HEALTH & FITNESS

Myths about weight reduction
by Dr Ravinder Chadha
E
veryday I come across scores of people who try to convince me that the secret of their weight reduction lies in yoga, pranayam, dieting and various other such factors. The truth is that yoga helps in enhancing the flexibility of the body but it alone cannot lead to a reduction of weight. Diet control can only stop extra fat formation but cannot burn the fat which is already there.

Onions can cut the risk of gut cancer
LONDON: Food can help you keep gut cancer at bay. According to the BBC, The Institute of Food Research has looked at studies carried out into how changes in diet can help one prevent this disease.

Tibetan surgeons 1000 years ahead of the West
BEIJING: Tibetan surgeons knew surgical procedures as complicated as craniotomy as early as the eighth century, about 10 centuries before their western counterparts.

Drinking tea keeps blood pressure down
CHICAGO: Drinkers of green and oolong tea are less likely to develop high blood pressure than nondrinkers, a Taiwanese study said.

Stroke linked to sleeping disorder
LONDON: A sleep-related disorder that causes repeated interruptions in breathing is a new risk factor for death from stroke, Spanish researchers said. Sleep apnoea affects about 20 per cent of people. Sufferers can stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while asleep, sometimes more than 300 times a night.

Homoeopathy & you
Ways to fight cholera
by Dr Vikas Sharma
C
ome the monsoon and the news of cholera cases get prominently highlighted in the newspapers. Unfortunately, India remains one of the few countries where diseases such as cholera are still widespread.

  • Preventing cholera


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Myths about weight reduction
by Dr Ravinder Chadha

Everyday I come across scores of people who try to convince me that the secret of their weight reduction lies in yoga, pranayam, dieting and various other such factors. The truth is that yoga helps in enhancing the flexibility of the body but it alone cannot lead to a reduction of weight. Diet control can only stop extra fat formation but cannot burn the fat which is already there.

Obesity is generally defined as the condition when an individual weighs 20 per cent or more than the ideal weight. The goal of treatment for obesity is to bring down the weight to an ideal level. Exercise is an essential part of any weight-loss programme and should become a permanent part of one’s lifestyle. The benefits of exercise include burning off calories and thereby losing weight; maintaining optimal muscle tone; increasing one’s metabolic rate — the amount of calories the body burns in a day; improvement in blood circulation leading to better heart and lung function.

Certain common prevalent myths:

* Whatever I eat turns into fat: The only reason why some people gain more weight than others who eat exactly the same food is that they are less active.

* Skipping a meal is the best way to reduce weight: Skipping meals usually increases hunger and results in greater food consumption in the next meals.

* Exercise alone is enough for weight reduction: Not so. Exercise with proper reduction in calorie intake through diet is most desirable.

* Spot reduction myth: There is no such thing as spot reduction. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern. Overall, body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area. “Pot belly” or “apple shape” fat distribution under the abdomen has greater health consequences than the lower body “pear shape” fat distribution at hips and thighs.

* Myths about abdominal exercises: Advertisements saying that by doing stomach exercise on the machine for a few minutes each day will make you lose weight. Doing abdominal exercise only strengthens the abdominal muscle; it does not make fat disappear.

* Big muscular people probably become fat later in life because their muscle will turn into fat: Muscle and fat are two different types of tissues and are not interchangeable. When muscle is not used, it will atrophy and decrease in size. Typically, the neglected muscle becomes surrounded by fat, giving the illusion of turning into fat.

* Rapid weight loss can occur on diets very low in carbohydrates: The weight reduction occurs due to the loss of water and muscle and not due to fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available energy source. Limiting the intake of carbohydrates forces the body to use its stored glycogen deposits. Stored glycogen holds four times its weight in fluid. As the stored glycogen is used, the attached fluid is released from the muscle and eliminated from the body. Therefore, there is instant and significant weight loss.

* Diet is the key to losing fat: Body fat is stored energy, a fuel source for the body, waiting to be used. Exercise is the most effective way of using the stored fat. Fat loss through diet alone usually amounts to 50 per cent of the total weight lost, the rest is muscle and fluid. Fat loss through exercise accounts for virtually 100 per cent of any weight.

* Alcohol does not count: Many people claim that even after increasing physical activity and diet control, they don’t lose weight. The reason is that they don’t change their drinking habits. Alcohol is directly absorbed from the stomach in the blood stream and easily stored as fat. It is advisable to follow a strict exercise regimen and proper diet control and overlook all myths for weight reduction. 
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Onions can cut the risk of gut cancer

LONDON: Food can help you keep gut cancer at bay. According to the BBC, The Institute of Food Research has looked at studies carried out into how changes in diet can help one prevent this disease.

Onions, apples, celery and broccoli are all highlighted by the study as being particularly beneficial.

Studies have shown that gut cancers are not purely genetic and can be modified by diet as the walls of the gut are lined with a layer of cells called the epithelium which is covered with a film of mucus.

It is the body’s first line of internal defence, but it can be susceptible to the development of abnormalities over time. Research has suggested that fibre, folic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, plant chemicals such as flavonoids (plant pigments) and gut fermentation products such as butyrate can provide protection at various stages of cancer.

“Many of the mechanisms have yet to be discovered, but basically what this means is that people can help to protect themselves by controlling their weight and by eating diets rich in fruits and vegetables and other sources of fibre,” Professor Ian Johnson, head of Gastrointestinal Health and Function at the institute, said.

“Cancer is a complex multistage process that can take a large proportion of a person’s lifespan to develop. Nutrition is potentially a powerful tool to interrupt many stages of that process, and could be much more effectively deployed by many people,” he added. — ANI
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Tibetan surgeons 1000 years ahead of the West

BEIJING: Tibetan surgeons knew surgical procedures as complicated as craniotomy as early as the eighth century, about 10 centuries before their western counterparts.

According to China View, a book called Four Volumes of Medicine Dictionary recorded operational methods of surgical instruments as well as the meridian of the human body.

According to the book, the Dalai Lama’s surgeon, Damo Losang Aoizhag, had remade about 100 surgical instruments. “The fifth Dala Lama’s cataract was said to be cured by Damo Losang Aoizhag using these instruments,” a report quoted, Goinqog Wangdu, a professor from medicine school of the Tibet Autonomous Region, as saying. Tibetan surgery was so advanced because of a popular seventh century funeral custom known as the celestial burial. — ANI 
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Drinking tea keeps blood pressure down

CHICAGO: Drinkers of green and oolong tea are less likely to develop high blood pressure than nondrinkers, a Taiwanese study said.

The risk of hypertension, a condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke, declined the more green or oolong tea was consumed regularly, the study by researchers from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, said.

Some varieties of tea contain 4,000 chemical compounds, including flavonoids that help protect against heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure, study author Yi-Ching Yang wrote in the report published in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

None of the 1,500 participants suffered from hypertension at the start of the study, and those who drank between 120 and 599 milliliters (4 to 20 fluid ounces) of tea per day for at least a year prior had a 46 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than non-drinkers.

Drinking 600 millilitres of tea or more a day lowered the risk of hypertension by 65 per cent, the study showed.

Few of the participants drank black tea. About 40 per cent of the study subjects were regular tea drinkers, and they were more likely to be younger men who smoked more, drank more alcohol and ate fewer vegetables. — Reuters 
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Stroke linked to sleeping disorder

LONDON: A sleep-related disorder that causes repeated interruptions in breathing is a new risk factor for death from stroke, Spanish researchers said. Sleep apnoea affects about 20 per cent of people. Sufferers can stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while asleep, sometimes more than 300 times a night.

Dr Olga Parra and researchers at Barcelona University Hospital in Spain monitored 161 stroke patients and found that their risk of dying from a stroke was linked to sleep apnoea.

“It’s the first time the link between apnoea and stroke has been shown to affect mortality,’’ Parra said.

The link was most clear in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, when breathing may be interrupted because the upper airways collapse.

Parra and her colleagues began monitoring the breathing of stroke patients shortly after they were admitted to hospital following strokes and calculated an apnoea index for each one.

During the 30-month study, 22 patients died. Half of them had suffered a second stroke. The higher the patient scored on the apnoea scale, the greater the risk of dying from stroke, the researchers said in the study reported in the European Respiratory Journal.

Stroke is a leading killer worldwide and occurs when a blood vessel to the brain bursts or is blocked by a clot, cutting off vital oxygen. In 2002, an estimated 5.5 million people worldwide died from strokes, according to the World Health Organisation. — Reuters 
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Homoeopathy & you
Ways to fight cholera 
by Dr Vikas Sharma

Come the monsoon and the news of cholera cases get prominently highlighted in the newspapers. Unfortunately, India remains one of the few countries where diseases such as cholera are still widespread. It is mainly due to the unhygienic living conditions and the poor awareness about the spread of the disease. Compared to earlier times we have been able to limit the threat from cholera. It is mainly because we have learned how it spreads and affects our body. Along with prevention and rehydration measures, homoeopathic medicines can be very effective in controlling and even preventing this disease.

What exactly is cholera and how does it affect our human system ? Why is it so potentially serious?

Cholera is the illness caused by a bacterium called vibria cholerae. It infects people’s intestines, causing diarrhoea, vomiting and leg cramps. The mode of action by which the bacteria produces these symptoms is this that it releases a toxin which starts absorbing water and electrolytes from the body through the intestines, producing severe diarrhoea.

Cholera can be mild or even without symptoms, but a severe case can lead to death without immediate treatment. The diarrhoea and vomiting brought on by the infection quickly leaves the body without enough fluid. Dehydration and shock can kill a person within hours.

How does one get infected with cholera? Mostly one gets infected by drinking or eating foods and drinks that are contaminated with the cholera bacteria. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the faeces of an infected person. Cholera spreads rapidly in areas where there is inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.

What are the sings and symptoms of cholera? Medically speaking, the cholera bacterium has an incubation period of one to three days, which means that the symptoms can take from one to three days to show up from the time the infection entered the body. Cholera can be a mild uncomplicated episode of diarrhoea; or a potentially lethal disease. In the classical case of cholera, sudden painless diarrhoea and vomiting are the initial symptoms.

What are the ways in which cholera can be treated? Uncomplicated cases of cholera are self-limiting in nature and the patient recovers within three to six days. The fatalities are more than 50 per cent in untreated cases, and less than 1 per cent in cases that receive treatment.

The main aim of the treatment is to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes in the body. Initially in mild-to-moderate cases, oral rehydration is advised with the WHO recommended oral rehydration solution or with a mixture of sugar and salt in water. In advanced cases, when the patient is not in a condition to take oral rehydration, intravenous rehydration is recommended. Homoeopathic medicine Veratrum Album leads the homoeopathic table in treating cholera. It is suggested to be used in cases where there is excessive vomiting and diarrhoea with excessive thirst and weakness. Veratrum album can also be used as a preventive measure for those attending the patient or living in areas where there is an outbreak of cholera. Veratrum Album in 30 C potency can be used every half hourly in an acute situation where professional medical help is not readily available.

 

Preventing cholera

* Follow this rule of the thumb: for eating anything “boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.”

* Drink only water that you have boiled or treated with chlorine or iodine. Other safe beverages include tea and coffee made with boiled water and carbonated, bottled beverages without ice.

* Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself.

* Avoid undercooked or raw fish. Make sure that all vegetables are cooked. Avoid salads.

* Avoid eating foods and drinks from street vendors.
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