Monday, 15 January 2018

Tea

Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage around the world after water. People have been known to consume herbal teas for as long as they have known how to heat water. Unlike green, black, and oolong teas, herbal teas have been made from virtually any plant, and from any part of the plant, including the roots, flowers, seeds, berries, or bark.
There are some herbs, such as echinacea, ginkgo leaf, saw palmetto, and milk thistle, that are NOT effective at healing when taken in tea form because their active components are not water soluble, and the concentration needed for the medical potency is so high it can be obtained only from an extract, pill, or capsule.
Different herbal teas, have their own distinctive healing uses and are very good for revealing mild to moderate ailments such as upset stomach, sore throat, coughs, stuffy nose, and insomnia.

BLACK TEA 
  • It undergoes natural fermentation and retains its flavour for several years.
  • It is a strong antioxidant and it helps improve heart health.
  • It lowers blood sugar and raises insulin levels after a meal as it stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin.
  • It lowers ovarian cancer risk.
  • It improves the strength of your bones.
  • It helps reduce stomach ulcers.
  • The polyphenols in black tea help lower the risk of Parkinson’s  and Alzheimer’s disease
Note 
  • If consumed in large amount then the tannins in black tea can cause constipation.
  • Excessive consumption can also cause anxiety, faster breathing, increased heart rate, restlessness, insomnia, frequent urination and diarrhoea.
  • Due to its high caffeine content, large amounts of black tea can cause seizures or may decrease the effectiveness of drugs that help prevent seizures.
  • It can increase eye pressure and its consumption should be avoided by glaucoma patients.

CHAMOMILE TEA
  • It reduces inflammation, stimulates the appetite and aids digestion and sleep.
  • It acts as a diuretic and nerve tonic.
  • It is helpful for colitis, diverticulosis, fever, headaches and pain.
  • It is good for easing menstrual cramps.
  • It is a traditional remedy for stress and anxiety, indigestion and insomnia.
  • It is useful as a mouthwash for minor mouth and gum infection.
  • It also helps fight diabetes.
Note
  • Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
  • It may interact with warfarin or cyclosporine, so patients taking these drugs should avoid it.

GREEN TEA 
  • It boosts immunity and metabolic rate and aids weight loss.
  • It acts as an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. 
  • It may help prevent cancer. 
  • Green tea can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. 
Note
  •  It contains vitamin K which can make anticoagulant medication less effective as it reduces the clotting tendency of blood.
  • It contains caffeine so pregnant women or nursing mothers and people with anxiety issues, heart issues and those who are sensitive to caffeine may want to limit their intake of green tea.
  • The caffeine in green tea could cause insomnia, anxiety, upset stomach, nausea or diarrhea.

WHITE TEA
  • Its antioxidants may reduce the risk of premature aging and protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation.
  • It inhibits the growth of various bacteria that may cause plaque formation. The fluoride content found in this tea may also be effective in reducing the risk of dental caries or tooth decay/cavity.
  • It may be beneficial in preventing cancer especially cancer of the lungs.
Note
  •  If taken in large amounts it can cause insomnia, dizziness and gastrointestinal discomfort due to its caffeine content.

HIBISCUS TEA
  • It can help reduce blood pressure because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It helps lower ‘’bad’’ LDL cholesterol.
  • It helps cleanse the liver and remove free radicals.
  • It can help prevent cancer because of its antioxidant properties.
  • It is rich in vitamin-C and helps to boost immunity.
Note
  •  Consuming hibiscus tea can lower estrogen levels. This can impair reproductive ability. So skip hibiscus tea if you are planning to conceive, are using HRT or are on birth control treatment of any form. 
  • Avoid if taking blood pressure lowering medications as it can cause BP to plummet further.
  • Hibiscus tea can cause major complications when taken along with cancer medications. So avoid if you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.

Many herbal teas are available in tea bag form. They can also be prepared from raw herbs. To make an herbal tea, gently crumble leaves and flowers and break roots and bark into pieces (cutting the herbs causes the essential oils to dissipate) and place them in a ceramic or glass container. Cover the herb parts with boiling water (do not bring the herbs themselves to a boil), and allow them to steep. Most herbs should be steeped for four to six minutes, although some herbal teas, such chamomile, need to be steeped for fifteen to twenty minutes in a covered container in order to deliver their full therapeutic effect. 

Enjoy your cup of tea today  !!!

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Thursday, 21 December 2017


SPICE IS NICE 

As you rummage through your spice cabinet this holiday season, you will find stuff you've barely used and now need to throw away. Don’t ever let this happen again!

NUTMEG or Jaiphal :

* Brain Tonic
* Pain Reliever
* Effective sedative
* Indigestion Relief
* Bad Breath Treatment
* Liver and Kidney Detox
* Skin Care
* Sleep Aid

While you’re grating some over your porridge or eggnog or adding it to your fruitcake batter, don’t forget to give a little thanks for nutmeg, the powerhouse seed that contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

Whole nutmegs are very hard and must be finely grated to release their flavor.

GROUND MACE or Javitri :

* Improves Digestive Health
* Encourages Appetite
* Treats and Prevents Cancer
* Alleviates Anxiety and Depression
* Boosts Blood Circulation
* Pain Relief
* Stress Buster
* Helps with Cold And Cough
* Improves Brain Health
* Treats Insomnia

The taste of Mace is very subtle and should be used quickly to optimise flavor and aroma. Mace enhances the taste of jams, pastries, cakes and Indian sweets.

CELERY SEEDS or Ajmoda beej:

* Powerful Antioxidant
* Relieves Insomnia
* Assists in RBC formation
* Improves cognitive functioning.
* Maintains a healthy blood pressure.
* Fights Infections
* Improves Joint Flexibility

Celery seeds can be used in salad dressings and pickles to add an interesting texture and flavor.

TARRAGON or Naagdauna:

* Good source of  Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and Calcium
* Rich in Vit A, Vit C and Vit B-6
* Good Antioxidant
* Supports Cardiovascular Health as it  Reduces the Risk of Blood Clots, Stroke and Heart Attack
* Helps lower Blood Sugar Levels
* Contains Health Promoting Essential Oils.
* Natural Diuretic which Reduces Water Retention.

Tarragon is versatile and can be used in potato salads, deviled eggs, tuna wraps, grilled salmon, roast chicken, sauces like lemon sauce, pesto etc

STAR ANISE or Chakri phool :

* Powerful Antioxidant and Antifungal Agent
* Immunity and Energy Booster
* ANTI-Influenza Agent
* Eases Rheumatic and Joint Pain
* Improves Digestion
* Improves Lactation

Star anise is one of five spices used in Chinese 5 spice powder. Make your own five spice powder by grinding star anise and mixing it with the other 4 spices – cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.

MARJORAM or Kuthara :

* Protects against Common Illnesses
* Improves Cardiovascular Health
* Anti-Inflammatory
* Relieves Insomnia
* Reducing Stress and Anxiety
* Increases control of Sexual Desire

Grind 1to 2 tsp marjoram leaves into a powder and add 200 ml hot water. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes. Add honey. Drink two to four cups of this tea over the span of two hours for digestive benefits. It also has a calming, antidepressive effect.

FENNEL SEEDS or Saunf :

* Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
* Reduces Water Retention
* Reduces Constipation, Indigestion, IBS & Bloating
* Reduces Asthma Symptoms
* Helps Purify Blood
* Improves Eyesight

Fennel seed is a common ingredient in lactation teas. It's a key ingredient in five-spice powder, and a regular addition in other spice blends to be used a dry rub for meat and fish. Fennel seeds add a subtle fragrant sweetness in sausage, marinara sauce, homemade bread and cookies.

BAKING POWDER 

Baking powder contains baking soda. It is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch.

* Eases Sore Throats, Colds and Flu
* Helps with Digestive Issues like Bloating, Gas, Stomach Pain, Hyperacidity
* Reduces Symptoms of Gout
* Promotes Kidney Health
* Treats Urinary Tract Infections
* Reduces Muscle Pain and Fatigue

This common raising agent used in cakes, biscuits, and bread can also be used to whiten your teeth and remove dental plaque.

So enjoy your holiday season  ❤

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Cinnamon or Dalchini

Ever wondered why most high-calorie foods such as French toast, cinnamon buns and all the delicious lattes have cinnamon as toppings? Then read on…

Cinnamon is a spice that has been used since ancient times for its medicinal value as is evident from its properties listed below:

  • It is a very powerful antioxidant and an excellent fat burner.
  • It is a great source of vitamins A and B-complex.
  • It provides the body with minerals such as chromium, iron, zinc, and calcium.
  • It helps control diarrhea when added to steamed rice, prevents nausea, stops vomiting, cures indigestion, relieves flatulence, and also controls womb haemorrhage.
  • It decreases the pain associated with arthritis.
  • It helps to lower cholesterol and increase blood circulation.
  • It regulates blood sugar and helps decrease sugar cravings.
  • Compounds found in cinnamon can help prevent Alzheimers disease.
  • Its anti-clotting compounds help to prevent the occurrence of strokes and coronary artery disease.
  • It helps reduce inflammation in the body and should be used as a therapy by people with autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • It helps to stop yeast infections, candida, and menstrual cramps.
  • It has anti-cancer properties and trials are being conducted to verify whether it can reduce the growth of cancer cells.
  • It is a strong antiseptic and it helps reduce pain. Hence it is commonly used in dental treatments.
  • It helps to boost memory, so smell this spice or its essential oil if you want to stay more alert and focused.

Add cinnamon powder to your breakfast cereal, muesli, toast, pancake, dalia, oat or ragi porridge, smoothie, juice or even to your cup of tea or coffee. Pssst..It is also the magic ingredient for an excellent apple pie !!!

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Monday, 30 October 2017

It's Halloween... a good time for some healthy pumpkin

It’s Halloween…the first day of a three-day observance of Allhallowtide; the second day being All Saints Day followed by All Souls day. So before you plan your costume parties, go trick-or-treating, or decide how to spook your friends, you have to carve jack o’lanterns from huge orange pumpkins. What better day then, to write about this nutrient-dense vegetable/fruit which is a veritable power-house of vitamins and minerals….and not just a Halloween decoration, or a pie filling for Thanksgiving.

Health benefits of Pumpkin

  • They contain good amounts of potassium which stabilizes blood pressure. In fact the daily consumption of this vegetable will bring down both systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.
  • Increased potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
  • They contain vitamin C which is good for improving immunity and also for providing an immunity boost during times of illness.
  • Their fiber content helps maintain proper digestive health and prevents constipation. It also helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time and keeps hunger pangs at bay.
  • The iron in pumpkins has been shown to boost fertility in females.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) and antioxidants which could augment eye health and help you see better in dim light, decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration and prevent other types of degenerative damage to the eye.
  • The beta carotenes in pumpkin reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer like cancer of the colon and of the prostate gland.
  • Beta carotenes also protect against asthma and help prevent heart disease. They also help form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.
  • The vitamin A in pumpkin (beta-carotene ) is essential during pregnancy and lactation for the proper synthesis of hormones.
  • Pumpkin seeds are chock-full of nutrients and make an interesting, satiating snack. They are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter hormone that helps you relax and sleep better.
  • The zinc in pumpkin seeds helps improve sexual health and testosterone levels in males.
  • Pumpkin seed oil protects prostate health.

Consuming just one cup of cooked pumpkin daily will provide over 100 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A !! Apart from this you will also get 20 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, 10 percent for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese, and at least 5 percent for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

So make a lip-smacking pumpkin curry or sabji, oven-roast cubes of pumpkin to make a hearty soup, add steamed and grated pumpkin to your rotis, theplas, parathas, raitas and salads, puree cooked pumpkin and combine it with herbs/ yoghurt to make an interesting dip or sandwich spread….you can even add it to a smoothie along with soymilk or coconut milk and some chia seeds. A pureed pumpkin face pack will provide an instant glow to your skin and fetch you many compliments.

Happy Halloween !!!

Stay blessed with good health …always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

THE LYMPHATIC / IMMUNE SYSTEM

We are very aware nowadays that we share our existence with a plethora of microorganisms, not all of them friendly to the human body: bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These microorganisms, which we call pathogens, are the cause of many diseases.

The lymphatic system plays an important role in the ongoing struggle to keep us healthy. Lymphocytes, the primary cells of the lymphatic system, contribute to our ability to resist infection and disease by responding to the presence of pathogens in our systems. They attempt to eliminate these threats through a combination of physical and chemical means. For this reason, lymphocytes are said to provide a ‘specific defence’, known as the immune response.

The efficiency of our lymphatic system in keeping us free of disease, through its interaction with the cells and tissues of our other systems, determines our level of immunity.

Although we associate cancer and HIV with auto-immune deficiencies, many other diseases fall into this category: Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, hemolytic anemia, lupus erythmatosus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Raynaud’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, vasculitis, vitiligo, etc. Auto-immune deficiencies may be suspected in many other undiagnosed progressive deteriorations of health.
Causes of Imbalances:

Heredity, allergies, poor nutrition, environmental pollution and stress are all factors influencing the state of our immune system.

Effects of Imbalance: 

Enlarged lymph nodes, weakness and fatigue, skin lesions or red streaks on the skin, respiratory problems and allergies, recurrent or chronic infections, and candidiasis, are all signs of a weakened immune system.

Recommendations: 

A healthy diet from infancy is the best preventive measure one can take against immune system disorders. A poorly nourished, toxic body has no resources to fight back with, which is the reason we increasingly encounter autoimmune deficiency syndromes and other serious diseases such as cancer.

Low stomach acid, candidiasis, food allergies and hypothyroidism must be recognized and addressed to allow the body to heal itself.
Antioxidants, co-enzyme Q10, Essential Fatty Acids, vitamin E and zinc are necessary to support a strong immune system.

The lymphatic system does not have a pump to drain out toxins…you have to be that pump. So use a standing desk, walk as much as you can, jump on a trampoline, bounce while sitting on an exercise ball, use the sauna regularly, take a hydrotherapy shower by simply alternating between hot and cold water, get a lymphatic drainage massage, brush your body with a stiff, dry brush, breathe deeply……….to help pump and decongest lymphatic fluid from the entire body

On the psycho-spiritual level, we know that the immune system responds to our thoughts and emotions, either positive or negative. Sustained thoughts of anger, bitterness, hate or resentment tend to weaken the immune system. To support our immune systems, it is important to cultivate harmonious thoughts, open up to love and see the beauty around us.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

'chEATING OUT' this Diwali

Having cardiac disease, diabetes or trying to lose weight is hard enough. Trying to manage your cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels or weight during the festival season is sometimes harder. My patients often ask if they can have 'cheat days' when they can consume, albeit in moderation, one of their favourite foods. Something they can tuck into without it doing much harm to their cholesterol or blood sugar levels...or to their body fat percentage. It is indeed very hard for them when there is a special occasion and there is yummy but unhealthy food everywhere...and they can only eat the salad options. I tell them to indulge in moderation and then consume an additional amount of their spice mix. They have to remember that this does not give them 'carte blanche' to over indulge all the time. If you are not on the spice mix, have a tsp of cinnamon and fenugreek seed powder, increase your exercise activity and carefully monitor your blood parameters.

This guide should help you:
  • 1 fried samosa- 25 min slope walking
  • 1 serving sev puri- 30 min on the treadmill
  • 1 serving chaat- 1 game of tennis
  • 1 small packet of wafers- Climb up 8 floors
  • 1 bowl popcorn- 15 min skipping
  • 1 small bowl farsaan- 2000 steps in the balcony
  • 1 serving fried pakora- 45 min cardio 
  • 1 batata wada- 30 min football 
  • 1 serving bhajia- 30 min zumba
  • 2 slices veg pizza- 25 min bollywood dance
  • 1 chocolate brownie- 1 hour treadmill
  • 1 scoop of icecream- 40 laps in the pool
  • 1 piece of burfi- 30 min spot jogging
  • 1 ras malai- 2 games badminton
  • 1 gulab jamun- 30 min jog
  • 1 slice fruit cake- 100 jumping jacks
  • 1 peg of whiskey- 1 hour brisk walk
  • 1 pint beer- 80 laps in the pool
  • 1 glass of wine- 1 game of squash
  • 1 glass of iced tea- Climb up 10 floors

It is important to test your blood sugar levels post exercise and post indulgence.

Have a happy Diwali !!!

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Friday, 13 October 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month....an annual campaign to raise awareness of the disease and to honour women at every step of their breast cancer journey.

The loop of pink ribbon which has become the symbol of breast cancer awareness has now reached its 25th year. Is wearing pink the only way to show support?

We can all do our bit to help and support, to walk alongside and hold the hands of our female/male (Yes breast cancer affects males too) relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances as they walk through their difficult journey of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Support that will help to reach the day (hopefully in the near future) when breast cancer has claimed its last life and is no longer life-threatening.

The 3 main risk factors are:
- Being a woman
- Growing older
- Having an immediate family history

If this applies to a vast majority of women, please ensure that you consult your physician and get the following tests done:

- Mammography
- CA 15.3
- Breast FNAC

Stay well informed, stay safe, stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza