Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Foods that help keep the winter chill and aches and pains away

Our body operates on cyclical patterns. In summer, our bodies cleanse themselves, and are thus parched, therefore the need to be constantly cooled. Nature provides for this through watery fruits and vegetables. In winter, our bodies build and repair-renewing themselves for the next cycle. The aches and pains that seem to accompany the chills of winter, indicate that our bodies instead of regenerating, are actually degenerating. To synchronise yourself with the rhythmic changes in our external environment, don't ignore the needs of the body and keep in mind what nature has made available for us.
Body-building foods: The body requires construction material for growth in winter and this can be made available in the form of nuts and seeds (sesame, almonds, walnuts and avocados) and whole pulses (there are upto 60 different varieties).
Anti-oxidants: Free radicals are produced as a by-product of the oxidation process in our body. In order to fight this and protect the cells, nature has provided brightly coloured fruits, vegetables and berries-rich in anti-oxidants.
Immunity-building foods: Growth during winter does not occur only in our bodies, it occurs in colonies of germs too. Nature reinforces our immunity against this onslaught through herbs and spices such as ginger, fresh garlic, amla, turmeric and fresh fenugreek leaves. These spices not only boost our immunity, they also keep us warm.
Energy-giving foods: Our body strives to always preserve a perfect balance of all its parameters, including body temperature. In winter, our body has to expend extra energy to keep the internal temperatures stable while external temperatures drop. These energy shots come in the form of dry fruits-figs, raisins, apricots, dates, prunes, cranberries, etc.
Sunshine: Do not forget the sun. Even if the sun is behind the clouds, soak in the light.

Avoid picking up stimulants and foods that take too long to digest-tea, coffee, fried food, sweets, etc.-the body ends up spending most of its energy to digest these heavy foods, making us feel colder and slowing down growth and repair. Instead, reach out to vibrantly coloured, anti-oxidant rich, bio-flavanoid rich herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and vegetables which are sure to drive the winter aches and pains away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

First aid during a heart attack

Did you know that heart attacks are one of the leading causes of deaths the world over, and that most of these deaths can be prevented with proper first aid and medical attention at the earliest? Therefore, Dr Vijay Surase, eminent interventional cardiologist, Jupiter Hospital tells us what is to be done in case of a heart attack.

Signs to watch out for
- Severe central compression or squeezing band like feel in the chest often going towards the left arm, hand or jaw giving a choking experience
- Profuse sweating, frothing at mouth, nose, dizzy spell or unconsciousness following or associated with chest complaints.

What you can do
- Don’t leave the person alone and immediately call for medical help
- Make the person sit up straight and try calming them down
- If they happen to wear tight clothing, loosen it a bit making it easier for the victim to breathe
- Nothing should be given orally, except for tablets or any other medication prescribed by the doctor. A tablet of aspirin should be given by people around for the patient to chew at the earliest. This helps a person who is experiencing a heart attack to limit the damage. Just sips of water can be given to help tablet dissolve and absorb rapidly. Usually a tablet of Sorbitrate is placed under the tongue as well.
- If the person whom you are accompanying is extremely breathless, then partially recline them in the ambulance or carriage vehicle and ask the person to cough out intermittently. This helps and supports both the heart and lung.
- If the person is profusely sweating it means a drop in blood pressure. In this case, avoid the Sorbitrate tablet under the tongue as this will cause the blood pressure to drop further. Make the person lie down flat and partly elevate the leg as it may help re-instate the blood pressure to normal. Profuse sweating may mean low blood sugar as well. Do not give sweet drinks, instead keep spoonful dosages of glucose powder under the tongue and ask the patient to suck it frequently.
- If the person is unconscious, make the person lie down on a flat platform so that the lung system doesn't get choked with the contents in the mouth. It may suggest very low blood pressure or massive heart damage. In this case do not give tablets but the leg may be elevated partly for a while which may help re-instate blood pressure to normal. Observe the breathing. If a person is not breathing then use the mouth to mouth technique with chest thump.

Once in the hospital
Depending on the presentation the doctor will give either clot-buster and blood thinner medications or the patient is subjected to direct angiography and primary angioplasty without giving the clot buster to them. Primary angioplasty gives ideal results immediately after a heart attack in a window period of 90 minutes.

Source: http://www.timeswellness.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some dos and don'ts of gymming

Everyone seems to have their own theory on the do's and don'ts of gymming. We separate the wheat from the chaff

While you may think you know a lot about fitness, experts say that most injuries occur due to misinformation you gather from unreliable sources - a friend, colleague or something you saw on television. Avoid believing everything you hear. Experts say there are loads of myths in fitness that might actually cause injury and stop you from getting the best workout. injury.

Myth 1 : Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on the roads
It doesn't matter if you run on asphalt or on your treadmill. Running impacts the knees because your body weight relies on your joints, which causes stress. Try to reduce this impact by varying your workout instead of running for a long time at a stretch.

Myth 2: Ab machines help get rid of belly fat
While there are loads of advertisements in the market claiming to get rid of that stubborn fat around your waist, don't believe all of them. While an ab-crunching machine will help strengthen muscles around your middle and improve posture, only a strict diet and exercise regime will help you burn off that fat. Experts suggest to follow a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training factors that will decrease your overall body fat content.

Myth 3: An aerobic workout boosts metabolism even after you finish working out
While this is true to some extent, the amount is nearly not as much as you'd like to believe. It is true that your metabolism continues to burn at a slightly higher rate after you finish an aerobic workout, but the amount is too small to be taken into consideration. You'll probably burn only about 20 to 30 extra calories in the day.

Myth 4: Swimming helps lose weight quickly
Swimming regularly is good way to increase lung capacity, tone your muscles and even help de-stress you. However, it isn't going to really help you lose many pounds. Since the water supports your body, you're not working it as hard as you should be. Swimming also makes you feel hungry, which makes it possible that you might end up eating more than usual after a swim.

Myth 5: Yoga helps relieve all types of backache
Yoga helps when your backache is muscle-related because the stretches and positions can help. However if your back problems are related to a ruptured disc or other similar problems, yoga is not the answer. What you could ideally do is check with your doctor if yoga will really be able to help you.

Myth 6: Working up a sweat is a must
Don't think that sweating is necessary when you workout. It is possible to burn a number of calories without breaking a sweat: Light weight training or walking for instance

Myth 7: Re-starting your regular routine after a break
Never make the mistake of trying to accomplish too much too soon. Even if you feel okay while doing it, you are harming your body of doing too much too soon. If you've had a break of a few days/ weeks between a workout, you may feel tempted to go back to your normal regime on day one itself. While you won't immediately feel the strain, you'll feel it in time.

Myth 8: You can't go wrong on machines
While it may seem that an exercise machine will automatically put your body in the correct position, that will happen only if the machine is properly adjusted for your weight and height. Have a fitness expert tell you what setting is apt for you instead of trying to figure it out yourself. You'll avoid the risk of injuries this way.

Myth 9: Pain is good
Don't believe in the no pain-no gain theory. While some amount of soreness a day after working out is normal, searing pain while working out is not a good sign. Experts say that an exercise should not hurt while you're doing it. If you're in pain, you're either not doing the exercise correctly or are putting pressure on an injury you already have, which is causing you pain.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gain weight the healthy way!


We tell you how to gain weight the healthy way. While you must have seen realms of print being wasted on telling people how to lose those extra inches and burn those cumbersome calories, there is also a section of people who, hold your breath, actually find it tough to put on weight! Are you one of those? While you're probably the envy of family and friends, trying to pile on a few pounds is not as easy it is made out to be. At least not for everyone. When it seems that all those juicy cheeseburgers and chocolate bars are not helping you gain even an ounce, you know you need to do something more to get meat on your bones. Because of the high prevalence of obesity and weight problems in our culture, more emphasis is laid on loosing weight than gaining weight. People who are too skinny need not fret. Here are some tips to gain weight the healthy way:

Calories: Our bodies have a need for a set number of calories each day. This need is based on your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. In order to gain weight, you will need to take in more calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. You can find out what your needs are by visiting a dietician or nutritionist. Find out a diet that is healthy as well as rich in calories. You don't want to gain weight by harming your body.

Nutrients: There are six essential nutrients that our bodies need to function - proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Each of these nutrients has its own function and is needed in different amounts. The way to get them in the right proportion is through the foods that we eat, and in some cases, by the supplements that we take. Your goal for gaining weight will be to eat a well-balanced diet in order to get all of these nutrients in.

Frequency: It may be helpful to eat every couple of hours in order to get enough food and calories in. Set a timer on your cell phone or put it in your appointment book to remind you to eat. Eat smaller meals every few hours instead of just three large meals a day.

Supplements: If you don't get enough calories just from your food, you can consider using supplements in between meals. However, always check with an expert beforehand. You don't want to consume something that is wrong for your body.

Weight Lifting: Nothing builds muscle like weight lifting. If you are unsure of what to do, work with a trainer to set up a program that fits your schedule and needs.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is there a best time to exercise?

Not really, say experts! For most people the best time to do exercise is the best convenient time. If you are doing exercise at a particular time daily then you are more likely to see results.

It is often found that those who do exercise in the morning are more disciplined and are unlikely to skip exercise at any cost unlike those who do exercise in the late evening.

Though there are researches on exercise they are still limited. So it is difficult to fix the right time to exercise. "Some people can wake up early in the morning and can easily do exercise without fail. But others are lazy to get up early. So for them it is always better to do it according to their convenience," says Bindu S, a fitness expert.

But some research shows that you have more endurance in the late afternoon as the body temperature is at its highest and so strength and endurance are greater. "Not many can afford to workout when they feel like due to various family and work commitments. So even if you are doing your workouts at a time you despair, don't feel sorry for your body can easily adapt to any circumstance," says George Joseph, a personal trainer. George says more than the physical aspect missing the exercise routine can have psychological impacts. "The guilt feeling that you could not do the exercise can bring forth many negative emotions. This would affect your productivity the whole day.

The good news is, whether it is morning or late evening what matters is you do the exercise regularly. So, happy exercising folks!

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Food therapy to beat the blues :)


In a daze, feeling low, lost in your own world? Don't know what's happening with you? Perhaps you are mildly depressed.

Not to be mistaken with the serious form of depression, we all have our mood swings and bad days. Sometimes we just do not know why we are suddenly feeling restless/irritated or disinterested. Here are ways to brighten up your mood.

Eat chocolate: Even research and studies have proved this. You can get over your depressed state with a bar of chocolate

Food therapy: The way to a man's heart is through is stomach. Now, now this is true for women too. We all love to dine outside so we can choose from a huge platter of multi cuisine options. Don't we all feel good after a hearty meal? The next time you are depressed order your favourite pizza or have the tangy pani puris that you love. You will definitely feel the difference in your mood.

Shopping: Yes, women swear by them. This is one of those things that can be a pleasurable experience no matter what your mood. Shopping is sure to lift your spirits and take the burden off you.

Hydro therapy: Nothing like standing under the shower, you will notice how water therapy can soothe you. Give it a try once and you wish you could bathe forever.

Music: Ever wondered why we never get bored of hearing some songs? Yes, that's our favourite number. But why? Music can have a therapeutic effect on your mind.

Movie spree: Every movie leave an impression- some pleasant and others unpleasant. Remember watching those movies that made you laugh your heart out? Now is the time to watch them again just to make you feel good.

Phone a friend: It always feel light after you share your feelings with someone. So just pick up the phone, dial your reliable best friend's number and talk. You will feel better.

Still can't figure out what to do? Get up, take a deep breath and bring that smile back on your face for the day has only just begun and everyone has a right to happy life. Isn't it?

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

Medical checkups: For 30 year olds

The importance of regular medical check ups is highlighted only when you suddenly encounter health problems you clearly can't predict.

Isn't it better to be safer than to be sorry later? Timely medical checkups could make all the difference between prevention and cure; especially when each decade comes with its own set of lifestyle ailments. To help you outline which tests such medical check ups involve, here is a list of medical checkups for 30 year olds.

Check ups for men and women at 30
Electrocardiogram - This test helps in establishing a baseline for your heart, making sure it is working fine and pumping blood in a fluid manner to all parts of the body. This test must be done once every 4 years, once you cross 30.

Rectal exam - This is a must-do exam for people who have crossed 30 in order to keep away from health conditions such as haemorrhoids, rectal injuries, or any cancer.

Tetanus - Your tetanus shot must be up to the mark once you have crossed 30.

Blood pressure - Blood pressure is something as common as cough and cold nowadays, blame it on the stressful lives we all lead.

Cholesterol - Check your cholesterol levels to determine whether you have a tendency to develop high cholesterol later in life. This will help you gauge how right or wrong your dietary intake is, as well.

Diabetes - A blood or a urine test will make sure whether you suffer from diabetes or not.

Eye tests - It is a must to go for an eye check up once every 2 years, after you cross 30.

Dentist - Dentists usually advise that a good dental checkup must be carried out once every 6 months.

Sexually transmitted disease check - This can be done once every 5 years if you have sexual relations with one partner. However if you have multiple sexual partners, then once every six months would be a good idea.

Checkups for women
Breast exam - Have your breasts examined when you visit the doctor for regular pap smear and pelvic exam tests.
Pelvic exam - It is a must-do exam once every 2 years after 30.
Mammogram - Even though mammograms are usually advised post 40, getting one when you crosss 30 will help establish a baseline for later mammograms.
Pap smear - It is an extremely important test for women, which helps in preventing cervical cancer from developing. It is a must do test once every 2 years.

Checkups for men
Testicle self-exam - Check for lumps and if you find any, then consult a doctor immediately.
Testosterone levels - It is always best to get the testosterone levels checked once you have crossed the 30s mark.
Prostate exam - Even though the prostate exam is advised to men who have crossed their 40s, getting on in your 30s helps in establishing a baseline for later comparison.


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sports bras for better workouts?


The importance of wearing a well fitting sports bra is quite under-rated. While exercising you might just think that exercising right should be high on your agenda, without giving much thought to the kind of clothes you might be wearing.

However, wearing the right sports bra is quite important for women, because a good sports bra offers optimum support while adding to physical ease and comfort - two ingredients that no workout can ever be fun without. Today we're talking about how important the right sports bra is to your workout and what kinds of sports bras are available in markets today.

Importance of a good sports bra
A right fit sports bra helps in making sure that your breasts don't sag after a point of time. Breasts are basically made up of fatty tissue, and too much bounce can lead to the stretching of the ligaments. Sports bras also help in absorbing sweat and keeps you comfortable and dry while exercising. Sports bras hold your breasts in place without being too tight or restrictive. Unlike under-wired bras, and tight straps that dig into your flesh, a sports bra is contoured to meet your body's curves at perfectly comfortable points. It also saves you from upper back pain and shoulder problems.

Different type of sport bras
Available in all sizes, shapes, colours, textures and designs, sports bras also offer different supporting techniques. They are:

Encapsulation bras: These kinds of bras have two separate cups which help in providing firmness and shape to your breasts. They are best suited for D cups sizes.

Compression bras: These kinds of bras help in compressing the breasts against the bra wall which helps in minimizing bounce and movement. They are perfect for women who wear A and B cups size bra.

Compression/Encapsulation bras: Popularly also known as 'combination bras', these kinds of bras are best for C and D cups.

According to fitness expert at Sculpt Gym, Gurgaon, Yashmeen Manak: "A supportive sports bra is very important to avoid damage to the breast tissue during intense exercise. Wearing improper bras can cause sagging of the breasts. Choose a supportive branded sports bra for your type of breast size. If you have large breasts, go for racer back and a thick strap. Women with small and medium chests should look for a comfortable snug fit. The sports bra should fit you well and let you move freely during the exercise. It should not be so tight that it makes you uncomfortable to breath."

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Walnuts help fight stress, lower BP


Walnuts, the brain shaped nuts, cut down cholesterol and may also help fight stress and reduce blood pressure.

Those with high levels of bad cholesterol had lower blood pressure during stressful moments after following a diet rich in walnuts for three weeks. Study participants were told to deliver a three-minute speech or sink one foot in cold water - both of which trigger stress.

Those who ate walnuts had lower blood pressure, said Professor Sheila West from the Penn State University in the US, according to the Daily Mail. "This is the first study to show that walnuts reduce blood pressure during stress. People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease," she said.

The team used three diets -- one without nuts, one with walnuts and walnut oil and a third with walnuts and flaxseed oil, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Adding flaxseed oil did not affect blood pressure, but did help create an anti-inflammatory effect in arteries. This could reduce the risk of heart disease, the researchers say.

After each diet, the subjects were asked to take the speech and cold-water stress tests.

Average diastolic blood pressure - the 'bottom number' or the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting - was significantly reduced for those on diets containing walnuts and walnut oil. West added: "These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure."

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ideal diet before and after your workout!


An effective workout depends on many factors - the most important one being your diet. What you eat before a workout prepares your body for the stress and the meal after that is responsible for muscle building and body repair. Here's what you must keep in mind so as to tailor your meals and maximise your workout.

PRE WORKOUT:

Get the carbs
Give your body a dose of carbohydrates one hour before you hit the gym. Eat a fruit (apple would be ideal). You may also have toast, cornflakes or idlis. You could also just eat a banana for the complex carbohydrates it provides. These foods need comparatively little time to digest, are easy on the body and provide you with maximum energy during the workout. Also, ensure that you drink a glass of water before the workout, so that your body is well hydrated.

Never go hungry
Do not hit the gym on an empty stomach. The stress that exercise has on the body, combined with the lack of sugar (energy) will lead to hypoglycemia, a condition that will make you prone to fatigue.

After a heavy meal
For a diabetic, it is very important to workout soon after a heavy meal. However, normal individuals must maintain a gap of two to three hours between a heavy meal and the workout. The logic is to allow the sugar level in the body to reach an optimum level.

POST WORKOUT:

Use the window
During a workout, the level of cortisol (also known as the destructive hormone) in the body increases, thereby making it prone to infections. That's precisely why the hour just after a workout is known as the 'window period', as it allows for infections to enter the body. Use this opportunity and eat as soon as possible.

Get a drink
The body loses salt due to sweating. That is why it's very important to compensate via a rich source of electrolyte such as ORT.

Have proteins, but...
Do not rely completely on proteins for your supply of energy, as they are far more difficult to digest and take a toll on your kidneys. To aid digestion, make sure you include lots of greens in your meal, as they are rich in fibre.

Create supplements
The body needs a high-protein diet for muscle building. However, relying on supplements is not the answer. The best option for a post workout DIY supplement is to take the watery part of curd (that is very rich in proteins), chop a banana and apple into it and put it in the blender. It's a perfect combination of proteins and carbohydrates. Not to forget, the apple is rich in fibre.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lack of ‘sunshine vitamin’ ups diabetes risk


Low levels of vitamin D caused by a lack of sunlight is putting millions of people in danger of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers have found.

A landmark study in Australia, the largest of its kind, found that people with high levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop it, reports the Daily Express.

Pathologist Dr Ken Sikaris, from Melbourne, co-author of the study, said: "It's hard to underestimate how important this might be."

Previous research has already shown that vitamin D deficiency could be to blame for 600,000 cases of cancer worldwide each year, particularly in northern Europe. The vitamin apparently slashes the chance of bowel cancer by 40 per cent and cuts the risk of women developing breast cancer by half.

Research has also suggested that people with high levels of vitamin D can almost halve the danger of developing diabetes or heart disease.

Although we get some vitamin D from foods such as fatty fish, milk and eggs, around 90 per cent is generated in the skin by the sun's ultraviolet light.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Ills of a very tight bra


When it comes to dressing even the bra you wear is important. Many women think that the tighter the bra, the better it is.

Tight bras give you a fuller and more enhanced bust and more importantly, gives support and shape. Some woman are so used to wearing bras that they even wear one when they sleep! However, a recent study conducted at the Harvard university, has linked wearing tight bras to breast cancer. This is because wearing a very tight bra can restrict blood circulation and can also impair the lymph tissues.

According to the study, less oxygen and fewer nutrients are delivered to the cells, while waste products are not flushed away. This is especially the case with women who wear bras for more than 12 hours a day and even sleep in them. The study also discovered that middle-class women are at a higher rick of breast cancer since they work for longer hours.

Since lymphatic vessels are very thin, they are extremely sensitive to pressure and are easily compressed. General Physician Dr M D Mody agrees. "The main reason why extremely tight bras are bad for breast health is because they restrict the lymph flow in your breasts. Normally the lymph fluid washes out waste materials and other toxins away from the breasts but bras inhibit this action, so toxins can start to accumulate in the breast, and that can help cancer to develop."

Many experts say that a lot of women believe that if they follow a regular diet and exercise daily, their chances of developing breast cancer are reduced. According to gynaecologist, Dr Smiti Kamath, "A lot of the women who come to me are very health conscious people, who exercise regularly. They get surprised when they're told that the lymphatic circulation in many tissues (especially the primary lymphatics) is highly dependent on movement. Wearing a bra, especially a constricting one with underwires, and especially to bed, prevents normal lymphatic flow and is likely lead to anoxia (lower than normal oxygen content), which has been related to fibrosis, which in turn has been linked to increased cancer risk," she says.

Oncologist Dr M V Shah says that women who have a history of breast cancer in their families should be especially careful. "Bras inhibit the way our bodies normally cleanse themselves and get rid of cancer cells and toxins like dioxin, benzene and other carcinogenic chemicals that cling to the body's fatty tissues like breast. In fact, if you find a lump in your breast, it may very well be filled with lymph fluid that was not able to move away from the breast tissue," says Dr Shah.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best vegetarian sources of protein

Perhaps one of the most neglected meal components - Protein is the reason behind muscle regeneration, performance, and upkeep.

Without it, you will find it impossible to get fitter. Animal protein helps maintain a well-balanced diet for most non-vegetarians. But what about the vegetarians? Does one really need to switch meal preferences to gain the maximum protein punch? Not at all. Today we bring you the best vegetarian sources of protein that will help you gain muscle tone and maintain good nutrition. Read on...

Whole grains: Although a fine line between carbs, cereal and protein - whole grains like quinoa and barley are excellent sources of protein. At approximately 18gms of protein per cup of cooked quinoa, this wonder grain is one of the best vegetarian sources of protein. Unfortunately, quinoa isn't easily available in India, since it's a South American crop. However, some premium stores do stock it. Failing that, barley or jowar and other whole grains are also sufficient vegetarian sources of protein.

Soy: A wonderfully versatile ingredient, soy in all its shapes and forms is a great protein source for vegetarians. Drink soy milk, stir in tofu with your salads, or simply munch on soy nuts. You'll find that soy products can be roped in with just about any meal or snack - from vegetarian biryanis to light noon-time salads...Even mid-evening beverages. One cup of tofu contains approx. 18-20gms of protein. Most packaged tofu and soy milk is fortified with even more nutrients that would serve a vegetarian well.

Nuts and seeds: These are protein sources that even non-vegetarians can't ignore. Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts and seeds like flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin are protein and energy powerhouses. However, nuts are also high in fat, so munch on the side of caution. You can even make your own homemade nut butters by simply grinding the nuts of your choice with a dash of olive oil and some more flavourers.

Sprouts: Although technically, sprouts come under the beans, legumes and lentils category in vegetarian protein sources, they deserve a special mention. You can sprout already healthy ingredients like alfalfa, mung beans, chickpeas, peas, and soyabeans. These sprouts are highly nutritious and rich in protein. Eat them raw with salads, or mix them in with a spicy, hearty dish - either way, your day's protein requirements can be sufficiently met with these wonder sprouts. Do remember that for people with acidity, sprouts aren't the best protein sources.

Beans and lentils: Chalk one up for Indian cuisines, because our diets are already rich in these hearty vegetarian protein sources. Whether it's the ever-loved Rajma Chawal or the various East coast beans and lentil curries with kokam and tamarind, beans and lentils are an intrinsic part of our food culture. And rightly so. One cup of beans (kidney, black, red) contains approximately 15gms of protein. These do not, however, perform as optimally as dairy and soy sources of protein. Therefore, vegetarians must still take care to include all the other protein sources mentioned here.

Dairy: If you do not have any digestion problems or adverse reactions to natural whey protein and simple plain yogurt, we say give it a try. Whey protein is simply the leftover residue from the cheese-making, paneer-making process. Resort to artificial (closest to natural state) whey protein only if you aren't getting enough protein in your daily diet. Yogurt is easier to digest than milk, and is a great protein source for vegetarians.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

Must-do morning habits


The right moves and foods when incorporated at the start of any day lead to a positive and focused outlook. These must-do morning habits will enable you to enjoy your day no matter what the schedule. And to top it all, they will kick-start your metabolism levels on a high, thus helping you torch extra calories too. Here they are...

Brighten up your morning with colour! Colour experts suggest that if you see a bright, vibrant colour right when you open your eyes in the morning, you tend to feel a sudden surge of energy, which is good enough to keep you up and about all day long. Try throwing in a pillow, lamp shade or a blanket which is bright red, or orange (did we hear fuchsia pink?) in colour. Or if you love experimenting with food, then let your morning glass of juice do the talking with rich colours from pomegranates, cranberries or oranges.

"You snooze, you lose" The more you hit the snooze button, the more sluggish will be the start of your day. This is because when you snooze your brain is aware of the fact that it can go off again for 5 minutes (and let's face it, it's more 15 than 5), thus you tend to go into a deeper slumber, waking up lethargic - and as a result yawn all day.

Visualize the day ahead. Now that you are up, try and visualize in your head what you need to do through the day. No, this won't add to stress. Rather, this will help you compartmentalise your day and be better planned. Ask yourself what that one exciting and energetic thing you will be doing that day and that alone will be enough to get you thinking ahead positively.

Drink water. Sipping on a tall glass of water as you wake up, aids in restocking bodily fluids lost over the night. Even a single percent drop in your body's water stores can tire you physically and mentally. Thus, maintain the level of water in your body by drinking 8 to 10 glasses in a day.

Make hay when the sun shines. As soon as you see the first streak of sunshine, your biological clock winds up on secreting melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy). Step outside for the morning sunshine or read your morning newspaper sitting by a sunny window.

Start the physical activity. Kick starting your day with a 45 minute run outside or by visiting the nearby park for a quick walking session with friends, will help in shaking off that grogginess. Even though we already know the endless benefits of exercising, using morning sunlight to do so is a great way to start the day!

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spices are good for you!


Here are the benefits of some popular spices....

Indians are known to like their food hot and spicy. So to imagine your food without spices is rather unimaginable, isn't it?! They say wherever you find an Indian, chances are you will find a range of aromatic spices. But along with the taste that spices and herbs provide, they also have several medicinal benefits as well. Spices have been used for centuries for their medicinal qualities and researchers continue to study their healing properties. Here are some of their benefits:

Chili powder: It relieves painful joints. Research shows that capsaicin, found in chili peppers, has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help ease arthritic swelling and pain.

Cinnamon: Protects against type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A study has discovered that about half a teaspoon lowered blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Garlic: Improves your heart's health. Garlic consumption can lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by an average of 10 per cent.

Cloves: Clove oil is a well known treatment for toothache, and its antiseptic properties make it an excellent mouthwash. The main ingredient in the oil is eugenol, which is anti-inflammatory and can help ease the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis. It is a warming spice, which can help reduce congestion and stimulate digestion.

Ginger: Ginger contains antioxidants and can help protect against diseases. It calms down spasms and reduces flatulence in the digestive system. It is also an excellent treatment for nausea associated with travel sickness, pregnancy and hangovers.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home remedies for grey hair


There are home remedies that help check greying of hair. However, in some cases the greying of hair may be due to an underlying health issue. Hence, it is sagacious to rule out any medical reasons for grey hair before resorting to home remedies.

Castor oil
It is widely believed that gently massaging the scalp with warm castor oil stops the greying process. Let the oil soak into your scalp overnight.

Powdered sandalwood and coffee
Prepare this oil. Take a litre of castor oil and approximately an ounce each of grounded coffee and sandalwood in a vessel. Heat for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool. Strain and store in an airtight bottle. Use this oil to massage your scalp and let it stay overnight. Regular use of this oil is said to improve the colour of your hair and even reverse the greying process.

Herbal hair pack
Some believe the following herbal hair pack if used weekly prevents grey hair or reverses the process of grey hair. To prepare the pack, take a tablespoon of henna, amla and tea leaves powder and put it in a vessel. Add a cup of hot water to the powders. Mix well. Stir into the mixture a pinch of salt and one small lime juice. Let it set for 4-5 hours. Now the pack is ready for application. Apply and let it stay for 2 hours. Wash off with plain water. Do not use soap or shampoo immediately. Using this pack regularly once in seven days is said to check and prevent grey hair.

Sage infusion
There are some who claim that a strong infusion of sage leaves works wonders for grey hair. Take 4-5 tablespoons of sage leaf infusion and add to it one cup of strong tea water. Use this water on your hair daily, letting it seep well into the hair roots. After a few days, you will notice a satisfactory change in the colour of your hair. From then on, use it once a week.

Indigo
Charakacharya described indigo as kesharanjak and kehavardhak. Indigo is a hair growth stimulant, soothing to the skin, heals wounds. It is described as a bactericidal and antitoxin. Its natural properties help maintain the natural dark colour of hair. To avail of these natural benefits for greying hair, use the powder of natural indigo leaf in equal quantity with henna powder. Make a paste and apply on hair for two hours or so. Wash off with plain water.

Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Music that heals!

Indian classical music is perceived as spiritual. It doesn't matter what instruments you play or if you are just singing, you are connecting with a higher power and this in turn can have positive effects on your mind and body.

Studies have already proved that playing an instrument stabilises your blood pressure, slows down your heart beat and helps concentration. Music therapist Harendra Khurana uses this to heal his patients.

The well-known specialist tells us that you don't need an expert for all your problems - different instruments touch various chakras of your body which make you stronger both mentally and physically.

Guitar: brings joy
The sound of strings is very close to the human voice, which is why your body reacts to it so well. I had a patient who was paralytic and I recommended that he listen to music that he grew up on - tracks from Woodstock, The Beatles, etc. He showed remarkable improvement. That is the effect a guitar can have. It provides instantaneous joy, and the happiness you get from playing a guitar translates into your life as well.

Sitar: inspires creativity
The sitar, on the other hand, inspires creativity. The sound it makes is very peculiar and it travels from your head to the toe. It touches your Swadishtan chakra which is related to creativity in your body. People who play the sitar are always looking to extend their boundaries and think out of the box. I have also found that it helps in relieving a bad stomach.

Santoor: higher intuition
The santoor might also belong to the classical realm, but the sound it makes interacts with the body very differently. The santoor enhances the intuitive aspect of a person. The high notes of the santoor have an effect on the Ajna chakra in the head. It also helps in relieving nausea, vomiting and chronic pain.
Drums: mental anchor
All percussive instruments have an earthy sound, it roots you. Percussions in Indian traditions have a direct effect on the Mooladhar chakra which deals with grounding a person. If you are rooted through rhythm, your mind patterns get regulated. There is a reason why wars around the world carried drums with them. These instruments can give confidence to a dull mind, they are the best cure for mental slowness and lack of concentration. Also, remembering drum patterns while learning the instrument increases your memory.

Flute: a mood uplifter
Studies have shown that wind instruments help with lung power because you are regulating your breathing. So the fact that it helps you with diseases like asthma and bronchitis is a given. In our traditions however, the bansuri has an effect directly with the Vishuddhi chakra which is placed near the throat.
This, in turn, helps people who play this instrument communicate better. The connection between the mind and your voice is enhanced, which keeps your mind clear so that you can be a better orator. It also works well on your bones and can heal diseases like spondylitis. When you are down in the dumps or going through depression, play the flute because its sound reminds you of nature and works best to make you happy again.

Now this does not apply to most jazz instruments because they have a booming sound. Try out the more traditional ones first.

Piano: soothing effects
Pianos, keyboards and most other key instruments are all about soothing your body. Most classical music, especially Western symphonies, depends a lot on keyboards.

Just like a cold 'hello' on the phone puts you off a person, many key instruments have a synthetic sound. Try and stay away from them.

Try and pick an instrument with an acoustic sound. The only problem is that they are very expensive. But if you can afford it, the piano is a great instrument for people with sleeping disorders.

Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Health benefits of music!

Listening to music is beneficial to your health, here's the A-Z of how...

A – Alleviate pain
Music is used in hospitals to alleviate pain in conjunction with anaesthesia or pain relief medication.

B – Brain booster
Studies show that music can help the brain develop better in children, as well as help reduce memory loss in older adults.

C – Concentration
Music helps concentrate on certain chores. Upbeat songs help energise your mind and stimulate your brain cells to focus on the chore.

D – Digestion
It is said that listening to some soothing music, particularly classical music, helps our bodies digest food better. This is because music induces the body to reduce the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, in our bloodstream. This helps the body relax and absorb the nutrients better.

E – Eases muscle tension
Lessens muscle tension for the purpose of relaxation, including the autonomic nervous system.

F – Fitness
Many health and fitness instructors regard the addition of music to exercise important and helps boost the person’s energy levels especially during cardio activities, this helping them on their path to fitness.

G – Good coordination
Musical instruments need you to synchronise the movement of your fingers, arms, hands, and facial muscles. This leads to having a good mind and body coordination.

H – Healing properties
Due to its healing properties, music therapy is being used vastly in many medical centres

I – Induce sleep
Calm or sedate music is often used to induce sleep

J – Jazz
A research on individuals suffering from headaches and migraines, in which they were treated with jazz music, showed that apart from preventing migraines, jazz music also lessens the period of a migraine attack.

K – Knowledge enhancer
Music is said to enhance higher brain functioning such as reading, literacy skills, spatial-temporal reasoning, mathematics, emotional intelligence and memory. Music helps improve concentration and attention, thus allowing you to grasp more knowledge.

L – Lowers blood pressure
Soothing music is said to combat stress and hence lower ones blood pressure

M – Mood elevation
Helps elevate patients mood and counteracts depression.

N – Necessary lullabies
A study has indicated that premature babies, whose much-needed energy is often drained by stress, seem to thrive when relaxing music in the form of lullabies is played.

O – Osteo-rheumatoid arthritis reliever
Music helps manage and reduce the effects of chronic osteo and rheumatoid arthritis as it not only distracts but also releases endorphins, which counteract pain.

P – Parkinsons aid
Incorporating music therapy that includes music-inspired free movement and vocal exercises during physical therapy sessions helps stimulate multiple sensory pathways and improves both the mobility and emotional well-being of Parkinson’s patients.

Q – Quietens the nerves
Music helps calm and soothe the nerves, which in return help alleviate the mood.

R – Relaxation
Music calms the mind, thus making you more relaxed

S – Stimulating brainwaves
Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves. Faster beats leading to sharper concentration and alert thinking, and slower beats promoting a calm, meditative state of mind.

T – Therapeutic
Music is said to be therapeutic. Music Therapy is practiced world over to help patients rehabilitate and de-stress

U – Urine passing
Listening to soft soothing music helps you to urinate better and without forced exertion.

V - Violin health
Playing a musical instrument like a violin leads to a better posture, healthier hear rate, stronger muscles and weight loss.

W – Well being
Music provides a sense of well being as it helps alleviating ones moods. It helps keeping depression and stress at bay.

X – Xpression
Music is a great form of expression that allows each one's individuality to be explored, as they express themselves through music.

Y – Yodelling to good health
It is said that the throaty singing style, used for years as means of communication, now comes with added health benefits. A good yodel aids in releasing stress and calming the nerves.

Z – Zest of life
Music can be called the zest of life, as it helps counter emotional upheavels and livens up your mood. Also it releases endorphins and hormones that boost your energy levels, ensuring a fulfilling day ahead.

Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health


Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food, too. They're easy to store and easy to take with you to work or school.

The type of nut you eat isn't that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts — you name it — almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny package. If you have heart disease, eating nuts instead of a less healthy snack can help you more easily follow a heart-healthy diet.

Can eating nuts help your heart?
People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the LDL, low-density lipoprotein or "bad," cholesterol level in their blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease.Eating nuts reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also improve the health of the lining of your arteries. The evidence for the heart-healthy benefits of nuts isn't rock solid — the Food and Drug Administration only allows food companies to say evidence "suggests but does not prove" that eating nuts reduces heart disease risk.

What's in nuts that's thought to be heart healthy?
Although it varies by nut, most nuts contain at least some of these heart-healthy substances:
- Unsaturated fats. It's not entirely clear why, but it's thought that the "good" fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fiber. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you eat less. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing diabetes.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
- Plant sterols. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts.
- L-arginine. Nuts are also a source of l-arginine, which is a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.

What amount of nuts is considered healthy?
Nuts contain a lot of fat; as much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it's still a lot of calories. That's why you should eat nuts in moderation. Ideally, you should use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

Instead of eating unhealthy saturated fats, try substituting a handful of nuts. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts, may reduce your risk of heart disease. But again, do this as part of a heart-healthy diet. Just eating nuts and not cutting back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products won't do your heart any good.

Does it matter what kind of nuts you eat?
Possibly. Most nuts appear to be generally healthy, though some more so than others. Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it's been shown they contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. Even peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume, like beans — seem to be relatively healthy. Coconut, which is technically a fruit, may be considered by some to be a nut, but it doesn't seem to have heart-healthy benefits. Both coconut meat and oil don't have the benefits of the mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Keep in mind, you could end up canceling out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they're covered with chocolate, sugar or salt.

How about nut oils? Are they healthy, too?
Nut oils are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, but they lack the fiber found in whole nuts. Walnut oil is the highest in omega-3s. Nut oils contain saturated as well as unsaturated fats. Consider using nut oils in homemade salad dressing or in cooking. When cooking with nut oils, remember that they respond differently to heat than do vegetable oils. Nut oil, if overheated, can become bitter. Just like with nuts, use nut oil in moderation, as the oils are high in fat and calories.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/