Health Tips
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Deep purple hue, tarty sweet, sour taste and loads of memories - jamuns are olive-sized packets of nostalgia that take many of us back to our childhoods and make us long for simpler days. Most Indians have extremely fond childhood memories of gorging on these beautiful fruits on sunny days, and then checking each other's tongues for a purple patch left behind by the pulp. Jamuns are one of the best summer fruits to gift to your loved ones as they are promises of good health, as well as taste.

Jamuns are extremely versatile too - you can play around with them in the kitchen and turn them into jams, milkshakes, juices, or simply add them to vegetable or fruit salads. Also known as the black plum, the deep-purple fruit is referred to as the 'Fruit of the Gods' and rightly so! One jamun packs in 1.41 mg of iron, 15 mg of calcium and 18 mg of vitamin-C. It is also a rich source of B vitamins.

Here are some amazing health benefits of jamuns or black plums:

1. Fight Diabetes

Jamun, or jambol juice, is one of the best dietary cures for diabetes out there. Although, the pulp of the fruit contributes in the fight against diabetes to a large extent, it's the seeds of the fruit that are the real stars in this case. They convert sugars into energy, hence, maintaining the optimum level of blood sugar in diabetics.

2. Improve Digestion

Jamun can improve digestion to a great extent. They can regularise bowel movements and can treat diarrhoea. Jamun juice solves the problems of spleen enlargement and urine retention as well.

3. Help In Weight Loss

Jamun is very low in calories, and hence, makes for a great healthy snack if you're trying to lose weight during the summers. So, pepper your bowl of fruit chaat with diced jamuns for an addition of taste and health.

4. Improves Oral Health

Jamuns are believed to be great for treating bleeding gums and also for curing bad breath. The pulp of a fruit is effective against gingivitis, while the juice can even be used as a mouthwash.

5. Minimises Risk Of Cancer

Jamuns are extremely rich in active phytochemicals such as polyphenols. These contain anthocyanin, which can prevent cancer and even heart diseases.

So, now you know! If you needed any more reasons to add jamuns to your summer diet, we've given you five. Time to load up on all the deliciousness of the shiny black jamuns!

Steamed, puffy and delectable,Idli doused in the ever-so soothing sambhar sure makes for one of the nation's most favourite breakfast. South Indian cuisine is a treasure trove of flavour and spice, while most of its hidden gems are making its way and becoming popular in the food circuit. Idli, for the longest time has been making the south Indian cuisine proud across the sub-continent. It is not oily or greasy, yet it is considered to be one of the most delicious regional snacks. It is a popular street food, yet shares no infamous reputation of being unhealthy or calorie-laden. So, what is it about Idli that makes it so healthy? Let's, find out.Weight Loss Benefits

Idlis are steamed! Unlike most of our Indian snacks, they are not fried in fattening oil or slathered with butter. Since the grease content in idli is so less, the calories intake is also relatively low. This makes idli a better alternative than fried pakodas or samosas.

The only glitch here is that, rice forms an important component of the Idli batter. More specifically, white rice, which are full of simple carbs that may induce weight gain. But, since idli is steamed and also has a considerable amount ofurad dalin the batter, the carb content of rice may not be so bad for your waistline. Or, you can tweak your traditional recipe a bit and make yourself some healthy weight-loss-friendly Idli. All you need to do is to replace rice with oats. You can also sneak in some leafy vegetables and healthy spices in the batter to make some healthy Idlis.

Light And Easy To Digest

The reason why Idlis are one of the most preferred breakfasts is because it is light and fills you with energy. They don't make you lethargic. Since idli is fermented, it is easy to digest. Eating fermented food enables better breakdown of minerals and vitamins in our body, which helps in digestion. According to macrobiotic nutritionist and health practitioner, "Apart from aiding digestion, the lactic acid bacteria present in fermented foods also alter the PH balance in the intestines, which is associated with a long life and good health"

Rich In Vitamins And Encourages Healthy Gut Flora

Since Idli is a fermented food, and fermentation increases bio-availability of minerals in food, helping the body assimilate more nutrition. The bio availability of proteins and vitamin-B content in the food increases. According to Shilpa Arora, "the fermented process increases the bioavailability of nutrients like folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, biotin and Vitamin-K as well as some antibiotic & anti carcinogenic substances." This is because micro-organisms break down complex protein, carbohydrates and fats more efficiently, enabling easy assimilation of nutrients. This also aids a healthy gut flora, since absorption of minerals and vitamins is so much easier.

One of the most important ingredients that can completely transform a dish is salt; however, it is also known that sodium present in the common salt we consume on a daily basis is unhealthy. The reason is that sodium is believed to spike blood pressure levels, a common risk factor for heart diseases and stroke. According to National Centre for Biotechnology Information, high blood pressure is ranked as the third most important risk factor; about 33 percent urban and 25 percent rural Indians are hypertensive. Considering the health hazards caused by excessive consumption of salt has brought us to this question - how much salt do we really need in a day to be healthy?What Role Does Salt Play In Our Body?

While sodium in salt is maligned as a cause of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, it also plays important roles in the body. Sodium is dissolved in the blood in order to maintain blood pressure level. It attracts and holds water further maintaining the liquid portion of the blood. Sodium also acts as an electrolyte that is crucial for your cells in order to regulate various bodily functions that include hydration, blood pressure and proper functioning of the nerves and muscles.

What Happens When You Over-Consume Salt?

While salt may have a few positive roles to play in our body, there are also chances that excessive consumption maybe ruining your health. Excessive consumption of sodium may mean you may go through symptoms like:

1. Your brain may feel groggy

2 .Dehydration

3 .Water retention

4. Kidney stones

5. Stomach ulcers

6. High blood pressure or hypertension

7. Bloating

8. Damaged arteries

How Much Salt Do You Really Need In A Day To Keep Healthy?

According to Priya Bharma, chief nutritionist at the Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, "It is recommended to intake 2400 milligram salt in a day. In case a person is deficient, then it is recommended to consume additional 1.5 milligram in a day. If not taken in proportionate quantity, it can lead to conditions like cramps in muscle, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, etc. Also, it is highly recommended not to consume more than five grams of salt each day."

Your body regulates sodium levels in order to prevent the levels from getting too high or too low. Kidneys play a key role for controlling sodium concentrations. Kidneys retain sodium when the levels are alarmingly low and excrete it when the levels are exceptionally high. People with high blood pressure and kidney problems must be wary of their salt consumption, and ensure a healthy body function.

One of the most nutritious fruits known to humans, bananas are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that a bunch of fruits together cannot compete with. They are rich in potassium, which are crucial in maintaining blood pressure levels in our body. Bananas are also natural antacids that make them an excellent remedy for soothing an upset stomach. Moreover, having banana can eliminate the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, further ease heartburns. The high fibre content of bananas helps bowel regularity and ease constipation. They are extremely good for drooping energy levels, too. Bananas contain slow release sugars, which act as energy boosters. With so many health benefits, all packed into one delicious fruit, yet there are many who are weary of having them at certain points in a day. For instance, according to old wives' tale, eating banana during the night may aggravate cold and cough.Is It Safe To Have Bananas During Night?

According to Ayurveda expert Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, "There is nothing unsafe about eating bananas at night. But, one may want to avoid it late at night. It is known to aggravate cough and cold. As banana is a heavy fruit, it takes a long time to digest. If you want to eat it make sure you have it 2-3 hours before you hit the bed. Bananas make you feel lethargic and lazy too."
It is a common belief that eating bananas or citrus fruits should be avoided by those who have cold and cough, especially at night. It is true that during night you are more vulnerable to infections. It is also true that one should avoid eating anything close to bedtime, as that is when our metabolism is the lowest and our body is looking to wind down. If you feed your body with food, it would transform into energy, which our body is not exactly looking for at that time.

However, does that put our favourite banana at spot? Not entirely. According to many experts, nothing in moderation can harm. Bananas are rich in vitamin C, which boosts our immunity system. Experts also say that nutrient-dense banana helps replenish lost minerals and antioxidants that may help soothe cold and fever.

According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora, "Bananas are extremely healthy and energising; however, according to ancient Indian medicine, bananas are not recommended for people of 'kapha'prakriti. As per Ayurveda, your prakriti is classified into three: Vata, Kapha and Pitta. Those who are prone to cold, cough or are asthmatic should avoid bananas in the evening as it produces toxins in the digestive tract. But, that being said, bananas are extremely nutritious and must not be ruled out of your diet. "

So Should You Have Bananas At Night?

It is best to avoid eating sweet things at night, especially very sweet fruits, as they escalate energy levels at the time when your body is actually demanding sleep. But, if you must have something, then bananas may not be a bad bet. Bananas have decent quantum of magnesium, which has been known to aid sound sleep. Bananas are low in carbohydrates; therefore, they release sugar slowly, which doesn't elevate your blood sugar levels. But, those struggling with cold and fever, may want to consult their physicians in before having a banana, late in the evening.

Chironji finds many culinary uses, both in sweet and savoury dishes of India, and is considered as a delicacy. These seeds are often roasted to bring out a unique nutty flavour. However, it's not just the seeds of Buchanania that are used by Indians. Almost all parts of the tree, including its fruits, leaves, gum from the trunk and even the roots find their use in Ayurveda.

Here are some unheard-of health benefits of chironji dana or chirola:
1. Natural Coolant

Chironji must be extensively used in dishes prepared in summers, because it has a cooling effect on the body. These nuts naturally reduce body heat, and keep you cool from the inside. In Ayurvedic medicines, chironji is often added to preparations for treating itching or prickly heat on the skin.

2. Promotes Skin Health

Chironji seeds make excellent face packs, and the oil extracted from these seeds keeps the skin moisturised and helps to remove dark spots and blemishes. Chironji seeds are often ground and mixed with gram flour and curd, honey and lemon, or rose water and multani mitti (fuller's Earth) to make cleansing scrubs. These scrubs protect the skin against infections and prevent acne.

3. Improves Digestion And Regularises Bowel Movement

Chironji seed oil has astringent properties, and can help in regularising bowel movements. It helps in binding stool particles together, and hence, cures diarrhoea. Just a few drops of the oil may be added to your Oral Rehydration Solution, or ORS, and consumed to treat the problem of loose stools. Chironji root extract is believed to be beneficial for treating ulcers that are indicative of stomach troubles.

4. Improves Reproductive Health

Chironji is considered as an effective aphrodisiac, and maybe used to improve reproductive health. Chironji may improve vitality and sexual vigour, and is believed to be an effective cure for problems like loss of libido.

5. Clears Nasal Congestion

Chironji may be used to cure to clear nasal congestion and severe cold. One of the ways chironji oil may be used to expel the mucous blocking your nose. Put a few drops in steaming water and inhale the steam.

6. Health Weight Loss

Chironji is low in calories, but extremely rich in protein and dietary fibre, which keeps your hunger pangs at bay, leading to satiety and eliminating the need to eat more often.

Chironji has many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B2, as well as niacin (an organic compound that detoxifies the body and improves brain function). Chironji is also extremely rich in minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus.

Dr. Ganesh  Jangam
Dr. Ganesh Jangam
BHMS, Homeopath Family Physician, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Rohit Patil
Dr. Rohit Patil
MDS, Dentist Implantologist, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Manish Pathak
Dr. Manish Pathak
MDS, Dentist Periodontist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Ashwinikumar Kale
Dr. Ashwinikumar Kale
MD - Homeopathy, Homeopath Gynaecologist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Simranpal Singh
Dr. Simranpal Singh
Medical Student, General Physician, 2 yrs, Chandauli
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