Monday, October 31, 2011

Don’t let allergies get you down

An allergy is a medical condition that makes you feel ill when you eat or come in contact with a particular substance. 

General physician Dr Shahid Barmare says, "Allergies happen when the immune system mistakenly believes that something the person ate or came in contact with, is harmful to the body. To protect the body, the immune system produces IgE antibodies to that allergen. IgE antibodies then trigger mast cells (allergy cells in the body) to release chemicals into the bloodstream. One of these chemicals is histamine. Histamine acts on the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin or gastrointestinal tract and causes symptoms of an allergic reaction. Once the body has made antibodies against a certain allergen, these antibodies easily recognise the allergen. Each time the person comes in contact with the allergen, the body releases histamine into the bloodstream again, creating allergy symptoms," says Dr Barmare. 

Cosmetic physician Dr Rashmi Shetty lists common allergies that affect people: 

Dust allergy 
Having runny or stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes and sneezing due to dust exposure such as vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting means you are affected by dust allergy. 

Well-known dust allergy symptoms are unmanageable sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and in some cases a small red coloured dust allergy rash located on some part of your body such as your stomach or your upper arm. 

Pollen allergy 
During spring and summer, tiny particles are released from trees, weeds and grasses. Known as pollen, these ride in the air and enter noses and throats, triggering a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis called Pollen Allergy. 

Although pollen allergy symptoms are similar to cold symptoms, you can tell the difference because colds are associated with thicker nasal secretions, sore throat, hoarseness, and possibly fever. Also, colds tend to get better fairly quickly. 

Contact allergy 
Contact allergy is caused in sensitive individuals, who can get allergic reactions through different things such as metals (gold-silver oxidised jewelry), leather (wrist watch), synthetic fibers (clothing such as undergarments). 

Symptoms of a contact allergy usually occur within 30 minutes after exposure to the allergen, although symptoms may take up to several hours to appear. Common allergens include poison oak and poison ivy, latex, rubber, nickel, preservatives, dyes, medications, fragrances, and cosmetics such as hair dye and perfume. 

Sun allergy 
Sun allergy is having small white patches due to sunlight on the exposed areas of the body. 

Having small white patches due to sunlight on the exposed areas of the body. In addition, there is a syndrome known as "sun drunk" which affects some children who suffer from a sun allergy. 

Food allergies 
Symptoms include itching in the mouth, hives, itching or eczema, redness around the mouth, swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body, wheezing, nasal congestion or difficulty in breathing, pain in the lower abdominal area, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, light headedness or fainting. 

"These symptoms are immediately seen after having an allergy causing food. While severe allergy can cause drop in the blood pressure, tightening of the airways making it very difficult to breath, losing one's consciousness. The best way to avoid allergies is to avoid foods that can cause allergy. But it's also important that for foods that are excluded, suitable alternatives are introduced to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Equip yourself with enough knowledge to read and understand food labels to know if there is any allergy causing ingredient present before buying any ready-to-eat food stuff," says detician and sports nutritionist Deepshikha Agarwal. 

Be safe 
-When in restaurants, avoid calling for a dish with too many ingredients or anything which is completely unknown to you. Always ask ingredients used before trying a new recipe. 

-Avoid salad bars, juice bars or self-serve buffets. Arm yourself with enough knowledge so you can be constantly vigilant about what you eat, and what you need to avoid. 

-Go for food intolerance/ allergy tests as a precaution to know about its intolerances beforehand.

-If you're unsure if you have an allergy or hypersensitivity, withdraw the food for two weeks, than reintroduce it to see if you get a reaction. 

Foods known to cause allergies 
It is observed that many infants under one year old suffer from cow's milk allergy, making it the most common food allergy of childhood. The substitute to cow's milk can be soya milk. In adults, the most common foods that cause allergic reactions are shellfish (shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab), soybeans, peanuts, honey, milk, eggs, peanuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts, soya or wheat. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick fixes for good health

Three simple steps will help you better your health. Here's what you should do:
Improve dull and dry skin
- Ensure adequate fluid intake in the day including a glass of fresh vegetable juice daily.
- Good quality protein intake is essential; along with five servings of fruits and vegetable daily.
- Take vitamin E, Omega-3 supplements. Alternate each once daily.

Reduce hair loss
- Good quality protein is most essential (soyabean for vegetarians/egg whites for non-vegetarians)
- Brewer's Yeast tablets help reduce hair fall.
- Biotin supplements help to strengthen hair follicles.

Increase energy and immunity levels
- Eat small frequent meals. Ideally eat every two hours.
- One shot of fresh wheat grass juice at least three to four times a week.
- Vitamin B12 supplementation - oral or via injections.

Improve cardio vascular health
- Walk for 45 to 60 minutes four to five times times a week.
- Eat one to two tsp of roasted flaxseeds daily, this helps increase good cholesterol (HDL).
- Include yoga one to three times a week to reduce stress induced damage.

Improve diabetes
- Take one to two tsp soaked methi (fenugreek) seeds in the morning.
- Have one teaspoon jamun powder at bedtime.
- Reduce excess fat to improve insulin resistance.

Reduce water retention
- Lower sodium intake and increase potassium intake.
- Flush body with ample fluids so that's body prevents cellular accumulations.
- Limit intake of caffeine, NSAID, and alcohol.

Improve metabolism
- Eat within the first hour of waking.
- Ensure adequate protein intake in the day your body uses more calories to digest them.
- Walk at least 40 minutes five times a week.

Reduce post menopausal discomfort
- Include a soya concentrate supplement which mimics estrogen function in the body.
- Include vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supplement as it helps prevent bloating.
- Evening Primrosa helps alleviate menopausal discomfort.

Overcome constipation
- Drink eight to 12 glasses of water daily. Reduce caffeine consumption.
- Walk minimum three to four times a week for about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Drink a glass of fresh vegetable juice daily with minimum three vegetables in it and 100 per cent roughage retained.

Reduce discomfort due to gas or flatulence
- Eat within the first half an hour of waking up.
- Eat fresh ginger (grated + lime juice) with main meals.
- Take ¼ tsp ajwain + ¼ tsp jeera seeds+ ¼ tsp methi seeds with water at bedtime.

Combat pollution
- Eat two to three servings of fresh fruits and three to four servings of vegetables daily.
- Take an antioxidant tablet once daily.
- Have two to three cups of green tea daily.

Get rid of acidity
- Eat a fruit within the first hour of rising. Don't start your day with tea or coffee.
- Eat every two hours whether hungry or not.
- Avoid papad, pickles, fermented foods like idli/dosa as much as possible.

Fight insomnia
- Don't starve at dinner time. Eat a healthy light dinner daily.
- If dinner is eaten early, then eat a small snack two hours later as well.
- A warm cup of milk induces serotonin release which helps you calm down and induce sleep.

Alleviate cramps
- Include high potassium fruits like banana, plum, peaches, musk melon in your daily diet.
- Ensure adequate hydration in the day, as even mild dehydration can increase muscular cramping.
- Don't avoid carbs. Inadequate carbohydrate intake is also implicated strongly in muscle cramps.

Reduce frequency of headaches
- Eat every two hours so as to prevent low sugar levels induced headaches.
- Reduce caffeine, MSG, chocolate and wine consumption.
- Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water daily.

Reduce oral ulcers
- Increase folic acid consumption by having green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes and fruits; or oral supplementation.
- Low levels of vitamin B12 could also trigger ulcers, so take supplements if vegetarian.
- Include one to two cups of yogurt daily, the healthy bacteria help to reduce blisters.

Avoid dizzy spells
- Increase sodium intake - add dash of rock salt to curds, salads or chaas.
- Increase electrolyte and water intake if excessive perspiration loss has occurred.
- Eat sweet fruits like banana, chickoo, pineapple to boost sugar levels in case of hypoglycemia induced dizziness.(Inputs by Nutritionist Pooja Makhija)

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's certified that yoga eases backache

One of the largest US studies on yoga certifies that it does ease chronic back pain and other associated symptoms.
"We found yoga classes more effective than a self-care book," said Karen J. Sherman, senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI), who led the study.
Back-related function was better and symptoms were diminished with yoga at 12 weeks andbenefits - including less use of painkillers - lasted at least six months for both yoga and stretching, with a thorough follow-up of more than nine in 10 participants.
In the trial, 228 adults in six cities were randomly assigned to 12 weekly 75-minute classes of either yoga or stretching exercises or a comprehensive self-care book called 'The Back Pain Helpbook', the journal Archives of Internal Medicine reports.
Nine in 10 of them were primary care patients at Group Health Cooperative. Participants in the trial typically had moderate - not severe - back pain and relatively good mental health, and most had been at least somewhat active before the trial started, according to a GHRI statement.
Interviewers who didn't know the patients' treatment assignments assessed their back-related function and pain symptoms at six weeks, 12 weeks and six months.

The type of yoga used in the trial, called Viniyoga, adapts the principles of yoga for each individual and physical condition, with modifications for people with physical limitations. The yoga classes also used breathing exercises, with deep relaxation at the end.
"The most straightforward interpretation of our findings would be that yoga's benefits on back function and symptoms were largely physical, due to the stretching and strengthening of muscles."
"People may have actually begun to relax more in the (yoga) stretching classes than they would in a typical exercise class," she added.
"Our results suggest that both yoga and stretching can be good, safe options for people who are willing to try physical activity to relieve their moderate low back pain," Sherman concluded.IANS

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treat your feet with fancy massages

What comes to your mind when you see offers like Hot lava shell massage or Blueberry cheesecake or Chocolate fondue on a spa menu?

A relaxing treat for your body with drooping chocolate and yummy cheesecake, is it? Well, not really - these are just exotic names of foot massages that will leave your feet happy.

Amid a plethora of spas in every nook and corner of the city, Defence Colony's Seven Seas Evania Spa offers a range of foot massages by taking inspiration from around the globe. They offer Hot Lava Shell massage selected from the Philippine Islands, Volcanic Hot Stone massage from Japan, Hot Bamboo massage from Thailand and so on.

The fancy names are just to attract attention, you are told, as Seven Seas Chief Operating Officer (COO) Arpit Sharma suggests to you to go for Blueberry Cheese Cake, the hot seller. 

Once you enter the spa, the fragrance of aromatic oils fills the nostrils and the pristine white ambience serves as a balm for a tired mind. Soothing meditational music and aromatic candles add to the comforting atmosphere.

As you leave the reception area, you enter a dimly-lit room with five comfortable couches, brass oval-shaped lamps and golden transparent curtains -- tickling your senses and your feet itch for that pampering.

The curtains are the dividers between two couches and each section has a horizontal mirror on one side of the wall.

And so begins the journey of cleaning the feet and leg up to the knee with water, followed with scrubbing. The therapist, slowly and in rhythmic motion, moves her hand pressing acupuncture points to relieve stress and tension.

This therapy is enriched with antioxidants and use of natural honey, Vanilla extracts, Olive oil and sweet Almond oil hydrates and conditions the skin, making it supple and deliciously silky.

This calms your mind. And by the time she massages your legs with a cream, you are already transcended into the dreamy world of solace.

You can opt to sip a herbal tea or else slip into the mode of nirvana and enjoy the blissful ride to an unknown world -- till the therapist wakes you up and offers you a back massage. After that 10 minutes of twisting and turning which will give you a head-to-toe relaxation.

It doesn't end here. Make sure to eat your share of dessert that will elevate your cheerful mood by a thousand times.

Asked why he decided to venture into foot massages, Sharma smilingly replied: "How many of us actually say thank you to our feet that carry the burden of our body weight? We find ways of pampering our body but ignore the feet completely."

"The idea is (that) people can come, get their feet pampered, de-stress, relax and leave this place with a satisfying smile. If that happens, you know the effort was worth it," he said.

There are nine therapists, including three males, who are well-trained and guarantee a getaway to another world with their well-measured, accurate pressure.

The place offers everyday discounts to provide experience at best possible cost.

So, just the perfect time to say happy feet! IANS

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Breast cancer cases in India to double by 2015

Breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer to become  the leading site of cancer in metro cities and is expected to double by 2015, experts said on Wednesday.
"Breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer to become the leading site of cancer in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Kolkata with the relative proportion ranging from 21.7 percent to 28.7 per cent," said P.K. Julka, professor of Oncology, All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Julka said though the incidence of breast cancer in India per 100,000 population is significantly less compared to US, France, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Italy,Singapore, Brazil and Japan but the mortality is almost 50 percent of the rate.
"The lifetime probability of developing breast cancer in India is one in 22 women compared to one in eight in US and other developed countries," he said.

In India, the number of new breast cancer cases is about 115,000 per year and this is expected to rise to 250,000 new cases per year by 2015.
Explaining the risk factors, Julka pointed to increasing age probability, lack of childbearing or breast feeding, higher hormone levels, late age of menopause, smoking, alcohol and economic status.
Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery and then possibly with chemotherapy or radiation, or both.
Targeted therapies for breast cancer focuses on proteins that signal cancer cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and have been found useful in the management of the disease.
"Targeted therapy means the specific medication targeting the particular group of cancer cell and destroying them without affecting the normal healthy cells so that treatment induced side effects are less," said Shyam Aggarwal, senior medical oncologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Giving an account of the treatment cost of targeted gene therapy Amit Agarwal, consultant medical oncology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj says, "The actual cost of the treatment depends upon the type of the drugs used. Therefore, the cost can vary from Rs.10-15,000 a month to Rs.3 to 4 lacs a month."
"The side-effects associated with the targeted therapies are very minimal and significantly non-specific when compared to the conventional chemotherapy methods. Apart from this the success rate is 30-40 percent," he added.
Each year 10.9 million people suffer from breast cancer worldwide that results in 6.7 million deaths from the disease. The breast cancer is prevalent in almost all regions of the world and there is no country in which cancer is a rare occurrence.IANS

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Home Remedies For Hair Loss

Hair is the main part of our body.  Hair plays an important role in the appearance of men and woman. Diet and lifestyle are two important factors that influence the health of hair. Poor diet, illness and deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, proteins in particular, affects the quality of hair .Hair is a reflection of individual"s internal health. In most cases, hair loss or changes in hair texture may reflect some underlying conditions as hypothyroidism, anemia, diabetes, and nutritional deficiencies. The hairloss, gray hair, dandruff are common problems .

 Just simple home care will help you to get back your beautiful hair. Using natural products have no side effects. So try these at home.
Take a hot oil massage at least once a week and wash with shikakai or mild shampoo or amla .
Apply apple cider vinegar mixed with water and wash your hair  for shiny hair.
Be  careful if you have  dandruff. Dandruff is the biggest problem with hair loss.
Drink plenty of water to eliminate toxins in your body.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits for healthy hair .
Make a paste of greek hay seed and water. Apply on the scalp and leave for half an hour before washing off. 
Juice of fresh coriander can be massaged into the scalp, to reduce hair loss.
Juice of fresh Amaranth leaves should be applied to the hair. It will help hair growth and gives good texture.
Do not comb when hair is wet as this can cause hair loss.
Do not take  bath in very hot water because they spoil the hair roots.
After consulting with your doctor  take vitamins and folic acid supplements. This will help hair growth.
If you have oily hair wash your hair regularly with a mild shampoo.
Do not apply shampoo directly on the hair, always mix with water and apply.
Never apply conditioner to the hair roots, which can worsen hair loss.
Avoid excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, snuff and meat.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Make your skin glow

Here are some tips for your skin.
- Boil cabbage in water. Strain it & use the water to wash your face to make your skin look radiant.

- Coconut milk is excellent for skin care, in winter. Take half a cup of coconut milk. Use half of it to apply it over the face & body. Mix the rest with red sandalwood powder, apply the paste on the face. It may even be applied all over the body. It exfoliates your skin.

- Mix yoghurt with cucumber water. Apply on your face & wash it off.

- Here's a way to refresh worn out skin: Mix teaspoon vinegar with teaspoon rosewater. Apply on skin & leave for ten minutes. Wash it off with ordinary water.

- Is your skin looking dull & lifeless? Mix coconut water & thick pineapple juice. Add multani mitti & apply it over your face & body. Do not scrub vigorously; wash it off with ice cubes or chilled water.

- Mix teaspoon honey with teaspoon tomato juice. Leave it on the face or body for ten minutes & wash it off with ordinary water.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Potatoes not the dietary villain

Potatoes are often painted as villains for dieters, but a new study has found that the staple food is not that bad after all.

Foods like potatoes and white bread with a high glycemic index (GI) are absorbed quickly by the body, triggering a spike in blood pressure.

But a study by researchers at University of Otago found that when you eat these carbohydrates as part of a meal of meat and vegetables the effects are barely felt.

Bernard Venn and his colleagues enlisted 30 healthy young people and monitored the GI levels of three different meals, including one with potatoes as a side dish.

Surprisingly, said Dr Venn, this meal was low on the glycemic index, meaning the food will burn off slowly, even though it contained an ingredient many fear for its potential weight-gain properties.

"I don''t think people should be too afraid of putting high-GI foods into their meals," Courier Mail quoted Dr Venn as saying.
"Our work suggests that having a small amount of potato with a meal isn't going to drive your blood sugar crazy," he added.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Choco-vanilla fudge for your skin

If you are a fan of chocolate sauce with vanilla ice-cream, then a vanilla cream massage is just perfect for you. 

A mix of vanilla with cocoa powder will not only soothe your senses but tantalise your taste buds too. Experience the rejuvenating magic of vanilla cream massage at Aura spa, in the capital.

A dimly-lit massage room with soothing music in the background, sea-shells on the wall and fresh flowers floating in water, giving positive energy, welcomes one to a relaxing session.

It starts with a dry massage, followed by full body massage with the paste of cocoa powder, vanilla, coconut cream and coconut granules.

The paste promotes blood circulation, has healing properties and repairs tissues, with the massage therapist massaging the body with equal pressure, focusing on the acupressure points and applying long soothing strokes in a rhythmic manner. One cannot ask for more.

At the same time, the aroma of vanilla and chocolate lingers in the air, giving ample scope for one to think of chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream!

A quick hot bath after the session leaves the skin soft and supple and you leave the place with a fresh mind and relaxed body. IANS

Monday, October 10, 2011

No more woes over baldness

The time to fret over your bald head is over. Dr Akshay Batra, Sr VP, Trichological Society,London and director, B Perfect, answers some frequently asked questions about hair transplantation. 

How is hair transplantation better than other procedures like weaving, hair extensions, bonding, etc.? 
Amongst all, hair transplantation is the only procedure which can give you your own natural hair growing back on the scalp. This hair is permanent, as it lasts forever and aesthetically restores your youthful look. Results of other procedures are temporary, and they look obviously artificial and often result in damage to the scalp.

Who is an ideal candidate for hair transplantation? 
Even though any person above 21 years of age and at any stage of baldness can undergo hair transplantation, best results are seen in cases of moderate baldness. There is no upper age limit; we have carried out transplants even on people above 80 years of age. Our expert surgeon will evaluate if you are the ideal candidate for hair transplantation.

Is it a permanent solution for baldness? 
Yes, hair transplant is a permanent solution for baldness. It recreates a new hairline and the bald area is filled with hair taken from the back of the scalp (where even bald men don't lose hair). The transplanted hair will continue to grow normally for the rest of your life. The best part is that hair can be washed, combed, oiled, cut and styled normally giving excellent results.

How soon can I see the results? 
The newly transplanted hair is visible even on the day of the procedure. It starts growing gradually and you can notice the difference month after month. For hair to grow to your normal length and to see the full result of the procedure, it takes around 9-12 months.

Is hair transplantation expensive? 
It's a myth that hair transplantation is expensive. Consider it as a lifelong investment made for oneself. To bust the myth of it being an expensive procedure, B Perfect has introduced a special offer of hair transplant for only 80,000 for unlimited number of hair and without any hidden costs. Till date, at B Perfect we have successfully transplanted over five lakh hair.TNN

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Benefits of mustard seeds

Mustard seeds have been around since almost 5,000 years. They're known to have numerous benefits since they're low in calories and high in nutritional value and have a lot of antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. 

They're available in different varieties - black mustard, white mustard and brown Indian mustard, in whole as well as in powdered form.

- Mustard oil is known to be great for the skin because it generates warmth.

- Mustard seeds are rich in a nutrient called selenium, known for its high anti-inflammatory effects. n The high source of magnesium in mustard seeds helps reducing the severity of asthma attacks and certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and lowering blood pressure.

- Suffer from migraines? Mustard seeds are known to give relief from the number of migraine attacks you get.

- Mustard seeds are very rich in calcium, manganese, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, protein and dietary fiber - include them in your diet.

- For people who suffer from a bad appetite, here's something that will be really helpful. Mix a few black mustard seeds with milk and have it 15 to 20 minutes before your meal.

- Mustard seeds are excellent for digestion because they increase the metabolism rate of your body.

- They're also beneficial for menopausal women who have trouble sleeping.