Saturday, November 12, 2011

20 Natural Immunity Boosters

1. Keep your feet warm

2. Eat frozen peaches

3. Write a journal regularly to reduce stress

4. Workout 30 minutes daily

5. Gargle with salt water twice a day

6. Spend some quality time with your friends

7. Stay away from deep fried food

8. Steer clear of pain killers unless you truly need them

9. Spend 15 minutes visualizing your immune cells destroying the sickness-causing bugs

10. Sip 20 ounces of black tea daily

11. Wash your hands with soap and water 5 times daily

12. Spend 20 minutes daily doing some stress-relieving activity

13. Enjoy half a cup of broccoli 3-4 times a week

14. Take 1000 to 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily

15. Eat one clove of garlic daily

16. Take a relaxing TV break for 30 to 60 minutes daily

17. Add 30 to 60 minutes to your night slumber or take daytime naps

18. Take morning breakfast

19. Massage your scalp, face and neck using slow circular motions 10 minutes each day

20. Keep your hands off your face

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Changes for Big Weight Loss

  1. Eat Off of Blue Plates. We are naturally drawn to red, yellow and orange in our dining area or restaurants because psychologically it stimulates us to want to eat -- and eat a lot. Studies show if you put your food on blue plates it can cause you to eat less.
  2. Eat Eggs for Breakfast. Researchers believe the higher protein content of the eggs helps you stay fuller, longer and leads to eating less throughout the day.
  3. Put a Bigger Fork in it. A smaller fork makes us feel we aren’t making as much of a dent on our plate so we’ll take more forkfuls to satisfy our hunger. So next time you’re order a super-sized entree, ask for a bigger fork to help you eat less. And while you’re at it, stop when you’re satisfied -- not stuffed.
  4. Turn Off the TV. Studies show that we eat around 40 percent more when watching TV and we’re more likely to eat junk food while distracted. To lose weight without major sacrifice, power down your TV, computer or smart phone during dinner and concentrate only on your meal.
  5. Fill your (Small) Plate. People who fill their plate with everything they plan to eat (including dessert) eat about 14 percent less than those who don’t fill it as much but return for second helpings. So to eat less, load up your plate -- but only once. To reduce your intake even more, use a smaller plate. 
  6. Focus on the Future. Instead of rewarding your happiness with a candy bar in the moment (or eating one for comfort), focus on the future outcome (like a healthier, lighter you) so you’ll make better choices in the present.
  7. Hold the Mayo. One simple little change like skipping the ketchup, mayo or other ‘special’ sauces could save you around 100
calories per day.
  8. Slim down your daily coffee. Removing just two teaspoons of sugar from your daily cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal, but it can save you 32 extra calories a day or three extra pounds a year.
  9. Add Fruits and Veggies. Weight loss doesn’t always mean cutting down on things. In fact, adding in more fruits and vegetables helps you stay fuller, longer, with less calories and more nutrition. To lose weight without feeling hungry, eat at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with every snack and two with meals.
  10. Slowly Swap Out Processed Food. Highly processed foods are low in nutrients, causing the body to seek more food to find the nutrients it needs, which leads to a vicious cycle of overeating. You don’t have to empty the pantry all at once, but slowly start making swaps like fresh fruit and yogurt for protein bars (which can contain as much sugar as a candy bar) or hummus and fresh veggies instead of nutritionally devoid pretzels.
  11. Don't take Weekends Off. Instead of letting the days of the week influence your habits, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable all month long (with the occasional indulgence) for lasting weight loss.
  12. Take a Time Out. Too much stress could be thwarting your weight loss efforts. To decrease cortisol and decrease fat, try this quick time out every day. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and choose a mantra such as ‘relax’ or ‘let go’ and repeat it in your mind as you take slow, deep breaths for about 10 minutes.
  13. Eat a Lighter Lunch. Portion control doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry. Reward yourself with a snack for sticking to smaller meals, which can help shave off pounds without major sacrifice.
  14. Eat Intuitively. Taking cues from your body on what to eat on a daily basis can help you eat less.  Next time you’re hungry, pay attention to what foods seem appealing to you -- and why. Craving sweets, for example, may be a cue that you need energy. Don’t limit yourself -- if nothing is off limits, you may find yourself craving nutritional food as well.
  15. Stay Satisfied. By adding either one-quarter cup of nuts, a small bowl of beans or an egg to meals, you’ll ward off hunger and keep your energy level constant.
  16. Go for a walk immediately after a meal. Walking is great exercise for weight loss, but it seems to be even more effective when done just after eating. And because walking is a low impact form of exercise, it shouldn’t cause any digestive distress.
  17. Burn more fat with Walnuts. Research shows that eating two ounces of walnuts a day in the place of another snack can help you burn fat 62 percent faster. The reason walnuts help burn body fat quicker is likely due to the high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Omega-3s are known to improve heart and brain function and are also important in muscle recovery and fat burning.
  18. Start your meal with Soup or Salad. Fill up on vegetable-dense soup or a salad before your main course so you’ll eat less overall. While you’re at it, try to increase your daily vegetable intake, too.
  19. Chew more to weigh less. Chewing your food 40 times (instead of the average 15 times) can may help you eat about 12 percent less food. The study found a direct correlation between chewing more and lower levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and higher levels of CCK, the hormone believed to reduce appetite.
  20. Increase your daily fiber intake. Increasing your daily fiber intake to 20-30g a day can help you lose weight. “There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which are essential for weight loss. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but absorbs it, which helps you feel full and promotes quicker movement of food through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, slows down the absorption of glucose, allowing cells to burn sugar for energy, rather than storing it as fat. It also regulates insulin levels, controlling hunger.” Aim to eat a combination of both types of fiber (fruits and veggies are a great source), but increase your intake gradually to avoid digestive distress.
  21. Drink water before meals. Drinking 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal helped participants eat about 13 percent less. “A lot of people can confuse hunger with thirst, so regularly sipping on water can help keep hunger and cravings at bay,” says Batayneh. “And if you get bored with water, try sipping on green tea or water with a fresh fruit or vegetable slice.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thought of the Day

Allow Your Own Inner Light to Guide You

There comes a time when you must stand alone.
You must feel confident enough within yourself to follow your own dreams.
You must be willing to make sacrifices.
You must be capable of changing and rearranging your priorities so that your final goal can be achieved.
Sometimes, familiarity and comfort need to be challenged.
There are times when you must take a few extra chances and create your own realities.
Be strong enough to at least try to make your life better.
Be confident enough that you won't settle for a compromise just to get by.
Appreciate yourself by allowing yourself the opportunities to grow, develop, and find your true sense of purpose in this life.
Don't stand in someone else's shadow when it's your sunlight that should lead the way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cough Relief: How to Lose a Bad Cough

By Joanna Broder
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
WebMD Feature

 Cold and flu season brings on hacking coughs that can leave your chest aching. But colds and flu aren’t the only problems that cause coughing. Allergies, asthma, acid reflux, dry air, and smoking are common causes of coughs. Even medications such as certain drugs for high blood pressure and allergies can cause chronic cough.

Most of the time, people can manage their coughs at home by taking over-the-counter medicine and cough lozenges, removing potential allergens, or even just standing in a steamy shower, says Giselle Mosnaim, an allergist and immunologist also at Rush.

Try these five tips to manage your cough at home:
1. Stay Hydrated 
Drinking fluids helps to thin out the mucus in postnasal drip. Drinking liquids also helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in the winter time when houses tend to be dry, another cause of cough.

2. Try Lozenges and Hot Drinks
Try a menthol cough drop, Yoder suggests. “It numbs the back of the throat and that will tend to decrease the cough reflex.”
Drinking warm tea with honey can also soothe the throat. There is some clinical evidence to support this strategy, Yoder says.
3. Take Steamy Showers and Use a Humidifier
A hot shower can help a cough by loosening secretions in the nose. Mosnaim says this steamy strategy can help ease coughs not only from colds, but also from allergies and asthma.
Humidifiers may also help. In a dry home, nasal secretions can become desiccated and uncomfortable, Mosnaim explains. Putting moisture back in the air can help your cough, but be careful not to overdo it.
“The downside is if you don’t clean it, (humidifiers) become reservoirs for pumping out fungus and mold into the air and bacteria,” says Robert Naclerio, MD, chief of otolaryngology at the University of Chicago.

4. Remove Irritants in the Air
Perfumes and scented bathroom sprays may seem benign, but for some people they can cause chronic sinus irritation. This leads to chronic cough because of the production of excess mucus, says Alan Weiss, MD, a general internist at the Cleveland Clinic. Take control by avoiding such scented products.
The worst irritant in the air, of course, is smoke. Almost all smokers eventually develop the “smoker’s cough." Everyone around the smoker may suffer from some airway irritation. The best solution? Smokers need to stop smoking. (Yoder warns that severe chronic coughs can be a sign of emphysema or lung cancer in smokers, so be sure to see a doctor if you’re a smoker with chronic cough.)

5. Take Medications to Treat Coughs
When steamy showers, hot teas, and cough drops don’t help, you can turn to over-the-counter medicines to ease your cough.
Decongestants: Decongestants relieve nasal congestion by shrinking swollen nasal tissue and reducing mucus production. They dry up mucus in the lungs and open up the airway passages, says Weiss.
Decongestants come in pills, liquids, and nasal spray formulations. Oral decongestants such as pills and liquids can raise blood pressure, so people with hypertension need to be careful with their use, Mosnaim notes. Also, overuse of decongestants can lead to excessive dryness, which can trigger a dry cough.
Decongestant nasal sprays, if used for more than three or four days, can lead to rebound congestion, Mosnaim says. It’s best to use them for two or three days and then stop.

Cough suppressants and expectorants: If you’re coughing so much that your chest hurts and you’re getting a bad night’s sleep, consider a cough suppressant such as dextromethorphan, found in Delsym, DexAlone, and Vicks Formula 44, says Mosnaim. Yoder recommends using cough suppressants only at night.
When a person has a cough that is thick with phlegm, Mosnaim says it helps to take a cough expectorant such as guaifenesin, found in Humibid, Mucinex, Robitussin Chest Congestion, and Tussin. Expectorants help to thin out the mucus so one can more easily cough it up, she says.
Note: The FDA advises against giving cold and cough medicine to children under age 4. These common over-the-counter drugs can cause serious side effects in young children.

Find Out What’s Causing Your Cough
Coughs caused by the common cold usually go away in a few weeks. Chronic, persistent coughs may be caused by underlying medical problem such as allergies, asthma, or acid reflux -- or by the medications you take. To lose those coughs you need to treat the underlying problem.
Talk to your doctor if your cough lasts longer than two to four weeks, or if you are coughing up blood, or if you’re having other symptoms such as weight loss, chills, or fatigue.

Got Heartburn? You May Want to Avoid These Foods

When we overeat or consume spicy foods, many times the gate between our esophagus and stomach doesn't close, which allows acid to move into the esophagus and therefore cause a burning sensation called heartburn. If you happen to experience more than two heartburn episodes per week, then you may be one of the 20 percent of adults who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn can be triggered by factors such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, overeating, or taking aspirin or ibuprofen — but did you know that specific foods cause heartburn as well?

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, here are the foods that you should avoid to reduce your chances of experiencing heartburn:
  • Fried, fatty foods.
  • Foods that contain peppermint or chocolate — I thought peppermint would have the opposite effect!
  • Carbonated drinks, alcoholic beverages, and coffee.
  • Tomato sauces and condiments like ketchup and mustard.
  • Any acidic foods (foods containing vinegar, citrus juices, and citrus fruits).
If you do get a sudden case of heartburn, try to keep yourself upright. If you are lying down, prop yourself up with some pillows since this will prevent more acid from seeping into your esophagus.

Taking an antacid can help (it neutralizes the acid in your stomach). Take ones that contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide (one causes constipation while the other causes diarrhea so they counteract each other) like over-the-counter brands Maalox and Mylanta. And for natural healing remedies, try some papaya enzymes, or make sure you eat some of the foods which are said to prevent heartburn.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Acidity - Causes, Prevention and Home Remedies

Human blood contains 20% acid and 80% alkali. Our stomach produces acid to digest the food that we eat. This is a regular and natural process. Whenever we eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy your sumptuous dinner. Problem occurs when these cells produce large amount of acid, more than your stomach needs. Symptoms of Acidity are burning pain, sourness in taste, vomiting sensation etc. If not treated, Acidity may cause problems like ulcers and other stomach related problems. People with hyper acidity may have regular fever and dizziness.
Causes of acidity are eating heavy foods, spicy foods, smoking, alcohol consumption, improper sleep, mental tension, pregnancy, indigestion, menstrual disorders etc.

How to Prevent Acidity

People with weak digestive system or excessive acidic body can prevent acidity attacks by making some changes in their lifestyles :

  • Eat slowly by chewing properly. 
  • Avoid heavy, spicy and fried food items, especially in the evenings as digestion is slower during night. 
  • Quit smoking. Avoid alcoholic drinks on an empty stomach. 
  • Have your dinner at least 3 hours before going to sleep. 
  • Drink lots of water during the day, especially in the morning. 
  • Sleep on time. Your body needs at least 6-8 hours of sleep. Remove all stress from your body and mind before going to sleep. 
  • Raw salads and unripe fruits are not advisable to eat if you are suffering from acidity. 
  • Instead of eating 2 or 3 heavy meals, distribute the same to 5 or 6 light meals a day. 

Home Remedies to Cure Acidity

  • Eating boiled potato helps to get rid of acidity. Potato contains potassium salt which reduces acid. 
  • Eating cucumber, watermelon or banana with a pinch of cardamom helps to get relief from acidity. 
  • Eating raw grated carrot or drinking carrot juice regularly helps to overcome acidity. 
  • Chewing 3-5 basil leaves (Tulsi) in the morning helps to overcome acidity. 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera), Coriander Seeds and Sugar Candy (mishri) mixed in equal quantities, powdered and taken 2 tsp twice a day helps to cure acidity. 
  • Lemon juice with hot water taken an hour before meals helps to overcome acidity. 
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder taken with rock salt twice a day helps to cure acidity. 
  • Indian gooseberry (Amla) taken with equal amount of Sugar candy (mishri) is also a good remedy for acidity. 
  • Eating one clove (Laung) after every meal helps to get relief from acidity. 
  • Mint juice is also a good medicine for acidity. 
  • Putting a wet cloth (approximately 8" x 4") on the stomach covering navel for a couple of hours gives relief from acidity.