Good Health Always with Charmaine is a blog by Charmaine D’Souza, who is a nutrition and health consultant with more than 25 years of experience in assisting clients who are interested in improving their health and general well-being through better nutrition and healthy changes in their lifestyle.
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
World Mental Health Day - 10th Oct 2018
Mental wellness plays a role in order to be healthy as a whole. The goal of ‘World Mental Health Day’ is to increase awareness about mental health and its importance in the overall health of a person. The theme this year is "Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.”
Youngsters today are vulnerable to eating disorders, mental distress and anguish, peer pressure and stress….more so than ever before. Our teenagers need to be sensitively handled. If their mental health issues are not recognized, diagnosed and managed expertly, it can lead to mental illness. The stigma attached to mental health prevents most people from speaking about their fears, apprehensions and mental traumas.
Research shows that nearly half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14…an age when youngsters have to tackle changes in their hormones, make new friends, excel in studies etc. All this leads to increasing stress levels. Alarmingly, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among those in the age group of 15 and 25.
We take our children for vaccinations, dental check-ups, eye check-ups…but mental health check-ups? Never! Preventing mental illness begins with awareness of early signs and symptoms. Good mental health and coping ability are of prime importance.
As parents, how can we help our young children build their mental resilience in order to dodge all the curve balls life throws at them? The answer to that is nutrition. The solution to most health issues can be found on our meal plate rather than on the shelf of the neighborhood chemist.
There is a strong connection between what we eat, how our body functions and how we feel.
The Gastro-Intestinal Tract (GIT) or gut is your secondary brain. It makes neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, which are then carried to your brain. So if you are eating a healthy, unprocessed, balanced diet, more serotonin and dopamine are produced…. Else the stress hormone cortisol will be produced in amounts larger than the body can handle. This impacts:-
In order to ensure the mental well-being of youngsters ( w.r.t eating disorders, depression, mood swings, stress, and anxiety), their diet should include the following:-
Good Quality Proteins which provide Essential Amino Acids needed for physical & emotional health.
B Complex vitamins
Let us also ensure that our family environment is one where the child feels loved, valued, trusted and safe. Let us nurture a positive self-image…set an example by showing them how resilient we are. Most importantly, let us learn to accept who our children are, what are their limitations and what they are good at.
May we all be blessed with good mental and physical health…always !!!
You’ve heard of 'menopause'-that stage in a woman’s life when her sex hormone levels begin to decline, ultimately leading to the cessation of her monthly period. The term ‘manopause’ or andropause, however, is used to describe the correlating condition in aging males.
Symptoms of ‘manopause’ include:
A reduced libido… sexual thoughts/desire/drive
Trouble achieving/maintaining an erection
A decrease in energy levels
Mood changes/mood swings
Loss of muscle mass and bone density
Reduction in cognitive function
Chronic stress and a nutritionally deficient diet can inhibit the production of the male hormone testosterone. This hormone plays a vital role in male health. It impacts cardiovascular health, sexual health, total body composition, cognitive function, and mood. Men need to take care of their protein, essential fatty acids, zinc and selenium intake to provide the necessary building blocks for testosterone production. They should also try various methods to keep stress levels minimal because the ingredients needed for testosterone production are also used to produce the stress hormone cortisol. A highly stressed male body will make more cortisol and lesser testosterone.
What can you do to delay the onset of ‘manopause’?
Eat a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids to provide all of the building blocks for healthy testosterone production.
Maintain a healthy body composition, keep body fat levels down to reduce the conversion of testosterone to the female hormone estrogen.
Decrease sugar and alcohol consumption.
Manage stress effectively.
Ensure good quality sleep to regulate cortisol production, which is crucial for maintaining healthy testosterone levels as you age.
Most of the older couples who consult us take time to come to terms with manopause and menopause. Even if the more superficial aspects of testosterone deficiency are not of concern, the role that testosterone plays in wellness and aging means that all men who wish to live a long and healthy life should be looking to support their testosterone levels in a natural, holistic manner. So if you are feeling fatigued or cranky, your mojo isn’t wasn’t it used to be or you notice that you are losing muscle mass, chances are that your testosterone levels are on the decline. Please consult a qualified dietician/clinical nutritionist to address manopause scientifically.
New and contradictory findings in the field of nutrition, health, and wellness can be puzzling and overwhelming! Veganism is in! NO, it’s not! Coffee is good! Coffee is bad. Keto diets are a blessing! Yes, but what about keto flu, libido changes, bone density changes and the fact that in medicine, a keto diet is primarily used to treat epilepsy in children? Red wine is healthy. No, it’s not! The truth is that science is constantly evolving and things are rarely black and white.
The fact that there are so many unqualified people dishing out ‘gems’ of nutritional advice for free, makes the process of knowing what foods, diets, and health plans are the right ones even more difficult. These quacks have no real education in nutrition and health. They simply collate random bits of information from the internet, put it together and come up with skewed and absurd versions of scientific facts.
The best way to choose which plan is working for you is by listening to your own body....so that you do not have to hear it scream! By paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you, you will be able to find the right path to good health. Keep a record of what you feel when you eat certain foods. Is your dietary regimen making you feel lethargic and bloated, unable to clear properly, dull and listless? Or are you feeling light, happy, energised, with improved digestion and physical and mental satiety?
Just as in life, nutrition is all about balance and any extreme diet will never work in the long run….for anyone. Also, a regimen that works very well for your friend may not work at all for you. The blood type diet/Paleo diet/macrobiotic diet may have worked for you in the past, but currently, the vegan diet/ Zone diet/ intermittent fasting is keeping you healthy…so listen to your body and follow your gut.
Do your due diligence by researching the nutritional benefits of the new foods you are incorporating into your daily meal plan. Seek the guidance of a qualified dietician /nutritionist if you have a health issue. She will help you sort out good science from nonsense. More importantly, she will never sell you supplements, pills and portions…..although she may share the recipe to a spice mix which you can make at home ;-)
Stay curious, stay true, stay healthy, stay you!!! Stay blessed with good health…always!!!
The kidneys are among the most important organs in the human body. The kidneys help to detox and filter impurities from the blood, discarding waste products out and regulating fluid balance.
Kidney stones form when the kidneys are not able to process and excrete waste products, excess minerals, and toxins. The crystals of unprocessed minerals, especially calcium, begin to accumulate. Kidney stones, if they’re large enough, may cause tearing and pain, some even block urine flow.
Diet-wise, limit your intake of sodium, non-veg protein, foods rich in oxalates like palak, beetroots, buckwheat or kuttu, wheat bran, nuts, and chocolate. Excess supplemental Vit C, above 2000 mg, can also increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
The following tips should help improve kidney health:-
1. Water- Staying well hydrated is key to good kidney health. Up your water intake if you have high uric acid levels and are prone to kidney stone formation. Drink water at regular intervals through the day.
2. Lemon juice- Lemons contain citrate, which is a chemical that prevents calcium stones from forming in your kidneys. Citrate can also break up smaller kidney stones, allowing them to pass out more easily. Adding half a deseeded lemon to your bottle of water will help flush your system.
3. Basil juice- Basil contains acetic acid, which helps to break down the kidney stones and helps to reduce pain. It also lowers uric acid levels, which reduces your risk for future kidney stones. Simply add a few mulled basil leaves to your bottle of water or have 1 tsp basil juice thrice a day.
4. Apple cider vinegar- Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid. Citric acid helps to dissolve kidney stones. Apple cider vinegar can help alkalize blood and urine and increase stomach acids to prevent the formation of new kidney stones. Start with 1 tsp organic ACV (with the cloudy substance called mother) thrice a day.
5. Celery juice- Celery juice clears away toxins that contribute to kidney stone formation. It also helps flush out toxins from the body so you can pass the stone. Add 2 stalks of celery to your bottle of water. Celery acts as a diuretic and will decrease edema. It also helps lower BP, so it is a good option for those with hypertension. Do avoid if your BP is generally on the lower side.
6. SaCha’s TheraSpice- Using a heating pad or a warm compress like SaCha’s TheraSpice will help ease the pain associated with the passing out of kidney stones. Place the warm compress near your ribs or stomach or apply it on the area of maximum discomfort.
Good gut health starts with supporting greater diversity and numbers of 'good' gut bacteria in the large intestine.
In the small intestine, however, an overgrowth known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a sign of a digestive disorder. In this part of our gastrointestinal tract, we want less, not more bacteria.
Due to the fact that it is often a secondary disease, SIBO is difficult to manage and can take years to eradicate, if ever.
The primary cause is suspected to be a combination of decreased small intestine motility (muscular movement), bile acids and pancreatic enzymes.
There are disease states that we know can lead to SIBO (secondary disease) and can be treated:
Active small bowel inflammation (e.g. Coeliac, Crohn's)
Collagen vascular disease
Small bowel diverticular disease
Small bowel structuring disease (e.g. Crohn's, NSAIDs)
Common symptoms overlap with those of IBS and include:
Nausea & vomiting
Vitamin (esp. A, D, E, K & B12) & mineral (esp. calcium, iron, magnesium) deficiency
In addition, because of brush border inflammation, fructose and lactase (enzymes that break down fructose and lactose respectively) deficiency may develop as a result of SIBO.
Diagnosis is usually via the non-invasive Hydrogen Breath Tests where patients drink a lactulose or glucose solution. The resulting hydrogen or methane, which can only be produced by bacteria present in the small intestine, is measured. Your GP or gastroenterologist will interpret the results.
We know the following increase your risk of developing SIBO:
Chronic antacid/PPI use (leads to gastric achlorhydria)
Gastroparesis (slow emptying of the stomach)
Treatment is with antibiotic therapy for 14 days, followed by a repeat breath test and some dietary changes to address possible nutritional deficiencies and minimize symptoms.
The low-FODMAP diet is clinically proven to help manage IBS in around 70% of sufferers. Carbohydrate intolerance is common among patients with SIBO, and the Low-FODMAP diet may, therefore, be very helpful. Other possible treatment diets are based on anecdotal evidence and include GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome diet) and SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).
As with all diets, the choice of which is best suited depends on the patient and should be personalized by your nutritionist.
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 air-fried!!!
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 liter 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, bread etc to strengthen your immune system and to keep infections away.
So have a happy and healthy monsoon!!! Stay blessed with good health…always!!!
When asked if they snore at night, most people say they don’t…and then the spouse pipes in “YES!!! Loud enough to wake the neighbors”. Snoring is a natural occurrence – something that happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. Plenty of people are the victim or the culprit of sawing logs all night long.
Just about everyone snores occasionally, and it’s usually not something to worry about. But if you regularly snore at night, it can disrupt the quality of your sleep—leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. Snoring can lead to irritability in both the snorer and the one lying awake because of the snoring. It has been the bane of many a happy marriage.
Snoring and sleep apnea are NOT the same thing.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition that should receive medical attention. Sleep apnea is typically caused by a breathing obstruction, which awakens the sleeper, at which point the person begins breathing again. Normal snoring usually does not affect the quality of sleep as much as sleep apnea.
Common causes of snoring:
Aging- As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
Being overweight or not in shape- Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, carrying excess weight just around your neck or throat can cause snoring.
The way you’re built- Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore…though women can still pack a punch !! A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary.
Nasal and sinus problems- Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
Alcohol, smoking, certain medications- These can increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
Sleep posture- Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.
Rule out sleep apnea and consult your doctor if you or your partner has noticed any of the following:
You snore loudly and heavily and are tired during the day.
You stop breathing, you gasp or choke during sleep.
You fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as during a conversation or a meal or 5 minutes after you get into your car…and you are driving!!
Tips to prevent snoring:
Side sleeping: If your snoring problem is minor, then just changing your sleep position might do the trick.
Using SaCha’s TheraSpice Hot Compress: Simply warm the compress and keep it next to your pillow at bedtime. The herbs and spices in the compress prevent nasal congestion. Check our website www.goodhealthalways.in for more details
Drinking ajwain pani: Digestion plays a big role in our sleep patterns and indigestion can cause snoring. Eating large meals or having dairy or soy milk at bedtime can attribute to snoring. Drinking a glass of ajwain pani or a mug of ajwain tea after dinner can prevent snoring brought about by indigestion.
Ginger steam inhalation: The sinuses can obstruct the airways, causing the mouth to open and the uvula, to vibrate and create the annoyance of an all-night snore. A ginger stem inhalation will help prevent this.
Keeping your bedroom air moist: Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat, so if swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier may help.
Losing weight: Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease, or even stop, snoring.
Quitting cigarette smoking: If you smoke, your chances of snoring are high. Smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airways and cause snoring. While quitting is easier said than done, it can bring quick snoring relief.
Avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives: They relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing.
So if you snore (be sure to ask your spouse/bedpartner/roommate…if you haven’t been informed already via a soft nudge or a hard kick) please do something to stop it…to help yourself and your partner live happily ever after
Why does the doctor check your BP each time you visit him? Why is low BP or high BP such a big deal?
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.
Shortness of breath
Causes of high BP:
Lack of physical activity
Too much salt in the diet
Too much alcohol consumption
Family history of high BP
Chronic kidney disease
Adrenal and thyroid issues
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.
A rosy glow on your face can be quite lovely, but when that hint of pink/red on the cheeks begins to become a permanent thing, you may be suffering from rosacea.
Rosacea is a very common skin disease that commonly develops during teenage years or someone’s 20's and they can become worse into the 30's or 40's. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. It causes redness on your nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Some people get little bumps and pimples on the red parts of their faces. It can also cause burning and soreness in your eyes. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. With time, people who have rosacea often see permanent redness in the center of their face. Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:
Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
Phymatous rosacea: Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture.
Ocular rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen, and the person may have what looks like a sty.
When it comes to skin flare-ups — whether from rosacea, acne, eczema, hives, or other conditions — usually there are some specific triggers that cause skin symptoms to emerge. It isn’t always possible to completely “solve” rosacea, but following the rosacea treatment suggestions below can limit your exposure to triggers that increase inflammation.
Identify any triggers in your diet- Since rosacea already makes skin sensitive, many people find that simply addressing the noticeable symptoms — for example, by using harsh chemical creams, prescriptions, light therapy and various lotions — actually winds up making skin symptoms even worse. For some people, these rosacea treatments can lower signs and symptoms, at least temporarily, but they don’t address the root cause of the problem.
Experts say stress is an important trigger of rosacea. Any measures to reduce stress levels will help prevent flare-ups and existing symptoms from getting worse.
Steps to reduce stress may include regular exercise, getting at least 7 hours of good quality sleep every night, and eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.
As vigorous exercise is often a trigger, patients with rosacea are advised to do low-intensity exercises, such as walking or swimming.
Yoga, tai-chi, breathing exercises and meditation may also help reduce stress.
Inflammation stemming from gut-related problems seems to be an especially important issue and the root cause of skin disorders. Your skin is ultimately a reflection of your overall health.
Since inflammation that shows up on your skin can be a clue that you’re experiencing inflammation in your gut, identifying food triggers is an important first step.
The best foods for treating rosacea:
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats like ghee, coconut oil, sesame oil ( in small amounts )
- Lean protein sources
- Anti-inflammatory herbs like oregano, mint, coriander, parsley, and celery
Foods to avoid:
- Anything that may trigger allergies like mushrooms, certain lentils, egg whites etc
-Trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Wait…er…er…now what was I going to say? I forgot…Just give me a minute…it’s at the top of my head…or the tip of my tongue!!!
Does the food we eat have a bearing on our memory? If so, how can we increase our memory with food? Turns out that brain foods matter …especially for our grey matter 😊
In a culture based on overstimulation and multitasking, it’s no surprise that many of us have a hard time remembering things. Well, if you can remember to eat them, there are several memory superfoods that will keep you sharp as a tac! Here is a list of a mix of fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods, oils and even chocolate…yes, you read that right... there is something to please everyone !!!
Fatty fish like salmon, rawas, rohu, katla, tilapia, mackerel/bangda, kingfish/surmai, hilsa, pomfret, sardines, and sea bass
Dark green leafy vegetables
So please don’t forget (!) to add lots of these foods to your daily diet!
When non-stick cookware was first released in the market, people eagerly bought kadhais, frying pans, tavas, griddles etc. The non-stick coating was great for flipping parathas, frying eggs and making dosas. Its benefits included not having to scrape through burnt food stuck stubbornly in pans, being able to fry with less or no oil, faster cooking time etc.
Non-stick cookware is coated with Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. Unfortunately, this contains a harmful chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which has been linked to some health conditions like chronic kidney disease, thyroid disease, heart disease and strokes, testicular cancer, liver disease, infertility, low birth weight infants etc.
Following widespread protests from consumers, all leading non-stick cookware brands including Teflon have been PFOA-free since 2013. So, Teflon generally is today considered safe. However, at temperatures above 300°C, Teflon coating on cookware begins to break down and release toxic chemicals. In fact, high temperature cooking for long hours can lead to ‘Teflon Flu’ or ‘polymer fume fever’ from inhaling all the gases emitted from your non-stick cookware. Symptoms include influenza with headaches, chills, and fever. Lung damage can also occur.
You can minimize your risk of exposure to harmful chemicals while cooking in non-stick cookware by using the following tips
Don't preheat an empty non-stick pot, pan or tava. When empty, they heat up quickly, break down the coating (at a molecular level not visible to the human eye) and release harmful polymer fumes.
Choose a heavy weight non-stick pan as opposed to a light-weight one which will heat up quickly.
Cook on low or medium heat as against high heat when using non-stick cookware.
Avoid broiling of food in non-stick cookware.
Use wooden or silicon spoons when stirring food. Regular stainless steel spoons can scratch out the coating.
Ventilate your kitchen by opening up windows or turning on an exhaust fan….to help clear any toxic fumes.
Do not use steel wool or metal scouring pads to clean non-stick cookware.
Do not stack non-stick pans one on top of the other…use a paper towel between them if you want to save space on your kitchen shelf or utensil cabinet.
Once the coating begins to chip or flake or peel or get scratched out, discard and replace immediately.
Most importantly, if you cook with oil, be sure to clean off all the cooking oil after each use. Else layers of oil will build up, reducing the non-stick properties of your cookware. Sadly, if you vigorously scrub off the layers of oil, you will also scrape off the non-stick coating. An easy way out of this conundrum is to not use oil !!!
Personally, we use stainless steel pans and ceramic-coated cast iron cookware (Le Creuset)….expensive…heavy to handle while doing pot washing (which we do ourselves)…but really good to cook in. The ceramic coating is a better heat conductor and does not contain toxic chemicals. Traditional cast iron pans and stoneware (both of which have been seasoned well) and ceramic cookware are also good to cook in. Ceramic cookware is free of PTFE and PFOA.
How about you? Are you a fan of non-stick cookware? Whichever cookware you choose to cook in, it is important to recognize that the way you cook and clean your pan can have as much or more of an impact on cookware longevity ( and your own longevity) than the coating itself !!!
When you hear about depression, you probably associate the word with people who are severely depressed, very sad, lonely and don’t even want to or cannot get out of bed. While that is definitely a form of severe depression, there is another type that is not often talked about…called dysthymia or high functioning depression.
What is Dysthymia?
High functioning depression or dysthymia is a “depressed mood for most of the day, for more days of the month than not, for at least two years.” It includes the presence of two or more of the following symptoms:
Poor appetite or overeating
Insomnia or hypersomnia
Low energy or fatigue
Difficulty making decisions
Feelings of hopelessness and despair
The uniquely tricky thing about high-functioning depression is that it’s hard to spot precisely because the people dealing with it look ‘normal’ from the outside like they’re in control of their lives and are holding it all together.
In other words, someone struggling with dysthymia may still be able to get up and go to their demanding, prestigious job, be in a romantic relationship, post the believable smiley photos on Facebook and Instagram, regularly get together with their workmates for happy hour at a local bar and generally handle all the logistical adulting stuff of their life — passing for someone who doesn’t “look depressed.”
How do you know if you may be suffering from dysthymia?
Inability or difficulty experiencing joy
Relentless criticality of self and others
Irritability or excessive anger
Small things feel like huge things
Feelings of guilt or worry over the past and future
Relying on your coping strategies more and more
Inability to rest and slow down
If you see yourself in these symptoms, it is important to seek help and not be ashamed of something that is actually quite common.
The reality with high-functioning depression and moving through your days is that it can often feel like you’re attempting to build a huge castle on a foundation of quicksand.
Your kitchen has several ingredients that can help you cope.
Elaichi powder is an anti-depressant which when taken at bedtime with soaked strands of saffron and haldi powder will ensure that the symptoms of dysthymia decrease in intensity.
Star anise therapeutic water will up your energy levels. Please stop having this by 7pm so that your sleep cycle is not affected.
Khuskhus and nutmeg paste will help with sleep.
Eating a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables daily will ensure that your vitamin and mineral needs are adequately met.
Omega fatty acids, Fish oils, cold pressed coconut oil, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds are all good to boost serotonin levels and to ensure that you ‘feel good’
Vaginal Health – an integral part of a woman’s well-being
Your lady parts may be a bit of a sticky subject, but your vaginal discharge, which is actually the result of the natural shedding of cervical and vaginal cells, can effectively tell you quite a bit about your health.
Women all have a bit of discharge ranging from a teaspoon to a tablespoon daily. The amount, smell, color and texture of vaginal discharge can be indicators of what is going on inside your body….so read on to know more.
Thin and clear: This is your standard discharge. Towards the beginning of your menstrual cycle, your discharge will generally be clear/milky white and watery. As long as there isn’t any itching or a foul odor, there is no need to worry.
Brown or bloody: If you just finished your period, a brownish discharge could be some leftover blood being sent out. But if you have random mid-month spotting around the time of ovulation or otherwise, please consult your gynecologist. Brownish or blood-tinged vaginal discharge could be from a vaginal infection, a lost tampon, an ovarian cyst, uterine polyp. Eat unsweetened cranberries if there is a urinary tract infection.
Cloudy or yellow: This could be a sign of an STD like gonorrhea. Consult your gynecologist asap if you also have bleeding between two menstrual cycles, urinary incontinence, and pelvic pain.
Fishy smell: Your vaginal pH could be the reason…it is acidic when healthy and alkaline when there is an infection. Treat infections when they arise to prevent reproductive problems later on. Douching, using harsh soaps and cleansers, using body sprays, talcum powders etc will only cover up the smell without addressing the problem. In fact, douching can alter the acidic pH of the vagina and make it more susceptible to bacterial infections. Use sanitary pads, not tampons during infections.
Thick and lumpy: If you're experiencing discharge that is odorless, thick, white and has a lumpy texture …a bit like paneer, it's likely to be a yeast infection. You may also experience itching, soreness, burning, and irritation. Plain dahi or plain Greek yogurt has probiotics which prevent yeast infections. If the problem still persists do consult your gynecologist.
Egg white consistency: If your discharge is occasionally clear and stretchy, like raw egg whites, it is an indication that you are ovulating …you should get your period a fortnight later if you haven’t already conceived!!
Thick and gummy: At the beginning of your pregnancy, you may notice a thicker, heavier or gummy discharge. This is because the cervix and vaginal walls get softer, and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb. Just nature’s way of protecting your fetus!!
White Spots- a common thought is that these white spots are from a calcium deficiency, but these spots actually occur from trauma to the nail and will grow out as your nails grow. It can also be from a fungal infection so try using tea tree oil.
Brittle Nails- this problem is caused by a dry nail plate. Dishwashing (without using gloves) or swimming can cause your nails to become brittle. It can also occur because of hyperthyroidism. Try using a lubricant after your hands have been in the water for a long time…if brittle nails persist, check your TSH levels.
️Yellow Nails- the change in color of your nails can be a sign of diseases, such as diabetes and bronchitis
Lifting Nails- this is when your nail separates from the nail bed. This is due to irritation or overexposure to water. Seek a medical professional opinion and try to keep your hands dry as much as possible. Vertical Ridges- these lines running along your nails are completely normal. They are actually just a sign of aging. Always keep your nails and cuticles moisturized.
Spoon Nails- if your fingernails are curving up, check your hemoglobin levels. This is a sign of an iron deficiency called anemia. Food supplements of iron will help…but also check for liver disease, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism.
Clubbing- this is when your nails appear softer and the tips of the nails hang over the tip of your finger. This might be the sign of lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, AIDS, and liver disease.
So take a close look at your nails today. Regular use of nail polish and acetone is not recommended if you want to keep your nails healthy.
Stay blessed with good health…always!!!
Have you ever had that awful feeling when you’re at a fancy party and the person talking to you has really bad breath? Or even worse...do you have bad breath? If yes, the read on...
Halitosis is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. However, other causes could include gum disease, tooth decay, heavy metal build-up, infection of the respiratory tract (throat, lungs, nose, and windpipe), improper diet, constipation, smoking, fever, diabetes, foreign bacteria in the mouth, indigestion, inadequate protein digestion, liver or kidney malfunction, postnasal drip, stress, and too much unfriendly bacteria in the colon.
Dieting, alcohol abuse, or fasting can cause bad breath as well. “Morning breath” results from dehydration and reduction in the amount of saliva, which is needed to wash away bacteria in the mouth.
Chewing a sprig of celery or parsley after meals is an excellent treatment for bad breath. Parsley and celery are rich in chlorophyll, the active ingredient in many popular breath mints.
Other herbs that may be helpful for bad breath include star anise, cloves, and fennel (saunf).
Drink generous amounts of water.
Avoid spicy foods, whose odours can linger for hours. Foods like garlic, onion, some cheese, salami and tuna leaves oils in the mouth that can release odours for up to twenty-four hours, no matter how much you brush or gargle. Beer, coffee, whiskey, and wine leave residues that stick to the soft, sticky plaque on teeth and get into the digestive system. Each exhalation releases their odour back into the air.
Avoid foods that get stuck between the teeth easily or that cause tooth decay, such as meat, stringy vegetables, and sweets, especially sticky sweets and toffees.
Brush your teeth and tongue after every meal.
Use a tongue scraper to help remove bacterial plaque and shed dead cells and food debris from the surface of the tongue.
Replace your toothbrush every month, as well as after any infectious illness, to prevent bacteria build-up.
Use dental floss and a chlorophyll mouthwash daily.
Keep your toothbrush clean.
Do not use commercial mouthwashes. Most contain nothing more than flavouring, dye, and alcohol. While they may kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, the bacteria soon return in greater force. Mouthwashes can also irritate the gums, tongue, and mucous membranes in the mouth.
Have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
Bad breath may be the sign of an underlying health problem. Consult your health care provider for a thorough check-up if our suggestions do not improve the condition.
An extremely common disease, gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in blood and causes joint inflammation. Acute gout is a painful condition that typically affects one joint, while chronic gout is repeated episodes of pain and inflammation, which may involve more than one joint.
Gout is caused by having higher-than-normal levels of uric acid levels in your body. This may occur if:
Your body makes too much uric acid
Your body has a hard time getting rid of uric acid
If too much uric acid builds up in the fluid around the joints (synovial fluid), uric acid crystals form. These crystals cause the joint to swell up and become inflamed.
People with diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, anemia, leukemia and other blood cancers are susceptible to gout.
The big toe, knee or ankle joints are most often affected. The pain starts suddenly, often during the night and it is often throbbing. The joint may appear warm and red. It is very tender...it hurts to lay even a thin cloth over it. Gout can be prevented by:
Drinking plenty of water to flush out uric acid.
Eating foods rich in folic acid, like cabbage, spinach, methi, mint, coriander etc
Eating vitamin C -rich foods grapefruit, celery, pineapple, cherries and citrus fruits
Avoiding liver, kidney, red meat, fish, shellfish, oats, yeast, mushrooms, vinegar and alcohol
Remedies for Gout:
Make a mix of equal parts of dried mint powder, cumin powder, flax seed powder, dried parsley, fennel and turmeric powder.Have 2 tsp of this mix after lunch and 1 tsp after dinner.
Drink 2 liters of water infused with 15 mint leaves and 10 basil leaves.
Kidney stones and urinary tract stones are a common problem. They are hard mineral matter formed in the kidneys or urinary tract. However, contrary to popular belief, kidney stones are due to a deficiency of the mineral magnesium, not an excess of calcium. Magnesium helps to keep calcium soluble.
Blood in the urine and severe pain in the abdomen and groin can be attributed to kidney stones or renal calculi.
The kidney and urinary bladder form the urinary system. The kidney is a filtration and excretory organ. The bladder is a temporary storage and elimination organ. The kidneys assist the liver in filtering the blood of toxins such as urea. The kidneys also ensure the resorption of useful organic substances like minerals.
Stones can form for different reasons:
An improper ratio of dietary calcium: magnesium.
Excessive vitamin D supplementation.
Sugar, salt, oxalate-containing foods like spinach and excessive consumption of calcium-containing antacids, diuretics etc may foster stone formation.
People with gout (high uric acid), high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperparathyroidism, and diabetes are susceptible to kidney stones….as are people who have had intestinal bypass surgery.
Dehydration is a major risk factor.
As is a decrease in the volume of urine excreted.
High calcium in the urine can cause kidney stones.
Diet and hereditary factors also play a role in stone formation.
Pregnancy-related changes can cause kidney stone formation in a small percentage of pregnant women.
Frequent urinary tract infections can also lead to stone formation.
Alcohol intake will tax the functioning of the kidneys.
Damage to the kidneys can also be caused by the harmful effects of certain diseases, such as diabetes, and by some prescription drugs, such as ibuprofen.
Uremia, a condition produced by the retention of toxins which the kidneys normally excrete, is a result of severe kidney damage and is treated through dialysis
An appropriate preventive therapy is to drink two liters of pure water daily. Avoid tap water and water softeners. Replace tea and coffee with herbal teas that have a beneficial effect on the urinary tract, and restrict intake of alcohol.
Dietary changes include a vegetarian diet high in dietary fiber. Foods high in oxalates such as beans, cocoa, instant coffee, parsley, and spinach can aggravate existing kidney problems due to a lack of good bacteria in the intestines. Recent studies found that a naturally occurring gut bacterium, Oxalobacter formigenes prevents the formation of oxalates and can help prevent stones. Fermenting these foods will also prevent the formation of oxalates.
The greatest contributors to high sodium content are processed foods, red meats, and cheeses. Urinary tract infection is sometimes successfully relieved by drinking large amounts of cranberry juice and taking vitamin C, because of the acidifying effect of these substances. Canned asparagus (with its juice) is also a good natural remedy. Lemon barley with mint and apple cider vinegar is a beverage that can help kidney stones.
Nutrients that support the kidneys are vitaminB6, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, magnesium, and potassium.
The kidneys are known as the ‘seat of fear’. When the kidneys are weak or become diseased, it could indicate a fear buried deep in the psyche. There may be a tendency to blame others for one’s own problems. Recognizing personal needs and taking responsibility for one’s life is a good step towards healing the kidneys.
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.
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
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.
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.
Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
It may interact with warfarin or cyclosporine, so patients taking these drugs should avoid it.
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.
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.
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.
If taken in large amounts it can cause insomnia, dizziness and gastrointestinal discomfort due to its caffeine content.
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.
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 !!!