Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Amazing Health Benefits of Apricots



Apricots the golden orange hued fruits bursting with beta-carotene are the first ones to welcome the warm summer months.

These golden orange fruits with velvety skin and flesh is a treasure trove of amazing nutritional goodness.

In this article, we will deal with the awesome health benefits of apricots.

Health benefits

Apricots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and flavonoids. Some of the important antioxidants are quercetin, catechins, and gallic acid.

Apricots protect your eye health. It contains the carotenoid lutein which protects the retina. This nutrient prevents age-related vision loss.

These wonder fruits contain catechins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the enzyme called COX-2 which is a key factor in the process of inflammation. 
Thus, apricots prevent inflammation and optimize the immunity of the body.

They enhance digestive health because they are a great source of fiber. Apricots contain a healthy amount of soluble fiber in it. Health experts say that soluble fibers help to control blood cholesterol levels.

Sulfites

Dried apricots are treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. So if you are sensitive to sulfites, organically grown apricots will be your best bet.

Creative ways to enjoy apricots

Add them to your cereals and whole grain pancakes. You can add dried apricots to chicken and vegetable dishes. Add fresh diced apricots to your green salads.

Take care
Swarnam

Monday, June 6, 2016

Informative Healthy Eating Tips during a Summer Ramadan




A young mother asked me a question in Bayt.com whether pregnant women can fast during Ramadan. Since the holy month has begun, I thought it would be great if I write a post about healthy nutrition practices during this blessed month.
Dr. Razeen Mahroof from Oxford says that “The underlying message behind Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control, "This shouldn’t fall apart at the end of the day."
Nutrition
ü Go in for a balanced diet
ü Your food intake should be simple and not differ too much from your normal diet. Include foods from all the food groups.
ü Milk and dairy products
ü Fruits and veggies
ü Bread, cereals, and potatoes
ü Meat and fish
ü Foods that contain, fats or sugar.
ü Include complex carbohydrates because they burn energy slowly during the long fasting hours. Some examples include
ü Wheat
ü Barley
ü Oats
ü Millet
ü Beans
ü Wholemeal flour and
ü Basmati.
ü Go in for fiber rich foods that are digested slowly.
ü Cereals
ü Whole wheat
ü Potatoes with skin on
ü Seeds and grains
ü Fruits and
ü Green beans
ü Avoid processed food it may contain MSG, heart clogging oils and sodium. Foods to avoid includes fast burning foods, foods that contain refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour).
ü Avoid foods such as chocolates, biscuits and cakes and Indian foods like Mithai. Chips and candies contain void nutrients and should not be used as a side dish.
ü Limit or avoid caffeine based drinks such as coffee, tea, and cola. They can dehydrate the body that too in these hot summer months. Caffeine is a diuretic, and it stimulates faster water loss through urination.
ü Shop for locally produced fruits and veggies from farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Locally harvested foods have a fresh supply of flavorsome nutrients to nourish you during the long fast.
ü If you eat wholesome food packed with nutrition, you’ll feel more satisfied.
ü Choose breads from organic brown rice and whole grains.
ü Replenish your body with hydration. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body. Fruit juices will also have a similar revitalizing effect.
ü Include super hydrating watermelon and squash. You can make juices and soups out of these fruits and veggies.
ü You can also go in for smoothies, especially the green smoothies. They are full of nutrients and can give a nutrient boost immediately.
ü If you must have anything sweet, make it natural use real honey or natural raw cane sugar.
ü You can drink lots of coconut water which work wonders for your skin.
ü Avoid salty spices and condiments they will make you thirsty afterward.

ü Try to avoid deep fried foods, high sugar and high-fat foods, high fat cooked foods such as oily curries, parathas, and greasy pastries. Fried foods are heavy in oil and make them hard to digest.
ü Include chapattis made without oil, baked samosas, and boiled dumplings, baked or grilled meat and chicken, milk based sweets and puddings and homemade pastry using just a single layer.
ü Avoid using these cooking methods frying, deep frying and excessive use of oil. Try to use shallow frying and grilling or baking cooking methods.
ü Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while cooking.  Cooking for a large number of people using oversized pots on gas stoves has been shown to cause carbon monoxide buildup in some homes. Cabon monoxide can make you unwell when breathed in particularly those houses that are not well ventilated.
ü Don’t use oversized pots on gas stoves and don’t place foils around burners.
Can a pregnant woman fast during Ramadan?
If you are pregnant, you can make up missed fasts later or do fidyah. For example, you can make donations to a food bank. 
According to a research study, pregnant women who fast during this holy month are likely to have smaller babies who will be prone to learning disabilities in their adulthood. 
Scientists in the US found that women were 10% less likely to give birth to a boy if they had fasted during Ramadan. The trend was clearest if fasting was done early in the women's pregnancy and during the summer months.

Take care
Swarnam

Monday, May 30, 2016

5 Healthy Fats for Your Kids



Healthy fats are part of a balanced diet. Here are some healthy fats to include in your kid’s diet.

Avocados

The rich, creamy and silky textured avocados along with its nutty flavor, is one of the healthiest fruits around. These fruits are rich in monounsaturated fats and are highly beneficial for the growing kids.

They raise the good cholesterol levels and lower the baddies. These fruits contain healthy protein a must  for the growing years. They are rich in vitamin K, potassium, and vitamin E which jumpstart the growth of kids.

You can use avocado as soup toppings, in salads, spread the avocado paste on the bread and make a healthy sandwich.

Coconut oil

Our very own coconuts, yes they can be called as superfoods. The coconuts have a unique combination of fatty acids which greatly enhance our health. These fats boost the brain function and help in fat loss.

Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which are these beneficial fats. These fatty acids have powerful medicinal properties. They are easy to digest and infuse cells with an immediate supply of energy. Great for the growing years, when kids will be actively involved in sports.

Extra virgin olive oil

Pressed from olives the incredible oil that comes out bubbles up with nutrition. It is highly beneficial for the healthy functioning of the heart. It contains large amounts of antioxidants which protect the cells from damage.

Extra virgin olive oil helps to improve memory and cognitive function. You can fry fish, potato chips, chicken and any fried food your kids love this oil. You can drizzle it on salads to add extra flavor.

Omega 3 fatty acids

The body cannot produce this nutrient, and so we have to rely on food sources. These fats are essential for the overall health. If you want to maximize your kid’s intellectual potential, then omega three fats are your answer.

A research study found that low levels of DHA resulted in poor memory retention, reading skills and problem behavior in school age children. The EPA and DHA components of these acids increase neuronal growth and cerebral circulation.

Include lots of fish in your kids’ diet. Fish oil supplements can also be used to enhance the health quotient. Chia seeds and flax seeds are good sources of these oils.

Butter

Butter preferably from organic grass fed sources are great for your kids’ health. Butter contains omega 6 and omega three fatty acids, which boosts brain health. It is also good for the skin. It also contains selenium a powerful antioxidant. It is always wise to use butter in moderation.

Take care
Swarnam


Monday, May 23, 2016

Seven Faces of Neck Pain and How to Deal With It

Image courtesy nenetus, freedigitalphotos.com
Do you suffer from neck pain? I found these useful and informative tips from the Healthbeat a Harvard University Newsletter and thought it would be worth the share. It is highly recommended that you read these points.
Seven faces of neck pain
Muscle pain. Aching or sore neck and shoulder muscles may occur in response to overexertion or prolonged physical or emotional stress. The neck muscles may develop hard knots that are tender to the touch, sometimes called trigger points.
  Muscle spasm. This is a sudden, powerful tightening of neck muscles. Your neck may hurt and feel tight or knotted, and it may be impossible to turn your head. When you wake up with a painful, stiff neck, that's likely a muscle spasm. Muscle spasm can result from a muscle injury, but it may also occur in response to a spinal disc or nerve problem, or even emotional stress. However, there is often no clear cause.
    Headache. A neck-related headache is most often felt in the back of the head and upper neck and is usually the result of muscle tension or spasm. Neck-related headache pain is usually dull or aching, rather than sharp; the neck might also feel stiff or tender. Moving your neck makes it worse.
   Facet joint pain. Often described as deep, sharp, or aching, pain in the facet joints (part of the vertebrae of the neck) typically worsens if you lean your head toward the affected side, and may radiate to your shoulder or upper back. Arthritis in the facet joints, as in other locations, may feel worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
   Nerve pain. Irritation or pinching of the roots of the spinal nerves causes pain that may be sharp, fleeting, severe, or accompanied by pins and needles. Depending on the nerve involved, the pain may shoot down the arm or even into the hand.
   Referred pain. Referred pain is a pain in one part of the body that is triggered by a problem in another part of the body. For example, neck pain that worsens with exertion may indicate a heart problem while neck pain that occurs when you eat may stem from a problem in the esophagus.
    Bone pain. Pain and tenderness in the cervical vertebrae are far less common than neck pain from the soft tissues. Bone pain needs medical attention because it may signal a more serious health problem.
There are many things you and your doctor can do to manage and relieve your pain, including a combination of self-help techniques and over-the-counter pain medications.
Ways to ease neck pain
1.    Don't stay in one position for too long. It's hard to reverse bad posture, Dr. Isaac says, but if you get up and move around often enough, you'll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position.
2.    Make some ergonomic adjustments. Position your computer monitor at eye level so you can see it easily. Use the hands-free function on your phone or wear a headset. Prop your tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
3.    If you wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. "When your eyewear prescription is not up to date, you tend to lean your head back to see better," Dr. Isaac says.
4.    Don't use too many pillows. Sleeping with several pillows under your head can stifle your neck's range of motion.
5.    Know your limits. For example, before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
6.    Get a good night's sleep. Sleep problems increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.
Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about. But if it's occurring with other, more serious symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor. "Other key things that might make one more concerned are having a fever or weight loss associated with your neck pain, or severe pain. You should let your doctor know about these symptoms," Dr. Isaac says.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Are Lemons a cancer cure







Cancer is a really scary disease that affects people of all ages and ethnicities. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1 million people get cancer each year. That’s a dangerous statistic. In this article, we will discuss the beneficial effects of lemon to prevent and fight cancer.

Beneficial effects of lemon

Mother Nature has endowed all natural goodness in natural resources. Lemons contain amazing compounds which fight against cancer. Lemons are rich sources of vitamin C. A 50 gram serving of fresh lemon juice contains 23 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 33% more than the required RDA.


Vitamin C boosts the immunity levels of the body. It protects the cells from free radicals. Free radicals are the key factors for the development of cancers. Lemons offer great protection from cancer by destroying the free radicals because they are rich in this wonder vitamin.

Limonoids

A study by the Texas agricultural scientists says that lemon contains a citrus compound called limonoids which fight against neuroblastoma cells. These cells account for 10% of all cancer in children.

These cells cause solid tumor in the neck, chest, spinal cord and adrenal gland. Limonoids are natural compounds and do not cause any side effect like the other cancer drugs.

This is a beautiful phenomenon of lemon. Scientists say that lemons are a vast reservoir of anti-carcinogens. They naturally boost the immunity of the body to fight against cancer.

These limonoids are unique to citrus fruits and they are not found in other fruits and vegetables. They fight against cancer in three ways

They prevent the formation of tumors

They slow down the growth rate of existing tumors

They kill the cancer cells.

Awesome is it not?

Limonene

Another wonder ingredient which wages a war against cancer is limonene. It is present in the lemon peel. Studies say that it fights against a wide range of cancers.

Researchers from the Arizona Cancer Center gave 2 grams of limonene to 43 women who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer for about 2 to 6 weeks.

The results were stunning. The limonene was found to be concentrated in the breast tissue than other parts of the body. The limonene supplementation resulted in 22% reduction in the expression of tumor markers. In other words, it significantly reduced the toxins that caused breast cancer.

Take away

We find that lemon contains awesome natural compounds that fight against cancer. These compounds do not cause any side effects and can be a boon to those suffering from cancer.

Take care

Swarnam