Google+ Followers

Monday, 31 March 2014

Foods that Reduce Acidity

1. Oatmeal 
2. Ginger 
3. Milk
 4. Apple and apple cider vinegar 
5. Chamomile and fennel tea

Foods That Relieve Stress

If someone were to device a ‘stress-o-meter’ and go out to measure the stress levels, we are quite sure, he will have to make a new device each time, because considering the stress levels in our life, the device will probably blow up. Studies show that the stress level in our lives has only increased over the years and this is in spite of the latest advancement in technology. Work-life balance seems to be a thing of the past and ‘weekends off’ is a word people yearn to hear. Between all the running we do for our work, families and ourselves – seldom do we stop and think about the lifestyle we are leading. Erratic sleeping schedule, untimely meals, binge eating, weekend parties and all other crazy stuff we do through the week leads to increased stress levels over a period of time.

If you can relate to all the above said things, then you will be surprised to know that help is only a kitchen away. There are food items that are aphrodisiacs, some that improve your skin and then there are also those that help you to soothe your nerves. The next time you think you are just going crazy, just whip up something with the following foods that relieve stress and relax.
1. Chocolate

There is nothing like chocolate that soothes your nerves. Just the thought of some warm chocolate, your favorite book and cosy corner is enough to lower your stress levels. Recent study shows that eating around 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate each day for two weeks lowers the stress hormones cortisol & catecholamines. Chocolate stimulates the release of serotonin, a natural antidepressant and endorphins which are also known as ‘feel good hormones’. Also the cocoa in chocolate is known to have flavanoids that have a lot of health benefits like reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. A cup of hot chocolate, a sumptuous chocolate cake, or a rich chocolate truffle should do the trick, best taken before bed time.
2. Cheese

Cheese is one food item that can be combined with any dish to make it richer and of course, more flavorful. Although known to have a hit fat content, cheese is also a good stress buster. You can add little amounts of cheddar, gruyere or Swiss cheese to your pasta or try a cheese potato mash and if you are experimental, then even add some to your Mac and cheese. Eating a high carb meal 2 hours before bed time is known to increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Alternatively you can also try the healthier cottage cheese packed with vitamins B12 & B2 for some relief. A fondue is a great option to call some friends over and relax while digging into warm and cheesy food.
3. Blueberries

Don’t go by the look of it. Though small in size, blueberries are a perfect combination of vitamin C and antioxidants that aid in the balance of stress. Available throughout the year, the antioxidants in blueberries protect the cells against free radicals that lead to cancer and heart diseases. The versatile nature of blueberry makes is usable in any form – you can make a puree, compote, smoothie or use them fresh. They can also be used in cheesecakes, pies and muffins but are best eaten fresh and plain. You can add some blueberries to your morning cereal or to your yogurt for some zing. They also help in slowing down the aging process indirectly. Stress breaks down the body, aging it faster and blueberry helps fight this stress.
4. Almonds

Almonds pack a healthy punch with B2, Vitamin E, zinc and magnesium. Almonds contain serotonin which helps to balance mood and stress. Zinc has been shown to fight negative effects of stress and vitamin E is an antioxidant which increases immunity. Almonds also help lower the blood pressure, keeping stress level under check. You can have them plain or roasted. Flavored almonds are also a big hit. Try honey roasted or cinnamon roasted almonds. Almonds can be used in anything from salads, soups, smoothies, pies, cookies, cakes, French toast to granola! However due to high amounts of fat, they should be consumed in small portions, do not go overboard.
5. Fish

The omega 3 fatty acids in fish help to keep the adrenaline under control and keep a tab on your stress levels. Salmon and tuna can prevent surges in stress hormones and also protect against heart diseases, mood swings and depression. Sushi is also said to be a good stress reliever as the sea-weed (maki) is known to have some anti-anxiety properties. It is also rich in magnesium, vitamin B2 and pantothenic acid that contributes to the health of the adrenalin glands. Oily fish is a great option to pan sear, bake or even steam; you can make fish cakes which is a tastier option. Try and include around 3 ounces of fatty fishes like salmon, tuna and anchovies at least twice a week.

There are a lot of other foods to relieve stress like bananas, spinach, oranges, cereal, bread, pastas, tea, avocados, milk – the list is endless. It is important that you lead an active lifestyle; exercise regularly, go for long walks or do any form of exercise you are comfortable with. Make sure you take time out for yourself. Meditation and yoga are also known to be great stress relievers. Lastly, know when to stop, don’t work yourself to ill health.

Health Benefits of Dates

One of the world’s oldest cultivated fruit, dates have been widely known for their high nutritional value. Originating from the desert oases of northern Africa and southwest Asia and the Middle East, this sweet fruit belongs to date palm which has been referred to as a “tree of life”. Rich in several vitamins and minerals, dates are considered to be an integral part of a balanced and healthy diet. Mentioned below are some of the health benefits of dates.
1. Prevent heart problems

If soaked for a night and crushed in the morning and consumed, heart problems could take a back seat. They are proven to be quite helpful in keeping the heart healthy. Have them twice a week and stop worrying about your heart. Dates also reduce LDL cholesterol.
2. Relieve constipation

Known to be a laxative, dates can bring a great amount of relief from constipation. Dates are highly beneficial in eliminating waste. All you need to do is immerse them in water overnight and consume the same in the morning like a syrup.
3. Cure intestinal disorders

Regular consumption of dates could help you get rid of intestinal problems. The growth of pathological organisms in the intestine can be kept in check with a sufficient intake of dates, which promote the growth of good bacteria.
4. Treat abdominal cancer

Serving as natural and nutritional supplements, dates are scientifically proven to be helpful in treating abdominal cancer. They can also be consumed by all age groups. They have no side effects and work as medicines.
5. Treat diarrhea

Dates are rich in potassium which makes them ideal for consumption when suffering from diarrhea. To add to that, dates are easy to digest, making them best foods to be consumed whenever you suffer from diarrhea.
6. Are a rich source of energy

Dates contain good amount of natural food based sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose, which can supply you enough energy to keep you going. Hence, they are ideal for those who have diabetes.

7. Help to prevent dental cavities

Dried dates can help in reducing tooth decay. The rich content of fluorine in dates helps in enamel formation for the teeth.
8. Ideal for pregnant women

Dates can help to reduce labor pain if a woman consumes dates regularly during pregnancy. This is because dates help in strengthening uterine muscles. Also, the nutrients present in dates enrich the quality of breast milk.
9. Help to deal with sexual weakness

Dates are known to increase sexual stamina. Soak dates in goat’s milk overnight and then grind them with a mixture of honey and cardamom powder. Now add it to the milk you soaked dates in. This tonic can do wonders for boosting your sexual endurance.
10. Ideal for digestive and nervous system

Dates have high amount of fiber along with amino acids. This helps in easy digestion. As stated earlier, it has rich amount of potassium which is very good for the nervous system.
11. Other benefits

Dates can improve eyesight and help in treating night blindness. Dates contain high amount of iron that helps in curing anemia. Dates also provide quick relief in case of alcoholic intoxication.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

3 Benefits of Grape Seed Oil

1. Acts as an antioxidant
2. Lowers cholesterol
3. Helps to avert diseases

Easy Ways To Help The Environment

Increasing environmental challenges have caused a sudden rise in concerns and efforts to lessen the adverse effects of human activities on environment. Increasing average temperature, rise in sea level, shrinking forests, reducing natural resources and an ever increasing ‘concrete jungle’ are the most visible features of a world moving towards its own destruction. Now the time has gone to sit, think, plan and then act. It’s high time to undertake measures that are effective. Here are several ways to help Mother earth and the environment.
1. Avoid private vehicles unless necessary

A major reason of environmental degradation is pollution and one of the major sources of pollution can be controlled, if we use our vehicles wisely. Use public transport as much as possible.
2. Save energy

Energy conservation is another step to a safer planet, which we seek to achieve. It is not only a pocket-friendly method but it also helps to prevent wastage of the limited natural resources. This includes switching off lights and electric gadgets when they are not in use, not overheating or overcooling your rooms, cleaning and replacing AC filters every second month, insulating your walls and ceilings, etc.
3. Keep your surroundings clean

Make sure that your surroundings are clean in order to protect the environment from pollution.
4. Plant as many trees around your locality as possible

Planting trees can be a blessing, whose benefits can be reaped by one and all. Plant a little garden in your backyard, where you can grow not just fruits and vegetables but also herbs and other useful plants. Also, you can plant shade trees outside your house. It will keep your surroundings fresh and pleasant even during summers.

5. Control the use of plastic

Plastic is an enemy of our planet. By now, we all know about the harm that plastic causes to our environment. Avoid plastic as much as possible. Use paper bags or jute bags for daily chores.
6. Use less fertilizers or other chemicals

Use natural manures that are helpful in improving soil nutrients, instead of chemicals that harm not just the soil but also the crops. Do not burn away the leaves collected in the garden. Instead, let them decompose. Also, use your vegetable scrap for decomposition process, thereby helping earth regain its natural resources.

7. Recycle

Recycle anything possible, like plastic, paper, etc. Reuse packing cartons, newspapers, furniture, etc. These are the things that require wood and destruction of forests for their manufacture. It is an effective way to reduce deforestration.

There are many ways by which you can help in protecting the environment.

Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

How to get kids to eat vegetables is one question that has been troubling most mommies. Are you one of them? How many times have you noticed that your kids are just playing around with the vegetables kept on their plate, or worst, have thrown them into the bin? Yes, making kids eat vegetables can be a tough task. To tackle this problem, all you require is a few tricks and your kids will start eating vegetables soon. Check out the ones mentioned below.
1. Be creative

Add some alphabet noodle shapes while making a vegetable soup. Kids will be so involved in finding those letters that they will hardly notice what they are eating.
2. Make them drink

Many a times, kids avoid vegetables because they find chewing on those veggies too boring. The best way out of such a situation is to make them have vegetables in a different form. How about a drink? Sounds enticing? Then follow this. Make a soup of the veggies you want your kids to eat. Pour the soup in a fancy glass, add a cocktail umbrella in the glass and see your kids drink it all up. Though they won’t get as much fiber as they need, from drinking vegetables, but something is better than nothing. Isn’t it?
3. Give vegetables as appetizers

Mostly kids are hungry when it’s meal time. At such times, it’s the hunger that overpowers them and they don’t care what they eat. So, strike the iron while it is hot. While you are preparing dinner, put some carrots, cucumber and celery on a plate and offer them as appetizers. Chances are they will eat them quietly as they just require something to munch on.
4. Give them a choice

Put out carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and other vegetables in buffet style and let them choose what they like. Kids like to choose and make decisions like adults. When you allow them to make their choice, they’ll be delighted to eat because it’s their pick!
5. Let them create an artwork

Kids love to play with colors. So offer them vegetables in different shapes, sizes and colors and tell them to make a vegetable collage on their plate. In this way, they will also eat the vegetables kept in front of them.

6. Involve them in cooking

Involve them in the kitchen when you are cooking. Make them wash vegetables, stir or anything else that would be appropriate to their age. They will be eager to try out all that they have helped to cook.
7. Hide vegetables in other foods

If all your ideas fail, mash vegetables and add them to other food and unsuspecting kids will consume them.
8. Do some ranch dressing

If you offer kids cooked vegetables with a ranch dressing or any other dip, they will eat it happily as they like anything provided with a saucy dip.
9. Encourage them to grow their vegetable garden

This will not only teach them gardening and to care for the environment, but they will also want to eat what they have cultivated.
10. Educate them

Tell them what vegetable is good for which body part and to make it more interesting, prepare a body chart and let them put stickers on each body part after they have eaten a serving of vegetables. For instance, after eating carrots, they can put a sticker on the eyes.

Did you enjoy these fun ways of making your kids eat vegetables? Better put them to use as soon as you can and see your kids eat vegetables.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Healthy Foods For Women

1. Yogurt2. Fish3. Walnuts4. Red fruits & veggies5. Berries6. Beans7. Milk8. Flaxseed9. Oats10. Avocado11. Olive oil12. Dark chocolate

Top Ways To Improve Vocabulary

Can you think of any bare essentials except food, water and air that you cannot live without? You may not have thought of this but it’s language. Have you noticed how well spoken the Miss World’s and Miss Universe’s are? That’s because of their amazing command over language. Can you think about people who impress you the most in your daily life? One of the primary reasons for that is that they speak well. Don’t you want to speak like them as well? Get an added feather in your cap by improving your vocabulary and speak great English. These are the top 5 ways to improve your vocabulary.
1. Read, read, read to improve your vocabulary
Did you read a book yesterday and skipped a difficult word you didn’t understand? Well, we all do that out of laziness. But you know what – that’s the best way to improve your vocabulary. Make it a habit and you’ll find yourself doing it again and again. Do you feel distracted looking up a word each time you don’t understand it? Simply underline it and look it up when you feel like! Do you have an Amazon Kindle? An iPad? This is the time to put those babies to good use. Wouldn’t you be impressed with someone who said, “Your music collection is eclectic” instead of someone who said, “Your music collection has a lot of variety”? Think about it.
2. Practice word puzzles
“Ugggh – Why can’t I find the answer to this!” is my dialogue every morning when I’m solving the daily crossword in the newspaper. I cherish this habit of mine. You can get into it too – it’s never too late! I love the challenge of finding the answers. If you like a good challenge, try it! It’s great fun doing word ladders, puzzles and crosswords. Okay, let me warn you – you will get addicted!
3. Add a word per day
You’d be thinking, “Okay, I have begun reading books, magazines, Reader’s Digest, word puzzles, etc. What now? I still can’t seem to remember any words that I learn!” I’ve noticed that the key to improve your vocabulary is to put the newly learnt words into practice. Make it compulsory for yourself to use one new word in a sentence each day with friends or family. This will do the trick. Spare a few minutes, put in the effort – it’ll pay off, trust me.
4. Converse with interesting people to enhance your language
Improving vocabulary isn’t just about adding more and more ‘difficult’ words in your brain. Have you noticed that there are very few people who can take up all types of conversations whether its slang, formal, conversational, field specific or a speech? You must interact with as many different people as possible. Do you have an architect neighbor? Go and have a cup of tea with him/her and you’ll learn 5 new words. Go hang around with the janitor of your school and observe his accent. Ever thought what part of the country he comes from? Variety is the spice of life, and your vocabulary!
5. Make visuals to grasp words quickly
Do you remember when you were little, your teachers taught using large pictures and drawings? And you’re wondering why I’m saying this to you. Experts say that the brain remembers visuals more than it remembers words. Why not follow the same principle to improve vocabulary? On the soft board in your study, paste a large sheet with the words written in big fonts and a related image drawn next to it. You’ll be able to see this every time you pass by and the word will eventually get stuck in your head.
I suggest you keep your eyes and ears open to take in all the new words, meanings and contexts that come in your way. Subscribe to the word lists of Reader’s Digest,, NY times, and so on. Have you seen artists and visualizers carry a small notepad with them everywhere they go? Just like them, keep jotting new thoughts and ideas. It’ll take a few moments of your time right now but the effort will go a long way in helping you in your career and your personal life.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Organic Food

Although most people choose conventionally cultivated food over organic food, there are numerous foodies who prefer the latter to the former. What makes these food lovers favor organic food? Read on to explore.
1. It is healthy and safe

Since organic food cultivation does not include chemical fertilizers and pesticides, organic food does not contain any harmful chemicals. As a result, it is healthier and safer. On the contrary, studies reveal, conventional cultivation methods use herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, which affect our body in many negative ways.
2. It is tastier

Organic food comes straight from farms where organic seeds are cultivated in healthy soil. Since, there is no use of chemicals; the original taste of the produce is retained. To add to this, organic food contains vital minerals and vitamins that enhance its flavor. As a result, organic food is high on taste as compared to conventionally produced food.
3. It contains more nutrients

Studies reveal that as compared to non-organic food, organic produce contains 10-200% more minerals and vitamins! It comprises of almost 60% more antioxidants and fatty acids that are beneficial to the body. Organic food is high on essential minerals like iron and zinc. In short, organic food is full of nutrients that keep you healthy.
4. It promotes weight loss

Conventionally produced food is cultivated with synthetic inputs that increase the chances of chemical residue. Most of the times, chemical residues accumulate in the body fat, causing weight gain. Organic food, on the other hand, makes no use of chemical fertilizers or harmful pesticides. As a result, you have no risk of chemical residue. Plus, the nutrients present in organic food, reduces your chances of gaining weight. In other words, consuming organic food facilitates weight loss
5. It is eco-friendly

Organic farming rejects the use of chemicals which facilitate soil erosion. In other words, organic farming not only reduces soil erosion but also preserves the quality of soil. It does not require as much as energy and water as required by a conventional farm. Thus, it reduces water and soil pollution. Organic farming does not emit harmful chemicals in the air, which means it also decreases air pollution. In other words, when you eat organic food, you are actually extending your
support towards Mother Earth!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Foods that Help You Grow Taller Naturally

Many women might not agree openly, but they do wish to get taller. If you are tall, it has a great effect on your personality. Do you have sufficient height or you want to grow taller? Well, do you know that certain foods can help you to grow taller? Yes, you read it right. Check out a list of foods that help you grow taller naturally.
1. Eggs

Eggs are rich in source of protein. Eggs whites or the albumen portion in eggs is great for overall body development. So, it consequently helps to naturally increase your height. Include eggs in your daily diet plan.
2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one magical food that has many benefits. Oatmeal is also good for your muscle mass. Oatmeal is a source of plant protein that helps to reduce body fat and increase the muscle mass of the body. It helps to increase your height if consumed on a daily basis.
3. Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. It helps in formation of bones and cells. Milk is good for overall development of the body. It also helps to absorb protein in the body, which is good for your muscle mass. Regular intake of milk can work wonders on your height.
4. Vitamin C and D-rich foods

Vitamin C is also good for your height. Include sources of vitamin C like lemon and oranges in your daily diet. Vitamin D helps to optimize the calcium and protein content in the body. Vitamin D food sources naturally help you to grow tall. Some sources of vitamin D include fish, dairy products and cereals.

5. Pulses and meat

Did you know that carbs are also good for increasing your height? Do include a good portion of pulses in your diet as it helps to increase the muscle mass of the body. Do include meat in any form at least twice a week. Meat is rich in protein and hence is good for increasing your height.
6. Chicken

All foods rich in protein are good for the muscles and bones. Intake of chicken in your daily diet plan can also make a considerable difference in your height. Have at least two portions of chicken in your diet plan.
7. Banana

Banana is super rich in calcium content. It helps to build strong bones. That in turn benefits your body. Banana is also high on mineral content, which helps to build the muscles of the body. Banana shake can benefit your body as it helps to develop muscles mass.

Health Benefits of Chives

If you think chives are only meant as a garnish on foods, then here is a dose of nutrition facts and health benefits of chives that can make you think different. Chives are used as toppings on food. They impart a distinct flavor and render a fresh greenness to the food. But the benefits of chives do not stop there. Listed here are some health benefits of chives that you must learn about.
1. Assist in weight loss
Extremely low in calories, chives make a wonderful diet food. 100g of fresh chives account for 30 calories but are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, calcium and minerals that are each responsible for the upkeep of multiple body parts.
2. Help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Just like garlic, chives contain allicin. Allicin is responsible for minimizing blood pressure and bringing down cholesterol production in the body. Further, they also have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties in them. Eliminating bacteria and fungi in the intestinal tract ensures that your digestive system functions well.
3. Prevent constipation
Chives are rich in dietary fiber and this means they aid digestion perfectly. Fiber builds roughage in the colon and intestines and therefore eliminates chances of constipation greatly.
4. Helps to prevent cancer
Chives are a natural source of flavonoids and sulfur that prevents certain kinds of cancers effectively. They fight against the free radicals and prevent their development. Therefore, cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, lung and stomach are prevented/treated with the consumption of chives.
5. Fight skin problems
Since chives have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties in them, they are exceptionally good for your skin and skin related infections. Use them in the place of lotions to treat scabs and open wounds. It kills the bacteria and fungus that can develop on these open bruises.
6. Promote healthy bones
There is an abundance of Vitamin K in chives. This vitamin is responsible for the health of your bones. Bone demineralization is considerably prevented with regular consumption of chives. Women especially derive a world of benefits since they are more vulnerable to osteoporosis than men. Increasing bone density is what fresh chives do best and periodic consumption is helpful for the same.

7. Prevent problems in pregnancy
Fresh chives are storehouses of folates. Folic acid plays an important role in cell division. This is one of the primary reasons why folic acid is suggested during pregnancy for all women. When adequate level of folic acid is consumed by a pregnant woman; neural tube defects in newborns are substantially prevented.
8. Are rich in nutrients
Chives are also filled with B-complex vitamins and significant minerals like copper, pyridoxine, iron, niacin, manganese, thiamin, calcium and riboflavin besides several others in good proportions. These nutrients support bodily functions.
9. Prevent blood clotting
Flavonoids in chives balance blood pressure and bring down hypertension. Chives are also rich in vitamin C which is responsible for enhancing elasticity of blood capillaries and promoting iron absorption in the body. Clotting of blood is also prevented with regular consumption of chives.
10. Help to prevent acne and breakouts
The presence of Beta-carotene in chives enables to clear up skin making it free of breakouts and acne. Periodic intake of chives promotes radiant skin.
11. Are an excellent home remedy for dry skin
If you have dry skin, fresh chives have an answer for you. Apply chives puree on your face and let it dry for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. When you do this regularly, you will find remarkable difference in the texture of your skin.
12. Promote healthy hair
Dullness of hair is also considerably improved by chives. The leaves help in strengthening hair follicles and increases flow of blood from scalp to roots. Chives are used in several hair treatment products since they are known to stop hair fall and promote new growth.

10 Ways to Prepare for Important Exams and Tests

Freaking out because examinations are fast approaching will now be a thing of the past. Here are the best ways to come out with flying colors, people. Use these simple ways to prepare for important exams and tests.
1. Understand the concepts
Try and understand the concepts of the subject. Mugging up will not do you any good. You forget even a single point, your whole answer comes crashing. Get your teacher, friend, siblings or parents to make you learn the basics. Understand it, retain it and write it in your own words!
2. Solve past papers
This is really effective. You’ll not only get used to the pattern of questions being asked but you’ll also realize how much time you are spending on one particular question. Don’t forget to time these practice versions. That’s how you’ll know whether you will be able to finish up on time or not.
3. Use visual representations
Drawing flow charts, diagrams, outlines of your study material can really help you remember better during exams. While revising, condense your notes into single page diagrams or just a few pointers and see how well you recall them during the actual exam.
4. Avoid junk food
You might feel as though you deserve a treat after having put in so many hours of study and revision. But, make sure you steer clear of those pizzas, burgers, fries and anything junk. They’ll just lower your concentration levels, making you sluggish and sleepy. Eat foods that enhance memory like nuts, fish, yogurt, seeds, fresh apples and blueberries.
5. Study in advance
Don’t start studying today if your exams are scheduled tomorrow. Leaving all for the last minute will only make you more nervous and confused. Instead, start preparing at least three weeks prior to your exams. Give yourself enough time to process what you’ve read. You’ll also know which subjects to give more time to. So, have a schedule and organize your study days.
6. Take breaks regularly
The biggest advantage of setting a schedule as mentioned above is that you get to organize your little breaks too. Oh, these are really beneficial for greater retention! Go out, dance, walk around the house, play with your pet, watch T.V. or just laze about for some time at regular intervals. After all a stressed mind will reflect badly in your exams, right?
7. Try group study
Well it may not work for everyone, but what’s the harm in trying? Get together a few of your pals and study with them. As long as they are equally sincere and focused, these study sessions could be really enlightening. You might get your doubts solved and vice versa. Also, you can judge how much more you need to study still. Start brainstorming today!
8. Read out loud
You can either get your parents or siblings to quiz you about a topic or you can simply read out to them what you’ve studied, without seeing. You can also practice revising by standing in front of the mirror, closing your eyes and reciting aloud everything you’ve read. It works wonders people!
9. Weave a story of your topics
Can’t get it into your head even after 3-4 repetitions? Don’t worry, pal! Just make up some crazy story around your topic and read it like that. You’ll instantly remember what you were unable to for the past half hour. You could also use pneumonics or abbreviations for confusing terms or concepts.
10. Exercise regularly and drink plenty of water
Research has proved that just half an hour of aerobic exercise and meditation can enhance your brain’s processing and retention speed. Before going in, drink plenty of water. Also, keep a bottle with you during exam time. Be well hydrated or your brain won’t work optimally.

Ways to Take a Break from Technology

1. Go on a hiking/camping trip
2. Cultivate strict technology habits 
3. Become a little rude4. Cultivate an alternative hobby
5. Socialize more!
6. Rationalize your gadget purchases

4 Best Holiday Drinks for the Season

There are certain drinks that go with certain holidays and certain time of the year and here are some of the best drinks we can have for this holiday.
1. Spiced tea

Called as the masala chai in India and some other countries, this drink is plain tea infused with spices such as star anise, cinnamon, passion fruit and honey. This is a warm and exotic drink and perfect for the season.
2. Apple and cranberry sparklers

A liberal dose of apple cider and cranberry juice with a little twist of citrusy taste makes this the perfect seasonal drink for the holiday. Since this is non-alcoholic it can be served to anyone and that makes this one of the best drinks for the holiday.
3. Pineapple and mint refresher

This one sounds like a summer drink, but this actually makes sense during the holiday season too as this adds a difference to the otherwise gloomy weather. You can add a dash of vodka to this drink if you do not want it to be non-alcoholic.

4. Hot chocolate

You can either make this with dark chocolate or white chocolate, however you make it, this is a drink that is sure to warm you up and bring back memories of childhood.
5. Vodka with cranberry juice

It is a very simple drink. But the color remains truly festive, going with the seasonal colors, red being the predominant of them all.
6. Eggnog

This is a must drink for the season and the holiday somehow seems incomplete without having at least a mug of eggnog.

The best holiday drinks don’t necessarily have to be alcoholic. Some of the best drinks can be the ones that we have been having since we were kids and that take us to our comfort zone.

6 Ways to Keep Your Breath Fresh

Bad breath is a problem not only for you but for people around you, people who have to stay in close quarters with you and have to listen or talk to you on a regular basis. It could turn into an embarrassing problem when the other person makes a face when you open your mouth or tell you to your face that your breath stinks. Bad breath is caused by a lot of things, it could be caused because you have not brushed your teeth, you have decay in your tooth, it could be because you have eaten a lot of spicy food or it could be because you have ulcers in your stomach or bad bacteria in your mouth. Whatever the reason is, you need to take care of it immediately. Knowing what is causing your bad breath is the important step you need to take before you try remedies. Here are some ways to keep your breath fresh.
1. Brushing your teeth regularly

Cleaning your mouth and brushing your teeth is important to have fresh breath. Brushing your teeth before you go to sleep helps keep your mouth clean and there are less chances of bad breath in the morning. Using a mouth refresher to rinse your mouth also keeps your breath fresh. Do not overdo it as brushing can cause the erosion of the enamel in your teeth.
2. Drinking warm water with lemon juice

Drinking a glass of warm water with a few drops of lemon not only kills the bacteria in your mouth but also keeps your breath fresh. Since it also cleans your stomach, your breath will remain fresh for a long time.
3. Keeping your stomach clean

Undigested food or a bad stomach also reflects in your breath. If you are suffering from indigestion or any other problems in your stomach, your breath is likely to smell. A clean stomach is good for your overall health as well as your breath. Have a clean stomach to feel lighter as well as prevent people from making a face when you talk.
4. Checking for tooth decay, mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers

If you notice that your breath smells even after you brush regularly and use a mouth refresher, it might be an indication that there is a problem elsewhere. Consult a doctor to find out if you have decaying tooth or ulcers in the mouth or in the stomach.
5. Washing your mouth after you eat foods with a pungent odor and taste

If you are eating spicy food, or foods with garlic and onions, make sure you clean your mouth thoroughly. The breath that comes out of your mouth after you eat such foods can be truly revolting and some states have rules, although archaic, that carries punishment for people going out after eating garlic (without washing their mouth).
6. Cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes

Cutting down on alcohol and smoking also helps keep your breath fresh. Keep yourself hydrated when you are drinking alcohol to prevent a hangover and bad breath in the morning.
Like your clothes and accessories, your breath also says a lot about who you are. Take care you smell good and fresh.

5 Reasons Why Mobile Apps are a Boon for Autistic Children

Mobile apps are the new in thing these days. They were introduced only recently but have started to play such an important part in our lives that we look for mobile apps to choose a great dining spot, find a free parking space, get directions to travel and even depend on it to tell us where we can get the best tacos. Mobile apps and smart technologies such as the iPad and iPod are gaining a foothold for their portability and also the fact that they can be used anywhere with ease. New research has found yet another use for mobile apps and that is its use as a therapeutic tool for children with autism. Here are some reasons as to why mobile apps are a boon for children and also adults with autism.
1. It helps autistic kids to better express themselves

Sometimes autistic kids may find it very difficult to deal with the conflicting signals and emotions that they see in other people. In these cases, mobile apps help them to better express themselves and also engage with others.
2. Mobile apps have helped prove that the receptive communication skills of autistic children are more advanced than previously thought

When researchers studied the behavior of autistic children with mobile devices and apps they found out that the receptive communication skills of autistic children are more advanced than previously thought. This has changes the way specialists deal with autistic children these days. The mode of education has also changed to a greater extent.
3. The uniformity and mechanical regularity of mobile apps are better suited to the needs of autistic kids

Since autistic children live in a world of their own, they are ill equipped to the ever changing world of other people. With mobile apps there is regularity and symmetry that helps them better relate to it and also learn how to use it.

4. Mobile apps have also increased the peer to peer interaction

New studies have also found out that mobile apps have increased the peer to peer social interaction between autistic kids. This is a great finding and helps the kids to form their own social groups which they otherwise would find very difficult to form.
5. Autistic kids are visual learners

Autistic kids are largely non-verbal and learn better through visuals. They also like structure which the mobile apps provide them. Learning and communication for autistic kids become much simpler with mobile devices.

Autistic kids find it difficult to interact with other people and people who live with them and teach them also find it difficult to get to them at times. In such cases, mobile apps go a long way in helping them learn and communicate. When they interact through mobile apps the interaction happens in a non-stigmatized fashion unlike in the regular world. Mobile apps also let them deal with a lot of things by themselves giving them more independence. Mobile apps are thus a boon for autistic kids.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Benefits Of Blackberries – Make Use Of Blackberries With Useful Tips

1. Antioxidant Potential
Blackberries include a profuse amount of helpful antioxidant that can protect the human body in multiple manners. Components, like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and flavonols, especially present in blackberries fight off those harmful oxygen free molecules as well as their action. This useful activity can protect the body from a variety of diseases resulted from oxidative damage that might be the underlying cause of a lot of fatal conditions.
2. Anti-Cancer Properties
One of the most helpful benefits of blackberries is cancer preventing. Blackberry fruit is efficient in defeating the building of cancer containing lung cancer, esophageal cancer and colon cancer. The micronutrients found in blackberries can exert chemopreventive effect and also prevent the proliferation of malignant cells. This fruit are rich anthocyanin. These anthocyanins offer the ability of fighting cancer. They can act as antioxidants, fighting off genetic mutations and cancer-causing tissue damage. They also have the ability to inhibit the cancer cell growth. According to some studies, anthocyanins can be beneficial in protecting the human skin from damage resulted by over-exposure to UV rays. As the UV rays play a main role in skin cancer development, so anthocyanins may provide some protection against skin cancer.
3. Prevent Endothelial Dysfunction
This type of fruit supplies people with the ability to protect the endothelial dysfunction that is featured by the abnormal functioning of inner lining of blood vessels. Blackberries include beneficial components like cyaninding-3-O-glucoside which defeats oxidative activities and assists the body in normalizing multiple important factors implicated in such conditions. Moreover, it can be useful in decreasing the DNA and protects against such vascular failure.
4. Cognitive Benefits
Also extending the benefit in enhancing the cognitive functions of the human body, blackberries are recommended to consume regularly. Polyphenolic components found in blackberries can slow down the age-related reduction in cognitive and motor activity. Thus, regular intake of blackberry might prove helpful in increasing the memory performance and enhances neuronal and behavioral functions.
5. Improve Digestive Health
In fact, blackberries are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are necessary for the optimum function of digestive health. The insoluble fiber in this fruit can encourage better and easy absorption of water in your large intestine and contributes bulk to your stools. By this way, you will be able to improve bowel movements, get rid of constipation and boost digestion health.
6. Good For Cardiovascular System
Due to the content of flavonols , blackberries are considered as heart healthy fruits. Also containing other beneficial components, like fiber and magnesium, blackberry prevents the arteries from being blocked and boosts smooth flow of the blood. This will decrease the potential risk of heart diseases like atherosclerosis, stroke, and maintains cardiovascular health. Besides, magnesium content in blackberries can assist people in regulating their blood pressure levels and prevent cardiac arrhythmia as well as irregular contraction.
7. Boost Immune System
Blackberries can be useful in improving immunity of the body thanks to the presence of vitamins and minerals and phytoestrogens. Hence, regular consumption of blackberries can fight a lot of pathogens and protect the body from infections as well as other fatal diseases.
8. Manage Weight
Actually, blackberries have a low amount of sugar; thus, it can assist people in managing their weight. Due to the fiber content in blackberries and very few amounts of calories, this can be efficient in cleaning the bowels as well as weight management.
9. Healthy Bones
Blackberries include vital minerals like calcium and magnesium which are necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Normally, calcium can strengthen the bones while magnesium facilitates the absorption of potassium and calcium in the body. Apart from this, phosphorus mineral found in blackberries supports the regulation of calcium and helps in forming strong bones, and also plays an important role in maintaining appropriate cellular functioning.
10. Healthy Eyes
When it comes to benefits of blackberries, this fruit is beneficial in protecting the healthy eyes. People should consume blackberries regularly as they can protect their eyes from ultra-violet radiations attributing to the appearance of lutein. Moreover, vitamin and anthocyanosides content appearance in blackberries increases the eye vision and protect the human eyes from different diseases, like macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataract.
11. Healthy Blood Clotting
Blackberries include vitamin K that helps in normal clotting of blood. It can help in avoiding excessive bleeding from slight injuries and assists in healing wounds. Vitamin K appearance in blackberries plays a critical role in protecting your bones from osteoporosis.
12. Beneficial In Pregnancy
If you are a pregnant woman, you should make use of blackberries. They contain a high content of natural folate, which contributes in growing the tissues and cells, and also reduces birth defect risks in the babies. Besides, folate is an important nutrient required for good cellular functioning for people at all ages. Vitamin C plus with other antioxidants can boost the power of disease fighting of the expectant mother. In other words, the appearance of minerals like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium in blackberries will strengthen the bone and contribute in keeping the pregnant women healthy. What is more, blackberries have a refreshing taste, making it a delicious, healthy choice for a rapid snack during pregnancy.
Learn: helpful nutrition tips for pregnant women
13. Gum Care
The leaves as well as bark of blackberries plant can be consumed traditionally. The leaves are used to cure mild inflammation of the gums.
The leaves and bark of the blackberry plant have been consumed traditionally. Their leaves have been used to treat mild inflammation of the gums.

Top 5 super foods with a powerful health impact

Some of the most powerful super foods may surprise you. Uliano’s list of top super foods that pack a big serving of healthy goodness include:
1. Goji berries
Recommended frequency: every day
These little berries are a very rich source of antioxidants: flavonoids, polyphenols and carotenoids. They also contain vitamins C, E and A. They have a whopping amount of vitamin C – better than 500 times more than an orange. In addition, these tasty berries contain 19 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids. They are also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
“These berries are great for our long-term health. They have anti-aging benefits and help boost your immune system,” says Uliano. “I recommend eating them in the same way as you would cranberries or raisins. You can add them to smoothies, oatmeal, granola, or even to make a salad a little more interesting.”
2. Sardines
Recommended frequency: one can a week
If you’ve always avoided sardines, their nutritional profile should change your mind. Sardines contain B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and iron. They are particularly rich in the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are also important for their anti-inflammatory effects.
“Canned sardines are just as healthy and rich in nutrients as fresh sardines,” Uliano says. “If you dislike the taste and texture, try mashing them up with spicy mayo and eating as you would tuna salad. If you’re still not sold, consider a high quality fish oil supplement from Nordic Naturals, which will give you a boost of the omega-3s your body needs to stay healthy and prevent disease.”
3. Kale
Recommended frequency: every day
In addition to vitamin K, which is important for blood-clotting and healthy bones, kale is packed with vitamins A, C and E, calcium and fiber. The veggie also contains loads of carotenoids, which are great for eye health.
“Different kinds of kale include Curly Kale, Dino Kale, Premier Kale and Redbar Kale,” explains Uliano. “I love to steam kale and drizzle with olive or toasted sesame oil and a little tamari sauce. I eat it warm or as a cold side in the summer. It’s also great to eat raw, but make sure that you wash well and remove all of the tough stems before chopping it up.”
4. Coconut oil
Recommended frequency: 1 to 3 tablespoons per day
Raw virgin coconut oil has a plethora of health benefits. It must, however, be raw, not hydrogenated. The lauric acid in coconut oil has been found to increase metabolism as well as fight bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil also has been shown to help lower cholesterol, stimulate the thyroid and is good for the brain.
“At room temperature, coconut oil will solidify, and when it’s heated, it will liquefy,” Uliano says. “My favorite ways to eat coconut oil include adding a tablespoon to smoothies or oatmeal, and using it in place of butter when baking. Coconut oil has a very high smoke point, so it is great for frying pancakes, or deep frying, too.”
5. Maca
Recommended frequency: every day
Typically from Peru, maca is usually sold as a nutty powder, but it also comes in capsules. “It is an adaptogen, which means that it is a biological substance found in a plant, which helps the human body adapt to change and stress,” says Uliano. “It has been used for more than 3,000 years in South America, and is also thought to be a libido enhancer.”

Okra: The Wonder Vegetable – 22 The Amazing Health Benefits Of Okra

Okra is one of the best medicinal vegetable, that hasn’t got its due sometimes due to its taste. Read this article to understand why this is unarguably one of the best natural veggies to add to your wonder list and diet today!

What is Okra?

Okra, also known as “lady’s finger”, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Malvaceae (mallows) family and named scientifically as Abelmoschus esculentus. One of most nutritious vegetables around Okra is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions around the world for its fibrous fruits or “pods”. The pods are handpicked while just short of reaching maturity and eaten as a vegetable.

Why you should include Okra in your diet?

Okra has a long list of health benefits:

Rich Fiber Source: Okra’s rich fiber content helps in better digestion, and regularization of bowels. The soluble fiber, Pectin, swells up in the intestine and helps in easier elimination of the wastes from the intestine.
For Diabetes: It has insulin-like properties that help to reduce blood sugar levels. Eugenol, a type of fiber found in Okra, helps to stabilize blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
For Pregnancy and Fetal development: Abundant Folates in Okra, not only help in conceiving but also in fetus’ brain development, prevention of miscarriages, formation of the fetal neural tube, and preventing any defects in the tube.
For Strong Bones: Vitamin K is a co-factor in the vital blood-clotting process and along with Folates, restores bone density, strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis.
For Asthma: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Okra, and rich vitamin C content, curtail the development of asthma symptoms and prevent fatal attacks.
Respiratory soother: A decoction of leaves and flowers of Okra are used in treating bronchitis and pneumonia. Its mucilaginous (slimy, gluey) quality makes it an excellent home remedy for treatment of common cold and flu.
Relieves Constipation: The rich fiber and mucilaginous content in Okra pods help increase stool bulk, facilitate proper absorption of water, bind to toxins, lubricate the large intestines, and ensure easy bowel movements, with its natural laxative properties.
Treats Sun strokes: Those suffering from summer heat and sun strokes should include Okra in their diet. Relieves from weakness, exhaustion, and overall depression.
Lowers Colon cancer risk: The insoluble fiber found in Okra cleans out the intestinal tract, decreasing the risk of colon-rectal cancer. The high antioxidants in Okra helps protect the immune system against harmful free radicals and prevent mutation of cells.
Prevents Obesity: Okra provides minimum calories, the fiber helps in keeping you full for longer, and the abundant nutrients nourish you.
Lowers Cholesterol: Okra contains soluble fiber pectin, which helps in lowering the serum (bad) cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis. It does it by altering the production of bile in the intestines and aiding in elimination of deposited cholesterol and clots.
Skin Detoxifier: Fiber aidstoxic waste cleansing and Vitamin C aids in repairing body tissues, preventing skin pigmentation, reducing acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Lively Hair: The transparent mucilage imparts life and bounce to unruly, curly and lifeless hair. It acts as a great hair conditioner, scalp moisturizer for dry and itchy scalp, fights dandruff and lice, and adds a youthful sheen to your hair.
Detoxification: Okra’s fiber not only aids the stool function but the mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid, ejecting toxins, dumped into it by the filtering liver.
Immunity Booster: The high antioxidants and vitamin C content make Okra a good immune booster food. Other essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron fight against harmful free radicals and promote healthy immune system.
Clear Vision: Okra contains beta-carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), xanthin and lutein, all antioxidant properties, preventing eye problems like cataract and glaucoma.
Prevents Anemia: Iron, Folate, and Vitamin K aid in hemoglobin formation, blood coagulation, and red blood cells production, providing a supreme defense against anemia.
Cures Ulcers: The alkaline mucilaginous content helps neutralize acids and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract speeding up the healing of peptic ulcers.
Treats Genital Disorders: Okra increases sexual potency and is beneficial in treating genital disorders like syphilis, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, dysuria and excessive menstrual bleeding.
Rich Protein Source: The seeds of Okra are an excellent source of first-rate vegetable protein and oils, enriched with amino acids like tryptophan, cystine and other sulfur amino acids.
Feeds Blood Network: Studies show that eating plenty of flavonoid and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as Okra helps to support the structure of blood capillaries.
Probiotics Feed: Good bacteria (probiotics), in intestines, thrive on Okra, contributing greatly to the health of the intestinal tract. It helps biosynthesis of Vitamin B complex, similar to how yoghurt serves the small intestine

Health benefits of mustard

Most Indian households use mustard seeds or its oil for various purposes. You could use mustard sauce to spice up various foods, while the oil could be used for a number of purposes including cooking. The powdered form of the seed can be used for either garnishing a dish or as an integral part of a dip. The whole seed is commonly used as tadka.

Apart from just adding flavour to your food, the seeds have always been known for their medicinal properties. Here are some of the better known ones:

Can help control symptoms of asthma: Mustard seeds are high in selenium and magnesium. Both the components give it a unique anti inflammatory property. Consumed regularly, it is known to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold and chest congestion at bay.

Can help you lose weight: The wonder seeds are packed with B-complex vitamins like folates, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin etc. Apart from all the individual merits of these components, they are great in speeding up one’s metabolism leading to weight loss.

Can slow ageing: Mustard is a great source of carotenes, zeaxanthins and lutein (also called flavonoid and caretonoid antioxidants) vitamin A,C and K. All these components put together make it rich in antioxidants which in turn slows the ageing process

Protects you from gastrointestinal cancer: Packed with phytonutrients, mustard seeds are a great way to prevent and slow the progress of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that mustard seeds have properties that can restrict the growth of already present cancer cells and prevent the formation of new cancers.

Relieves rheumatoid, arthritic and muscle pain: The selenium and magnesium content of mustard lend it anti inflammatory and heat producing properties. When applied to the body, the paste heats up the area and helps loosen muscles, leading to relief from pain. tip: To ease pain make a small bundle of the seeds in a muslin cloth, and add it to warm bath water. Either have a long relaxing bath, or soak your tired and aching feet for instant relief. Another great way is to apply the paste of the seed on the area for a few minutes.

Lowers cholesterol: Mustard contains high levels of niacin or vitamin B3. Niacin has properties that help lower one’s cholesterol levels and protects the arteries from atherosclerosis (plaque build-up). It also helps to regulate blood flow and protects the body from hypertension.

Stimulates hair growth: For centuries mustard oil has been known to stimulate hair growth. It is known to be packed with vitamins and minerals, but what makes the difference is the high amount of beta carotene it contains. During oil production, beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which is excellent for hair growth. Apart from this, it also contains iron, fatty acids, calcium and magnesium, all of which promote hair growth. tip: Using mustard oil once a week for a warm oil massage is a great way to relieve stress, symptoms of dandruff and promote hair growth. After you apply the oil, wrap your hair in a thin plastic bag or a warm towel to increase absorption of the oil into the scalp. Leave it for about half an hour to forty five minutes and then wash off. The oil has a strong odour and is thick in consistency, so make sure you use a good shampoo.

Helps reduce constipation and may relieve symptoms of piles and fissures: The seeds contain a unique substance called mucilage which is a thick slimy substance that is the key to relieving constipation. Apart from that, it is also high in fibre. In addition, mustard seeds are known to increase the production of saliva, leading to better digestion. tip: Have one teaspoon of mustard seeds two to three times a day to relieve constipation.

Fights skin infections: Packed with sulphur, mustard seeds are a great way to curb skin infections. Sulphur gives the seed anti fungal and anti bacterial properties that help fight common skin ailments.

Improves immunity: Because mustard has a large number of elemental minerals like iron, manganese, copper etc., it helps improve the body’s ability to fight disease.

Lastly, always remember to use mustard seeds in moderation. Even though it has great healing properties, it can also be toxic in large quantities. Make sure you ask your physician before you self medicate.

Mind and Body – Intermediate

As you continue to gain strength, flexibility and endurance through daily physical activity, you’ll want to think more about the important role your mind plays in getting and staying fit.

Consider some alternatives to your regular weight and cardio training such as yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi, all of which engage the mind, body and spirit at once. Include these alternative mind and body disciplines on a regular basis.

As your training progresses, “burnout” can occur. These alternatives take the focus away from weights and cardio machines. The focus is now shifted towards peaceful, relaxing thoughts, while also improving your flexibility and balance.

It is important to work your mind as well as your body, as a stronger mind will push you to new and greater heights!

Another challenge you may face at the intermediate fitness level is staying motivated about being active on a daily basis. Incorporating “fit thinking” into your life can help you get and stay excited about your healthy lifestyle.

Some suggestions:
Set Goals

Setting a goal, for example...'to bench press 5 more pounds by the end of next month", takes you from wishing and dreaming to taking real action toward a specific, reasonable target. The deadline will challenge you to get the most out of your physical activity program. When you reach your goal - and you will - set a new, specific goal to take you to the next level.
Record your reasons

Write down a list of all the reasons you are sticking to a “healthy living” plan along with your specific goals and the time-frame you want to achieve them in. Post it in a place you’re likely to see it every day – for example, the refrigerator door - and read it whenever you can. You’ll be reminded of all the reasons why you love being physically active and why you want to continue with your activity plan.
Keep a journal

Track your daily activity including all the exercises, tools (i.e., free weights), sets and repetitions you perform. When you see on one page how much progress you’ve been making – and how fast your body is improving – you’ll be inspired to keep going. You’ll see and feel results in your journal before you see them in the mirror.

Check out health and fitness magazines, books and websites that contain information about your favourite activities. Grab a few fitness magazines from the newsstand, then get a subscription to your favourites. Reading about fitness will keep you up on the latest techniques and remind you of the benefits of daily activity.
Don’t be a loner

Working out alongside a friend - especially another intermediate exerciser - will improve your attitude and help you stick to your program. Having another person to share all the trials and triumphs of exercise can be motivating and fun.

You and your fitness buddy will begin to rely on each other for moral support and accountability. If you do have to work out alone, don’t be afraid to ask someone (trainer, another person working out) to help you out if you need it.
Another great motivator

If you have to work out alone or even with someone else listen to music. Just think of how you feel when a great song comes on the radio. It pumps you up and picks up your energy level. Try picking music that is appropriate for the workout you are doing. For example: play more melodic, slower music for stretching, yoga or any other activity that is of a slower pace. For intense, physically demanding workouts, play music that picks up your energy level (i.e. music with a fast tempo).

Friday, 21 March 2014

Almonds can help diabetics

As India grapples with a major public health problem, being home to an estimated 50.8 million diabetic population, the largest in the world, experts say consuming a few almonds daily can help combat the lifestyle disease.

Top natural remedies to keep your liver healthy

The liver is one of our body’s busiest organs, with a role to play in most of the biochemical processes that sustain life. It produces bile that is vital to digestion, produces plasma proteins, stores iron, regulates the clotting of blood, synthesizes cholesterol, stores glucose as glycogen, regulates the levels of amino acids in blood, is involved with clotting of blood, removes toxins from the body and produces immune factors that help prevent infections. With our modern-day food and lifestyles (think greater junk food, alcohol, smoking, stress and medication) we put a greater pressure on our liver and this can cause several health problems right from allergies and migraines to obesity and indigestion. Here are a few herbal remedies that can help your liver stay healthy.
Amla or Gooseberry
The Indian gooseberry or amla is known as one of the richest sources of vitamin C. What is less well-known is its ability to keep the liver functioning at optimal levels. This herb has been used extensively in Ayurveda for treatment of a sluggish liver; now researchers are finding in laboratory studies that extracts from amla have liver-protective function. However, there is no clear indication of whether it is useful to treat hepatitis B infection. Amla is one of the important components in Chyawanpraash that has immunity boosting, digestive and liver-protective action. The best way to consume it is raw as small pieces in your salad or by making a raitha with grated amla and curd. Here are amazing health benefits of amla.
Jethimad or Licorice
People with non- alcoholic fatty liver disease show increased levels of the transaminase enzymes called ALT and AST. Studies have found that the use of licorice (Jethimad or Mulhati in Hindi) extracts led to reduced concentrations of these enzymes indicating that licorice has beneficial effects on the liver. Although licorice is more well-known for its sweet taste and anti-ulcer action, it has been used in Ayurvedic remedies to cure liver ailments. Licorice is available at stores selling Indian medicinal herbs; get the root, powder it at home and make a tea by pouring boiling water into the powder, steeping for a few minutes and then straining the liquid.
Amrith or Guduchi
Yet another herb that Ayurveda considers to have rejuvenating properties, Amrith is commonly grown in many kitchen gardens. It is said to have the ability to clear toxins from the liver as well as strengthen its functioning; more importantly, it does not cause any significant complications even on using long-term. However, Ayurvedic physicians warn that using this herb can precipitate a liver crisis if the patient has a large amount of toxins in the liver; therefore, it is best to use this only under an Ayurvedic practitioner’s guidance.
Haldi or Turmeric
Full of valuable antioxidants, turmeric is an important herb that improves liver health. No wonder then that people in Asian countries use it so extensively in their cooking. Now, it is being recognized even in western countries for its liver-protective value. Some studies have also found that the antiviral action of turmeric is effective in preventing the multiplication of the viruses causing hepatitis B and C. The easiest way to take turmeric is to include it in your cooking; you can also make it a practice to drink a little turmeric-flavoured milk on a regular basis to get its benefits. Here are more health benefits of turmeric.
Certain receptor sites normally bind hormones and keep them circulating in the blood. This puts a strain on the liver which has to filter out these excess hormones. Studies have found that the phytoconstituents in flaxseeds have the capacity to bind with such receptor sites and this prevents hormonal binding, and this means less work for the liver. Just sprinkling a few crushed or whole flaxseeds on your toast, salad or cereals can help you make use of their liver-protective effect. Read more health benefits of flaxseeds.
Certain vegetables contain ingredients that help the liver secrete greater concentrations of important enzymes; in turn, these enzymes help to excrete potential carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) from the body. Beet, cabbage, carrot, broccoli, onion and garlic are important vegetables with such an action. Broccoli, onion and garlic are believed to provide sulfur to the body; this helps in the detoxification reactions the liver carries out and prevents damage to the liver. Read more about foods that can keep your liver healthy.
Along with the use of these natural remedies, it is also important to avoid foods that cause damage to the liver. Here are 10 things that can cause liver disease. If you eat foods that are highly processed with a large number of additives, or if you take too many medications, your liver has to work overtime to tackle this greater chemical load and this can cause damage. Food that is rich in hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetening agents and alcohol are some of the other substances that can put a greater load on your liver. Along with consuming of liver-protective herbs, it is also important to make sure you avoid the foods that cause it harm.

Are branded herbal products really pure?

Over the past few years, there have been increasing news reports from some of the developed countries of adverse effects from herbal products. Such reports evoked a mixed response from Indians – some say it is just the western world’s way of casting a slur on anything from Third World countries; others feel that researchers will not make claims unless they have scientific evidence. So, what is the truth? Do herbal products have an expiry date? Are herbal products really pure always? Do they contain preservatives? Is it true that they have no expiry date? Is a herbal remedy from a well-known brand better than one from a lesser-known one? What are the contaminants in herbal products and how do they find their way into the product? Let’s get some answers.
How long will herbal products last?
Herbal products are prepared in keeping with the basic recipe provided in the reference texts of a particular system of medicine. These texts also specify how long a certain formulation will stay active. For example, Ayurvedic tablets called gutika have a shelf life of 2 years but distilled extracts called arka will last for just one year.
Coming to the use of preservatives, ideally, these ancient recipes rely on certain ingredients used in the formulation to keep the product safe and prevent its degradation. So, adding preservatives is not recommended because it is deemed unnecessary. For example, in Ayurvedic syrups, the high concentration of sugar itself acts as a preservative.
How pure are herbal products?
When it comes to herbal medicines, there are a lot of contaminants that can make their way into a product – heavy metals may find their way into the plants through the water used in irrigation or the soil in which the plants grow. Microorganisms grow better in the presence of organic matter obtained from plant and animal sources and they can contaminate the product. There may be pesticide residues that have found their way into the plant material and then, into the product. Sometimes, improper storage may lead to chemical degradation of one of the components in the herbal formulation and toxic substances may be produced.
Occasionally, an unscrupulous manufacturer may add in a less expensive substitute for a particular herb. This substitute may have similar physical appearance to the herb prescribed in the recipe, but it will obviously interfere with the product’s ability to elicit the desired therapeutic effects.
It is common knowledge that most herbal remedies take longer to act as compared to allopathic medicines; so an unprincipled manufacturer may resort to mixing in allopathic medicines into a herbal product in order to make it appear fast-acting and increase its popularity. Sometimes, inadvertent adulteration can occur because of confusion in the vernacular names of some plant sources.
In other words, manufacture of an herbal product is actually much more demanding than that of an allopathic product. Unfortunately, there has not been a very strict monitoring of the herbal drug manufacturing industry until recent times and this is responsible for the many publicised instances of contaminated herbal products.
The solution – Stricter regulations and enforcement
Over time, drug regulatory authorities have woken up to the need for standardisation of herbal products. Recognising that close to 80% of the world’s population still relies on traditional systems of medicine for their healthcare needs; the World Health Organization has specified guidelines to be followed by manufacturers to ensure they make pure herbal products of good quality.
These guidelines recommend testing for the contaminants most likely to be present in herbal products – toxic heavy metals, pesticide residues, foreign organic matter, persistent organic pollutants, residual solvents, mycotoxins, endotoxins and microbial contaminants – bacteria, molds, fungi and parasites.
There are also guidelines for Good Agricultural Practices to be followed in cultivating, harvesting and storing medicinal plants and the products they give. There is an increasing emphasis on adopting the principles of Good Manufacturing Practices in herbal drug manufacturing plants. The WHO is also urging all countries to adopt the guidelines for standardisation of their herbal products.
Are branded herbal products better?
This is a difficult question to answer. There is no guarantee that a branded herbal product is better than a non-branded one. The reverse is equally true – it is not definite that a non-branded product is of lesser quality than a branded one. Logically speaking, a manufacturer who invests in building a brand is probably more concerned about maintaining his market image (and consequently, his profits) and therefore, more likely to invest time, effort and money in ensuring his products have quality and purity. However, it is equally true that even someone who does not have a brand will still deliver effective products if he has an individual commitment to quality.
If there is one myth this discussion has cleared up, it is this – ‘herbal’ should not be read as a synonym for ‘safe’. While the medicinal components may have the advantage of negligible or no toxicity, several other factors, if not controlled with care, can convert a herbal product into an unsafe remedy. Only when the manufacturer of a herbal product is deeply committed to providing quality medicines will we have the confidence to consume such products without any qualms.