Friday, 22 September 2017

Boron- A vital trace mineral
Functions:

- Required for normal growth and good health
- Used for muscle building
- Helps in the absorption of other minerals like calcium and magnesium
- Works with calcium to strengthen the bones
- Prevents arthritis
- Reduces the severity of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis
- Essential for reproduction and also for foetal development
- Reduces the symptoms of menopause like hot flushes etc
- Increases testosterone level in males
- Improves estrogen production in females
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Prevents blood clots
- Prevents strokes and heart attacks
- Helps to reduce cholesterol
- Helps to reduce fungal infections (boric powder for vaginal yeast infections)
- Ensures calcium integration into the bones and cartilage
- Improves short term memory, concentration and eye-hand coordination

Deficiency symptoms:

- Reduction in the metabolism of calcium and magnesium
- Improper functioning of the nervous system
- Arthritis
- Osteoporosis
- Imbalance in the production of sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen
- Hyperthyroidism

Symptoms of boron toxicity:

- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Skin itchiness and dermatitis
- Abnormalities in the skeleton
- Lethargy and weakness

People with kidney disease should be careful about their boron intake. Normally excess boron gets excreted through the urine. In kidney patients, this does not happen and there is a possibility of the excess boron accumulating in the heart, brain and kidneys.

Good food sources of Boron:

Apples, Avocado, Black currants, Broccoli, Carrots, Chickpeas, Dates, Hazelnuts, Honey, Kiwis, Nuts ( esp Almonds), Olives, Onions, Oranges, Peaches, Peanut butter, Pears, Plums, Potatoes, Prunes, Raisins, Red grapes, Red kidney beans, Soybeans, Sultanas, Tomatoes

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Monday, 18 September 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

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Cheers? Bottoms up? A toast to good health?

What do whiskey, rum, beer, brandy, gin, vodka, wine, sake, ouzo and koumiss have in common? These beverages all contain ethanol - a form of alcohol. Even though each gram of alcohol provides 7 calories of energy, alcohol is not a food nutrient but a mind-altering drug. Each standard drink (45 ml liquor or 150 ml wine) has 13 to 14 gms of alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is now a part of celebrating life’s milestones….whether it is barhopping with friends on their birthdays or toasting the bride and groom with champagne at their wedding or downing vodka shots on a Friday night with office colleagues to celebrate a promotion.

When consumed in moderation, alcoholic beverages can make social situations more enjoyable….and can even have some health benefits like offering cardiovascular protection. Consuming small amounts of alcohol can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels, reduce blood levels of fibrinogen (an important blood-clotting factor) and decrease platelet stickiness. Red wines and beers have beneficial antioxidants (but you can get those from purple grape juice!) However, more and more people are now experiencing serious health problems as a result of their excessive alcohol-drinking habits.

Alcohol does not require digestion and readily passes through the tissues lining the inside of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and small intestine. When alcohol is consumed with a meal or after a meal, food delays its absorption from the stomach and lowers the rate at which it enters the bloodstream. If a person consumes excessive amounts of alcohol on an empty stomach, tremendous damage is done to the liver and the kidneys. In fact alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening condition and binge drinking can be fatal.

Drinkers can be classified as:

  • Abstainers - consuming none or fewer than 12 drinks/year
  • Light drinkers - consuming 1-12 drinks/month 
  • Moderate drinkers - consuming 4-14 drinks/week
  • Heavy drinkers - consuming 3 or more drinks/day
  • Binge drinkers – consuming 5 or more drinks/occasion (males) 
  • consuming 4 or more drinks/occasion (females)

Not everyone who drinks alcohol regularly abuses the drug, but you might be abusing alcohol if you:

  • Drink to relax, forget your worries, improve your mood
  •  Lose interest in food because of your drinking habits
  • Find more and more “reasons” to drink
  • Consume drinks in few quick gulps
  • Lie about or try to hide your drinking habits
  • Often drink alone
  • Hurt yourself or others while drinking
  • Were drunk more than 3 times in the past year
  • Need to drink more than previously to get “high”
  • Feel irritable and resentful when you are not drinking
  • Have medical, social or financial problems caused by your drinking habits
  • Have been fined by the traffic cops for drinking and driving

Harmful effects of alcohol:

  • Brain: impairs brain functioning and damages the brain
  • Esophagus: increases risk of esophageal cancer
  • Skin: causes skin flushing and heat loss
  • Heart: damages heart muscle, resulting in heart enlargement and heart failure
  • Liver: causes fatty infilteration of the liver, cirrhosis and liver failure
  • Pancreas: impairs pancreatic functioning, causes pancreatic inflammation and increased risk of pancreatic cancer 
  • Small intestine: interferes with nutrient absorption
  • Abdomen: increases fatty deposits in abdominal region
  • Colon and rectum: increases risk of colon and rectal cancer

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, her fetus also “drinks” alcohol because alcohol flows freely from the mother’s bloodstream to that of the fetus. An infant born with “fetal alcohol syndrome” has certain facial and heart defects as well as extensive often irreversible damage to the nervous system causing mental retardation. The infant may also have delayed and abnormal physical development.

So if you think you are abusing alcohol or are dependent on it, seek help asap

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hormonal Bliss 

In the last 10 years of my 25 year + practice, I have seen a surge in hormonal imbalances, which along with thyroid imbalances and insulin imbalances make up more than fifty percent of my daily case studies. When working with clients with hormonal imbalances the common complaints include heavy/scanty menstrual bleeding, infertility, hot flushes, growth of facial hair, weight gain, hair loss and thinning of hair, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, decreased pelvic floor function, decreased bone density and sluggish thyroid function. Hormones in food contribute to premature menstruation and hormonal imbalances. Hormone injected, highly processed, pesticide-laden, salty or sugary foods are rampant in all our grocery stores. Little girls, as young as 7 and 8 years of age, are showing signs of early menstruation and young women, who have not yet crossed 35, are going into early menopause….and this is scary!

Naturopathy offers a number of ways to correct what ails our system and to restore good physical and mental health. Natural foods can help balance your hormones with fewer side effects as compared to chemical hormones and their association with cancer. Here are some things you can do to maintain a healthier femininity and libido along with hormonal balance:

  • Exercise daily..cardiac and pelvic exercises
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Include a tbsp coconut oil, a tsp of medicinal ghee, a tsp of shatavari or kadipatta powder or maca root powder, a few almonds, 2 walnuts and plenty of mixed seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, melon, cucumber, pumpkin etc) in your daily diet
  • Avoid processed white/table sugar
  • Eat healthy carbs like jowar, bajra, ragi, quinoa, rajgira, red rice and brown rice
  • Opt for organic eggs, meat and fish
  • Avoid canned/processed meats, cold cuts, sausages etc
  • Ensure that you are eating sufficient fiber and drinking enough water to prevent constipation
  • Check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Ultimately, it is a balanced lifestyle (food, exercise, stress management) and not a pill that will eventually bring balance to your hormones…and lead you to hormonal bliss!!! Once you are balanced, your husband, children, friends and work-mates will rally around you…and not run away from you …Enjoy your interactions with them😏

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Aluminum Toxicity

Aluminum, a non essential metal which we are regularly exposed to, is particularly poisonous to the nervous system. The symptoms of aluminum poisoning include disturbed sleep, nervousness, emotional instability, memory loss, headaches, and impaired intellect.
It can stop the body's ability to digest and make use of calcium, phosphorus and fluoride. This prevents bone growth and reduces bone density. Aluminum can force calcium out of the bones, causing weakness and deformation in the bone structure.
Toxicity can also result in aching muscles, speech problems, anemia, digestive problems, lowered liver function, colic and impaired kidney function.

Sources of Aluminum:
  • Over the counter medications like buffered aspirin, aluminum-containing antacids, meds for diarrhea and hemorrhoids.
  • Aluminum can be a component of antiperspirants and douches.
  • Food that has been cooked or stored in aluminum pots and aluminum foil. As much as 4 milligrams of aluminum can be transferred to each serving of an acidic food (tomatoes or citrus fruits) that has been heated or stored with aluminum.
  • Stainless steel cookware (it is made by bonding the stainless steel with layers of aluminum). 
  • Sodium aluminum phosphates are added to cake mixes, frozen chappati /pizza/paratha dough, pancake mixes, self-rising flours, processed cheese and cheese foods and beer (in aluminum cans). One slice of processed cheese can contain 50 mg of aluminum. A cheeseburger may contain one of the highest aluminum contents of any food.
  • Baked goods have approximately 5-15 mg per serving.
  • An average sized pickle contains 5 to 10 mg if it has been treated in an alum solution. Alum is a form of aluminum sulfate that is used in the pickling solution to firm up the cucumbers, gherkins etc.
Nutritional Support:
  • The first step in ridding your body of this poison is to avoid aluminum intake as much as possible. 
  • The next is to provide your body with nutritional support to give it the strength it needs to detoxify this metal. This support can come from juices made from mint, coriander, turmeric and ginger. Also increase your intake of sulphur-rich foods (onions, broccoli, kale and garlic), olive and flax seed oil, fibre-rich foods.
Detoxification Symptoms:
  • When aluminum comes out of its stored locations in your body it can act as a muscle irritant. Since the kidneys handle this detoxification, there may be pain in the back, over the kidneys.
  • Since aluminum tends to concentrate itself in the brain, the detoxification process can be accompanied by mental confusion.
  • It can also cause flu-like symptoms with fever, chills and mucous discharge from the nose. Since nasal discharge will be toxic, spit it out instead of swallowing it. 
Reducing Aluminum Exposure:
  • Replace aluminum or metal cookware with enamel coated steel cookware. 
  • Avoid non stick pans…for frying, old-fashioned cast iron works best, 
  • Do not cook with aluminum foil, and minimize its use for food storage. Never use it to wrap acidic foods (oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc.) or cooked food that is still hot.
  • Use bamboo steamers instead of metal vegetable steamers.
  • Check the labels of all food, medicinal and hygienic products you buy, avoiding those that have aluminum content.
  • Minimize your intake of cheese, particularly processed cheeses.
  • Minimize your intake of any baked goods that are not homemade without aluminum additives.

While your body can tolerate low levels of aluminum, you must be sure that the level stays low and does not build up. This requires care and continued monitoring. There are tests such as hair/urine/blood analysis that can be done to help you monitor the aluminum levels in your system.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Friday, 18 August 2017

              Magnesium - The Master Mineral                    
Functions:

- Plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body
- Required for healthy teeth and bones
- Helps to increase muscle strength
- Keeps blood pressure under control
- Helps to keep the heart healthy
- Helps in gastric digestion
- Helps in the assimilation of vitamin D from food sources
- Helps in the assimilation of calcium
- Aids in weight loss
- Required during pregnancy
- Required for maintaining the health of the nervous system
- Required for reducing stress

Deficiency symptoms:

- Frequent headaches and migraines
- Insomnia
- Dental cavities
- Muscle cramps
- Constipation
- Sugar and carbohydrate cravings
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of memory
- Mood swings
- Depression, anxiety and panic attacks
- Tachycardia and erratic heart beat
- Infertility
- Insulin resistance
- Thyroid disease
- Sensitivity to noise and cold
- Kidney stones

Causes of magnesium depletion:

- Caffeine intake
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
- Stress
- Smoking
- High sugar intake
- High processed food intake
- Oral contraceptives

Good food sources of magnesium:

Almonds, Avocado, Banana, Brazil nuts, Buckwheat (Kuttu), Cashews, Dark chocolate, Dried figs, French beans, Kale, Kidney beans, Mackerel, Millets like jowar and bajra, Pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, Spinach, Yoghurt, White beans.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Monday, 14 August 2017

Adzuki beans

They are also known as red cow peas or red chori or laal chavli. They are small reddish brown beans edged with white ridges. They are a nutritional powerhouse because they are loaded with protein, fiber, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A and folate. Most importantly, they have very small amounts of fat…1 gram/cup of dried beans !!!

They are very easy to digest. It is essential to soak them in water for a minimum of 8 hours before cooking them. This enhances their digestibility and prevents flatulence. Discard the water used to soak the beans, wash well and then cook as you would any other bean/pulse (rajma/ chole/kabuli channa etc) The Japanese/Korean/Chinese red bean paste used in desserts is basically made by boiling adzuki beans in sugar syrup.

Benefits:

- Being high in fiber, these beans help in regularizing bowel movement as well as keeping blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels under control.

- These beans can be used to treat urinary tract and bladder infections.

- They help in preventing or lowering the risk of breast, colon and rectal cancers in both males and females. ( Breast cancer in males is an alarmingly frequent diagnosis in recent years.)

- Adzuki beans help to cleanse the liver and the kidneys.

Once cooked, they can be used in many different dishes. Use these beans in soups, salads, stews…mash them up and make a dip or sauce. Or just add salt and pepper and eat them as a high protein snack.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Butter Tea
On a recent trip to Leh Ladakh our search for traditional Ladakhi cuisine led us to Alchi Kitchen near the Alchi Monastery. This was where we first tasted Gur Gur cha or butter tea - a drink no Ladakhi household is without. It has an acquired taste and you will be forgiven if you think of it as a soup rather than a tea…but it has many health benefits.

Butter tea or Gur Gur cha or Po cha is a traditional Tibetan tea made by churning yak butter, water, Pemagul black tea leaves and salt into a tasty, nutrient-dense beverage. The tea leaves are repeatedly boiled, sometimes for more than 10 hours until the decoction takes on a very dark color and is called chathang. This is then poured into a traditional tea churn called Chandong or is hand blended along with salt and yak butter. The health benefits of Butter tea are derived from its antioxidant content and the linoleic fatty acids in the yak butter.

Health benefits of Butter tea:

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or Altitude Sickness often plagues travellers who seek to experience life in the clouds at altitudes above 8000 feet. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, nausea and vomiting, breathlessness and increased pulse rate. Severe symptoms include chest tightness and constriction, confusion and delirium, decreased consciousness, cyanosis (blue tinged skin). Consuming a cup of butter tea every 3 hours on day 1 of your travel helps you acclimatize faster and prevents AMS.

This beverage helps increase energy levels because of the caffeine it contains, prevents dehydration, moisturizes the skin and prevents chapping of lips in Lehs harsh climate, warms the body, decreases nausea, enhances digestion, reduces hyperacidity, improves muscle strength and immunity, boosts cardiovascular health, improves memory and cognitive function, suppresses appetite and prevents fatigue and lethargy. Its high anti-oxidant content helps reduce the long term risk of dementia, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and the chance of developing osteoporosis. Drinking a cup or two a day can help reduce blood sugar fluctuations in diabetic patients.

Side effects:

Butter tea has a high salt, fat and caffeine content. So if you like the taste and are tempted to drink copious amounts please note that doing so will make you gain weight, increase your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels, give you headaches and acidity, make you more irritable and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid butter tea.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Goji Berries
Grown in the temperate and sub-tropical regions of China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas, in Tibet, this small bright red colored berry is a superfood packed with nutrients and essential vitamins. The herbalists in China , Tibet and India have been using Goji berries for over 6000 years to correct bad eye sight and protect the liver.It is also used to improve sexual function and fertility. These little red berries boost immune function, improve circulation, promote longevity and strengthen the legs.

Being calorie dense, Goji berries can be incorporated into a weight loss programme or as a meal replacement. They contain more beta carotene than carrots. They also have more anti-oxidant power than any other food source. Add 1/4 th cup of dried goji berries to low-fat yoghurt and fruits of your choice and blend to form a smoothie that will keep you active and energetic all morning

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

  


Healthy foods for the monsoon

After the scorching summer heat, the monsoon showers are welcomed by all. They bring down the temperatures, ensure lush greenery everywhere and are a blessing for our farmers and for us 😊

The smell of the wet earth immediately after a heavy downpour conjures up images of a steaming hot cup of pudina chai and yum pakodas…baked, fried or airfried!!!

Eating the right foods this monsoon is very essential because the wrong foods can give you an upset stomach and keep you away from work or school or play. Here is a list of foods to eat during this season to ensure you stay healthy.

Lentils: Both moong dal and masoor dal are easy to digest. They provide sufficient amounts of protein and calcium and are also a good source of dietary fiber. Pressure cook and then temper these lentils with curry leaves, ajwain, jeera, garlic and juliennes of ginger. You can even cool the cooked lentils and puree them to convert them into a yummy soup!

Soups: Be wary of eating raw salads this season. Instead pressure cook your veggies, puree them, add fresh herbs and tuck into a delicious and heartwarming bowl of soup. To add a twist, grill the veggies esp bell peppers and then make the soup.

Herbal teas and herbal infusions: Bring a litre of water to boil. Add a couple of cloves, a few strands of kesar, 2 green elaichi, 10 mint leaves and 5 tulsi leaves. Steep for 10 minutes and pour into a flask (you can strain out the herbs and spices if you want to) Add a few slices of lemon…your immunity booster is ready! Drink this through the day.

Herbs and spices: In order to boost your immunity and also to enhance digestion, incorporate garlic, ginger, peppercorns, green elaichi, haldi, jeera, tulsi and mint into your regular meals. They have anti-inflammatory properties, keep the flu, colds and coughs at bay and also help in digestion.

Gourds: Up your calcium, magnesium and manganese intake during the rainy season with gourds like bottle gourd or white pumpkin ( doodhi or lauki), red pumpkin ( bhopla), pointed gourd (parwal), snake gourd, bitter gourd (karela), ash gourd (petha), apple gourd ( tinda), ridge gourd ( turia) and zucchini.

Millets: Nachni, jowar and bajra are rich in calcium and iron so add these grains to your rotis, theplas, breads etc to strengthen your immune system and to keep infections away.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Ramadan Kareem

The holy month of Ramadan has just started. According to Islamic belief, it commemorates the first revelation of the holy Koran to Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims fast during this month...from sunrise to sunset... so as to equalize everyone before themselves and before God. The Iftar meal is a celebration every evening...with family, friends and neighbours.

The pre-sunrise (sahour) and post sunset (iftar) meals comprise of dates, nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, sherbet, salad veggies, halal meats, haleem, assorted kebabs, different types of breads and a wide array of sweets.

Fasting can be good for health provide excess food...esp fried, is not consumed during iftar and sahour. The human body has certain regulatory mechanisms that get activated during periods of fasting. If you are fasting during this month and maintain a balanced diet you will continue to stay active and healthy. Health problems arise during this month only if food is consumed in excess thereby making the diet unbalanced...or if sleep is not sufficient. This could lead to dips in blood sugar levels and dips in blood pressure during the day...and the reverse happening once the fast is broken each night.

Some simple guidelines to stay healthy during this holy month of Ramadan:

  • Eat a light sahour (pre sunrise) meal comprising of freah fruits, milk, oats, cereal, bread etc
  • Eat sufficient amounts of carbohydrate and fiber-rich foods which provide vitamin B and keep you full.
  • Eat adequate amounts of raw veggies and fresh fruits to provide the vitamins and minerals needed by your body.
  • Drink water to hydrate your body from sunset till sunrise... avoid aerated beverages and caffeine which dehydrate the body.
  • Avoid fried foods and spicy foods...you do not want a spike in your cholesterol levels post fasting...nor do you want to suffer from hyperacidity through the day.

Do some light form of exercise like stretching or walking.

As-Salaam-Alekum... " May peace be upon you"

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Triphala

Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation consisting of three fruits native to the Indian subcontinent: Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki.

Benefits of Triphala:-
- Assists natural internal cleansing
- Gently maintains bowel regularity
- Nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues
- Supports healthy digestion and absorption
- Acts as a natural antioxidant

2 tbsp triphala juice is the recommended dosage...you may dilute it in water and have a shot of this daily.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


World Hypertension Day, 17th May 2017

Why does the doctor check your BP each time you visit him? Why is low BP or high BP such a big ndeal?

BP is a measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which carry blood throughout the body. High BP or hypertension is dangerous...a 'silent killer'.. because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and contributes to hardening of arteries, or atherosclerosis and to the development of heart failure.

Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
Causes of high BP:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Old age
  • Family history of high BP
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid issues
Remedies:

  • Eat foods rich in potassium like bananas, watermelon, celery , parsley, mint and coriander.
  • Eat seeds like pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, cucumber seeds and flax seeds...... unsalted !
  • Avoid salty foods and snacks including processed meats like bacon salami and ham, packaged   soups, wafers, sauces and pickles.
  • Relax, exercise, meditate...do whatever it takes to get your stress levels down.


" One way to get high blood pressure is to go mountain climbing over molehills " - Earl Wilson.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Monday, 8 May 2017



Dried plums (Prunes)

Prunes…what immediately comes to mind is images of old people eating them at bedtime to prevent constipation!!! So the name was changed to dried plum to encourage people of all ages to incorporate them in their daily diet and derive their antioxidant benefits. Research now shows that these dried plums have phytoestrogens that strengthen bones and help treat osteoporosis.

The health benefits of dried plums (prunes) and dried plum (prune) juice:

  • Dried plums are an excellent source of energy. Since they are rich in fiber and fruit sugars- fructose and sorbitol, they do not cause a spike in blood sugars. In fact, their soluble fibre content helps stabilise blood sugar levels.
  • Their high sugar content allows them to be dried without fermention…thereby preventing gas and acidity.
  • Their high potassium content helps regularise blood pressure, heart rhythm, muscle contractions and nerve impulses. It also helps prevent cramps. 
  • They are rich in two phytonutrients - neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid which help prevent cellular damage.
  • Dried plums and their juice help to prevent high blood pressure.
  • They also help prevent atherosclerosis -the narrowing of arteries due to a build-up of plaque, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
  • The mineral boron, found in plenty in dried plums, helps to build strong bones and prevent bone loss, to strengthen muscles and improve muscle coordination and also to improve mental agility.
  • They are a good source of iron and vitamin C which is needed to convert this iron into a highly absorbable form. This combination prevents anemia.
  • Their high fiber content helps in improving digestion, regularising bowel movement and preventing piles and haemorrhoids.
  • The juice of dried plums is a good laxative. Simply boil 5 of them in a litre of water. When cool, blend well and drink this through the day. Works well with young children and older people too.
  • This juice also helps prevent urinary incontinence and improves bladder function.
  • They are a great snack food because they help you stay full for a longer period of time…preventing overeating and subsequent weight gain.


A Word of Caution:

If you are diabetic or have ulcerative colitis or IBS then please use dried plums judiciously.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


 Mangoes… The New POWERFOOD

This “King of Fruits” is one of the most popular and nutritionally rich fruits in the world with unique taste, flavor, texture and health-promoting properties. There are over 1000 different varieties of mangoes.

Properties:

  • They are an amazing source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex as well as health promoting flavonoids such as beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.
  • They are a powerful anti-cancer food and are specifically known to help prevent lung, breast, colon, prostate, blood, and oral cancers.
  • They are also highly beneficial in the prevention of strokes, heart disease, arthritis, cognitive disorders, respiratory diseases, and kidney disease.
  • They are a good source of potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids which controls heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The tartaric, malic and citric acid in mangoes help to alkalinize the whole body and flush out toxic acids. 
  • They are packed with enzymes and are a prebiotic food, meaning they contain compounds that stimulate and feed the good bacteria in the intestines which greatly aids in digestion and assimilation. 
  • They contain a significant amount of pyridoxine (B-6) which is vital for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Pyridoxine is also essential in maintaining hormonal balance and proper immune function as well as for helping the body break down sugars, fats and proteins. 
  • They contain copper which is required for red blood cell production.
  • They help prevent insomnia and provide for a better night’s sleep.
  • They help to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol because of their fiber, pectin, and vitamin C content.
  • Due to their high vitamin A content, they are also excellent for promoting good eyesight and helping to prevent night blindness and dry eyes. 
  • They prevent anemia because of their iron content.
  • They are wonderful for skin health and can be used to help clear clogged pores, eliminate pimples, and add a natural glow to the skin. 
  • Since the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index, moderate consumption of approx 2 slices of mango by diabetics will not spike blood sugar levels.
  • Interestingly, the mango peel is also rich in phytonutrients.

Mangoes are one of the world’s most versatile fruits and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Use mango in your smoothies, shakes, salads, raitas, salsa, chutneys, jams, preserves, marinades and vegetable dishes. Blend green mango pulp with water, jaggery and a pinch of soonth to prepare a delicious remedy for heat stroke. Spices also pair well with mango … experiment with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, chili, cardamom, pepper etc to boost the flavor and nutrition of the dish. Experiment with finding new ways to add mangos into your diet. Your body will love you for it…. And do not forget to send us a recipe πŸ˜‰

If you are not sure whether the mangoes you have bought are organic…or whether they have been artificially ripened with calcium carbide, wash them thoroughly and leave them overnight in a bowl of water,

A word of caution: Restrict your intake of this fruit if you are on warfarin therapy. Since mangoes have high vitamin A content, it could result in potentiation of warfarin activity and increased bleeding risk.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Holi 2017

Holi ushers in Spring with all its glorious colours and rejuvenating splendour. Water balloons, bright colours (hopefully made from haldi, kumkum, neem and bilva  πŸ˜Š ), yummy gujias, piping hot puran polis, refreshing thandai, delicious phirni, scrumptious dahi vadas and melodious songs are all the ingredients of a perfect Holi wish that comes your way today 😊

Traditional Holi delicacies vary from state to state, from region to region and from family to family. Today, as you celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colour, we bring you a few traditional snacks and drinks for you to make and enjoy with your family and friends.

Gujias - these sweet dumplings are made of maida or wholewheat flour and are filled with a mixture of khoya or freshly grated coconut, sesame seeds and dry fruits. They are popular in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The dumplings are either deep fried in pure ghee or baked in the oven. Once golden brown, they are dipped in a sugar or jaggery syrup which has been infused with rose petals. Gujias taste best when served warm. For a modern twist to this traditional dish, add some dark chocolate of carob chips to the filling, bake the gujias and serve with a smattering of strawberry butter instead of dipping them in syrup.

Puran poli - this popular  Maharasthrian delicacy is a kind of sweet, buttery roti or poli. The soft delicious inner stuffing or puran is made from pressure-cooked channa dal which is sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with cardamom, saffron and grated nutmeg. The piping-hot puran polis are served with a dollop of pure ghee and a glass of warm milk.

Thandai - this Holi staple is a creamy milk drink generally sweetened with sugar or honey, enriched with khuskhus paste and finely grated, blanched almonds and flavoured with cardamom, kesar, saunf and rose petals. On Holi, thandai is traditionally served with bhaang (a derivative of marijuana). Thandai can be used to make thandai phirni, thandai rasmalai, thandai pannacotta ….etc etc etc

Phirni - this popular and deliciously aromatic North Indian dessert is made with ground rice and milk during festivals like Diwali and Holi. Unlike kheer in which whole rice is used, in phirni, broken or semi ground rice is cooked in sweetened milk. Nuts and cardamom are added later. Phirni tastes delicious when served cold but there are many who love it when it is served warm. Add some thandai masala to give the dish a “Holi” twist and sweeten it with pureed dates instead of sugar 😊

Dahi vada - this famous Indian chaat is prepared by soaking vadas or fritters made from chickpea flour in a thick dahi base. The hot, deep-fried vadas are first soaked in water. The water is then squeezed off. They are then transferred to a thick dahi base. For best results, the vadas are soaked for at least a couple of hours before serving. To add more flavor, they can be topped with chopped coriander or mint leaves, green chutney, red chili powder, crushed black pepper, chaat masala, cumin, shredded coconut, green chilis, or boondi.

Stay safe...SAVE WATER...have a joyous holi and a spring full of beautiful warm colours 😊

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Sunday, 19 February 2017


Family Day 20th Feb 2017

If you're like most parents, you spend a great deal of time worrying about your children's health and general well-being. …and like most Indian parents you also worry about their future – education, jobs, careers, marriage, their children …the list is endless
 You prepare nutritious meals, remind them about frequent hand washing, pack healthy school snacks, plan play dates, encourage sporting activities, organise field trips and holidays and also find ways to balance study time and family time while letting them enjoy a few hours of facetime πŸ˜‰As good parents, you need to be just as proactive about recommended health screenings. Take these steps to help your family enjoy a long and healthy life.

Family Preventive Health Care Schedule

- Keep Immunizations Up-to-Date:-
Your children’s immune systems will strengthen as they grow. Protect them along the way with      recommended immunizations. If you’re unsure when these should be scheduled, check with your  child’s paediatrician. He will give you an overview of recommended immunizations for children  from birth through ten years and will also explain where your child should be at each stage of  growth. Most paediatricians also have a list of vaccine-preventable diseases that explains how they  spread and possible complications. 

-Stay on Track With Mammograms:- 
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is the perfect time to remind all women that the chance of breast cancer survival is high if it’s found and treated early. Talk to your doctor about how often you should schedule a mammogram and make it a priority to keep your appointment….especially if there is a strong family history of the disease. Be sure to check with your gynaecologist and learn more about what can be done to prevent this disease.

-Get Screened for Heart Disease:-
Apart for doing tests for cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL,LDL and VLDL also test for homocysteine, apolipoproteins and other cardiac markers .

-Get Screened for Diabetes:-
Another global epidemic, the number of people who are diagnosed with diabetes each year just keeps increasing. Test your fasting and post meal blood sugar levels as well as your serum insulin levels. Your HbA1C test will indicate your average sugar readings for the past 2 to 3 months while your fructasamine levels will indicate average reading for the past 2 to 3 weeks.

-Get screened for Prostate Cancer:-
Encourage older male family members to test their PSA and visit the physician/urologist if there is an increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence and changes in the prostate gland.

-Get screened for Learning Disabilities:-
Children are often labelled lazy and slow when in actuality they may have a very high IQ and may be struggling with a learning disability like dyslexia or dysgraphia or dyscalculia. Screenings for LD are now a norm when young children bring home falling grades and a general disinterest in studies. Finding a good school with remedial teachers who hone their skills and help them overcome LD, will go a long way in encouraging children to perform to the best of their ability.

-Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene:-
 Protect your family’s health by teaching and enforcing good oral hygiene techniques. Brush and floss twice daily to remove plaque, which contains bacteria that can harden into tartar. Because it’s close to impossible to totally prevent tartar from forming, schedule visits to a trusted dentist for each of your family members every four to six months. If you experience mouth pain, don’t ignore it. It indicates that there may be an infection that could worsen if it goes untreated.

-Maintain Proper Eye Health:- 
Regular visits to the ophthalmologist will ensure visual acuity in children and also detect high eye pressure (glaucoma) and cataracts in older family members. Eye strain and eye fatigue can be reduced by ensuring regular breaks from the computer or mobile phone screen.

-Schedule Wellness Checkups-
Regularly scheduled physician checkups can help your family identify and manage potential health problems. They also give you an opportunity to ask your doctor about issues that might be bothering you or your loved ones. These visits can help to reveal potential problems that might otherwise go undetected, such as irregular blood pressure, hypothyroidism, endometrial cysts, PCOD, kidney disease etc.

-Schedule Mental Health Screenings:-
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible.If you're unsure which test to take, here are some guidelines:-

  • The Depression Test is for individuals who are feeling overwhelming sadness.
  • The Anxiety Test will help if you feel that worry and fear affect your day to day life.
  • The Bipolar Test is for individuals who have mood swings - or unusual or extreme shifts in    mood and energy.
  • The PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Test is for those who are bothered by a traumatic  life event.
  • The Alcohol or Substance Use Test will help determine if your use of alcohol or drugs is an area to address.
  • The Youth Test is for young people (age 11-17) who are concerned that their emotions, attention, or behaviours might be signs of a problem.
  • The Parent Test is for parents of young people to determine if their child’s emotions, attention, or behaviours might be signs of a problem.
  • The Psychosis Test is for young people (age 12-35) who feel like their brain is playing tricks on them (seeing, hearing or believing things that don't seem real or quite right) 


Making healthy food choices can be simple. Here are some healthy eating tips:-
  • Enjoy your food, but stop when you are full.
  • Watch out for large portion sizes. Use a smaller plate when eating at home and plan to take some         of your food home when eating out.
  • Make sure that half your plate is filled with salads and vegetables. Ensure that you eat the raw     food before cooked food.
  • Switch to fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Switch to whole grains like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn, jowar, bajra or whole wheat rotis, and whole grain cereals.
  • Drink plain or infused water like mint and star anise water instead of sugary sweet fruit drinks.
  • Buy and eat less sugary, salty and fatty foods like cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, chips and fatty meats.
  • Don’t give up – it can take many tries to like new foods and new methods of cooking and to change to healthier habits. So do not be afraid to invest in that slow cooker of air fryer!!
  • Enjoy family meals together – with the TV off and laptops, ipads, mobile phones etc away from the dining table.
  • Involve the whole family with menu planning, food shopping and cooking meals...they will surprise you with a healthy meal some day.


Here are a few ideas to help add physical activity to the day of your entire family
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or take a brisk 10-minute walk during your lunch break and after dinner.
  • Give your maids a weekly off and get the entire family to wash, mop, dust, polish, scrub and clean the house on a Sunday…your home will be spotless and your family will appreciate the staff even more 
  • Pick fun activities that you can do regularly…go for a swim together, go camping or drive to the nearest national park and trail-walk or hike.
  • Make play time more active by playing cricket or volleyball or football or by skipping ropes.
  • Spend time each week being active:-
               - Adults should do 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity each week.
               -Children should do 60 minutes of moderate activity each day.
  • Keep it interesting by trying new and different activities – take a dance or yoga class, go swimming, or join a local softball team or walking group.
  • Spend less time on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games.


Follow these practices to contribute to your family’s good health while boosting your family’s mind, body and spirit.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Happy Family Day !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Monday, 13 February 2017


 Valentine's day 2017 

This Valentine's day start following the 30 minute rule...no matter how busy you are, how many chores you have yet to complete...find 30 minutes each day just for yourself. Read a book or a magazine or a poem or the Good Health Always with Charmaine FB page πŸ˜‰ , take a walk or swim or run, listen to your favourite song, watch your favourite serial on television, meditate, take a power nap, relax, recharge, rejuvenate 😊

You are most definitely not being selfish...you just need some time each day to focus on your health, vitality and general well-being. This will ensure that you are able to take care of your loved ones in a much better way and you will love what you do for them 😊

The way to a loved ones heart is inevitably through food...there is no sight on Earth that is more appealing than the sight of a person lovingly preparing a meal for their family/friends/loved ones...so go ahead and plan a healthy heart-friendly meal not just on the 14th of Feb...but everyday 😊

Stay blessed with good health always πŸ’—

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Friday, 10 February 2017

Quinoa Seeds

This miracle grain of the Andes, in its wholegrain form, may be effective in preventing and treating artherosclerosis, breast cancer , diabetes and insulin resistance. It is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fibre, antioxidants like quercetin and phytonutrients. The quercetin content in quinoa is even higher than that found in cranberries. Quinoa is the super food of today.

Quinoa is popular with vegetarians, vegans, diabetics, cardiac patients, athletes, people who are lactose intolerant or those who have celiac disease and are gluten intolerant. Since it is gluten-free it is easy to digest..making for optimal absorption of its nutrients . It acts as a prebiotic that feeds the microflora (good bacteria) in our intestines. Quinoa is rich in calcium and is highly recommended for vegans and lactose-intolerant people.

Quinoa can be used in a wide variety of food preparations. In order to enhance its nutritional value, sprout it by soaking it in water for 3 to 4 hours. The grains are coated with bitter tasting saponins which make them unpalatable. Be sure to rinse the sprouted quinoa in water a couple of times to get rid of these saponins. You will now be able to taste the nutty flavour of the grain. It is available in 3 colours...red, white and black. I find the tricolour quinoa the tastiest...though the white quinoa can easily replace semolina in most recipes.

Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Friday, 3 February 2017



World Cancer Day, 4th Feb 2017

“We can. I can” ….do something to raise awareness

Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities.

World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer.

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

Saturday, 14 January 2017


Get Set Go!!!

Its Marathon time…..gear up for the Mumbai Marathon and improve performance on the day of the race with our Good Health Always Infusion

Mountain runners Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet, have been known to fuel themselves before or during a race with cookies soaked in tea. They aren’t the first to boost their endurance with tea- for centuries, people in the Andes have made tea from cocoa leaves, dried herbs and spices to be used to boost energy and performance and aid with altitude acclimatization.

Fresh and dried herbs and spices are not just flavor additions merely for taste… they are actually powerful performance aids for sportspersons! The energy enhancing properties of herbs and spices help promote vitality, decrease tissue inflammation and provide much needed antioxidant boosting- to fight inflammation, boost circulation and heal damaged tissues. In fact, the Ancient Greek word for fennel (saunf) is ‘Marathon’- they believed that fennel promoted endurance and longevity.

Marathon runners can have a tremendous amount of tissue inflammation. Inflammation is caused by a flux of free radicals in the body and can stem from issues such as diet, lifestyle choices, digestive issues, and chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Exercise is also a natural cause of free radical production.

There are different teas/brews/infusions you can incorporate into your diet to manage inflammation and improve stiffness, soreness and overall well-being. These teas/brews/infusions also have performance-boosting benefits when consumed before, during or after the race.

A strong coffee provides an initial spike in energy levels which is unfortunately followed by a rapid decline in energy. It can also leave you feeling jittery and acidic and you know that you will be uncomfortable running with a sour stomach. Substitute your pre-run coffee with our special Good Health Always Marathon Infusion that provides long-lasting energy without the crash. This infusion will hydrate you before as well as during the race and boost your post-run recovery.

The Good Health Always Marathon Infusion has ingredients which will do the following:

- Help clear congestion in the respiratory system and reduce mucous formation.
- Reduce airway constriction.
- Prevent tissue inflammation.
- Provide stress-reducing amino acids which elevate metabolism.
- Provide magnesium and zinc for testosterone production( for durability and recovery)
- Provide calcium and manganese for bone health.
- Boost circulation in order to speed up the delivery of nutrients to your working muscles.
- Act as a digestive aid to help nervous runners by soothing their stomach lining.
- Promote detoxification through sweat.
- Protect from sun damage.

Recipe for the Good Health Always Marathon Infusion:

Ingredients:

3 liters water
4 sachets green tea
10 fresh tulsi leaves
1 tsp chopped parsley
10 mustard seeds
5 cloves
5 green elaichi
1 tsp dill seeds (suva)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp saunf
1 inch quill of cinnamon
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp red chilli flakes

Method:

Simply bring the water to a boil in a large vessel. Add the 12 ingredients and let them boil for 2 minutes. Set aside from the flame. Cover and let the ingredients steep in the hot water for an hour. Strain and drink small amounts at a time before, during and after the race.

Kudos to you- you have pushed yourself through all those months of training, made it through never-ending long runs, even made it to race week without any major injury- so now just go out there and do your best. May the force be with you !!!


Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza



Monday, 2 January 2017


Guava leaves

If you have read our blog on guavas and liked it, you will be intrigued to learn that the leaves of this fruit also have health benefits. If you have a guava tree in your building compound or garden…lucky you !!!


  • The leaves contain polyphenols, tannins, carotenoids and flavonoids like quercetin which help treat various ailments.
  • Since the leaves are rich in anti-oxidants, they prevent and repair cellular damage and may help in decreasing the risk of age-related ailments.
  • They are highly recommended to stop nose bleeds…just crush a leaf in the palm of your hands and inhale.
  • Fresh guava leaves are a natural pain reliever as they contain anti-inflammatory agents.
  • They also help to cleanse the liver.
  • Being a good source of dietary fibre, they help relieve constipation.
  • To improve digestion, soothe the gastric lining and to relieve nausea, diarrhea and vomiting boil 10 guava leaves (or 2 tsp guava leaf powder) in 2 liters of water. Add a few slivers of ginger and drink this decoction through the day.
  • Gargle with the same decoction to relieve tooth aches, heal bleeding gums, oral ulcers and sore throats….due to the anti-bacterial effect of guava leaves.
  • Guava leaf tea inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria…the primary cause of diarrhea.
  • Make a paste of 1- 2 guava leaves and a pinch of turmeric and apply on facial skin that is prone to acne…leave until it dries, then wash off with cold water.
  • Guava leaf paste will also enhance healing when applied on wounds and sores. 
  • Guava leaf tea can help lower blood sugar levels because it reduces alpha-glycosidase enzyme activity in diabetics….and inhibits the absorption of dietary sugars like maltose and sucrose. 
  • It also helps lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels…without decreasing the level of heart friendly HDL cholesterol. 
  • Guava leaf tea can also help lower blood pressure.


Steep a few fresh guava leaves in boiling hot water for 4 to 5 minutes to make a refreshing brew. Guava leaf supplements in the form of teas, capsules and guava leaf powder are now available albeit at few ayurvedic stores…but their availability will soon increase as the market for these increases.
Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza