Housefull with “HOLY” Basil

 

Tulsi

Holy Basil, popularly known as “TULSI” in India is an absolute    “WONDER HERB”. In India holy basil/tulsi is considered to be a sacred plant and keeping this plant at home is considered to be holy and healthy living. Both the leaves and the seeds of this plant possess medicinal properties and the benefits of using this plant are known from as early as the vedic period.

This plant has many therapeutic benefits and the reason i am writing about it, especially at this time of the year, is its role in respiratory disorders and in viral infections. Every other household has common cold, cough or viral fever going on in my part of the world (Bangalore, India). Normally during the rainy season, common cold, flu, dengue fever are widely prevalent. Experts say that during this time a decoction of tulsi leaves acts as a preventative ( exactly why i add tulsi+ginger tea in my diet plans 😉

The leaves of tulsi plant have expectorant properties. They are shown to help remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes. According to ayurvedic physicians, a decoction made of 5-6 tulsi leaves + honey (pure/organic) and fresh squeezed ginger juice is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, flu, cough and cold (Dr. Bakhru, 2007,pp 205).

According to the review of the scientific literature, it is the darker coloured leaves, known as Krishna Tulsi, is more beneficial in respiratory disorder than the lighter coloured version, known as Shyam Tulsi.

The leaves of Tulsi plant are considered “TONIC”.

Benefits of Tulsi leaves:-

  1. They are shown to sharpen memory
  2. Remove catarrhal matter & phlegm from bronchial tubes
  3. Stomach strengthening
  4. Induce copious perspiration. They are specific to many fevers, especially viral fevers.
  5. Helps relieve sore throat
  6. Found beneficial in cardiac disease and reducing blood cholesterol levels.
  7. According to some studies, the usage of leaves protect against stress significantly. This makes the leaves “anti-stress” agents too (major requirement today 😉
  8. Tulsi is also shown to have strengthening effect on the kidney.

Ayurvedic and herbal experts suggest that 5-12 leaves of tulsi chewed twice a day, morning and evening, helps prevent stress, helps in purifying blood and in the prevention of several common ailments.

 

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

Referances:-

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bakhru, H.K. (2007). A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure 4th ed. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

3. Bakhru,H.K.(2007). Naturopathy for Longevity. Mumbai, india: Jaico publishing house.

4. Chaudhury, R.R.(2007). The healing powers of HerbsNew Delhi, India:Sterling paperbacks

 

 

 

 

 

Antioxidants – THE LIFE SAVING SUPERHEROES

Antioxidants

We are all familiar with the word-  “ANTIOXIDANT”,  why wouldn’t we? It’s all around us. Health articles, T.V. commercials, healthcare provides, all are talking about them today. Even one T.V. commercial has a little kid,around 5 year old, talking about antioxidants, but, do we really know what it is and how do we  benefit from ANTIOXIDANTS?

We all are living in a world where, what you see on T.V. is what you bring home. “It was on T.V. that it’s good for  you and so i just got it. I am sure it must be healthy.” is the typical answer I get when i ask about antioxidants to my clients.

Well, lets learn about it today:

Definition: “Antioxidants are the nutrients, vitamin and minerals found in food and also manufactured by our bodies. They are critical for optimal health.” (Packer & Colman, pp1)

Function: They work together to protect us from free radicals. Free Radicals are substances which damage our healthy cells. Free radicals are produced by our body during the process of energy production but other things that can trigger free radical production in the body are certain chemicals (including the perfumes and cosmetics that we use), smoke, traffic pollution, solar radiation, technological radiation, poor diet etc. Antioxidants control the damage process of free radicals and also influence how fast and how well we age. (Packer & Colman,2000.)

The Antioxidant network: Even though there are many antioxidants, these main 5 make it an antioxidant network.Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Glutathione, lipoid acid and Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10).

Our body does not produce vitamin C and E so they are must to be obtained through food. Glutathione, Lipoic acid and Co Q10 are produced by our body but as we age the level of these antioxidants decline in the body thus making it necessary to supplement all the above.  Lester Packer PH.d, discovered, in his lab, that these network antioxidants have special powers which set them above all the other antioxidants. Packer shares that these guys are particularly effective in slowing down the ageing process and boosting the body’s ability to fight against diseases as these network antioxidants can greatly enhance the power of one another. Lipoic acid is the superhero of them all. it is the most powerful of all and greatly enhances the power of all the other antioxidants (Packer & Colman, pp 9-10).

Vitamin E: It is our body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. This must be obtained from food and supplements. Research shows that vitamin E can protect us from heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and several types of cancers including prostate cancer. Experiments done in Packer’s lab have shown that vitamin E can even extend our lifespan. Research also show that exercise depletes the body of Vitamin E and other antioxidants so they have to be replaced if one wants to see desirable result from their exercise (exactly why my post workout meal plan includes these 🙂 ). Eating a diet rich in vitamin E is important but, it is virtually impossible to get the ideal amount through diet alone. According to Dr. Packer, if you want to get 500I.U. of vitamin E from food alone, you will have to eat more that 100 pounds of broiled liver or 125 tablespoons of peanut oil (Packer & Colman, pp 13). Wouldn’t you rather take the supplement???

Vitamin C: This is a water soluble antioxidant. This guy is not produced by the body so it is a must that we obtain it by eating vitamin C rich foods and through supplements. Vitamin C has shown to be the potent free radical  quencher and it is essential for the health and functioning of our immune system. Studies performed at The University of California show that people who take vitamin C live healthier and longer lives (Packer & Colman, pp 20).

Lipoic Acid: As mentioned above, this guy is a superhero, enhancing the abilities of other antioxidants. Apart from this, lipoic acid has been used in Europe for more than 3 decades in the treatment of complications from diabetes. Dr. Packer’s research shows that lipoid acid may offer significant protection against stroke and heart disease.This is the only antioxidant that can also significantly boost the level of glutathione ( another important antioxidant). According to several studies, Glutathione when taken orally is not absorbed well by the body and most of it goes to waste. Experiments in Packer’s lab has shown that Lipoic acid can boost glutathione levels in the cells by unto 30%. So, when you take lipoid acid supplement, you get an additional dose of glutathione (Packer & Colman, pp 19).

Glutathione: Most abundant antioxidant. It’s found almost in every cell and it is important to fight against free radicals. As we reach our 40’s the production of glutathione declines and can drop unto 20% by the age of 60. (Do take a note of it’s absorption in the above para).

CO Q10: A fat soluble antioxidant. It protects the fatty part of the cell from free radical damage, working synergistically with vitamin E. There are several studies that document that Co Q10 is an effective treatment for heart failure, angina and high blood pressure.

There are many more researched conclusions advising us to including these as supplements in our daily routine.

Reference :-

1.  Packer L, Ph.D., Colman. C, (2000). The Antioxidant Miracle,John Wiley & Sons, Inc, NY.

VIT D Deficiency – An Epidemic

vitamin-d-and-the-sun

Today, mejority of the urban indians have low vitamin D levels and are on injections or supplements to correct the deficiency. Yet, there are many who ignore the importance of Vit D and other vitamins in the human body.

Vit D is a miraculous nutrient and its deficiency is linked to lifestyle disease including obesity, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

We know that Vit D plays a major role in Human bone health but its health benefits are not just limited to bones.

Vitamin D expert William Grant, PhD, puts it this way:

The health benefits of vitamin D extend to at least 100 types of disease, with the strongest evidence for many types of cancer (breast, colon, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and rectal), cardiovascular disease, diabetes types 1 and 2, respiratory infections such as type A influenza and pneumonia, other infections such as sepsis, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.”- (taken from article by Dr. Jonny Bowden).

Research shows that sufficient amount of this hormone-like vitamin helps in balancing the hormones thus lowering the risk of Hyper/Hypothyroidism and PCOD, the two most prevailing health concerns amongst the young generation today. Balanced levels of vitamin D also helps in weight loss, keeps you feeling young and energetic.

You can get vitamin D from the sun but it must get converted to its usable form D3. Proper absorption of vitamin D relies on the presence of essential fats in the body. Bring in that desi ghee (homemade or organic),groundnut, mustard and coconut oils. Learn about fats well rather than blindly following the media. Stick to your roots. Use your common sense. If coconut oil or mustard oil was “FATTY” than entire south India and west bengal regions would have been obese.

To my clients surprise, I add besan pakodas (yup those deep fried gram flour snacks) to their diet plan and ask them to enjoy it once a week (obviously homemade especially during these rainy days). These provide the body with essential fats required for assimilation of vit D. No, this essential fat intake will not affect your cholesterol levels, Leading an in-active lifestyle and eating packaged foods and biscuits will. And, Besan (gram flour) is rich in phytosterols and fiber just like our very famous “OATS”, One more reason to stick to your local traditional food 🙂

So this rainy season, chuck the guilt out and enjoy your homemade besan pakodas and bhajiyas 🙂 (Remember the rule of thumb- only eat when hungry & DO NOT OVEREAT).

When Vit D is assimilated well it improves brain health as well. Wonder why those pakoras always make you feel good? 😉

Dosage:

Vitamin D expert Zoltan Roma, MD, MSc, author of “Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin, states that “Research now indicates that the correct figure for the minimum daily requirement is 4000 IUs”.- taken from Article by Dr. Jonny Bowden.

It is always advisable to get your Vit D levels checked and take the supplements as advised.

References:-

1) Bowden, Jonny, Dr. “Vitamin D Toxicity: What You Need to Know.” Weblog post. Jonny Bowden. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2015.

2) Bowden, Jonny. “Can Vitamin D Protect Your Brain?” Web log post. Jonny Bowden. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2015.

3) Diwekar, Rujuta. “http://www.outlookindia.com/article/vitamin-d-and-our-fave-snack/294681.” http://www.outlookindia.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 July 2015.

Ollaaa OKRA!!!!!

fresh okra on white background , close upOkra, popularly known in India as “BHINDI” OR “BHENDI” is a staple of traditional INDIAN cooking. If you are an indian you know this and agree that we indians love our “Masala Bhendi” or the favourite “Aaloo Bhindi” but, what you may not know is how nutritionally abundant this green veggie is? Okra/Bhindi has a unique combination of valuable nutrients and this is one of the selected group of foods which contains naturally occurring “Glutathione”. Optimal amount of glutathione are required for supporting the immune system. Glutathione also helps liver detoxify chemicals. (J.Bowden, pp 52). Okra/bhindi is high on fiber ( Ever heard your doctor/nutritionist saying “eat more fiber”??). 1 cup of cooked bhindi is about 35 calories and provides 4 grams of fiber, way more than those commercial cold cereals. Even though a vegetable, it is rich in protein “yup”, this same one cup gives about 3 g of protein which is pretty high for a vegetable (This does not mean you cut down on daal at a meal as you need much more than 3 grams of protein at each meal).

Okra is also high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin K and Folic acid.

From Ayurvedic point of view: Okra or bhindi is said to be “TRIDOSHIC”. Let me explain…. According to ayurveda we have “3 Doshas” / 3 metabolic types – 1. VATA, PITTA and KAPHA. Different foods have different balancing effects on these three doshas, So, our traditional Bhindi is good for balancing all the three doshas / metabolic types.

SOOO!!! Relish your Bhindi dish more than ever 🙂

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

Reference :-

1.  Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

Cinnamonilicious…..

cinnamon

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Very happy Holidays 🙂

Holiday season means lots of new “FLAVOURS TO SAVOUR”-

Pumpkin Cinnamon/Spice HOT latte of  Starbucks—- yummmmm!!!!

Pumpkin pie and apple pie— yum!! yum!!

Christmas Plum cake

or

My Desi masala CHAI (Tea) mmmmmm!!! so good

1 thing all of the above have common is “CINNAMON”. I like to call it “THE WINTER SPICE”.

Cinnamon is used in all types of cuisines at some point. In india it is used in tea, sweets etc.

Cinnamon goes way beyond its flavour and beautiful aroma, it has a lot of medicinal properties. Read on to know those…

  • Cinnamon has shown to help ease pain and stiffness in muscles and joints: Presence of anti-inflammatory compounds make this possible.
  • Cinnamon functions as a carminative (GAS RELIEVER) thus being wonderful for digestion.
  • Cinnamon also contains compound called “catechins” which help in relieving nausea.
  • Cinnamon contains 2 phytochemicals, “eugenol” and “geraniol” which are shown to combat candida (overgrowth of yeast in our system).
  • Excellent for diabetics as shown the ability to moderate blood sugar. In clinical studies cinnamon extracts have shown to reduce blood sugar and “bad” cholesterol. C.Leigh Broadhurst,Ph.D., a research scientist at the USDA and her team tested the effects of 49 different herbs,spices and some medicinal plants on glucose metabolism and according to them, cinnamon was the “STAR” of the show. From the test it was seen ” An active ingredient, methylhydroxychalcone polymer, or MHCP mimics insulin function, increasing the glucose uptake by cells and signalling certain types to cells to convert glucose to glycogen (the storage form of sugar)” – J.Bowden, 150 healthiest food on earth, pp 279. 

Homemade treatment for blood sugar as per mentioned in the book on diabetes by C. Broadhurst :-

“3 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (less if sodium is a problem for you). Take a 32 oz canning jar and fill it with boiling water and the spice mixture. Let it steep at room temperature till it’s cool. Strain the liquid and discard the grounds, put a lid on he jar, stick it in the fridge. Initially drink 1-8 ounce cup of the tea 4 times a day and drop down to 1 to 2 cups a day after 1-3 weeks”-  J.bowden, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, 2007; pp 279.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

Reference :-

1.  Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

Rainbowlicious :P

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My Rainbow Salad 🙂

Delicious and healthy salad (Nutrient rich)

These were the things left in my refrigerator last night so i decided to go “Continental” 😉

So for this colourful salad I took

Broccoli, tomatoes. Zucchini, mushrooms (button-can’t find Shitake easily in my part of the world), Carrots, red onion.

Cut them into small bite size pieces and sautéed them in very little “Filtered” groundnut oil. Then i sprinkled some salt and freshly grounded black pepper + some italian parsley and rosemary leaves cut up on it. Mixed everything and drizzled little lemon juice on top. Walaahhh my yummy salad was ready but my meal wasn’t as proteins were still missing. I always have mixed sprouts handy at home so all i did was added aprrox 250 gms of mixed sprouts and little amount of grated “un-processed” all natural pepper-cheddar cheese to this salad and i was all set for a yummy, healthy, nutrient rich dinner.

Try it yourelf 🙂

If you are a non-vegetarian you can club this salad (minus cheese) with grilled or baked fish ( mackerel is a healthy choice) or 1 grilled (skinless) or pan cooked chicken breast (approx 3oz- size of your palm).

Learn the art of eating and save yourself from the rising healthcare cost and distress of illness.

The urge from within… health while on vacation

 

 

 

 

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I am back from my wonderful vacation which I got to take after 2 and 1/2 long years of busy schedule. This was my vacation from “literally” everything my work, workouts, playing with shera 😦 [for those who don’t know- Shera is my 1 yr 6 months Great Dane) and my dancing.  It was really nice to see my family and friends in the USA after a long time. Spent quality time with all of them.  Upon returning back my friends (the few with a gorgeous heart 😉 ) surprised me with a trip to kerela – Located in southern India. There I was – another beautiful vacation this time with my friends.

Now that all this is done, I am back to my routine of work, regular workouts (starting back with light weight to slowly get back to normal) and of course playing with my boy :D.

The main point of this post is “GETTING BACK ON TRACK POST VACATION”.

How many of you have said this to yourself  after returning from vacation ” Dude I need another vacation to get over this vacation.”?

Most of us lazy out to get back to “exercising” and “sensible eating” post a little longer than a 2 day break from these.

The question here is how badly you want it??? How bad do you want to get fit? How crazy are you about being healthy with a perfect body?

Getting back into routine has to come from within. Vacation or no vacation, the drive to be healthy and beautiful should come from within and stay brightly burning throughout.

Even though you cannot go for regular workouts, when you watch what you are eating even while on vacation BOOM!!!! 1st step covered. Did I do that you may ask? Yup I did. I call it “SENSIBLE” eating. I tried all the delicacies (INCLUDING CHEESE CAKE YUM YUM!! 😛 ) of the places i visited but I followed 2 main rules

1) I ate only when I was hungry (following my 2 1/2 hr pattern)

2)  I ate as much as I could no overeating in greed of not getting the same food later.

Follow these 2 simple rule of thumb and you will maintain what you achieved  in the GYM back home.

Yes, you can but only when you have the urge/drive to do so. When you follow these basic rules while on vacation you will no longer have to “worry” about doing those “extra” calorie burning on the treadmill or living on “soups and salads” after reaching back home or “man I so don’t want to go to work” because you will be fully relaxed, no bloating due to over eating and no weight gain and best is you will feel fresh and content.

So now that vacation times are coming near especially in India with the festive season starting from next week YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO 😉

KEEP YOUR “HEALTHY LIFESTYLE” SWITCH ALWAYS ON AND YOU ARE GOOD TO GO…

ALL THE BEST