Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brain Drain ... Mental Fatigue...Seven ways to refuel the brain.

The fast paced lifestyle of adults today is leaving many individuals feeling mentally exhausted.
Fatigue is among the top ten health complaints received by doctors around the world. Despite modern luxuries, true relaxation keeps floating out of reach. The best way to tackle the situation, according to experts, is to bring about a radical change from old habits.
Seven keys to refresh your mind and soul  :-
(1). Self Care : -
Every individual should take a close look at their daily lifestyle to determine what areas need improvement. Make an appointment with your physician for a physical to assess for possible iron deficiency anemia, thyroid function or an infection that could be causing fatigue symptoms. Then decide if you are consuming the servings suggested from each food group for appropriate nutrition.
Caffeine and sugar should be avoided while increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Medical experts suggest taking a multivitamin supplement and drinking at least 64 ounces of water (1/3 rd of your body weight in Kgs X 100 ml.) daily to replenish your brain and body.
(2). Positive thinking : -
Our thinking process is influenced by the constant monologue in our minds. When there is an overdose of negative feedback, energy levels go down.
 Irrational, self-defeating thoughts serve no purpose other than to bring on fatigue and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Blaming ourselves for every single mistake allows nagging thoughts to occur, causing physical fatigue and a sluggish mind. Experts recommend substituting negative thinking with positive ones.
(3). Time out : -
Taking a few minutes off every hour or two helps the brain to recharge.

It provides a chance to look at the problem in hand with a new perspective and explore solutions from different angles. When you are doing some important task taking a few minutes off may appear to be a difficult job, but psychologists believe that there are many benefits that are cured by such an exercise.
(4). Sleep : -
Adults require six to seven hours of sleep every night.
 If you are experiencing insomnia it can escalate the symptoms of mental fatigue. Create a routine each night that prepares you for bed. Have a glass of hot milk (milk has tryptophan amino acid which induces sleep). Turn off lights and any media that will keep your brain stimulated. Your brain will then release the 'melatonin' that regulates the sleep and wake cycles.
(5). Eat right : -
Often, our eating patterns are the first to suffer when our work load piles up. Appeasing a hungry stomach with easily available junk food, rather than nutritious food at regular intervals, can create havoc with fitness levels. Reaching for high calorie foods provide a temporary boost to flagging energy levels. But such foods keep energy up only for a short period of time. Glucose level dips soon afterwards, resulting in distraction and an inability to concentrate. Simple sugars shoot up blood sugar level and provide instant energy, but only temporarily.

Diet rich in complex carbohydrates works best for a slow and steady release of energy. All whole grains, a few vegetables and some fruits are great sources of complex carbs.
(6). Water therapy : -
When water intake is down, energy and concentration levels are affected. Water accounts for almost sixty per cent of our body weight. After oxygen it is the most important element needed to sustain human life.
So it is not surprising that decrease levels of water in the body result sin fatigue. There is a loss of fluid through sweating and urination. Unless the lost fluids are replenished, the kidney goes on a conservation mode, affecting the workings of other body systems. Loss of water may lead to fatigue, dizziness, irritability, lack of concentration, diminished muscular endurance and other serious conditions. Water is important to hydrate the tissue including brain tissue.
(7). Get some exercise : -
The weight of our brain is less than five per cent of our body, yet it uses up thirty per cent of the oxygen taken in. One of the most important factors affecting proper functioning of the brain is the supply of adequate levels of oxygen. Regular exercise helps in routing of oxygen to the brain and heart. Exercise helps in improved blood flow to the brain and helps to remove toxin from the body.
A study published in the March 2009 Journal of Applied Physiology reports, “Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans.” Physicians recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Exercise will increase your stamina and the oxygen level in your bloodstream. The brain utilizes 30 % of the oxygen in your body, so increasing oxygen in the body will improve cognition. Taking the steps to
 maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit should be a part of your daily lifestyle. If you believe that you do not have the time to take care of yourself now, then you will need to make the time later if you become ill. Your best option is to start today and make the right choices for you.
(8). Colour Codes : -
Colours influence our moods. Cheerful yellows, oranges and reds give a boost to creativity while pale or blue colours promote lethargy.
 Blue is known to be a cold color and can put you in a depressed or sad mood.On the other end of the scale red is known as a hot firy color and is said to put humans in a state of rage or anger mood. 
Of course, an overdose of stimulating colours can provide to be distracting too. Care should be taken to create harmonious blends of colours that soothe and also induce creativity.

Friday, May 27, 2011

50 gms Red Tomatoes Paste or 500 ml Tomato Juice a day keep heart diseases away .... A new study !!!

दिल की सेहत दुरूस्त रखता है टमाटर ।।। टमाटर के स्वाद के दिवानों के लिए एक अच्छी खबर ।।।
The humble tomato is more than a delicious fruit. The secret to a healthy heart may be simply relishing a nectarous tomato.According to a recent investigation, an international team led by the University of Adelaide, Tomatoes can serve as a powerful alternative to medication in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, thus preventing cardiovascular disease. It was suggested that a bright red pigment called LYCOPENE in tomatoes has antioxidant properties that are essential for good health. This pigment appears present to a lesser extent in watermelon, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and rosehip as well. The study has been published in the "Maturitas journal" this month.
Claimed to be a novel study, the Researchers came to the conclusion by summarising the effect of Lycopene on cholesterol and blood pressure analysing the collective results of 14 studies in the last 55 years. "Our study suggests that if more than 25 milligrams of Lycopene is taken daily, it can reduce LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by up to 10 per cent," Dr Karin Ried, who led the team, said. Lycopene appears better absorbed when consumed in processed and cooked tomatoes or tomato paste rather than fresh tomatoes.

Bright Red Tomatoes in particular have high levels of Lycopene, with half-a-litre of tomato juice taken daily, or 50 grams of tomato paste, providing protection against heart disease, say the researchers. Eating just one tomato a day would not be enough. Dr Ried said: ‘I would really recommend looking at 50 gms of tomato paste daily. It is very rich in Lycopene and it is not difficult to get 50 grams a day.
"That's comparable to the effect of low doses of medication commonly prescribed for people with slightly elevated cholesterol, but without the side effects of these drugs, which can include muscle pain and weakness and nerve damage," Dr Ried said.
"Research shows that high lycopene consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hardened arteries, heart attacks and strokes," Dr Ried said. He, however, added that more study is needed to explore whether doses higher than 25 to 44 milligrammes of lypocene a day provide additional benefits.

Dr. Ried and her colleagues have received international recognition for other clinical studies which show the benefits of both garlic and dark chocolate in helping to lower blood pressure.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drink Tea Without Milk to Lose Weight and Choesterol : New Study !!!

Tea please .... Hold the Milk !!!!
Tea lovers can now kill the guilt of sipping an extra cup of tea. Researchers have found that tea helps one reduce weight provided he consumes it without milk. However if tea is taken with milk especially cow milk, than all the benefits are lost. For all those hitting the gym, and undertaking crash diets to lose weight, lay back and sip a hot cup of tea without milk, as a new study claims that drinking tea could help you lose weight, only if you don't add milk to it.
All teas, black, green or red are a rich source of anti oxidants like Theaflavins and Thearubigins which help in weight loss and cholesterol reduction, but these antioxidants in tea which aid in weight-loss are neutralized if milk is added to it. These anti oxidants present in tea reduce the amount of fat absorption in the intestine and can also cut cholesterol.
Tea is one of the good sources of anti oxidants that help one to prevent obesity and lose weight. But in order to reap this beneficial property of tea one should drink it without milk.
Researchers at the Tea Research Association in Assam, India have found that tea is a rich source of antioxidants such as theaflavins and thearubigins that help not only to cut cholesterol but reduce the amount of fat absorbed by our intestines.
But this fat-fighting ability of tea is neutralized if we add milk to it. Dr. Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at the Tea Research Association in Assam said that the benefits are cancelled out by the protein found in milk. He said, “When tea is taken with milk, theaflavins and thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate. Therefore we neither get the health benefits from these compounds nor from milk. Therefore, it is always advised to take tea without milk.” 
Also a study by scientists in Japan, reveals that extracts from tea leaves inhibit the absorption of fat in the intestines of rats being fed high-fat diet. These rats also had less fat tissue on their bodies and lower fat content in their livers, reports the Journal of Nutrition. Hiroaki Yajima, a scientist with the Kirin Beverage Company in Japan who carried out the Japanese research, said: "Black tea extracts may prevent diet-induced obesity by inhibiting intestinal lipid absorption." Researchers now believe this could explain why people in Britain appear not to benefit from the healthy affects of tea despite being among the world's biggest consumers of the beverage.
The study therefore is an eye-opener to many who can not imagine drinking tea without milk if, of course, they want to cut extra flab from their bulging waist line.  Consumption of black tea becomes important if one wants to lose weight. The health boosting properties of black tea are often disguised by tea lover’s habit of drinking it with milk.
One more reason to drink Tea without milk : Studies have also revealed that a type of protein found in milk called caseins decrease the amount of heart healthy compounds known as catechins that are found in tea.

Other benefits of tea :

 1. Drinking black teas can help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as it helps to expand the arteries, which increases blood flow to the heart.
2. Research has shown the black/green tea can be used in the fight against cancer. Properties of the tea slow down the growth of cancerous cells without destroying healthy cells.
3. Tea is also believed to help to delay the aging process. Nowadays there are many anti aging creams and lotions that contain tea extracts to help the skin look younger.

4. Drinking tea such as black and green tea helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
5. Tea contains fluoride, which can help to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.Tea also strengthens our bones.
6. For those people with diabetes, drinking tea can help to decrease glucose levels, which can reduce the risk of cataracts, and other conditions brought about by diabetes.
7. Tea builds the body's resistance to infection, especially the ones infused with a variety of herbs. By inhibiting free radicals tea strengthens the immune system providing protection to the organs against infection.

The research suggests that despite more attention being paid to the health benefits of green tea, black tea may have greater health-boosting properties which are masked by the tendency to drink it with milk.

Bottom Line: Tea is a healthy beverage offering many health benefits (if you skip the cream and sugar). Brew your tea for at least 3 - 5 minutes to bring out the beneficial polyphenols. Enjoy the aroma of tea !!!!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

World TB Day...24th March,2011 : "On the Move Against Tuberculosis : Transforming the Fight - Towards Elimination of TB"

The 24th March of every year is World Tuberculosis Day. The relevance of the statement cannot be more reinstated on the curable communicable disease in a country like India. Out of sheer ignorance, TB is still considered a fatal disease and the struggle to eradicate the disease and to open the closed mindset of the society has become an everyday battle for patients and medical practitioners alike.  
It was on 24 March 1882 that Dr. Robert Koch made a great breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis by detecting the TB bacillus—the cause of tuberculosis. A third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB and the World Health Organization (WHO) is networking with organizations and countries to reduce TB prevalence rates and mortality by half by 2015.
World TB Day 2011 enters into the second year of the two year campaign, “On the move against tuberculosis” focusing on innovation in TB research and care. Accelerating the campaign are fresh objectives and targets from the Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015: Transforming the Fight—Towards Elimination of TB, launched in October 2010 by the Stop TB partnership.
WHO TB Facts:
• TB kills more people than any other infectious disease in the world
• In developed countries TB is seen in elderly, while in developing countries it is commonly seen in young adults
• Every second, someone in the world is infected with TB
• One third of the world’s population has TB now
• 5-10 % of people infected with TB (without HIV infection) become sick or infectious at some point of time in life
INDIA TB Facts :
(i) * TB is everyone’s problem especially in India and China and it affects the most productive age group, 20 to 40 years.
(ii) * It is also the largest killer in India.
(iii) * There are 20 lakh new patients in India every year apart from the ones yet to be cured.
(iv) * And that makes it up to one third of world TB patients in India alone.
(v) * It is also disturbing to note that 3, 30, 000 people die every year and 8, 70, 000 are infectious making them capable of infecting others.
The TB Challenge :
(1)."If you have cough for two weeks or more, GET two Sputum examinations".
(2)."Lung TB is the most common form of TB constituting more than 85 % of the cases".
(3)."TB in children forms 5-15 % of all TB cases".
(4)."TB is the most common opportunistic infection in people having HIV/AIDS".
(5)."Improper/irregular/incomplete treatment can lead to multi drug resistant TB".
(6)."Sputum examination is the most reliable and cost effective tool to diagnose TB".
(7)."Best way of preventing the spread of TB is early diagnosis and complete treatment".
(8)."Every patient who is cured stops spreading TB, and every life saved is a child, a mother, or a father who will go on to live a longer, TB-free life".
Risk factors for developing TB include :
(a).Being around someone with active TB.
(b).Having a chronic illness such as diabetes.
(c).Being immunocompromised either from HIV, chemotherapy for patients with cancer, end-stage kidney disease, prolonged steroid use etc. 
(d).Working in the health care field.
(e).Living in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, mental institution, or prison.
(f ).Older people are also at an increased risk of developing TB.
(g).Social factors such as poverty, overcrowding, and homelessness are also risk factors of TB.

(h).Another social risk factor of TB is alcohol. It has long been evident that there is an association between alcohol use and risk of TB. The risk of active TB is substantially elevated in people who drink more than 40 g alcohol per day and/or have an alcohol use disorder. This may be due to both an increased risk of infection related to specific social mixing patterns associated with alcohol use and influence on the immune system of alcohol itself and of alcohol-related conditions.
Tackling the TB menace :
What makes tackling the TB menace so challenging is that the bacterium is so difficult to get at—it is slow growing, has very tough cell walls and remains hidden in body cells for a long while before it is detected. Treatment requires a drug regimen that is relatively long, requiring 4 to 6 months and breaking the intake of medicine in the middle develops drug resistant strains.
The current focus on TB elimination is aimed at developing simple, rapid TB tests, faster treatment regimens and bringing an effective TB vaccine to the market. To this end, the 2011 World TB campaign throws a worldwide searchlight for individuals who have devised new ways to stop TB and have inspired others in the fight against tuberculosis.

On the Move Against Tuberculosis :
Poster sessions, symposiums and conferences are lined up at the academic level all over the world to discuss the elimination of TB. In developing countries Road Show campaigns have been arranged to visit communities, health clinics and primary health centres spreading the message to Stop TB and to remove the social stigma attached to TB patients.
While it is important for governments to ensure availability of TB drugs to patients, it is equally important for family members of TB patients, health care providers and patients themselves to stick to the drug regimen and not break medication in the middle thereby complicating TB treatment further. Only a concerted effort from all—researchers, governments, healthcare providers, TB patients and their families, the drug industry, the media and all members of the civil society, will ensure a stiff and effective fight against tuberculosis—a disease that is both preventable and curable.
Q. Tuberculosis is curable, yet society continues to ostracize and stigmatise TB patients. Why is that ?
A. Previous experiences and movies. Movies around the 50s and 60s have romanticised TB projecting patients as coughing, bleeding and eventually dying. Before the 50s and 60s there was no concept of chemotherapy and TB patients were kept in ventilated sanatoriums. It was usually the patients with natural immunity that survived. Somehow the movie version of TB has been ingested. Hence scientific facts must be gotten right. TB is curable with correct treatment, and periodic monitoring by medical professionals trained in it.
Q. TB is complicated to handle. How has it become a primary concern?
A. TB is everyone’s problem especially in India and China and it affects the most productive age group, 20 to 40 years. It is also the largest killer in India. There are 20 lakh new patients in India apart from the ones yet to be cured. And that makes it up to one third of world TB patients in India alone. It is also disturbing to note that 3, 30, 000 people die every year and 8, 70, 000 are infectious making them capable of infecting others.
Q. Last year the DOTS Plus guidelines had been released. What's the effectiveness of DOTS ?
A. Direct Observation Treatment, Short Course (DOTS), is a procedure where medication is given under direct observation by a health worker. Since TB is a chronic disease the shortest course lasts for at least six months and depending on the severity, the duration is bound to increase to 9 months to even a year. If the treatment extends, then the motivation to continue the treatment decreases. Also, once the patient starts to get asymptomatic the motivation to continue treatment decreases.
The effectiveness of DOTS will be ensured only if patients follow the entire treatment until TB is completely eradicated. The educated dutifully follow the entire treatment; it is the poorly informed who discontinue before they are cured.
Q. The population is vast, what are the suggestions to provide uniform services ?
A. One of the challenges is the accessibility to the centres that provide DOTS. People from rural areas, hilly regions, find it difficult to reach the centres. Travelling to these centres could cost them their livelihood in case of casual labourers. In such cases, even post-men and school teachers are requested to deliver DOTS to patients living in remote areas. There should be more centres set up to provide treatment.
Q. What is the difference between the treatment provided by the government and private hospitals ?
A. DOTS are provided by the WHO and the government for free. The pills are administered thrice a week, every alternate day. Whereas in private hospitals 3 to 4 drugs are bought from pharmacies and the treatment is on an everyday basis. They are both equally effective.
 Q. What are the the current challenges in treating TB ?
A. The emergence of Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is dangerous. Drug resistant TB is not curable by usual TB treatment and treatment is 20 times more expensive and needs at least 1 and half years to get cured. The time needed for identification of Resistant Tuberculosis is long(5-6 weeks) and the test is expensive and not available commonly in usual labs; hence there should be more referral sites.
In addition, newer diagnostic methods should be implemented, cost factor should be considered and quicker identification must be enforced. Most importantly, research and development needs to be in place and encouraged. That is the theme behind this World TB Day 2011’s slogan- Transforming the fight Towards Elimination. This new plan, for the first time, identifies all the research gaps that need to be filled to bring rapid TB tests, faster treatment regimens and a fully effective vaccine to market.

In general, the anti-TB medications are very safe. The prevention of MDR-TB is of utmost importance. In simpler terms, some bugs need 3 pesticides to kill it; similarly TB always needs 3 to 4 drugs to prevent it from becoming drug resistant. The wholesome regimen has to be adhered to ensure the treatment is effective.

Support TB patients, do not push them away. They can do with all the encouragement starting with eceiving a simple act of concern such as enquiring about their well-being. Health workers should exert pressure in a positive way so patients will stay on course when patients get asymptomatic.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Japan Radiation Fears .... greatly exaggerated !!!!

 As workers struggle to contain the fallout from the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, people as far away as Illinois are calling public health officials in a state of panic.
There is much hue and cry all over the world to buy 'Potassium Iodide' .. a drug known to protect thyroid gland from radiation to some extent. Panic is being created even on some social websites like Facebook, and Twitter etc. by some people.
They are hoping to get their hands on potassium iodide pills to protect them from radiation -- despite warnings that, in the absence of a real nuclear threat, taking the medicine is riskier than doing nothing.
Sixty-six years after the first atomic bomb exploded over the city of Hiroshima, radiation spooks people everywhere. But the anxiety is largely disproportionate to the actual danger.
"People in general have an exaggerated fear of radiation. That is true in the United States, and it is probably even more so in Japan & whole Asia" said Jerrold Bushberg, director of health physics programs and clinical professor of radiology and radiation oncology at the University of California Davis.
Despite the Japanese government's assurances that the risk so far is minimal, residents of Tokyo have flooded out of the city and foreigners have fled the country, hoping to escape a threat they cannot see.
The fact is that everyone is exposed to small amounts of radiation every day just from living on earth or flying in an airplane. That all adds up to about 2.4 units, known as millisieverts, a year. This can vary widely, ranging from 1 to 10 millisieverts, depending on where you live.

Background radiation will cause 1 out of 100 people to die of cancer in their lifetimes, said Dr. Donald Bucklin, who spent 10 years as medical director for the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, the largest nuclear plant in the United States. Additional exposure increases this risk.
In Tokyo, 150 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, people grew fearful when readings rose about 10 times above the normal reading. At that level, residents were exposed to 0.809 microsieverts per hour -- 1,000 times less than a millisievert, or about 10 times less than a chest X-ray.
"The levels of radiation experienced by the public at present should be no cause for concern," said Dr. Richard Wakeford, visiting professor of epidemiology at the Dalton Nuclear Institute at University of Manchester in Britain.

"To put radiation doses into context, many Japanese undergo CT scans for cancer screening purposes, and these scans produce radiation doses of about 10 millisieverts (10,000 microsieverts) -- much more than they are receiving from the Fukushima reactors."
Japan radiation localized, no immediate threat: WHO :
Friday,March.18,2011 .... The WHO believes the spread of radiation from a quake crippled nuclear plant in Japan remains limited and appears to pose no immediate threat or risk to health.
At this point, there is still no evidence that there's been significant radiation spread beyond the immediate zone of the reactors themselves," Michael O'Leary (WHO China's representative) told a group of reporters.
"At the same time, we know that the situation is evolving and we need to monitor closely and see what happens over time. Things can obviously change, and have changed, over this last week."
(This GeoEye's IKONOS satellite image was taken over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan at 10:19 am (Tokyo time) on March 17, 2011 and released to Reuters on March 17 ).
Japan has been battling for nearly a week to bring under control the overheating Fukushima nuclear plant after it was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Experts and officials fear a major leak of radioactive substances from the plant could pose a serious health risk, and China, India and nearby countries have stepped up monitoring of radiation levels.
O'Leary suggested that the impact of such an event on this region would be small, but said other factors mattered too.
"The reactors, of course, are quite far from India and China. The risk of spread depends on several factors. One is obviously the amount of radioactive material, or radionuclides, that are released from the reactor itself. Beyond that are weather and wind conditions that determine," he said.
"As with anything that spreads or can spread out, the farther away you are, the more dispersed it is."
The emergency has sparked panic buying of iodized salt in China and India , based on the misunderstanding that the iodine it contains could prevent the body's intake of radioactive iodine that could be released in the event of a major explosion at the plant.
But O'Leary said iodine should not be taken indiscriminately or treated as a substitute for supplements administered before or shortly after radiation exposure to reduce the risk of long-term cancer.
"It should not be taken indiscriminately. It does have potential side effects," he said.
"The amount of iodine in salt is very small. It wouldn't be possible to consume enough salt to get a protective dose. In the end, not many people will need iodine supplements."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sprouts the Super Food - "Powerhouse of Nutrients".

Consuming sprouts is like eating live vegetable food. Think for yourself, how nutrient-dense a growing food could be…
It is said that sprouts ‘represent the miracle of birth’. They are in the true sense, super foods. They are alkaline, whole, pure, and natural foods. It is inexcusable that though aware of their miraculous effects, we do not take full advantage of them. We scour departmental and organic stores, looking for health foods and recipes, but forget to eat ordinary sprouts on daily basis – considering them a poor cousin of high-fashion health foods.
Sprouts are the cheapest and most convenient source of complete nourishment. They are food for long-term health and wellness. If consumed judiciously and chosen over other foods, they can prevent diseases and lifestyle-related ailments. Sprouting a seed enables it to produce an enormously enhanced bundle of nutrients.
A sprout is at the transitional stage between seed and plant. It is, to put it simply, a baby plant. These are essentially pre-digested foods as the seeds’ own enzymes do most of the work. The nutritional changes that occur during sprouting primarily happen because complex compounds get broken down into simpler forms. This, added to development of some essential nutrients, constituents, and breakdown of anti-nutrients, makes the whole phenomenon of sprouting possible. Metabolic activity in dormant seeds is initiated as soon as they are hydrated during soaking.
Sprouted seeds acquire natural increased digestibility and nutrients as compared to unsprouted seeds. They provide us with all the essential minerals and vitamins, and must ideally form a part of our daily diets.
The sprouting process:
On sprouting, grains, legumes, and seeds turn into super foods. They then become an extremely sound source of protein, fiber, and vitamin B.
All edible grains, legumes, and seeds can be sprouted. The following are generally used for sprouting:
Grains: Wheat (wheat grass is the sprouted form of wheat. It must be juiced. Soak hard wheat grains for 12 hours and then grow in soil. It will be ready in 12 days’ time), maize, ragi, barley, bajra.
Seeds: Alfalfa seeds (sensitive to heat, ready in seven days), sesame seeds, radish seeds, fenugreek seeds (bitter in taste. To be mixed with milder sprouts to tone it down, ready in 9 days’ time), coriander seeds, pumpkin seeds, and musk melon seeds, groundnut.
Legumes: Green gram, Bengal gram, chickpea, kidney beans, dried peas.
Oats: (oat groats) to be used -- ready in 3 to 4 days), buckwheat, quinoas are foods which are lesser known as sprouts, but are at the same time, highly nutritious. They should be sprouted and consumed if readily available.
Alfalfa is called the ‘father of all foods’ or the ‘king of sprouts’. It is highly rich in minerals like manganese and is also a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. It also contains all the essential amino acids. Alfalfa contains most of the essential amino acids and has a higher concentration of calcium than milk. The lesser explored sesame seed sprouts are also said to be great source nutrients. They too, contain most of the essential amino acids and are high in vitamin E and vitamin B complex, apart from other nutrients.
The sprouting process :
Firstly, one has to ensure that the seeds, legumes or grains will easily sprout. (For instance, soyabeans are said to become sour and do not sprout too well; and wheat has to be grown in soil). The seeds should be thoroughly washed and then soaked in fresh water overnight. The time span of soaking is mostly 12 hours, though it depends on the size of the seeds. Next morning the seeds should be rinsed and the water drained off. Soaking turns the seed soft and laden with water. They eventually germinate and become sprouts in two to three days’ time, depending upon the temperature and humidity. One should not soak the seeds for a longer period than required, as the seeds may rot and ferment. After they sprout, they should be stored in a refrigerator.

Nutritional Benefits:
The ISS (International Speciality Supply, USA) is a company that supplies sprouts to many countries. It describes in detail, the nutrient changes which occur during the process of sprouting. On sprouting, there is a tremendous increase in nutrients as compared to the dried embryo. The vitamins, minerals and protein content substantially increase with a simultaneous decrease in caloric and carbohydrate content. Pulses and seeds show a very low water content. This, however, tends to increase tenfold when converted into sprouts. The ISS elaborates that sprouted green gram (mung beans) have an 8.3 percent increase of water content over dried beans. Hence the nutritional value of sprouted and dried mung beans can be compared by multiplying the analyzed nutrients of sprouted mung beans by the factor of 8.3. Based on this criterion, the changes found in sprouted mung beans when compared with the figures for the beans in the dried state are as follows:
Energy content (calories)..... Decrease 15 percent
Total carbohydrate content..... Decrease 15 percent
Protein availability..... Increase 30 percent
Calcium content.... Increase 34 percent
Potassium content.... Increase 80 percent
Sodium content.... Increase 690 percent
Iron content.... Increase 40 percent
Phosphorous content.... Increase 56 percent
Vitamin A content.... Increase 285 percent
Thiamine or Vitamin B1 content Increase 208 percent
Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 content.... Increase 515 percent
Niacin or Vitamin B3 content.... Increase 256 percent
Ascorbic acid or Vitamin C content.... An infinite increase
The increase in protein availability is of great significance. It is a valuable indicator of the enhanced nutritional value of a food when sprouted. The amazing fact is that sprouts are a food -- very easily available to all sections of society, and yet the biggest storehouse of all nutrients. The reduction in carbohydrate content indicates molecules being broken down during sprouting to allow absorption of atmospheric nitrogen and re-formation of amino-acids. The resultant protein is the most easily digestible of all proteins available in foods.

Grains, legumes are nowhere even near to be considered a source of vitamin C. However, when sprouted, they reveal significant quantities of this vitamin. The infinite increase in Vitamin C or ascorbic acid derives from their absorption of atmospheric elements during growth.
Sprouts supply food in a pre-digested form -- food, which has already been acted upon by enzymes and simplified. During sprouting, much of the starch is broken down into simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose by the action of the enzyme ‘amylase’. Proteins are converted into amino acids and amides. Fats and oils are converted into simpler fatty acids by the action of the enzyme lipase. Also, during sprouting there is s reduction in the gas producing quality of beans. Mainly oligosaccharides have been held responsible for gas formation. As the process of germination ends and sprouting begins, the content of oligosaccharides is reduced by 90 percent. The content of fiber and water increases tremendously, which is a boon for a healthy digestive system.
Sprouts are a good source of chlorophyll, said to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They are highly beneficial foods for losing weight too. They keep one full for a long time and also prevent over-eating as one feels satisfied on consuming just a handful.
Sprouts are an extremely inexpensive method of obtaining a concentration of protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Eating sprouts is the safest and best way of getting the advantage of complete nutrition.
Cooking with Sprouts:

Sprouts could be eaten in various ways, other than just the standard salads that we generally know of. They could be used in the following ways:
* To make hummus to be used as dips, for sandwich fillings (sprouted chickpea is best suited for this).
* To make healthy vegetables and curries.
* To be crushed lightly and added to pancakes, or used as a filling for pancakes.
* To prepare a variety of stir fries.
* To cook and serve with rice.
* To be added to yoghurts.
* To be juiced up (wheat grass is a sprout).
* To be dried and turned into malt. This is called malted flour. It is especially given to babies in the form of porridge as it is easily digestible and has a high nutrient density. Ragi malt (Red millet malt) is very commonly prepared in southern India. It’s highly rich in calcium and iron, and is relished by all age groups. The dry ragi sprouts are roasted with wheat, green mung dal, and almonds, and are then ground and cooked with milk and sugar. Malted multigrain flours are also readily available. They can be had as porridge, they can be mixed in flour, or can be added to various food preparations.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

**** New Hopes..New Decade..New Year 2011 ****

To all my Blogger and Facebook friends, Blog readers and Blog visitors.
On New Year's Day
and the whole year through,

I hope the kindness
you've given to others
returns many times to you.

May hope, love, and warmth
be in your heart's possessing,
and may the New Year
bring you and yours
many blessings.

Happy New Year!!!