Saturday, August 31, 2013


Several grades of coconut milk exist: from thick at 20-22% fat to thin at 5-7% fat level. Thick milk can be prepared by directly squeezing grated coconut meat through cheesecloth. The squeezed coconut meat is then soaked in warm water and squeezed a second or third time for thin coconut milk. Thick milk is mainly used to make desserts as well as rich and dry sauces. Thin milk is used for soups and general cooking. This distinction is usually not made in Western nations since fresh coconut milk is rare, and most consumers buy coconut milk in cans
Coconut water is the watery liquid that comes from the young, still immature green coconut. Often the still jelly-like coconut meat is also added to make a tropic drink.
Coconut milk can be made at home by processing grated coconut with hot water or milk, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has then a fat content of 17-24% depending on the fat level of the coconut meat and the quantity of added water. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate out from the milk. To avoid this in commercial sold coconut milk, an emulsifier(s) and a stabiliser(s) have to be used.

Canned coconut milk

Manufacturers of canned coconut milk typically combine thin and thick milk, with the addition of water as a filler. An official world standard can be found at Codex Alimentarius, STAN 240-2003
Depending on the brand and age of the milk itself, a thicker, more paste-like consistency floats to the top of the can, and is sometimes separated and used in recipes that require coconut cream rather than coconut milk. Shaking the can prior to opening will even it out to a creamy thickness. Some brands sold in Western countries add thickening agents to prevent the milk from separating inside the can, since the separation tends to be misinterpreted as an indicator of spoilage by people unfamiliar with coconut milk.
Once opened, cans of coconut milk must be refrigerated and are usually only good for a few days. If not, the milk can sour and spoil easily.

In southern China and Taiwan, sweetened "thin" coconut milk is served on its own as a drink during spring and summer. It is made by adding sugar and evaporated or fresh milk during the process of preparing the coconut milk. Another Chinese drink is coconut milk diluted with water, then mixed with fresh or evaporated milk in a 1:1 ratio and a spoon of condensed milk or sugar for each cup. They are served chilled.

One of the most prominent components of coconut milk is coconut oil, which the United States Food and Drug Administration,[3] World Health Organization,[4] International College of Nutrition,[5] the United States Department of Health and Human Services,[6] American Dietetic Association,[7] American Heart Association,[8] British National Health Service,[9] and Dietitians of Canadarecommend against consuming in significant amounts due to its high levels of saturated fat.
Coconut milk contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol[10] that is also found in significant amounts in breast milk and sebaceous gland secretions.[11] This may create a more favourable blood cholesterol profile, though it is unclear if coconut oil may promote atherosclerosis through other pathways.[10] Because much of the saturated fat of coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid, coconut oil may be a better alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil when solid fats are required.[12] In addition, virgin coconut oil is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides,[13] which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats.[12][14] Early studies on the health effects of coconut oil used partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which creates trans fats, and not virgin coconut oil, which has a different health risk profile.[15]
Coconut water has a long-standing cultural association with health in the Ayurveda tradition. It has been used as a home remedy for healing mouth ulcers.[16][unreliable source?]
Coconut milk is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which the body processes differently than other saturated fats. MCFAs may help promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels.[17]


Your teeth are made of a hard, bonelike material. Inside the tooth are nerves and blood vessels. You need your teeth for many activities you may take for granted. These include eating, speaking and even smiling. But tooth disorders are nothing to smile about. They include problems such as cavities (also known as tooth decay), infections, and injuries.
The most familiar symptom of a tooth problem is a toothache. Others include worn-down or loose teeth. It's important that you see a dentist if you have any problems with your teeth. Fortunately, you can prevent many tooth disorders by taking care of your teeth and keeping them clean.

The food processing world is reeling right now one day after a shocking new series of tests released by Consumer Reports revealed that many leading brands of canned foods contain Bisphenol A (BPA)—a toxic chemical linked to health risks including reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.
BPA is used in the lining of cans and the toxin leaches from the lining into the food. According to Consumer Reports just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed scientific limits on daily exposure for children.
The federal government is currently studying the dangers of BPA and advocates are calling on the FDA to ban the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging by the end of the year. Companies in other industries, including Wal-Mart, Target, Nalgene, and Babies R Us have already made commitments to stop using BPA.
Consumer Reports’ tested 19 name-brand canned foods, including:
  • Soups
  • Juice
  • Tuna
  • Green beans
The results were discouraging. Nearly all of the tested canned foods were contaminated with the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), and this included organic canned foods as well. BPA was even found in some cans labeled “BPA-free”!
According to their estimates, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.
The current US federal guidelines put the daily upper limit of safe exposure at 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight.
However, this limit is based on studies from the 1980s, and does not take into account the findings of more recent animal and laboratory studies, which have found that far lower doses of BPA may still pose serious health risks.
The Worst Offenders
According to Consumer Reports’ testing, the levels of BPA can vary greatly from one can to another, which makes sense when you consider that the BPA leeches from the lining, and a variety of factors, such as heat, can influence the rate of leeching.
In general, canned green beans and canned soups had some of the highest BPA levels of the foods tested. The worst offenders during their tests included:
  • Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans had BPA levels ranging from 35.9 ppb to as much as 191 ppb
  • Progresso Vegetable Soup had BPA levels ranging from 67 to 134 ppb
  • Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels ranging from 54.5 to 102 ppb
BPA and Your Immune System
That low-level exposure to BPA can be hazardous to your health has been established (but hotly debated and denied by industry) for over 10 years. According to Washington State University reproductive scientist Patricia Hunt,
“Exposure to low levels of BPA -- levels that we think are in the realm of current human exposure -- can profoundly affect both developing eggs and sperm.”
But fetuses and infants are not the only ones at risk. Researchers are also finding that BPA exposure can affect adults.
There are more than 100 independent studies linking the chemical to serious disorders in humans, including:
  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Early puberty
  • Obesity, and
  • Learning and behavioral problems
As an example, a study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives last year, found that BPA promotes the development of Th2 cells in adulthood, and both Th1 and Th2 cells in prenatal stages, by reducing the number of regulatory T cells.
This could have a profound effect on your health as Th1 and Th2 are the two “attack modes” of your immune system.
Based on the type of invader, your immune system activates either Th1 or Th2 cells to get rid of the pathogen. Th1 (T Helper 1) attacks organisms that get inside your cells, whereas Th2 (T Helper 2) goes after extracellular pathogens; organisms that are found outside the cells in your blood and other body fluids.
When your Th2 are over-activated, your immune system will over-respond to toxins, allergens, normal bacteria and parasites, and under-respond to viruses, yeast, cancer, and intracellular bacteria, because as one system activates, the other is blocked.
Industry is Putting Up a Fight
Consumer safety advocates are currently calling on the FDA to Ban the use of BPA in all food and beverage packaging. Industry, of course, is fighting back. They dismissed Consumer Reports’ findings above, stating that: “The use of bisphenol A (BPA) in can linings is both safe and vital for food protection.”
Personally, I believe BPA is neither safe nor vital for food protection.
Remember, you’re not just consuming traces of BPA from a can here, and a can there. You’re also exposed to BPA from a host of other sources. Not to mention other chemicals that act in a similar fashion as BPA. When added together, it can amount to a significant amount of damage, especially in children.
What Can You Do NOW?
It’s important to realize that you have a CHOICE, and by exercising it, you can influence industry to do the right thing.
For example, you can avoid canned foods entirely and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers. Choosing fresh foods is clearly your best option -- ideally organic (to avoid exposure to pesticides), and grown locally (to reduce environmental impact and help your local economy).

Dizziness is a common symptom that’s not usually a sign of anything serious, but should be checked out by a doctor.
The term ‘dizziness’ means different things to different people: some use it to describe feeling lightheaded or off balance, while others use it to describe a feeling that their surroundings are spinning.
Because the symptom is quite vague and can be caused by a wide range of factors, it may not always be easy to identify the underlying cause of dizziness.
This page explains what you should do if you feel dizzy for no apparent reason, and outlines the most common causes.

Seeing your GP 

If you are feeling lightheaded or off balance and are worried, see your GP, especially if you also have other symptoms such as fainting episodes or headaches.
Your GP will first want to establish exactly what you mean by dizziness, and check that you are not actually describing vertigo, a severe type of dizziness where you feel that your surroundings are spinning or moving.
They’ll want to know:
  • whether the dizziness started for no apparent reason, or if it followed an illness
  • whether you have repeated episodes of dizziness and, if so, when you tend to experience these
  • how long the dizziness lasts
Dizziness can sometimes be caused by an ear condition. A simple way for your GP to distinguish between ear-related dizziness and dizziness due to other causes is to ask if it occurs only when you are upright, or even when you're lying down:
  • If the dizziness only happens when you're upright, the cause is probably not related to the ear.
  • If the dizziness sometimes happens when you're lying down, the cause is usually an ear condition.
It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your dizziness, recording when and where you experience the problem, and bring this with you to your GP appointment.
If you are taking prescription medicine, your GP will probably review this to check your dizziness is not one of the side effects and, if necessary, try you on a different medication instead. You may be referred to a specialist for further tests and investigations.

Common causes of dizziness

The most common causes of dizziness are outlined below.
  • A viral illness that affects the ear - this can cause a severe form of dizziness called vertigo
  • Migraine (dizziness may come on before, after or even without the headache)
  • Stress or anxiety, especially if you tend to hyperventilate (over-breathe)
  • A low blood sugar level, which is usually seen in people with diabetes
  • A sudden fall in blood pressure when you suddenly sit or stand up, which goes away after lying down – this is know as postural hypotension and is more common in older people
  • Dehydration or heat exhaustion - dehydration could be due to not drinking enough during exercise, or illness that causes vomiting, diarrhoea or fever
  • Decreased blood flow in the back of the brain, called vertebrobasilar insufficiency – the blood vessels leading to the brain from the heart may be blocked (known as atherosclerosis)
You can click on the above links for more information on these conditions.

Less common causes of dizziness

These include:
  • any severe illness or disease that affects the whole body
  • recreational drugs or excess alcohol (either binge drinking, or long-term alcohol misuse)
  • certain types of prescription medicine, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medication
  • a heart rhythm problem, such as atrial fibrillation (a fast, irregular heartbeat)
  • carbon monoxide poisoning

Honey is a treat, and is man's oldest sweetener. It is an excellent substitute for sugar in our drinks and food. It is also good for many medicinal uses and treating certain conditions. Reliance on commercialized medicines which contain too many chemicals can become hazardous to our health.
"Honey is cheap, making it potentially useful for treating wounds in earthquake-stricken and war-torn areas where running water is scarce and aften contanimated. It is being used in Iraq to treat burn wounds in children."
Bees survival is based on a food source called nectar which is found in flowers, so, as you can see the flowers survival goes hand and hand with the evolution of the bee. Your local florist sees on a daily basis how vital bees are to their business and the world, without the bees there would be no flowers, without the flowers there would be no bees. Most of all without flowers or bees, we would have no honey. Who would want to live in a world with no flowers, no bees or NO HONEY?
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate.
It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in it. Approximately one half of the human diet is derived directly or indirectly from crops pollinated by bees. Today honeybees are an essential part of a healthy agriculture economy.
If you have allergies, honey can be beneficial. If you eat honey that is local to your area, it may help prevent your seasonal allergies. Bees use the pollen from local plants and eventually it ends up in your honey.
Honey may also be good for your skin. It has the ability to attract water. It is also safe for sensitive skin. You can use it as a moisturizing mask for your skin as well as your hair. To use it as a conditioner, mix the honey with olive oil. Be sure to wash your hair thoroughly before you go outside.

If you have a sore throat, take some honey.[ Honey has powerful antimicrobial properties, which can soothe your raw tissues. Pour a teaspoon of honey into a large serving spoon and then top off the spoon with lemon juice. Swallow the concoction (without water) every few hours until symptoms clear up. Some people add a pinch of black or red pepper to increase blood circulation to the throat.] Due to its natural anti-inflammatory effect, it will help to heal the wounds more quickly.It also has different phytochemicals--chemicals found in plants and different foods--that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus making it a good substitute for wound dressings. The taste may also take your mind off the pain. There is evidence that honey diluted in water will help with your stomach aches and dehydration.
Do you have a cut? Honey is a natural antiseptic. Medical journals cite more than 600 cases in which honey was employed to treat wounds.By applying honey to your wounds, you prevent infections. Honey contains antimicrobial agents, which prevents infections by killing the bacteria in and around your wounds. When using honey it may help to heat it up before putting it on your wound (caution test the heat before you place it on the wound).Many types of bacteria can’t survive in honey, so wounds heal, swelling eases, and tissue can grow back.
Honey may also be effective in the treatment of your ulcers.In Europe, honey has been used internally to help cure ulcers, particularly stomach ulcers. Burns, too, heal better with honey, studies show. The advantage of honey is that it not only prevents infections from occurring, it actually accelerates skin healing.. Since the sugar in honey absorbs water it helps to trap some of the moisture so that the bacteria and other microbes can’t grow as easily as in other food.
In treating diarrhea, honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quicky clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets. The anti-bacterial properties of honey, both the peroxide and non-peroxide, are effective in the laboratory against MRSA strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes responsible for the closing of hospital wards.
Do you have a cut? Honey is a natural antiseptic. Medical journals cite more than 600 cases in which honey was employed to treat wounds.By applying honey to your wounds, you prevent infections. Honey contains antimicrobial agents, which prevents infections by killing the bacteria in and around your wounds. When using honey it may help to heat it up before putting it on your wound (caution test the heat before you place it on the wound).Many types of bacteria can't survive in honey, so wounds heal, swelling eases, and tissue can grow back.
For centuries honey has been regarded as a wonderful gift of nature in which the properties of an excellent food, beneficial alike to adults and children, are combined with medicinal properties. Ancient Russian manuscripts attached great importance to honey as a medicine. Popular medicine has successfully used it for many diseases from time immemorial. The results of experiments and observations made by the medical science in recent decades have proved that honey is an important medicine possessing many-sided therapeutic properties.
Honey is very effective in the treatment of some pathological conditions of the intestinal tract, the respiratory organs, the heart, and the nerves.

The knowledge that bee venom possesses medicinal properties has come down to us from remote antiquity. Written evidence, as well as the observations of many beekeepers and our own long experience, confirm the effectiveness of been venom in the treatment of rheumatic fever, neuritis and some other diseases.
Honey may also be effective in the treatment of your ulcers.In Europe, honey has been used internally to help cure ulcers, particularly stomach ulcers. Burns, too, heal better with honey, studies show. The advantage of honey is that it not only prevents infections from occurring, it actually accelerates skin healing.. Since the sugar in honey absorbs water it helps to trap some of the moisture so that the bacteria and other microbes can't grow as easily as in other food.
In treating diarrhea, honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quickly clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets. The anti-bacterial properties of honey, both the peroxide and non-peroxide, are effective in the laboratory against MRSA strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes responsible for the closing of hospital wards.
Other Benefits of Honey -Easily digested: Because sugar molecules in honey can convert into other sugars (e.g. fructose to glucose), honey is easily digested by the most sensitive stomachs, despite its high acid content. It helps kidneys and intestines to function better.
Good source of antioxidants: It plays a big role in the prevention of cancer as well as heart disease. Has a low calorie level: Another quality of honey is that, when it is compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the body. Although it gives great energy to the body, it does not add weight. Rapidly diffuses through the blood: When accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar, thus, reduces fatigue.
Supports blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis. Does not accommodate bacteria: This bactericide (bacteria-killing) property of honey is named "the inhibition effect". Experiments conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase twofold when diluted with water. It is very interesting to note that newly born bees in the colony are nourished with diluted honey by the bees responsible for their supervision - as if they know this feature of the honey.
The nutrients or enzymes that raw honey does contain are destroyed by manufacturers who heat it in order to give it a clear appearance to enhance sales. It is healthier for you to buy 'local honey' and not the manufacturer processed honey you find on Supermarket shelves. Much of the honey on Supermarket shelves comes from overseas and you will not really know that fact. Keep in mind that store-bought honey is pastuerized and all of the beneficial bacteria has been "cooked" out of it.
Royal Jelly: Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker bees inside the beehive. Inside this nutritious substance are sugar, proteins, fats and many vitamins. It is used in problems caused by tissue deficiency or body frailty.
* Did you know that honey can relieve you from the hangover? If you have drunk a lot and it is becoming difficult to get rid of the hangover by mixing two spoons of  honey  with half a cup of orange juice and half a cup yogurt. Blend them together properly and gulp it down.
* Honey mixed with ground almonds makes an excellent facial cleansing scrub.
* A tablespoon of honey whisked together with an egg white, 1 teaspoon of glycerin and about 1/4 cup of flour makes an excellent firming mask. Just smooth on the face, leave on 15 minutes, and rinse off with warm water. You will be pleased with the results.
* Honey also makes a great moisturizing pack. Just mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 teaspoons of whole milk, smooth over the face and throat, or try mixing honey with lemon, whipped eggs, and yogurt and let it do its job for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, and finish splashing with cold water.
*Suggested medical usage:
For stomach ulcers,gastritis, dyspepsia and sore throats, 1-2 teaspoons on an empty stomach (½ hour before meals), 1-4 times a day to assist in healing and provide pain relief.
For wounds - apply on a dressing (preferably waterproof) with enough honey to cover the wound surface. Use 20 ml (25-30 gram) of honey per 10x10 cm dressing. Change up to 3 times daily.
*For dog allergies:
You can also use local honey to help cure dog allergies. Why does it have it to be local honey? Apparently local honey contains very tiny amounts of pollen. These tiny amounts of pollen are not enough to trigger the allergic reaction in your dog when they ingest the local honey. What does happen though is each time the dog eats the local honey, the dog’s body begins to build up a tolerance to the pollen. Eventually, the dog is able to tolerate the amount of pollen usually present in the dog’s enviornment. It works the same way for humans, in case you are interested.
You can give your dog anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of local honey once or twice a day. You can also mix it into to their food.
Make sure it is raw local honey. You can find raw local honey at farmer’s markets, natural food stores and sometimes in the health food section of your grocery store.


The nose is centrally located on the human face; it is a perennial in fashion and cosmetics, and indispensable for those of us who wear eyeglasses. In social and cultural life and literature, too, the nose is a familiar feature--one need look no further than the many proverbs, sayings, nicknames, and terms of abuse that relate to this striking part of the face.
The nose also forms the external section of the olfactory organ, however, and as such it does not receive the attention it deserves. For example, too few people are aware that breathing through the nose is vital to both physical and mental health. This method of breathing ensures that the air is to some extent warmed and filtered, and in addition it creates the correct pressure in the arteries in the chest cavity. Finally, one smells more when one breathes through the nose, which generally benefits mood and memory.
The Importance of Smell
Taste and smell together are the so-called chemical senses, meaning that stimuli associated with them are chemically based. In many respects the sense of smell is mysterious--not only because little is known about its operation as yet, but also because most people are insufficiently aware of its importance. When people are asked what sense they would be prepared to do without if necessary, smell comes at the top of the list and sight at the bottom. This is a debatable choice, given that smell plays a significant part in many psychic processes and behavior patterns. Smell is essential for the operation of the sense of taste; it affects one's sex life, motivation and memory processes (including learning, health and feelings of security and well-being); and it has an alarm function in life-threatening situations (for instance, in detecting gas fumes, etc.). What is more, in "competition" (that is, when several senses are stimulated simultaneously), the nose often comes out on top. A beautiful-looking apple that smells rotten does not whet our appetite.


The human eye belongs to a general group of eyes found in nature called “camera-type eyes.” Instead of film, the human eye focuses light onto a light sensitive membrane called the retina.
Here’s how the human eye is put together and how it works:
The cornea is a transparent structure found in the very front of the eye that helps to focus incoming light. Behind the cornea is a colored ring-shaped membrane called the iris. The iris has an adjustable circular opening called the pupil, which can expand or contract depending on the amount of light entering the eye.

A clear fluid called the aqueous humor fills the space between the cornea and the iris.
Situated behind the pupil is a colorless, transparent structure called the crystalline lens. Ciliary muscles surround the lens. The muscles hold the lens in place but they also play an important role in vision.
When the muscles relax, they pull on and flatten the lens, allowing the eye to see objects that are far away. To see closer objects clearly, the ciliary muscle must contract in order to thicken the lens.
The interior chamber of the eyeball is filled with a jelly-like tissue called the vitreous humor. After passing through the lens, light must travel through this humor before striking the sensitive layer of cells called the retina.
The retina is the innermost of three tissue layers that make up the eye. The outermost layer, called the sclera, is what gives most of the eyeball its white color. The cornea is also a part of outer layer.
The middle layer between the retina and sclera is called the choroid. The choroid contains blood vessels that supply the retina with nutrients and oxygen and removes its waste products.
Embedded in the retina are millions of light sensitive cells, which come in two main varieties: rods and cones.
Rods are good for monochrome vision in poor light, while cones are used for color and for the detection of fine detail. Cones are packed into a part of the retina directly behind the retina called the fovea.
When light strikes either the rods or the cones of the retina, it's converted into an electric signal that is relayed to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain then translates the electrical signals into the images we see.
  • Why We Blink Without Noticing
  • Erotic and Violent Images Cloud Vision
  • Blue Skies Only In the Eye of the Beholder
  • First Picture of Living Human Retina Reveals Surprise
  • Natasha Demkina: The Girl with Very Normal Eyes
  • Nature Inspires Design of New Eyes

Weakness and fatigue are terms that are often used as if they mean the same thing, but in fact they describe two different sensations. It is important to know exactly what you mean when you say "I feel weak" or "I am fatigued" because it can help you and your doctor narrow down the possible causes of your symptoms.
  • Weakness is a lack of physical or muscle strength and the feeling that extra effort is required to move your arms, legs, or other muscles. If muscle weakness is the result of pain, the person may be able to make muscles work, but it will hurt.
  • Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion or a need to rest because of lack of energy or strength. Fatigue may result from overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. It is a symptom that may be caused by illness, medicine, or medical treatment such as chemotherapy. Anxiety or depression can also cause fatigue.
Both weakness and fatigue are symptoms, not diseases. Because these symptoms can be caused by many other health problems, the importance of weakness and fatigue can only be determined when other symptoms are evaluated.


General weakness often occurs after you have done too much activity at one time, such as by taking an extra-long hike. You may feel weak and tired, or your muscles may be sore. These sensations usually go away within a few days.
In rare cases, generalized muscle weakness may be caused by another health problem, such as:
  • Problems with the thyroid gland, which regulates the way the body uses energy.
    • A low thyroid level (hypothyroidism) can cause fatigue, weakness, lethargy, weight gain, depression, memory problems, constipation, dry skin, intolerance to cold, coarse and thinning hair, brittle nails, or a yellowish tint to the skin.
    • A high thyroid level (hyperthyroidism) can cause fatigue, weight loss, increased heart rate, intolerance to heat, sweating, irritability, anxiety, muscle weakness, and thyroid enlargement.
  • Guillain-Barr� syndrome, a rare nerve disorder that causes weakness in the legs, arms, and other muscles and that can progress to complete paralysis.
  • Myasthenia gravis, a rare, chronic disorder that causes weakness and rapid muscle fatigue.
  • A problem with the minerals (electrolytes) found naturally in the body, such as low levels of potassium or sodium.
Muscle weakness that is slowly getting worse requires a visit to a doctor.
Sudden muscle weakness and loss of function in one area of the body can indicate a serious problem within the brain (such as a stroke or transient ischemic attack) or spinal cord or with a specific nerve in the body.


Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, or lack of energy. You may feel mildly fatigued because of overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. Any illness, such as a cold or the flu
, may cause fatigue, which usually goes away as the illness clears up. Most of the time, mild fatigue occurs with a health problem that will improve with home treatment and does not require a visit to a doctor.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. Some stresses get you going and they are good for you - without any stress at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless. However, when the stresses undermine both our mental and physical health they are bad. In this text we shall be focusing on stress that is bad for you.

The difference between "stress" and "a stressor" - a stressor is an agent or stimulus that causes stress. Stress is the feeling we have when under pressure, while stressors are the things we respond to in our environment. Examples of stressors are noises, unpleasant people, a speeding car, or even going out on a first date. Generally (but not always), the more stressors we experience, the more stressed we feel.

Fight or flight response

The way you respond to a challenge may also be a type of stress. Part of your response to a challenge is physiological and affects your physical state. When faced with a challenge or a threat, your body activates resources to protect you - to either get away as fast as you can, or fight.

If you are upstairs at home and an earthquake starts, the faster you can get yourself and your family out the more likely you are all to survive. If you need to save somebody's life during that earthquake, by lifting a heavy weight that has fallen on them, you will need components in your body to be activated to give you that extra strength - that extra push.

Our fight-or-flight response is our body's sympathetic nervous system reacting to a stressful event. Our body produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which trigger a higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness - all these factors help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation.

Non-essential body functions slow down, such as our digestive and immune systems when we are in fight-or flight response mode. All resources can then be concentrated on rapid breathing, blood flow, alertness and muscle use.

When we are stressed the following happens:
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Breathing becomes more rapid
  • Digestive system slows down
  • Heart rate (pulse) rises
  • Immune system goes down
  • Muscles become tense
  • We do not sleep (heightened state of alertness)
Most of us have varying interpretations of what stress is about and what matters. Some of us focus on what happens to us, such as breaking a bone or getting a promotion, while others think more about the event itself. What really matters are our thoughts about the situations in which we find ourselves.

We are continually sizing up situations that confront us in life. We assess each situation, deciding whether something is a threat, how we can deal with it and what resources we can use. If we conclude that the required resources needed to effectively deal with a situation are beyond what we have available, we say that that situation is stressful - and we react with a classical stress response. On the other hand, if we decide our available resources and skills are more than enough to deal with a situation, it is not seen as stressful to us.

How we respond to stress affects our health

    1. We do not all interpret each situation in the same way.
    2. Because of this, we do not all call on the same resources for each situation
    3. We do not all have the same resources and skills.
Some situations which are not negative ones may still be perceived as stressful. This is because we think we are not completely prepared to cope with them effectively. Examples being: having a baby, moving to a nicer house, and being promoted. Having a baby is usually a wonderful thing, so is being promoted or moving to a nicer house. But, moving house is a well-known source of stress.

It is important to learn that what matters more than the event itself is usually our thoughts about the event when we are trying to manage stress. How you see that stressful event will be the largest single factor that impacts on your physical and mental health. Your interpretation of events and challenges in life may decide whether they are invigorating or harmful for you.

A persistently negative response to challenges will eventually have a negative effect on your health and happiness. Experts say people who tend to perceive things negatively need to understand themselves and their reactions to stress-provoking situations better. Then they can learn to manage stress more successfully.

Perception of stress affects heart attack risk - people who believe their stress is affecting their health in a big way are twice as likely to have a heart attack ten years later, according to researchers at the University of Western Ontario.

First author, Dr Hermann Nabi, believes that doctors should bear in mind patients' subjective perceptions of stress when deciding on treatment.

In another study carried out at Pennsylvania State University, the investigators found that stress was not the problem, but rather how we react to stressors. It appears that how patients react to stress is a predictor of their health a decade later, regardless of their present health and stressors.

Lead researcher, Professor David Almeida said "For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn't let it bother her."

Psychological stress may play a role in breast cancer aggressiveness - in 2011, scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago explained that stress may be associated with cancer aggressiveness among minority populations.

Principal investigator, Garth H. Rauscher, Ph.D., said "We found that after diagnosis, black and Hispanic breast cancer patients reported higher levels of stress than whites, and that stress was associated with tumor aggressiveness."

Some of the effects of stress on your body, your thoughts and feelings, and on your behavior:

Effect on your body
  • A tendency to sweat
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Childhood obesity - researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia published a report in Pediatrics in October 2012 explaining that a number of stressors from parents can increase the risk of obesity in their children. Lead researcher, Elizabeth Prout-Parks, M.D., said "Stress in parents may be an important risk factor for child obesity and related behaviors. The severity and number of stressors are important."

    Examples of stressors include mental health problems, poor physical health, financial strain, and trying to manage in a single-parent household.
  • Cramps or muscle spasms
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fainting spells
  • Headache
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Loss of libido
  • Lower immunity against diseases
  • Muscular aches
  • Nail biting
  • Nervous twitches
  • Pins and needles
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Stomach upset
Effect on your thoughts and feelings
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Depression
  • Feeling of insecurity
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Problem concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
Effect on your behavior
  • Eating too much
  • Eating too little
  • Food cravings
  • Sudden angry outbursts
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Higher tobacco consumption
  • Social withdrawal
  • Frequent crying
  • Relationship problems

What are the causes of stress?

We all react differently to stressful situations. What one person finds stressful another may not at all. Almost anything can cause stress and it has different triggers. For some people, on some occasions, just thinking about something, or several small things that accumulate, can cause stress.

The most common causes of stress are:
  • Bereavement
  • Family problems
  • Financial matters
  • Illness
  • Job issues - according to a UK charity "Mind", work is the leading cause of stress in British people's lives, concerning factors that may have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
  • Lack of time
  • Moving home
  • Relationships (including divorce)
The following are also causes of stress
  • Abortion
  • Becoming a mother or a father
  • Conflicts in the workplace
  • Driving in bad traffic
  • Fear of crime
  • Losing your job
  • Miscarriage
  • Noisy neighbors
  • Overcrowding
  • Pollution
  • Pregnancy
  • Retirement
  • Too much noise
  • Uncertainty (awaiting laboratory test results, academic exam results, job interview results, etc)
It is possible that a person feels stressed and no clear cause is identified. A feeling of frustration, anxiety and depression can make some people feel stressed more easily than others.

Maternal stress and bullying later on at school

If a mother experiences severe mental stress during her pregnancy, there is a greater risk that her child will be bullied at school later on, researchers from the University of Warwick, England, reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The researchers had gathered and examined data on 14,000 moms and 8,829 children. They evaluated mothers' post-natal period, family adversity, anxiety and depression during pregnancy, as well as bullying incidences among their children aged from 7 to 10 years.

They found that mental stress during pregnancy impacted on the child's chances of being bullied later on.

Lead researcher, Professor Dieter Wolke, said "Changes in the stress response system can affect behavior and how children react emotionally to stress such as being picked on by a bully. Children who more easily show a stress reaction such as crying, running away, anxiety are then selected by bullies to home in to. The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle, a child with an altered stress response system is more likely to be bullied, which affects their stress response even further and increases the likelihood of them developing mental health problems in later life."

Diagnosis of stress

A good primary care physician (GP - General Practitioner) should be able to diagnose stress based on the patient's symptoms alone. Some doctors may wish to run some tests, such as a blood or urine, or a health assessment.

The diagnosis of stress depends on many factors and is complex, say experts. A wide range of approaches to stress diagnosis have been used by health care professionals, such as the use of questionnaires, biochemical measures, and physiological techniques. Experts add that the majority of these methods are subject to experimental error and should be viewed with caution. The most practicable way to diagnose stress and its effects on a person is through a comprehensive, stress-oriented, face-to-face interview.

How to deal with stress

There are three broad methods you can follow to treat stress, they include self-help, self management, and medication.

Self help for treating stress
    Exercise - exercise has been proven to have a beneficial effect on a person's mental and physical state. For many people exercise is an extremely effective stress buster.

    Division of labor - try to delegate your responsibilities at work, or share them. If you make yourself indispensable the likelihood of your feeling highly stressed is significantly greater.

    Assertiveness - don't say yes to everything. If you can't do something well, or if something is not your responsibility, try to seek ways of not agreeing to do them.

    Alcohol and drugs - alcohol and drugs will not help you manage your stress better. Either stop consuming them completely, or cut down.

    Caffeine - if your consumption of coffee and other drinks which contain caffeine is high, cut down.

    Nutrition - eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Make sure you have a healthy and balanced diet.

    Time - make sure you set aside some time each day just for yourself. Use that time to organize your life, relax, and pursue your own interests.

    Breathing - there are some effective breathing techniques which will slow down your system and help you relax.

    Talk - talk to you family, friends, work colleagues and your boss. Express your thoughts and worries.

    Seek professional help - if the stress is affecting the way you function; go and see your doctor. Heightened stress for prolonged periods can be bad for your physical and mental health.

    Relaxation techniques - mediation, massage, or yoga have been known to greatly help people with stress.

Stress management techniques

Stress management can help you to either remove or change the source of stress, alter the way you view a stressful event, lower the impact that stress might have on your body, and teach you alternative ways of coping. Stress management therapy will have the objective of pursuing one or more of these approaches.

Stress management techniques can be gained if you read self-help books, or attend a stress management course. You can also seek the help of a counselor or psychotherapist for personal development or therapy sessions.

Many therapies which help you relax, such as aromatherapy, or reflexology, may have a beneficial effect.


Other related articles
  • What is Anxiety?
    Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
Doctors will not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress, unless the patient has an underlying illness, such as depression or some type of anxiety. If that is the case, the doctor is actually treating a mental illness. In such cases, an antidepressant may be prescribed. Bear in mind that there is a risk that all the medication will do is mask the stress, rather than help you deal and cope with it.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect organs in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system among others. The disease was called "consumption" in the past because of the way it would consume from within anyone who became infected. Tuberculosis is "A specific disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tubercle bacillus, which can affect almost any tissue or organ of the body, the most common site of the disease being the lungs."

When a person becomes infected with tuberculosis, the bacteria in the lungs multiply and cause pneumonia along with chest pain, coughing up blood, and a prolonged cough. In addition, lymph nodes near the heart and lungs become enlarged. As the TB tries to spread to other parts of the body, it is often interrupted by the body's immune system. The immune system forms scar tissue or fibrosis around the TB bacteria, and this helps fight the infection and prevents the disease from spreading throughout the body and to other people. If the body's immune system is unable to fight TB or if the bacteria breaks through the scar tissue, the disease returns to an active state with pneumonia and damage to kidneys, bones, and the meninges that line the spinal cord and brain.

TB is generally classified as being either latent or active. Latent TB occurs when the bacteria are present in the body, but this state is inactive and presents no symptoms. Latent TB is also not contagious. Active TB is contagious and is the condition that can make you sick with symptoms.

TB is a major cause of illness and death worldwide, especially in Africa and Asia. Each year the disease kills almost 2 million people. The disease is also prevalent among people with HIV/AIDS.



  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is designated as either essential (primary) hypertension or secondary hypertension and is defined as a consistently elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mm Hg.
  • High blood pressure is called "the silent killer" because it often causes no symptoms for many years, even decades, until it finally damages certain critical organs.
  • Poorly controlled high blood pressure ultimately can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye, thickening of the heart muscle and heart attacks, hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), kidney failure, and strokes.
  • Most antihypertensive medications can be used alone or in combination. Some are used only in combination. Some are preferred over others in certain specific medical situations. And some are not to be used (contraindicated) in other situations.
  • Several classes of antihypertensive medications are available, including ACE inhibitors, ARB drugs, beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, alpha-blockers, and peripheral vasodilators.
  • The goal of therapy for hypertension is to bring the blood pressure down below 140/85 in the general population and to even lower levels in diabetics, African Americans, and people with certain chronic kidney diseases.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) in pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia or eclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy). Pregnant women should be monitored closely by their obstetrician for complications of high blood pressure.
  • Lifestyle adjustments in diet and exercise and compliance with medication regimes are important factors in determining the outcome for people with hypertension.
  • High salt intake, obesity, lack of regular exercise, excessive alcohol or coffee intake, and smoking may all adversely affect the outlook for the health of an individual with high blood pressure.


paw-paw has been scientifically proved as a cure for: Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Bladder problems, Dysentery, Jaundice, Constipation, Stomach problems, Pile, etc. scientist and traditional healers all over the world have agreed that paw-paw is known to be effective as a natural remedy for syphilis, Gonorrhoea, bladder problems, kidney problems, dysentery, jaundice, constipation etc. paw-paw also contains nutrients including vitamin A, B, C, protein, carbohydrates etc.

The juice from paw-paw is exported by some countries as preservatives for “chill-proofing”, beer and as a medicine in pharmacy. a raw material in leather and textile industries, it is also used in the manufacturing of chewing gum.

Paw-paw is a native of tropical America and was brought into Africa by the early slave masters. This plant has grown in the tropical region of Africa and its cultivation has conveniently been extended into the forest regions. Paw-paw plant belongs to the family of caricacea. No special skill is required in the cultivation of paw-paw which grows easily. Greater percentage of paw-paw grows without the help of man. Only in recent years has paw-paw farms been cultivated by man for commercial purposes. It has also been found in the export market.

This plant is of two types: the male and female. the male paw-paw is reserved by man for medicinal purposes only, while the female paw-paw produces fruits fo9r both food and medicine.

  Paw-paw contains lots of nutrients.  the leaves and roots of the young ones are capable e of causing abortions, the leaves of paw-paw are used for fever and as an anathematic, while some tribes regard the leaves as vegetables and give fruits to animals. The Igbos makes soup from unripe paw-paw with pumpkin leaves.

In Plateau state of Nigeria, infusion of the dried leaves is drunk for the cure of stomach problems, while the Hausas make infusion from the roots as natural remedy for pile. Dysentery is no longer a deadly disease among users of paw-paw. It can be cured with paw-paw.

The leaves of paw-paw are used to tenderise food and as soap to remove stains. Traditional healers make infusion from the roots and back as natural cure for gonorrhoea and syphilis. Infusion of young paw-paw fruits cure serious stomach ulcer in a few days. Parts of paw-paw plants are also used as remedy for skin diseases. Infusion made from young and unripe fruits is used as cure for jaundice while the roots are known as a natural remedy for kidney and bladder problems. The American Indians cure respiratory problems with sweetened concoction of the flowers from both male and female paw-paw plants.

The use of both female and male paw-paw roots as a contraceptive is practised in many homes. This is a natural method of family planning. American scientists have discovered that paw-paw could be used for

1. Chill- proofing beer
2. As a medicine
3. In pharmacy
4. To tenderise meat
5. In shrinking textile
6. In the leather industry
7. In manufacturing of chewing gum.

The scientists have also prescribed this to assist protein digestion in chronic dyspepsia, gastric fermentation and gastritis. It has also been used in the treatment of sloughing wounds, in the treatment of chronic otitismedia and for dissolving the diphtheritic membrane. Paw-paw is one of the few fruit crops that cannot tolerate chemical fertilizers. It grows well in good soil. You can freely eat this fruit without fear of the harmful effect of chemical fertilizers. No part of paw-paw is wasted, all are useful to man.

How to use onion to cure diabetes, cough, hypertension and heart diseases.
Medical value of onions and garlic has been known since the early days of man. Onion constitutes one of the major vegetable crops in Nigeria and other African countries. They are also cultivated in Asia and some parts of Europe. Onion have been cultivated for so long that their country of origin is not known. These days, all the onions being used are cultivated by man.

Many people all over the world eat onions as salad and numerous savoury dishes paying little or no attention to their medicinal values. It is on record that the Egyptian and the Romans have for centuries used onions as medication. The slaves that constructed the great pyramid of Egypt were given onions and garlic on daily basis to sustain their strength. The roman soldiers also took onions regularly for vitality and strength.

The biochemical composition of onions is very high. Onions or garlic contains protein, calcium and vitamin A, B, C and E in valuable quantities. Onions and garlic posses some characteristics pungent odour and taste due to the presence of certain disulphide compounds known as Allicin. Allicin are irritant, volatile substances which attack the eyes giving rise to the usual eye watering often experienced when onions are peeled or cut.

The two popular species of onions and garlic in Nigeria are the single but large bubbled variety called Allicin Cepa and the multiple but small bulbbed variety called Alliums Sativum.

The fresh bulbs of onions and garlic are being used by herbalists all over the world for divers and numerous human ailments. The fresh bulb is known and proven to be antibacterial, anti-hypertension, expectorant, anthelmintic and mildly fungicidal.

Onions and garlic are used for the treatment of cough, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases and acute respiratory failures and shock. Onions and garlic relieve some forms abdominal pain caused by indigestion since they stimulate the release of bile from the gut. The fresh bulb of onions and garlic are useful resuscitate agent in cases of acute fainting, shock and powerless state. A small peel of the bulb when cut and rubbed into the nostril of a shocked or fainting person reawakens him by stimulating respiration or breathing. Regular consumption of fresh onion is recommended for heart attack victims.

It gradually reverses the pathological hardening of blood vessels in the human body including those in the heart muscle, thereby improving blood circulation in the heart. In a similar manner, it lowers high blood pressure resulting from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels). Fresh onions and garlic should therefore form part of the regular diet of the hypertensive.
When eaten raw, they also play a role in reducing the quantity of sugar in the blood. It is therefore good for the diabetic. Onions and garlic are also known to stimulate hair growth. It also stimulates the appetite for food, a recognized appetizer.


Since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life's essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools. Today, their value continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.

Community and Social Value

Trees are an important part of every community. Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards are lined with trees that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment. Trees increase our quality of life by bringing natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings. We gather under the cool shade they provide during outdoor activities with family and friends. Many neighborhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride.

In addition, architectural and engineering functions are served by your community's trees. They frame landscapes, create beautiful backgrounds and enhance building designs. Trees can provide privacy, emphasize beautiful views, and screen unsightly areas. Noise from roadways and other urban activities is muffled by well-placed trees that serve as sound barriers. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50% and mask unwanted noises with pleasant, natural sounds. Using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.

Ecological and Environmental Value

Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe. "One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people." Trees, shrubs and turf also filter air by removing dust and absorbing other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. After trees intercept unhealthy particles, rain washes them to the ground.

Trees control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, rain and wind. Leaves absorb and filter the sun's radiant energy, keeping things cool in summer. Trees also preserve warmth by providing a screen from harsh wind. In addition to influencing wind speed and direction, they shield us from the downfall of rain, sleet and hail. Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide.

Both above and below ground, trees are essential to the eco-systems in which they reside. Far reaching roots hold soil in place and fight erosion. Trees absorb and store rainwater which reduce runoff and sediment deposit after storms. This helps the ground water supply recharge, prevents the transport of chemicals into streams and prevents flooding. Fallen leaves make excellent compost that enriches soil.

Many animals, including elephants, koalas and giraffes eat leaves for nourishment. Flowers are eaten by monkeys, and nectar is a favorite of birds, bats and many insects. Animals also eat much of the same fruit that we enjoy This process helps disperse seeds over great distances. Of course, hundreds of living creatures call trees their home. Leaf-covered branches keep many animals, such as birds and squirrels, out of the reach of predators.

Personal and Spiritual Value

The main reason we like trees is because they are both beautiful and majestic. No two are alike. Different species display a seemingly endless variety of shapes, forms, textures and vibrant colors. Even individual trees vary their appearance throughout the course of the year as the seasons change. The strength, long lifespan and regal stature of trees give them a monument-like quality. Most of us react to the presence of trees with a pleasant, relaxed, comfortable feeling. In fact, many people plant trees as living memorials of life-changing events.

Trees help record the history of your family as they grow and develop alongside you and your kids. We often make an emotional connection with trees we plant or become personally attached to the ones that we see every day. These strong bonds are evidenced by the hundreds of groups and organizations across the country that go to great lengths to protect and save particularly large or historic trees from the dangers of modern development. How many of your childhood memories include the trees in your backyard or old neighborhood? The sentimental value of a special tree is simply immeasurable.

Practical and Commercial Value

Trees have supported and sustained life throughout our existence. They have a wide variety of practical and commercial uses. Wood was the very first fuel, and is still used for cooking and heating by about half of the world's population. Trees provide timber for building construction, furniture manufacture, tools, sporting equipment, and thousands of household items. Wood pulp is used to make paper.

We are all aware of apples, oranges and the countless other fruits and nuts provided by trees, as well as the tasty syrup of North American sugar maples. But did you know the bark of some trees can be made into cork and is a source of chemicals and medicines? Quinine and aspirin are both made from bark extracts. The inner bark of some trees contains latex, the main ingredient of rubber. How many more uses can you name?


The humble bean is quite the super food: packed with calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins, plus about a quarter of the protein and half the fiber recommended daily for adults—all in a single serving. Beans may even lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, which can help boost heart health. Beans also do double duty in the food pyramid as both a vegetable and a protein. Not to mention, beans are easy to cook with, widely available and inexpensive.

Beans and their legume cousins (such as soybeans, chickpeas and lentils) have been cultivated and consumed for centuries as a part of many world cuisines: Black beans figure prominently in Central American and Caribbean dishes, chickpeas are a staple of Middle Eastern cooking, lentils are common in Indian and Persian recipes, and white beans are a fixture of French and Italian cookbooks.

Even though beans offer a slew of health benefits and culinary flexibility, they aren't a prominent staple of American diets—though many vegetarians routinely incorporate beans in their cooking. Perhaps it's a matter of taste or texture: By themselves, cooked beans aren't intensely flavorful (but that makes them a great foundation for other ingredients like tomatoes, peppers and herbs) and their texture can be a bit mushy if overcooked. Then there's the gastrointestinal effect that beans produce in some people. Because beans are high in both complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber, they can cause gas when they're digested in the large intestine. Rinsing canned beans can remove some of the sugars that can cause gas as well. (Beano, sold in most drug and grocery stores, is commonly thought to help avoid such distress. Adding a strip of kombu to dried beans during cooking also helps.) Learn how to make your beans less musical!

Beans have such compelling nutritional benefits that they're worth experimenting with in your kitchen. Here’s how.

Canned Beans vs. Dried Beans: Which is Better?
Canned beans are super easy to use, and you'll find a number of options on your grocer's shelves. But, like many packaged foods, they can pack a lot of salt. When selecting canned beans, choose a low-sodium variety whenever possible. Scan the nutrition labels and opt for the product with the lowest sodium—levels can vary widely. For example, Eden Organic chickpeas have 30 milligrams of sodium per half cup serving; Progresso chickpeas have 280 milligrams for the same portion. Most recipes call for draining and rinsing canned beans and doing so removes up to 40% of the added sodium. Also, rinsing off the starchy liquid the beans were cooked and preserved in helps keep the beans from getting too soggy in your recipe--and remember that it helps reduce the gassy feeling beans can cause.

Though canned beans are a quick and easy alternative to dried, it is worth noting that canned foods like beans may contain traces of the plastic chemical BPA, which can permeate canned foods through the plastic lining inside of the can. Very few brands of canned foods are made without BPA, so if exposure to this chemical concerns you, dried beans are the way to go.

Dried beans are quite easy to prepare from scratch, but they do take more time. Using dried varieties will also allow you to control how much salt is added and to get the texture you prefer. Some people believe that freshly cooked beans also taste better than canned.

The next time u lift your hand for your favourite deodorant or anti-perspirant to get rid of that embarrassing odour in the summer, think twice -- for some of these may cause serious health problems, including cancer, a latest study has pointed out.
According to the study, published in the latest issue of 'Insight', an in-house magazine of the Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad, some of these fads may cause diseases of the skin, eyes, liver, Alzeimer's Disease and even cancer. Besides, these chemical-based products discolour clothes and weaken the textile's fibre, especially of cotton and linen.
It recommends that the easiest way to get rid of excessive sweating and bad odour on a hot day is to take frequent baths and wipe your armpits with wet cloth or tissue as many times as possible. If at all needed, use deodorants or anti-perspirants only once or twice a day but never at all at night or in winters.
How important a role do these products actually play in your life? An adult normally has about two million sweat glands which keep the body cool by producing sweat due to metabolism or working muscles.
The temperature-sensitive eccrine glands help regulate body temperature by adjusting the amount of sweat, keep the skin moist leading to perspiration problem.
The apocrine sweat glands, controlled by the body's hormone system, are activated by emotional stress.
Body odour is caused by bacteria breaking down apocrine sweat on the skin which causes odour and due to its ammonia and other organic contents, turns clothing yellow.
Similarly, the non-water component of eccrine sweat, sodium chloride, causes the body odour, says the study. Anti-perspirants are expected to reduce perspiration and body wetness, deodorants are supposed to remove body odour. Perfumes, on the other hand, are a totally different product which merely help mask the body odour, not remove it.
While deodorants are based on chemicals meant to kill odour-producing bacteria, anti-perspirants are based on astringent salts which retard the flow of eccrine sweat. However, a regular use may induce several health problems.
In the case of anti-perspirants, says the study, compounds of aluminium, zinc and zirconium, which are the astringent salts supposed to reduce perspiration, cause side-effects like skin irritation, inflammation and rashes and are harsh on clothes.
In particular, compounds of zinc, zirconium and zirconyl may prove to be toxic to lungs and other organs and carcinogenic if inhaled, besides causing underarm granulomas. In the case of deodorants, the anti-bacterial agent triclosan may cause liver damage.
Products claiming to be two-in-one, that is antiperspirant-cum-deodorant, have ingredients which are used as propellants in aerosol sprays but can cause cardiac arrhythmia if inhaled in high concentration.
The study pointed out that the history of anti-perspirants and deodorants is, in large part, a progression of chemicals that have been introduced and then banned. A review of the active ingredients that have been marketed and then withdrawn shows that chemicals that are both safe and effective are hard to come by.
The most common health problem is skin irritation caused by the astringent salts and, in more serious cases, it can develop intocontact dermatitis. Citing a young college-going girl's example, it said the skin turns red and develop an itchy or painful rash.
Prolonged use of anti-perspirants may also cause underarm granulomas and small nodules of chronically-inflammed tissues.
Aerosols carry a risk of being accidentally sprayed into the eyemuch more easily than other forms of antiperspirants. Althoughpermanent damage rarely occurs, the anti-perspirant can cause temporary loss of vision, conjunctivitis and other discomforts, the study points out.
Most of the anti-perspirants, not based on an aluminium salt, contain either zirconium or zinc compounds as the main active ingredients. Of these, zirconium can be carcinogenic, if inhaled, and cause cancer.
The study said, according to the American Cancer Society, anti-perspirants are more harmful than deodorants, the reason being that the former, by preventing perspiration, stop the body from purging toxins from under the armpits. The toxins, therefore, continue to be deposited in the lymph nodes under the arms.
A high concentration of toxins in the area causes cell damage andhence cancer. Nearly all breast cancer tumours occur in the upper outside quadrant of the breast area where the lymph nodes arelocated, the study added.
Not only this. To be classified as an anti-perspirant, the product must contain aluminium. But elevated aluminium levels have been found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
The latest ingredient which might be a health threat, according to the study, is triclosan. Although initial testing of triclosan indicated very low oral toxicity, subsequent animal testing has shown that triclosan can cause liver damage through percutaneous absorption.
And the clothes one so proudly wears before or after spraying thedeo or the anti-perspirant, are also not free of the side-effects. For, all the aluminium salts used in anti-perspirants are very acidic when mixed with perspiration.
They can irritate the skin, cause discoloration of clothing and weaken the textile fibres of the clothes you love so much. The clothes are then more likely to tear. Cotton and linen, used more during the summer, are particularly vulnerable to damage from aluminium salts, the study added.
The study says some myths, half-truths and confusion about deodorants and anti-perspirants prevail because of ''slanted advertising and inadequate product labelling''.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


In the quest for radiant, healthy-looking skin, people can use a variety of skin creams and lotions. Whether for sunless tanning, spray tanning, hair removal, skin bleaching or just simple moisturizing, some body lotions & creams can have adverse side effects. Before using any of these common beauty products, it is important to understand possible side effects.

Sunless or Spray Tanning Lotions

As more people seek ways to restrict exposure to sun's damaging ultraviolet rays, sunless or spray tanning has rapidly gained popularity. It's a way to get a summertime glow without the risk of skin cancer. While these lotions and sprays keep people out of the sun, many are made with dihydroxyacetone.

Hair-Removal Creams

Hair-removal creams are intended for use as a painless method to eliminate hair from skin. Both prescription strength and over-the-counter hair removal products provide written instructions for use but, the creams are not without risk. The prescription cream, Vaniqa, warns of potential adverse side effects including skin burns from overuse, darkening of the skin where applied, strong skin odor from chemical ingredients used and uneven regrowth of hair. When using over-the-counter hair removal creams, it is important to first test the product on a small area of skin.

Skin-Bleaching Creams

For those afflicted with acne scars, age spots or other skin discoloration, bleaching creams can be used to lighten the darker areas of skin. While the products work by decreasing the melanin, or skin pigment, the risk of side effects is considerable. Available both over the counter and by prescription, these products contain hydroquinone. 
prolonged exposure to this chemical could lead to permanent skin discoloration. In addition, the steroids in bleaching creams can lead to skin thinning, acne and risk of infection. Mercury is illegal in products manufactured in the United States, but some bleaching creams made in Asia and sold in the United States do contain mercury.

Scented Moisturizing Lotions

One of the most basic beauty products, scented moisturizing lotion, is used to soften and smooth skin while leaving a fragrant aroma. Applying these lotions after a shower or bath can leave a perfume scent on skin for hours. People with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema may find that scented lotions cause rashes, inflammation or other irritations. If these side effects happen, it is important to wash off the lotion immediately and switch to a more gentle product.