Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

As Indians, we are somewhat obsessed with lemons. No matter where we are, a typical Indian thali is always served with one freshly cut wedge of lemon. Ever wondered why? It is because lemon can spruce up the taste of just about anything. It is a good thing that the citrusy wonder is also so healthy. Lemon is possibly one of the healthiest citrus fruits we know. A storehouse of vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals, lemon can help boost immunity, fight free-radical damage, rejuvenate skin and even help with weight loss! Yes, you heard us. Lemon is a staple ingredient in all popular detox drinks. If you think about it, even a glass of nimbu paani qualifies as a detox drink. Keep the sugar away, and it actually serves as an amazing alternative to your high-calorie aerated beverages and sugary sodas.

Alongside lemon, there are plenty of kitchen herbs and ingredients that may help us with sustainable weight loss. Coriander or cilantro or our very own dhania is one such herb that may do wonders for your waistline. Like lemon, coriander toocomes into the picture much later. It is used as a final garnish on our gravies, stews and soups. Coriander is one of the most ancient herbs known to mankind. It is replete with many nutrients. It is said to be good for managing cholesterol levels. Coriander is also enriched with manganese, iron and magnesium. According to some experts, coriander leaves also help rev up metabolism naturally; a faster metabolism helps you lose weight faster. Coriander is also super low in calories, hence makes for a weight-loss-friendly ingredient.

Lemon and Coriander Soup For Weight Loss
Soups are said to be an incredible addition to a weight-loss diet. Soups help you retain the fibre of all the vegetables used. Fibres help induce a feeling of fullness; if you feel full, you are much less likely to binge into all things fried and fattening. The water content of soups is high, which helps fill you up without really adding too many calories to your diet. Moreover, soups give you ample room to experiment; you can throw in your favourite herbs and veggies and end up with something nice, comforting and nutritious. In this lemon and coriander soup, Chef Niru Gupta has combined the goodness of lemon, coriander, onions and black pepper. You can do away with the chilli sauce in the recipe. Store-bought sauce and condiments are often packed with hidden sugar. You can use a pinch of red chilli powder instead.

Follow this easy recipe and add this delicious soup to your weight loss diet.

Herbal teas have a lot of takers nowadays, as more and more people come to know about the potential side effects of caffeinated drinks like regular tea and coffee. A number of herbal teas have made their mark on tea lovers across the world, including those made from flowers like chamomile and blue pea. While chamomile is very well-known for its mild and soothing flavour that acts as a stress buster, tea made from blue pea flowers is not that well known. Dried blue pea flowers yield a brew that is stunning in colour and that can be enjoyed cold or hot. Blue tea, made from blue pea flowers, also has a number of health benefits. Some people even use blue tea for weight loss, other than its antioxidant properties and its ability to fight stress.

Blue Tea - All You Need To Know
Blue tea, or butterfly pea flower tea, is a caffeine-free herbal concoction, made by seeping dried or fresh leaves of the Clitoria ternatea plant. The butterfly-pea is also known as blue pea or pigeonwings and it is a plant common to most South East Asian countries. The deep blue colour of the flower's petals has traditionally been used to make dye. The tea is popular in Thailand and Vietnam, where it is served post dinner, usually with lemon and honey added to it. Adding lemon juice to the tea changes the pH of the drink, making it change colour from deep blue to purple. Thanks to popularisation through travel blogs and shows, the blue tea leaves are now available in stores and supermarkets for purchase by tea connoisseurs around the world. The tea leaves are also used to change colour in cocktails as well.

Weight Loss And Other Benefits Of Blue Tea
Blue tea contains catechins, which are said to be instrumental in burning belly fat and aiding weight loss. Drinking butterfly-pea flowers seeped in warm water is said to be an effective way to rev up the metabolism, which in turn, makes the body burn more calories. Here are some other benefits of blue tea that you may want to know, before trying it out:

1. The tea is rich in antioxidants, which makes it a great beverage to include in your detox diet. Antioxidants protect the body against free radical action.

2. Blue tea is said to be great for the skin, due to its claimed anti-glycation effects, which fight skin ageing. The flavonoids present in blue tea may also stimulate collagen production.

3. The earthy flavour of butterfly-pea flower tea is said to be a mood enhancer. The tea is said to have stress busting effects that may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

4. Blue tea is said to help in losing water weight as it is a natural diuretic drink.

5. Blue tea is also said to have a role in regulating blood sugar levels, although there is not much scientific evidence to suggest that it is helpful in managing diabetes.

Some people have also claimed that blue tea is helpful in managing fatty liver diseases and reducing levels of cholesterol in blood, but there is not enough research that suggests the same. Blue tea can be a great alternative for caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee and you may consume it as such, in order to reduce your caffeine intake. The tea is now available for purchase in a number of supermarkets, grocery stores and on websites online.

The fat around the tummy is the easiest to gain and sadly, the toughest to shed. It is known as the visceral fat, and some amount of it is required to provide cushioning to the organs, but too much of it can pose a major risk to your health. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta shares, “There is a strong co-relation between belly fat and cardiovascular diseases. We have heard of apple and pear-shaped bodies. Those who are apple shaped have a considerable amount of body weight around the abdominal area and are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases." There are a couple of factors that contribute towards belly fat and you need a combination of a good diet and regular exercise to get rid of the extra pounds. In some cases, the hidden reason for a bulging belly may be an unrelated factor like stress or sleep deprivation. Here are six secrets to losing belly fat that you may not have known.

1. Ditch Foods That Have A High Glycaemic Index

Simply cutting down on your carb intake may not be sufficient. You also need to look out for the Glycemic Index. Glycemic Index (GI) measures the impact of different food items on our blood sugar levels. Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr.Anju Sood explains the consequences of having foods with a high glycemic index, “It is a matter of how you mobilize the fat you consume which will affect the visceral fat accumulation. The moment you load up on high glycaemic index foods, your blood sugar levels spike up suddenly. This excess sugar would eventually be stored as fat, and result in a bigger belly. Low glycemic foods do not cause sudden sugar spikes, they delay your digestion and are also rich in fiber.” So, load up on nuts, legumes and vegetables without starch and steer clear of potatoes, white rice, white bread and sugary canned juices as much as possible.

2. Switch To Fiber-Rich Foods and Whole Grains

Fibre takes a long time to digest, hence it gives you the feeling of fullness and prevents you from binging on other high-carb foods. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta suggests, “You must include high fibre foods such as leafy vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Whole grains have a positive impact in maintaining satiety. Eat a lot of beans, brown or whole grain rice, nuts and dry fruits to maximise on your fibre.

3. Load Up On Proteins

Most of our Indian meals are high on carbohydrates which may make you lose out on the adequate protein intake, but proteins are essential. There is a good reason why all nutritionists and fitness experts always stress on increasing your protein intake. It boosts metabolism, reduces your appetite and controls several weight-regulating hormones. High protein intake increases thelevels of satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones such as GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing the levels of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Proteins take the longest to digest, which aids weight loss. Eggs, oats, broccoli, poultry, fish almonds and milk are great sources of protein.

Eat Your Fats

Yes, you heard us. Shunning fats completely may not be the best idea as fats make up the majority of your cell walls andare instrumental in balancing hormones. Not all fats are bad, one must know the difference. Consuming healthy unsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut, fish and nuts and seeds, not only keeps you satisfied but also stimulates the fat-burning process in your body. Dr. Sood recommends, “Around 15 to 20 percent of your calorie intake has to be fat, out of which 50 percent should be from visible origins (ghee, butter, and oil) and the remaining half from invisible origins which are already present in the food you eat. Recent studies have noted that you need to have 3 parts of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and 1 part of saturated fats for optimum health."

5. Sleep

When you are sleep deprived and low on energy you automatically inch towards comfort foods that are high on sodium and carbs. Lack of sleep also slows down the metabolic activity. The two hormones working in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin . On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin in your body. Increased amounts of ghrelin, and less leptin may lead to weight gain. Dr. Rupali says, “ You need eight hours of good quality sleep daily. People might argue that it is not essential, but sleep deprivation along with damaging your health, may also induce weight gain.”

6.Stress Management

Tried all possible exercises to lose belly fat but no desired results? You probably need to calm down. Stress induced weight gain is becoming a popular phenomenon these days, and a certain hormone called cortisol may be tagged as the culprit here. Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, explains, “When you are tensed, the body releases cortisol as a result of which there is a rise in the insulin levels in the body. This results in a drop in the blood sugar level and that's why you crave high carbohydrate and sugary foods.” The body releases chemicals in response to the food you eat, which might have a calming effect, and this is how you may end up gaining those few extra and unwanted pounds around your belly in an attempt to beat stress.

Shilpa adds, “High cortisol production can confuse the entire endocrine system and increase your appetite. Stress also leads to the over production of ghrelin - your hunger hormone.” The concentration of the hormone is controlled by an enzyme found mostly in the abdominal region. Hence, there is greater storage of fat in the tissues of the abdomen region when you are stressed. Learn to delegate your work, breathe, relax, and plan. Make sure you have enough vitamin C. It is known to boost the adrenal gland, which regulates the secretion of cortisol. Try and take out at least 30 minutes to engage in anything that de-stresses you such as dancing, listening to music or reading. Yoga or regular exercise also helps in reducing stress.

So, what are you waiting for? Take note of these tips and set out on shedding those excess pounds already.

A healthy body weight is generally considered to be an indicator of good health. Although it's not advisable to follow fad or crash diets to lose weight, as these might end up doing more damage than good, one must generally try to incorporate a little bit of physical activity and follow a balanced diet to maintain the body in good health. A healthy body may also translate in a healthy mind and diet is one of the most important factors that influence your weight. There is merit to improving the quality of your diet and one of the biggest ones is to lower the risk of obesity and the health complications that come with it. Improved cardiovascular health and low blood pressure are two great benefits of weight loss. To achieve a healthy weight, it is recommended to add certain healthy nutrients to your diet and to kick out certain other unhealthy ones.

Protein is one of the nutrients that are considered as crucial for a healthy body. Protein helps maintain and repair muscle mass and is also essential for a healthy weight loss. Fish and seafood is considered by most health experts as one of the healthiest sources of protein out there. Although scientists are divided on a number of nutrition-related facts and beliefs, most of them seem to agree that fish is good for health.

Fish For Weight Loss
Here are some of the reasons why fish can help you lose weight in a healthy way:
1. High Quality Protein
Fish is a great source of lean protein. The amount of protein packed in a portion depends on which variety of fish you opt to consume. But overall, fish is a great way of loading up on high quality protein that helps you reach your weight loss goals. Protein helps you stay full for longer and compliments your workout, helping in quick repair of muscles.

2. Healthy Fats
Contrary to common belief, fats can actually help you lose weight, given that you know what kind of fats to include in your diet. The kind that is found in fish are omega-3 fatty acids, which have heart protective benefits and are known to promote better weight management.

3. Low In Calories
Being low in saturated fats, edible fish are low in calories and filling. Being a low-calorie satiating food, fish can help you stay in shape.

4. Maintains Healthy Metabolism
Fish is rich in iodine, which is responsible for the proper functioning of the hormone thyroid. The nutrient keeps the levels of thyroid up, helping the body's metabolism on an optimal level. This, in turn, helps the body burn calories normally.

Some of the healthiest fish to consume for weight loss include salmon, tuna, Pacific cod, trout, sardines, mackerel, and even the desi hilsa. The UK-based National Health Service recommends two portions (140 gm per portion) of fish per day, including one of oily fish, to stay healthy. However, it is advised to consult your nutritionist or dietitian to know exactly how much fish you must consume on a daily basis.

Aloe vera is extensively used in beauty products and for good reason. It's got antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the ability to help treat everything from constipation to diabetes. The green-cactus looking plant that sits out in your garden isn't just a plant with its roots in folklore, it's the crux of a million dollar industry that extends from beauty creams to healthy juices and diet supplements. Over time, aloe vera has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use. But, what makes this miracle plant so distinguishable? There are some incredible benefits of aloe vera. So, keep reading to know what we are talking about.

The aloe vera plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defence to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for it's unbelievable healing properties.This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, Vitamin A, B, C and E. Another part of the aloe vera plant which is used is the 'sap', a yellow-coloured liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside. When dried and purified, the powdered aloe is often used as a laxative, though it's effectiveness is questionable.

One of the most crucial elements found in aloe vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins.Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine and British herbal medicine have all advocated aloe vera as a healer, when applied or consumed orally. Let's go over some of its most prominent benefits.

Here are some benefits of aloe vera for hair, skin and weight loss:

Aloe Vera For Skin
There are many aloe vera uses, like aloe vera for face and skin. Bill C. Coats writes, "Since the skin needs nutrition of its own, Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen, can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin." And we're about to show just how you can do that. Once you move past the slimey texture of natural aloe vera gel and apply it to your skin, you'll notice how soothing and cooling it is. And it's for these exact reasons that Ayurveda refers to aloe vera as the miracle herb that can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.


Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, Delhi-based dermatologist says, "Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which gives it its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. It can moisturise the skin without making it greasy, which makes it a great buy for those with oily skin." She also suggests drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach because it improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. And, you know that if you've got a healthy inside, it'll give you a glowing outside which in this case is radiant skin.

Aloe vera or aloe vera-based products can be used in the winter as well as in the summer and by people of all skin types. Aloe vera treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin which is why it's recommended by dermatologists to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks. One way to use aloe vera is to apply the gel directly, another would be to make a pack using aloe vera along with some other special ingredients from your kitchen. So, now you know that aloe vera for face is like a magical gel that has an amazing impact on your skin.

1. Aloe vera for dry skin - Take some aloe vera, a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of milk and a few drops of rose water. Blend this mix till you get a paste. Apply it and leave in for about 20 minutes or so.

2. Aloe vera scrub - Grab half a cup of fresh aloe vera gel, a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. The sugar will help exfoliate and scrub off dead skin, the aloe vera will deep clean the skin and the lemon will help fade out scars and tan. Stir the three ingredients together and use it to scrub both face and body.

3. Aloe vera for acne - Take some aloe vera gel, blended walnuts with a flour like consistency and honey. Aloe vera's healing properties coupled with the anti-oxidants from honey will leave you with smooth and clear skin.

4. Aloe vera for sensitive skin - Grab some aloe vera gel, cucumber juice, yogurt and rose oil and blend them to a paste. Apply and leave for around 20 minutes, then rinse it off.

Aloe Vera For Weight Loss
It's not just the beauty industry that's obsessing over the benefits of aloe vera, the health industry can't stop raving about it either. Known as ghritkumari in Hindi, the plant has millions of takers around the world and is used in the form of gels, cream and juices, due to the aloe vera's wondrous health benefits. According to Britt Brandon, the author of The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health, "Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximise your weight loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight-loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes and sterols, aloe vera ensures your diet is not only supportive of weight loss, but also improves the body's absorption and utilisation, improving overall health as well as weight loss success."

Aloe vera is used in a wide range of health products, like diet supplements, juices etc. It's rich in anti-oxidants which means it helps cut out free radicals in the body and boost your immunity. It's also a good source of protein so it helps muscle development and gives you copious amounts of energy. There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight loss, but it should be consumed regularly and over a long period of time for it to really work.

How to drink aloe vera juice: The natural taste of aloe vera is so bitter that you wouldn't think of consuming it as is. Take the gel, dice it into small pieces and blend. Now. mix a bit of this with some other fruit or vegetable juice that's preferably sweet. You can also use the leaves of aloe vera, blend them, strain and drink. If you find it too bitter then mix it up with honey and drink. You can also add some lemon to this mix.
Aloe Vera For Hair Fall
Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature's Soothing Healer says, "Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Aloe vera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage."

The perfect pack: Here's a delicious hair mask that you should apply once a week or every fortnight.

Mix equal quantities of aloe vera juice and extra virgin coconut oil. Apply and leave it in for as long as possible for strong, smooth and bouncy hair. Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that brings with it a treasure trove of benefits. The best way to enjoy it, without the fear of added chemicals, is to grow it in your own kitchen garden or balcony. It takes very little to look after an aloe vera plant, but the benefits you get in return are many. So go ahead, invent your time and money into a healthier you today!

Dr. Sushil Shinghavi
Dr. Sushil Shinghavi
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Diabetologist General Physician, 13 yrs, Pune
Dr. Swapnil Dhamale
Dr. Swapnil Dhamale
BHMS, Family Physician Homeopath, 1 yrs, Pune
Dr. Saurabh Jaiswal
Dr. Saurabh Jaiswal
MBBS, General Physician, 4 yrs, Varanasi
Dr. Deepti Shukla
Dr. Deepti Shukla
MD - Allopathy, Dermatologist Trichologist, 12 yrs, Mumbai City
Dr. Suneel Gupta
Dr. Suneel Gupta
MBBS, Family Physician General Physician, 43 yrs, Pune
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