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Hypertension / High cholesterol: Lifestyle habits for cholesterol control
« on: September 04, 2015, 02:06:52 PM »
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. One can easily lower cholesterol by medication, but Dr. Eileen says - it is advisable to lower cholesterol and improve lipids profile by making some important lifestyle changes first. Dr. Eileen Canday - Chief Dietician at Breach Candy Hospital, lists down 5 simple lifestyle changes, which will help lower high cholesterol and improve lipid profile...

Fight High Cholesterol: Lose Weight

"Losing even 5 to 10 pounds of weight will help to lower cholesterol levels," says Dr. Eileen. She adds, "Losing weight is the best way towards healthy living. Take simple steps to fulfill this goal - take a walk when you are bored instead of munching on food, pick up healthier options like carrots while watching a film or take stairs instead of elevators. This doesn't end here; add more innovative ways to incorporate more activity in your daily routine."

Fight High Cholesterol: Eat Heart-Healthy Foods

If your high cholesterol problem comes from indulging in unhealthy foods, then here are some solutions:

Avoid saturated fats that are available in ghee, palm oil, red meat and dairy products as they increase the total cholesterol level in the body. Make sure that you get only 10 percent of your daily calories from fats. The best way to lower cholesterol is by choosing leaner meat and monounsaturated fats present in olive oil and canola oils.

Eradicate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are usually found in cookies, snack cakes, mithais and other ghee-laden dishes.

Choose whole grain bread and whole grain pasta to lower your cholesterol level.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they are rich in dietary fiber. If you prefer dry fruits over fresh fruits, then limit yourself to not more than a handful of nuts to keep calories in control.

Fight High Cholesterol: Exercise on Most Days of the Week

Exercising even for 30 minutes a day will help boost good cholesterol and even help to lose weight.

Fight High Cholesterol: Quit Smoking

Staying away from smoking not only improves good cholesterol, but also decreases your blood pressure - which further cuts the risk of various heart diseases. Hence, quit smoking to live a healthy life free of high cholesterol.

Fight High Cholesterol: Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

Health Tips / Ways your fitness routine is harming you!
« on: September 04, 2015, 02:04:33 PM »
One would imagine that being a regular at the gym and sticking to a strict diet would keep health concerns at bay. But overdoing exercise without considering your body's capacity can be as dangerous as being a couch potato.

No one knows this better than Jayant Pawar, a Pune-based fitness consultant and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew. On Saturday, Jayant suffered a heart attack during a game of tennis. He was rushed to a hospital and is said to be recuperating. A teetotaler, who keeps a watchful eye on his diet, Jayant's only err according to his doctors was not ing to his doctors was not knowing when to stop.Medical aids at the hospital diagnosed the cause that lead to the heart attack as a clear case of over-stressing the body.

Such cases, although uncommon, have been observed in the past as well.In 2011, 48-year-old Siddharth Bhandari (son of former foreign secretary Romesh Bhandari) succumbed to a massive heart attack while playing squash at Fort's Bombay Gymkhana despite having abstained from alcohol and smoking for most of his life. In 2012, 34-year-old Venkatesh, a first division footballer for a Bangalore club, suffered a fatal heart attack while warming up for a match. Dr Brian Pinto, cardiologist, Holy Family Hospital, says, "When a person overexerts, his body goes against the limit that he is used to. He can suffer from ventricular fibrillation, an uncoordinated contraction of cardiac muscles of the ventricles in the heart. It makes the muscles quiver instead of contracting properly."

This is when the heart rate changes rapidly. The normal resting heart rate is greater than 55 and less than 100 beats per minute (bpm). But in such cases, even when it rises to 250-300 bpm, effectively there is no pumping of blood. "As a result of this, there is no blood supply to the brain or kidney. Unless, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (cpr) is administered within two-three minutes, this person can die of a cardiac arrest," says Pinto, who pegs 95 per cent of sudden deaths on heart-related con cerns. Dr Vijay D'silva, medical director, Asian Heart Institute, points to anoth er common cause for heart failure for those involved in high physical activity. "During exercise, the potassium in the body reduces. This is normal. But when you overexert, a hormone called catecholamines is released in the body, which together with the low potassium levels can affect the heart's ability to pump blood, leading to arrhythmia."


Andrew Leipus, former physiotherapist of the Indian Cricket Team says that there can be underlying factors that can accelerate the process when coupled with overexertion. "A person fighting a virus, overweight, under the influence of drugs, suffering from hypertension and loss of electrolytes due to excessive sweating or hyperthermia (due to erratic change in temperature) are at higher risk of heart attacks," he says.That is why, gym enthusiasts are advised to skip their exercise routine when battling with fever or the flu.

"Listen to your body," says Leipus. "If you workout extensively when you're unwell, it can lead to dehydration. So your body takes longer to recover. You're also applying load quicker than the body can adapt, so it goes into a stress situation and produces high levels of cortisol, causing an immune dysfunction."

Leipus suggests to watch out for signs like lack of quality sleep and appetite, weight loss, hair loss, constantly irritable mood, dizziness, women skipping their monthly period.


According to Dr N A Bansal, head of cardiology, Sir JJ Hospital, a classic case of over-exertion leading to a heart malfunction is witnessed when people go on a holiday -especially those who lead a sedentary life through the year, go to a hill station and suddenly decide to walk for five km at a stretch."Sudden stress is not welcome, as the body is not used to it. Lack of sleep contribute to the problem as well," he says.This is the reason why the government has mandated a medical investigation for senior citizens who wish to visit places like Mansarovar (a 700-step pilgrimage).


On Saturday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew, Jayant Pawar, suffered a heart attack during a game of tennis. It didn't matter that Jayant, a fitness buff, didn't have a medical history of heart disease. Despite his claims about a healthy lifestyle (he follows a strict diet and doesn't consume alcohol), the heart attack apparently occurred because of over-exertion.

Natural Science / Animals, not catastrophe, caused first mass extinction
« on: September 03, 2015, 03:09:16 PM »
The rise of early animals, not meteorite impacts or volcanic eruptions, led to the world's first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, suggests new research.

While mass extinctions are generally associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and super volcanoes, the new study puts the blame on the emergence of complex animals that can change their environment.

"People have been slow to recognise that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction," said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, US.

"But our comparative study of several communities of Ediacarans, the world's first multicellular organisms, strongly supports the hypothesis that it was the appearance of complex animals capable of altering their environments, which we define as 'ecosystem engineers,' that resulted in the Ediacaran's disappearance," Darroch said.

Researchers believe that earliest life on Earth consisted of microbes - various types of single-celled micro-organisms. They ruled the Earth for more than three billion years.

Then multi-cellular organisms like Edicarans emerged and in their heyday,they spread throughout the planet. They were a largely immobile form of marine life shaped like discs and tubes, fronds and quilted mattresses.

After 60 million years, evolution gave birth to another major innovation: animals.

Animals burst onto the scene in a frenzy of diversification that palaeontologists have labelled the Cambrian explosion, a 25-million-year period when most of the modern animal families - vertebrates, molluscs, arthropods, annelids, sponges and jellyfish - came into being.

"These new species were 'ecological engineers' who changed the environment in ways that made it more and more difficult for the Ediacarans to survive," Darroch said.

The researchers performed an extensive palaeoecological and geochemical analysis of the youngest known Ediacaran community exposed in hillside strata in southern Namibia.

The site, called Farm Swartpunt, is believed to be 545 million years old.

Having ruled out any extraneous factors, Darroch and his collaborators concluded that "this study provides the first quantitative palaeoecological evidence to suggest that evolutionary innovation, ecosystem engineering and biological interactions may have ultimately caused the first mass extinction of complex life."

The researchers believe that as humans are the most powerful 'ecosystem engineers' ever known, an analogy between the Earth's first mass extinction and what is happening today can be drawn.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Heart / 10 common habits that puts your heart in trouble
« on: September 03, 2015, 02:39:06 PM »
"Current statistics suggest that India will have the largest cardiovascular disease burden in the world. Almost one fifth of the deaths in India are from coronary heart disease. Very soon, it will account for one third of all deaths. Sadly an increasing number of people falling prey to coronary artery disease in India are young" informs Dr Sharad Kasarle, Chief scientists & Managing Director , DSK Nutrition and research centre.

There are an estimated 45 million patients of coronary heart disease in India. With millions of people leading modern lifestyle full of stress and depression, the future looks even grimmer. The chief scientist points that some simple, everyday habits can make a big difference in your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Read about worst habits for your heart and how to avoid them.

Watching TV
"People who sit in front of the TV for more than four hours a day were 80% more likely to die for reasons linked to heart and artery disease", points Dr Sharad. Even if someone has a healthy body weight, sitting for long periods of time in front of TV or computer still has an unhealthy influence on their blood sugar and blood fats. It is all a matter of habit many of us have learned to go back home after 6 to 8 hours sitting job in office & turn the TV set on and sit down for several hours which is convenient and easy to do but we are not realizing prolonged sitting increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Leaving hostility and depression unchecked
Do you often feel stressed, hostile, or depressed? All of these can take a toll on your heart too. Today each one of us feel this way some or the other time, and how you deal with these emotions can affect your heart's health. Those likely to internalize stress are in greater danger; research has shown a benefit to laughter and social support, and it's helpful to be able to go to someone and talk about your problems.

Ignoring the snoring
More than a minor annoyance, snoring can be a sign of something more serious: obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder, marked by breathing that is interrupted during sleep, can cause blood pressure to skyrocket. A lot of people in India suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and are four times more prone to suffer from cardiovascular risk factors. Obese people are more prone to OSA, but that does not reduce the risk of occurrence in the slim people. If you snore and often wake up feeling tired, consult your doctor; there are easy ways to screen for apnea.

Ignoring your dental health
While the exact reason is unknown, there is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, if you don't floss, sticky, bacteria-laden plaque build-up over time, which can lead to gum disease. One theory is that these bacteria trigger inflammation in the body. "Inflammation promotes all aspects of Atherosclerosis," says Dr. Sharad Kasarle. Treating gum disease can improve blood vessel function.

Withdrawing from the world
It's no secret that on some days, other human beings can seem annoying, irritating, and just plain difficult to get along with. However, it makes sense to strengthen your connections to the ones you actually like. People with stronger connections to family, friends, and society in general tend to live longer, healthier lives. Everyone needs alone time, but you should still reach out to others and keep in touch whenever you can.

Drinking (too much) alcohol
Sure, studies suggest a small amount of alcohol may be good for your heart. Alas, too many over-imbibe. Excess alcohol is linked to a greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and heart failure. In addition, the extra calories can lead to weight gain, a threat to heart health. Avoid excessive intake of alcohol as much as you can for a healthy life.

Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Try to eat less, avoid oversize portions, and replace sugary drinks with water. Dr. Sharad Kasarle also suggest cutting portion sizes for high-calorie carbohydrates (think refined pastas and breads) and watching out for foods labelled "low-fat," which are often high in calories

Smoking or living with a smoker
Sure, you've heard it a million times before: Don't smoke. But it bears repeating. "Smoking is a total disaster for your heart," says Dr. Kasarle. Smoking promotes blood clots, which can block blood flow to the heart, and contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries. High blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight and smoking are all risk factors that should be kept in check.

Avoiding fruits and vegetables
'The most heart-healthy diet is a plant-based diet,' That means loading up on fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein, and keeping junk food to a minimum. In fact, new federal dietary guidelines recommend that half of each meal should be composed of fruits and vegetables. Research has found that people who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day had about 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke than people who ate less than three servings per day.

Being a salty snacker
The more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. One in three American adults has high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack. "Steer clear of packaged junk food, read the labels for sodium content, and stick to the outer portions of the supermarket, which is where the fruits, vegetables, and (unsalted) nuts are", points Dr Sharad. Most of us should keep sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams a day. If you have high blood pressure or are over 50, cut back to 1,500 milligrams.

Heart / Soda intake can increase fatal heart disease risk
« on: September 02, 2015, 02:41:02 PM »
Drinking too much carbonated beverage can increase the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease, or out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) of cardiac origin, says a study.

The study analysed the impact of various beverages per person between 2005 and 2011 in the 47 prefectures of Japan.

"Carbonated beverage consumption was significantly and positively associated with OHCAs of cardiac origin in Japan, indicating that beverage habits may have an impact on fatal CVD (cardiovascular disease)," said principal investigator Keijiro Saku, professor of cardiology at Fukuoka University in Japan.

"The acid in carbonated beverages might play an important role in this association," Saku noted.

The study involved nearly 800,000 patients who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrests of cardiac and non-cardiac origin.

Data on the consumption of the various beverages per person was obtained from the ministry of health, labour and welfare of Japan, using expenditure on beverages as a proxy measure.

The researchers found that expenditures on carbonated beverages were significantly associated with OHCAs of cardiac origin.

Expenditures on other beverages, including green tea, black tea, coffee, cocoa, fruit or vegetable juice, fermented milk beverage, milk and mineral water were not significantly associated with OHCAs of cardiac origin.

The findings indicate that limiting consumption of carbonated beverages could be beneficial for health.

The findings were presented at European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2015 in London.

Health Tips / Fun ways to keep fit in your office
« on: September 02, 2015, 02:36:54 PM »
'Fitness at workplace' is the latest mantra in the corporate world. Companies have realised that regular exercise boosts employee morale, enhances productivity, reduces absenteeism and signs of burnout or depression.

Nowadays, the corporate employees not only stretch themselves beyond their responsibilities, but also stretch their muscles in the office gym.

A little bit of planning and a few small additions in one's office routine can help one a healthier lifestyle. According to a World Health Organisation report, India could incur losses to the tune of $237 billion by 2015 due to rise in lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, because of unhealthy workplaces.

Here are some easy everyday things you can do to get healthy and fit while at your workplace:

Stay hydrated: Water helps your body with physical and mental performance, detoxification and digestion. Keep a water bottle at your desk and you'll find it much easier to drink the recommend eight glasses of water each day. It will ease stress and result in sustained energy throughout the day. You can also supplement it with fresh lemonade and coconut water, etc, to avoid monotony.

Make reasons to walk around: Give yourself several reasons to take a break and move around after every 40 minutes. Simply getting up and moving around for a few moments can keep you focused, less fatigued and feeling better. For example, avoid ordering a cup of coffee/ tea at your desk, go and get it yourself or while speaking with someone on cell phone walk around till you end the call. Get down from your car if driven by a chauffer a few blocks before your office and walk the remaining distance provided you leave home 10 to 15 minutes before your usual time.

Hit the office gym in lunch hours: Try to exercise for 30 minutes during the lunch time and grab a bite at your desk afterwards. Encourage having an area of a simple gym in your office. It could be jogger or a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.

Simple stretching: People often face stress, back and joint pains and weight gain problems at work. To get rid of such health problems, while sitting in your chair, flex your feet and circle your ankles, stretch your legs and arms as frequent as you can.

Take the stairs: Whenever possible, get moving and take the stairs rather than the elevator. Taking stairs will keep you fit and energetic.

Pack healthy snacks: Rather than buying chips, junk food and sodas during office hours, bring some granola, fruit or raw veggies to snack on. This healthy diet will keep your energy levels fit and steady.

Conduct meetings on the go: When it's practical, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions. Do laps inside your building or take your walking meetings outdoors.

Participate in different office games: Office games such as table tennis, basket ball are an interesting way to keep healthy and fit. These games not only keep your energy levels high but also keep your body in good shape.

Food Habit / Eating 'on the go' can make you fat!
« on: September 01, 2015, 03:35:00 PM »
Dieters who eat while performing other activities such as walking or watching television may increase their food intake later in the day which could lead to weight gain and obesity, says a new study.

"Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day," said lead study author Jane Ogden, professor at University of Surrey in England.

The study also showed that eating while walking around triggered more overeating compared to eating during other forms of distraction such as watching TV or having a conversation with a friend.

"This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward," Ogden noted.

The team examined 60 women who were either dieters or non-dieters and gave them all a cereal bar to eat under three different conditions.

The first group was asked to watch a five-minute clip of the sitcom 'Friends' while eating.

The second group was asked to walk around the corridor while consuming the cereal bar, and the third group was simply asked to sit opposite a friend and have a conversation.

After the experiment, participants completed a taste test involving four different bowls of snacks, including chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps.

The results showed that dieters ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar while walking around and specifically they ate five times more chocolate.

"Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction can lead to weight gain," Ogden noted.

"When we do not fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we do not track or recognise the food that has just been consumed," Ogden pointed out.

The study was published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Health Tips / ral hygiene tips for people with braces
« on: September 01, 2015, 03:33:44 PM »
f oral hygiene is crucial to a healthy dentition without orthodontic appliance, it is earth-shatteringly paramount to dentition with orthodontics in place. Bad bugs and food can easily get stuck between brackets and wiring causing gum disease, cavities and bad breath.

Limit intake of sugary foods
One must limit the intake of sugary foods/soda and if you cannot resist the temptation, then it is vital to brush and floss (yes there are special flossing products you can use!) after consumption.

Avoid sticky foods
Avoid foods such as hard and sticky candy, gum, ice, pretzels, popcorn; pizza crusts and nuts which can not only cause cavities by sticking but also can break the orthodontic appliance resulting in a longer duration of treatment.

Limit frequency of food intake
It is important to limit the frequency of food intake- limit foods with sugar during meals to prevent gum disease and cavities.

Maintain a nutritious diet
By maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet you can have a healthier YOU with a beautiful smile!

Diabetics / Know the warning signs of Diabetes
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:41:32 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.

Contributed by: Prof Subhankar Chowdhury, DTM&H, MD, DM, MRCP (UK)

Brain / Interesting facts about the human brain
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:39:01 PM »
But it has nothing to do with the brain's 'capacity' to learn new things.

Wonder why it's tougher to learn new things as we grow older? US researchers have concluded that the reason might be our inability to filter and eliminate old information, rather than a limited capacity to absorb new ideas.

Why does it happen?
- According to neuroscientist and study author Joe Z Tsien, when we are young, our brain is able to strengthen certain connections and weaken certain others to make new memories. "It is that critical weakening that appears hampered in the older brain," he said.

- Also, NR2B, a type of neural receptor, is present in a higher percentage among children. This enables the brain cells or neurons to talk a fraction of a second longer and make stronger bonds called synapses (junctions that permit neurons to pass on signals to other cells), thereby optimising the brain's ability to learn and memorise.

- Among the changes that occur in the body when children hit puberty, there is a slightly reduced communication time between neurons. "If you don't get rid of the noise or less useful information, it is a problem," said Tsien. While each neuron averages 3,000 synapses, their continuous exposure to large quantities of information and experiences demands that the brain erase some of the old information to make room for new. This is probably why we lose the ability to speak a foreign language perfectly after the onset of sexual maturity.

Interesting facts about the human brain:
- Scent acts as a powerful memory trigger. The olfactory nerve is located closely to the amygdala — an area of the brain associated with emotional memory — and the hippocampus.

- The hippocampus, a horseshoe-shaped area of the brain, plays an important role in organising and storing information from short-term memory into long-term ones.

- Countless movies and TV shows depict characters suffering from amnesia, losing past memories and identities. However, real-life cases of amnesia are very rare. Also, these depictions are highly inaccurate.

- Neurons develop at the rate of 250,000 per minute during early pregnancy.

Heart / Mother's healthy diet can cut heart defects in newborns
« on: August 26, 2015, 02:10:28 PM »
A healthy diet before pregnancy may reduce the risk of certain heart abnormalities in babies at birth, says a study.

The researchers from University of Utah quizzed around 19,000 women about the quantity and quality of their diet in the year leading up to their pregnancy.

The women were all part of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

Half of them had given birth to healthy babies, and half had babies with major heart abnormalities at birth between 1997 and 2009.

Previous studies suggest that multi-vitamin supplements might lower the risk while others suggest that better diet quality might make a difference to the rate of heart abnormalities at birth.

In this study, the diet quality was assessed using two validated scoring systems: the Mediterranean Diet Score, and the Diet Quality Index for Pregnancy (DQI-P).

Mothers in the top 25 percent (quartile) of diet quality had a significantly lower risk of having a baby with certain heart defects than those in the bottom 25 percent.

Better diet was associated with a 37 percent lower risk of tetralogy of Fallot and a 23 percent lower risk of atrial septal defects.

Atrial septal defects refer to holes in the wall of the septum, which divides the upper chambers (atria) of the heart.

Tetralogy of Fallot is a complex abnormality which can lead to dangerously low oxygen levels in the blood going to the rest of the body.

However, researchers said this is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn, but similar associations have been found for diet before pregnancy and some other birth defects, including cleft palate and neural tube defects.

The study was published in the BMJ journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Food / How to eat healthy: Swapping unhealthy ingredients
« on: August 26, 2015, 02:05:41 PM »
Cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and obesity are inevitable and impossible to escape unless you make changes to your diet and life.

You can begin with swapping ingredients that are causing health problems with simple substitutes that are easily available. We guarantee original taste with health benefits. These are the top 15 ingredients you must swap today.

How to eat healthy #1

Bread crumbs: Instead of using breadcrumbs that absorbs oil and is prepared with refined flour, use oats. Oats has far more health benefits than breadcrumbs.

How to eat healthy #2

Butter or margarine: Avoid using oil, butter or margarine for cooking. But you can use a non-stick frying pan which does not need oil for cooking. Better the non-stick pan, the lesser oil you need for cooking

How to eat healthy #3

Flavoured yoghurt: Packaged flavoured yoghurt contains preservatives and artificial flavouring. It's healthier to add fresh fruits to curds.

How to eat healthy #4

Sugar substitutes: Refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value, why not replace it with honey, jaggery, sucanat, brown, raw or Demerara sugar to sweeten the goodies?

How to eat healthy #5

Meat: If meat is the main ingredient of a dish, complement it with thrice the amount of vegetables. A balanced diet is what you really need at the end of the day.

How to eat healthy #6

Soy sauce: Soy sauce contains lot of sodium. Hence opt for soy sauce with less sodium content. Likewise, most packaged food or canned food contains sodium, it is best to prepare it item with raw materials.

How to eat healthy #7

Creamed soups: To make thick soup avoid using cream as it contains additional calories. But you can add pureed carrots, potato and tofu to thicken the soup.

How to eat healthy #8

White rice: This ingredient has got a lot of slack for adding weight. But brown rice has stolen the show when it comes to health benefits.

How to eat healthy #9

Salad dressing: Dressing for salads is prepared in oil, how about vinegar. Favoured vinegars or fat free dressings are good options for healthy salad dressings.

How to eat healthy #10

Ground beef: For a healthy option, leave out fats from the meat. You can also use ground chicken without fats and skin.

How to eat healthy #11

Sour cream: Replace fattening sour cream with Greek yoghurt. Replace cream with yogurt in dishes that need to be creamy. Yoghurt can be used to make a dip, which replaces mayonnaise and heavy creamy dips.

How to eat healthy #12

Fat full dairy: This is another ingredient that has received negative response on health. Every grocery store stocks low fat dairy products. It reduces cholesterol and provides the necessary benefits.

How to eat healthy #13

Refined flour: Polished and refined flour has no health benefits. But replacing refined flour with whole grain flour can boost your health. India is blessed with several kinds of whole grain flour which has different health benefits. You can also combine different flours.

How to eat healthy #14

Use powders instead of milks and creams: For example, use coconut powder blended in hot water as a substitute for coconut milk. And the bonus is that along with being a low-fat substitute it actually tastes better. You can do the same with mustard.

How to eat healthy #15

Put your taste buds through a healthy eating crash course: Reduce salt content in your cooking a little at a time. If you miss the salt, first try pepper, lemon, vinegar or some other taste-giver and see if it works for you.

Natural Science / Ants take medicine when sick, finds new study
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:48:06 PM »
Ants take medicine to get well, a new study by Finnish researchers has found. But they don't have doctors - they self-medicate.

There have been various theories and observations on medicinal use by insects, like bumble bees, but nothing was confirmed. This is the first time experimental confirmation of self-medication has been done.

The black ant Formica fusca is found in Finland. Research scientists from University of Helsinki, Finland, did a series of experiments and found that when the ants got infected by a local fungus, they would seek out and eat certain type of food.

"It is an amazing discovery that ants have an idea of their health status and seem to adjust the dosage of medicine correspondingly," said researcher Nick Bos.

The scientists confirmed that the sick ants were eating hydrogen peroxide to fight the fungus - and the strategy was working. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and is also used for bleaching. It releases free oxygen that kills off fungus. Ants find it in damaged plants, other insects and cadavers.

"When ants are feeding on the diet containing extra free radicals they are able to survive infections significantly better. Moreover, the ants also choose the diet including extra free radicals after they are exposed to fungus, but not in its absence," says researcher Dalial Freitak from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Hydrogen peroxide containing food was avoided by healthy ants and eaten only by infected ones, the researchers found. If healthy ants are given hydrogen peroxide it damages their health. So it was definitely a choice being made by the ants.

Also, when the scientists increased the quantity of hydrogen peroxide available for consumption, the ants consumed less of it. This implied that the ants were consuming a certain dosage of the 'medicine'.

The scientists found that taking the medicine increased the chances of infected ants surviving by 20 percent. The fungal disease is lethal to these ants.

Reduce Fat /Weight Loss / 6 Low-cal foods for your cravings
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:44:36 PM »
Choose foods that are heavy on the stomach but are low in fat. The ones that fall low on the glycemic index are said to stave off hunger for longer periods of time.

Know what these are and win over your urges.

A bowl or two of broth-based soup rather than higher-calorie cream soups works well. Add your favourite cut-up veggies, plus a protein such as beans, chicken, or fish, so you have all the elements of an energy-dense, satisfying meal. Due to its thick consistency, soup takes longer to absorb keeping your tummy full for a longer time.

Smoothies and cottage cheese
If smoothies are made with low-fat yogurt and loads of fruit, you're getting protein, fibre, and calcium. A glass of apple or banana smoothie will surely gratify your hunger for a while. Low fat dairy products, like natural yoghurt, low-fat milk and cottage cheese supply rich amounts of protein and calcium. They have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels that helps delay hunger cues and enhances weight loss.

Popcorn and puffed rice
Popcorn has the volume effect. If you have a tub of air-popped popcorn and don't add fats (caramel or butter) to it, you can consume it without any guilt. Moreover, it gives you a lot of sensory satisfaction. You can also munch on baked or roasted snacks such as khakra (crisp roti) and kurmura (puffed rice) without worrying about adding additional calories.

Raw fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories per gram compared to denser foods. To increase satiation, consume a cup of chopped water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, leafy greens and water chestnuts. If you don't like it plain, prepare a fruit or veggies salad by adding a few drops of vinegar and low-fat salad dressing to it. Also, whole wheat pasta with your favourite sauteed veggies provide higher satiety.

Whole grains
As whole grains contain all the nutritious part of the grain, they digest slower and more efficiently than refined grains, such as white flour. As fibre-rich, low-glycemic foods, whole grains also help manage hunger pangs. Go for fibre-rich whole grain foods like steel-cut oats, long-grain brown rice, pearled barley and whole wheat bread. When purchasing breads, cereals and pasta, check ingredients lists to ensure that whole grains are listed as main ingredients.

Legumes, such as split peas, lentils and beans, contain a unique blend of protein and fibre. One cup serving of cooked split peas or lentils provides up to twice as much fibre as other fibre-rich foods, such as barley, whole wheat pasta, raspberries and pears. Naturally low-fat and cholesterol-free, legumes are heart-healthy. Nutritious legume-based dishes include lentil soup, split-pea soup, chilled bean salads and dals.

Football / Sanchez, Suarez ´at the same level´ - Wenger
« on: August 23, 2015, 02:53:10 PM »
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez is on the same level as Barcelona star Luis Suarez.

Sanchez scored 25 goals in all competitions for Arsenal in 2014-15 after making a £35million move from Barcelona ahead of last season.

The signing came a year after Wenger had chased Suarez from Liverpool before the Uruguayan made the switch to Barca in mid-2014.

But Wenger feels Sanchez is just as good as Suarez, who scored 25 goals in 43 appearances for Barca in his first season with the La Liga giants.

"They are at the same level," the Frenchman said.

"Suarez is a central striker and Sanchez is more a wide player who likes to go up and down and is involved in dribbling.

"But they have similarities. In South America they are richer in strikers than Europe.

"You look at [Sergio] Aguero, [Lionel] Messi, Suarez, Sanchez, I could name many of them. They produce more than us and we have to look at ourselves and see how we can correct that."

Wenger, whose men host Liverpool on Monday, lauded Sanchez's directness and explosiveness in the attacking third.

"Sanchez has that desire to go forward and provoke, he is a guy who provokes chaos in the defences because he has a go at them. He does not go across, he goes straight. His desire to go forward, to provoke opponents, to run at people, creates danger," he said.

"And he plays to win in every single game. I have had players like that before, players who want to win so much, but he has the style as well.

"What Sanchez has is that, in the first two yards, he is lightning quick. He has that explosive attitude linked with his spirit and that makes him even more spectacular."

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