Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Get some ginger in your diet

Ginger is one of the popular medicinal herbs used in traditional Chinese medicines and Ayurveda for centuries. Some people call it a plant directly from the Garden of Eden. Though this piece of information may be a matter of faith, there's hardly any doubt about the health benefits of ginger. 
PREVENTS MOTION SICKNESS: It is believed that having some fresh ginger before taking a flight can prevent motion sickness. 
CONTROLS BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS: Some health experts ask diabetes patients to drink ginger tea early in the morning. It helps to control blood sugar levels. 
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES: Ginger is a source of potent anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols. They aid in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 
RELIEVES STOMACH PROBLEMS: Ginger is ideal for relieving stomach aches, stomach cramps and other digestive problems and aids in digestion. In fact, some Japanese researchers found that gingerols present in ginger block vomit reflex. 
BOOSTS IMMUNITY: Consuming a little bit of fresh ginger daily boosts your immunity. 

FOR MORNING SICKNESS: Ginger is known to be effective in providing relief from morning sickness, showing a 75% success rate in somehealth studies. 
BLOOD CIRCULATION: Ginger contains 
minerals like zinc, chromium and magnesium that help optimum blood circulation in the body. 
PREVENTS COLON CANCER: health study conducted at the University of Minnesota, US, showed that ginger might slow down the growth rate of colorectal cancer cells. 
PROTECTS CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTHConsuming ginger regularly is said to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. It also lowers the risk of stroke and heart attacks by improving blood circulation and elevating levels of high-density lipoproteins. 
RELIEVES HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE: Chewing a piece of fresh ginger for about 30 minutes is believed to relieve headaches and migraine. 
RELIEVES COLD AND FLU: Ginger contains antiviral and antifungal properties as well. So, the next time you catch catch a flu or cold, prepare some ginger tea to seek relief from throat and nose congestion. 
ANTIHISTAMINE PROPERTIES: Ginger contains antihistamine properties, which makes it ideal to treat allergies. 
FIGHTS BAD THROAT: Ginger aids in eroding itchiness of the throat. Sip a cup of ginger tea thrice a day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Power-packed pistachios Here’s why you should include this dry fruit in your diet

Nobody is a stranger to pistachios, one of the popular nuts often used in many desserts. Botanically they belong to Anacardiaceae family, of the genus pistacia. Besides being tasty, they have numerous health benefits, too. 
Pistachios are a great source of Vitamin B6 that is essential for the production of haemoglobin, which in turn supplies oxygen to the cells, also increasing the amount of oxygen supplied. Vitamin B6 is also great for fostering immunity, production of red and white blood cells, maintaining healthy spleen and lymph nodes. In fact, a deficiency of Vitamin B6 lowers the body's ability to fight infections. 
Enrich your skin with properties of Vitamin E present in pistachios, as they protect the skin from damage due to premature aging, UV rays and skin cancer. 

Maintain healthy vision by eating pistachios as they contain two carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein rarely found in nuts. These carotenoids offer protection in the form of antioxidants that curb damage from free radicals. Also, pistachios have been linked to lowering the risk of developing macular degeneration. 
Pistachios contain a good source of phosphorus — about 60% of the daily recommendation. It's beneficial for glucose tolerance and breaking down proteins into amino acids. Therefore, diabetic individuals can benefit by eating a handful of this dry fruit. 
This dry fruit is said to reduce bad cholesterol, LDL, and increase good 
    cholesterol, HDL, in the body. This 
    in turn helps reduce the 
    risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Bite into a juicy watermelon

With the unrelenting heat bearing down on the city, what better way to cool down than to bite into a juicy watermelon? Not only does this fruit taste great but it also has a host of health benefits... 

    Watermelons are packed with vitamin A (good for the eyes), vitamin C (boosts immunity, repairs wounds and promotes healthy teeth and gums) and vitamin B6 (improves brain function and converts protein to energy.) 
    Rich in anti-oxidants, they are low in calories and make for a perfect 
health drink. Watermelons comprise 92% water and are devoid of fat and cholesterol. And because of their high water content, they also tend to make you feel full faster. 
    While buying watermelons, look out for those which are firm and slightly symmetrical. Keep an eye out for cuts. A slightly yellowish tinge on one side indicates that the watermelon is packed with juice and is sweet. 
    The fruit is also packed with potassium, which is known to improve muscle and nerve function. It also reduces inflammation, which contributes to asthma, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Eat right for a good sleep Read on to know what nutrients you need to add to your diet for a peaceful nightly nap

Anew study has, for the first time, shown that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration, and that people who report eating a large variety of foods — an indicator of an overall healthy diet — had the healthiest sleep patterns. 
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania analysed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. 
Food variety was highest in normal sleepers and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the maximum calories, followed by normal sleepers. They were followed by very short sleepers who were followed by long sleepers. 
PS: The finding is important, as it is known that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Experts suggest that short sleep is an 
issue when the body doesn't get enough 
of water along with the following: 
Vitamin C: Good sources of vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, papaya, black currant, kiwi and bell peppers. An adequate amount of Vitamin C is also known to build a strong immune system and helps fight diseases. Selenium: Found in nuts, meat and shellfish, Selenium is a trace mineral important for all body functions and is vital for immunity. Non-vegetarian sources of selenium are tuna, sardines, oysters, shrimps, clams, chicken, turkey, beef, liver, lamb, pork and eggs. Vegetarian sources include nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, onions, wheatgerm, barley, brown rice and oats. PS: Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two of the most abundant carotenoids 
    found in green leafys. Scientists say how our bodies react to these chemicals can cause bad sleep disturbances. 

It has been found that very short sleep was associated with less consumption of the following: 
Water: Constituting 70 to 75% of the total body weight, it is required for all the bodily functions such as digestion, metabolism, transport and removal of toxins from the body. Lycopene: It is found in red and orange 
coloured fruits and vegetables. Tomato, pink 
grapefruit, watermelon and guava have the 
highest content of Lycopene. A powerful antioxidant, it prevents free radical formation in the body. It also prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thereby preventing plaque deposition and narrowing of arteries. Total carbohydrates: Our bodies 
need a good balance of simple carbs and complex 
carbs. While simple carbs release sugar in the 
blood immediately, complex carbs release energy slowly, as they have to be broken down to simple units before they are finally absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose and sugar are examples of simple carbs, while wheat and other foods that contain starch and fibre come under complex carbs. A good mix of carbs make for a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect the body against disease. A small bowl of porridge before going to bed is a great idea to get some good sleep. Both milk and oats contain the amino acid Tryptophan, which helps induce good sleep. 
According to the study, 
long sleep is associated 
with less intake of total 
carbohydrates and other 
nutrients like: 
Theobromine: It is found in tea and chocolate. In fact, it is present in all cocoa products. Though it is a heart stimulant increasing heart beat, it also dilates blood vessel to lower the pressure. Decanoic acid: A saturated fat, it is found in mother's milk, dairy products, nuts, seeds and their oils. It is good for the heart and helps reduce total cholesterol. Its antibacterial properties also help fight gastritis. Choline: Found in eggs and fatty meats that includes beef, liver, fish, crabs, eggs, cauliflower, tofu, almonds, peanut butter and Navy beans, it contributes to the structure of our cell membranes. It protects the liver from fat deposits and damage, and also offers protection against cardiovascular disease.
— With inputs from Dr Purwa Duggal and Dr Nupur Krishnan

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

HAIRY CONCERN Baldness increases heart disease risk

London: A British study has for the first time linked male pattern baldness with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. 

    The study found that men who had lost most of their hair were a third more likely (32%) to develop coronary artery disease than their peers who retained a full head of hair. 
    The risk has been found to be greatest for those with a thinning crown rather than receding hairline, it says, with chances of heart disease highest among those for who are balding in on the top/crown of the head rather than at the front. 
    The study published in the British Medical Journal trawled the Medline and the Cochrane Library databases for research published on male pattern baldness and coronary heart disease and came up with six studies which met all the eligibility criteria and so were included in the analysis. All had been published between 1993 and 2008, and involved just under 40,000 men. 

    Three of the studies were cohort studies — meaning that the health of balding men was tracked for at least 11 years. The analysis was confined to men under the age of 55 years but a similar pattern emerged. Bald or extensively balding men were 44% more likely to develop coronary artery disease. 
    Analysis of the other three studies showed balding men were 70% 
more likely to have heart disease and those in younger age groups were 84% more likely to do so. 
    Three studies assessed the degree of baldness using a validated scale (Hamilton scale). Analysis indicated that the risk of coronary artery disease depended on baldness severity but only if this was on the top/crown of the head or vertex. 
    Explanations for the reasons behind the association vary but include the possibility that baldness may indicate insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes; a state of chronic inflammation; or increased sensitivity to testosterone, all of which are involved directly or indirectly in promoting heart disease.

Effects of High Blood Pressure