6 best Natural sweeteners πŸ™Œ

Hello everyone ! Have a wonderful and safe day πŸ™‹πŸ»

Most of us have a sweet tooth. But its the potential danger of adding some extra calories and the spiking glucose and insulin level that scares us the most. Yes, we can reduce or eliminate the intake of sugar from our diet for health sake. Perhaps, this is the best option. Or, we can choose some healthier options instead. Not going for artificial, industrially processed sugar and products, we can very well opt for natural alternatives which will not only satisfy our sweet tooth but also give some added health benefits.

Six healthy alternatives:

1.Stevia: is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of a bush known as Stevia Rebaudiana. The leaves are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. It has no calorie, 100%natural and no adverse effects on health. Instead found to lower blood pressure and insulin levels. Though different brands are available in the supermarket, the best option is those who are least processed ,non GMO (genetically modified organism) and have no added sugar like dextrose or multidextrin and so on. 


2. Monk fruit sweetener: This is a healthier option as it has zero calories too. It is derived from a small green fruit called monk fruit found in South Asia. Studies have shown that this fruit extract has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. But, more research is required though. This kind of sweetener is quite expensive and is available in the supermarket. We need to be careful of any artificial sugar additives.

3. Pure raw honey: Pure organic honey, is not just sugar but a complete food. However, it has calories but has immense health benefits. It contains antioxidants, antimicrobial, and is used as a natural medicine for cough relief and in wounds and cuts. Since it includes pure bee pollen, it can also benefit from reducing allergy symptoms. Not all honey brands found in the aisle of the supermarket are healthy.Pure, organic raw honey has the maximum health benefits. Since it has calories, it has to be used sparingly.

3. Dates: Dates can be used along with raisins, apricot, pineapple juice as sugar alternatives. Dates as such are rich in fibres and have the highest nutritional value along with vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants.

4. Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is good as it is extracted from coconut juice which is full of potassium, rich in nutrients and electrolyte. It has a low glycemic index.

5. Maple syrup: Pure maple syrup is derived from maple tree sap that has been reduced by boiling. The maple tree is a native of North America. Maple syrup has immense health benefits too. It is rich in antioxidants, zinc and other minerals and is suitable for heart health, immune booster and hormonal balance.

6. Jaggery: It’s a sugarcane syrup that is golden to dark brown, which is unrefined and unprocessed. It has high nutritional value and is rich in minerals and phytochemicals. It improves digestion, immune booster and helps in joint pain. Since it has calories, it is not ideal for people with diabetes.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all πŸ’

Pic: courtesy Pineterest.

 

Hair health πŸ™Œ

Hello everyone ! Have a great and safe Sunday β˜€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ»

Our hair is the crown, we never take off. So, hair is a significant part of our physical appearance; hence it is crucial. Structurally, hair consist of a protein called keratin. A hair follicle supports each hair shaft. The root of each hair follicle lies the hair bulb. It is in this hair bulb; new cells develop and grow and give rise to the latest hair follicle. The hair bulb contains the blood vessels which nourishes and supply necessary nutrients to the cells to grow and develop. The colour of the hair depends upon pigment cells called melanin. The structure and texture of the hair are related to genetic predisposition.
Each hair grows through a cycle of 3 phases:

Growth phase: In this phase, the hair is growing in prominence.
Transitional phase: When the hair stops growing, matures and the hair follicle start to shrink.
Resting phase: When the old hair fall, cells die, and new cells start to develop and grow.

Typically with ageing, the hair pigment cells die, and hair begins to turn grey and fall. But, in the recent decade, due to environmental pollution, harmful UV rays, unhealthy lifestyle, unhealthy hair treatment, hair thinning, hair greying and hair fall has become very common even in the young age group.

Some common causes of hair thinning and hair fall:

1.Poor nutrition: Unhealthy eating habits like eating junk food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, cola, juices does not provide any nutritional value but instead add to empty calories to the body. Again, some people go on a crash diet, leaving behind necessary nutrient-dense food like healthy fat has to suffer hair fall. When the body does not get enough nutrient-dense food, it transports the remaining nutrients to the vital organs. It is the hair which is left neglected. Hence hair fall, hair thinning and low growth.

2.Poor Blood circulation: Sometimes, even if you have a well balanced nutritious diet, yet you may face hair issues. Hair problems happen because the blood nutrients are unable to reach the cells in the hair bulb. So, massaging the scalp is essential to stimulate the blood circulation and enrich the hair bulb with the necessary nutrition. Even physical exercise is critical. Daily routine exercise, causes proper movement in the body which ensures efficient blood circulation in every part of the body, including the scalp. Women suffering from hormonal imbalance and thyroid issues, suffering from hair fall, exercise is highly recommended.


3.Excessive stress: This is important because, in a chronic state of stress, the body tends to remain in the sympathetic mode, which blocks the body’s normal functioning of growth and renewal mechanism.


4.Heat and chemicals: Heat is very harmful to hair. Hot water baths, use of excessive hair styling methods like hair drying, hair straightening, hair curling are all harmful. Tying hair too tightly all the time may affect the hair root. Avoiding too many hair products, colouring agents, and toxic chemicals like sulphate can cause hair damage. Fragrance hair products may contain alcohol which is harmful also.

Measures to protect and keep hair healthy:

1.Nourishment: It is vital to keep the scalp healthy and clean to have healthy hair. So, cleaning the scalp 2-3 times a week with a mild shampoo is essential to remove pollutants and impurities. Massaging the scalp gently 5-10 mins, 3-4 times a week will improve the blood circulation drastically. Natural oil like coconut, almond or jojoba oil is nourishing and can be used for hair massage.

2.Exercise: Regular exercise is essential to ensure proper blood circulation to provide necessary nutrients to the body, including the scalp.


3.Drinking water is overall healthy and good for hair too.
4. Five Superfoods for hair:


Eggs: They are in rich in protein and biotin. Keratin which is protein is present in each hair strand, so protein intake is crucial for hair. Biotin gives strength to hair and promotes hair growth.


Green leafy vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables and spinach are rich sources of iron, vitamin A and C. Adequate iron is required to produce haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is essential to transport oxygen to cells, and hence, it is suitable for scalp and hair growth. Other rich sources of iron are beans, pulses, soya, seeds, nuts, broccoli and cabbage.

Vitamin B12: It helps in hair growth and texture. The sources are meat, fish, salmon, milk, dairy products, eggs.


Fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamin D, E, A, K are all essential for hair health. Consuming healthy fat of omega-three fatty acid is not only good for hair health but also help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A helps in the production of sebum which nourishes the hair. Sources are sweet potatoes, carrots, seeds and nuts.
Vitamin C and E are potent antioxidants and prevent free radical damage. Therefore, they are protective of hair.
Sources are Lemon, berries, almonds, avocados, spinach, guavas.


Zinc: Zinc promotes hair growth and repair and prevents hair loss. Sources are meat, shellfish, sprouts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all πŸ’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osteoporosis is Calcium-deficiency state: A myth πŸ˜‡

Hello everyone ! Have a wonderful and safe day πŸ™‹πŸ»

Osteoporosis is a significant issue, commonly associated with ageing where the bone density is lost, bones become porous, brittle and weak. They are easily prone to fracture with the slightest hurt. Structurally, bones consist of protein, minerals and calcium. Since calcium maintains the structure and density of bones, osteoporosis is considered as the calcium deficiency state. This saying is not always true. People started to consume calcium supplement in excess, which may, in turn, create problems rather than solving the issue. High intake of calcium can increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke by calcification of coronary arteries; there is the deposition of calcium around joints and kidney stones.

The causes associated with osteoporosis can be :

1.Menopausal due to low estrogen level.
2.Vitamin D deficiency
3.Smoking
4. Malabsorption syndrome.
5.Low vitamin K2 level
6.High stress causes high cortisol level
7.Certain medications like steroids.

Knowing that calcium is an integral part of the bone structure doesn’t necessarily mean that weakening or osteoporosis is calcium deficiency. But as mentioned above, it can be due to many other causes or risk factors involved. Consuming calcium supplement in excess can be toxic to the body. Unlike other minerals like potassium and magnesium, which are eliminated by the kidneys when taken in excess, the calcium deposits cannot be eliminated easily by the body. They get deposited in coronary arteries causing high risk to coronary artery diseases, calcium deposits in joints and calcium stones in the kidneys.

Diagnosis of Osteoporosis is made by bone density scan and bone markers.
The treatment is based on the underlying cause and preventionβ€”treatment with biphosphate medications under clinical supervision.

Specific Preventive measures like :
1. Nutrient-dense diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D, K2.
2. Lowering stress by calming the mind with Mindfulness, meditation.
3.Enough sleep


4. Exposure to sunlight for the natural source of Vitamin D
5.Limiting smoking and alcohol


6.Weight training exercises
7. Regular checking of hormone levels.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all πŸ’

 

 

 

 

 

Lung cleansing: 8 natural ways πŸ™Œ

Hello everyone ! Have a wonderful and safe day πŸ™‹πŸ»

Our lungs are contaminated every day with environmental toxins, pollutants, dust, second-hand smoke, chemicals, microbes (bacteria, viruses) and the list goes on and on. During this corona virus pandemic, the risk is even higher. Such health hazard, often, lead to various chronic and acute lung issues like Asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, COPD, lung cancer.Β Usually, our lungs can detox and heal themselves once the sources of pollutions are eliminated or significantly reduced. So, nowadays, we often hear about shifting home location towards the outskirts or semi-rural areas rather than staying in urban cities. Whether, we have the option of moving site or not, but we can take necessary steps of detoxifying and cleansing the lungs easy ways and prevent us from chronic respiratory issues and diseases. Lung cleansing can promote healing, normal lung functioning, reduces inflammation of bronchial lining, clear mucus and improves lung circulation.

 

So the simple steps that we can regularly adapt to detox and keep our lungs healthy:

1. Perform deep breathing exercises daily. Though breathing is normal but deep breathing involves diaphragmatic breathing which helps to strengthen the diaphragm and oxygen-carrying capacity of the lungs. Oxygen is nourishing for all cells and all vital processes to carry out smoothly. As we age, diaphragm, which is a muscle, start to become weaker. So, when we perform diaphragmatic breathing, it’s like trying to deep breathe into the belly. In the process, the diaphragm gets contracted, and air fills up. Slowly, as we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes. It creates a back pressure in the alveoli, which in turn improve the lung compliance and help to detox the lungs. Deep breathing also reduces stress significantly. It is essential to do daily 9-10 times of deep breathing exercise. You can get more information on this type of breathing technique from my previous post https://healthhappinesshealing.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=3659&action=edit

2. Another critical factor is to improve air quality at home. It is just not possible to control the external environment, but we can maintain the quality of air in the space we live every day. We need to make sure to change the air filters of the electrical appliances at home regularly. It’s essential to limit the use of air fresheners and scented candles as they contain harsh chemicals which may be harmful. Ensure adequate air ventilation and regular vacuum cleaning to maintain clean airflow at home.

3. Quit smoking: Cigarette smoke contains more than 7000 toxins. Researches have shown a direct link of smoking associated with lung cancer. Smoking also causes chronic inflammation of the bronchial linings and the lungs. So, there is a lot of health hazard associated with smoking rather than any health benefit.

4. Second-hand smoke: Even if you or I do not smoke, but, we are exposed to second-hand smoke, then we carry the same risk of health hazard like smoking a Cigarette. So, it’s essential to stay away from exposure to second-hand smoke. Therefore, always avoid places where you have a risk of inhaling second-hand smoke.

5. Apart from breathing exercise, doing physical activity regularly outside of your home, preferably in a park or open area, to ensure that your cardiovascular system is activated and you can breathe the fresh air every day.

6. Personal care: Having a hot shower, or using a heating pad on the back eases the intercostal muscles of the rib cage and help to soothe during breathing. Getting percussion or vibration on the backside will also accelerate breathing and healing process of the lungs during chronic ailments.

7. Food: Like all organs, lungs also required proper nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants for healing and proper functioning. Adequate nourishment from food rich in vitamin C, D, antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, drinking enough water, exposure to sunlight and limiting the intake of sugar and dairy products, all helps in the proper functioning of the lungs.

8. Some familiar sources which are nourishing and healing for lungs are ginger, green tea, oregano, peppermint leaves, liquorice, and lemon. Measures like eucalyptus oil steam inhalation and castor oil packs found to have a beneficial effect on the lungs.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all πŸ’

 

Post : Supplements: An aid or just hype. 4 points of understanding πŸ‘

Hello Everyone! Have a great weekend πŸ™‹πŸ»

Whenever we visit a grocery store. There is always a separate counter for vitamins and minerals supplements. It feels like why do we have to take the pain of looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, instead take some of the supplements home which will fulfil our daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. But, it is not so. Right from evolution, humans are born to live and survive on food. So, it is always the food first.

It is the healthy diet which is the key to provide you with the best sources of vitamins and minerals to the body for growth and maintenance. If you are eating the best healthy form of diet and nutrient-dense food, then supplements are not necessary at all. But, sometimes, even if you are having a healthy diet, there are some deficit for which you are showing some signs and symptoms. Then, there is a requirement for supplements. So, vitamins and minerals pills are a supplement to your diet to recover the deficit but not replacement.

4points of understanding

1.Balanced diet: Moreover, a healthy balanced diet is not only a source of vitamins and minerals but also a good source of dietary fibres, protein, carbohydrate and fat which are essential for the body. Supplements do not contain any kind of dietary fibres so they are not wholesome as in a healthy diet. Again vitamins and mineral supplements do not get fully absorbed sometimes in the body like for instance, fat-soluble vitamins do not get absorbed if taken in empty stomach. Therefore, there is no substitute for a healthy nutritious diet. So, never rely on supplements for your daily requirement. Before, taking supplements, it is important to consult your Physician.

2.Heart diseases: People with risk of heart disease are usually advised to take Omega 3 fatty acids which are found in fishes like salmon, herring, tuna, at least twice a week (American Heart Association). So, omega 3 fatty acid supplements (EPA +DHA) are recommended for such people. It is always wise to discuss the diet plan with the Physician before consuming such supplements.


3.Antioxidant vitamin supplements (A, C and E): There is yet to be proved clinically that antioxidant supplements provide overall benefits. So, it is not to rely on these supplements for the daily dietary sources of antioxidants. Therefore, antioxidant food sources like veggies, fruits and whole grains are the best.

4.Harmful: Too much of any supplements which are not required for the body, taken in large quantity can be potentially damaging. Too much of iron can have the risk of chronic diseases, or too much vitamin A can cause to have birth defects. Again, the interaction of dietary supplements, along with prescription drugs, can sometimes be potentially toxic.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all πŸ’

Post: Moringa, the new superfood. 5 proven health benefits.

Moringa oleifera, a native plant of Northern India, also grows in tropical regions of southern Asia, South America and Africa have been in the health trend for its tremendous health benefits. It has been there for thousands of years, as a dietary supplement. Alternative names being popular as drumstick tree, or horseradish tree or ben oil tree.

Science-based studies have proved recently that this plant, its leaves, fruits and seeds have many health benefits and can be regarded as a superfood.

Many households in India, Africa uses the fruits, seeds, leaves for cooking. Otherwise, it is available in powdered form, pills, capsules as supplements.
5 known benefits:

1.Dietary supplement: The moringa contains a variety of vitamin, protein and minerals. Vitamins mainly B1 (thiamine) B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B6. It contains Vitamin C and folate. Loads of minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and zinc. It has no harmful cholesterol. Moringa seeds are rich in antioxidant properties and so help in protecting skin and hair.

2.Helps in weight loss: Research shows that moringa extract helps in weight loss. It’s high vitamin B content facilitate digestion. It lowers cholesterol and helps the digestion of fat and prevent storing of fat. It has anti-inflammatory properties. It lowers cholesterol, due to compounds like isothiocyanate and niaziminin. It helps maintains the blood pressure so, good for cardiovascular health.

3.Improve haemoglobin level: Moringa extract contains iron and folate so helps in treating anaemia and sickle cell disease. It also helps the body to absorb iron, so help increasing the red cell count.

4.Medicinal: Moringa extract has been found to heal wounds. Since it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been found to fight against bacterial diseases, gastritis, ulcerative colitis. It has shown to improve lung function so helps in asthma. Since, it improves the haemoglobin level, reduces blood glucose so helps to treat diabetes.

5.Wellbeing: Due to its antioxidant properties, releases the toxicity from the kidneys so contribute to kidney health. Improves eyesight by dilating the retinal vessels, preventing retinal dysfunction. Due to its richness in calcium and phosphorous, it contributes to bone health. It also found to help in mood disorders, depression and anxiety. It has anti-cancer properties. It also prevents liver damage.

Risks :

Before, taking any supplements, it is important to inform and discuss with your physician. Many people are on regular medication for hypertension, diabetes or antidepressants, so there may be chances of drug interference when taken along moringa extract.

Before, buying the supplement, it important to read the labels for any kind of additives and the quantity to be used.

It has anti infertility properties so contraindicated for pregnancy.