Author: T S Sundaram

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Facts and Consequences of not having Breakfast

Facts and Consequences of not having Breakfast

breakfastBreakfast tends to have the least priority these days in the daily chores of a family. Missing out of this essential morning meal will certainly hinder the growth of children in the family as also other elder members of their health gradually.

Skipping breakfast is becoming a common trait among modern urban families everywhere. Why is it so?. Mom and dad have to rush to their work places on time.  Children and adolescents are tied up with strict regimen at their schools and colleges and also to an extent at home. This is one  reason why breakfast is becoming less important day by day.

Another reason may be the result of eating a full and heavy meal late at night the previous day.  And the  next day morning one won’t feel like having breakfast. To avoid all these, one should plan his/her night meal a little early. Do not eat anything after dinner. When the gap between dinner and the morning breakfast is more, one will definitely be hungry next day morning to have his breakfast.

There is no set pattern for breakfast as such. It is said that breakfast should approximately meet one-third of your daily nutrient requirement. Both the regularity and quality of what is prepared are important. A simple breakfast can be of cereal preparation, pulse/milk and fruits, which very well provides good amount of carbohydrates and fats for energy, protein,  minerals like calcium and iron and vitamins like B6, riboflavin and folate for the body.

You need not have the traditional breakfast foods. Be simple  These are days when the food is costly. You cannot also throw away the leftover food if any, you have. They should not be wasted. store them properly,  so that they do not get spoiled in the following  few hours of its preservation.  Also make use of them breakfast the next day. As stated earlier even some sandwiches and cereal prepararations will do good for breakfast. In short any healthy and safe food will be fine. One thing to remember: Caffeine from coffee can mask your hunger. So try milk, fruit juices or buttermilk along with breakfast.

Consequences of Not Eating a Healthy Breakfast

By not eating a healthy breakfast, you cheat yourself all day. Several detrimental consequences affect your work performance and ability to focus. This is in addition to consequences that affect your health.

Work-related Effects of Not Eating a Healthy Breakfast

  • Tiredness or likelihood of experiencing fatigue early in the day
  • Inability to focus on tasks
  • Decreased alertness through out the day
  • Less memory capacity
  • Higher chance of irritability or restlessness

Health-related Effects of Not Eating a Healthy Breakfast

  • Greater chance of weight gain due to unhealthy snacking
  • Higher risk of developing diabetes
  • Increased possibility of high cholesterol
  • Higher potential for high blood pressure

It is everybody’s wish to eat a good breakfast. Take necessary steps to eat right. Always have  a good  breakfast, and never skip it.

Plants, People and Medicines

Plants, People and Medicines

plantsNow-a-days people have started realizing that they are drifting away from nature and are leading a hectic life full of tension , inhaling polluted air, drinking polluted water, eating all types of junk food available in the market and indulging in all sorts of excesses. No wonder ill health is on the rise. Diseases come as a natural punishment . To get rid of the diseases, man resorts to poisonous drugs and deadly chemicals which ultimately  disables and ultimately kills him.

In trying to escape diseases which are of  his own creations , man becomes  a victim of drugs and medicines. He can save himself  only if he knows the fact that right food has exceptional healing properties. Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is regarded as the Father of Medicines, once said ” Let thy food be thy medicine”. Nature can be gainfully employed to prevent as well as cure diseases.

Since pre-historic times , man has turned to plants, trees, vegetables and fruits for healing and getting relief from  physical discomfort, apart from using  them as food. Plants were therefore the earliest source of medicine and until comparatively recent times, they remained as mankind’s chief method of healing.

Even today in this age of scientific and technological marvels and advances, majority of the prescriptions for medicines from doctors have a good bearing on herbs and plants etc as their origin. Man born in the lap of Nature should recognize the value of our god given body `and  mind and maintain his health by using natural food and juices.

It is in the above background that consuming juices of Ashguard, Bitter guard, Bottle guard, garlic,amla,etc to name only a few,  are beneficial for one’s health. Fresh vegetables satisfy and nourish each and every cell of the human body They revitalize the blood stream, they activate the nerves, they rejuvenate the glands and organs, they also soothe the acid irritated tissues. Such are the benefits of juices.

Before concluding, let me say a word about the plant chemical industry. The manufacture by plant of medical substances is just one part of its great activities. Within the plant cells a great many inter connected chemical reactions are taking place silently. The most important reaction is “Photosynthesis” carried on mainly by the green leaves of the plant. This process is fundamental to our life on earth, for it provides both Food and the Oxygen we need to breathe.

Let us therefore adopt a natural way of life going back to nature, rather than living in these days of fast foods, houses made of plastic boards,cardboard, plastic  and clothing of synthetic material.

Facts on OKRA (Bhendi) and its many Benefits

Facts on OKRA (Bhendi) and its many Benefits

bhendi
Bhendi or Okra

The very name of this vegetable is more or less irritating and jarring to the ear, but it has another soft name called “Bhendi” and also in english a sweet name as “Ladies finger“. It can be one of your best companions if you make use of it daily. Here is a copy an e-mail I received from a friend of mine some time back from abroad which is self-explanatory.

A friend of mine has been suffering from irregular and insufficient movement of bowels for the last many years, All the medical treatments he took were of no avail.

He didn’t realize that the treatment for his problem could be so simple, till one of his friends suggested to him to eat OKRA ( Bendi ) daily. Lady’s finger is the other name by which okra is called.

He started eating Okra for about 2 months and since then has never taken medication again. All he did was to consume 6 pieces of OKRA everyday. He’s now regular and even his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98, with his cholesterol and acid reflux also brought under control.

Here are some facts on okra (from the research of Ms. Sylvia Zook, PH.D /nutrition, University of Illinois .

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colo-rectal cancer.

Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B 6 and folic acid is also present in a half cup of cooked okra.

Okra is a rich source of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B 6 and folic acid. He got the following numbers from the University of Illinois Extension.

Okra Nutrition (half-cup cooked okra)

* Calories                 = 25

* Dietary Fiber      = 2 grams

* Protein                  = 1.5 grams

* Carbohydrates   = 5.8 grams

* Vitamin A            = 460 IU

* Vitamin C             = 13 mg

* Folic acid             = 36.5 micrograms

* Calcium                 = 50 mg

* Iron                        = 0.4 mg

* Potassium            = 256 mg

* Magnesium          = 46 mg

These numbers should be used as a guideline only, and if you are on a medically-restricted diet,  please do consult your physician and /or dietitian.

Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) has very kindly provided the following thought-provoking comments on the many benefits of this versatile vegetable. They are well worth reading:- :

  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar as it curbs the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra’s mucilage not only binds cholesterol but also bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver. But it doesn’t stop there…
  3. Many alternative health practitioners believe all disease begins in the colon. The okra fiber, absorbing water and ensuring bulk in stools, helps prevent constipation. Fiber in general is helpful for this, but okra is one of the best,  along with ground flax seed and psyllium. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic many people abhor. In other words, this incredibly valuable vegetable not only binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids) which cause numerous health problems, if not evacuated, but also assures their easy passage from the  body.  The veggie is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming (except for the many who greatly enjoy eating it), has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most.
  4. Further contributing to the health of the intestinal tract, okra fiber (as well as flax and psyllium) has no equal among fibers for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics).
  5. To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.

So try and see if you can make OKRA as a daily companion of yours for a comfortable day.

Crunchy, Cool and Refreshing Salad

Crunchy, Cool and Refreshing Salad

salad
salad

Fast foods like Pizzas, Burgers and Sandwiches are turning out to be an integral part of today’s life.  Another favorite that is making its way and  finding a place for itself among the present day Indian kitchen is the Salad. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non -vegetarian, there is always salad to delight every palate on the dining table. One can gauge the popularity of salads from the new Salad Bars that are springing up at the metros at vantage points  to the delight of both young and old.

The goodness of Salad

The word salad comes from the french word “Salade” and the Latin word “Salta” which means salty. Usually salads are made out of a mixture of uncooked vegetables with its base as green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage etc. Boiled cauliflower  can also form a part of the salad.

You have other common vegetables which can be included in the salad such as , tomato, cucumber,  capsicum, onion, spring onion, carrot, radish etc. In fact ,tomato and cucumber are the permanent members of the salad family. Without them, you cannot call a salad  as a “SALAD”. Mushroom may also be added into a salad.  Salad is supposed to accompany the main dish. Many people add  cooked potatoes, pasta, steamed  beans, noodles and cheese to salads  and it then becomes another main dish. Some have converted it into a non-vegetarian dish by adding shredded chicken etc.

A salad however, is incomplete without the dressing which adds to its appetizing flavor, zest- giving quality , as also the power and tang to it. Normally,  a dressing is a sauce which has either curd, lime juice, vinegar or something similar as its base to which different condiments and herbs are added.

Salad is an art

Salad dressing is an art in itself. It has a long history dating back to ancient times. It is said that Chinese have been using soya sauce for salad dressing for more than 2000 years. History says that Babylonians used oil and vinegar as dressing around the same time. Romans are said to have used Worcestershire sauce from the time of Julius Caesar. There are many more ways of dressing , but then too much of dressing can take  away or mask the flavor of the main ingredients. As a word of caution, never overdress the salads. Toss in just adequate dressing to give an added flavor and serve if you can immediately.

As said earlier, salad was an accompaniment with the main course of food item in the past,  but today salads are becoming an exclusive dish by themselves.A store house of nutrients in the form of fiber, vitamins and minerals, Salad brings forth a healthy way to add  to your daily menu.

Coffee- A cup of confusion

Coffee- A cup of confusion

coffee
coffee

Many people do drink a cup of coffee occasionally, but before drinking it, they preface it by saying that they are not a coffee addict , but enjoy a cup once a way. So Is coffee a friend or a foe?.

The concern about the possible health risks of drinking coffee, being one side of the coin and the modern theory and reports of Coffee’s protective effects being the other. This  leaves many coffee drinkers thinking and confused. And so, what is wrong in calling coffee a cup of confusion.?

Here are some of the benefits of drinking coffee:-

  1. Laboratory studies suggest that the anti inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in coffee could help reduce the risk of some types of cancers.
  2. Coffee has a tendency to speed the passage of waste through the digestive tract. Potentially therefore, this property of coffee can lessen the time that cancer causing compounds spend in contact with the intestinal tract, which could thereby reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  3. Coffee has large amount of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and tocopherols,and minerals such as magnesium. These compounds are said to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism . So coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes.
  4. The Iowa woman’s Health study noted that 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day were linked with a 19% lower risk of heart-related death.But doctor’s advice is to be taken and followed.
  5. Coffee is said to lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. It is said that new age Parkinson’s drugs are now being developed containing a derivative of caffeine.
  6. Coffee lifts the mood of one and cures headache,
  7. Caffeine enhances athletic endurance and performance.
  8. Coffee makes a person more alert,and boosts concentration.

Although the above points tell that coffee offers a variety of health benefits, let us not put all the above aspects on a high pedestal because:

  1. Medical conditions requiring the patient to limit or stop drinking coffee entirely.
  2. Coffee relaxes the muscle thus keeps stomach acids from raising into the throat, so those with heart burn or reflus disease(GERD) are encouraged to avoid or strictly limit coffee.
  3. people with sleeping trouble should limit or avoid caffeinated coffee.
  4. Excess dose of coffee can some times, more than what an individual can tolerate- can increase nervousness, hand trembling and cause rapid heart beat.
  5. Coffee can also raise cholesterol levels in some people and may contribute to artery clogging.
  6. On all the points above ,consult your family doctor. Ask his personalized advice for coffee drinking in case you are suffering from a health condition.

BEWARE that caffeine is addictive, be wise and limit yourself to 2 to 3 cups a day If you fancy a change from home, you can always  treat yourself to a long list of of delicious varieties at a good restaurant.