Microplastics: Everything You Should Know….!!

We know that plastic is an environmental hazard. And the use of plastic among various products like bottles, bags and other articles across the globe.

 

Plastic is not biodegradable. It is a hazardous waste on the earth. Over the period of time, this material disintegrates into smaller pieces and these smaller particles are dangerous for marine life.

 

Still, it is not clear that microplastics are harmful to human health.

 

What are microplastics?

 

Over time, plastic disintegrates into smaller or tiny pieces which are called microplastics.

 

Size of the tiny piece of the microplastics generally ranges from 5 millimeters down to 100 nanometers in diameter.

 

According to their size, they are subcategorized in primary microplastics and secondary microplastics.

 

Primary microplastics are microbeads, which are generally used in face wash, cosmetics, and scrubs as polyethylene. The US has banned these microbeads under  Microbead-Free Water Act of 2015.

 

Secondary microplastics are larger pieces of the plastic which breaks down into tiny pieces over time.

 

 

Microplastics in the food

 

 

Microplastics are so small that they easily escape from water filtration and make their way to rivers and oceans. These microplastic remains in the ocean forever.

 

In rivers and oceans, fish and other marine animals eat them and microplastics are so bad that these species die due to the toxic effect of the microplastics.

 

One studies also show us that, many brands sea salt contain these microplastics in more or less proportion into them.

 

And most important thing is that human eats both fish and salt, so finally microplastics ends up in the human body.

 

 

Are microplastics harmful to human?

 

All the major studies have shown that microplastics are found in the marine foods. However, it is still not clear that whether it has any harmful effect on the human body. (1)

 

Some researches show that microplastics are found in human lungs and it is due to its presence in the air. (2)

 

One of the chemicals found in the microplastics is Bisphenol A. This chemical has an adverse effect on reproductive hormones, specifically in women. (3)

 

Still, various researches are going on its impact on the human body.

Artichoke: Benefits and Usage

What is artichoke?

 

Artichoke is a kind of thistle and edible part of the plant is flower buds. Other parts of the plant like stem, root, and leaf are used to make artichoke extract. Due to its high medicinal property, it is very popular. It is produced mainly in the Mediterranean region.

Nutritional values:

It is high in potassium, folate, Dietary fiber, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and important for bone strengthening and blood clotting.

Folate is important for brain and red cell formation. Earlier we have seen that potassium may help to reduce blood pressure. And vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and responsible for boosting immunity.

The main chemical constituent in artichoke is cynarine. It may help in digestive health. Further research is going on possible effect on the liver. (1)

 

Benefits:

Studies show that artichoke extract may aid in indigestion and IBS. It reduces the symptom within 2 to 4 weeks.

Studies also show that it has a lipid-lowering effect on the body. Artichoke extract may helpful in high cholesterol and heart diseases. (2)

Caution:

Artichoke is possibly safe while consumed as a food.

Recipe:

There are various healthy recipes available online.

 

 

New Year Resolutions for Fitness and Good Health

“Make a healthy lifestyle”, This is the most common goal one wants to achieve in the new year. Healthy lifestyle connects to a healthier weight and if you are overweight then you should focus on losing weight.

Studies suggest that people do not stick to their goals or resolution during the year because they are not realistic and specific.

If you want transformation in your body, you have to make a realistic and specific goal for you. There are some scientifically proven resolution ideas which will give you fitness and good health.

Here are some of the most realistic fitness resolutions.

 

1. Walk/run 5 km

This is one of the easiest and realistic resolutions for the new year to stick for round the year. Even beginner can start it. Choose a convenient time from your schedule and follow it on regular basis. It helps you to lose your weight.

 

2. Drink more water.

It is time to say goodbye to aerated drinks in the new year and replace it with water. Minimum 8 glass of water is necessary to feel you good and energetic. It also helps to lose weight and improves kidney function.

 

3. Walk more and avoid sedentary life

It is always advisable to move/ walk frequently during the day. A sedentary lifestyle makes you sick. So avoid long hours sitting and time to time move.

 

4. Stretch out yourself

Do stretching exercise once in a day. It flexes your muscle and reduces joints pain. It also improves your overall flexibility.

 

5. Eat more fruits

Increase fruits portion in your diet. Our body needs different vitamins and minerals, fruits can fulfill this need and help you feel energetic and healthy.

 

6. Join Gym

For specific weightloss and bodybuilding goals you have to join a gym and do workouts as per your trainer.

 

7. Meditate and get good sleep

Nowadays people have a more stressful life and it leads to a sleeping disorder. For better mental health, It is necessary to have a good sleep and stress-free life. Here meditation techniques can help you.

 

Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves

In India, it is called as Patrani machi which is a Parsi steamed fish preparation. The coconut chutney mixture coated on fish and banana leaves are used in this preparation.

Print Recipe
Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves
This is one of the best recipes of fish which I have ever seen. It is healthy and at the same time, it is quite tasty! Calories: 330(approx)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Marinate fish fillets with lemon juice and salt for at least 30 to 40 mins.
  2. Now prepare chutney(paste). combine all the chutney ingredients well and grind it well till the paste is formed.
  3. Coat all the fish fillets with already prepared chutney well from both the sides.
  4. Wrapped the fillets with banana leaves and string it properly.
  5. Steam them 15to20 mins and serve hot.

Aromatherapy: Facts, Usage, Benefits

What is aromatherapy?

If you are suffering from psychological issues like anxiety, stress, poor sleep and you want physical well being than you may consider aromatherapy.

In this type of therapy, plant extract called essential oils are used either by inhalation or by applying on the skin.

Aromatherapy is an ancient therapy and it is considered as alternative medicine.

 

How does aromatherapy work?

You have seen above, there are different methods available in aromatherapy like topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion.

It is believed that aromatherapy activates smell receptors, which are sending messages to your brain.

The molecules in essential oils reach the brain and activate certain areas of it, like the limbic system, which is linked to your heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress, and emotion.

Some aromatherapists think that by applying essential oils to your skin, you can observe positive response on the skin and other parts of the body like joints.

Approximately 50-70 BC, documented use of the extract of lemon balm found in “Materia Medica”. Essential oils were used to treat dementia. (1)

In the inhalation method, essential oils can be used as a diffuser container. Spray, oil droplets, steam bath.

If you use eucalyptus oil in the steam bath you will realize immediate relief in decongestion and nose block.

You can get the topical form of aromatherapy in different ways like massage oils and skin care products.

Though essential oils are very useful in massaging, it can not be applied on your skin directly. They must be diluted with other oil.

Benefits of aromatherapy

You should not replace aromatherapy with your medication. Although some researches show that in certain condition aromatherapy can be useful.

  • Eases stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep/insomnia
  • Joints Pain
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual problem
  • Psoriasis
  • Hair loss
  • Eases side effects of cancer treatments
  • Fights bacteria

Different types of oils and their usage

1. Lemongrass oil

lemongrass essential oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and can be a potent insect repellent.

2. Cinnamon oil

In aromatherapy, the cinnamon essential oil can be used to help clear up chest colds

3. Basil oil

Basil essential oil is used as a stress reliever.

4. Lemon oil

Lemon oil is used for improved mood and depression.

5. Sandalwood oil

The sandalwood essential oil is used for its aphrodisiac qualities.

6. Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve cold or flu.

7. Lavender

The lavender essential oil is used as an antiseptic and headache

8. Black pepper oil

Black pepper essential oil is commonly used for muscular pain and combined with ginger oil it can be used in arthritis.

There are other essential oils are available in the market and you can easily get online.

 

Risks of aromatherapy

There are certain aromatic plant oils are toxic and should be avoided for use eg. camphor, and wintergreen.

Aromatherapy essential oils are very potent and must not be used undiluted. It should not be swallowed. Do not apply essential oils in ears, mouth and private parts. People with lungs allergy and asthma should use caution when inhaling vaporizing oils.

Aromatherapy essential oils can be poisonous if taken in by mouth.

Pregnant women, epilepsy patients should consult their doctors before using essential oils.

One should always get an allergy test done before using essential oils.

 

Probiotics: Are they Good for You?

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms(bacteria and yeast) that are good for you. These are found in the human gut. They are often called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria”. When they are consumed in adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host.

You can get probiotics from dietary supplements and foods.

 

How do probiotics work?

Probiotics have various effects on the body and they may act in different ways.

They help to balance the digestive tract with good and bad bacteria to keep your body working.

Probiotics also help the digestive tract return to normal after getting disturbed by the use of antibiotics or disease.

 

Different types of probiotics

There are many types of bacteria under probiotics. They contain commonly two types of bacteria. (1)

  1. Lactobacillus – They are commonly found in yogurt and other fermented foods. They may help in diarrhea.
  2. Bifidobacterium – They are also found in some of the dairy products.

Each of these two group includes different types of bacteria.

Are probiotics really popular?

According to the year 2012 US data, In dietary supplements consumption, probiotics were in third place after vitamins and minerals. (2)

Probiotics were among the top three natural products used by children in 2012 in the US.

In India, now many brands come up with probiotics supplement.

How effective are probiotics?

Researches show that some probiotics are helpful in preventing diarrhea and improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But it is still unanswered that which probiotics are helpful and which are not.

Are they safe?

In most of the countries worldwide, probiotics are considered a food product rather than medicine. So they do not need to pass rigorous testing as medicine. (3)

Still, it is always advisable to ask your doctor for the suitable products for you.

Top probiotic foods in the world

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics. It contains good bacteria that can improve your health.

In different parts of the world, it is called by a different name. For example in Arabia, it is called leben. In India, it called dahi, lassi, mattha. In Scandinavia, it is called gouddu.

2. Kefir

It is fermented probiotic milk. It is made with a yeast fermentation called kefir grains.

3..Kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean side dish which the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus.

Its main ingredient is cabbage and also contain some vegetables. It is a fermented dish.

4. Miso

Miso is a Japanese dish and made by fermenting soybeans with salt and fungus.

5. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a famous dish in Europe and is made from finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is sour and salty in taste.

Other products rich in probiotics are buttermilk, fresh, sour pickles, tempeh etc.

You can easily get healthy probiotics supplements online.

 

 

Importance of Vitamin B12 and Foods That Are High in Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin. It is one of the major vitamins and it is water soluble. It involves in the metabolism of every cell in our body. It is very important for the normal functioning of the nervous system. It is also needed for the production of red blood cells.

 

Facts About Vitamin B12

As vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, our body does not store it for a long time.

Our body can not produce vitamin B12 itself. So that we have to depend on supplements and another vitamin B12 rich food to fulfill our body’s need and that too on regular basis.

The requirement of the vitamin B12 for a human body depends on age, medical condition etc. It ranges between o.4mcg for infants to 2.4mcg for adults per day.

 

Deficiency of Vitamin B12

People in the US and Europe get this nutrient enough in their diet.

The biggest reason for vitamin B12 deficiency in India is malnutrition. It is as common as vitamin D, iron or folic acid deficiency. (1)

India is mainly lactovegetarian country and even in rich people, you find vitamin B12 deficiency.

There are too many reasons for it, but mainly their diet and lifestyle.

People with a vegan diet are always at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency if they do get it through supplements.

It is always advisable that one should get a blood test to check vitamin B12 level.

 

The deficiency of vitamin B12 develops gradually and aggravate over time.

  • Sore tongue and mouth
  • Anemia
  • Difficulty in reasoning
  • Disturbed vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Other psychological problems

 

Foods that are High in Vitamin B12

Earlier you have seen that our body does not produce or store vitamin B12.

It is naturally found in animal products like meat, poultry, fish eggs, and milk products. Generally, vitamin b12 is not found in plant foods. (2)

 

1. Clams

It is a shellfish and good source of protein. It contains 84.1mcg (3 ounces) of vitamin B12. It is one of the highest sources of vitamin B12.

2. Trout

It is a fish which is a good source of vitamin B12. It contains 5.4mcg(per 3 ounces) of vitamin B12.

3. Liver and kidney

Animal liver contains 70mcg(per 3 ounces) vitamin B12.

4. Salmon

Salmon fish contains 4.8mcg(per 3 ounces) vitamin B12.

5. Milk

1 cup milk contains 1.2mcg vitamin B12.

6. Yogurt

8 ounces yogurt contains 1.1mcg vitamin B12.

7. Tuna

Tuna fish contains 2.5mcg(per 3 ounces) vitamin B12.

8. Egg

1 egg contains 0.6mcg vitamin B12.

 

Printable 1 Page Diet and Fitness Planner

When we keep our daily work schedule then why not to keep a food journal. If you are serious about losing weight then you should keep a food journal.

One Study shows that dieters who keep food journals are much more likely to follow their diet than those who don’t keep.

 

If you want to lose weight then use this printable diet log and record food intake and keep track of calories.

It is simple and easy to maintain your food log. It is the best idea if you hung it on a fridge or upper wall of your desktop pc.

 

If you keep this food log and maintain it properly then gradually it becomes your habit and you yourself find out where you are lacking or what correction is to be done in your diet pattern.

Here are two simple 1 page printable Food Journal and Workout Planner. You can download it from the below link.

 

Download (PDF, 67KB)

Download (PDF, 38KB)

 

 

What Is Pink Himalayan Salt? Benefits, Myths and Risks of Himalayan Salt

Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt. It is pink in the color and it is mined near foothills of the Himalayas in Indian Subcontinent. It is mined at mandi mines in Himachal Pradesh, in India. (1)

 

Why Himalayan salt is pink?

It is Pink in color because of several impurities it contains. Pure sodium chloride is always white.

What does Pink Himalayan salt contain?

Himalayan salt is similar to table salt chemically. It contains minerals that are necessary for your health. It contains 98% sodium and calcium, chloride, iron, magnesium, potassium.

  • Sodium(98%)
  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur

There are around 80  mineral traces found in Himalayan salt.  (2)

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Bromine
  • Chromium

What are the health benefits claimed to Himalayan salt?

Here are some of the benefits by consuming Himalayan salt.

  • Supports healthy lungs and respiratory function
  • Promotes a stable pH balance within the cells
  • Reduces the signs of aging
  • Promotes healthy sleep patterns
  • Increases libido
  • Increases hydration

There are several studies available on salt treatment for various lung and respiratory diseases. What we found from these researches is that there is some positive sign, but still more research is to be done to verify its effectiveness. (3), (4)

What are the myths and reality about Himalayan salt?

Some people say that it is low in sodium compared to table salt. But in reality, both the salt contains 98% sodium.

Himalayan salt is in crystalize form so it has less sodium per teaspoon intake compare to normal table salt.

Some people also believe that Himalayan salt aids hydration. In fact it true, because it contains sodium and sodium is an essential mineral to maintain fluid balance in our body.

Comparison:

Himalayan salt vs Sea salt

Our sea is becoming more and more polluted each year. And it is the fact that it is highly processed. Whereas Himalayan salt is kept in immaculate condition in mines and it is claimed to be the purest form of salt.

Himalayan salt vs Table salt

Table salt is processed and bleached heavily as the majority of the minerals except for sodium, are removed from it. Whereas in Himalayan salt all the minerals are intact along with sodium and chloride.

Risks :

Iodine is the essential mineral for proper thyroid function and its deficiency leads to goiter disease.

Himalayan salt contains less iodine compare to table salt we consume.

Although sodium is good for our body within range, it is not at all good for its high consumption. One should avoid extra salt in his/her diet.

 

How to use Himalayan salt?

You can use pink Himalayan salt in different ways.

1.  You can use it in cooking.

Himalayan salt is good for seasoning. It is also used in the chilled and frozen form to decorate salads.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/uU3doAYt9zhjfu2iYJx-HfoanjA6xfVffTYh-achkPLl6LAHKM3BejEVFIwHxXmp3cYiTPa6RTE8Gx3OekLPFdy4Vv41GjYqUOqCayLcFx_zAa9xDSiu6Dg0YCqdVhqlFjs5g6aZ

 

2. Bathing

Himalayan salt contains nourishing and skin friendly minerals so the bath will provide a healing experience. It is also claimed as a detoxifying agent.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/lhIrX8acKKFXPn2X3CK64knnEnZrtieH-s0bmdBTlbGCJGeyHWonz-QuDO3iI-EruPZjb-UfrnHb0coUEg-WvwhOuvqhK0JxZLbNTCwAKZgj9M-WPU1ji1xULXRFzVp6OPuSX16J

3.  Air purification and a salt lamp

Himalayan salt lamps are decorative lights and they are made out of Himalayan salt which believed to have several health benefits.

  • Boost your mood
  • Improve air quality
  • Help you sleep

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Y6cgzvBLxvqVfuaNvrpntK0co9dkGKtwVbBSlFzJdxMOKG__2AP0EBlOXwG1d1n2nAZp_bqofvdIGL8gdH1VJPapf1xXw8K2b4t6Qdo0HWadE3vjIVu3hqWkQnMUixyMe-dV3JAQ

You can buy this beautiful product online on Amazon.