How to Keep the Flu Away During Change of Season

Dr. Kamal Asnani, is a General Physician and Medical Writer. In this article, he is giving out some expert tips on how you can prevent yourself from flu this season.

The influenza virus is a common, highly seasonal and significant respiratory pathogen. Influenza is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets like most other respiratory viruses. Significant features of fever and cough are the hallmark of influenza infection and these are present in annual epidemics. Other symptoms include sore throat, headache, malaise, nasal congestion, and myalgia. Consequences of influenza are varied and most individuals have mild to moderate symptoms. Most patients continue with their daily activities or return to work within 3-4 days.

Cure of influenza

Rest, fluids, and antipyretics are recommended as supportive measures for influenza. Antipyretics reduce fever and myalgia and also make the patient feel subjectively better. Antiviral medications can be effective in treating influenza infection, but their effectiveness is highly time dependent and complicated by resistant strain development.

Prevention of Influenza

The key to managing influenza is prevention and this can be done in 4 ways, which are:

1) Essential Precautions:
Hand washing and the use of naso-oral facemasks can limit its spread. Hands should be washed at regular intervals with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizers.
A minimum distance of 3-6 feet should be kept from people who are suffering from illness.
Drinking glasses, food, towels, or other personal care items should not be shared with others.
As virus for flu multiplies in dry air, a humidifier can be used to increase humidity and thus avoid spread of virus.
Heathcare workers should cultivate a habit to wash hands frequently.2) Vaccination

Immunization is highly effective in preventing flu. Vaccination is also very important. Benefits of the vaccination are reduction in influenza related symptoms and relief from its consequences. Pneumonia, hospital admission, fever, influenza related deaths in nursing home patients are few reliefs one can attain by getting vaccinated.

3) General health practices

Let us have a sneak peek at general health practices that can help to fend off the flu virus:

According to recent studies, drinking plenty of water is said to activate a particular immune against the viruses; so stay hydrated.
Consuming food or taking supplements rich in "probiotics" may fend off flu viruses.
The most effective way is to keep one's immune system strong and equipped to fight influenza. Immune system can be strengthened by exercising and consuming food rich in protein and complex carbohydrates.4) Chemoprophylaxis

Chemoprophylaxis with antiviral medications can prevent influenza. Antivirals (amantadine and rimantadine) are active against influenza A; however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised not to use them, as they are not active against Influenza B viruses. Oseltamivir and zanamivir are generally effective against influenza A and B and may be more effective than amantadine and rimantadine in preventing influenza.

Now that you are well versed with effective means to keep influenza at bay, get yourself better equipped this season.
Source - Yahoo India LifeStyle

10 quick home remedies for food poisoning

All of us have suffered from food poisoning at some point in life. Here are few home remedies to cure it. 

You may have had those mouthwatering frankies from the roadside stall, or gobbled down a plateful of golguppas in a go, only to find severe stomach ache and diarrhea within a couple of days. It’s probably food poisoning you’re suffering from and you’ve caught it at least once in your life, from the deceptively harmless looking contaminated foods.

With symptoms ranging from mild to severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and dehydration, food poisoning is a condition not to be ignored. Listed below are a few effective home remedies to cure food poisoning, right from grandma’s own medicine chest.

Ginger: It adds flavour to your dishes, but is also an excellent home remedy for curing almost all types of digestive problems. Take a tablespoon of honey with a few drops of ginger juice to reduce inflammation and pain.

Cumin: Cumin or jeera seeds are a good way to soothe the inflammation in your stomach, reduce the tenderness and aid healing. Crush a tablespoon of cumin seeds and add it to your clear soup.

Basil: Basil is another excellent home remedy to cure infections of both – the stomach and the throat. Strain the juice of a few basil leaves and add it to a tablespoon of honey. It’s bound to show positive results within a couple of hours.

Bananas are a rich source of potassium. They aid recovery and reduce the effects of food poisoning to an impressive level. Mash a couple of bananas and apple, or whip up a quick banana shake.

Apples: Apples are as effective against food poisoning as they reduce heartburn and acid reflux. Apples are known to have enzymes that inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause diarrhea and stomach ache.

Lemon: The acidity of the lemon juice kills most of the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and add a pinch of sugar to it. Drink it as you would take any medicine, or you can even add lemon to your tea.

Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal absorbs all the unwanted gases and substances that may be harmful to the delicate lining of the stomach, thereby aiding speedy recovery.

Water: It is very important to keep yourself fully hydrated during the period of food poising, as your body tends to lose more water through diarrhea. Also, keeping up your water content, rapidly flushes out the toxins and bacteria, which enhances your recovery.

Apple cider vinegar: Being alkaline in nature, vinegar, specifically apple cider vinegar soothes the gastro-intestinal lining. Also, it makes the environment of the stomach inhospitable for the bacteria to breed in, which helps speed up the recovery.

Peppermint tea: It’s not just aromatherapy. Peppermint oil is known to have a soothing effect, which is extremely beneficial for people suffering from stomach spasms due to food poisoning. Add a few drops to your tea; your cramps will vanish in a couple of hours.
Source - Yahoo India LifeStyle

Foods that make you look younger

1. Nuts

Nuts are a power-packed source of essential vitamins and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. These nutrients are vital to the reconstruction of damaged skin. They aid in the formation of a moist and fluid rich membrane that protects our skin from the natural aging process. With wrinkles at bay, the skin is left extremely radiant and blemish-free. With a variety of nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pecan nuts to choose from, healthy skin will now be a crunch away.

2. Berries
If anything can provide the natural goodness of nutrients, packed in a deliciously sweet chamber of nectarine juices, it has to be berries. They are excellent dietary sources of vitamin A, C, and E and are packed to the core with essential antioxidants, to keep our skin glowing. An adequate intake releases the dietary antioxidants in the body to keep the blood free of impurities and increase nutrient absorption for comparatively stronger immunity. Apples, Pears, Apricots, blueberries, strawberries, green and black grapes are natural pills for agelessness.

3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Not only are they a powerhouse of nutrients like Vitamins C, E and B12, but also contain healthy quantities of antioxidants and immunity-boosting compounds. These nutrients aid in the speedy repair of the natural process of wear and tear, remove the free radicals from the system and keep the blood clean. Including a healthy intake of spinach, broccoli, beans, roots and tubers will aid in reversing the lashes of time.

4. Fish
The essential oils contained in fishes help in maintaining and renewing the elasticity of skin. Fishes are extremely rich sources of Omega-3. A regular intake of fish will replenish the protein required to maintain healthy hair and skin. Taking cod and halibut liver oil supplements will be a good alternative to fish intake, as well.

5. Whole Wheat
Not only are they excellent sources of dietary fibre, but are also storehouses of proteins, minerals and vitamins. These nutrients are primarily responsible for maintaining blood pressure and heart health, thereby resulting in good skin at the end of the day.

6. Green Tea
Green tea is nature’s elixir to immortality. With powerful antioxidant content, it can reverse the effect of wrinkles, just like magic. Drinking two cups of green tea daily will result in a powerful immune system, improved blood circulation and glowing skin.

7. Water
Since 70% of our body is made of water, it will be useless to harp on its importance. Nevertheless, an optimum intake of water will not only sustain physical functions but will also facilitate in keeping the follicular and cellular membranes moist and supple. Without water, our cellular structure will die and will result in dull, scaly and flaky skin. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will keep age at bay.
Source - Yahoo India Life Style

Health Benefits of Banana

Enjoyed in various forms, bananas are eaten raw, accompanied with desserts, added to smoothies and much more. They offer some great health benefits, so add a banana to your daily diet today!
Bananas are one of the most famous common fruits amongst people of every age. Enjoyed in its various forms, bananas are eaten raw, accompanied with desserts, added in smoothies and consumed in many more ways too. Let us look at the benefits of eating this fruit.

1. Blood Pressure Regulation
Banana is a fruit that contains high amount of potassium and low levels of salt. This combination helps to regulate the blood pressure. It reduces the risk of heart related diseases.

2. Bone Strength
The potassium content in bananas is good for the health of your bones. Eating bananas on a regular basis can prevent your bones from deteriorating. Consuming bananas can also neutralize the amount of sodium in your body, which ultimately saves calcium to get washed out from your body.

3. Source of energy
Bananas are loaded with a lot of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6. Considering this fact, it is evident that eating the fruit can provide you with great energy. Pack yourself a couple of bananas to eat in the afternoon after your lunch has been digested and your stomach asks for some food.

4. Bowel Health
If you are suffering from constipation, banana is the fruit you need to pick. The fruit contains dietary fiber that aids the maintenance of the bowel system of your body.

5. Stress Reduction
When you are in stress, the metabolic rate of your body shoots up and potassium levels consequently decrease. Eating a banana can thereby flush your body with potassium, which will automatically ease you and regularize your heartbeat.

6. Brain Food
The potassium in bananas also does wonders by making you more mentally alert. Research shows that this yellow fruit aids concentration and hence is a marvelous fuel for the brain.

7. Iron rich fruit
People suffering from iron deficiency can resort to eating bananas. This fruit, which is rich in iron, can supply your body with the amount of iron it needs. This can also benefit you when you are suffering from an injury and require the blood to clot faster with the help of haemoglobin.

It is unimaginable how one tiny yellow colored fruit can give your body numerous health benefits. Include bananas in your breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner and enjoy the phenomenal benefits it imparts your body with.
Source - Yahoo India Life Style

Cows’ milk protects against HIV, says study

Lead scientist from University of Melbourne Marit Kramski found that when pregnant cows were vaccinated with an HIV protein, the first milk produced by the cow after giving birth, called colostrum, produced high antibodies to protect its newborn against HIV.

Cows’ milk can be potentially developed into affordable creams that can help protect humans against HIV, a study has claimed.

Lead scientist from University of Melbourne Marit Kramski found that when pregnant cows were vaccinated with an HIV protein, the first milk produced by the cow after giving birth, called colostrum, produced high antibodies to protect its newborn against disease.

Researchers were now planning to test the effectiveness and safety of the milk before turning it into a cream which will hopefully allow women to protect themselves against contracting the virus during sex, without relying on men, theHerald Sun reported.

However, the final result could be a decade off. The researchers were able to inhibit the virus from infecting cells when combing the virus cells with milk. “We think the antibodies bind to the surface of the virus and blocks the protein which needs to be freed to get in contact with human cells — like a key and lock system. If the key’s not accessible or you change the key, you can’t open the door,” Kramski said adding “It’s a very cheap and easy way to produce a lot of antibodies.”

Kramski had partnered with Australian biotechnology company Immuron Ltd to develop the milk, and would continue working with them to produce a preventative cream.

“We have the antibodies at the moment — the next step will be formulation,” Kramski said.

Condoms were “cheap and easy” but not an option for everyone with millions of people getting infected with HIV every year, she added. A lot of women, especially in Africa or South America they don’t have the power to say you need to use a condom before we have sex. “This milk looks like it can be a cheap, easy new prevention tool, because if you use drugs it’s really expensive,” she said.

Source - The Hindu

It’s a techie life: Time to get fit

Questioning the physical fitness of techies
Lifestyles of IT professionals generally tend to be hectic, challenging, full of stress, at times fun... and almost always sedentary. The issue of sedentary lifestyles and the question of physical fitness among techies were highlighted with a flash mob by a 100-strong group of young employees of TCS. They danced up a storm with popular numbers in a 10-minute routine that culminated with them unfurling banners and marching with placards that urged one and all to live a healthy life. Perhaps the most poignant part of the show was the finale where two of the dancers mimed popular sport such as basketball, badminton, cricket, tennis, and football in a bid to drive home the importance of physical fitness.

Says Naveen Kumar, one of the dancers: “Physical fitness is a pertinent issue among techies because most of us spend our time sitting in a chair, hunched in front of our computers. Often we ignore our health and forget about the need for physical exercise.” He adds that he makes a “conscious effort” to work out on a routine basis. “We wanted to show that it is fairly easy to involve yourself in some kind of physical activity. All it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle is a bit of effort,” add Gowreesha Nookala and Aniruddh Naraparaju, two of the lead dancers in the show. All three of them say they keep fit by playing badminton (at Technopark Club) on a regular basis.

Sharing the opinion of these sprightly youngsters is 35-year-old techie Anna Jose, who has been in the IT field for around 13 years now. She is one of the few fitness junkies at Technopark. “I play badminton regularly, I do Pilates, I work out at the Technopark gym, I swim… I do some kind of physical activity for an hour or more at least four times a week. I started out with the intention of getting back into shape after the birth of my second child. Now it has become a routine, something that I enjoy,” says Anna.

However, when it comes to physical fitness, techies who think on the same lines as these techies, are by the looks of it, very few. For example, according to Sasidharan Nair, the administrator of the Technopark Club, “only 200, including some 50 women out of the 40,000 plus people who work on campus use the multi-purpose gym at the club on a regular basis”. Even lesser numbers, he says, use the club’s other facilities such as its swimming pool or the badminton court. “Most of the techies I’ve talked to about the issue say that they don’t exercise simply because they can’t find the time what with their hectic work schedules. Then again, I’ve observed that if exercise or some kind of physical activity has always been a part of a person’s lifestyle choice, then they will fit it into their routine whatever the hurdle. Most of the people who work on campus are between the ages of 23 and 35, and do not seem too concerned with health issues, probably because they are at an age where they do not face too many such issues,” says Sasidharan.

It’s a fact that techies do face certain physical health issues because of their sedentary jobs. Divas Sadasivan, who works at corporate communications at IBS, is not too much into physical fitness activities. “I work out or take part in outdoor activities only once in a while simply because of the paucity of time. Speaking from practical experience, the main physical health problems that we techies face are issues related to our eyes, neck and spine. Sadly, as it often happens, it often takes some dilapidating pain for us to realise its extent. Even if exercise is not part of my daily routine, I take the effort to maintain my health. For instance, every couple of hours or so I make it a point to get up from my desk and walk around and/or stretch my arms and legs. I do that three or four times a day. I also make it a point to eat healthy and balance my meals. It’s these little things that count.”

Of course, most companies across Technopark have health, wellness and physical fitness initiatives in place, which, are to a point, successful. However, as always, it’s the individual effort that triumphs.
Source - The Hindu

Benefit of Juice

Some Facts About 100% Fruit Juice

There are no added sugars in 100% juice - just the natural sugars found in whole fruit.
100% juices are nutritious naturally, or when fortified with nutrients like vitamin C, calcium and vitamin D.
While the calorie content can vary slightly from juice to juice, most 100% fruit juices have only 60-80 calories per 4-ounce portion.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consumption of several cups of fruits and vegetables per day, and acknowledge the role that 100% juice can play as part of the fruit allowance.
100% juice is considered a "nutrient dense" beverage - per calorie, it packs more nutritional value than other beverage choices.
100% juices contain naturally-occurring phytonutrients - compounds found in fruits, vegetables and other plants that researchers believe have disease-preventative and disease fighting properties.
According to the latest consumption data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). the majority of America's children and teens are drinking 100% fruit juices in amounts recommended by health professionals.

Looking Beyond Calories

Because nutrition is more than just calories, it's important to look at the whole picture when assessing the value of a food or beverage. 100% fruit juices are a source of key nutrients like folate, vitamin C and potassium. In fact, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee noted that levels of these essential nutrients are often higher in certain 100% fruit juices than in their whole fruit counterparts.

While many of juices' nutritional benefits are readily displayed on the Nutrition Facts Panel, all juices provide value beyond what is visible on the label. 100% juice is an ample source of phytonutrients - compounds in fruits, vegetables and other plants that have disease-preventative and disease-fighting potential. Although this benefit is not listed on the label, there is strong support for the role fruits and vegetables play in reducing disease risk.

Calcium-fortified juices can provide an excellent source of calcium in the diet, particularly for those who are lactose-intolerant. Some juices are now fortified with vitamin D as well, another key nutrient for bone health thanks to its role in helping the body absorb calcium.

In addition, research shows that drinking 100% fruit juice is associated with a more nutritious diet overall. Studies suggest that appropriate consumption of 100% juice is linked to an overall healthier eating pattern, including reduced intake of total dietary fat, saturated fat and added sugars. In addition, drinking 100% juice is associated with increased consumption of whole fruit and is not linked to decreased milk consumption in children.
Source - fruitjuice facts

Quick and healthy breakfast ideas

"A healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” says Dr Jyothi Prasad, chief dietitian, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.“There’s a nearly ten-hour long gap between dinner and breakfast, during which the body is on fast mode. As the name suggests, breakfast is the meal you eat to break that fast,” explains Dr Prasad, “It refuels your body with essential nutrients to kick-start your day. So don’t skip it.”

Curd and fruits: There’s no denying the goodness of curd. For a smart and filling breakfast option, chop up a bunch of fruits, like bananas and apples and add them to a bowl of curd, top it up with some muesli and chopped walnuts and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious breakfast that’s also highly nutritious.

Egg sandwich: Boil an egg and slice eat it on a wheat toast with a slice of tomato, some low fat cheese and lettuce and you’ve got yourself a delicious breakfast that’ll keep you going for hours.

Fruit smoothie: Improve on your basic milk shake by going in for a smoothie instead. Toss your favourite fruits like bananas, apples or pears into the mixie with a bowl of curd and a spoon of honey. Run the moxie and voila, your smoothie is ready. Delicious and filling, it’s the perfect breakfast option for the summer.

Fruit smoothie: Improve on your basic milk shake by going in for a smoothie instead. Toss your favourite fruits like bananas, apples or pears into the mixie with a bowl of curd and a spoon of honey. Run the moxie and voila, your smoothie is ready. Delicious and filling, it’s the perfect breakfast option for the summer.

Muesli: Ditch your regular cereals and try some muesli instead. Fortified with fruits and nuts, muesli is a healthy and convenient breakfast option. Have it with milk or curd and stay full and energised for hours.

Muesli: Ditch your regular cereals and try some muesli instead. Fortified with fruits and nuts, muesli is a healthy and convenient breakfast option. Have it with milk or curd and stay full and energised for hours.

Baked beans with toast: For a break from the usual egg and toast or cheese and toast combination, try baked beans with toasted wheat bread. Super simple and filling, this breakfast gives you the right combination of protein and carbohydrates to keep you going for a long day ahead.

Baked beans with toast: For a break from the usual egg and toast or cheese and toast combination, try baked beans with toasted wheat bread. Super simple and filling, this breakfast gives you the right combination of protein and carbohydrates to keep you going for a long day ahead.

Peanut butter and wheat bread: Peanuts are rich in antioxidants and give you the instant boost of energy you need. Try some home made peanut butter and have it with whole wheat bread for a nutritious and energising breakfast.
Peanut butter and wheat bread: Peanuts are rich in antioxidants and give you the instant boost of energy you need. Try some home made peanut butter and have it with whole wheat bread for a nutritious and energising breakfast.

Whole-wheat bread sandwich: If you’re a vegetarian, Dr Prasad suggests a simple paneer, onion, tomato and cucumber sandwich. “Spread a layer of low-fat paneer instead of cheese, as it’s a healthier option,” she stresses. A layer of grated paneer, sliced onions, cucumber and tomato, salt and pepper – and you’re ready to go. For non-vegetarians, keep some boiled, boneless chicken pieces handy. Mustard sauce or mayonnaise with boiled chicken and onions tastes fantastic, try it out today.

Cereal: Dr Prasad warns against those sugar-coated cereals in the market. “Choose sugar-free wheat flakes or corn flakes. They pack in carbohydrates, fibre and protein,” she says, “add some fresh fruit or dried fruits and nuts to make it more wholesome.” Museli that combines a variety of grains and driedfruits too makes for a good option.

Cereal: Dr Prasad warns against those sugar-coated cereals in the market. “Choose sugar-free wheat flakes or corn flakes. They pack in carbohydrates, fibre and protein,” she says, “add some fresh fruit or dried fruits and nuts to make it more wholesome.” Museli that combines a variety of grains and driedfruits too makes for a good option.

Daliya: “Popular up north, daliya (broken wheat) makes for an excellent breakfast option,” says Dr Prasad. Daliya is unrefined wheat, loaded with fibre and complex carbohydrates, it’s healthy and can be made in a jiffy. Dr Prasad recommends adding a handful of nuts to make daliya a perfect, complete breakfast.

Daliya: “Popular up north, daliya (broken wheat) makes for an excellent breakfast option,” says Dr Prasad. Daliya is unrefined wheat, loaded with fibre and complex carbohydrates, it’s healthy and can be made in a jiffy. Dr Prasad recommends adding a handful of nuts to make daliya a perfect, complete breakfast.
Dosa: “Choose a multi-grain dosa — what we call adai down south — over the regular kind,” suggests Dr Prasad. It packs in multiple nutrients – just what you need to jumpstart your day. However, make sure you use a non-stick pan, and less oil though.

Dosa: “Choose a multi-grain dosa — what we call adai down south — over the regular kind,” suggests Dr Prasad. It packs in multiple nutrients – just what you need to jumpstart your day. However, make sure you use a non-stick pan, and less oil though.

Eggs: While eggs make for an excellent breakfast option for kids, adults must tread cautiously. “Get your lipid profile checked,” recommends Dr Prasad, before you go on an egg eating spree. If your cholesterol is high, make sure you stay away from egg yolk. A good source of protein, selenium and riboflavin, egg whites are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. So beat in one or two egg whites, add some chopped veggies (cut and store in refrigerator), a pinch of turmeric, salt and red-chilli powder to taste — mix and scramble or make an omelette. “You can add a slice of brown bread, if you choose,” says Dr Prasad.

Steamed idlis: Your neighbourhood supermarket is most likely to have a stock of idli batter. Cook idlis the night before, if you’re too rushed in the morning. Eat idlis with honey, it’s yummy and won’t require additional time for making chutney or such. In the morning, microwave idlies, pour some honey and you’re ready to go.

Oats: High in fibre, oats is known to help regulate blood sugar levels and keep cholesterol under check. What more? It’s easy to make too. Again, Dr Prasad suggests adding nuts and fruits or dried fruits to that oat porridge.

Poha (flattened rice): Poha is simple to make and takes very little time too. “Add veggies like peas, and perhaps even carrots into your poha to make it more nutritious,” says Dr Prasad. Keep some roasted groundnuts handy to add that extra zing to your poha, groundnuts are also healthy as they pack in antioxidants, folate and a host of other nutrients.

Source - Yahoo India Life style

Salad drawer 'most dangerous place in fridge'

Researchers have warned that the fridge salad drawers can contain 750 times the level of bacteria considered safe.

Some of the potentially killer bugs found include E.coli, salmonella and listeria.ests on samples from the salad drawers of 30 frost free home fridges showed they had an average of 7,850 bacteria colony-forming units per square centimetre (cfu/cm2).

Some from which swabs were taken had as many as 129,000 cfu/cm2.

The standard EC recommendation for 'clean' food preparation and storage surfaces is for 0-10 cfu/cm2.

"The whole purpose of a fridge is to keep food safe and minimise the chances of bacteria and mould growth so it is worrying that in some there is clearly a substantial problem, as the research indicates," the Daily Mail quoted Paul McDonnell of Microban Europe in Cannock, Staffordshire, which commissioned the research, as saying.

"The performance of fridges is especially important in warmer weather, when high ambient temperatures mean that the potential for bacteria to multiply is high."

The researchers have also claimed that if the fridges are not cleaned regularly, colonies of germs can build up.

"The low temperatures of fridges will only inhibit the growth of bacteria in tandem with regular cleaning. When bacteria get a foothold and no cleaning is taking place, they will tend to multiply over a period of time," McDonnell added.
Source - Yahoo india Lifestyle

12 Indian foods that cut fat

You don't have to acquire a taste for olive oil, seaweed or soya to maintain a low-fat, healthy diet. Indian cuisine can be healthy too, if it's cooked with oil and ingredients that take care of your heart and health.

Ayurveda suggests you include all tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent — in at least one meal each day, to help balance unnatural cravings. Here are 12 foods that can help you lose weight and gain health:

Turmeric : Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, is an object of research owing to its properties that suggest they may help to turn off certain genes that cause scarring and enlargement of the heart. Regular intake may help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, increase blood circulation and prevent blood clotting, helping to prevent heart attack.

Cardamom : This is a thermogenic herb that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. Cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently.

Chillies : Foods containing chillies are said to be as foods that burn fat. Chillies contain capsaicin that helps in increasing the metabolism. Capsaicin is a thermogenic food, so it causes the body to burn calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chillies.

Curry leaves : Incorporating curry leaves into your daily diet can help you lose weight. These leaves flush out fat and toxins, reducing fat deposits that are stored in the body, as well as reducing bad cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, incorporate eight to 10 curry leaves into your diet daily. Chop them finely and mix them into a drink, or sprinkle them over a meal.

Natural Home Remedies for Asthma Treatment

Although there are many medical ways to help asthma sufferers breathe easier, experts recommend combining certain natural home remedies with prescription anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators. Here are some helpful remedies right from the kitchen.

Home Remedies From the Cupboard
Coffee. The caffeine in regular coffee can help prevent and control asthma attacks. Researchers have found that regular coffee drinkers have one-third fewer asthma symptoms than those who don't drink the hot stuff. The reason? Caffeine has bronchodilating effects. In fact, caffeine was one of the main anti-asthmatic drugs during the nineteenth century. Don't load up on java, though -- three cups a day will provide the maximum benefit -- and don't give coffee to children with asthma.
Onions. Onions are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that these properties can reduce the constriction of the airways in an asthma attack. Raw onions are generally too irritating, but eating cooked onions may help to lessen asthma attacks.

Home Remedies From the Drawer

Put a fine cheesecloth over each room's heat outlet. This homemade dust filter can help by catching dust, animal dander, and pollen before it's recirculated into the air. Stick-on commercial filters are also available. And don't forget the number one most effective home aid -- scrupulous cleaning. It's not easy, but being a bit obsessive about keeping a clean house goes a long way toward helping to alleviate asthma symptoms.
Home Remedies From the Refrigerator
Chili peppers. Hot foods such as chili peppers open up airways. Experts believe this happens because peppers stimulate fluids in the mouth, throat, and lungs. The increase in fluids thins out the mucus formed during an asthma attack so it can be coughed up, making breathing easier. Capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot, acts as an anti-inflammatory when eaten.

Eating hot foods like chili peppers may help you breathe easier.

Orange juice. Vitamin C is the main antioxidant in the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles. Research discovered that people with asthma had low levels of vitamin C; eating foods that had at least 300 mg of vitamin C a day -- equivalent to about three glasses of orange juice -- cut wheezing by 30 percent. Other foods high in vitamin C include red bell pepper, papaya, broccoli, blueberries, and strawberries.
Salmon. Fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids seem to help the lungs react better to irritants in people who have asthma and may even help prevent asthma in people who have never had an attack. Studies have found that kids who eat fish more than once a week have one-third the risk of getting asthma, as compared to children who don't eat fish. And researchers discovered that people who took fish oil supplements, equivalent to eating 8 ounces of mackerel a day, increased their body's ability to avoid a severe asthma attack by 50 percent.
Yogurt. Vitamin B12 can alleviate the symptoms of asthma, and it seems to be even more effective in asthma sufferers who are sensitive to sulfite. Studies have found that taking 1 to 4 micrograms (mcg) works best as protection against asthma attacks. The current RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults. One cup of yogurt has 1.4 mcg of the lung-loving vitamin.
Home Remedies From the Spice Rack
Peppermint extract. This is a folk remedy for a homemade vaporizer: Put 1 quart nonchlorinated water in a stainless steel, glass, or enamel pan, and put it on the stove. Add 10 drops peppermint extract or peppermint oil, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 1 hour, until all the water is gone. The volatile oil will saturate the room air.
Home Remedies Do's and Don'ts
Don't overload your salt intake. Salt tends to make the airways more sensitive to triggers. 
Do consider a high-quality vegan diet. Getting rid of animal products in the diet helps asthma by eliminating many food allergens (cow's milk, for example). Remember, though, that vegan diets can be deficient in protein and B12, which can be especially risky for kids and pregnant or lactating women. You might consider seeking the help of a nutritionist or dietician to help you plan a vegan diet.
More Home Remedies for Asthma
The key to managing asthma effectively is to prevent an attack before it occurs. By applying these home remedies and making some important lifestyle changes, you may be able to avoid the triggers that can exacerbate your asthma.
Kick the cigarette habit. 
Tobacco smoke can be an irritant that triggers asthma as well as an allergen that touches off an allergic response leading to asthma. Tobacco smoke is one of the worst irritants known: It paralyzes the tiny hairlike cilia along the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. It also reduces immune response and leaves a smoker much more susceptible to upper respiratory infection. In addition to preventing asthma attacks, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other conditions, as well as save you money.

Nonsmokers who live with a smoker are no better off. Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children and teenagers. So if there's someone in your household who won't quit smoking, ask that individual to take his or her habit outdoors.
Weather the weather. Pay attention to how changes in the weather affect your asthma. You might even keep an "asthma journal" by recording the temperature, wind velocity, barometric pressure, and humidity on days when you suffer attacks. Knowing what types of weather conditions can leave you gasping for air can help you avoid problems. While each person responds to weather differently, some general trends may be noted.

For instance, people with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside, since a rush of cold air can cause a spasm in the bronchial tubes. Stay indoors if the wind is strong, too. While gusts of wind can blow pollution and smog away, they can also blow pollen in your direction. If you enjoy walking in the rain, you're in luck, because rain tends to wash away roving allergens, pollutants, and irritants.

For instance, people with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside.
People with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside, 
since a rush of cold air can cause a spasm in the bronchial tubes.

Watch what you eat. The question of whether foods trigger asthma has yet to be answered. Some foods, such as nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, chocolate, sodas, and strawberries, can result in an array of allergic responses, including asthma symptoms. Sulfites in wine can have a similar effect. An attack that's precipitated by a certain food will most likely occur within an hour of ingesting it.

Existing scientific evidence suggests that food allergies are probably not a major trigger for chronic asthma in adults. Nonetheless, you may have noticed that certain foods worsen your symptoms. If so, it's best to limit or avoid foods that aren't necessary for a balanced, nutritious diet. (Ask your doctor if you're not sure.)

Allergies to certain types of food, especially milk and wheat, are more often a trigger of asthma in children. If milk and wheat seem to be causing problems for your child with asthma, eliminate these foods from his or her diet. Check labels, and avoid foods that list milk, milk solids, casein, whey, or caseinate as ingredients. (Talk to your family doctor about alternate dietary sources of nutrients such as calcium.)

Eating away from home can sometimes be a problem. If you are invited to dinner and don't know what meal will be served, eat something at home before you leave so you won't be left hungry should the main course be a trigger food for you. If you are eating in a restaurant, inquire about the ingredients in the dish you want to order.

No matter where you have your meal, don't overeat, don't eat too fast, and don't talk while you are eating. Steer clear of alcohol, too, especially if you are taking medications for your asthma. One final reminder: Avoid so-called cytotoxicity tests and similar methods that promise to root out hidden food allergies and cure asthma.

Protect your health. 
A problem in the upper airways, such as a respiratory infection, can cause trouble in the lower airways (the bronchial tubes) and precipitate an asthma attack. While taking steps to avoid getting sick makes sense for everyone, maintaining good health can dramatically reduce the frequency and intensity of asthma attacks.

Stay away from people who have a cold or the flu, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid getting overtired; otherwise, you will be more susceptible to infections. It's a good idea for asthmatics to get a flu shot each year. If, despite your best efforts, you do develop an infection, see your doctor; early use of antibiotics, when appropriate, can be quite helpful.

Avoid chemicals. 
Any number of chemicals can trigger an asthma attack in susceptible people, whether it's chemical fumes, such as from paint or perfume, or chemical additives, such as the sufites that are used as preservatives in food. Keep your distance from these chemicals whenever possible.

Avoid aspirin and certain drugs.
Some people with asthma are sensitive to some drugs, especially aspirin and nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Play it safe and avoid aspirin and products that contain it if you have asthma. Even if you have not experienced an asthma flare from aspirin in the past, it's possible for one to occur at any time. Keep aspirin out of your medicine chest, and check labels on every over-the-counter drug that you purchase. Avoid those that list "aspirin" and those that contain the initials "ASA," "APC," or "PAC;" ask your pharmacist if you are unsure if the medication you want to purchase contains aspirin.

According to an expert report from the National Asthma Education Program, people with asthma should also stay away from certain NSAIDs (ibuprofen is one such medication) that have effects similar to aspirin's. Opt instead for such "usually safe alternatives" as acetaminophen, sodium salicylate, or disalcid. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter painkillers, click here.

You may also need to avoid tartrazine (yellow food dye #5), which is found in a number of soft drinks, cake mixes, candies, and some medications, if it aggravates your asthma.

Take a deep breath.
 Inhaling through the mouth often produces shallow, unsatisfying breaths that can resemble panting. Practice inhaling slowly through the nose in a controlled way, instead. Before you start breathing exercises, blow your nose to make sure that your air passages are clear of foreign matter. Then sit in a chair in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath and feel your breath going as far down as possible. Your abdomen should expand as you do this exercise. Exhale slowly, feeling your abdomen relax as your breath comes out of your nose. Repeat this exercise at least three times a day (but never right after eating and never in a hurry, which may trigger hyperventilation).

Exercise your options. For years, people with asthma have been told to avoid exercise because it would induce attacks. Research has shown, however, that getting regular aerobic exercise increases the amount of huffing and puffing an asthmatic can tolerate. Start by warming up with light exercise before a more vigorous workout. Begin with short workouts and gradually increase them.

At least at first, keep a bronchodilator with you. If you feel tightness in your chest and can't work through it, use the device. If you are out in cold or dry air, wear a scarf around your nose and mouth to heat the air before breathing it in. Cool down with light exercise at the end of your workout. If one type of exercise still brings on attacks, try another form of exercise. You may not be able to tolerate running, for example, but you may be able to swim regularly.

Keep your weight down. Exertion causes overweight people to breathe more deeply, forcing their hearts to work extra hard supplying blood to the muscles and organs. If you are overweight, losing weight will ease your heart's burden; unfortunately, asthma medications can cause you to pack on pounds. If you need to lose some pounds, you and your doctor should work together to establish a diet and exercise plan that will help you burn more calories and reduce your calorie intake without depriving you of necessary nutrients.
Mind your mind. The notion that asthma is "all in your head" has gone the way of many medical myths. However, doctors believe that asthma is an illness with both physical and emotional aspects. For example, asthma attacks can be triggered by emotional changes, such as laughing or crying, or by stress. While you may not be able to "think away" an asthma attack, keeping your mind at ease may prevent you from panicking at the onset of an asthma attack, which will make a bout with breathing trouble less scary. Develop an upbeat mind-set by committing yourself to feeling better. A positive attitude works wonders to enhance your other coping methods. In addition, be forthright about your asthma; others will respect your directness and, in most cases, try to make things easier for you.

Learn to relax. 
Since stress and emotional upsets can trigger or aggravate asthma attacks, it may be helpful to set aside time each day, preferably the same time, to practice some form of relaxation.
In our final section, we will look at some natural home remedies for asthma that involve some of the common foods that are probably in your kitchen right now.
Source - discovery fit & health

The Power of Healing Foods

If you had talked about treating disease with healing foods just a decade ago, you would have been taken for a quack - and believe me, I know, having received all sorts of funny looks and reactions from various people when mentioning such a possibility.

But I'm so thrilled to see that things are changing!

Not just ordinary people, but also many doctors and researchers now believe that food can actually treat many conditions.

They say that adding the right healing foods to your diet, while leaving others off the menu, can strengthen your body's defenses against disease, treat disease directly and even slow down the aging process.

What has brought about this change, you might ask?

Well, I've discovered several reasons:
1) Researchers now understand the underlying causes of common diseases much better than they used to.
How? By improving your cholesterol levels, lowering high blood pressure, steadying your blood sugar, reducing inflammation and taking off extra pounds - all subjects that I'm discussing on this site.

"Almost 80% of cardiovascular disease could be prevented by lifestyle changes, and among the most important of these are dietary changes."

Researchers have no doubts now that a poor diet is a major cause of constipation, hemorrhoids, heartburn and IBS and giving out pills to deal with the symptoms is not the best way to treat these problems. Clicking on the link you can read about the causes of these conditions and what healing foods you can eat to get to the root of the problem. 

  • Doctors now realize that arthritis isn't a simple case of wear and tear but rather a destructive process spurred by molecules called free radicals, so - surprise, surprise - painkillers cannot be considered the best long term solution.
  • The general consensus now seems to be that no condition is more related to diet than type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that people who eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, animal fats, and a lot of animal protein are at much greater risk of developing this condition.
What is the best treatment for all these conditions? Medications? Hardly.

Common sense dictates that if the problem is caused or aggravated by diet, then a change in diet is needed.

2) Another reason for the change in attitude toward healing foods is that we now know more about the healing power of specific foods.

Fish oil for heart disease

We know, for example, that oily fish can reduce inflammation in the body and be more effective than any medication in preventing and treating conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and many more.

Please Note: This doesn't mean you must stop all medications for such conditions. Before making any changes you must consult your doctor!
Health benefits of apples
You'd be surprised to know how many studies have been carried out on the humble apple.

Researchers have discovered that it contains a host of compounds that have been proven to prevent conditions such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes and others.
Health benefits of beans
How about beans? This often overlooked source of vegetarian protein is excellent at preventingconstipation, piles, lowering cholesterol, high blood pressure and much more - marvel at the numerous conditions you could prevent and treat by simply adding this healing food to your diet!

Health benefits of garlic
Everybody knows about the healing properties of garlic, right? We don't know the half of what garlic can do for us!

Read about the countless studies that have proven its effectiveness in fighting infections,thinning the blood, reducing blood pressureand much more.

And this is just a taster of the many healing foods discussed on this site!

3) Overwhelmed by the thousands of studies coming in from every direction, the medical community has finally taken this research to heart.

Although these studies have been going on for years - you know how it is, it always takes ages before a change is accepted - at last doctors are talking about nutrition and food solutions to everyday complaints more often than before.

They've realized that if diet is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease, for example, then giving you cholesterol-lowering pills is not going to reverse it. The best way to treat it is to make changes to your diet.

I'm sure that doctors spend most of their time and efforts trying to remedy side-effects of medications they've prescribed. In contrast,most healing foods provide multiple benefits to the body and no side-effects.

Many now realize that it's a smart move to advise their patients to use healing foods instead of prescribing drugs. Not so lucrative, perhaps, but, in the long run, it yields much better results for everybody.

Source - foods-healing-power


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