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Karela (Bitter Gourd) - 7 Reasons Why You Should Start Eating It Today!

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This green gourd may be bitter in taste, but is packed with so many benefits, people who use it swear by it. Whether it is diabetes or asthma, the green bitter gourd has helped in many ways. Read on to know some of the health benefits of this wonder gourd. Hope that makes you learn to relish it beyond its bitter taste.

1. Weight management: 100 g of the vegetable contains just about 20 calories, and is one of the best low-calorie foods. Coupled with its other benefits (listed below), this should find its way to anyone wanting to improve overall health

2. Diabetes: Karela has the chemical polypeptide-P which is also known as plant insulin. It works as insulin and helps in blood sugar control. A glass of bitter gourd juice is one of the most well-known and successful home remedies for diabetics.

3. Rich in folate: Bitter gourds are rich in folates and one can get up to 20% of the recommended daily from about 100 g of this vegetable. Widely used in menstruating women and pregnancy to prevent anemia and blood iron levels. In pregnancy, it also helps reduce neural tube defects in the developing baby

4. Loaded with antioxidants: Alpha and beta carotenes, xanthenes, and lutein. All these help in controlling the release of free radicals and reduce bodily inflammation. This is the most important reason for the development of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and premature ageing. Therefore, bitter gourd helps in preventing and/or prolonging the onset of these diseases. Another independent antioxidant is vitamin C, and about 100 g of karela provides more than 100% of daily required dose

5. Good for digestion: Bitter gourd is widely used for its digestive properties. It improves mobility, relieves constipation, and reduces problems of indigestion

6. Good for respiratory system: Respiratory benefits of bitter gourd include clearing up of sputum, improving breathing, and relief from cough. Widely used in asthma patients

7. Blood purifier: It is an excellent blood purifier and juice consumed in the morning is one of the best ways to detox the body

Though still to be proven, karela is known to help HIV/AIDS patients, as they contain phytochemicals, which improve immunity and reduce overall infection and inflammation in the body

##Methods of Use:

-Both the leaves and the bitter gourd per se can be consumed for their health benefits

-The juice is the most beneficial method, though it might take you some time to acquire this taste. Whether it is for weight loss or diabetes, this offers the best medicinal value

-Curries are usually prepared with karela in different styles depending on cooking preferences in that area

-It can also be baked, boiled, and fried.

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Spinach - A Super Food That Is Must For You!

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While we all believe that green leafy vegetables are to be included as part of our regime, not all of us know in detail the amount of goodness that comes packed in these. The first thing that comes to mind at the thought of leafy green vegetable is the tender, green, luscious looking spinach. However, not all of us know the amount of goodness and nutrition it stores within in. Spinach, though appears to be delicate and light, puts up a strong fight against inflammatory problems, stress-related problems, cardiovascular issues, bone diseases and various types of cancers.

1) Minerals and vitamins - Fresh green spinach is loaded with a multitude of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and K. Major minerals contained in spinach include manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and selenium.

2) Anti-cancer benefits - The antioxidant properties in spinach come from carotenoids and flavonoids, and it is loaded with about a dozen flavonoid compounds, thereby getting a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Spinach helps in reducing inflammation in the stomach lining and other areas, thereby reducing the chances of intestinal cancer. It also provides significant protection against prostate cancer. The incidence of skin papilloma is also reduced with increased consumption of spinach.

3) Anti-inflammatory benefits - The good amounts of vitamin C, E, A, zinc, manganese, selenium are beneficial for reducing stress and thereby reduce incidence of heart attacks and high blood pressure. Spinach also is rich in protein and contains some peptides (small protein units) which inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme that is responsible for increasing blood pressure. This is another way how spinach helps lower blood pressure.

4) Eyes - Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids which protect the eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration.

5) Bones - The bacteria in the stomach convert vitamin K1 in spinach to vitamin K2. While Vitamin K1 supports the bones by reducing the number of osteoclasts (cells that break down bones), vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin, which promotes bone formation. The high levels of calcium and magnesium only make it even better for the bones.

6) Digestive system - With the good fiber content it has, there are reduced instances of constipation. The anti-inflammatory property helps keep the stomach lining healthy and less prone to ulcers. It also helps flush out toxins and keeps the body alkaline, which helps beat stress.

7) Skin - The various minerals and vitamins in spinach reduce the chances of skin infections and also add to the glow of the skin. The itchiness and dryness of the skin also are reduced with regular use of spinach.

So, the next time you are thinking which is one thing you should pick up when you go to the market - think spinach. Popeye did, and it sure did help him!!

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Red Chili Vs Green Chili : What's Hot?

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Chilies have always been known as ingredients that add spice to indian food. Without chilies, any indian food cuisine is incomplete. Both have distinct tastes and also have different health benefits. Here's a comparison between the two:

Red Chilli: Red chilies are dried and then used in food a preparation. It is spicier or hotter than green chilies.

Source of iron absorption - Red chilies contain a good proportion of iron which is very good for blood health. They also have a lot of vitamin c that helps the body in absorbing iron

Burns calories - They produce heat in the body that directly burns down calories, just like heat generated due to exercise

Relieves from congestion - In india red chilies are provided to a person for consumption when he is suffering from cold. It relieves congestion and helps is better respiration

Reduces blockage in arteries - They are very powerful antioxidants that clear any blockages in the arteries or blood vessels.
Green Chilli: Green chilies are more subtle in taste and are used as fresh spices in various food preparations.Manages blood sugar levels - Green chilies tackle high blood sugar levels and control it if consumed regularly

Promotes digestion - Owing to the various fibers found in them, they help in better digestion

Good for skin - Green chilies being rich in vitamin e is a very good spice for a clean and healthy skin
Very good for heart - Due to a considerable proportion of beta-carotene in green chilies the cardiovascular systems stays strong and the heart too stays healthy

Both chilies have great benefits and consuming both in permitted quantities is only good for health.

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Ginger - 13 Health Benefits You Never Knew

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There is probably no house in India, where dishes are prepared without the use of ginger. It forms an amazing spice that is savoury, both for spicy and sweet dishes and as a result, most Indian dishes include this spice for making them tastier and healthier. But did you know that both fresh and dried ginger has medicinal properties as well?

Here are the top 13 benefits proffered by ginger

1.Healing properties: Ginger can be used as a fresh root or a milled powder for healing all kinds of sores and cuts and it prevents spread of infections.

2.Helps in relieving pain: If you can boil ginger for a short time and drink the liquid, it can help in alleviating the chronic and acute pain caused by arthritis, rheumatism, abdominal cramps, back pain, bronchial asthma and bronchitis, neck stiffness, inflammation in the kidney and liver.

3.Regenerating properties: Ginger can help in increasing the blood circulation, eliminating toxins and regenerating the tissues that have been harmed with any kind of disease.

4.Fat burning abilities: Ginger can act as a fat burner and aids in weight loss. It can create a feeling of fullness and reduces sudden food craving so that you will not have to snack in between meals.

5.Anti-inflammatory properties: Regardless of what has triggered the cause of pain, ginger has the potential to set you free from it owing to the anti-inflammatory properties contained in ginger roots.

6.Helps in relieving sinusitis: Ginger has a notable impact on the health of those suffering from sinusitis. If you are suffering from asthma, you may have it too.

7.Alleviating nausea: Ginger root can soothe the nerve and can prevent headache, vomiting and migraine. It can relieve you from tiredness and soreness of muscles caused due to long voyages.

8.Fighting abdominal discomfort: By consuming ginger tea on regular basis, your digestion, as well as food absorption, can be prevented.

9.Reduction of inflammation: Ginger root helps in soothing swollen joints and tired muscles. It is also recommended for relieving pain and burning sensation.

10.Fighting menstrual problems: Dipping a towel in ginger tea and putting in the region of the uterus can aid in relaxing the muscles.

11.Relieving stress: A cupful of ginger tea can aid in improving the mood and reducing stress and tension.

12.Empowering the immune system: The antioxidants contained in ginger roots can help in strengthening the immunity system by reducing stroke risk and cleaning arteries.

13.Treating cancer: It has been proven that ginger tea can kill cancer cells.

There are specific rules and ways of consuming Aadrak (ginger) by people of different constitutions and regions. An Ayurvedic constitutional examination can help you in understanding which and when is the best way for you to consume ginger.

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Can Ginger Help Curb Bloating? Here's The Answer

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Nobody likes to put on their favourite dresses and see their belly sticking out. We have all been there, tried to hold our breaths in, but we all know too well that it is no sustainable strategy to beat bloating, besides it can also toll on your health and make you dizzy. Bloating is a condition characterised by inflated tummy, especially after a meal. It could be caused due to a variety of reasons. For instance, excess gas formation in the stomach, poor eating habits, change in diet, stress or smoking. In some cases, conditions like menstruation, gastrointestinal infection or irritable bowel syndrome could also be the reason behind your bloated tummy. But, the good news is that bloating is only temporary and subsides in a matter of time. There are many ways you can manage bloating, that too with very easy and inexpensive remedies. Drinking ginger juice is said to be one of the oldest remedies to help beat the bloat. Ginger is a perennial herb native to China and India, known as Zingiber officinal. Often referred to as a root, ginger is actually a stem, which grows underground. Ayurveda's favourite ginger is profuse with medicinal properties that could help cure a variety of inflammatory conditions like cold, cough and flu. According to the book 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing, its active constituent "Gingerol has analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial effects, another component zingerone is an antioxidant," which works as a charm for ginger. But, what is it that makes it so effective for bloating? Let's find out.

According Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora, "ginger stimulates digestive juices like bile, saliva and various other compounds that aid digestion, thus it's great for better absorption and assimilation of nutrients . Indigestion is one of the root causes of bloating. Undigested food produces toxins that lead to serious health problems. A teaspoon of ginger juice in the morning helps bloating and heals digestive tract, plus manages high blood sugar levels. "

How To Make Ginger Juice:
Take a ginger. Rinse it well.
Take a peeler or a spoon and peel of the skin of the ginger.
Cut the ginger into pieces and grate them using a grater.
Collect the grated ginger in the centre of a cheesecloth and hold it together from above.
Place a bowl beneath the cloth. Squeeze and twist the cheesecloth to get the ginger juice out.
Collect the ginger juice. Squeeze or twist it harder to extract more juice.
Your ginger juice is ready. You can have it alone or mix it with some salt/rock salt to enhance its flavour and nutritive content.
Once all the juice is extracted, open the cheesecloth to remove the dried grated ginger.
You can use the dried grated ginger for other cooking purposes. If you are facing problem grating the ginger, you can put it in blender and grind them too.
Once done, open the juicer, collect the ginger in a cheesecloth, and squeeze and twist to collect juice as mentioned before.

Besides bloating, ginger juice is also effective against toothache, reducing joint inflammations and pain and soothe cold and flu.

Dr. Deepak  Bhalerao
Dr. Deepak Bhalerao
BHMS, Adult Congenital Cardiologist Cardiologist, 17 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sandeep Darunde
Dr. Sandeep Darunde
BAMS, Optician Ophthalmologist, 3 yrs, Pune
Dr. Rajendra Lahore
Dr. Rajendra Lahore
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ophthalmologist, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Yogesh Patil
Dr. Yogesh Patil
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Bhagyashri Madake- Kuber
Dr. Bhagyashri Madake- Kuber
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Family Physician, 4 yrs, Pune
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