Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More about Artichokes and Okra in Ayurveda perspective....!!!

VEGETABLES  are important part of our meals where some are cooked some are eaten raw....lets see Ayurveda views.....

Energetics: Pleasant/even/sweet
Actions: Generally sattwic (but less so than fruit)
Root— heavier, nutritive, relieves Vata, increases kapha, and neutral effect on Pitta, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower family increases Vata.
Leafy Greens—(including cabbage family) lighter, relieves Pitta and Kapha, mildly increases Vata, blood-cleansing, vitamins, and minerals.
Pungents—onions, chilies Relieves Vata kapha, mildly increases Pitta also they are rajasic.
Nightshades—tomatoes, potatoes, may cause allergies, though if cooked they cause fewer problems.
Diuretics— Carrots, celery, lettuce, mustard greens, watercress, broccoli, potatoes.

Vata—cooked or steamed, oils and spices, salt and pickled (rajasic)
Pitta—raw or lightly steamed, vegetable juices,
Kapha—cooked or steamed.

Fresh, organic, home or locally grown is sattwic, canned food is tamasic, aggravating all humors.
Combining: Combines well with other foods for one’s constitution. Does not combine well with fruit or sugars.

Season: It is best to eat vegetables according to season (taking into account one’s constitutional requirements)
Spring, Summer—greens, leafy, raw
Winter—roots, cooked

Cold and raw—ginger, oil, vinegar (rajasic), garlic and onions (rajasic/tamasic)
Dry and light—(i.e., cabbage family) oil, butter, sour cream, cheese, whole grains, pasta

Let’s  talk about  ARTICHOKES AND OKRA…..

           Globe artichokes are nearly as tridoshik as asparagus. Like asparagus they are cool light, moist sweet, and astringent. They lack slight bitterness of asparagus and so do not relieve Kapha and Pitta quite as much.  Still they are food can be eaten by all types without any loss of balance. They need to be well cooked and preferably warmly herbed, to be assimilated by Vata. 
         They act as haemostatic, This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, gall bladder function, and raising of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart diseases.Its active chemical component ‘Cynarin' increases bile flow,  Cleanses liver, excess menstruation; high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, and niacin.

        Okra is more frequently used in India as it grows best in tropical temperatures. This slippery tropical vegetable, ‘the edible hibiscus,’ relieves Pitta, has a neutral effect on Kapha and very mildly increases Vata. It is cool, diuretic, soothing, and softening. Cooked to enhance its moistening qualities, it is well tolerated by all doshas. It acts as anti-inflammatory in cystitis, sore throat, bronchitis and irritable bowel.  

Okra Actions: Demulcent, emollient, diuretic, alterative,aphrodisiac, tonic, (mallow plant family)
Indications: Difficult, painful, or burning urine; diarrhea, dysentery, spermatorrhea, leukorrhea, strengthening, gonorrhea, intestinal disorders, inflamed or spastic colon, diverticulitis, stomach ulcers,
  • The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  • Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation.
  • Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.  
  • Okra is good for summer heat treatment

Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties. (The world's most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to the history record.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Veggie....rich in vitamins and low in calories.

                      Vegetables are delightful way to lighten up a meal, and balance the taste of it for your constitution or family. Rich in vitamins and low in calories, they offer nourishment without ponderous mass. Being in general light and moist, they are some of the easiest foods to digest when properly prepared. They combine well with most foods, including proteins, grains, and fats. Vegetable have wide range of tastes, from sweet (winter squash), bitter (dark leafy greens), astringent (asparagus), and pungent (water cress), to salty (celery). This means they can be used in a wide variety of way to heal. Like most foods vegetables are classified as cool or warm, light or heavy in Ayurveda. The warming vegetables tend to be most advantageous for Vata and Kapha, the cooling ones for Pitta. Heavy roots are used to balance light Vata and leafy vegetables are more often advised for substantial Kapha.
                 Asparagus is one of the few vegetables that can be eaten by all doshas with no alteration. Sweet, astringent and bitter, cool, light and most, it is ideal for Pitta. It stabilizes Vata, being easy to digest and lightens and stimulates Kapha. It is steamed and eaten as it is here or used in wide varieties of curries, kicharies and main dishes. It is used medicinally in Ayurveda as a mild laxative, cardiac and nerve sedative, tonic, aphrodisiac, and demulcent. Calm your distraught partner or yourself after a long day at work with this vital veggie! A less potent relative of the rejuvenative  Indian preparation Shatavari.
      "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oat bran verses Rolled oats....!!!!

                Oats are the seeds or the grain variety of particular grasses. Although it is true much of the oats sown in the US are used as feed for animals such as horses, cattle and poultry, the cereal is also milled into different grades for human consumption as specially oat meal, rolled oat, and oat bran.
              Oat bran has a better nutritional profile when compared to rolled oats. Because oat bran is the outer husk of the oat grain, it contains the bulk of the dietary soluble fiber, along with a large amount of useful minerals.
             One common use of oat bran is as an additive in baked goods like muffins, where it adds a very distinctive texture and rich, nutty flavor. It is also added to breakfast cereals or used alone as a cereal. Oat bran is also added to breads, increasing their fiber content, and many whole wheat or mixed grain breads may be dusted with oat bran before they are baked to create a flavorful topping.
Oat bran – Main Benefits
1)      Lowers Cholesterol -Oat bran contains soluble fiber, which reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as the "bad" cholesterol. The soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. When compared to oatmeal, on average oat bran has 50% more fiber and soluble fiber, making it much more efficient.
2)      Creates feeling of fullness-    Once consumed, oat bran enters the digestive tract where its soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance, creating a feeling of fullness. A tablespoon of oat bran, about half an ounce absorbs on average 25 times its volume in liquid, forming a 13 ounce ball.
3)      Slows sugar absorption -Once ingested, the bolus (the gel-like substance) passes through the gastric acid, bile, and finally the pancreatic juices. This turns the bolus into pulp and reduces it to a mix of elementary chains, fatty acids, amino acids and glucose. This process both slows down the sugar assimilation and removes calories from the body, thus helping the dieting process.
Cooking will be almost same for Bran and rolled oats but may varies with your recipe and surely quantity. It’s less recommended to underweight person but very much beneficial in obese, Diabetes and hyper cholesterol and maybe it is advised to preventive food in such cases those who are more prone to above illness.
And lastly …. Once you try it you. will get the benefits of it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ayurveda perspective of OAT BRAN…!!

           Oat bran has become popular recently as a source of fiber and as one way to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is far lighter and dryer than regular oats. It is most balancing for Kapha, served as cold breakfast cereal like oat bran flakes. It is relatively neutral for Pitta. Unless it is well moistened, it can definitely imbalance Vata. Vata can get the benefit of the Oat bran fiber naturally present in cooked rolled oats. Oat bran also can be added to muffin or bread recipes to lighten their effects and add fiber. In Ayurveda, rough dry foods like oat bran are highly regarded as a way of counteracting the effects of consuming too many sweet heavy foods, such as meat, wine, and cheese.
Health Benefits: Oats reduces the risk of Heart Disease due to fiber content when combined with low fat diet also due to its beta-glucan may help Type-2 Diabetes control their blood glucose level. Also it contains high content of complex carbohydrates and water soluble fiber that encourages slow digestion and stabilizes blood-glucose levels. Oatmeal porridge also contains more B vitamins and calories than other kinds of porridges. Oats are the only cereal containing a globulin or legume like protein.
Rolled oats are traditionally oat groats that have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers and then steamed and lightly toasted.
Oatmeal is ground oat groats.
Tridoshas : Vata, Pitta, Kapha in Ayurveda.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Deal with Insomnia….One common problem with expert solutions.

                           THE SLEEP SPECIALIST

          Try Behavior Changes and proper medication. At night keep away from bright light. In the morning, open the blinds and go out for a walk, to tell your brain, “This is the start of the day.” You can try over the counter sleep aids, but if you suffer more than 3 weeks, see a doctor. Prescription drugs are safe when used judiciously, and better than the consequences of not sleeping.

          Go to the bed And Get Up at the same time daily. Keep your room dark and quite, and remove distractions (no working in bed). Have a cup of herbal tea, such as chamomile, to relax your body. And remember, people who eat a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low fat protein feel better and sleep better.

          Stress Often Plays important role in insomnia, so try to change your reaction to it. Don’t exercise or eat at the end of the day, I mean late night or limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Enjoying a warm bath can help. Also, try taking 100mg of calcium or source of food (it may calm your muscles and nerves, helping you sleep).

          Lying In Bed, starting from your legs and moving up to your head, tense your muscles at a time a time, then release. Your body will feel more relaxed, like a rubber band after it’s been stretched. And try soothing alternative-nostril breathing. Exhale through one nostril, using your fingers to close the opposite nostril. Breathe in and out; then switch back and forth.

LACK OF SLEEP Impairs our ability to Metabolize glucose, and can lead to early-stage TYPE -2 DIABETES.
        And lastly I can say don’t underestimate the dangers of insomnia, including accidents from drowsiness. If you are overweight, sleep apnoea could be the cause, even 5% weight loss can reduce many symptoms. A combination of all the twice here offers the best chance to sleep robustly , but if you’re still counting sleep, see a specialist for a diagnosis and advise on wise use of medications.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Marinades: Why they’re Worth It ??

            Marinades serve two different functions: as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer. Take a look at how you can make marinades work for you before getting to the recipes.

Marinade tenderizing science

The cooking process itself turns connective tissues into gelatin to varying degrees. Depending on the cut and type of meat, it may need a little assistance to bring it to a palatable range of tenderness. Certain plant and fungi enzymes and acids can break down muscle and connective proteins in meats.
Marinating meats help lower unhealthy cholesterol compounds that form during cooking. Marinade inhibited the formation of cholesterol oxidation products, which can cause cell damage and increase the risk of heart disease.

Marinate for flavor

Acid-based marinades both tenderize and flavor many different types of foods, not just meats and seafood. Acids such as citrus juices, pineapple, yogurt, buttermilk, and wine tenderize by denaturing or unwinding protein strings. They also lend flavor to the end product.
Dry marinades or rubs are used to enhance flavor as opposed to tenderize, although some may have some beneficial tenderizing side effects. This type is usually a mixture of herbs and spices, sometimes mixed with oil, which is rubbed into the meat, poultry and seafood. Those recipes using dry rubs usually specify a grill, pan-fry or broil cooking method.
      The Health Risks of uncooked Meat

There have been massive public health agendas aimed at the importance of thoroughly cooking your meat to prevent food poisoning. While this may indeed be important if your meat comes from unhealthy, diseased animals (which is likely the case if you buy it at a supermarket), if you get meat from a more reputable source, such as a small organic farm, the risks of food poisoning from undercooked meat diminish significantly.

In fact, eating meat from a safe source very lightly and properly cooked is the healthiest way to eat it. This is true for two reasons.

1. Meat products from animals raised outside in the sun are rich in biophotons, which contain bio-information that controls complex vital processes in your body. The biophotons have the power to elevate your physical body to a higher oscillation or order, and this is manifested as a feeling of vitality and well-being. Cooking your food destroys these important biophotons.

2. Any time you cook meat at high temperatures, whether you’re grilling, frying, broiling, etc., toxic, health-harming chemicals are created, including:

 These form when food is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re linked to cancer. In terms of HA (Heterocyclic Amines), the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.

 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.

 Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

It is my belief that most of the studies showing red meats are unhealthy got their results because the common way most people consume animal protein is COOKED, or worse yet grilled, creating all the toxic substances discussed above. For instance:
Guidelines for Cooking Meat

Meat is a healthy addition to most people’s diets, provided you get it from a high-quality source, and eat the varieties and amounts that are best for your nutritional type. Healthy meat should be organic and grass-fed, and should not contain preservatives like nitrates or any other additives.
As I said earlier, ideally you should eat your meat very lightly and properly cooked.

1. You can reduce the amount of PAHs when you grill by not cooking fatty meats, and by trimming the fat off before you grill.

2. When grilling, cook your food with indirect heat, such as on a rack rather than directly on the coals. Cooking on a cedar plank is also helpful.

3. Always avoid charring your meat (and don't eat the black or brown parts).

4. Cook meat partially before putting it on the grill, or cook smaller pieces of meat, which take less time to cook, and therefore give HCAs less time to form.

5. You can reduce the amount of AGEs in your food by using an acidic marinade that contains lemon juice or vinegar.

6. Marinating meats before grilling or broiling them can reduce HCAs (according to some experts by 90 percent or more). However, only use natural ingredients for marinades, and keep the coating thin to avoid charring.

8. Flip your burgers often, as this will help cut down on HCAs.

9. Add blueberries or cherries to your burgers, as they can also help prevent the formation of HCAs.

10. Avoid grilling hot dogs, bratwurst and other processed meats, as these seem to be among the worst offenders.

11. Only grill high-quality, organic and grass-fed meats.

Ref: Home cooking, marinade science.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Floss Your Teeth Regularly.

                Avoiding periodontal disease prevents inflammation in the arteries, which help you head off heart disease. Most people don't know that your oral health affects all your arterial health, and that includes blood flow  to the heart and vital organs and may be even wrinkles on your skin.

A Silent Killer…!!!! Know your blood pressure and do whatever it takes to get it down.

           Your blood pressure numbers are even important than your cholesterol. And you can lower it yourself. The best way? Getting a little exercise and losing some belly fat. 
        Why belly fat? The omentum is what hangs over the stomach. The fat that’s stored there feeds kidneys, liver and other vital organs. Here the hypothesis. When you gain weight, you add inside relatively rigid “kidney capsule”. This fat pushes on the kidney, so it says, “Hey I need more blood pressure to drive blood through because I am getting squeezed by the fat.” So it releases hormones that caused increased blood pressure.
       When you lose little of that fat, even with just a few kilos weight loss, your blood pressure goes down really fast. Cutting back on salt may help, but for some people reducing sugar and saturated fat in the diet may even help more.
“Those who have diabetes and a family history of hypertension should check their blood pressure regularly.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bust A Myth, Get a Benefit….!!!

            Few subjects harbor more myths and misconceptions than nutrition. Some of the most common:

“Low Fat” Means “healthy.” Low foods can be healthy but not always. The problem? Many processed foods that are low in fat are high in sugar, which gives you extra calories and may cause swings in your blood sugar level, this makes you gain weight and lose energy and may raise your risk of several diseases. Some people believe “low fat” means Eat all you want.

                   I remember a dieting patient who was puzzled because he was gaining weight. He mentioned he was a low fat cake. When I asked him how much he replied, “Oh, one or two.” “One or two pieces?” “No one or two cakes!”

                  An ideal diet is low in fat and low in sugar. Most people can enjoy high-sugar, high fat treats on occasion, but if you indulge one day, be sure to eat healthier next.

Continued next...

Thursday, May 12, 2011


        No longer the disease of the urban rich heart ailments following the path of consumerism into India’s poor sections and villages too.Teen obesity, lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyle are pushing us towards heart diseases earlier than before. It is no longer uncommon to hear of someone in their 30s or 40 succumb to heart attack as they push themselves on corporate ladder.
        About 30 to 50% of cases of heart diseases in India affect people below the age 50. In the West average age is 55. “Most children today get no exercises and spend their time in front of the TV, eating potato chips as they stay up the night to study. They also have big tummies. By the time they touch 40, it all accumulate in the form of heart attack.”
       Heart ailments are not longer rich man’s disease. Consumerism and urbanization have ensured that eve villages have access to unhealthy junk food like potato chips. You get rickshaw pullers who have suffered heart attacks. They eat meals cooked in unhealthy oil on the road side.”
      The number one reason for heart attack however remains smoking. And among women, smoking and diabetes. Avoid eating Jalebis and kachodi, which are cooked in vanaspati oil. It’s a killer. ‘’The more it is reheated; it gets oxidized and creates Trans fats in the body.”
Making healthy choices: 
~ Restrict eating out to once a week.

~ If you’re at business meeting, opt for salads with non-fatty dressings.
~ Introduce fibres in your diet through bran and wheat flour.
~ Snack on flax seeds and walnuts, which are rich in Omega3 fatty acids.
~ Cut down on red meat and egg yolks that are high in cholesterol.

         Testing for heart disease for an otherwise healthy individual should begin at the age of 30.Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder characterized by high cholesterol level especially very high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol, leading to early cardiovascular disease.

     How can one recognize an impending heart attack? According to experts 60% of patients complain of a typical severe chest pain, accompanied by pain in the left arm, nausea, perspiration. About 15-20% experience indigestion or pain in the back minus any sweating. A jaw pain is more suspect if it’s also accompanied by discomfort in the throat.

A ‘silent heart attack’ is more common with complaints of gas and indigestion. “If the indigestion is not relieved by antacids and persist for an hour get an ECG done.


Friday, May 06, 2011

The Flavor of Good Health…

The Flavor of Good Health…  
               Variety is the spice of life, and enjoying a variety of herbs and spices may help you live a healthier life as well. Seasonings have been used since ancient times to perk up the flavor of food. The average person consume over 1.5kilos of spices annually. Much of its chilli, pepper and mustard seed. Mustard seeds contain lot of protective substance called phytochemicals, which may inhibit the growth of existing cancer cells and help and prevent normal cells from turning into cancerous ones. Other herb and spices like the ones below, also have some amazing attributes. But remember little goes long way: Too much of these can ruin recipe and may not be ideal for your health.
Turmeric: This herb of ginger family provides the yellow colour in curries. It’s a powerful anti-oxidant and has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Preliminary studies suggest it may help prevent or even treat Alzheirmer’s disease. Turmeric also enhances immune function, improves digestion and may reduce your risk of heart attack. Because of its anti-oxidant properties, scientist are studying curcumin one of most active substance in turmeric as a possible treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Ginger: Is effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. In addition it can be useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting brought on by pregnancy. To get the stomach-calming benefits simply steep about 50grams of fresh ginger root in cup of hot water. Ginger also contains inflammation fighting substance called gingerol, which may help reduce pain and improve function in people who have arthritis.
Coriander: A most popular spice in Indian and Mexican cuisine, coriander is rich in protective phytochemicals and is a good source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Cinanamon: One of the oldest spice known as Dalchini is a ingredient in curry powder. It seems to reduce inflammation and recent studies show that it may also be especially for those with type 2 Diabetes. In one study consuming even minute quantities daily reduced blood sugar in people with diabetes by about 20% and lowered triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol. In another chewing cinnamon gum or simply smelling the spice, improved attention and memory.
Rosemary: It contains substances that have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may improve immune function and circulation, and reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Used, as aromatherapy, it may enhance memory and cognition.
Clove: Is a highly useful aromatic herb. Cloves impart a particular aroma because of the presence of essential oil in them. The compound responsible for the aroma is eugenol. It is the main component in the essential oil extracted from cloves, comprising 72 to 90 per cent eugenol and has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. Other important constituents include essential oils like salicylate, which acts as painkiller. Known for being a mild anesthetic, anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-bacterial agent, it is extensively used in relieving pain in oral ailments. Ayurveda recognizes it as an antiseptic, analgesic, anti microbial, antispasmodic, antiviral, anti parasitic, anesthetic, and carminative. It prevents vomiting, acts as a digestive, and a mild sexual stimulant. Clove is said to be effective against coli, streptococci, staphylococci, and pneumococci. It is believed to prevent stomach upset, traveler’s diarrhoea and wound infections.
Fennel: An old reliable household remedy, good for flavoring foods and medicines. The tea makes an excellent eye wash. Fennel is a thoroughly tried remedy for gas, acid stomach or dyspepsia, gout, cramps, colic, cystitis, and spasms. Ground fennel sprinkled on food will prevent gas in the stomach and bowels. For colic in children, the herb should be steeped (weak for infants) and given in small doses every half hour until the infant or child is relieved. Nursing mothers will find fennel helpful in stimulating lactation, in a warm tea. Fennel seed, ground and made into a tea is given for snake bites, fever, insect bites, dog bites, hiccoughs, flatulence, backache, toothache, obesity, blood purifier, or food poisoning. Good for jaundice when the liver is obstructed or to improve appetite. Excellent for obesity. Increases the flow of urine and increases menstrual flow. Fennel oil may be rubbed over painful joints to relieve pain or rheumatism, and may be added to gargles for hoarseness and sore throat and cough.
To be continued...

Monday, May 02, 2011


Do your fruits and vegetables always go bad before you eat them? Follow these simple storage tips to preserve the taste and help them live longer.
·        Not all fruit and veg benefit from being kept in the cold- as a general rule; if it’s tropical, don’t keep in the refrigerator. Mangoes, avocados and bananas are all good examples of this.
·        Fruits such as apricots, peaches, nectarines and pears give off a natural gas that causes other fruit and veg to ripen more quickly. Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and carrots are affected and if already ripe they should be kept separately or they’ll perish.
·        To increase the life of bagged salads, rinse leaves, drain and put into a shallow container. Drape a piece of damp kitchen paper over, cover and chill.
·        Keep herbs fresh- removes from packaging, roll tightly in damp kitchen and then in cling film.
·        Don’t use foil to wrap high-acidity foods such as rhubarb, sliced tomato, citrus fruits or cabbage. The aluminum will affect the taste.