Benefits of Cinnamon

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I had been having a severe cold because of the humidity and the heat of the summer for the past couple of days. I didn’t want to go to a Doctor as I don’t normally prefer allopathic medicines unless I don’t have a choice because I am scared of the side effects of most of the allopathic medicines. My husband then suggested that I try eating a little Cinnamon powder with some honey which might help. Though I did not know how that would help, I tried it twice and it really helped.

Cinnamon is a small tree that is grown in various countries like India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Egypt, etc. It is one of the oldest known spices and the bark of the cinnamon tree is dried and used. Cinnamon has a long history of traditional use in Indian alternative medicine forms like Ayurveda and Unani. It is used as a single drug to treat various problems. Cinnamon. It is used to treat various problems of the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM  like heaviness in stomach, flatulence, colitis abdominal pain,etc. It also helps the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM by eliminating Kapha(Mucus). The cinnamic acid has an anti tubercular activity which helps in treating cough, asthma and tuberculosis. It helps the circulatory system by purifying the blood and is used in Cardiac weakness. It is also helpful in treating the problems in the REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM.

-Half a teaspoon of Cinnamon a day helps in lowering cholesterol.                                -It is capable of stopping medication resistant yeast infection.                                   -Half a teaspoon of Cinnamon powder mixed in one teaspoon of honey and taken before breakfast gives significant relief in arthritis.                                                        -Smelling Cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.                                        -It is a great source of manganese, fibre, iron and calcium.                                            A detailed study on Cinnamon after getting my cold cured, helped a lot in understanding the properties of this wonderful herb.

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A gym with no equipments

 

Have you ever heard of a gym with no equipments and yet keeps you fit? Well. I have seen it. These days most of us are sedentary where as around two decades before, I remember being very active physically. It was not only me in my younger days but my parents in their middle age and my grand parents who were in their old age whom I remember were active till their end. When I thought about why the number of gyms and Physio therapy clinics have increased these days, I am surprised to realise the glaring difference in the way we work.

Those days we lived in independent villas which we took care ourselves. Mornings after the coffee, when my grand father and father watered the plants and trees around the house, my mother and grand mother used to sweep and mop the house. My grand father would either walk or cycle the distance to the vegetable shop and get the vegetables. My grand mother would cut them and cook. They washed the clothes manually and hung them to dry. Children either walked or cycled to school. We sat down on the floor cross legged and ate our food. We use to pour water on the floor and mop it after some time to let the floor cool during summer. All these kept us physically active and flexible and the home cooked food kept us healthy.

Now when I look around my house, I see my children running to the gym to do their work outs but live in flats where they don’t climb the stairs for want of time, clean the house with vaccum cleaner which requires not much of physical effort as in manual sweeping and mopping which keeps one flexible and burns more calories. They sit in chairs instead of floor and soon get orthopaedic problems. Washing machines wash and dry the clothes. Air conditioners cool the house resulting in global warming. They walk on the treadmills and travel by bikes and cars.

We claim technology has advanced and we have made so many home care equipments to assist in the work at home and do everything in a different way at gym to keep ourselves fit. Is this what we call as advancement?

Beating the heat -II

drink-waterThe summer is getting to it’s peak here and the scorching heat is forcing people to stay inside the cool shelter of home. What about those who are forced to move out for work and education? Government has started giving ‘Heat Wave’ warnings. The best way to stay protected is by drinking lots of fluids to refrain from being dehydrated, especially more of water. Many people try to resort to drinking sugary sodas and beverages which lead to obesity, Diabetes, etc. So, as a better option, let us see what water holds for us in contrast to other fluids.

  1. Drinking enough water helps to maintain the fluid balance of the body helping it to transport the nutrients in the body, regulate the body temperature, etc.
  2. When you do your regular work outs, you sweat a lot and that makes you lose a lot of energy. So, to push you through till the end of your work out plan and to energise your body, you need to drink lots of water.
  3. Water flushes out the toxins in the body, helping to get a clear skin and protecting from pimples,etc.
  4. Drinking adequate water has direct control over your diet. Yes, one can lose a few pounds by drinking more water as it gives the feeling of being more full and helps in curtailing the food intake.
  5. Our kidneys which sift out the waste and transport urine to the bladder need enough fluids to clear away the wastes from our body and to support that we should drink more water.
  6. A glass of water helps people to concentrate and stay focussed when tensed.
  7. A little water can go a long way to help those aching joints and cramped muscles which are a result of dehydration again.
  8. Last, but not the least, drinking enough water helps in adding fluids to the colon which helps in digestion.

So, let’s drink enough water this summer and stay healthy and cool.

Resuming the Health Regimen

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After a busy week with guests at home and lots of cooking and going around with them, I relaxed yesterday. I had given a long holiday to my health regimen due to the tight schedule through out last week. I thought I will get back on track from today. I finished my morning routines of preparing the breakfast, cleaning the house, washing the clothes, etc and after getting the lunch also ready I thought I would go to the gym and restart my regular work outs after the long break. It was 11 a.m. when I finished all my work, and it was pretty hot outside.

I still started to the gym with a determination that I should start it today at any cost or else I knew I would keep postponing it every day with some excuse or the other. On reaching there, after the warm up for five minutes, I climbed on to the Treadmill with the intention of walking on it for 20 minutes to cover a distance of 2 k.m which I normally don’t increase beyond this limit since I don’t want to strain my knees. After the first five minutes, the break in schedule added to the heat outside and the busy time I had from the morning started tiring me. I was wondering whether I should take it easy today and I told myself I will walk for 15 minutes and go on to the next activity. The mild head ache which I had was threatening me against using the cross trainer and by the time I realised it, I had already completed 20 minutes on Treadmill. I felt a sense of triumph and thought I would give my body a concession and reduce the time on cross trainer. The pace at which I was using it helped me burn about 150 calories in 15 minutes there and I was satisfied with that. By that time I had burnt a total of 330 calories and I enjoyed the way I could push myself . After this, I promised myself that I shall cut down on my other activities. I did a few push ups, squats,etc and it was another 20 minutes. I happily completed my work out and came home refreshed. I decided that I will not give in to laziness from now on and even when  I am tired, I will push myself hard and achieve my goal.

Benefits of Pranayama

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Pranayama is a sanskrit (an Indian Language) word which translates into “extension of Prana or Breath”. Prana is the life force or breath and ayama is to draw or extend it. Breathing is vital for our life and proper breathing is essential to lead a healthy life. Pranayama is the part of Yoga which teaches different techniques of inhaling, retaining and exhaling breath. In other words, it is the art of Breath Control. Breathing is the only way we can send oxygen into our body and to the different organs. We can stay hungry for a few weeks and some can even stay without food for months and without water for a few days. But without breathing no one can stay alive for more than a few minutes. When we are happy our breathing is rythmic and it turns irregular when we are stressed. Mastering the breathing techniques helps self healing.

It is practised best in the early mornings that too in places where there is enough fresh air and it  is best practised in empty stomach. There are different kinds of breathing techniques or Prayanama which help in relieving stress or depression, asthmatic problems and weight related problems. It helps in improving digestion and bowel movement. It is also useful in lowering blood pressu

Anulom Vilom is the technique of breathing in through right nose and breathing out through the left nose. After doing this for a few counts, you repeat the process inhaling through left nose and exhaling through right nose. This is very helpful in relieving stress and asthmatic problems.

Kapalbati focuses on exhalation simultaneously contracting the abdomen muscles while inhaling normally.This helps in clearing the respiratory passages minimising the risk of infection and allergies. It also helps in weight loss.

Bramhari Pranayam is  making the sound of a female honey bee while exhaling. This helps in controlling the mind and makes meditation easier.It quietens those with an anxiety problem.

Basthrika Pranayam involves taking a deep breath and filling the lungs with oxygen and exhaling with a hissing sound. This requires inhaling deeply and exhaling completely. This is very helpful in relieving asthmatic problems and head ache resulting from migraine. Helps in controlling obesity and gastric problems.

Anybody who performs these Pranayams activates the clinic within the body to help self healing.

Dangers of Junk Food

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Practically everybody knows Junk food is highly harmful to health and that is why it is termed as Junk. Despite knowing this, most of us still keep eating it. Life is fast these days and outlets like McDonalds and Dominos offer us a variety of lip smacking foods which we start eating for the sake of convenience. Later on, this convenience turns into addiction. Yes. These foods are addictive.

The main reason for obesity in Junk food eaters is not because they are not able to control their cravings for food or their addiction for food- it is just that the particular foods they eat increase their cravings and addiction. If they switch to a diet made of vegetables, nuts, legumes,fruits with breads made from whole wheat or millets, they can observe that their hunger and cravings will go down. Nature programmed us to want to eat the most energy dense foods. The junk food companies know this and increase the calorie density artificially by processing and adding sugar and fats to the food they serve, they get us addicted to these foods. To make things worser, these Junk food companies add emotional addiction by offering Happy meals to children or giving offers of “Buy one Get one free” or unlimited fridays or wednesdays, etc.

Let us see what all can affect us with the consumption of these foods:

1.Affects the Digestive system- These are basically deep fried foods creating Gastric refluxes and irritable bowel syndrome, hampers digestion and leads to constipation.

2.Diabetes: When we eat these foods, the extreme anxiety applied on the metabolism influencing the ability to use insulin properly thus increasing the sugar level.

3. Fatigue and weakness: Lacking in most of the essential nutrients and vitamins these foods bring down our energy levels leading to weakness and fatigue.

4.Cardio Vascular problems: Loaded with saturated fats and trans fats they increase the level of bad cholestrol and triglycerides in our body creating Cardio Vascular Problems.

5.Hypertension and depression: The Sodium-Potassium balance of the body is affected resulting in Hypertension and depression.

6. Obesity: Last but not the least Obesity created by the high calorific value of these foods lead us to all the above mentioned problems.

Knowing all these, let us control our cravings for these foods and help the next generation to grow healthy.

Parent Induced Wastefulness.

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Today I attended the lecture of a Counsellor cum Psychotherapist who talked on a disorder which she had named as Parent Induced Wastefulness. The blunt truth in her words sounded as a severe blow to me, a parent who some times does these mistakes.

As parents we strive to give our children the best of everything at an early age, there by sowing the seeds for materially insatiable monsters who are prone to sloth, apathy and fear. We start it all without ever realising it. When the child is born, we celebrate each and every stage of it’s growth without knowing when we are exceeding the limit. Trying to protect the children even from the smallest discomfort in childhood, we bring them up in a sterile environment. We shell them from  the adversities of life leading their immunity to buckle up the moment they are exposed to the world and they stand threadbare wanting to run away from everything that is anything but comfortable.

Unlike the earlier generations  when children were responsible enough to understand the commitments and responsibilities of their parents children of these days are being brought up in a false atmosphere. We think we are helping them and protecting them till they learn to be on their own. But unfortunately, we fail to teach them to grow to be on their own. We fail to realise that they have to live in this world by themselves away from us. These days, many children succumb to the pressure of studies, the pressure of managing the house and their office,the pressure managing to adjust with their spouse and lead a happy life. All of this is because they are not brought up ready to face the world on their own.

As the Doctor said this is a Disorder induced by the Parents. If we have to save our children from this we must learn to make them realise the value of money, learn to face a “No” from the parents when the situation warrants it. This will help them to expect this from the society also and face the future in a healthier and confident way.

 

Childhood and Old age

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Old age is said to be the second infancy or a second child hood and must be treated as one. But how difficult it is in practice. When a child is born, the  amount of happiness the parents experience is some thing which can not be explained in words. It is some thing to be experienced to be realised. From then, every stage of growth in the child’s life is looked at with wonder by the parents as if their child is the only one who has achieved this. The first day the child crawls, moves on all four, stands on his legs, runs, talks every thing is cherished by the parents. Each of this stage and further on when the child joins school, college, etc., every where there is a share of the parents in the growth.

When Parents cross a certain age, they return to this stage where they need the support of their children the way they were supported by them. The transition initially is barely noticed and suddenly when it turns to such an extent that it is clearly obvious, there starts the problem. Are we able to return what all was given to us by our parents? Though we enjoy the attention seeking behaviour of our children, the same is not tolerated from the parents.  Some times when I get upset with the non co-operation from my aged parents’ in law, though I am able to attribute it to their age and the related illnesses, I feel helpless in handling them.

I was wondering about the reason for this. Children need our support only till the stage that they can be on their own and this is a short period that too linked with positive growth . When the same support is needed by the aged parents, it becomes difficult when it reaches a stage where they need our help for every thing and the change is linked with a decline in their health which makes us feel helpless. This is the irony of life.

Cruelty to Animals

picture-41In India, in the recent days we hear a lot of cases of cruelty against animals. Recently, a police horse in the city of Dehradun was maimed after being hit in the leg during a political protest. A man attacking a dog and killing a pup outside a metro station was caught on a CCTV footage in Delhi. In Bangalore, in a still cruel way, a house wife has smashed eight pups on a boulder. In a worser incident, a man in an inebriated state poured acid on five new born pups and their mother when she barked at him trying to protect herself and her pups after sensing danger.

We live along with animals too in this world. We share our balconies with pigeons, parrots and crows, our stair cases with cats and we sleep with the howls of stray dogs in the nights. But of late this intolerance against animals is on the increase. The maximum punishment under the law for prevention of cruelty to animals is a fine of Rs.50 for a first time offence and for a subsequent offence within three years , it is a fine of a maximum of Rs.100 or imprisonment upto three months or both. In the U.S., cruelty to animals is on the FBI’s list along side homicide and arson. In Australia, the maximum punishment for this type of crimes is jail upto five years and a fine Aus$50,000.

Studies say animal cruelty is often a pre cursor to violence against fellow humans. A psychiatrist who agrees with this has said that “We value our needs and ourselves so much that we miss out on emotional connections resulting in unbridled rage and aggression. Pressures of city life may be pushing people to become less tolerant adding to which the increase in the number of stray dogs unless controlled effectively will only increase this type of cruelty. Since this may lead to dangerous mental state of the people involving in such type of cruelty, the government should create stricter laws and take necessary steps to control the population of stray dogs.

 

Stress Management

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Exam season in the schools are over for the X standard and XII students who have to decide the further course of their future after this. It has become common to read about the news of a young boy or girl committing suicide these  days and as a parent I am greatly upset with this trend. Are our children that weak to end their lives just fearing their results in the exams?

I do appreciate that the results in these classes are important to decide their further education. But any body who does not follow his passion is not a failure. There are other venues open for them to choose. It is for them to choose one among these options and shine. Everything is in our hands and if we are confident nothing can go beyond us.

This morning when I opened the newspaper the first thing that hit my eyes was the news of the suicide by a class XII student who has mentioned in a note that he was not able to withstand the pressure and is ending his life. His school and his parents are highly dejected and say he has been a school topper all along and they could not understand why he was so stressed. A psychologist says the main reason for such deaths is the unrealistic goals these students set for themselves. This student for example, was aiming for an admission into an University abroad for which he needed a higher percentage of cutoff marks. Though he excelled in studies, he was not sure whether he would be able to achieve his goal as he felt he was scoring a few marks lesser than the requirements in the model exams. The pressure from the parents who want their children’s future to be secured and the expectation from the others in the society add to the expectations the students themselves have and drive them to this end.

Life is not all about these exams. Anyone who has been successful in the exams need not necessarily be successful in life. There are other options to succeed in life if one is open enough to try. Life is too valuable to end for this simple reason. It is for the parents and the schools to encourage their children and students to do well but be confident of a future which just doesn’t depend on this. We have to train our children to be mentally healthy to form a healthy society.