherence to these should be clearly laid down as a set of legal principles. Health is a community issue as much as an individual concern. Hence, a clear set of policies governing the importance of health ethics is highly essential to support healthy living in the 21st century.

Lifelong Bone Health

images-2In our first few years of life, our bones are growing at an exceptional rate. They develop to allow us to crawl, walk, jump, run and everything else along the way. This continues throughout childhood and adolescence. However, many people take for granted that once we become adults our bone health begins to deteriorate. This is even more true for women. Not taking steps to ensure strong healthy bones can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis. But there are a few things you can do to help maintain and even improve your bone health for the rest of your life.

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To promote bone health, you need to implement healthy nutrition and exercise habits. These can be the key to strong bones. You need to make the most of every opportunity to add strength.

By starting the right dietary and fitness strategies you can ensure you have all the right things going forward to not only improve your current bone health but prevent further deterioration and the risk of further health issues.

Calcium

Calcium is the foundation of strong bones. Not only this, but calcium is also responsible for healthy teeth, the secretion of some hormones, muscle contractions and nerve signalling. Being deficient in calcium can lead to a whole host of health issues from loss of appetite to heart palpitations.

With that said, too much calcium can also cause serious issues and over supplementing with calcium should be avoided. Excess calcium can lead to kidney stones and even stroke.

Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium rich foods are the best way to ensure you get enough calcium to keep your calcium stores at an adequate level. There are many foods that are high in calcium and ensuring at least some of these into your daily diet can help you maintain the right level of calcium. Some calcium packed foods include:

  • Dark Leafy Greens (Broccoli, Bok Choy)
  • Low Fat Cheeses (Mozzarella)
  • Low Fat Milk and Yogurt
  • Soy (Tofu, seitan)
  • Beans (Kidney Beans, Green Snap Beans)
  • Nuts (Almonds)

Calcium Supplements

If you do not get enough dietary calcium one way to top up your supply is through supplementation. There are many supplements available to choose from, however, the two best absorbed by the human body are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

Vitamin D

Many people don’t appreciate how important vitamin D is in regards to bone health. Vitamin D is essential for us to be able to absorb calcium. Lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets and a weakened immune system. Therefore, getting enough is imperative.

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D

The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. Unfortunately for many people, their geographical location alone prevents them for even seeing the sun for the majority of the year. Furthermore, skin pigmentation and the use of sunscreen can also inhibit you getting enough vitamin D from the sun.