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Food / What makes ginger tea healthy?
« on: November 15, 2015, 03:19:02 PM »
Even with the outburst of coffee shops, Indians still love their tea especially when out for a drive.

That one cup of tea wakes you up, while the gentle warmth soothes your soul. But did you know that tea has healing properties, moreso if you add a slice of ginger to it? Ginger tea is available at most tea stalls even on highways, but you can prepare it at home too. What makes ginger tea healthy? We head to the expert, Dr. Jaishree Bhattacharjee, the Ayurvedic Consultant with We find out that ginger tea is effective for a lot more than just the common cold.

Dr. Jaishree takes us back in time to decode the mystery of ginger in Ayurveda:

"Ayurveda believes in the fact that herbs when ingested or applied (few of them) bring changes in the bio energetic of the human body. Human body is regulated by balanced existence of three main bio-energies namely- vata( this energy regulates all the macro/micro, voluntary/ involuntary movements of the body. Pitta(regulates all the conversions processes) and Kapha(regulates stability/structure/ growth/ repair work). Herbs and food with their unique taste, after taste and specific therapeutic action, affect these bio energies by aggravating or pacifying them."

So how does ginger change the bio energy of the human body?

She explains, "Ginger is a revered herb in ayurveda for many ailments. It has pungent and sweet taste, and pungent after taste. It has hot potency. All these properties of ginger make it highly capable of balancing aggravated kapha and vata. Ginger tea has its benefits in almost all the health problems arising from these doshas (bio- energies)."

Health benefits of ginger tea: "Ginger tea is a very popular cure for cold and cough. It helps drying up running and dripping nose and expels phlegm from respiratory tract."

This is a hot favourite on a rainy day and a favourite with mothers to cure your cold. Of course, we're using the word 'cure' loosely here, since there isn't a known cure to this malady yet. However, ginger is known to soothe a common cold to make it bearable and perhaps even speed up recovery.

Health benefits of ginger tea: "It helps those people who have very low appetite as ginger's hot potency ignite digestive fire and initiate release of digestive enzymes."

In this crazy world filled with high levels of stress, we tend to lose our appetite. Could this be the answer?

Health benefits of ginger tea: "It improves digestion and helps in proper assimilation of food."

Digestive problems may be an issue for the elderly but lifestyle changes can have an impact on you too. Ginger tea seems to be the key to better digestion.

Health benefits of ginger tea: "Regular intake of ginger tea helps in alleviating constipation and expelling stagnated undigested food ('ama') or toxic gases from the digestive system."

This is a great solution after indulging in rich festive food. Ginger tea can easy your system, making you happy. But don't expect miracles. The most it can do is calm an upset stomach, not cure it.

Health benefits of ginger tea: "It almost works like magic to give you shot of energy, lift your spirits and bring you out of your lethargy."

This is something we can all relate to; ginger tea adds the buzz in your day.

Health benefits of ginger tea: "During winters, it warms you up as it increases your body temperature."

Well winter is around the corner; here's the hint for the healthy winter drink. Cheers!

Health benefits of ginger tea: "It boosts your circulatory system due to its hot potency."

Sedentary life slows down your circulation system. We could all use a little help with energy every now and then.

Health benefits of ginger tea: "Ginger is a detoxifying herb which helps in removing accumulated toxins in the body."

Could this be the answer to a hangover?

Health benefits of ginger tea: "Ginger tea is extremely good for persons with kapha constitution as it keeps this dosha (kapha) in balance."

Ginger tea helps build and repair blemishes on your body. It acts like a cell builder.

Health Tips / Is microwave cooking bad for you?
« on: November 15, 2015, 03:16:31 PM »
Microwave cooking is a hot debate. Some believe that microwaves may cause cancer and other diseases.

Yet it is the fastest, easiest and cleanest way to heat food and bake or grill, which is perfect for young and working adults. So true or false - radiation from microwave cooking negatively affects food and its surroundings? We ditch the myths and confirm the facts on microwaving food.

Is microwave cooking bad for you?

More specifically, is radiation from a microwave harmful?

It is true that microwaves work on radiation, but hold on. The story continues... radiation is energy that travels in waves. But there are different waves - radio waves, X-ray and energy waves and micro wave is weaker than gamma rays. So don't worry about turning into mutants.
Conclusion: Microwave cooking is not harmful as long as the door is closed. Thankfully no microwave allows use unless the door is firmly secure.

Does microwave cooking and heating affect food?

Microwave cooking and heating does not change the components of your food, it only heats the food. There is no evidence of toxin formation in food or carcinogens. If you over cook your food, then you are changing the components of the nutrients in your food. Over cooking on a grill, in the oven or micro wave - irrespective of the heat's source - destroys the nutrients.

Conclusion: Microwaves do not change the nutrients of the food.

Radiation leaks from the microwave

Microwave leaks are possible if the door is damaged and cannot be shut properly. There are a few steps to ensure that your cooking machine does not leak of radiation.

Do not fidget with the door

Check for door damage regularly

Clean the interior of the microwave frequently

There are no serious microwave health risks unless it's carelessness on your part. Be wise: Use the right containers, avoid cling film from touching the food, and maintain the microwave regularly.

Health Tips / Everything you need to know about pneumonia!
« on: November 13, 2015, 05:05:20 PM »
Pneumonia is a serious life threatening illness in children. It is a form of acute respiratory infection (ARI) that affects the alveoli in the lungs, which are the small sacs that fill with air when a healthy person breathes.

When there is an infection in the lungs, these alveoli fill with pus and fluid, which is the body's natural response to fighting infection. This infection in the lungs makes breathing difficult and limits oxygen intake.

There are two kinds of bacteria that are responsible for most pneumonia related deaths: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumonia (Spn). Hib and Spn bacteria can also cause acute meningitis (infection of the membranes covering the brain) in young children, which can lead to life-long disabilities.

Symptoms of pneumonia
Cough is a common symptom of respiratory infections including pneumonia. Many children with cough, cold and fever have upper respiratory tract infections caused by viral infections.

Children with pneumonia experience fast breathing along with a severe cough. In severe cases the child may have in-drawing of the lower chest wall when he breathes in, which might lead to grunting and difficulty in breathing. If your child exhibits such a cough with fast breathing, an immediate check-up is recommended even if these other symptoms do not occur, as it could be a case of pneumonia.

Disease burden of pneumonia
Very few people are aware that pneumonia is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide. Every year, it kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five, accounting for 18% of all deaths of children under five years old worldwide. In India, it kills nearly 397,000 children every year and is the leading cause of infant mortality. However, pneumonia can be easily prevented. Death is not the only consequence of pneumonia -severe illness which affects a child's development is caused by pneumonia. Pneumonia can cause serious sickness, leading to several visits to the doctor and often times hospitalizations, placing significant burden on families, the healthcare system and society at large.

Pneumonia can be easily averted with existing child survival interventions. These interventions include a variety of comprehensive prevention strategies such as frequent washing of hands and general cleanliness, reducing the spread of disease, access to healthcare, and, vaccination. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is vital to ensure the child gets adequate nutrition and build natural immunity against infections. Addressing environmental factors such as indoor air pollution (by providing affordable clean indoor stoves, for example) and encouraging good hygiene in crowded homes also reduces the number of children who fall ill with pneumonia.

Immunisation of pneumonia
Vaccines are the most cost effective way to safeguard your child against pneumonia. A comprehensive approach to prevention of pneumonia, including access to new and available vaccines, is needed to combat this deadly disease.

In India vaccines for both Hib and Streptococcus pneumoniae are available. The Government of India has recently introduced the pentavalent vaccine in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Goa and Puducherry. Pentavalent protects children against 5 diseases including Hib pneumonia/meningitis/blood infection, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus and hepatitis B. This vaccine is available free of cost in Government hospitals and health centres in the above mentioned states.

Infants are given three doses of the pentavalent vaccine at the 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age. After that, they need a booster dose of DPT and Hib at 15 to 18 months of age. The vaccine follows the normal immunization schedule and can be integrated into the immunization program of the country. Hib vaccine has been demonstrated to be effective in numerous studies and is widely supported by global and Indian health communities. Hib vaccine has been introduced in more than 180 countries worldwide including the neighbouring countries of India including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, etc. All these countries are currently administering the pentavalent vaccines.

Treatment of pneumonia
Pneumonia is not only preventable but is also treatable, particularly with early diagnosis. While children with viral respiratory tract infections do not require medicine, children with bacterial pneumonia should be treated with appropriate antibiotics. Treatment in hospitals or health centres often includes supportive care such as the administering of oxygen.

(Data Courtesy: Prof. Dr. P. Sudershan Reddy, M.D., D.C.H., Consultant Chief Pediatrician, Krishna Childrens Hospital, Lakdi-ka-pool, Hyderabad, AP)

Diabetics / Know the warning signs of Diabetes
« on: November 13, 2015, 05:02:48 PM »
Diabetes is often called the 'silent killer' because of its easy-to-miss signs (hence 'silent'), but ability to wreck havoc through multiple organ damage (hence a potential 'killer'). In diabetes high blood glucose acts like a poison; it is often accompanied by high blood pressure and abnormal blood lipids, forming an evil team to harm the individual.

The cells in your body rely on glucose for energy; hence glucose is essential for you to function properly. You may take some amount of glucose directly eg., in fruits; but the majority is derived from breakdown in the intestine of carbohydrates like starch present in rice, bread, potato etc. Glucose is transported to all the cells in the body through the bloodstream, which is like an elaborate road and rail network in your body.

However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is like a key that opens the 'locks' on cells to allow entry of glucose. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make insulin to help their bodies use glucose (as if their pancreas has declared a lockout), so they have to rely on regular insulin injections. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, at least initially, but they cannot use it well (as if the 'locks' on cells are defective, so the key cannot open them); they're insulin resistant. Many of the signs and symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are similar.

Warning Signs of Diabetes
Sometimes diabetes can develop without any warnings signs. In fact, about a third of all people who have diabetes don't know they have it; most of them have Type 2 diabetes. That's why it's important to talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes and determine if you should be tested, even if you have none of the warning signs.
Common warnings signs of diabetes include: Increased thirst or dry mouth
Frequent urination in large volumes
Increased hunger
Unexplained weight loss (even though you may be eating more)
Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
Frequent infections (including fungal infections of the private parts) or cuts that take a long time to heal
Blurred vision

Because diabetes can lead to serious health complications, it's important to be aware of the signs of diabetes. If you have any of the above mentioned warnings signs of diabetes, give your doctor a call and schedule a diabetes test. With the right diabetes diet, regular exercise, and medications, if needed, you can manage diabetes and live an active, productive life.

Blood Pressure / Top 10 causes of high cholesterol
« on: November 10, 2015, 03:05:10 PM »
A desirable level of cholesterol is essential for the body to function properly. When the level of cholesterol within the body increases, it causes blockage, stokes and other cardiovascular problems.

Nowadays, more and more adults are struggling with high cholesterol, due to various reasons. Here is a list of the most common causes of high cholesterol.

Unhealthy diet
Consumption of saturated fat can cause high cholesterol. Saturated fat is found in food that is high in cholesterol and fat. These are foods like red fatty meat, butter, cheese, cakes, ghee etc.

Avoid or limit the intake of food items with saturated fat.

Hereditary factors
If there is a family history of high cholesterol, then maybe it is a reason for you to start worrying. The inherited form of high cholesterol may lead to early blockages or stroke.

Being over-weight
Obesity or even simply being overweight is another cause of high cholesterol. Besides, damaging your social life, it increases triglycerides which further cause blockages.

Hence, maintain your weight to ward off the risk of high cholesterol.

People who spend their life sitting or lying the whole day are at a huge risk of high cholesterol. An active life can lower triglycerides and also help you maintain your weight.

Cigarette smoking plays a significant role in your cholesterol level. It lowers the level of good cholesterol as well as your lifespan.

Therefore, quit smoking to maintain your cholesterol level and live healthily.

Age and gender
The level of cholesterol naturally begins to rise, as you turn 20. Level of cholesterol usually increases until the age of 60-65 years, in both genders.

Females generally have low cholesterol level before menopause.

But after menopause, women can have higher level of cholesterol than men. Hence as, you age maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Some medicines can increase the level of triglycerides. Thus, before popping a pill, consult your doctor.

Consuming alcohol regularly can damage liver and heart muscles, which leads to high blood pressure and causes the level of cholesterol in the body to rise.

When people are stressed they usually console themselves by smoking, drinking alcohol or eating fatty food items. Hence, prolonged stress may cause blood cholesterol to increase.

Certain diseases like diabetes and hypothyroidism increase the level of cholesterol in the body.

For this reason, carry out a medical examination regularly, to keep your cholesterol level under control.

Health Tips / Is your perfume safe for your health?
« on: November 09, 2015, 03:02:07 PM »
Several perfumes contain undeclared chemicals that may have serious health implications, according to a report by two environmental advocacy groups in Canada.

To come up with the report, the two groups commissioned independent laboratory testing that identified several potentially harmful chemicals in perfume products including Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani, and American Eagle's Seventy Seven.

According to the report, both contain lilial, an allergen that may prompt estrogen-like effects in the body, and benzyl salicylate, an allergen, as well as many other chemicals, reports The Globe and Mail.

"Anything in your house that smells like a rain forest or a strawberry patch or a pine tree will have these chemicals in them," added Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, which released the report along with California-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue fragrance contains several chemicals including butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a preservative and stabilizer that has been associated with adverse effects on the thyroid and is a possible carcinogen.

Diabetics / Vegetarian food choices for diabetics
« on: November 09, 2015, 02:58:33 PM »
Eating healthy and eating right is the essence of lowering blood sugar level. We take a look at diabetes friendly vegetables that helps control diabetes.

These are top 10 super foods for diabetics.

Besides being low in glycemic index, these vegetables also provide nutrients and vitamins. The diabetic diet vegetables are rich in these:

1) Fibre
2) Vitamin A
3) Postassium
4) Magnesium
5) Calcium

It is important to stay away from starchy vegetables. So this will exclude your potatoes and corn. Non starchy vegetables also satiate you to a greater capacity. For a balanced and healthy vegetarian diet it should be colourful, mix vegetables and include fruits, beans, whole grains and fat-free dairy.


Beans are the best and diabetes-friendly ingredient. It is low is calories, good source of protein and is high in fibre, potassium and magnesium.

Fat-free dairy:

It is recommended to consume fat-free dairy for diabetics. Dairy is rich source for vitamin D and best way to strengthen the bones and teeth.

Whole grains:

Whole grains provide fibre especially barley and oats. Whole grains also contain Omega 3, folate, magnesium, potassium and chromium.


Lycopene present in tomatoes is essential to fight diseases. Plus tomatoes are a good source of iron, vitamin C, E and K. You can consume tomatoes in any form - sauce, puree or whole. Processed and canned tomato products may be unhealthy as it contains high levels of sodium.

Sweet potatoes:

It may be a starchy ingredient, but it is low in glycemic index and rich in fibre and vitamin A. Sweet potatoes makes a great snack as well as a puree.


Nuts like walnuts provide essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Nuts keeps you satiated for a long time, and provide you with necessary fats. Nuts also contain fibre which is good for digestion and heart health.

Leafy vegetables:

Dark leafy vegetables are a great way to reduce insulin production. It is also low in calories, high in fibre and rich in potassium. Dark leafy vegetables also a good source for iron. Diabetes friendly vegetables are spinach, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

Bell peppers:

Bell peppers or capsicum are available in different colours but they also provide vitamin A and C, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and fibre.


Mushroom does not contain sugar and good source for vitamin D. It is also fat free hence great for those trying to reduce cholesterol.


Brinjal or eggplant can reduce the risk of diabetes-induced retinal haemorrhage. Brinjal is also effective to reduce cholesterol.

Life Science / Nutritional Vitamin D improves vascular function: Study
« on: November 08, 2015, 02:52:34 PM »
Nutritional Vitamin D supplementation improves the vascular function and reduces inflammation in early stage of chronic kidney disease, a study has revealed.

It stated that no other medicine has proper effect in the inflammation of kidneys or any other problems related to it.

In a randomised controlled trial under direct supervision of the researchers, two ground were created of 60 patients each.

One group was given two doses of 300,000 units of Vitamin D for eight weeks while the patients in the other group were given matching placebo.

A placebo is anything that seems to be a "real" medical treatment -- but isn't. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of "fake" treatment.

The study was conducted by researchers from the George Institute for Global Health, New Delhi and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

It was presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2015 (November 3-8) in San Diego.

Several parameters of vascular function and biomarkers to measure status of inflammatory and immune activation were studied at baseline and after 16 weeks, Vitamin D levels increased in patients in the first treatment group whereas there was no change in the second group.

"About 70 percent of patients receiving Vitamin D demonstrated significant improvement in their vascular functions and improvement in biomarkers indicating reduction in the level of inflammatory and immune activation," said Vivekanand Jha, the executive director of the George Institute for Global Health who led the study.

Jha said that in the placebo arm only five percent patients showed improved vascular function and there was no change in the inflammatory and immune markers.

Vivek Kumar, nephrologist at PGIMER and the first author of the study, said: "Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with chronic kidney disease. Our study shows that simply identifying and correcting this abnormality has the potential to improve the outcomes in these patients."

Jha added: "About one in 10 people suffer from chronic kidney disease around the world. Most of these patients are destined to develop premature cardiovascular disease, hence mitigation of this risk is an important therapeutic goal."

Natural Science / Himalayan glaciers to ice in Antarctica!
« on: November 08, 2015, 02:50:23 PM »
A startling new report by Nasa scientists suggests that the Antarctic ice sheet may actually be expanding, growing every year, despite a warming globe!

This is in direct conflict to the prevailing notions, which suggested that the ice was melting fast as global warming and climate change was hitting the globe in significant ways. The Nasa study challenges the oft-repeated findings of the United Nation's panel on climate change, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that forecast a grim future for the melting ice sheets of the Antarctic.

This comes close on the heels of the much-awaited high- octane climate change meeting to be held in Paris later this month where global leaders are expected to come to agreement on limiting carbon emissions.

Has the IPCC erred again and slipped on ice? In 2007, the IPCC in it's forth assessment report had grossly gone wrong when it said that the Himalayan glaciers would melt away and disappear by 2035. This was finally 'accepted' as a mistake and the IPCC offered its only 'regret' till date on the faulty and exaggerated melt rate prognosis it had made on the glaciers of the Himalayas. It seems this global panel of over 2,500 top-notch experts may be tripping once again on 'thin ice'.

In its high profile report called the 'Assessment Report 5' released in 2013 and prepared under the leadership of RK Pachauri who was then chairman of the IPCC it had claimed that the "Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass likely at a larger rate".

Jairam Ramesh, India's former environment minister is very alarmed and says "could this be another Himalayan glacier-type moment for IPCC? I am afraid it might well be. Climate science is one thing but climate evangelism quite another". Grim prognosis from Jairam who worked steadfastly with Indian glaciologists in 2009 to expose the IPCC's misdeeds on Himalayan glaciers.

The controversial NASA study has been published this week in the highly respected 'Journal of Glaciology' and it finds that the 'Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001'. This means that instead of steadily melting due to global warming the cold icy continent of Antarctica actually accumulated about 1,000 billion tonnes of ice in the nine-year period of the study.

Another separate research published this week finds that the annual snow accumulation on West Antarctica's coastal ice sheet increased dramatically during the 20th century, according to a paper published in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Health Tips / Most common food allergies you must know
« on: November 07, 2015, 02:45:40 PM »
Food allergies have generated a great deal of anxiety in recent years, with some educational institutions in the UK and USA banning popular staples — especially peanut butter — after appeals from worried parents. Some foreign airlines also avoid serving peanut snacks.

What is it?
A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. It is distinct from other responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions and toxin-mediated reactions. Food allergy or food intolerance affects everyone at some point of time. Other kinds of reactions to foods are lactose (milk intolerance), food poisoning and toxic reactions. Unlike food allergy, food intolerance does not involve the immune system.

Dietician Dr Richa Anand says, "Food allergy symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and may include, hives, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or eyes, diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, itching and tightness of throat, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock."

According to nutritionist Purwa Duggal, "Though food allergies are rare, they may be common in children under the age of four. Most children who are allergic to milk, eggs, wheat or soy outgrow their allergies by the time they're five years old. Fish and shellfish allergies usually develop later in life, and people are unlikely to outgrow them."

The exact reason behind the rise of allergies in children is unknown. But a growing body of evidence suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is at the root of most childhood allergies. It is advisable that a single new food should be introduced to a child rather than multiple new options. The FDA estimates that two per cent of adults and up to eight per cent of young children have some form of food allergies.

Common food allergies
Nuritionist Naini Setalvad sheds light on the foods that many people are allergic to:
Cow's and goat's milk and soy milk: All milk products such as lassi or buttermilk, cheese, evaporated and condensed milk, ice-cream, yoghurt are allergic products.
Eggs: Avoid all foods made from eggs such as French toast, cakes, cookies, pancakes, home made bread.
Soya bean: Avoid soya milk and other foods which contain soya.
Wheat: A person suffering from arthritis should not be given wheat — it can be replaced with rice, jowar or nachni. This means the allergic person should not be given foods made with cornstarch, semolina or suji, all purpose or white flour. So avoid upma, suji lapsi, suji kheer or toast, cakes, cookies, biscuits and white sauce.
Peanuts: Avoid all foods with peanuts. However, people who are allergic to peanuts can often eat tree nuts like walnuts, cashew, hazel, almonds or pecans, since they are from separate plant families.
Corn: If one is allergic to corn, he/she should avoid all products made from corn. Most confectionery contains corn syrup.
Food colours and preservatives: Stay away from orange, green, red and other artificially-coloured foods like orange squash, orange-coloured aerated drinks and peppermints.

If you feel you are allergic to a certain food:
- Eliminate the food that you suspect from your diet and check if the reactions stop.
- Challenge the food by consuming it and check for adverse reactions.
- Do a skin allergy test.
- Ensure that any of the above options are done after consulting a doctor. Also, once the allergic food has been discovered, ensure that the same is eliminated from your diet.

Food / How much water should you drink every day?
« on: October 20, 2015, 02:23:27 PM »
It's important to drink water according to your lifestyle rather than follow the 8-glass water rule, say nutritionists.

Water is your body's principal chemical component and a natural detoxifier but not many are aware about how much water should we ideally drink everyday. Moreover, the popular 8 by 8 rule which says that one should drink eight glasses, each consisting of eight ounce of water, may not suit every individual. Says nutritionist Venu Adhiya Hirani, "While the general belief is to drink eight to 10 glasses of water, it is advisable to drink 12 to 15 glasses of fluids which includes water, tea, buttermilk, soup, etc. This would amount to an intake of around 2.5 litres of fluids everyday."

Drink according to lifestyle
According to nutritionist expert Nupur Krishnan, one's lifestyle plays an important role in deciding the amount of water that one should consume. "If you have a sedentary lifestyle and work in an air-conditioned environment where there is no scope for water loss via sweat, drinking more than 2 to 2.5 litres of water is not advisable. It will end up accumulating in your kidney and cause edema," says Krishnan. For moderate workers like salespersons, who are required to do physical activity, it is important to drink around three litres of water.

Water consumption during summers
Also, it is necessary to change water consumption habits with the change in seasons. For instance, it is important to keep oneself hydrated during summers. "If you do not suffer from diabetes or blood pressure, you can have electrolyte or glucose water or drink nimbu paani. It is not only refreshing but also increases your energy levels," says Krishnan. Moreover, it is important to drink maximum amount in the morning. Hirani says, "After waking up, it is important to drink around two to four glasses of water within the early part of the day. You could also add some amount of lemon, honey and cinnamon in it."

Your water guide
- Drink around two to four glasses of water (roughly amounting to 800 ml) after waking up
- If you work in an airconditioned environment and follow a sedentary lifestyle, do not drink more than 2 to 2.5 litres of water per day
- For moderate workers, for instance salespersons, it is important to drink around three litres of water
- During summers, keep yourself hydrated by drinking water at regular intervals. If you don't suffer from diabetes or blood pressure, having electrolyte or glucose water is also advisable

Headache / Ways to identify different type of headaches
« on: October 20, 2015, 02:22:04 PM »
The headache just went versatile with doctors diagnosing new-age varieties. Here's the identify-your-pain guide.

If there were an underdog in the directory of medical symptoms, it would be the headache.

"Headaches are often ignored by patients who prefer to self-medicate. They'd rather pop a pill than investigate the cause," explains physiotherapist Dr Anjana Laungani at her Bandra clinic Physio Rehab.

This may provide temporary relief without solving the cause of the pain. A headache, says Laungani, could be a red flag for a more serious condition.

While the pain manifests in the head or upper neck, the cause could be located in a completely different part of the body.

"Headaches are a general symptom. There are life-threatening headaches and red flag ones. These could be caused by a tumour or bleeding in the brain," she warns.

Either way, ignoring the pain in your noggin, isn't advisable. Here's a guide to the types of headaches that warrant a visit to the doctor.

Cervicogenic headaches: This kind of headache is characterised by pain emerging from the back of the neck, in the junction between the skull and the upper neck. These headaches are named after the cervical spine or C2 junction from where they originate. "The pain is common since it is triggered by poor posture. You are likely to suffer from this if you have a tendency to slouch or hunch for prolonged periods of time since it can jam your C2 junction," says Laungani.

The condition, says Laungani, affects patients of all ages. It is increasingly prevalent among teenagers owing to bad posture. The doctor blames technology, too. "Kids are always slouching with their tablets and cell phones. Young working professionals are also susceptible due to long hours of sedentary lifestyles including spending hours behind a desk," she says.

Symptoms: Those suffering from this condition may also experience tightness of the upper trapezius (area between the upper neck and skull), levator scapulae (part of the shoulder blade), sternocleidomastoid (muscle on the front of the neck), pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles), suboccipital muscles (between the skull and the neck) and the scalene muscles (front of the neck).

"Once this condition is diagnosed through the classical features, we would implement soft tissue release which is like a medical massage to relax the knots in the muscles and release trigger points. Then we would initiate the dry needling technique which involves inserting needles into the muscles to relieve pain," explains Laungani. It's important, she says, to relieve the patient of the pain first, then work on strengthening the core muscles in the neck through exercise.

Giant cell arteritis headaches: This headache is caused by inflammation of the lining of the arteries. It commonly affects the arteries around the temples. Hence, it is also called temporal arteritis.

Symptoms: Apart from a headache, this condition also has symptoms like jaw pain, blurred or double vision, scalp tenderness, fever and weight loss. "Generally observed among people above the age of 50, it can be diagnosed by a biopsy of the temporal blood vessels," explains Dr K Ravishankar, a specialist in headache medicine. His previous work includes consulting with hospitals like Jaslok and Lilavati.

The cause is treatable through proper medication. Ignoring this condition, warns Ravishankar, could lead to permanent loss of vision in its final stage.

Computer vision headache: This is probably the most common kind of headache, and is caused by constant exposure to bright light (the kind emitted from computers and handheld devices). Additional symptoms apart from headache include fatigue, blurred vision, double vision, neck pain and redness in the eye.

"Most people spend seven-eight hours daily in front of a computer screen at work and then go home and retire in bed with their cell phones. This adds a lot of strain on the eyes and the frontal part over the eye brows, resulting in a headache," explains Dr Ragini Parekh, Professor and head, Eye department, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals.

This headache is most likely to be misunderstood for stress and hence, ignored. A common solution would be to break up the time one is exposed to bright lights or have direct sunlight fall on the computer screen, do fade the intensity of the light. This can be arranged by having a desk lamp that distributes the light evenly. It also helps if the computer screen is slightly lower than eye level.

WHAT A PAIN! According to medical dictionaries, a headache is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain.

It is interesting to note that the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain. The periosteum, a membrane that surrounds the brain as well as bones, muscles that encase the skull, sinuses, eyes, and ears; and meninges that cover the surface of the brain and spinal cord, arteries, veins, and nerves, all can become inflamed or irritated to cause the pain of a headache. This pain may be dull, sharp, throbbing, constant, mild, or intense.

In 2005, the International Headache Society released a classification system to help find a treatment depending on the type of headache.

Natural Science / Asteroid impact, volcanoes pushed dinos to extinction
« on: October 03, 2015, 02:36:00 PM »
It has been a bone of contention between dinosaur experts for the past 35 years -did dinosaurs become extinct as a result of a massive asteroid impact or were they snuffed out by stupendous volcanic eruptions? The answer is both, according to the latest study into the controversy.

Scientists have found that huge supervolcanoes known as the Deccan Traps, in what is now northern India, doubled their eruptions within about 50,000 years of the Earth being hit by a giant asteroid about 66 million years ago -both events combining to deliver a lethal double whammy to the stricken dinosaurs. Although 50,000 years sounds a long time, it is a mere blink of the eye in geological history . It means that both the asteroid and the supervolcanoes most likely led to a huge global climate disturbance that killed off not just the dinosaurs but many other forms of terrestrial and marine life, scientists said.

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that the impact of the asteroid or comet, which caused a huge crater 180km wide off the coast of Mexico, triggered an abrupt change in to the underground "plumbing" of the Deccan Traps, which led to far more destructive eruptions for tens of thousands of years.

"Based on our dating of the lavas we can be pretty certain that the volcanism and the impact occurred within 50,000 years of the extinction, so it becomes somewhat artificial to distinguish between them as killing mechanisms. Both phenomena were clearly at work at the same time," said Paul Renne of the University of California, Berkeley . "It is going to be basically impossible to ascribe actual atmospheric effects to one or the other. They both happened at the same time," professor Renne said. A giant asteroid impact and series of immense volcanic eruptions would each eject massive quantities of noxious gases and debris into the atmosphere around the world, which would cut out sunlight for hundreds or thousands of years causing global climate change affecting life on both land and sea.

Health Tips / Sleep disorders in children
« on: October 03, 2015, 02:34:25 PM »
Bed wetting, night terrors and sleep walking are some of the sleep disorders that children experience.

In India, sleep disorders in children are considered the child's fault or his/her attention-seeking mischief. But the problem is deep rooted, and may be the cause of a hostile or unhealthy environment that surrounds the child. Hence, we gathered information that will help parents understand the real cause of their child's nocturnal behaviour. Here are the main sleep disorders in children.

Bed wetting
There are two kinds of bed wetting that happen in deep sleep or the NREM stage: Primary and secondary enuresis or the inability to control urination.

Primary enuresis is not a serious problem, nor does it lead to any other physical problems. Bed wetting is prevalent between the ages 6-12 and it stops. The causes may be hereditary, poor bladder capacity or developmental lag. What you could do is train him on bladder control, reward the child when he doesn't wet his bed and condition him too.

Secondary enuresis (bedwetting): This could well be a serious problem that is psychologically inclined. If the child is wetting his bed after a year of bladder control, then it is secondary enuresis. For instance, if your child wets his or her bed after a night when you and your spouse/partner fight, then the child could be displaying signs of emotional distress.

Night terrors: When a child has sudden emotional upheaval when he is in deep sleep like "emotional outbursts, fear, and motor activity" he experiences night terrors. But do not wake him up. This behaviour is common with children between 4-8 years and they may not be aware of their actions when they are awake. Your child could also be stressed or traumatized in this situation. He could be bullied in school or stressed about his performance in his exams.

Delayed sleep: Even though it may be a sleep disorder among children, most adults also face this problem due to stress. What really happens is that, the child only falls asleep at 2 or 4 am and has trouble waking up in the morning, hence the term delayed sleep. Due to lack of sleep the child will perform poorly in school, he or she will be sleepy during the day and tardiness will become a part of daily life. In order to improve the sleep pattern, expose your child to bright lights in the morning and make your child stick to a sleep schedule.

Sleep walking: If your child suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, sitting on his bed or walking through the house then he is sleep walking. He will not be aware of his actions even though he seems awake and speaks, but when he reaches adolescence he will grow out of it. In the meantime you can foolproof your house to avoid any accidents.

Apnea: This too is common among adults but even children have breathing difficulties due to their blocked air passage. The child may snore, breathing through his mouth, and he may feel sleepy during the day. One solution is to surgically remove the tonsil or the other treatment is nasal continuous positive airway pressure - essentially, the air pressure opens the airways and doesn't let it collapse.

Football / Benitez wants more from Real
« on: October 01, 2015, 02:19:54 PM »
Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez is still targeting improvement despite his side's dominant win over Malmo on Wednesday.

A Cristiano Ronaldo brace, which saw him overtake Raul as the club's all-time leading goalscorer, saw Real to their 2-0 victory in the Champions League.

Real's dominant win came on the back of complete control in Sweden, with 69 per cent possession and 21 attempts on goal.

Benitez still wants to see better from his team, who visit Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

"We played slightly better than we did against Malaga. We had more than 70 per cent possession," he said.

"We managers are eternally dissatisfied and we're always looking to cut out mistakes and improve things. Their two or three threats on goal came from mistakes and through us not playing the easy ball.

"I'm very pleased with the team, but it's my responsibility to try and improve things."

To take further control, Luka Modric came on for Karim Benzema midway through the second half at the Swedbank Stadion.

Benitez said the move allowed Real to keep possession better and deny Malmo opportunities.

"I set up with a thoughtful starting line-up that was strong enough to win. We controlled the game," the Spaniard said.

"However, as things play out, you might decide to freshen things up with a change. Modric can pull the strings and he allows us to retain more of the ball."

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