Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like Sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country.
Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of a different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing.
When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
Purple Mogri- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Sweet Potato- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Avarekalu- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Amla- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla - it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
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The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
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While wearing double masks, which helps create a strong barrier against Covid-19 infection spread via airborne viral particles, has become the new normal, prolonged wearing of masks can develop hydration issues or other nagging breathing troubles, health experts said on Wednesday.
There has been enough evidence through the pandemic to show the importance of masks for effective pandemic control. At the start of the pandemic, it was seen that countries (primarily Asian nations) which enforced early masking had lesser mortality rates as compared to countries in the West where compulsory mask wearing was introduced quite late.
"Prolonged mask wearing can be associated with certain problems the most common being headaches, dehydration, acne and difficulty in breathing," Radhika Banka, Consultant Pulmonologist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mumbai, told IANS.
Breathing issues are "usually seen in mouth breathers and in people with underlying respiratory problems such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)", she added.
According to Ravi Shekhar Jha, Additional Director and HOD, Pulmonology, at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, wearing double mask for long hours can also lead to dryness.
"It is because natural humidification of nasal mucosa gets impaired," Jha said.
There are various masks available in the market, including cloth masks, surgical masks and respirators such as N-95s.
The cloth mask has the least protection and the US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a disposable surgical mask along with a cloth mask for additional protection. For surgical masks, the knotted technique (that is knotting the ear loops to provide better fit and prevent leakage from the sides) is recommended.
But with full vaccination rolled out in most countries, are double masks still required?
"Even after double dose vaccination, people can get breakthrough infections and can still be asymptomatic carriers and spread the infection. Hence masking is important even after double vaccination," Banka said.
The health experts stated that for people living in India, double masks become more important as vaccination of children has not yet begun in the country, and asymptomatic transmission is the highest from children. Added to this is a high population density, where social distancing is not practically possible in many cases.
Most of the countries which have made masks voluntary are those in the West with low population density, where social distancing is feasible. These countries have managed to vaccinate more than 80 per cent of their population with two doses. Also, masks in these countries are still recommended in enclosed spaces, public transports, healthcare facilities etc.
"With only 48 per cent of our population being vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent being vaccinated with two doses, I do not think India can yet take the risk of removing the mandatory use of masks," Banka said.
However, according to Jha, "A single mask, if worn properly, is sufficient."
"People who wear double masks, have this tendency of adjusting their masks repeatedly due to breathing issues, and that way the whole purpose of wearing a mask is defeated," he said.
Jha added that for someone like a healthcare worker, who is in an area with high concentration of Covid viral droplets, an N-95 mask should be worn all the time. For other situations, a normal surgical mask (single) is sufficient.
"We need to ensure that masks are worn properly, with proper seal at nose. Improperly worn masks are more dangerous. It is also important to keep in mind that a mask alone may not protect. One needs to follow hand hygiene as well as maintain social distancing," Jha advised.
Although several countries have loosened mask restrictions citing vaccine efficacy, various studies and health experts have stressed on the need for continuing wearing masks, even after being fully vaccinated, including booster shots; and following other protective measures such as physical distancing and handwashing.
A recent study led by researchers from the Monash University and the University of Edinburgh analysed more than 30 studies from around the world and found a statistically significant 53 per cent reduction in the incidence of Covid with mask wearing, and 25 per cent reduction with physical distancing. Handwashing also indicated a substantial 53 per cent reduction in Covid incidence.
Most people are able to wear masks fairly well for a few hours, but if your job requires you to wear masks for a prolonged period, it is essential to take adequate breaks to hydrate oneself and prevent any skin problems, Banka suggested. (Agency)
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Winter skincare and summer skincare regimens are poles apart. The products that work for summer certainly don't do the trick in winter, and how you use your products too is very different.
Here are the top swaps you need to introduce in your beauty regimen for the cold season:
Utilize Lukewarm Water
When the temperature drops, it's very tempting to take a hot shower. However, if you care about your skin, you should avoid them. Instead, shower and wash your face with lukewarm water. Hot showers quickly dry your skin, and if you don't moisturise it right away, your skin can develop cracks and winter eczema.
In the winter, whether inside or outside, the air is drier. As a result, water evaporates quickly from your body. So, you must keep your skin hydrated. You can also control the humidity in your home by installing a humidifier. This will undoubtedly keep your skin happy.
Choose Skin Care Products Carefully
What makes your skin happy in the summer can make it sad in the winter. As a result, you should adjust your skincare products accordingly. Using gentle skincare products is the key to healthy, glowing winter skin. To avoid stripping your skin's natural moisture barrier, use cleansers that contain moisturisers. If you have acne or breakouts, use ceramides, hyaluronic acid, hydration serums, and glycerin-containing products to help repair your skin's moisture barrier.
Avoid Exfoliating Very Regularly
Exfoliating the skin aids in the removal of dead cells. You must exercise caution during the winter months because your skin's barrier is already compromised due to the dry and cold weather. Exfoliating your skin once a week is sufficient; this aids in skin regeneration and product absorption. You should also exfoliate depending on your skin type. Exfoliate your skin lightly if you have very dry skin. Once a week is sufficient if you have a combination of oily skin.
Moisturize Often, Especially Your Hands
The pores and skin in your palms have fewer oil glands compared to the pores and skin on every other body component. That's why moisture escapes from your hands speedy, making them prone to cracks and itchiness. Follow a moisturizer before you leave home.
Take Care of Your Feet
Pick out glycerin-primarily based creams and petroleum jelly to moisturize your feet. Additionally, make sure you exfoliate the pores and skin of your feet every so often in order that it could soak up the moisturizer without problems.
Maintain A Daily Skin Care Routine
It doesn't have to be fancy. Right here's very simple and easy skincare recurring that all of us can comply with to preserve their skin happy all through the winter. Cleanse your skin once or twice a day, ideally within the morning and earlier than going to bed. After washing your face in the morning, follow a light day by day moisturizer to lock the moisture in. Use a heavy moisturiser or overnight cream at night. This should be executed on damp pores and skin due to the fact simply-washed pores and skin absorbs moisture better.
Wear Sunscreen Even on Cloudy Winter Days
Applying sunscreen in the harsh winter weather is just as important as it is in the summer. Don't be fooled by darker, dreary winter days, either. UV rays from the sun can penetrate clouds and cause damage. Apply a moisturising, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body before going outside.
Balm For Your Lips
Rather than using lip colours that take away your lips' natural beauty, keep your pout pretty with moisturising lip balms that come in colour.
The Presence of Serum Versus The Absence of Serum
Serums are thinner in consistency and contain hyaluronic acid, making them one of the best winter skincare products. It does not give up easily and adheres to the surface of your skin to provide deep and long-lasting hydration. It is also anti-ageing and should be applied before moisturiser. (Karan Bhaskar Skincare & Makeup Expert, Clinique India)
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Menstrual health comprises the physical, social and mental aspects related to menstruation or periods. In India, women's health has been given secondary importance due to a male dominant society, illiteracy, low socio-economic conditions and ignorance.
The most common causes of menstrual problems are PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding. Menstruation or monthly periods have been associated with a lot of social and cultural taboos in India.
Many young girls and women do not have facilities to manage their menses hygienically, maintaining their privacy, dignity and gender equality at home, schools and workplaces.
So, what are normal periods? A normal menstrual period lasts from 2-7 days and comes at an interval of 21-35 days. It is difficult to quantify the actual menstrual flow. In general, use of three to four XL or regular size sanitary pads per day (since they need to be changed every six to eight hours) can be considered normal on an average, but it may vary depending on the individual.
Common Menstrual Problems
1. Menstrual hygiene
2. Menstrual flow
3. Menstrual cycle
4. Menstrual hormones
Menstrual Hygiene Related Problems: Use of unclean sanitary pads or clothes can give rise to genital tract infections, anaemia and urinary tract Infection. This can be prevented by social awareness and easy availability of affordable sanitary products. It is also important to have the right knowledge about menstrual hygiene to avoid such issues from taking place.
Menstrual Flow Related Problems: One can experience excess or scanty flow during periods. Usually heavy menstrual flow can be for 1-2 days but if it continues for more than 5-7 days, it can lead to low haemoglobin and anaemia. This definitely needs to be investigated and treated along with oral iron replacement therapy. The less flow or change in flow over years can be due to hormonal imbalance. This can occur mostly after completion of family in perimenopausal age.
Menstrual Cycle Related Problems: Irregular periods, skipping or not getting periods for more than six months (also known as secondary amenorrhoea) and bleeding in between periods (called inter menstrual bleeding) are a few problems under this type of problem. The most common cause for this is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), stress, anxiety and depression. Investigations in the form of pelvic sonography and hormonal investigations are necessary to make a diagnosis. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle changes are important.
Menstrual Hormone Related Problems: This usually gives rise to psychomotor issues. They can be symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) at any age group or peri/postmenopausal vasomotor symptoms after the age of 45. Bloating, breast tenderness, irritability and depression which occur premenstrually and disappear with onset of periods are classical symptoms of PMS. If they are affecting day to day family life, then it needs to be treated.
Every woman experiences menopausal symptoms in varying severity, starting usually 4-5 years before menopause. The night sweats, hot flushes, low moods, anxiety, irritability, joint and muscle pain, loss of interest in having sex, and weight gain are typical menopausal symptoms due to deficiency of oestorgen hormones.
No matter which type of menstrual problem you're facing, it is always advisable to visit a gynaecologist who will be able to identify all your queries after making the right diagnosis.
Nua, a new-age brand transforming the women's wellness space in India with holistic and personalised solutions that addresses real problems faced by women in managing their menstrual health and personal hygiene, provides an innovative range of products and services, including India's first customizable pack of sanitary pads and self-heating menstrual cramp patches, also available on a subscription basis. (Vaishali Joshi, #NuaExpert on Gynaecology, is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai)
Read More► Post Diwali, Delhi hospital sees 10% more respiratory problem patients
Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital has seen a growth of 8 to 10 per cent in patients suffering with respiratory problems due to pollution after Diwali, its Medical Director Dr Suresh Kumar said on Sunday.
Talking to IANS, Dr Suresh Kumar said that they everyday have 10-12 patients visiting the hospital with breathing problems.
"Air pollution has become a major issues post Diwali. Elderly people and chlidren are the main victim of the pollution," he said, adding that long-term exposure to chronically high PM 2.5 levels weakens the lungs' ability to function.
The air quality in Delhi improved marginally on Sunday from Saturday's "severe" to "very poor category". According to the forecast from the Air Quality Early Warning System, the AQI will continue to remain in the "very poor" category till at least Tuesday.
About the pollution caused respiratory and other problems, Dr Kumar said that they have capacity for 120 patients but due to the outbreak in pollution-related diseases post Diwali, they are getting around 140 patients every day in the hospital.
He said the emergency and OPD wards are getting average 140 patients in total, with all types of problems, but most of them are suffering with respiratory and dipping levels of oxygen. It also includes the rising number of asthma cases in children.
About the preventive measures, he said that only two things - use of masks and avoiding stepping outside - can protect people from such rising level of pollution.
He added that the high level of PM 2.5 particles at this time can lead to lung infections, irritation in eyes, and respiratory problems.
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