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  • Health Benefits of Pulses

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    The food you eat plays a significant role in your overall health and fitness. Unhealthy fast foods can have a detrimental effect on your body, making it weak and prone to diseases. On the other hand, a balanced diet supplies the required nutrients to your body and mind to keep you strong and healthy. It also helps in maintaining good body weight and improves metabolic functions.

    Various pulses, including lentils, dried peas, kidney beans and chickpeas, constitute an essential part of a balanced diet. They are a rich source of vitamins and nutrients such as protein, fibre, calcium etc. Pulses also supply minerals such as iron, zinc, folate and magnesium into the body and hence, their addition to your diet may help you live a healthy lifestyle.

    The United Nations (UN) has dedicated 10th February as International Pulses Day to make people aware of the importance and benefits of pulses and legumes as a global food. In this article, we have listed down a few nutritional and health benefits of beans and pulses. Read on.

    #1 Pulses are a great source of vitamins and minerals

    By consuming pulses and dals daily, you can get your required quota of essential vitamins and minerals. Pulses are a great source of fibre, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and folate. They are also abundant in Vitamin B, thiamine and niacin. Our body needs these vitamins and minerals to function efficiently.

    #2 Pulses are a rich source of proteins

    Pulses are high on amino acids, which make them a rich source of proteins. Proteins play a vital role in enhancing our body's overall strength and improving its repairing and maintenance power. Hence, if you engage in a lot of physical activity daily, adding pulses to your diet can be very beneficial. You can also combine dairy products, grains and nuts in your meal to ensure the optimum dose of proteins in your body.

    #3 Pulses possess antioxidant effects

    Pulses, beans, and lentils are abundant in polyphenols, making them good antioxidants. Antioxidants are necessary to protect your body cells against free radicals produced as a by-product during metabolism. In the absence of antioxidants, your body may become prone to ill health. This makes the consumption of lentils and pulses all the more critical.

    #4 Pulses are good for the heart

    One of the most primary health benefits of beans and pulses is keeping your heart in good shape. Consumption of pulses reduces your body's cholesterol level and thus helps improve your heart's health. Also, pulses usually contain high potassium and low sodium, which aids in regulating blood pressure.

    #5 Pulses reduce the risk of diabetes

    Pulses and legumes are ranked lower in the glycemic index, meaning they cause a minimal rise in your blood sugar level. Therefore, people who consume pulses regularly may have a lower chance of getting diabetes. And in case you already have diabetes, you can add pulses to your daily diet to regulate blood sugar level.

    #6 Pulses are a good source of folate

    Pulses, beans, and lentils are a rich folate source as they contain Vitamin B, which helps produce new cells. Hence, eating pulses can be very good during rapid growth stages, such as infancy and pregnancy. Growing children and pregnant women should thus include a fair amount of pulses in their daily diet.

    #7 Pulses may reduce the risk of cancer

    As mentioned above, pulses, beans, and lentils act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, reducing cancer risk. Lentils also contain an element known as selenium, which decreases the rate at which a tumour grows. They also boost immunity and stimulate T cells' production, which helps in fighting diseases.

  • Vaccinated People & the Need for Masks

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    India started one of the most extensive vaccination drives in the world on January 16, 2021.

    The COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world towards the end of 2019. People from all walks of life were affected by the disease, and medical experts worldwide worked relentlessly to discover a vaccine to curb the virus. While Pfizer and Moderna introduced new corona vaccines, India, too, was ahead in the race with its Bharat Biotech International Limited's Covaxin.

    On January 16, 2021, India conducted one of the world's largest vaccination drives with Covaxin and Oxford University-AstraZeneca's Covishield. Our fight against the virus continues, and India's corona vaccine is undoubtedly a ray of hope in this battle.

    To many of us, India's COVID vaccine may seem like returning to the old, everyday life without masks. But is this true? Does COVID vaccine translate to a mask-free life? The answer is no. Medical experts have stated that vaccinated people will still need to wear a mask.

    Here's why.

    The vaccine doesn't show instant effect.

    The corona vaccine has two doses. Don't expect to get immediate immunity from the disease right after the first shot of corona vaccine. The first shot itself will need two weeks for the body to develop antibodies to fight the virus. The second dose of corona vaccine, India (Covishield), is administered only after four weeks of the first dose. This means that your body will need a couple of weeks to develop immunity to the virus.

    There's no 100% protection from coronavirus.

    The corona vaccine has been a breakthrough in fighting the pandemic. However, the clinical trials of the vaccine have been conducted in a controlled environment. Vaccine efficacy can only be determined in the real world when it's administered to people. Whether it's the corona vaccine of India, Pfizer or Moderna, the vaccine's efficacy rate reaches around 90-95% only after the second dose.

    The vaccine doesn't provide 100% immunity from the disease. Besides, the vaccine storage also affects efficacy. It means that you may have a slight chance of contracting the illness despite being vaccinated.

    Vaccination may make you an asymptomatic carrier.

    Pizer and Moderna vaccine trials had found vaccinated people get the viral infection without the symptoms. This proves that vaccinated people can be asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Besides, the corona vaccine is injected into the muscle. If the virus enters your respiratory tract, the vaccine aids the body to develop antibodies to avoid the virus from entering your system.

    However, the virus may still exist in your nose or mouth, and thus you may spread the disease to others through sneezing or coughing.

    You may spread the virus to low-immunity people.

    Continuing the above point, despite vaccination, you may still pose a threat to those who have not been vaccinated. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may avoid the vaccine. People who develop allergic reactions to the vaccine ingredients will also be instructed not to take the second dose. Besides, the vaccine trials didn't include people with chronic illness such as cancer and heart disease.

    The efficacy of the vaccine on these people may not be certain. So, cancer patients and low-immunity people may get infected with the virus even from a vaccinated person. Hence, after vaccination, you should be wearing the mask to ensure you don't infect people who are not vaccinated or belong to the low-immunity category.

    We are not yet closer to herd immunity.

    The COVID-19 virus may eventually be curbed after we achieve the 'herd immunity'. This means a maximum number of people would require the corona vaccine for immunisation against the disease. However, we are still in the nascent stage of the vaccination drive. We still have miles to walk in terms of distributing and administering vaccines across the country.

    You need to protect yourself and others from the new COVID variant.

    A new variant of coronavirus has been identified and is claimed to be more contagious by the medical experts worldwide. If you are vaccinated but don't wear a mask, you may transmit the coronavirus's new variants to others. Hence, after vaccination, you need to wear a mask to avoid possible infections to yourself and others from the new strain of coronavirus.

    The above reasons justify the need for people to wear a mask even after getting the vaccine. However, despite Government warnings and reiteration of safety guidelines, many people avoid wearing masks in public places. If vaccinated people travel without face covers, it can make it difficult for the Government to control the pandemic.

    Hence, even if you take the corona vaccine in India, make sure you follow these safety measures:

    • Maintain six feet of social distance from everyone
    • Wear your mask when you step out of your home
    • Clean your hands frequently with soap or hand sanitiser
    • Avoid going to crowded places as much as possible

    Till we receive guideline changes from the medical experts, it's best to not consider the corona vaccine as the permanent protection from the disease.

  • Debunking 10 Common Cancer Myths

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    The term "cancer" strikes fear in the minds of most people. Cancer is a life-threatening health condition in which body cells starts to mutate and multiply uncontrollably, affecting standard cell mechanisms. As a result, the vilified cells start spreading to other body parts and damage the tissues, which may prove to be fatal in certain cases.

    It's crucial to spread awareness about cancer, and it is equally important to stay away from cancer myths and misconceptions. The internet is flooded with misinformation related to cancer that can stop people from getting diagnosed on time and availing proper treatment. It can also trigger panic and contribute to social stigma and taboo that usually surrounds this disease.

    In this article, we've tried to present cancer myths vs facts to make you more aware of this disease. So, here are some common cancer myths debunked by us:

    Cancer Myth #1: Cancer means a death sentence.

    One of the most common misconceptions regarding cancer is that it may prove to be fatal. However, this is not true in most cases. With modern medicines and advanced technology, cancer can be treated if detected during the early stages. According to the estimates, about 40% of cancer patients get cured and become disease-free within 5 years.

    Cancer Myth #2: Cancer is a contagious disease.

    This is another prevalent cancer myth among some people. However, the fact is that cancer is not at all a communicable disease. Unlike other contagious diseases, which are caused by the spread of virus or bacteria, cancer is caused by cellular changes in the body. It means that though cancer can spread within the infected person's body, it cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

    Cancer Myth #3: Cancer is hereditary.

    Many people believe that if someone in a family gets diagnosed with cancer, his/her off-springs will also develop the disease. However, it's not entirely true. Although there is a possibility of cancer transfer due to genetic mutation, its chances are very narrow. In fact, only 5 to 10 per cent of cancer cases occur due to genetic mutation.

    Cancer Myth #4: I won't get cancer as I have no family history of cancer.

    As mentioned above, a genetic mutation can cause cancer in the off-springs, albeit very rarely. However, this does not mean that you will never get this disease if you have no family history of cancer. Cancer is caused by cellular changes in the DNA, which may be due to specific environmental and lifestyle factors such as excessive air pollution, exposure to harmful radiations, smoking, drinking etc.

    Cancer Myth #5: Consuming sugar aggravates cancer.

    Although studies have shown that cancer cells absorb more sugar (or glucose) than normal cells, there is no scientific evidence to prove that consuming sugar or sweet foods can aggravate cancer. Nevertheless, it's best to avoid a high sugar diet, as it can lead to obesity, increasing the risk of developing several types of cancer.

    Cancer Myth #6: Surgery or biopsy may cause cancer to spread.

    Many cancer patients undergo surgery to remove the cancer-causing tumour or biopsy to collect a small tissue specimen for laboratory testing. Although it's theoretically possible that surgery can cause cancer to spread in the body, the chances of this eventuating are meagre. Modern-day doctors are equipped with sufficient technology and medical procedures to prevent this from happening.

    Cancer Myth #7: Negative attitude reduces the chances of recovery.

    Though negativity is never a good thing, it does not reduce the chances of recovery for a cancer patient. At least, there is no scientific evidence to validate such a statement. It's normal for a person who has cancer to experience myriad negative emotions, including anger, frustration, sadness etc. However, by keeping a positive attitude, he/she can avoid stress during the treatment.

    Cancer Myth #8: Cancer treatment will make you bankrupt.

    Though cancer treatments are very costly, they will certainly not make you bankrupt if you plan your finances. Many NGOs and Government schemes can provide financial assistance to cancer patients and help them through difficult times.

    You can also purchase a health insurance plan with a cancer cover to keep yourself financially secured. If you opt for an add-on cover, you may receive a lump sum amount, which can help tackle the astronomical treatment costs.

    Cancer Myth #9: If I feel a lump in my breast, it's cancer.

    If you feel a lump in your breast, it's not necessarily a tumour or cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation says, "Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer". However, it does not mean that you should ignore such conditions. In case you notice a lump in your breast, you should visit a doctor and get yourself checked.

  • Top Fitness Tips for Working Women

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    Health is wealth - this is what we've grown up learning. However, many working women end up compromising their health due to stress at work or the constant effort to juggle home and office duties. As a result, many women are becoming victims of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension etc. That's why this International Women's Day, we thought of helping out by putting together a few helpful health tips.

    In this article, we've listed tips for working women, which can help improve overall fitness and enhance productivity at the workplace. If you're a working woman, you do not have to disturb your busy schedule to follow these tips. All you need to do is make small adjustments to your daily lifestyle and habits.

    1. Don't skip breakfast 

    Working women may be hard-pressed for time in the morning, which may lead to skipping breakfast at times. However, a healthy breakfast with ample inclusion of fibre, protein and carbs is imperative. Also, breakfast is the first thing you eat in the morning, and therefore, it should be healthy and nutritious.

    Ideally, your breakfast should include foods that can provide energy and also keep you full till lunch. For example, eggs, milk, oats, fruits, cereals, etc.

    2. Avoid junk food

    Working women may have very tight schedules with lesser free time. This means no time to prepare healthy snacks; ergo, eating junk food becomes common when hunger pangs strike. However, this can lead to health issues since they usually contain fewer nutrients and more unhealthy ingredients.

    Hence, you must remove oily or sugary snacks from your daily routine. Instead, it would help if you switched to healthy snacks like nuts and dry fruits, roasted makhana, fruits, or homemade energy bars. This will help you maintain optimum body weight, and minimise the risk of several diseases.

    3. Take breaks to stay active

    Sitting for prolonged hours can have a detrimental effect on your body. Besides being bad for your mental health, it increases the risk of chronic health problems such as diabetes, and heart diseases. Hence, it's crucial to take breaks between your working hours and involve yourself in some physical activities to stay active.

    For example, you can stand up during meetings or try a stand-up desk while working. You can take short walks with your colleagues at break time. Such activities will not only help you stay fit and healthy but also increase your energy levels leading to better productivity.

    4. Drink lots of water throughout the day

    Dehydration is common among office goers, who may forget to refill their bottles or sip on water throughout the day while working. However, dehydration can lead to headaches, poor digestion and other issues. Hence, drinking enough water is essential.

    If possible, keep a bottle on your desk at work. You can also have other fluids like buttermilk, coconut water or energy drinks to increase your liquid intake. If you forget to drink water, you can try using a mobile app that gives you reminders.

    5. Minimise your intake of empty carbs

    Cookies, cakes, chocolates, chips, etc., are not suitable for regular consumption. This is because they don't contain much fibre or protein, just empty carbs. They will increase your blood sugar level by producing more insulin in the body, which may lead to obesity and diabetes.

    Therefore, you should refrain from including excessive carb-rich foods in your daily diet. Instead, your daily diet should contain food items rich in proteins, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.

    6. Follow an effective exercise routine

    Exercising daily is a must if you want to stay fit. More so, if you're a working woman, you must never undermine the importance of exercising daily. It will keep you healthy, improve your overall stamina, and reduce the risk of developing several diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems. More importantly, it will improve the quality of your life.

    Therefore, you must create an effective daily exercise routine for yourself and follow it without fail. Your daily exercise routine must include warm-up exercises along with strength training. If you feel comfortable with time, you can also include high-intensity interval training in your daily fitness regime.

  • The Importance of Reviewing Health Insurance Annually

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    Benjamin Franklin said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." These wise words have improved our lives in many ways. But we can all agree that adhering to such wisdom and routine has become a lot more difficult in this fast-paced time. Despite getting exercise and following a healthy diet, people fall sick sometimes. Even in the absence of illness, sometimes a minor accident can also land someone in the hospital. And with the rising healthcare expenses, having health insurance becomes more important than ever in such scenarios.

    In our ever-changing lives, nothing is permanent. We grow up, meet new people, events in our lives change, and with that, our needs change, demands change. When change is the only constant, why should the health insurance policy be the same? Should it not undergo a review? It should!

    Now, if you have any doubts in mind regarding why you must review your health insurance plans annually, we will clear them out. Please keep reading.

    1. Changing lifestyle

    Over the last few decades, our lives have gradually become tech-dependent. However, the changes are happening at a tremendous pace in recent times. A global pandemic has disrupted our lives, forcing us to adapt to a sedentary lifestyle. A year-old health insurance policy may not suffice to deal with the present necessities in such a scenario. Therefore, reviewing your health insurance before the time of renewal becomes crucial.

    2. Pre-existing diseases

    When buying a health insurance policy, you must have noticed that there are waiting periods for some diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. These are called pre-existing diseases (PEDs), and the waiting period for these generally lasts 2-4 years. Within this period, the incumbent or the policyholder doesn't get insurance cover for that disease.

    When you review your health insurance plan, it helps you learn and understand the pre-existing waiting period better. If you have been diagnosed with any such disease, you can notify your insurer about the same.

    3. Changing life events

    As time passed by, some of us grew up, and some grew old. You can probably look back in time and realize how much things have changed in your life. Major life events like getting married, becoming a parent, changing jobs, and changing cities, etc., demand a lot more than there is. For example, after marriage, the number of family members may increase.

    The case is quite similar to your health insurance policy; it was probably enough a year ago, but now it's not. Therefore, before the renewal time, you should review your health insurance plan. You can add new members, such as a spouse or child, into your policy at the time of renewal.

    4. Ensure adequate cover

    As science progressed, the Indian healthcare system witnessed a rise in the use of advanced machinery. Rigorous research in medical science has invented technologies that can diagnose diseases at an early stage. However, such advanced treatments don't come cheap. Review your health insurance policy to ensure that it provides adequate cover, should you ever need them. For instance, you can look at the family health insurance, which covers modern treatments.

    Not only advanced treatment, but the overall healthcare service has also become a lot expensive these days. Consider reviewing your health insurance policy before you renew it. It is vital to learn if your health insurance covers most diseases, whether the waiting period is less, or if the premiums are justified.

    5. Grab the additional sum insured

    Suppose you haven't made a single claim during your insurance cover period. In that case, you are more likely to get an additional sum insured (ASI) upon renewal of your health insurance policy. Every reputed insurance company follows this practice to incentivize the insurance buyer. Every year, you must review your health insurance policy to rip the benefit of ASI, which can go as high as 100% - 150%.

    Failing to review your health insurance policy, you will not only lose out on your ASI benefits but may also end up going for a medical check up again.

    6. New add-ons and covers

    Insurance companies are launching new products and services every year to outperform their competitors. It means you can get improved services, new riders, better cover, etc., by paying the same or a little higher premium. For e.g. ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance recently got upgraded with lots of new add-ons, including Air Ambulance, Worldwide Cover, etc. Only an annual review of your health insurance can get you the best deal.

    Standing at this point in the article, we hope you have learnt the importance of reviewing your health insurance plans. Nonetheless, to help you further in the cause, here are some quick tips that you should keep in mind:

    • Review the health insurance plan your employer provides you and ensure it offers adequate health coverage.
    • Check the cost of critical medical care, e.g., treatment for cancer, heart diseases, fractures, childbirth, accidental cover, etc.
    • Review the co-payment clauses.
    • Check whether the insurance provider has a good claim settlement ratio for the last 5 years.
    • Enquire about the network of cashless healthcare facilities, i.e., hospitals, diagnostic centres, etc.
    • If you are going to live in another city, consider the cost of healthcare in the new city.
  • Impact of the Second Wave of Coronavirus in India

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    A record 2,16,828 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in India on 15th April, 2021. As a result, many states went into complete lockdown.

    The spread of coronavirus during the start of 2020 wreaked havoc in the entire world. More than 100 million people got infected with the virus, resulting in the death of more than 2 million people. India was no different, with more than 10 million cases and around 1 lakh deaths due to coronavirus. India ranked third among the worst affected countries after the USA and Brazil.

    When the coronavirus vaccine in India was launched on 16th January 2021, we all thought the pandemic days are gone and started to breathe freely. However, the joy was short-lived. The disease hit the country even harder in the form of the second wave of coronavirus. As a result, the number of coronavirus cases in India started going up rapidly, and this time the symptoms were even more severe.

    As per the official records, as many as 2,16,828 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in India on 15th April 2021. This was the highest number of cases recorded in our country in a single day till date. As a result, many state governments, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, and West Bengal, announced either complete lockdowns or night curfews.

    A negative Covid-19 report obtained within 72 hours was also made mandatory by many state governments for air travellers from other states of India. This article explains how this second wave of coronavirus in India is different and more severe than the first wave. Continue reading.

    First wave vs. second wave

    The recent surge in Covid-19 cases in India is more rapid than the first wave during August to October last year. The cases have been rising at double the pace in the second wave of coronavirus in India. While it took 32 days for cases to rise from 18,000 to 50,000 during the first wave, it took only 17 days to rise from 18,377 to 50,000 during March 2021.

    The total number of cases being recorded in a single day is also much higher during the second wave. During the first wave, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day stood a little over 1 lakh. However, the number of cases in a single day during the second wave has already reached the figure of 2 lakh, while many fear the worst is yet to come.

    India becomes the second worst-hit country in the world

    After the onset of the second wave of coronavirus, India overtook Brazil to become the second worst-hit country in the world. So far, the country has recorded around 1.4 crore Covid-19 cases, which keeps it only behind the USA (3.27 crore cases). India surpassed Brazil in terms of the total number of Covid-19 cases only in April 2021 after staying in the third position for several months.

    When it comes to the total caseload, Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state during the second wave as well, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Kerala. Along with the number of active cases, the fatality rate has also gone up during the second wave of coronavirus in India. The death count on 14th April stood at 1,72,085 with 1027 new fatalities, the highest since 18th October 2020.

    What's different during the second wave?

    According to the experts, the rapid spread of coronavirus in India during the second wave is mainly because of two reasons – first is the presence of new homegrown variants and second is the absence of a lockdown. The laxity in preventive measures coupled with several mass gatherings across the country has resulted in a nationwide crisis.

    Also, unlike the first wave, the surge in cases is restricted to only a few states during the second wave. According to the Ministry of Health, five of the worst-hit states cumulatively account for 80% of the fresh coronavirus cases in India. These states have started to witness a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines, and even spaces in morgues and crematoriums.

    Moreover, unlike the previous wave when the vaccine was in its initial stages of development, India now has two coronavirus vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. Even though we are far from achieving herd immunity against this disease, the ongoing vaccination drive can make a big difference in the fight against the Covid-19.

    Are more young people getting infected?

    Since December 2020, those below the age of 45 accounted for almost 60% of the new covid-19 infection cases in India. In Maharashtra, which the worst-hit state, people below the age of 40 accounted for approximately 48% of the cases recorded between January to March this year. Whereas, in Karnataka, 47% of those who tested positive between this period were aged between 15 to 45 years.

    However, the death rate due to coronavirus is still the lowest among this age group. Almost 55% of those who died of this virus were aged 60 or above. There are also concerns about the children getting affected at a higher rate during the second wave. Experts believe that this may be because most people above the age of 45 have received vaccines by now and hence, may have become immune to the disease.

  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana: Eligibility, Tax Benefits & Interest Rates

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    An SSY account can be opened by the parents or legal guardians of a girl child who is below the age of 10.

    With an aim to address the declining sex ratio and increasing cases of sexual discrimination, the Government of India launched a social campaign known as "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" on January 22, 2015. The literal meaning of this campaign translates to, "Save daughters, educate daughters".

    The main objective of this campaign was to achieve three main concerns:

    • Stop gender discrimination and abolish the practice of female foeticide
    • Ensure survival and optimum protection of girls in India
    • Provide proper education and work opportunities to girls

    Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) was one of the Government's pet schemes launched under the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign. The main aim of this scheme was to help parents or legal guardians of girl children to raise corpus for their wedding and higher education. Keep reading to know more details of this scheme.

    What is Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)?

    As stated above, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is aimed at tackling two main issues associated with a girl child in India – her education and marriage. This scheme focuses on ensuring a bright future for girls in India by helping their parents build sufficient funds for meeting the expenses required for their higher education and marriage.

    For this purpose, the Government of India introduced a particular deposit account known as Sukanya Samriddhi Account.

    Who can open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account?

    A Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened by a parent or legal guardian of a girl child, below the age of 10. The beneficiaries can approach a post office or a bank (which offers this scheme) to open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account. However, do keep in mind that only one Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened for a single girl child.

    It means that both the parents cannot open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account under the name of the same girl child. Also, these accounts can be opened for only two girls in a family as per the scheme rules. However, in the case of twins or triplet girls, more than two accounts can be opened by the parents or guardians.

    Who can invest in a Sukanya Samriddhi Account?

    The parents or guardians of the girl child can deposit in her Sukanya Samriddhi Account on her behalf till she attains the age of 10. After the age of 10, either the parents or the girl child herself can deposit the amount and operate the account. After the girl attains the age of 18, her Sukanya Samriddhi Account has to be mandatorily operated by herself only.

    What is the minimum and maximum amount that can be deposited?

    At the time of opening the account, a minimum of ₹250 has to be deposited in it. Once the account is opened, the beneficiary has to make a minimum deposit of ₹250 every financial year. Above that, he/she can deposit any amount in the multiples of ₹50. The maximum amount that one can deposit in a Sukanya Samriddhi Account during a financial year is ₹1.5 lakh.

    These deposits can be made till the completion of 15 years from the date of opening the account. In case the beneficiary fails to deposit the minimum amount of ₹250 in any financial year, the given Sukanya Samriddhi Account will be treated as a default account, except if default is due to death of the parent or guardian who opened the account.

    What is the interest rate on a Sukanya Samriddhi Account?

    As with other Government schemes, the interest rate for the Sukanya Samriddhi Account is decided by the Government and is revised every quarter. Since April 2020, the interest rate for these accounts is fixed at 7.6% per annum (compounded annually). Earlier, it was 8.4% since July 2019.

    Still, the rate of interest offered on this account is higher than other fixed-benefit savings instruments such as Fixed Deposits, Recurring Deposits etc.

    The interest on a Sukanya Samriddhi Account is calculated on a yearly compounding basis on the lowest available balance in the account between the fifth day and last day of the month. The actual interest earning is credited into the account after the end of every financial year.

    What is the duration of this account?

    The deposits under the Sukanya Samriddhi Account have to be made until the completion of 15 years from the opening date. The account gets matured after the completion of 21 years from the date of its opening. Post which, the maturity amount (accumulated corpus + interest amount) will be paid to the girl on whose name the account is opened.

    Premature closure of a Sukanya Samriddhi Account is permitted under the following conditions:

    • Death of the parent or guardian
    • The girl child is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and needs medical treatment

    What are the tax benefits available under the Sukanya Samriddhi scheme?

    A Sukanya Samriddhi Account is eligible for EEE or Exempt-Exempt-Exempt status under the Income Tax Act of 1961. It means that the deposits made under the Sukanya Samriddhi scheme, interest earned on these deposits, and the maturity amount are exempted from the income tax under section 80C of The IT Act.

    Documents required to open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account

    To open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account, an applicant can approach a post office or the Reserve Bank of India or a public or private sector bank such as ICICI Bank. Below are the documents that he/she needs to carry:

    • Duly filled SSY account opening form
    • Birth certificate of the girl child
    • PAN card of the guardian/parent
    • Aadhar card of the guardian/parent
  • Guidelines for 18-45 Year Olds Registering for The Covid-19 Vaccine

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    The Covid-19 pandemic hit India in March last year. As a result, the nation went into a lockdown for months with strict social distancing norms in place. As the year moved towards its end, the situation began to improve, and the number of active cases started going down gradually. Finally, in December 2020, the Government of India introduced the vaccine for coronavirus, and in January 2021, it started the biggest vaccination drive to make its citizens immune to the virus.

    During the first phase of the vaccination, healthcare workers and other frontline warriors, who helped fight the pandemic, got the vaccine shot. During the second phase, citizens above 60 and those above 45 with co-morbidities were eligible to get the vaccine. During the third phase, the Government extended the vaccination drive for all citizens between 45 to 59 years of age.

    On April 22, the Government of India announced the fourth phase of its vaccination drive, in which people aged between 18 to 45 years would be eligible for the vaccine. As per Government guidelines, pre-registration on the CoWIN app or web portal is mandatory for everyone willing to get the coronavirus vaccine shot.

    The registration for the fourth phase of vaccination started on April 28, and from May 1 2021, the eligible citizens can take the vaccine shot. So, in case you fall within the age group of 18 to 45 and haven't yet registered for coronavirus vaccination, you should do it without further delay. In this article, we will tell you how you can do so.

    We've also listed valuable tips along with dos and don'ts for successful registration and vaccination. Continue reading.

    How to register yourself for the vaccine?

    You can register yourself to get your first dose of vaccine through the CoWIN app/website or through the Arogya Setu app. You can then choose a vaccination slot at a centre/hospital near you.

    Steps to register yourself on the CoWIN app or website:

    • Step 1 – Download the CoWIN app on your smartphone via Google Play Store or Apple's App Store
    • Step 2 – Alternatively, visit the CoWIN website and click on "Register/Sign In Yourself"
    • Step 2 – Enter your mobile number to receive OTP
    • Step 3 – Enter the OTP your received on your mobile number and click on "Verify"
    • Step 4 – Fill in your personal details such as name, age, gender etc. on the registration page
    • Step 5 – Enter your AADHAR card number and verify it using UIDAI OTP
    • Step 6 – Select your vaccination centre and schedule an appointment for any available date

    Steps to register yourself Aarogya Setu app:

    • Step 1 – Download the "Aarogya Setu" app on your smartphone. In case you've already downloaded the app, make sure it's updated to the latest version.
    • Step 2 – Register yourself on the app using your mobile number and OTP
    • Step 3 – Click on "Vaccination" tab
    • Step 4 – Register yourself for the vaccine by proving your Aadhar card number and verifying it.
    • Step 5 – Select your vaccination centre and schedule an appointment for any available date

    Tips to follow while registering yourself for the vaccine

    Be patient and do not panic

    It was reported that due to heavy traffic, the CoWIN app crashed on the first date of the registration. You need to be patient in such circumstances and avoid panicking. Also, to maintain social distancing norms, only a limited number of appointment slots are available at a vaccination centre for each date. Hence, if you're not getting an appointment, don't fret. Wait for your turn, and you'll get it.

    Avoid going to the vaccination centre without registration

    As we have already mentioned before, online pre-registration is mandatory for all those willing to get vaccinated during the fourth phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive in India. Hence, if you have not done your registration, avoid going to the vaccination centre. Understand that this is for your safety; unnecessary crowding at such places can become dangerous.

    Keep multiple options in your hand

    When it comes to your preferred vaccination centre, you should not be adamant about a fixed hospital. If you are not getting an appointment at your preferred venue, you can check out at other centres in your vicinity. To know the list of vaccination centres in your locality, you can visit the CoWIN portal, select "Vaccination Centres", and enter your state and district, or simply enter your PIN code.

    Don't fret if you miss your appointment date

    In case you miss your appointment date for the vaccination due to some unforeseen circumstances, don't think that it's the end of the road for you. You can always reschedule your appointment by logging into the CoWIN app or web portal and clicking on the "Edit" icon below the Action column against registered individuals.

    In case you need to move to another city, you can select an appointment at a vaccination centre located in that city as well. Do check the CoWIN portal before going to the vaccination centre. All relevant details regarding a vaccination centre, such as availability of the stock, price per dose, and compliance management, are mentioned on the CoWIN platform. Hence, before you go to the centre for taking your vaccine shot, it's advisable to check the CoWIN portal and make sure the centre is functional, and doses are available there.

  • Steps for Easy Breathing in Polluted Cities

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Very recently, a thick blanket of smog engulfed Delhi and shot up air pollution in the national capital to hazardous levels. Air quality readings in the city reached alarming figures, surpassing the 1,000 mark on the US embassy air quality index. The World Health Organisation considers anything above 25 to be unsafe.

    The above measure is based on the concentration of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, per cubic metre. These particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter and particularly harmful, as they can infiltrate deep into the lungs and spread into other organs to cause severe health dangers.

    The demands of daily life compels us to get out of our homes and expose our lungs to harmful pollutants. When their concentration reaches a critical level, it’s no longer safe to breathe outdoors. However, following few easy and affordable practices can help reduce the risk and beat toxic air in any city.

    Predictive Outdoor Pollution Apps

    Today, there are multiple sites and apps that give us predictive outdoor air quality reports. In early 2015, the Indian government had launched SAFAR-Air, country’s first mobile app to provide current and one to three-day forecast of air quality and related health advisories. The colour-coded system helps to easily comprehend the air quality, and decide on our outdoor plans.

    Other apps that help monitor air pollution levels include Plume Air Report and Air Quality: Real time AQI. SatAQ’s website is a useful portal that provides information on air quality, and sources and causes of pollution.

    The Right Respirator

    Comfort masks made from cloth do not fulfil the purpose of adequate respiratory protection. Proper respirator masks make a seal with the face and have a filter that prevents contaminated air from entering the mouth or the nose.

    When the levels of particulate matter touched disturbing levels in Delhi, it became crucial to get a respirator rated N95/N99/FFP3 or one which is ‘NIOSH Approved’, filtering out more than 95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns.

  • Critical Illnesses & Treatment Costs in India

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Critical illnesses are termed critical because they can significantly impact your lifestyle, impair your earning ability, and in the worst case, prove fatal. Factors that make critical illnesses even more dangerous are their potential to wipe out your entire savings, slide you and your family into a debt trap, and derail your life goals.

    India is fast witnessing a rise in the number of critical ailments, the treatment of which is pushing many into poverty. Here are some of the major critical ailments and an approximate cost of their treatment in India.


    Slowly becoming a mass killer in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimates more than 17.3 lakh cases of cancer in India with more than 8.8 lakh deaths by 2020. A disease involving abnormal growth of cells, treatment of cancer is emotionally and financially challenging. In case the family’s principal breadwinner is diagnosed with the disease, the suffering is endless.

    There are several types of cancer such as blood cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, etc. Treatment costs involve doctor visits, chemotherapy, medicine expenses and pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. A single drug can cost ₹75,000 to ₹1 lakh and a single chemotherapy cycle can cost anything between ₹1 to 2 lakh. Cumulatively, cancer treatment can go upwards of ₹10 lakh in India.

    Heart ailments

    Heart ailments have seen a significant rise in India in the last few years. According to a study, deaths due to cardiovascular disease rose by 34% between 1990-2016 in India. The study also found Ischemic heart disease and stroke to be the leading cause of death. Smoking, obesity, hypertension, stress, unhealthy food habits and high cholesterol levels are some of the primary reasons for heart ailments.

    Congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, pulmonary stenosis and mitral valve prolapse are some of the common heart ailments. Just like cancer, treating these diseases is an expensive affair. Though the cost of treatment varies, expenses can easily reach ₹3-5 lakh or even more. Follow-up visits along with lab and CT scans further inflate the medical bill.

    Kidney diseases

    According to statistics, 1 in 10 persons in India is estimated to suffer from some form of chronic kidney disorder. Nearly 1.75 lakh new patients suffer from kidney failure every year and need dialysis or kidney transplant. However, dialysis and kidney transplant are quite expensive. It’s estimated that only 3-4% of people get kidney transplant while only 20-25% can afford dialysis.

    While a kidney transplant can cost anything upwards of ₹6.5 lakh, dialysis can set you back by ₹18,000-20,000 per month. Following a successful transplant, lifelong intake of steroids, supplements and immunosuppressants can further cost ₹5,000 per month. For a middle-class household, the expenses are quite high, and many may find it difficult to bear.

    Liver Cirrhosis

    Obesity-related disorders and intake of alcohol have boosted the cases of liver cirrhosis in India significantly. Around 10 lakh people are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year, which is the tenth most common cause of death in India according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Also, once diagnosed, there are very few chances of the disease reversal. Liver transplant is the only way to treat this disease, failing which the patient may succumb within 2-3 years.

    Just like the above-mentioned critical ailments, liver transplant is quite expensive and can range anywhere between ₹10-20 lakh. While finding a donor in itself is a critical affair, there are several regulatory issues like authenticating paperwork which delay the process. Following a successful transplant, around ₹8,000-10,000 per month is required for immunosuppressants.

    Alzheimer’s disease

    With the fast ageing Indian population, the danger of Alzheimer’s gripping the Indian elderly looms large. According to the India Ageing Report 2017, the elderly population in India is increasing at a faster rate of 3%. The cost of taking care of Alzheimer’s can be upwards of ₹40,000 per month.

  • Improve the Quality of Your Life with These Easy Steps

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    When tackling tensions of the everyday, it is easy to lose focus and forget about the only constant – life. Sometimes, you need to take a few moments in which you stop, contemplate and plan to take a turn to improve the quality of your life.

    Trying to improve the quality of your life doesn’t always include making a major life change or even by completely revamping yourself. It comes with making small choices every single day and realising the goal with every small step. Here are some ways in which you can improve the quality of your life.

    Sleep Right

    People do not stress enough upon the importance of a good night’s sleep. Ensuring that you get at least seven hours of sleep every night boosts mood and performance, helping you feel better equipped to handle the stresses of your day.

    Gratitude is Key

    Whether it is writing down your blessings at the end of every day or simply paying more attention to the positive aspects of your life; when you start focusing on the good things, you invite happiness into your life, beginning the process to improve the quality of your life.

    Get Organised

    A lot of confusion and chaos can be avoided if you take steps towards organising your life. Decluttering by putting your priorities right and taking action upon them can be of great help. Get a journal, plan ahead, try and stick to your plans and get the most out of your day.

    Invest in Yourself

    We spend thousands of rupees on things like clothes, shoes, gadgets, homeware, etc. While they provide instant gratification, they do little to improve how we feel about our lives and ourselves. If we spend that time, money and effort into acquiring a new skill, creating something or helping someone, it is sure to improve the quality of your life and those around you.

    Connect with Nature

    An effective way of getting perspective on things and putting your life back on track is by making nature a part of your every day. Go for walks in parks, drive out of the city and take regular breaks into the wild. You will feel rejuvenated and more willing to take on new challenges.

    Drop Negative Thoughts

    It is easy to stay stuck in a loop of negative thoughts that make situations appear worse than they actually are. When feeling stuck, it is important to reach out for help to improve the quality of your life. It can be in the form of a phone call to your friend, words jotted down in a diary or listening to empowering music.

    Learn Self-Worth

    Being acquainted with your strengths can help in building confidence and push you towards bigger opportunities. Analyse your strengths, hone your skills and align work-life with your skill set. For example, if you have a knack at organising and handling stressful situations; get educated to improve your organisational skills and get yourself a job that pays for organising.

    When you play at your strengths, you increase the feeling of self-worth and improve the quality of your life.

  • Why Cellphones Are Bad For Your Health and Tips to Use Your Phone Less

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How mobile phone usage affects your health and steps you can take to reduce usage

    Mobile phone usage in India has increased from 524.9 million people in 2013 to 775.5 million people in 2018, and these numbers are expected to increase to 813.2 million in 2019. It can, therefore, safely be said that mobile phones are here to stay. These networked mini computers are extremely powerful, and have made the entire human population increasingly reliant on them.

    How Mobile Phones Affect Health

    However, this increasing mobile phone usage and dependence comes with a horde of health issues. Apart from causing dry and sore eyes, your cellphone is also home to a lot of germs. These germs come from carrying your phone everywhere. A study showed that your phone could be covered in traces of dangerous germs like MRSA, staphylococcus aureus (which causes staph infections and toxic shock syndrome), and E. coli.

    Moreover, mobile phones also cause headaches and stress. In fact, the stress/fear of not having your phone near you is a real thing: it’s called Nomophobia. Another mobile phone caused condition is the ‘text neck’. This is the pain caused in your shoulders and neck by constantly looking down at your phone.

    With all these health hazards, it might be better to stop using mobile phones altogether. Unfortunately though, that is not really an option in today’s world. The solution is, rather, to be responsible with its usage, and there are many steps you can take to do so.

    Steps to Control Mobile Phone Usage

    Here are a few easy steps you can take to reduce your mobile phone usage:

    • Keep your phone out of your reach while you are reading or watching TV. Focus on what you are doing instead of letting your phone distract you.
    • Turn off notifications that don’t require immediate action. For example, you can turn off notifications from Whatsapp groups that only share forwarded messages.
    • Clock the browsing you do on your phone. At night, fix a timing to stop browsing your phone and then put it away.
    • Do not be using your phone while you’re in bed. In fact, turn your phone off, or at least put it on airplane mode before you sleep.
    • Stop checking your phone while in line. Don’t be browsing just because you don’t have anything to do for a minute.
    • Don't repeatedly check your all social media apps. Check one at a time instead and put down your phone after. This may take a little self-training.
  • Know About Motion Sickness And Ways To Deal With It

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    If you feel uneasy and sick while travelling by road, railways, water or air, you might be suffering from ‘motion sickness’. It can be a debilitating experience that can ruin your travel day. You could arrive at your destination completely exhausted and fatigued due to the side effects of motion sickness. This article can help you out in diagnosing and dealing with the malady.


    A feeling of uneasiness followed by nausea and vomiting while travelling are the most common symptoms of motion sickness. It can also cause cold sweat, headache and body pain. You might feel extremely sleepy and your skin can get pale. You can also feel dizziness or malaise due to the disorder in your brain. Lots of yawning and irritation as soon as your journey starts can be the first sign of motion sickness.


    Motion sickness occurs when conflicting signals are sent to the brain by other parts of the body that detect motion. One part of the sensing system, like eyes and sensory nerves indicate that the body is moving, whereas other parts like the inner ear do not sense a motion. This leads to a conflict in the brain and results in motion sickness.

    The brain may detect such a situation as effect of a poison, which leads to vomiting as a natural reaction to get rid of the poison. Due to mixed signals, the brain cannot function properly and you feel dizzy, get headache and nausea.


    There are numerous medications that may be used for motion sickness treatment. These are useful when taken before the onset of symptoms.

    • Hyoscine: It is the most common medication used to treat motion sickness. It blocks some of the nerve signals to the brain and hence you feel sleepy and drowsy.
    • Antihistaminic: These alternative medicines are also used to treat symptoms of allergy and nausea. It needs to be taken two hours before the journey.
  • Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe This Holi

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Holi is a festival of colours and the origin of this festival dates to thousands of years. Over the decades, Holi has become quite popular among children. They rejoice playing with colours and the fiesta is a perfect platform for them to strengthen bonds with their friends, relatives, siblings, cousins and neighbours.

    However, Holi, despite its vibrance, is a little risky for children, as it can cause skin allergies, organ damages, fever or stomach ailments if proper protection isn’t taken. Thus, you as a parent or guardian must take precautions to ensure a safe Holi for your beloved child. Given below are 8 ways to do so.

    1. 1. Avoid Synthetic Colours

    2. Synthetic colours, though cheaper and easily available, contain harmful chemicals like mercury, lead and aluminium bromide. Children with sensitive skin can suffer from severe allergies and rashes if synthetic colours are splashed upon them. Try to avoid such colours and buy certified organic or herbal colours.

      Organic colours can easily be washed and are gentler on your child’s delicate skin. Also, while bathing your child post-Holi celebration(s), avoid harsh soaps. You can use besan ubtan or curd. The astringent characteristic of curd helps in taking off colours. In the past, organic colours were naturally prepared at homes. Today, you can purchase them online.

    3. 2. Appropriate health management tool

    4. We all know the importance of a healthy lifestyle. You might have adopted few fitness routines and daily exercises in order to reach your coveted health goals. The use of wearable devices can help you to know whether your workout activities are helping you in achieving your health goals, thereby acting as a crucial tool for your health management.

    5. 3. Ensure Colours are Not Ingested

    6. Many children sometimes mistakenly ingest colours while playing Holi. This can cause serious ailments as colours are not edible substances. Synthetic colours that contain harmful chemicals, which if ingested can lead to serious diseases.

      Thus, keep a close watch on your child and ensure he/she does not ingest colours. However, in case your child does so, it is better to go to the nearest medical centre for treatment at the earliest.

    7. 4. Teach Your Children Good Water Manners

    8. While Holi is a festival of joy and fun, some people avoid participating in it due to religious, personal and social reasons. During Holi, instruct your child not to force an unwilling person to celebrate with them.

      Also, ask them to avoid spraying watercolours on each other’s faces suddenly. Ensure that your child does not spray colours on wounds and carbuncles. Since water is a scarce resource, teach your child to use it judiciously.

    9. 5. Make Sure Your Child Wears Goggles

    10. Eyes are one of the most vital as well as vulnerable organs of our body. Make your child wear goggles to avoid optical injuries while playing Holi.

      Swimming goggles are preferable since they are made up of water-resistant materials. This is because some colours, when splashed, can cause eye irritation and in some extreme cases, blindness.

  • COVID-19: How to Sanitise Your Home Effectively

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How long does COVID-19 virus live on surfaces? Can coronavirus be transferred via grocery items? Should I wash my vegetables in a soap solution? How often do I disinfect surfaces? Should I sun the grocery items I’ve bought? COVID-19 has changed how we perceive things. For example, a quirky, eye-catching door handle or knocker is now just another often touched surface that must be disinfected on the regular. Mundane chores have now acquired a sense of urgency that belies their innocuous nature.

    But we aren’t here to help you ace your household chores with a Stepford wife precision for Instagram-worthy results. We’re here with pointers that we hope will help effectively answer (one of) the most pertinent questions – How do I disinfect/sanitise my home to stay safe? Before we begin here are a few things to take note of -

    Keep in mind the following difference:

    Cleaning v/s Disinfecting

    Cleaning means clearing contaminants from the surface.

    Process of disinfecting helps in getting rid of harmful pathogens.

    Essentials you’ll need:

    Disinfecting wipes, disinfectant sprays, disposable or reusable gloves, detergent, 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, bleach


    Set up a task-list and prioritise high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, handles, toilets, kitchen countertop, and faucets should be cleaned and disinfected routinely. While COVID-19 transmission occurs mainly through respiratory droplets, surface transmission can also take place. Early evidence suggests that the coronavirus can live on surfaces. Hence, cleaning surfaces or things that you or your family may be touching frequently becomes imperative. A publication by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas mentions, “Coronaviruses are surrounded by a lipid membrane and have a single-stranded RNA genome. This is important because the lipid membrane is very sensitive to soap and the RNA genome is very sensitive to UV light. In general, these are very sensitive microorganisms that don’t survive a long time without a host.” Ergo, frequent disinfection and cleaning goes a long way in keeping the virus at bay.

    Here’s how to go about sanitizing your home

    Let’s scratch sanitise the surface

    As mentioned previously, Table tops, handles, the kitchen slab, children’s toys are all areas that require frequent cleaning. According to the CDC, the above should be cleaned using regular household cleaning agents. You can also use a mixture of soap and water. Remember to wear disposable gloves when you’re on a cleaning spree. If you’re using reusable gloves for cleaning or disinfecting surfaces for the purpose of COVID-19, set them aside and ensure that you don’t use them for any other task. As per UNICEF guidelines, “It’s important not to wipe cleaning solutions off as soon as you have applied it to a surface. Many disinfectant products, such as wipes and sprays, need to stay wet on a surface for several minutes in order to be effective.”

    Cleaning electronics

    Keyboards, tablets remotes, mobile phones should all be cleaned frequently using alcohol-based wipes, preferably a make with a high percentage of alcohol content. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations for cleaning all electronic items. You can also use these wipes to clean board games, something everyone in the family must be making frequent use of considering we’re all homebound these days.

    Also read: Life after lockdown: 7 mistakes you should avoid to stay safe from COVID-19

    Soft surfaces

    Curtains, carpets, sofa covers, bed sheets should be cleaned from time-to-time using warm water, appropriate detergent and a disinfectant. If you have a washing machine at home, wash the items in warm water. Read instructions carefully just in case you have items that may shrink. Do not shake dirty laundry and wash your hands thoroughly after handling dirty laundry. Don’t forget to disinfect the laundry basket too from time to time.

    Handling and prepping food

    There are some activities that we cannot put a full stop to. A grocery run is one of them. Browsing the shelves, an innocuous activity pre-COVID comes with its own set of risks now. You have no way of knowing who and how many have handled a packet that you’re now loading into your shopping cart. Same goes for food that you may be ordering in. So if you’re returning home post a grocery run or receiving a takeout order from the delivery person, first things first – wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Discard the packet you have received your food in. If you’re using a cloth bag (really you should!) for your errands, put it away for wash. Empty the contents of your takeout into clean utensils. Try and limit your errands; buy enough to at least last you a week or two.

  • Giving Up Unhealthy Habits on World Health Day

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    April 7 is observed as World Health Day across the globe. To begin with, one must acknowledge that living healthy isn’t a choice; instead, it is imperative that you do. A few unhealthy habits might be sabotaging your efforts at living a healthy life. Take a look at the following unhealthy habits that you ought to get rid of this World Health Day:

    1. Skipping your breakfast

    Unhealthy habit #1 is skipping your first meal. When you wake up in the morning, your body needs the correct nutrition to prepare itself for the rest of the day. However, by force of habit, some tend to wake up late for office and make up for the lost time by not eating a full breakfast. Also, one might choose to forego his first meal, thinking it to be a diet hack.

    In reality, not eating your breakfast impacts the body in more ways than one. It causes a drop in your blood sugar levels, affects mental health and concentration owing to the lack of energy reserves, and leads you to binge on unhealthy (comfort) foods throughout the day.

    Needless to point it out, gorging on junk foods can only add to the extra kilos and visceral fat, thereby making you vulnerable to lifestyle disorders at an increased age.

    Health tip: Make sure you eat a wholesome breakfast, comprising the right nutrients and macros. The first meal of the day should not be only protein or carb-heavy; instead, include foods that have adequate proportions of protein, healthy carbs and good fats.

    2. Not sipping enough on the wonder liquid

    Another unhealthy habit is to skimp on your regular water intake. Multiple studies have linked adequate consumption of water to a sharper memory and focus, more stable mood, and increased energy. Besides, keeping up with the required fluid intake helps your skin stay supple and your body cool faster relative to the ambient temperature; provides muscles and joints increased functionality, and flushes out toxins from the system.

    The question is, how much water should you be drinking each day? Experts say that about eight glasses should do the trick (besides the two/three cups of water that you get from foods). However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the best way to know whether you are hydrated is to check the colour of urine (darker colour can indicate that you aren’t hydrated).

    Health tip: You can spread your daily water intake over the day. Begin the morning with two glasses of water, and drink another 6-7 glasses as the day progresses.

    3. Eating late into the night

    Research reveals that longer the time between two meals (dinner and breakfast), more the time your body gets to process, digest and absorb the nutrients from the food. Also, studies have established a connect between intermittent fasting (marked by spacing out your meals and eating in a shorter window) and healthy weight loss.

    Another reason to give up on late night snacking or late dinners is that it often results in indigestion, something that hampers the quality of your sleep. Moreover, chances are you aren’t necessarily opting for the healthier options. Instead, you are likely to reach out for refined snacks and other unhealthy foods that will, in turn, spike the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and derail all weight loss goals.

    Health tip: Make yourself a dinner schedule and stick to it. Ideally, aim to have your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime.

    4. Living a sedentary lifestyle

    In today’s times, most of our work is online. Chances are you are sitting on a chair all day long, glued to your laptop. However, don’t let this professional routine of yours add to the risks of morbidity and mortality.

    Break the monotony by indulging in a 30/45-minute workout regularly. Multiple studies have thrown light on the various upsides of physical activity. Not only does exercise help you look and feel great, but it also aligns perfectly well with your weight loss goals, and boosts metabolism and energy levels.

    More importantly, regular exercise can significantly add to your life expectancy. An extensive body of work corroborates that physical activity helps to keep the heart healthy, lowers the risks of certain types of cancers and other chronic conditions, regulates blood flow to all parts of the body, and supports blood sugar control.

    Health tip: Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every week. This can include brisk walking or jogging. Team it with two days of strength training, including lifting weights, and using your body weight as resistance (exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and squats).

    5. Not getting adequate snooze hours

    Research states that not getting enough shut-eye at night can cloud your thinking and decision-making abilities (you are more likely to make mistakes), affect heart health and jeopardise your immune system. Being sleep-deprived is also linked with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, owing to the release of insulin that results in increased fat storage.

    More importantly, lack of quality sleep can make it even more challenging to lose weight. That’s because the two hormones that regulate appetite and satiety – namely ghrelin and leptin -- are adversely affected by insufficient or scanty sleep.

  • Scientifically Backed Stress Management Tips

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Long hours of work, responsibilities of your family and suffering sleep patterns can all lead to increased stress. Though it is an inescapable part of our daily lives, there are always some things that we can do to counter it. The most basic thing to do is to learn how to relieve stress from our lives. Here are a few ways to relieve stress that can also be followed to get your mental tranquility back.


    For many people, eating seems to be a stress-buster at times when nothing else works. It has been scientifically proven that certain foods actually help reduce stress. Beginning with broccoli that has folic acid for stress reduction to endorphin-producing dark chocolate; from nuts that keep the cortisol levels low to salmon rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that help the brain cells function more collaboratively, are all examples of foods that can help you relax when you feel stressed.

    Deep Breathing

    When you feel mentally fatigued and there are not many resources at hand, the most effective way to release stress is by using your body’s mechanism to fix itself. Deep breathing or taking long breaths works efficiently to give your mind the much-needed break. When you start breathing deeply, the body directly responds by lowering the blood pressure, releasing the muscle tension and lowering of metabolism, providing a calming effect to the whole body and mind.

    Take a Walk

    The fact that exercise is good for physical well-being has been long established, but it is also interesting to note that a small amount of exercise can do wonders for your mental health too. In situations where you feel yourself being strained by a certain issue, the best thing to do is to take a walk. According to research, taking regular walks can help to modify your nervous system and control anger and mood swings.

    Turn off Your Phone

    Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives and help us navigate our daily life better. All these positives don’t take away from the fact that they have also increased the anxiety levels in people. By simply switching off your phone, you can get instant relaxation by escaping the urge to constantly check your phone for work emails or social media updates. Even a few minutes away from the screen can be a great de-stresser.

    Take a Nap

    The hectic everyday schedules of today’s life seldom leave time for a full night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can have a major effect on your mental well-being and shoot up stress levels. Although, drastically altering the lifestyle might not be an option, taking a nap definitely is. Research shows that even a half hour nap can reverse the effects of sleep deprivation and help improve productivity and performance.

  • Health Insurance Claims: Why Claims Get Rejected in India 2023?

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    A list of reasons that can lead to the rejection of your health insurance claim

    Customers buy health insurance with a mindset that it will rescue them from severe medical emergencies. But what happens when the claim is rejected? The setback of claim rejection can have major financial implications for the insured. The rising costs of hospitalization and medicines further intensify the apprehension, leaving the insured vulnerable.

    You need financial support to recover from an illness or injury and medical expenses are the last thing that you want to be bothered about. To ensure that your claim is not rejected and you get reimbursed on time, you must adhere to these points before making a claim.

    Waiting Period

    Waiting period is the most common reason for health insurance claim rejections. Waiting period can be of different types depending on the insurer and policy. There may be an initial waiting period where a claim is rejected within 30-90 days of buying the cover. There may be a waiting period for pre-existing illnesses where the claim will get rejected within a specified period (usually 1-2 years) if the claim is made for the pre-existing illness. Besides, there may be specific waiting periods for medical conditions such as maternity.

    Incorrect Information

    It is probably one of the leading causes for claim rejections. The insurance policy is based on the details that the insured provides at the time of filling the proposal form. All insurance policies are based on good faith and the insured is expected to provide complete and honest information at the time of purchasing the policy. If any discrepancy is found or if an ailment is discovered, which was not informed to the insurer earlier, then the claim will be rejected.

    Permanent Exclusions

    Every insurance policy has certain permanent exclusions that will not be covered under any circumstances. These can be anything from certain diseases to treatments. Not all policies have the same content in their exclusion list. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the exclusions carefully to avoid unexpected surprises later on.

  • Protect Your Savings with Health Insurance

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    We’ve all heard the popular saying, ‘health is wealth’. From working out in gyms to wellness retreats to maintaining healthy eating habits, staying fit has become a cardinal aim of our life. Improving personal health competence has certainly been a crucial agenda in people’s life, regardless of their age, gender and occupation.

    While taking care of your health should be the top priority, it bodes well to stay prepared for the unexpected. And that’s why health advisors always recommend buying a health insurance plan as your second layer of defence. It secures you against the risk of medical emergencies that could drain all your finances in one go and burn a large hole in your pocket.

    Apart from covering the rising costs of availing healthcare facilities, health insurance has a host of other benefits. Listed below are some of reasons as to how a health insurance policy facilitates greater savings in times of distress:

    Covers your Medical Expenses

    When you or your family member needs urgent medical care, the last thing you would want to worry about is the medical costs. One of the biggest advantages of having a health insurance plan is that it covers you against unforeseen medical expenses in the event of an unexpected situation. With the right insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about any medical expenditure, be it post-hospitalization expenses, ambulance charges, doctor’s fees etc.

    Hence, by choosing the right blend of features, you can be assured of a 360-degree health protection cover for you and your loved ones. Many insurance companies have started offering riders with the main policy or separate health plans to cover excluded medical conditions such as maternity benefits, personal accident insurance and critical illness cover etc. With these costs covered under your health insurance policy, you need not worry about the finances in case the calamity strikes.

    Financial protection against critical illnesses

    Almost every health insurer provides coverage against critical illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, stroke, etc. either with the policy or as an add-on cover that can be added to your health insurance plan. In case you are diagnosed with any of these diseases as mentioned in the predetermined list of your policy, the insurance company will give you a lump sum amount to meet all your treatment costs and tackle other financial obligations.

    Selecting the right policy with the right amount of coverage, thereby helps you to prepare for the worst. Rather than waiting for an illness to strike, it’s prudent for you to stay proactive and plan for the future. Additionally, purchasing a policy at a young age will not only give you the benefit of lower premiums but also more comprehensive coverage and hence, facilitate more savings if you’re struck by a malady.

    Cashless Mediclaim facility

    When you’re undergoing the treatment in a hospital, your family might find it very difficult to arrange immediate cash to pay the hospital bills. To make sure you don’t have to face such a situation, many insurance providers offer cashless Mediclaim facility at network hospitals which means you can get the best possible treatment without worrying about the finances.

    All you need to do is fill up the Mediclaim form to get cashless benefits at partner hospitals with the insurance company.

  • Benefits of Getting A Good Sleep

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Getting a good sleep every night is vital for your physical and emotional health. Allowing yourself to have proper rest after a hard day’s work rejuvenates your body and enhances your immune system.

    Sleep has innumerable benefits and it is essential to sustaining life itself, as most of the repairing your body undergoes is during sleep. Here are five benefits of sleep that may motivate you to get that much-needed full eight hours of rest, in case you neglect your daily quota of complete rest.

    Improved Memory

    When our body is tired, our brain cannot recall information properly. A lack of sleep affects our memory as our body produces excessive amounts of stress hormones. Elevated stress hormones could adversely affect the vital functions of our body and affect our quality of life.

    Regular and deep sleep improves memory by regenerating neurons and improving long term memory formation by organizing the information the brain received throughout the day. Sleep is also known to improve attention span, make a person sharper and improve focus, thus improving overall productivity.

    Improved Immune System

    Proper sleep improves the immune system and reduces the chances of serious diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and cardiac issues. Restful sleep induces a state of complete relaxation, which in turn encourages a regulated blood flow throughout the body, thus reducing the chances of risks related to the cardiovascular system. Healthy sleeping habits also lowers the chances of diabetes by regulating body weight.

    Emotional Well-Being

    Not getting enough sleep can make us feel agitated, irritable and grumpy. A constant state of negative emotions may further lead to depression which can wreck havoc in our personal and professional lives. Enough sleep allows us to be in better control of our emotions, stay calm and reasonable throughout the day no matter what situation we face.