Friday, August 28, 2009

Food for every cure of your body

Mushroom and ear


Slice a mushroom in half and it resembles the shape of the human ear.

And guess what? Adding it to your cooking could actually improve your hearing.

That's because mushrooms are one of the few foods in our diet that contain vitamin D.

This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.


banana and smile


Cheer yourself up and put a smile on your face by eating a banana.

The popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan.

Once it has been digested, tryptophan then gets converted in a chemical neurotransmitter called serotonin.

This is one of the most important mood-regulating chemicals in the brain and most anti-depressant drugs work by adjusting levels of serotonin production.

Higher levels are associated with better moods.

broccoli and cancer


Close-up, the tiny green tips on a broccoli head look like hundreds of cancer cells.

Now scientists know this disease-busting veg can play a crucial role in preventing the disease.

Last year, a team of researchers at the US National Cancer Institute found just a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent.

In Britain , prostate cancer kills one man every hour.

ginger and stomach


Root ginger, commonly sold in supermarkets, often looks just like the stomach.

So it's interesting that one of its biggest benefits is aiding digestion.

The Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years to calm the stomach and cure nausea, while it is also a popular remedy for motion sickness.

But the benefits could go much further.

Tests on mice at the University of Minnesota found injecting the chemical that gives ginger its flavour slowed down the growth rate of bowel tumours.

cheese and bone




A nice 'holey' cheese, like Emmenthal, is not just good for your bones, it even resembles their internal structure.

And like most cheeses, it is a rich source of calcium, a vital ingredient for strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Together with another mineral called phosphate, it provides the main strength in bones but also helps to 'power' muscles.

Getting enough calcium in the diet during childhood is crucial for strong bones.

A study at Columbia University in New York showed teens who increased calcium intake from 800mg a day to 1200mg - equal to an extra two slices of cheddar - boosted their bone density by six per cent.


sprouts and sperm


The stir-fry favourite bears an uncanny resemblance to the images we see of 'swimming' sperm trying to fertilise an egg. And research from the US suggests they could play an important part in boosting male fertility.

A study at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio showed that to make healthy sperm in large quantities, the body needs a good supply of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against damage by harmful molecules called free radicals.

Just half a cup of bean sprouts provides 16 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for a man.

It's not just dad but baby too who could benefit.

Bean sprouts are packed with folate, a vitamin that prevents neural tube defects, where the baby is born with a damaged brain or spine.


Grapes and Lungs


OUR lungs are made up of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny bunches of tissue called alveoli.

These structures, which resemble bunches of grapes, allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream.

One reason that very premature babies struggle to survive is that these alveoli do not begin to form until week 23 or 24 of pregnancy.

A diet high in fresh fruit, such as grapes, has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema.

Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which appears to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy.


tomatoes and hearts


A TOMATO is red and usually has four chambers, just like our heart.

Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a plant chemical that reduces the risk of heart disease and several cancers.

The Women's Health Study - an American research programme which tracks the health of 40,000 women - found women with the highest blood levels of lycopene had 30 per cent less heart disease than women who had very little lycopene.

Lab experiments have also shown that lycopene helps counter the effect of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

One Canadian study, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, said there was "convincing evidence' that lycopene prevented coronary heart disease.



walnuts and brains


THE gnarled folds of a walnut mimic the appearance of a human brain - and provide a clue to the benefits.

Walnuts are the only nuts which contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

They may also help head off dementia. An American study found that walnut extract broke down the protein-based plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found walnuts reversed some signs of brain ageing in rats.

With Best Regards

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Nutritionist Sneha Jain lists some super foods that promise to help you sail through common womanly woes

 From your mother's list of must-dos to the how-tobe-healthy mail of the week, everyone is known to give out nuskaas for combating regular gynecological problems. Be it a certain a asana to fight that monthly monster, or a face pack to banish an ugly pimple. If nothing seems to help, head to your kitchen for a change. All you have to do is stock up and munch! 
Flaxseeds are full of essential Omega 3 fatty acids, which help in balancing hormones in the body. They also protect women from heart problem that are one of the leading causes of premature death among women. The dietary fibres in flax, called lignans have antioxidant properties that detoxify the body and give you a glowing skin. It also boosts your fertility. Omega 3 releases prostaglandins (a hormone like substance) which provide comfort and relief from pain associated with menstruation. The essential fatty acids are very fragile, unstable, and liable to oxidation if exposed to light and air. Within the whole seeds, the oil is protected. So 
buy it fresh. 

Beans are almost cholesterol and fat free, so a must have for women on a diet programme. Beans are an excellent 
source of vegetable protein and fibre. With more and more women getting affected with colon cancer than breast cancer each year, the fibre and phytoestrogens (a natural plant hormone) present in beans protects against cancer. 
Bright fruits like orange and papaya are rich in Vitamin C that delays the ageing process. So chuck the botox and reach out for a glass of fresh lime water. Oranges are an excellent source of folate, an element that lowers the risk of birth defects and memory loss. These fruits also contain beta carotene that accumulates in the skin to act as a natural sun block. 
Ginger's forte is to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It also helps in hastening the recovery post delivery. 
Add it to your regular diet to ward off stomach cramps and acidity. You could toss a few slices in your bowl of dal or mix it with fresh fruit juices. 
Broccoli is a great source of calcium and Vitamin B, both of which play an important role in bone health. These green florets contain sulphurophanes that helps prevent cancer and clears any excess estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body can cause weight gain, hormonal imbalances and an increased risk of breast cysts and breast cancer. 
These tiny berries have the power to fight severe urinary tract infections that trouble women more than men. Cranberry juice is loaded with Vitamin C that acidifies urine and reduces the chances of developing irritation. They also help in treating minor flu and stomach aches. 

One of the best sources of folate, spinach prevents birth defects, heart disease, dementia, and colon cancer. Lutein (an antioxidant), in spinach prevents our skin from heat-damage, delays wrinkling, roughness and dehydration — the common symptoms of skin-fatigue. 
The heart of the wheat kernel is a gold mine of nutrition. A half cup serving of toasted wheat germ supplies more than half of a woman's daily magnesium needs. It plays an important role in reducing stress, building bones, and regulating thyroid function (which affects 20 per cent of postmenopausal women). Magnesium also aids in the production, release, and activity of insulin. 
In women over 45, osteoporosis is a concern since the rate of bone loss speeds up post menopause, as estrogen levels falls. Getting enough calcium is paramount in preventing os
teoporosis and yogurt is an exc e l l e n t source of c a l c i u m . Rich in probiotics, yogurt encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, thereby boosting immunity. 
Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These help reduce the risk for blood clot formation that can occur due to a prolonged use of contraceptive pills. In pregnant and lactating women these fats help in optimal brain and vision development of the baby. Omega 3 also boosts levels of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical and aids in fighting postpartum depression. 
(Nutritionist Sneha Jain is associated with Centre for Obesity & Diabetes Support) 

Full vaccine course key to developing immunity

 Every year, a large number of children get vaccinated for diseases like pertussis, tuberculosis, hepatitis-B, measles under the national immunization programme. But very few go on to complete the full course losing track of booster doses that are administered at 10 and 16 years. The lack of awareness among parents are to blame for the low turnout rate. 

    Doctors say most children don't get mandatory booster dose for tetanus at the age of 10 and 16. ''If they are given the booster doses, the kids can develop immunity for life. It would also bring down indiscriminate use of tetanus. But we don't see many turning up for booster doses at 10 and 16 years of age,'' said Dr Bir Singh, professor of community medicine, AIIMS. 
    Similarly, the incidence of the contagious pertussis (whooping cough) is rising among kids in the 10-plus agegroup. The national immunization programme recommends booster doses for diphtheria and tetanus at the age of 5. ''These days, we see a lot of pertussis cases in children 
above 10 years. With time, the effect of the vaccine decreases. That is why booster doses of DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) are required at the age of 10,'' said Dr Pankaj Garg, consultant, neo-natology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. 
    Doctors say the national immunization programme is religiously followed for children up to two years. ''Till 24 months, vaccines are given at an interval of 2 to 3 months. But when we ask parents to come after two or four years, their turnout is dismal,'' said Dr Sisir Paul, paediatrician, Max Healthcare. 


A number of diseases are covered under the national immunization programme, but doctors say that follow-up rate of booster doses, especially given at 10 & 16 years of age, is very poor in India 
Primary vaccination 
Bacillus Calmette-Guirin 
Vaccine against tuberculosis 
Administered at 
Oral polio 
Vaccine against polio 
Administered at 
Birth, 6, 10, 14 weeks 

Vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis & tetanus 
Administered at 
6, 10, 14 weeks 
Hepatitis B 
Against bloodborne disease 
Administered at 
Birth, 6, 10, 14 weeks 
Measles vaccine Administered at 
9-12 months 

Optional vaccines 
H influenza (type B) 
Against flu Administered at | 6, 10, 14 weeks Booster dose at | 18 mths 
Hepatitis A 
Against water-borne diseases Administered at | 12 mths Booster dose at | 18 mths 
Chicken pox Administered at | 1 yr Booster dose at | 10 yrs 
Pneumococcal vaccine 
Against pneumonia 
Administered at 
6, 14, 20 weeks 
Typhoid (VI) Administered at | 2 yrs Booster dose at 
Every 3 yrs* 
Against meningitis Administered at | 2 yrs Booster dose at 
Every 3 yrs* 
*(until 18 years of age) 
DPT & oral polio 
16-24 months 

5 yrs (doctors recommend DPT booster dose at 10 years of age) 

Tetanus Toxoid (TT) 
At 10 years & again at 16 years 

Vitamin A 
9, 18, 24, 30 & 36 months after birth of the infant

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Get rid of dandruff

Avoid oily and junk food since they are among the main reasons for dandruff. Applying fermented curd on your scalp and hair for an hour is another popular remedy. Dandruff is more common in dry hair — get into the habit of oiling your hair as often as you can. Make a mixture of olive oil and ginger root and apply it on your scalp. This reduces dandruff and also keeps the hair healthy. Avoid colouring or streaking your hair if you suffer from a dandruff problem — it will only worsen your problem. Take a bit of sandalwood oil and thrice the amount of lemon juice to make a paste. Keep this mixture on your scalp for some time and then wash off. Curtail drinking caffeine as well as eating sweet things like chocolates, pastries and sugar. Rinsing your scalp with lemon juice works wonders in getting rid of dandruff. If you have found that dandruff shampoos have not helped eliminate your problem, then you may want to consider using vinegar. Mix half a mug of warm water with half of vinegar and pour it over your scalp and rinse out thoroughly. 

    Make a paste of two egg whites mixed with lime juice and apply it on your scalp. This also gives you relief from an itchy scalp. 
    Make a mixture of almond oil and olive oil and apply it on your scalp. Wash it off after about five minutes.


If you're looking at burning the extra fat and toning up, these exercises are a must-do

When it comes to working out, everyone wants to see results, and fast. While there are a plethora of exercises that you can try out, nothing delivers like the following seven. 
Walking is the most basic form of exercise ever. Still better, you can walk anywhere, anytime, on a treadmill or in the park, on the beach, literally anywhere and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes. If you're starting out, begin
with 10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes non stop. 
Interval Training 
Interval training can add to your cardio workout and boost fitness, burn more calories and help you lose weight. As you progress, vary the intensity of your aerobic workout. Bring up the pace for a minute or two, then back off a bit and again increase it. 
Squats have often been associated with a boot-camp style workout. They work
multiple muscle groups and hence deliver great results. The ideal way of doing squats is keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your rear as if you were sitting down in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles. They help increase you muscle mass and overall strength and power. 
Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles. They have the ability to affect your entire lower body with emphasis on different mus
cle groups depending on the particular type of lunge that you decide to do and help to improve your balance. 
Push-ups help strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps 
and core muscles. Beginners can start by leaning into their kitchen counter, then gradually advance to a desk or a chair, onto the floor with knees bent and then on the floor on the toes. For push-ups, keep your face down, place 
hands slightly wider than the shoulder-width, place toes or knees on the floor making a smooth line. Keep the rear-end muscles and abdominals engaged, lower and lift body by bending and straightening elbows. Remember to keep your torso stable throughout the move. 
Abdominal Crunches 
There are two methods to do abdominal crunches. Start by lying on your back with feet flat on the floor and palms supporting the head. Press your lower back down, contract abdominals and raise first your head, then neck, shoulders and upper back off the floor, in this order. Remember to tuck your chin when raising your head. For the second method, keep your knees bent, feet off the floor for doing 
crunches. This engages hip flexors and avoids arching your back. Notice that you keep your neck in line with your spine and keep your elbows out of your line of vision to keep chest and shoulders open. Don't stick your chin out or don't hold your breath. 
Bent-Over Row 
Beginners should not do the movements with weights. This exercise works for all major muscles of back and the biceps. Stand with feet shoulderwidth apart and knees bent. Flex forward at the hips and engage abdominals, extending spine to support. Hold weights beneath shoulders with hands apart. Flex elbows and lift both hands toward the sides of body. Slowly, lower hands to the first position.

SWEAT IT OUT: Start your day with a quick run

STRETCH OUT: Lunges work at all major muscles

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Dietician Richa Anand tells you why going veg is a good idea, even if it's for at least once a week

    We dare not ask you to junk the cold cuts lying in your freezer, but if you wish to shed a few digits from your waistline (and your grocery bill), listen up. Studies conducted only second the long-believed benefits of going completely vegetarian. And for starters, here's how you can benefit by going veg, at least once a week. 
Ditch that expensive spa and munch on fruits and veggies, known for their detoxifying qualities. A veggie diet contains dietary fibre (bottle gourd, pumpkins, spinach, methi, cabbages and other greens being the main sources). This fibre binds with the toxins and flushes them out of the body, making you feel light and energetic. On the flipside, a diet c o n t a i n - ing only e g g s , fish and mutton is a poor source of fibre. 
Gorging on meat can lead to excessive intake of protein, thereby interfering with the absorption of calcium. So much so that it may even prompt the body to draw out the existing calcium from the bones so as to correct the fluctuation in the blood's acidity level. Among vegetarians, this calcium excretion is known to be less common. Also, a protein overload can tax our kidneys. 
A non-vegetarian diet is a poor source of carbohydrate, a crucial fuel for the body. So make sure veggies are a regular part of your diet since carb-deficiency can lead to ketosis — a condition where the body starts breaking down fat (instead of carbs) as a source of energy. 
The complex carbohydrates in vegetarian foods are digested gradually providing a steady source of glucose. Conversely, meats that are mostly rich in fat and proteins are difficult to digest and utilise a lot of 
energy to process. Now you know why a heavy non-veg meal leaves you feeling lazy. 
Research has shown that eating vegetables such as beetroot, tomato, pumpkin, bitter gourd and green leafy vegetables can clear off your blemishes. And fruits such as guava, apples, pears, peaches, eaten along with their peel promise a glowing complexion. Plants enriched with Vitamin C act as a natural sun block, delaying the ageing process. Also, the high water content and antioxidants present in cucumber and water melon can work wonders for the skin. 
Avoiding meat, especially red and organ meats such as liver and kidney is the simplest way of reducing your fat consumption. 
    Instead, consuming a 
    diet rich 
    in whole 
    g r a i n s , 
    l e g u m e s , 
    vegetables, nuts, 
    and fruits, along 
    with a regular exercise programme results in lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, less obesity and consequently less heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. 
Our molars (flat teeth) are more suitable for grinding grains and vegetables than tearing flesh. Also, in humans, the process of digestion begins with the saliva in the mouth. This saliva contains the enzyme alpha- amylase (absent in carnivores) which can only digest complex carbohydrates present in plant foods. 
These nutrients do not appear to be immediately necessary to the human diet, but they do confer some benefits, protecting you from cardiovascular disorders being the most important one. Diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, stroke, and bone loss are partially preventable with a good intake of phytonurtients. Since these are present only in vegetarian diet, the non-vegetarians are at a loss. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Build your body’s protection shield


Does a minor change in weather pull you down? Build your body's protection shield — a strong immune system. Experts tell you how

It's well-known that cardio reduces the risk of stroke, improves blood circulation, lowers hypertension and relieves stress. However, a crucial benefit of cardio is that it boosts the body's immunity. Regular exercise ensures constant flow of nutrients and infectionfighting cells throughout the body, and of waste products out of it. 
    Simply put, diseases often follow blockage in the body's intricate mechanism. Hence, an easy defence against diseases keeps the body mechanisms ticking. 

Two or three bowel movements per day ensures that the body's 
defence system is not put under any excess strain. Any less frequency in bowel movements causes putrid material to leak into the body cavity increasing the chances of serious internal infections. 
    So keep the body well-hy
drated for regular and healthy bowel movements, and have foods rich in fibre such as cereals, whole grains and fruits like apples. 
The big 's' factor also affects immunity. Keep stress under check, incorporate a relaxing practice such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing into your daily routine. You may even try Tai-chi, a Chinese 
martial art. 
A recent Arizona State University study says that mushrooms can indeed help cement the body's immunity. Interestingly, the common 
white button mushroom has stronger immunity boosting properties as compared to the exotic varieties. 
Chocoholics re
joice! Chocolate is a good source of arginine amino acid (a component of most proteins) which is crucial in boosting the body's immunity. Besides, it is also known to play a role in weight control and is also beneficial for the liver. 
Good ol' chai fights infections attacking our body says a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School. The study conducted showed that the immune system of tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs,as compared to those who had coffee. The chemical in question in tea that supports immunity is L-theanine. 

Apart from being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which have a 
host of benefits of their own, fish is also a rich source of glutamine that helps build immunity. 
The most efficient way to breathe is diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. Most infants and young children do it easily, but as we get older, we tend to breathe using our chest and shoulder muscles and less of our diaphragm. 
Practise the follwing exercise and re-learn your breathing technique. 

• Pick a comfortable position, sitting, standing or lying on your back. 

• When standing or sitting, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor, the back is straight and hands are at your side, on your lap, or on the belly. 

• Inhale thrice deeply, through your nose and exhale from your mouth. Feel the stress leave your body with each exhalation. 

• As you inhale, let the breath completely fill your lungs and push your belly out. 

• Exhale completely, feeling your belly move back in. 

• Do a series of seven breaths. Rest for two minutes and repeat 
Recommended for those suffering from chronic sinusitis, allergies and lung infections. 

• Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor. Press the thumb of your left hand against the left side of your nose, blocking the air passage, the other fingers of your hand kept straight, not touching your face. 

• Breathe in through your right nostril for a count of ten. 

• Move your hand such that your index finger closes the air passage on the right side of your nose. 

• Breathe out of the left nostril for a count of ten. 

• Repeat five times. 

• Switch hands. Inhale through the left nostril and exhale from the right nostril for a count of ten. 

• Repeat five times. 
(Inputs from Nuri Khan, proprietor, Studio 5 Aerobic Center and dietician Shilpa Joshi) —COORDINATED BY VIKAS HOTWANI