Health Benefits of Fish Oil
The health benefits of fish oil include its ability to aid in treatment of heart diseases, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, AHDH, low immunity, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, IBD, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, macular degeneration and ulcers. It is helps in weight loss, pregnancy, fertility and skin care (particular for disorders such as psoriasis, acne).
Most of the these health benefits of fish oil can be attributed to the presence of Omega 3 essential fatty acids such as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Other useful essential fatty acids include Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA and Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA.
The various types of fish which can be a good source of fish oil are mackerel, rainbow trout, lake trout, halibut, herring, sea bass, sardines, swordfish, oysters, albacore tuna, blue fin tuna, yellow fin tuna, turbot, pilchards, anchovies and salmon. The most common names among these for obtaining fish oil are albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and salmon. The type of fish used and the purity standards followed in refining the oil govern the quality of fish oil.
The health benefits of fish oil include the following:
Heart Disease: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), clinical trials have proved that omega 3 is effective in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Fish oil, which is abundant in omega 3, therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and heart arrhythmias. It lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol, and increases the HDL levels, which is good cholesterol. Fish oil prevents accumulation of triglycerides and further reduces the levels of excess triglycerides. Preliminary research has also shown that fish oil can be used for preventing atherosclerosis in coronary patients. Thus fish oil is effective in treating heart strokes and regular usage of fish oil can help avoid numerous sudden cardiac deaths. According to the American Heart Association, these preliminary findings should be confirmed by detailed research.
Weight Loss: Fish oil also aids in weight loss process. Research conducted by Professor Peter Howe at the University of South Australia has shown that fish oil improves the efficacy of exercise in reducing weight. Volunteers who were given fish oil diet showed greater weight loss as compared to those who did not consume fish oil diet. Exercise combined with fish oil had a positive effect on the body shape and body composition of the patients.
Blood Circulation: It is believed that fish oil has the ability to improve blood circulation along with reducing triglyceride and serum cholesterol levels.
Immunity: It is believed that regular consumption of fish oil aids in increasing your immunity thereby enabling you to resist incidence of common diseases such as cold, cough and flu. Omega three fatty acids present in fish oil benefit the immune system by effecting cytokines and eicosanoids present in our body. Researchers have also studied the effect of fish meal and fish oil on the immune system of pigs and found that fish oil aided in the growth of the animals. Similar research conducted on mice at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, also gave positive results. Thus fish oil has the potential to enhance the immune system of humans. Fish oil is also beneficial to patients suffering from lupus, which is a disease characterized by the attacks of immune system of the body on various organs and tissues. Fish oil helps in reducing the pain and inflammation that may occur in joints, eyes, kidney, heart, blood vessels, lungs, nerves, etc. It also helps in reducing associated fever, skin rashes and fatigue.
AIDS: Research conducted by the Nutritional Sciences Program in Lexington has increased the promise of fish oil as a treatment of AIDS.
Inflammation: Fish oil has anti inflammatory properties; therefore, it is effective in reducing inflammation in blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil supplements, tablets, pills and capsules is helpful to those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases. Fish oil is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders, sprue, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, which are typical disorders of the intestine. Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease find it difficult to absorb vitamins, fats and essential supplements. Fish oil supplements are an effective diet for such patients. In ulcerative colitis, fish oil prevents the accumulation of leukotriene on the colon. It should be noted that the anti inflammatory properties of fish oil are limited to reducing inflammation. Fish oil provides little effect in preventing inflammation. Research is also being conducted to enhance the anti-inflammatory action of fish oil by addition of other dietary supplements and drugs.
Arthritis: Fish oil is useful in treating arthritis, rheumatism, Raynaud’s symptoms and similar conditions. Usage of fish oil can help reducing the dosage of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia, and University of Newcastle, Australia have reported that large quantities of fish oil have shown positive effect on the treatment of arthritis. In case of osteoarthritis, fish oil can be helpful in reducing the impact of enzymes that destroy cartilages. However, since the dosage of fish oil required for desirable effect in the improvement of a patient is unknown, the Arthritis Center, Department of Rheumatology, John Hopkins University, considers including omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil in the treatment of arthritis as controversial. The University also cautions that there may appear certain side effect due to the use of fish oil in arthritis patients. Read more about arthritis on the webpage of Arthritis Foundation and Arthritis Center.
Depression and Anxiety: Due to the presence of Omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil is good for relieving depression, sadness, anxiety, restlessness, mental fatigue, stress, decreased sexual desire, suicidal tendencies and other nervous disorders. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio in their research publication titled “Fish Oils and Bipolar Disorder: A Promising but Untested Treatment” state that fish oil can be useful in mood stabilizing and treating bipolar disorders. No wonder, it has been found that countries where fish is eaten often have low incidence of depression. Similarly research conducted on prisoners has shown that when prisoners were fed with sea food containing higher amount of omega three fatty acids, there was a significant drop in the homicide rate.
Alzheimer’s Disease: Research conducted at the Louisiana State University has shown that fatty acids are effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Since fish oil is one of the best sources of essential fatty acids including EPA and DHA, it helps in Alzheimer disease. Research conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) validates the usefulness of fish oil as a possible remedy for the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends fish containing higher content of omega three fatty acids to patients as it acts as a protective diet during Alzheimer disease and dementia.
ADHD or ADD: Fish oil has the ability to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) due to the high concentration of fatty acids. If your child suffers from hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, inability to complete tasks, emotional instability, wavering attitude, poor coordination, short attention span, short term memory, low concentration, tendency to interrupt others, recklessness, hastiness, impetuosity, impulsiveness, low IQ, or learning disorders, fish oil supplements, tablets, pills or capsules are a proven remedy. Research conducted at the University of South Australia and CSIRO has shown that when children suffering from ADHD were given doses of fish oil and evening primrose capsules for 15 weeks, they showed significant improvement. Since brain consists of about 60% of fats, especially essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6, fish oil helps in improving the functioning of the brain. Further, it is believed that fish oil is useful in the normal development of the brain. It helps your kid concentrate on the studies better. It has been further found that when pregnant women are given regular doses of fish oil, the born toddlers show enhanced hand eye coordination. Facts about ADHD.
Eye Disorders: It is well known that fish oil is good for its ability to improve vision. It also helps in avoiding age related macular degeneration. The National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health, US, plans to conduct a nation-wide study to evaluate the effect of fish oil in treating macular degeneration. This study will provide strong scientific evidence to the benefits of fish oil for eye care, thereby enabling government agencies and physicians to strongly recommend fish oil for macular degeneration.
Skin Care: Fish oil helps in improving the condition of poor and dry skin by making it shinny and glowing. It is useful in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, itching, redness of skin, skin lesions, and rashes. In case of psoriasis, the EPA present in fish oil restricts the growth of pro-inflammatory agents by producing arachidonic acid. Fish oil can also be applied topically to obtain relief from psoriasis. Regular intake of fish oil capsules helps in reducing loss of moisture from the skin. It is also claimed by some people that fish oil helps in preventing sunburns.
Acne: Fish oil is effective for acne as well. EPA is known to inhibit androgen formation. Androgen can affect the formation of sebum in hair follicle.
Cancer: Fish oil is useful in delaying weight loss in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. Fish oil supplements can also be helpful to patients suffering from cancer related hyperlipidemia.
Diabetes: Type II diabetic patients are more prone to cardio vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. As mentioned above, fish oil is helpful in treating various heart problems. Research conducted at the University of Oxford, UK, has proved that fish oil is useful in reducing triglyceride levels in diabetes as well.
Ulcers: The symptoms of peptic ulcer include pain in the abdomen, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, loss in appetite, weight loss, etc. Due to the presence of EPA and DHA, fish oil can be helpful in case of ulcers caused by NSAIDs.
Pregnancy: Fish oil is very useful for pregnant women as DHA present in it helps in the development of the eyes and brain of the baby. It helps in avoiding premature births, low weight at birth, and miscarriage. Research conducted in Denmark, which involved 8,729 pregnant women, concluded that diet with low amounts of fish resulted in higher risk of premature or preterm babies. It is also believed that women who do not have a sufficient intake of EPA and DHA in their diet suffer from depression after birth as there is transfer of some amount of brain mass from the mother to the child in the last stages of pregnancy. Moreover, as mentioned above, when pregnant women are given fish oil supplements, the born kids show enhanced coordination between eye and hand. Thus it is very beneficial to consume fish oil either by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, tablets, capsules, or pills during pregnancy for the overall development of the child and well being of the mother. However, it should be noted that fish oil obtained from the liver of the fish, example – cod liver oil, should not be consumed during pregnancy as cod liver oil is rich in retinol and vitamin A.
Fertility: Preliminary research conducted on boar has shown that when male boars are fed with diet containing fish oil, the quality of the sperm is enhanced. After ejaculation, the sperms have increased survival against lipid peroxidative attacks in the female genital tract, thereby increasing the chances of conception. On the other hand, similar animal studies have shown inhibition in the synthesis of prostaglandin E and prostaglandin F, which are produced in large quantities by human seminal vesicles. The research found no impact in the count and mobility of sperm.
Hair Care: Fish oil helps maintain a good luster of the hair. Omega three has hair growing properties as it provides nourishment to the follicles. It therefore aids in faster development of hair and preventing hair loss. A good supply of proteins is also necessary for hair growth. Since most fish varieties are rich in protein, eating fish helps in keeping healthy hair.
It is also believed that fish oil helps in asthma and kidney failure. Many people also like to feed fish oil to their pets especially dog and cat as it enables in the growth of shinny hair and smooth skin. It also helps the dogs and cats deal with arthritis, which is a very common disease among pets.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program, US, has cautioned against wrongful publicity of fish oil as an effective means of lowering high blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension. According to its report, fish oil supplements lowers high blood pressure only to a small extent in hypertensive patients. Research conducted at the Channing Laboratory, Boston, US has revealed that moderate doses of fish oil supplements have little effect on the condition of high blood pressure in normotensive persons.
Should we replace vegetable oils with fish oil?
No. There are many websites which advice people to stop eating these vegetable oil and switch to fish oil for increasing the intake of omega 3 fatty acids. However, it should be noted that most of these websites take a bias towards fish oil to increase the sales of their products. There is no doubt that fish oil is one of the best sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids. However, other sources should also be consumed.
Here is a brief on Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. There are three types of Omega 3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). All three are important for the body. Vegetable sources including flax seed oil, soybean oil, hemp oil, canola oil, walnut oil, rapeseed, perilla, chia and tofu are rich in ALA. The human body has the ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA, though there are limitations to this conversion. It has been found that ALA is also useful in treating heart problems; however, the exact mechanism is yet unknown.
GLA, an important Omega 6 fatty acid, shows promise in the treatment of cancer. It is believed that GLA is useful in treating various problems including arthritis, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, skin problems, breast pain, premenstrual syndrome and diabetes. The best source for GLA is evening primrose oil.
Caution on dosage: Excessive dosage of fish oil can have adverse allergies and side effects on the body. Further, fish oil can be problematic in many conditions and hence it is necessary to fish oil supplements cautiously. You should consult a doctor or physician for the exact dosage of fish oil you should take. Moreover, fish oil can be consumed in various forms. These include eating the fish directly by baking, roasting, frying, grilling, broiling, or smoking it or eating fish oil which is available in the form of concentrated dietary supplements such as liquid, tablet, capsule, pill, soft gel, etc. Also, there are various pharmaceutical grades of fish oil. You should also consult your doctor to check the mode of eating fish oil.
Fish oil purity
Purity of fish oil is also an important issue which one must pay attention to. Fish oil is obtained from fresh water, farm, ocean, deep sea and shallow sea fish. All these fish can be contaminated with toxic compounds such as mercury, arsenic, lead, forms of calcium, furans, dioxins, PCBs, and methyl mercury, and may affect the human body. Therefore, the fish oil should be pure. Many companies also sell ultra refined fish oil or distilled fish oil, but you should always check if the standards have been followed.
Fish oil and Vitamins
Vitamin A and Vitamin D: Fish oil, especially the one obtained from liver such as the cod liver oil, is a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin D. However, excessive dosage of cod liver oil can lead to Vitamin toxicity, accumulation of excessive vitamins in the body, which can cause side effects.
Vitamin E: There are various beliefs surrounding fish oil and vitamin E. These are:
- Fish oil undergoes oxidation and can become rancid, leading to formation of free radicals. Addition of antioxidants such as vitamin E to fish oil can help prevent the formation of these free radicals.
- Excessive dosage of fish oil leads to reduction of Vitamin E in the human body. This loss of vitamin E should be supplemented with external vitamin E supplements.
- The combination of fish oil and vitamin E can have added benefit in the treatment of many cancers and heart diseases, than if they are used individually.
Preliminary research has been carried out which prove the above beliefs; however, these need to be substantiated with detailed research before drawing strong conclusions on the use of fish oil and vitamin E.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea make it a good beverage for treating cancer, heart problems, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, infection, tooth decay, etc. Green tea contains an antioxidant epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) which is helpful in treating a variety of diseases.
Green tea acquires a prestigious place among soft beverages and it is one of the foremost things that come to the mind when the topic is anti oxidants. Within a short time, it has made billions of fans around the world and many lovers of normal tea have switched on to green tea, due to its health benefits. Those who are habituated to normal tea may not like its taste for the first time, but I am sure that it will be their favourite on very soon.
What’s there in green tea that makes it so special and so healthy? How to use it? What are the products available in market that are based on green tea? There are many such questions which we have tried to answer below.
What is Green Tea: Green tea comes from the same plant from which normal tea is obtained. Scientifically, it is known as Camellia Sinensis. In fact, it is the same tea but processed differently. The normal black tea is obtained by fermenting the tea leaves. This fermentation changes its colour, flavour and raises the level of caffeine and tannin in it. Whereas, in case of Green Tea, the tea leaves are dried or slightly steamed but not fermented. This makes it look green when brewed and otherwise.
Constituents: Apart from caffeine, which gives tea its characteristic taste, bitterness and stimulating effect, Green Tea is rich in a group of chemicals, called Catechin Polyphenols (Commonly known as Tannins which contribute to bitter taste and astringency) like Catechin, Epicatechin, Epicatechin Gallate (ECG), Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), Pro-Anthocyanidins etc. They are also known as Flavonoids and are very powerful anti oxidants. Flavonoids, together with some amino acids like Thianine, are responsible for the flavour of green tea. Further, it also contains Amino Acids like Theanine, Butyric Acid & Liganin; Xanthine Alkaloids such as Adenine, Dimethylxanthine, Theobromine, Theophylline and Xanthine; Pectin (also found in fruits); saccharides (sugar), Chlorophyll and Triterpene Saponins. Some vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C and vitamin E are found in green tea.
- Anti Ageing: The free radicals created in body are responsible for corroding the body, i.e. for ageing and the related symptoms. The main job of anti oxidants is to neutralize the oxidants or free radicals present in the body and green tea is very rich in anti oxidants. The Catechin Polyphenols present in green tea are mainly responsible for the anti oxidizing effects, the most powerful among them being the Epigallocatechin Gallate. Thus, regular consumption of green tea can effectively delay symptoms of ageing.
- Stimulating: The main reason behind acceptance of any kind of tea, be it green, black or Wwwhe, by human civilizations and its popularity, is its stimulating effect. This effect, again, is due to the Caffeine and Tannins present in it. Caffeine & Tannins, despite their adverse effects on health in the long run, are very good as stimulants. That is why; a cup of tea makes you feel fresh and highly energized. Tea is ideal to counter fatigue, laziness, sleepiness and lack of energy and to improve blood circulation. No doubt it is so popular with any kind of professionals, housewives and students.
- Immunity Boosting: Researches show that people who regularly drink green tea do not fall prey to common bacterial and viral infections easily, and even if they do, it is far less frequently than those not consuming it. The message is clear. Green Tea boosts immunity. The Catechins present in green tea prevent bacterial and virus from attaching themselves to cell walls and thus infecting them. These Catechins also counter the toxins released by microbes. This anti microbial property also protects from bad breathe, dysentery, diarrhoea, tooth decay, indigestion, flu, cough & cold, colitis etc. which are caused by microbial & fungal action.
- Astringency: This is yet another benefit from green tea. It triggers contraction in muscles and tissues and tones up muscles and skin. Even if you do not wish to drink green tea, a mere mouthwash with this daily will cause sufficient contraction in gums to keep them firm and tight on teeth and thus prevent loosening and falling of teeth for long. Wash your hair with it and see them grow stronger each day.
- Anti Carcinogenic: Apart from ageing, free radicals are also responsible for causing certain types of cancer. The Catechins present in green tea neutralize these free radicals, prevent formation of carcinogens like nitrosamines and reduce the chances of cancer. Green tea is now being clinically used in prevention of cancer, particularly those pertaining to colon, rectum, pancreas and intestines.
- Reducing Cholesterol: Green tea has been seen effective in reducing cholesterol level to some extent, probably due to its alkaline nature.
- Cardiac & Arterial Health: Certain components in green tea prevents thickening of blood, thereby reducing chances of Arterial Sclerosis, Thrombosis, Cardiac and Cerebral Strokes etc.
- Anti Diabetic: If not taken with sugar, the alkaline nature of green tea helps reduce the blood glucose level. Moreover, the anti oxidizing and astringent nature of its constituents ensure good health and better functioning of pancreas and thereby better secretion of insulin and resultant better decomposing and absorption of sugar. This helps keep diabetes away.
- Weight Loss: You believe it or not, but green tea also helps lose weight by enhancing rate of metabolism and thereby faster consumption of fat storage of the body. Recently green tea has replaced other beverages in the webstern world as its helps in weight loss. Drink a cup full of green tea in the morning and you are sure to lose a few pounds of excess weight.
- Stamina & Endurance Booster: You can prove this yourself. Just have a cup of hot green tea after rigorous exercise and within no time you will be ready for a few more sets. Further, it effectively counters muscular pain due to over exercise of muscles. Haven’t seen any athlete taking this? You must visit Japan & China then, where it is a popular drink among practitioners of Martial Arts.
- De intoxicating: Green tea is the best cure to get rid of hangovers and fatigue caused by consumption of alcoholic beverages and lack of sleep due to late night parties. A big glass of green tea with lemon, and lo, feels as if there was no hangover at all. Green tea with Lemon juice is a very good and popular remedy to cut effect of alcohols effect instantly.
Types of Green Tea: Green tea has four main varieties, prepared in Japan, which depend upon its leaf-length, method of processing, season of harvesting etc. They are as follows;
- Gyokurocha: In this case, the tea leaves are plucked from the tip of the branches. When brewed, the colour is clear green. Being picked from the tip, this variety has the best taste and fragrance. This is also considered best in terms of health and is less bitter, as it contains less tannin and caffeine, the leaves being younger and budding. The only drawback it has is that it is very costly. But then, there is price you need to pay for every good thing.
- Sencha: Sencha Comes from the same plant, but this time, the leaves are from middle of the branch and are bigger, older and less tender than Gyokurocha and gives a clear, light green tea on brewing. Naturally, it is bitter and stronger than the former variety. Being of less noble origin (middle of the branch) and having more caffeine and tannin, it is cheaper and more popular than Gyokurocha.
- Bancha: Bancha is made from the tender twigs of the tea plant and but obvious, it is very strong and bitter. When brewed, it gives a golden brown tea. This is further cheaper.
- Matcha: It is the leftover powder of green tea, also called “Dust”. It makes a beautifully green coloured tea and forms a lot of foam (froth) as well, but has a lesser aroma than the leafy varieties. This variety of Green Tea is very popular in the Ceremonies, sometimes also called Ceremonial Green Tea. It is far less bitter than its formers and hence when you sip it, it feels as if it is sweeter than them.
- Houjicha: Also spelled as “Hojicha”, it is not a pure or absolute green tea. Rather, it is mixture of green tea and powdered roasted cereals such as wheat, barley, rice etc. The quality and price of this variety depends upon the percentage or ratio of green tea to cereals. The better ones, having more tea in them, are costlier and give greener tea; while those, having more grains, yield a golden brown colour and are cheaper.
- Genmaicha: Like Houjicha, it is not a pure tea either. It is mixture of green tea and roasted brown rice. On steeping, it yields a golden yellow tea, very nice in taste and aroma, due to presence of roasted brown rice in them.
- Decaffeinated Green Tea: If not a variety, but it is also worth mentioning here. Any of the above varieties can come in decaffeinated form.
- Other Varieties: The chief varieties mentioned above are blended with different combinations to produce many more varieties with different names, not necessary to mention here.
Risks: The risks associated with green tea are same as those associated with any other kind of tea (common black tea, White Tea etc.) and are primarily due to presence of Caffeine and Tannins in it. The contraindications may vary with the percentage of caffeine and tannins in it. Most of you might be familiar with these adversities, still, let me summarize the components responsible and the associated risks here;
- Triterpene Saponins: These compounds destroy the Red Blood Corpuscles (Erythrocytes) and thus may aggravate situations of anaemia, cause fatigue etc.
- Caffeine: Everybody knows that it is an external stimulant and raises blood pressure, actually toxic in nature (it may be fatal for lower animals), addictive and in the long run has adverse effect on liver and internal organs. But then, it is the thing in tea which makes it energizing and refreshing.
- Tannins: Tannins interfere with the breaking down of complex proteins into simpler proteins and their absorption in the body.
- Xanthine Alkaloids: There are possibilities that they aggravate formation of uric acid in the body and thereby may trigger off and aid formation of stones in gall-bladder and kidneys, rheumatism etc.
- Other Risks: Long term consumption and in greater quantities may give rise to problems such as insomnia, restlessness, annoyance, irritability, headaches, hypertension, abnormal heart-beats, loss of appetite, spasms, constipation and acute addiction to it. Many a times it is seen that people who are addicted to it do not feel motion and suffer from acute constipation, irritation and lack of concentration on anything in absence of green tea.
Availability of Green Tea: Asian countries like Japan and China are the biggest producers of green tea (they produce the best quality too) and are also its biggest consumers. So, green tea available in other markets is in far lesser quantity than black tea. Moreover, it is still gaining its popularity, as barring a few Asian Countries; people around the world are more acquainted with the black tea. Still, these days you can get it at any reasonably modern shop. You can also order it with the local tea supplier, over phone or over internet. It is almost invariably imported from China (bit cheaper) and Japan (bit dearer), packed in sealed packs of 200grams, 250grams, 500grams etc. It is better not to go for the bigger packs if it is easily available around you. Please also check the date of manufacturing and packing before you buy.
- Industrial Process-1: In this, green tea leaves are treated with Ethyl Acetate, which drains out most of its caffeine (of course, with a lot of its anti oxidant Polyphenols and vitamins too).
- Industrial Process-2: This involves processing of tea leaves with water and carbon dioxide and is better in retaining the Polyphenols.
- Domestic Process: This is a very simple process. It needs repeated steeping of tea in hot water and throwing away the water (you may use this tea to serve those who don’t mind having caffeinated tea). The more you do so, the less caffeine left in the tea, but so is the taste and flavour. So, don’t over do it. Twice or thrice is reasonably good. After all, you want tea and not plain hot water. Isn’t it?
Additional Information: Did you know what the term “Cha” means in names of various qualities of green tea such as Gyokurocha, Sencha, Bancha, Matcha, Houjicha etc? It simply means “Tea”, and tea is popular all over India as “Cha” (In Bengal & adjacent states) and “Chai” in the rest parts. Isn’t it worth knowing it? So, that was all folks, see you next time.
This article is written by Aparup Mukherjee.
Source of Photo: Leena and PhotoXpress.com
|Recipe Submited By||:||Niranjan|
|Prepration Time||:||20 Minutes|
Lime Rice or Lemon Rice is a very balanced ayurvedic dish. It balances all three doshas viz., Vata, Pita and Kapha.
Basmati rice – 1 cup
Urad dal or mung dal – 1 tbsp
Water – 2 cups
Fresh lime juice – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tbsp
Hing – 1 pinch
Whole cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Salt – To taste
Cook Basmati Rice along with Urad dal in water for 10 to 12 minutes. In a pan, melt the ghee and saute the spices in this melted ghee. Mix the cooked rice and sautéed spice mix together along with lime juice. Add salt to taste. Decorate the dish with coriander leaves and grated coconut before serving
Ayurvedic Tea is a healthy and medicinal beverage or drink, what ever you call it :), which is surely effective and helps in the balancing of digestive syste.
coriander seeds – 1 tsp
fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Water 3 cups
Honey to sweeten
Boil water, remove from flame and soak the ingredients, except honey, in it for about 5 minutes. Extract the liquid content, add honey to sweeten and serve. This ayurvedic tea is ideal for digestion and is very healthy too..
Health Benefits of Sleep – A Real Eye-Opening Analysis
For anyone who loves sleeping, this article will make you feel good about it. For those of you who try to cut down your sleep time as much as possible, this is going to be an eye-opener (excuse the pun).
The health benefits of sleep extend far beyond the mere fact that they help you feel better by reducing your tiredness. The effect of sleep on your short and long term health are far-reaching and massive. We’ll go over some of these benefits in this post.
Sleep Helps You Lose Weight
The connection between sleep and weight loss seems counter-intuitive: you expect people who are more active, by sleeping less, to burn more calories and lose weight faster than those who sleep a lot. The reality is that they lose weight slower or not at all. If you want to get thinner, you need to get enough sleep. Simple as that.
Sleep Helps You To Reduce Stress
We all know how cranky we can be when we don’t get enough sleep. We feel stressful, irritable, and we often take it out on those closest to us. One of the ways to prevent this from happening is to get sufficient sleep.
The problem is that stress is also one of the causes of insomnia, something which perpetuates the cycle of bad sleep and increases your stress even further. Take action to minimize stress and you will be able to sleep better and find that your feel calmer and happier.
Keeps your Appetite Under Control
One of the reasons why sleep is important for weight loss is that a deficit of it increases appetite. When you don’t sleep enough, your hormonal balance changes, hunger hormones increase and satiety hormones decrease. This happens even after a single night of bad sleep. Naturally, if you continue to sleep poorly, you may find yourself eating way too much and gaining weight quickly.
Makes You More Productive and a Better Worker
The cost of poor sleep may be measured in dollars and cents (or any other currency for that matter) because it has a direct influence on workers’ productivity.
A study which looked at about 4,000 employees found that the cost of fatigue related lack of productivity is $1,967 per worker each year . Naturally, this isn’t just a cost for the employers. It can also damage your chances of a promotion or raise or, if you’re self-employed, cost you directly.
If simple facts allude you suddenly or details which you feel you should know are suddenly hard to bring to mind, there’s a good chance that you need to get more sleep. Research has shown that adequate sleep is important for neural plasticity and memory processes. While it’s unclear exactly how much sleep influences your memory, it is clear that there is such a connection .
Improves your Immune System and Fights Inflammation
Sleep may be important to maintain the health of your immune system. As studies show, sleep helps to regulate anti-inflammatory elements in your body and has a positive effect on your immune system , . This can have a major impact on your life and may effect the development of such issues as arthritis, blood pressure, and various immunological problems.
If you feel down and can’t seem to improve your mood, a good night’s sleep may be the very best thing for you. Sleep is an excellent weapon against depression . The effects of depression on your quality of life can be tremendous. So, make sure you get enough sleep each night and you may have a more positive outlook on things.
Improves Focus, Learning Ability, and Attention
If you find that your mind is wondering, that you can’t maintain proper attention for any length of time, and that you suddenly make mistakes that you shouldn’t have done, lack of sleep may be the cause.
Getting enough sleep helps you to concentrate more fully, to avoid silly mistakes on tests, and to learn new material. It makes you more attentive and improves your thought processes. This is true whether you’re still in school or whether you need to be attentive on the job.
Health Benefits of Sleep Are Many And Varied
The health benefits of sleep are varied. Some effect your quality of life and others your health directly. I hope that I’ve shown you why you must dedicate more of your time to sleep and work to improve the quality of it. It can make your life much better and healthier too.
1. The cost of poor sleep: workplace productivity loss and associated costs. Rosekind MR, Gregory KB, Mallis MM, Brandt SL, Seal B, Lerner D. J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Jan;52(1):91-8.
2. Some considerations on sleep and neural plasticity. Tononi G, Cirelli C. Arch Ital Biol. 2001 Apr;139(3):221-41.
3. Neuroimmunologic aspects of sleep and sleep loss. Rogers NL, Szuba MP, Staab JP, Evans DL, Dinges DF. Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2001 Oct;6(4):295-307.
4. Effects of sleep and circadian rhythm on the human immune system. Lange T, Dimitrov S, Born J. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Apr;1193:48-59.
5. Sleep and depression. Tsuno N, Besset A, Ritchie K. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005 Oct;66(10):1254-69.
keep your immune system strong all year round with these tips. (Getty Images)
Keeping a strong immune system is essential for avoiding common colds during the winter months. Even though the strength of your immune system is partly determined by genetics and childhood exposures, much of it also depends on your nutrition.
Read this article to find out some of the best ways you can keep your immune system strong throughout winter and all year round!
1. Take extra vitamin C
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has long been known as a nutrient that is especially helpful for the immune system.
Vitamin C can help stimulate the immune system to fight off foreign cells that invade the body. Additionally, some research has shown that vitamin C supplementation can actually increase the number of antibodies, which play a crucial role in protecting your body from bacteria and viruses.
It is recommended that adult men consume at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day, and adult women should get at least 75 mg per day. Mega doses ranging between 250 mg and 1 gram of vitamin C per day are sometimes used to help decrease the incidence and duration of colds.
Citrus fruits and potatoes are both loaded with vitamin C. Also, many fruit juices contain 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.
2. Get enough zinc
Zinc is a micronutrient that is important for proper functioning of the immune system. Research is mixed on whether or not extra zinc supplementation can decrease your chances of getting sick, but health care professionals do know that without good overall zinc status, your immune system will weaken.
Zinc is found in a variety of foods, so most people do not need to worry about getting enough zinc in their diet. However, if you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, you may need extra zinc supplementation. This is because the zinc that is found in plant foods is often not absorbed properly by humans because there are other molecules in the food that block absorption.
It is recommended that adult males consume 11 mg of zinc per day, and adult females should get 8 mg of zinc per day.
3. Take Echinacea when you feel unwell
Doctors do not recommend long-term use of the herb Echinacea, however numerous research studies have shown that when taken right after the first symptoms of a cold appear, it can be effective in reducing the duration and severity of the cold.
Because it is not a nutrient, there are no guidelines on how much Echinacea to take. So, make sure you find a reputable company and follow their guidelines. Usually, taking 1 or 2 pills per day during the first few days of a cold/sickness is recommended.
4. Eat a well-balanced diet
Besides the specific vitamins, minerals and herbs that have been mentioned, make sure that you are consuming a healthy overall diet. Having a balanced diet that contains all of the nutrients your body needs will help ensure that your body, and immune system, is functioning optimally.
Try to incorporate lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy into your diet. These foods will provide you with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are especially helpful for the immune system.
Remember, when buying any sort of vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements, you must do your research. Since supplements are generally not regulated, you have to make sure that you are buying from a reputable company. Look online for user reviews and other information about the company.
By registered dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide “Eat Your Way to Health — Secrets of a Healthy Diet”.
Yoga can cure every disease’
Yoga therapy can cure every disease and disorder, even cancer, says a Delhi-based yoga therapist but warns against the mass teaching of yoga – including popular pranayams like kapalbhati and anulom vilom – saying they “can cause complications”.
“Yoga cannot be universalised…like prescribing a paracetamol tablet,” says Subhash Sharma, a yoga therapist who spent 19 years in a gurukul in Rajasthan and is also a post-graduate from the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.
Sharma said: “People have different physiologies and each person’s response to yoga is individualistic. Therefore, there can’t be standardisation of yoga for any particular disorder.”
Sharma, who describes himself as a pioneering yoga therapist and runs a busy practice in south Delhi, says even a step-by-step book on yoga can be “fatal”.
Recounting a particular case, he says one gentleman had come to him with a problem – he had lost the sensation of the nerves to the anus that tell us when to pass faeces.
“He had learnt the steps from a book and started practising ‘nauli kriya’, or rotating of the intestines. This paralysed the nerves to the anus. He did not know when he was passing stools, he would only make out from the bad smell.”
Bhastrika, a popular yogic pranayam that many people do while following an expert on television, can cause asthma, warns Sharma.
“In bhastrika pranayam you pump the lungs. It can hyperventilate the lungs and people can develop asthma.”
Another popular pranayam, kapalbhati, is “dangerous, especially for women”, he warns.
“If kapalbhati is done without ‘bandhas’, or shutting the anus and vagina, then the pressure will fall on the visceral organs (internal organs) and they will be pushed downwards. Women can develop uterus prolapse (where the uterus can sag from its normal position).”
Each of Sharma’s patients is given yoga therapy keeping in mind their body type and problem. The patient’s response is monitored closely and changes are made accordingly.
Anulom vilom, perceived to be a simple pranayam in which you breathe in through one nostril and breathe out though the other, is also not advisable for all, he says.
“When we force in air from one nostril and exhale from the other, it upsets the respiratory centre of the brain which controls breathing,” he says, adding, “Lots of precautions should be taken before going in for anulom vilom.”
Sharma has crowds of people coming to him with all kinds of problems, ranging from arthritis, asthma and blood pressure to cancer and even cases of muscular dystrophy. Sharma says he has cured many cancer cases, including blood cancer, brain cancer and breast cancer.
He recounted the case of a British woman with brain cancer who had undergone surgery and been given three months to live. “It is four years since she has been cured,” he said.
Bhavna Singh is full of gratitude to Sharma. Her mother, who was diagnosed with stage 3B cancer of the uterus two years ago, is “doing perfectly fine now” with the disease in remission. Doctors had given her mother 25-30 percent chances of survival. They did chemotherapy and radiotheraphy sessions simultaneously with Sharma’s yoga therapy, which included a diet regimen.
“My mother is doing absolutely fine…I’ll give the whole credit to Sharmaji,” Bhavna said, adding that her mother did not lose even a strand of hair despite intensive chemotherapy.
“There is a yogic asana for anything and everything – one only has to have faith and patience,” says Sharma, who has worked with cancer patients at AIIMS for many years.
Among his many patients is Priya Narayanan, a patient of multiple sclerosis, an auto immune disorder. Priya, a trained Carnatic singer, was doing her PhD in chemistry around 20 years ago when she noticed she was losing the use of her muscles. Many rounds of doctors and hospitals later, and with no hope left, she arrived last year at Sharma’s clinic.
“Priya has begun to show some control over her muscles,” her mother Veda Narayanan said.
According to Sharma, Priya, who cannot walk without help, will be able to walk on her own in three years.
He says true yoga can be practised only by yogis who live aloof from society. Normal, social human beings running the material race suffer from psychosomatic disorders and diseases – and for them therapeutic yoga is the only answer, he says.
Sharma is keen that the Indian government “amalgamate the study of yoga with the study of human physiology – to develop yoga therapists”.
“The government should teach yoga and medicine together, and create yoga doctors,” he says.
Is the government listening?
The active compounds in Fenugreek have a stimulating effect on your pancreas, so that it secretes more insulin in order to help deal with the high glucose levels in your blood. On the other side of the same scenario, it also help your body cells to respond better to the insulin’s instructions by storing excess glucose so that you won’t have the thread of toxic high levels of glucose in your blood.
How To Use Fenugreek
– Fenugreek tea 1: Traditionally the seeds were collected, dried, crushed and then boiled in hot water where it stayed for 3 hours before drinking.
– Fenugreek tea 2: Soak 1 teaspoon of seeds over night. Use it the next day to make tea with. (Try to eat the seeds before, during or after drinking the tea.)
– Seeds can be used as a spice in food.
– Raw seeds (2-3g) can also be swallowed with warm water before a meal.
– Seed extract is available along with capsules (Capsules sometimes cause stomach upsets).
– Dosage: Consider your age and condition, talk to your doctor or herbalist and read the label on the bottle (Usually it is 10-15 g a day that you can spread out over different dosages or take once.)
The Science Behind Fenugreek Tea
Fenugreek contain the following active compounds:
– Alkaloids (gentianine, Trigonelline, Carpaine) that help with infection and gas.
– Sapogenins like Fenugreekine (which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates so that too much sugar will not be released into your system right after a meal.)
– Amino Acid (4 – Hydroxyisoleucine) which stimulate the pancreas, causing it to produce more insulin.
– Antioxidants (which inhibits free radicals responsible for cell damage as in the case where cells do not respond to insulin in order to absorb excess glucose from the blood)
– Fiber (help with cholesterol and slowing down the absorption of sugars from the stomach)
Possible side-effects that should go away after a couple of days are:
Fenugreek has been used as medication in India to induce a baby’s delivery, so it’s better not to use it when you are pregnant.
Fenugreek, with its maple syrupy taste, has been used to mask the taste of medicines.
– this can cause your urine to smell like maple syrup (not sure if that’s good or bad, but will surely be strange if you don’t know where it’s coming from).
– Kids drinking Fenugreek tea may have a maple syrup odor lingering around them.
– Not sure how safe it is for kids as a supplement.
– allergic reaction (swelling, sneezing and a runny nose)
– blood thinning (Talk to your doctor before you use it, might interfere with other meds)
– When taking it with diabetic meds, monitor your sugar levels more often.
Tasting good is only one of the virtues of blueberries; though it is a small fruit and the age old saying of good things come in small packages, comes true as far as the propensities of blueberries go. Foods contain oxidants and blueberries have the propensity to ward off these oxidants, thereby keeping you fit and young. Incidentally, to know and measure the antioxidant level in any food is known as ORAC or oxygen radical absorbance capacity. The phytochemicals in blueberry helps to combat aging and the regular consumption of blueberries can reduce aging drastically. However, to get the best results it is advised to consume fresh blueberries.
Blueberry, is supposed to top the list of 20 fruits in ORAC ratings and it is called blueberry because of its color and the pigmentation is due to an agent called Anthocayanins. This agent is also responsible for the curative propensities of this fruit. This fruit can boost one’s memory and make the mind younger; alongside improving vision and combating cancer or carcinoma. People with blood sugar or diabetes are suggested to consume blueberry in juice form or whatever. Since, this fruit is good for the heart; it can reduce the cholesterol level in a person’s body and make the blood vessels strong.
This fruit is very good for people suffering from joint disorders’ such as arthritis etc, since it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Fresh blueberries help in combating ailments like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The other benefit of the consumption of fresh blueberries is the rejuvenation of the urinary tract. The further deterioration of eye sight can be averted by the regular usage of fresh blueberries. There are untold benefits of this fruit and these days the benefits of this fruit are available in capsule form, because of its powdered version. Incidentally, the consumption of this fruit in any form is good in getting rid of obesity. However, firsthand experience is the best, so go ahead and try some blueberries and feel younger. One bit of information is that this fruit grows wild; however it could be cultivated also.