Monday, January 4, 2010

Regular Health Mistakes

All of us make little health mistakes that cause damage to our bodies in the long run - simply because we are unaware we are doing something wrong. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by many of us.

Crossing our legsDo you cross your legs at your knees when sitting? Although we may believe that this is the lady-like elegant way to sit, sitting this way cuts down circulation to your legs. If you don"t want varicose veins to mar the beauty of your legs and compromise your health, uncross your legs every time you realise you have one knee on top of the other. The best way to sit is to simply place both legs together on the floor, balancing your weight equally. If you feel like changing position, instead of crossing your legs,simply move both legs together to one side. As an alternative, you could also consider crossing your legs loosely at the ankles. This is a classically elegant way to sit, and is far better for your legs and your health than sitting with your legs crossed at your knees.

Not changing our toothbrush
How often do you change your toothbrush? Most of us wait until most of the bristles have either fallen off, or are in such bad shape that we"d be embarrassed to pull out our brush in public. However, since not many of us need to pull out our brush in public, we carry on with our frayed one until we lose it. Replace your toothbrush often. Damaged bristles can harm the enamel, and don"t massage your gums well. If you find brushing your teeth a pain like I do, but know you must do it, you might as well be doing it right. Imagine going through the annoyance of brushing your teeth twice a day only to find out that you"re damaging your enamel every time you clean your teeth. Also, use a brush with soft bristles unless your dentist has advised otherwise.

Eating out often
There are oils that are high in cholesterol, and oils that cause little harm and are better for your heart. However, no matter how light the oil is, it is never a good idea to eat too much of it. Avoid fried foods.Remember that in all probability your favourite Indian food restaurant throws a huge, HUGE chunk of butter in a tiny bowl of dal. Rita, who worked in the kitchen of a 5 star hotel, was shocked when she saw the cook chop a 500gm butter slab in half, and throw half into a Paneer Makhani dish. No wonder the customers left licking their fingers. And no wonder they felt so stuffed and heavy afterwards. Limit outdoor eating unless you know that you"re getting served light and healthy food.

Skipping breakfast
Never, ever skip breakfast. Remember, when you wake up in the morning it"s been around 10-12 hours since your last meal. Your body needs food now, more than at any other time.. Eat a heavy breakfast. You will then be busy through the day, and the calories will get expended quickly. If you are trying to diet, eat a light dinner. Here are some more commonhealth mistakes we make. Being informed and making a few changes can help make us feel a whole lot better.

High heels
High heels sure look great, but they're murder for your back. This however doesn't mean you should steer clear of stilettos. Wear them, but not when you know you will be walking around a lot. Wear them when going out for lunch or dinner - when the only walking you will be doing is to your car, to the table, and back. Avoid high heels when you are going somewhere on foot. If you are constantly tempted to wear your heels, take a good look at your flats. Is there something about them you dislike? Invest in a new pair of beautiful flats or shoes with a low heel. Buy something you love, that you will enjoy wearing. If possible, get a matching bag. You will then enjoy your flats as much as you do your heels.

Sleeping on a soft bed
You don't have to sleep on the floor be kind to your back, but do make sure you have a firm mattress. Although a mattress on springs is soft and lovely to sink into, it's bad for your back. If you already have an old bed with springs, you don't need toinvest in a new one - simply get a thick wooden plank put over the springs, and place the mattress on the plank. Similarly, if your mattress is old and lumpy, throw it out and get a new one. Your neck and your back will thank you. The same rule applies to sofas. If you will be spending hours on a sofa, get a firm yet comfortable one. Sofas you completely sink into are not the best idea.

No matter how comfortable sleeping with ten cushions is, have pity on your neck and resist. Sleep with one pillow, and make sure it is not too thick. If your pillow gets lumpy, discard it and go for a new one. Get a thin pillow if you sleep on your stomach, and something a little thicker if you sleep on your back, to give your neck adequate support

Not exercising
So all of us know we should exercise more, but many of us don't. This is a health mistake we consciously make! And why is that? Simply because we refuse to admit the damage we are causing to our bodies by not working out. A number of people only start working out once they've experienced a warning signal. Don't wait for a heart attack to strike before you decide to opt for a lifestyle change. Make the change now. You don't need to train for the marathon to be in top shape. Half an hour of brisk walking three to four times a week will make a world of difference to your health. You could then increase this to forty minutes, four times a week - and you're all set. If you haven't exercised for a week, you're making a mistake.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Swedens Secret Weapon Against Swine Flu

A number of Swedish churches have decided to serve fortified wine during communion in hopes of reducing the risk of spreading swine flu, according to several media reports.
  • Swedish military ready to battle swine flu
  • Kids should not be given swine flu vaccine: agency
  • Who should you contact if you think you’ve got swine flu?

Church authorities hope that fortified wine will provide better protection than light or alcohol-free wine against the spread of swine flu when the communion cup is passed around.

Karlskoga church in central Sweden has decided to reintroduce fortified wine and the issue is also being debated among parishes in Piteå in northern Sweden.

“We will have a vicars meeting where we will discuss this issue. Everything points to the fact that we will decide to reintroduce fortified wine during communion,” dean Stieg Berggren told Piteå-Tidningen newspaper.

The question of whether or not to serve fortified wine remains a local one.

“At the national level, we haven’t made any recommendations about fortified wine,” Stefan Håkansson, press secretary at the offices of the Church of Sweden, told TT news agency.

Several churches have recommended that visitors shouldn’t partake of communion at all to prevent the spread of swine flu.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Smoking During Pregnancy Changes Child’s DNA

Women who smoke during pregnancy, increase the risk of asthma, heart conditions and respiratory diseases in their babies. A new study could now help to explain why this happens. Maternal smoking imposes health risks not only on the mother but also on her baby, and the findings show this may affect both the child’s health later in life and the health of succeeding generations, according to the authors of study.

Researchers at the University of South California discovered that smoking during pregnancy could transform the DNA of unborn baby. The study found that maternal smoking is linked to the changes in epigenetic mechanism for DNA methylation. Epigenetic studies how chemical compounds are added to DNA and how they switch genes on and off. This causes the differences in gene expression without changing the genetic information itself. Epigenetic has played a crucial role in cancer research, but little is known how epigenetic changes occur under the influence of environmental factors.

Researches used data from USC Children’s Health Study as well as the survey on maternal smoking during pregnancy. The findings have been published in September issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

This study showed for the first time that the environment affects fetal growth. Such environmental exposures as tobacco smoke can trigger genetic changes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Twelve Surprising Uses for Vicks VapoRub

here are two scents that remind me being a sick kid: brandy and Vicks VapoRub. Whenever I had a cold, those were mom mom’s go-to remedies. She would make me a glass of hot water, honey, and brandy and then rub Vicks on my chest. I always felt instantly better (and slightly tipsy).

Vicks is an age-old mentholated topical cream intended to relieve head, throat, and chest stuffiness. It uses menthol to elicit a response from receptors in the nose and chest and can work wonders on children with colds or chronic bronchitis. Vicks has been around for over one hundred years and is one of the most widely used over-the-counter decongestants. Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about unique and unconventional ways to use this odiferous ointment. You’ll be surprised to learn that Vicks VapoRub is a supposed treatment for so much more than just a congested chest.

1. Decongest Your Chest

The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.

2. On Your Tootsies

Applying Vicks to your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Within moments your cough will subside—in the morning you’ll wake up a new, hacking free woman.

3. Achy Breaky Muscles

Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it all over the aching area. (Be sure to warn your bedmate as the stench can ensure a nookie-free night.)

4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus

Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.

5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching

Cats are notorious for scratching every hard surface they get their claws on. To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.

6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent

If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.

7. Headaches Be Gone

Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.

8. Humidify Your Sleep

Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.

9. Paper Cuts and Splinters

To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.

10. Ticks and Bugs

If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.

11. Reek-free Racehorses

Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.

12. Go Away Mosquitoes

Vicks wards off mosquitoes. Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.

According to WebMD, there have been a few complications in children when Vicks is used inappropriately. A few children reacted negatively and ended up hospitalized when Vicks was applied directly under the nose. Though this is extremely rare and only happens to those who are sensitive to Vicks, consumers should use caution when applying it to the face or on young children.

Even though its strong stench may cost me a few friendships, I am definitely heading to the nearest drugstore to stock up on this little blue smelly bottle. After all, I never know the next time I’ll have a headache, or am heading to the racetrack.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tight Abs in Two Minutes

Tight Abs in Two Minutes

What's the point of toning your abs if you can't see past the fat?
That's the issue at hand. Far too many of us waste countless hours in the gym or in front of the television working for awesome abs that never come to fruition. No, despite our efforts, we're left with the same belly and sagging skin. All our efforts are in vain and we're left wondering, "WHY?"

Fitness expert and personal trainer has the answer to this pesky problem. If you've never done circuit training, it's time to put the intense workout to the test.

"Creating toned and sculpted abdominal muscles won't do you any good unless you can burn the fat that keeps them hidden away," Stefano tells eDiets. "Combine classic cardio or fat-burning exercise in short spurts at target heart rate levels with compact and effective ab builders to cover all bases."

Over time, your regimen may become dull, weakening your motivation. Fitness Experts note that boredom is the number one killer of a workout program. That's why it's important to kick it up a notch every now and then, which is exactly what the Cardio Abs workout achieves. Combining cardio and strength training into one workout gives exercise enthusiasts the best of both worlds.

"The cardio is actually burning the fat. Doing the crunches and the bike kicks develop the abs and the obliques. While the exercises give you the six-pack abs, they don't burn the fat that hides your stomach. You have to do cardio to burn fat. The great thing about this workout is that you're keeping your heart rate at a fat-burning level throughout the routine."


1. Begin with five to 10 minutes of brisk walking, jogging on a treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike. Two other in-home cardio options might include marching in place or jumping rope.
2. Stop and immediately get down on your mat for one set of crunches done until muscle fatigue. If possible, adjust intensity (as described below) so as to hit fatigue in the 20-30 repetition range.
3. Stop and immediately get down on your mat for one set of bike kicks done until muscle fatigue. Again, adjust intensity so as to hit fatigue in the 20 to 30 repetition range.
4. Beginners quit here, but for a greater challenge, do another stint of cardio before calling it quits.

Repeat this program three or four times each week, extending the time on the treadmill (or whatever mode of cardio you chose) to 10 minutes or even 15 minutes. Combine with some weekly strength and flexibility training for the upper and lower body, as well as a sensible eating program, to achieve the overall best results.

Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with your knees partially bent, feet flat on the floor and arms folded across your chest (as shown). Exhale as you press the lower back into the floor and begin to raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor, concentrating on bringing the ribs towards the hips. Pause briefly as you feel your abdominal muscles tighten. The movement need only be a few inches. Inhale as you slowly curl back down, trying not to let your head touch the floor and maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles for the entire set. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Booster: To increase intensity, lengthen the pause to two seconds or place your hands behind your head instead of across your chest.

Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with the lower back pressed into the floor. Put your hands behind your head (but don't pull on the head). Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through the bicycle pedal motion. Touch your right elbow to your left knee and then left elbow to right knee. Continue to breathe naturally. Alternate opposite elbow to opposite knee in a slow and controlled manner until muscle fatigue. Visit Us @ www.MumbaiHangOut.Org

Intensity Booster: Full extension of the legs will increase intensity (as shown), as will keeping the motion very slow and deliberate. Keep the knees partially bent throughout the movement to decrease intensity.



SLICE a carrot and it looks just like an eye, right down to the pattern of the iris. Its a clear clue to the importance this everyday veg has for vision. Carrots get their orange colour from a plant chemical called betacarotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects against macular degeneration an age-related sight problem that affects one in four over-65s. It is the most common cause of blindness in Britain. But popping a betacarotene pill doesnt have the same effect, say scientists at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore


THE gnarled folds of a walnut mimic the appearance of a human brain - and provide a clue to the benefits. Walnuts are the only nuts which contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They may also help head off dementia. An American study found that walnut extract broke down the protein-based plaques associated with Alzheimers disease. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found walnuts reversed some signs of brain ageing in rats. Dr James Joseph, who headed the study, said walnuts also appear to enhance signalling within the brain and encourage new messaging links between brain cells.


A TOMATO is red and usually has four chambers, just like our heart. Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a plant chemical that reduces the risk of heart disease and several cancers. The Womens Health Study ” an American research programme which tracks the health of 40,000 women ” found women with the highest blood levels of lycopene had 30 per cent less heart disease than women who had very little lycopene. Lab experiments have also shown that lycopene helps counter the effect of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. One Canadian study, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, said there was œconvincing vidence that lycopene prevented coronary heart disease.


OUR lungs are made up of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny bunches of tissue called alveoli. These structures, which resemble bunches of grapes, allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. One reason that very premature babies struggle to survive is that these alveoli do not begin to form until week 23 or 24 of pregnancy. A diet high in fresh fruit, such as grapes, has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which appears to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy.


A nice ˜holey cheese, like Emmenthal, is not just good for your bones, it even resembles their internal structure. And like most cheeses, it is a rich source of calcium, a vital ingredient for strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Together with another mineral called phosphate, it provides the main strength in bones but also helps to ˜power muscles. Getting enough calcium in the diet during childhood is crucial for strong bones. A study at Columbia University in New York showed teens who increased calcium intake from 800mg a day to 1200mg equal to an extra two slices of cheddar - boosted their bone density by six per cent.


Root ginger, commonly sold in supermarkets, often looks just like the stomach. So its interesting that one of its biggest benefits is aiding digestion. The Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years to calm the stomach and cure nausea, while it is also a popular remedy for motion sickness. But the benefits could go much further.
Tests on mice at the University of Minnesota found injecting the chemical that gives ginger its flavour slowed down the growth rate of bowel tumours


Cheer yourself up and put a smile on your face by eating a banana. The popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan. Once it has been digested, tryptophan then gets converted in a chemical neurotransmitter called serotonin. This is one of the most important mood-regulating chemicals in the brain and most anti-depressant drugs work by adjusting levels of serotonin production. Higher levels are associated with better moods.


Slice a mushroom in half and it resembles the shape of the human ear. And guess what? Adding it to your cooking could actually improve your hearing. Thats because mushrooms are one of the few foods in our diet that contain vitamin D. This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.


Close-up, the tiny green tips on a broccoli head look like hundreds of cancer cells. Now scientists know this disease-busting veg can play a crucial role in preventing the disease. Last year, a team of researchers at the US National Cancer Institute found just a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent. In Britain, prostate cancer kills one man every hour.