Whey to go!
You know Little Miss Muffet, who sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey (good girl!) Skipping the rest of the rhyme and the scary spider, let us look at the health benefits of “whey”. You’ve probably seen a host of health supplements singing the praises of whey. Even Bournvita has a kids’ building block-like package which boasts whey. So – is whey really healthy.
First, some gyaan on what is whey
Cheese is made by adding rennet to milk. This makes the milk curdle – the little lumps are curds and the watery liquid is whey. The curds are used to make cheese. People would throw away the whey water as waste, until its health benefits were discovered. When the water from whey is removed, whey protein is the result.
Why whey is special
If you want the features of milk in something without actually using milk, whey is used as a substitute. If you are worried about your sugar intake, whey can help, giving you that sweetish flavor. Manufacturers of food products add whey in place of sugar.
The Health Benefits of Whey
Studies show that whey has a host of health benefits
- Whey supplements can increase your lean body mass and improve the performance of your musculoskeletal system. The whey protein has amino acids that are broken down into muscle tissues. When you go for exercise and resistance training, these are the ones to be used first. Hmm. Six packs, any one?
- Whey speeds up your metabolic rate because it stimulates the building of muscle tissues. This helps lose weight. So if you add whey to your snack or beverage, you get a spurt of energy and control your food intake.
- Whey is a great source of bio-available calcium which helps build stronger bones and prevents stress fractures during rigorous exercise. It can also prevent bone loss especially in female athletes with low estrogen levels.
- For cancer patients who suffer with digestion problems, whey can help, as it is easy to digest. Whey reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer through its cycteine content, which is a building block of the antioxidant glutathione and helps combat free radicals that cause prostate cancer.
- Whey helps reduce your LDL or bad cholesterol levels and balances your blood pressure.
- Whey’s antioxidant properties strengthen the immune system, helping your overall health.
Whey water tastes quite pleasant. We used to drink it all the time, because milk would act very smart during summer when it wouldn’t turn into thick curds. We would sometimes grumble at the somewhat watery curd – and my grandma would say – drink it! It is good for health. Hmm. She knew her stuff. And so did Ms.Muffet.
Garlic – why you should include it in your diet
Garlic is a well known and well loved flavor in cuisines around the world. It has a potent spicy flavor and brings a host of health benefits as part of our diet.
Did you know that garlic has anti-bacterial properties? Studies prove that it can fight infections and even instances of food poisoning. Compared to bottled garlic, fresh garlic is more potent in terms of health benefits. So what are the health benefits of garlic?
- Garlic is known to treat the common cold
- It strengthens our immune system, helping us fight cancer.
- It fights heart disease and lowers blood pressure.
- It can prevent diabetes, hypertension and bacterial, fungal and viral infections. There are studies to prove garlic’s efficacy against strep, E. coli, Salmonella, H. pylori, Candida albicans, and other microorganisms. It improves serum cholesterol levels
- Garlic also called Allium sativa has the active components Alliin, an amino acid and Allinase, an enzyme. It also contains several trace elements such as copper, germanium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
- Garlic has sulfur compounds that reduce cholesterol from the blood stream, helping reduce blood pressure. Regular intake of garlic is said to help normalize low blood pressure.
- The antioxidants in garlic protect us against cell damage, inhibiting the growth of tumors.
- Garlic balances blood sugar by increasing the insulin levels in the blood stream, which is why it is used to treat diabetes.
- Garlic is a natural toothache remedy
- Garlic protects people from toxins such as aflatoxin that causes liver cancer. It also reduces the fat levels in the liver.
- It seems that garlic reduces your risk of a heart attack by at least 50% and your risk of developing stomach cancer by 50%
- My grandmother would suggest keeping a pod of garlic in the ear when we complained of an ear ache – it tackles ear infections.
- Peeled garlic crushed and boiled in milk is a good remedy for that gassy bloated feeling.
- Chewing garlic is supposed to ward off arthritis (and everyone else!)
Good reasons to enjoy garlic!
Are your eyes healthy?
Often referred to as the windows to our soul, our eyes are super-sensitive organs that help us to see. While am skeptical about the windows and soul story, I certainly believe that we should be conscious about eye-health and protect our vision. I’ll tell you why in a moment. I was born with a vision defect (which is not obvious now unless you try looking into my soul ) – I’ve got short sight and astigmatism. I am a voracious reader and my work depends on the ability to see. So let me share some tips with you on how to keep your eyes healthy. Here we go!
Strengthen your vision through nutrition:
Make sure you get enough antioxidant-rich foods such as Vitamin A, C and E. In fact, luteins and omega-3 fatty acids are being researched to prove that they can slow down age-related macular degeneration. Since most diets contain only a negligible amount of these nutrients that are required for healthy eyesight, take care to see that you get what you need.
There we go again! Exercise, besides its myriad benefits, also enhances our blood circulation, bringing more oxygen to the eyes and removing toxins.
Stick to a healthy diet
Did you know that high fat diets result in deposits that restrict the flow of blood in the arteries? If you didn’t, you do now. What’s important is that the eyes are extra-sensitive to this since the eyes’ blood vessels are delicate.
Healthy foods for the eyes are:
· Carrots and sweet potatoes for vitamin A and antioxidant beta carotene, potassium and fiber
- Oranges – vitamin C and potassium, fiber, calcium and folate
- Strawberries – vitamin C, folate (a B vitamin), fiber, and phytochemicals
- leafy greens and eggs – for lutein and zeaxanthin, iron, vitamin K and folate
· Nuts and seeds like almonds for vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids
· Fresh fruits – vitamin C
· Oily fish– Omega 3 fatty acids
· Oysters – antioxidant zinc
Kick the butt
Your cigarette butt, I mean. Give up smoking as smoking hinders blood flow to the eyes and also increases oxidative stress.
Guard your eyes
Wear eye protection to guard it from harmful UV rays. Look cool in a hat that has a brim to minimize the sunlight hitting your eyes. Sunglasses work too.
Get an eye check periodically
You never know when your vision can develop slight changes and the sooner you find out, the better, as you can get immediate attention and treatment.
5 More Reasons to enjoy Dark Chocolate
Like you actually needed a reason to eat chocolate! There are not many people who actively hate chocolate. In fact, people who don’t usually crave it also like to binge on chocolate once in a while. Well – let me tell you why you can now grab that chocolate without feeling too guilty about it.
Studies show that chocolate, especially dark chocolate has some serious health benefits. Let us quickly see what they are:
1. Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, which means it reduces the risk of healthy people developing diabetes. (Oh yes, any one can develop diabetes, any time). While the docs are not yet sure about how much dark chocolate you need to eat to enjoy the health benefit, I’d say it’s a good idea not to overdo it. Too much of anything is excess. A couple of (or three) pieces of dark chocolate once in a while is fine.
2. Dark chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help keep your heart healthy and it reduces the level of CRP (C-Reactive Protein) in the body. CRP is an indicator of inflammation in the body and the test results tell your doc about your risk of developing coronary disease.
3. Dark chocolate can make you feel full for a longer period compared to milk chocolate. It is also supposed to bring down your craving for sweet, fatty or salty food.
4. I guess you’ve already read that chocolate is rich in flavonoids – which behave like antioxidants in our body, absorbing free radicals and all those other bad things, the bottom line being – helping you stay healthy. Antioxidants help you stay young, as they slow the aging process. In milk chocolate, the milk is believed to get in the way of the chocolate’s antioxidants being absorbed by our body.
5. Dark chocolate also triggers the release of those happy chemicals in our brain – endorphins – and acts as an instant mood-upper. . So – go for that yummy dark chocolate to feel happier, and look younger.
These five reasons are good enough for me to enjoy some dark chocolate every now and then – how about you?
Portable Energy Boosters
Taking up from where I left off about those food frauds, I guess it is time to make amends – I know I crashed a lot of diets out there, including mine! So, the least I could do is bring you some really easy to make “energy bars” and “muffins”
Muffins are universally loved snacks, both for children and adults. Easy to pack, filling and tasty, these are really very easy to make. So let me begin by giving you the recipe for the basic Muffin mix; once you have this ready, you can actually store it and use it with different flavor variations and experiment
The basic muffin mix needs the following ingredients:
1 and a half cups flour – any flour or combi of flours
Half cup to three fourths cups sugar – depending on how sweet you like it
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Half tsp salt
In a mixing bowl, take the dry muffin mix, add four carrots skinned and grated, half cup apple juice, one egg, half tsp cinnamon and one third cups melted butter. Mix these well. Preheat over to 350 degrees F and bake the mix in muffin moulds for 15 to 20 minutes or until a fork plunged in the muffin comes off clean. Oh, you know what I mean!
In a mixing bowl, add the dry muffin mix, one and a half cup cooked oatmeal, one egg, one third cup melted butter, half tsp cinnamon and a fruit of your choice. Mix well – bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15- 20 min.
Take mixing bowl, add dry muffin mix, one and a half cups applesauce, one egg, one third cup melted butter, half teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well. Bake in muffin moulds in 350 degree F preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Now go experiment with different fruits and raisins.
You can substitute the sugar for honey according to taste, but that means you can make the “dry” muffin mix and store it.
This one’s healthy and you need: one and a half cups whole wheat flour, one cup rolled oats, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, half tsp salt, 2 eggs, one fourth cup cooking oil, one fourth cup honey, one fourth cup milk, three medium mashed bananas and half cup chocolate chips (optional, of course).
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Grease muffin pan or get those paper cupcake liners. In a bowl, add flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt an dmix well. Then make a… umm… well in the middle.
Take a bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add oil, honey, milk and bananas. Mix well. Pour this mix into that well in the other bowl and stir – so that everything is just about moist.
Now is the time to add the optional choco chips. Gently stir it in – do not mix too much. Its okay if the batter seems a bit lumpy or if you see flecks of flour. Fill those muffin cups to 3/4ths. Bake for 20 min. Enjoy.
Okay – some energy bars now!
You know how convenient energy bars are – I grew up with chikkis – and really loved the texture and taste. They make wonderful pre-post-workout snacks, in between meals or on the road. They also serve as yummy desserts. So, in three words, delicious, nutritious and lets face it – practical. I picked a no-bake recipe for you:
- Half cup dates, chopped
- Half cup figs, chopped
- Half cup raisins
- One fourth cup wheat germ
- Five tablespoons of non fat dry milk powder
- Half cup biscuit/cracker crumbs. Digestive biscuits work well
- Two teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Combine 1 to 5 in a food processor until it becomes a ball of dough.
Take a bowl and mix 6 and 7.
Roll the dough into balls and coat it with the crumbs.
You can keep this in an airtight container for a week or ten days.
Each ball has 240 cals, 54 g carbs, 2.5 g fat and 5.5 g protein.
The dry fruit gives you most of the carbs and cals, but it also gives you fiber. Enjoy.
Another no-bake energy bar recipe
- 1 cup rolled oats
- Half cup wheat germ
- Half cup oat bran
- Half cup vanilla protein powder
- One cup crunchy peanut butter
- One cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
- One cup chocolate chips
- One cup honey
Here comes the best part = mix 1 to 8 and freeze in bar shape.
Ok – now am off to eat thair saadam and vadu manga (curd rice and mango in brine) – do let me know how these turn out for you – and don’t hesitate to send me samples! (Are you listening, Nona and Nandini?)
The fun part with these recipes is – you can’t go wrong. You can mix and match, and it WILL taste great.
The benefits of a fast food diet
If you’re like me, you probably hate the word “diet” because it conjures up visions of not being “allowed” to eat the stuff you like most (because most good things in life are illegal, immoral or fattening), or starvation. I hate the pressure of most restrictions that prevent me from doing (or not doing) something and diet is one of them. It somehow seems to imply deprivation. Why not call it something more friendly – like “healthy eating plan”?
Hmmm. The problem is even bigger when there are festivals, you enjoy the binge-ing part and then feel guilty! How to tackle this dilemma? Let’s ask Momma Nature.
Its so nice to hear the word “natural” because you instantly get the feeling of being cared for. Rightly so. Because Mother Nature is geared to make you feel good. For example – take warm weather, and what happens? You hardly feel like eating those heavy, greasy meals. You’d rather stick to lots of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated and eat light, right? Great! Because that’s also healthy. So what have you got in summer? Watermelons, musk melons, grapes, mangoes. Rather tough to say no to. (Far better than sweating it out in the kitchen in hot weather)
You also get carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum and a variety of fresh lettuce – ideal for salads. Perfect for summer health.
Here’s what am getting at. The fruits and vegetables I just mentioned are Nature’s fast foods. Add water and you’re good to go, because sometimes nothing quenches your thirst like water. The best thing about these natural “fast foods” is that they taste good, and make you feel full, while automatically switching you to a healthy eating plan. Your body detoxes naturally, too.
Ha, ha, so what?
I find it hard to argue with the fact that these readily available veggies and fruits ensure that our immune system stocks up on vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. You’ve got to hand it to Nature.
Okay – so it is not all that easy to stick to a fruit and veg diet, right? But that’s okay – because it is only human to crave all those yummy comfort foods once in a while. Thing is – even if you make sure that you get some fruits and veggies on a daily basis – you can banish that guilty feeling because you’ll feel quite energetic and full without actually going on a diet.
Point is – if you’ve got some excess baggage on your body that you carry around – rather than go for those slimming products, consider a natural fast food diet of fruits and veg. It is an effective long-term strategy to stay fit.
Years ago (I refuse to tell how long ago) – I was quite crazy about ice-creams. Those Arun Ice-Cream guys had a fab range and every night, after dinner, on the pretext of going for a walk – I’d stop at the ice-cream parlor (so considerate of them to stay open till 10.30 at night) and have a cassata. And lop off a vanilla. Nice generous helpings. Well – just a couple of months later, I was puzzled to find that some of my clothes became a little too well-fitting for comfort. Oh well, didn’t take rocket-science to figure out that the ice-creams were the culprits (not me, mind you!).
So – to compensate, I thought I’d skip lunch every day. And ended up consuming several cups of over-boiled yucky tea. Mom decided to take matters in her hands one day and together, we decided to make some changes. (She was my partner in crime over the ice-creams although she didn’t put on weight. Sigh). We stocked up on fruits and veg. Every morning, we made a veg-rich soup for breakfast. I stopped tea completely. (Not my morning coffee though – that would have been suicide! And I wouldn’t be here rambling on like this!).
I carried sliced, diced, shredded or whole carrots or radishes as a snack to work J, alternating with tomatoes, cucumbers, baked potatoes – and hey, just about anything that constituted as natural, oil-free and healthy. I refuse to confess that I drooled at potato wafers, sweets, er.. Never mind!
What I am getting at is this – I was amazed at how quickly I shed that extra weight. Oh, I also went for a brisk walk – right past the ice-cream guy. Am sure he hated me for abruptly withdrawing his steady income source – but that’s life! Anyway – it worked – the natural fast food diet, did.
Try it. And by the way – I found that when I munched on carrots – the very idea of drinking tea didn’t appeal at all.
Have a healthy 2011!
Shall I post some salad recipes?
(And oh, I haven’t forgotten the home remedies for mouth sores – will post them soon)
How to stay healthy in 2011
As I begin this post with warm wishes for a healthy and happy New Year, I am thinking of ways to make 2011 a wonderful one. One of my major goals is to stay healthy – and am sure you are looking at ways to be fitter - hopefully without too much effort. Yes! And that’s why the following strategies should work – they are easy to fit into our regular routine.
Here we go!
Walk the walk
This is the easiest way to get some physical activity. Just going for a walk every day means literally walking farther away from scary illnesses such as dementia, cancer and stroke, apart from the added benefit of keeping your cholesterol levels balanced and your heart healthy.
Include garlic in your food
Garlic has the ability to fight cancer – oh, forget the bad breath (there’s toothpaste and mouth fresheners to counter that!) If you can’t get garlic, think of garlic supplements. Garlic also brings a host of other health benefits as a disease fighter. But don’t overdo it!
Give me some sunshine…
Just get fifteen minutes of sun everyday. The miracle that is our body produces its own Vitamin D with the help of sunshine. No other equipment required. Preferably, catch that early morning sun. Enjoy it. If your sun is hiding behind a cloud, look at vitamin D rich foods such as eggs, milk, dairy products, cod liver oil etc.
If only for a few minutes, meditate every day. There are several physical and mental health benefits from meditation. Did you know cholesterol levels can be reduced with meditation?
Work in at least ONE juice into your daily diet
Replace at least one beverage every day with a natural juice. It cleans your cells while tasting good! Either veg or fruit is fine.
Exercise – four out of seven
Exercise – at least three quarters of an hour every day. Grrrr. At least 5 days a week. Do-able? Of course it is! Motivate yourself – getting fitter and keeping most diseases at bay – is worth it. Side effects are a great sense of well-being, happier attitude, balanced blood pressure and of course, overall fitness!
Drink more water every day
Drink water when you’re thirsty – and also when you are not. Do your body a favor – keep it hydrated. Just plain water, easily available.
Probably one of the best no-cost ways to fight illnesses and diseases. Be optimistic. Kick negativity out of your life. Be patient and tolerant. Rose colored spectacles do work.
Talk to your doc about taking a multivitamin
You know we all need vitamins – and most of us probably do not get enough. Vitamin deficiency can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and so on. Getting enough vitamins can keep you healthy.
R & R
Rest and relaxation – get at least seven to eight hours sleep per night. If not, you pay for it by suffering miserable health consequences. Ah, sleep helps lose weight, and prevents diabetes, memory loss and obesity.
Well, it can’t get easier – and better – than this. Start slow – and stick to the above consistently. You’ve got everything to gain.
Juice it up!
Like many people I know, every once in a while, I too get a little obsessed about wanting to lose weight. Not that I do anything seriously about that – except try a tip or two, usually half-heartedly. I do like to think that I only need to tone up – and this has been endorsed by a few friends, God bless them and keep them healthy!
But jokes apart, there is something I’d really like to share on this front, that I think is at least a wee bit responsible for keeping me in shape. (I have a friend who argues that “round” is a shape – but we don’t want to get technical here!). I am talking about a shape that has a distinct waist
Okay – so a nutritious breakfast helps tremendously. Also, eating smaller meals four or five times a day rather than the big three (breakfast/lunch/dinner) makes a lot of sense with the metabolism. One of my favorite ways to stave off hunger is through juice. (Yes, sometimes I yearn for an extra cup of coffee – but that’s another story!)
I want to share with you a few healthy juices that have some terrific benefits. Try at least a few – you won’t regret it. These are combos – and all the individual ingredients are easily available. The only effort it takes – is to make them – although some brands do sell the No Sugar combinations, if you like those. Nothing like the natural stuff, though. Here we go:
- Carrot + Ginger + Apple = This energizes your system while cleansing it.
- Apple + Cucumber + Celery = This reduces cholesterol, gets rid of a tummy upset and headache and prevents cancer.
- Tomato + Carrot + Apple = Good for getting rid of bad breath and promotes healthy complexion.
- Bitter gourd + Apple + Milk = Drives away bad breath and brings down body heat.
- Orange + Ginger + Cucumber = Great for better skin texture and reducing body heat.
- Pineapple + Apple + Watermelon = Gets rid of excess body salts, keeps your bladder and kidney healthy.
- Apple + Cucumber + Kiwi = improves complexion
- Pear + Banana = brings down body sugar levels
- Carrot + Apple + Pear + Mango = Reduce body heat, fight toxicity, lower blood pressure.
- Honeydew + Grape + Watermelon + Milk = Improve cell function with their rich vitamin C and vitamin B2 content, building the immune system
- Papaya + Pineapple + Milk = Promotes great skin and metabolism with the rich vitamin C, E and Iron content.
- Banana + Pineapple + Milk = Prevents constipation, is rich in vitamins
Quite some unusual combination’s, eh? Apparently they work. I cheat by going only for carrot or apple or pear or banana – as fruits, simply because it is too much work to extract the juice out of them. But I guess that’s okay too J
Let me know how it goes for you.
(Yes, am working on those “easy” facials and will post them on Tuesday! Works for men and women – so don’t call me biased!)
Spinach – the nutrient powerhouse
Spinach (paalak) is among the top five healthy vegetables to include in your diet. Ask Popeye! This complete powerhouse packs in major nutritional value and helps us stay healthy. Aloo-paalak, paalak-paneer and just paalak cooked, mashed and seasoned with mustard and fried black gram are big favorites in my house. (Thank God!). Best of all, it is not an expensive thing to add to your shopping list and is easily available throughout the year. . I remember when my mom and I used to be heading towards “broke” at the end of the month, decades ago, we’d stick to greens. What can I say? Am grateful for healthy choices!
It is very reassuring to have healthy food as favorites – but let’s go a little deeper to see exactly what spinach has in store for us.
- Spinach has Vitamin A and C, fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients that fight colon, lung and breast cancer.
- The folate content in spinach prevents artery damage, and therefore protects against heart disease. Folate also prevents DNA damage and colon cell mutation. In fact, for pregnant women, folate helps in developing the fetus’s nervous system and lungs. It prevents accidental hemorrhage and abortion.
- You can protect your digestive system with spinach. It has betacarotene and vitamin C that guard the colon from free radicals.
- Menstruating women, growing children and pregnant women whose requirement of iron is more, benefit from the iron content in spinach. This reduces the risk of anemia.
- Spinach has flavonoids that protect from age-related memory loss and diseases
- Spinach has lutein, which protects from cataract and macular damage, thereby preventing vision loss in the elderly.
- Spinach is very low in calories and high in phytonutrients which help with weight loss.
- For diabetics, spinach stablizes blood sugar
- It is a great source of iron, protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, Zinc and copper. It also has selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Spinach also has anti-inflammatory properties that help with osteoporosis, arthritis, severe headaches and asthma. It promotes bone health.
- Spinach is potassium rich – and low in sodium, helping reduce blood pressure. Spinach protects your skin with its vitamin B, and keeps your skin glowing.
Spinach is a truly versatile vegetable as you can eat it raw through a salad. It is easy to cook and great as a soup or as an addition to other dishes. One cup of spinach a day will give you your daily intake of vitamin K.
So how can you get more spinach into your diet?
- Add chopped spinach to your soup
- Toss chopped spinach with garlic and baked potato
- Spinach dips are great as healthy accompaniments with breads and vegetables
- Spinach in your sandwich instead of lettuce
- Spinach in your omelet
- Aloo-paalak vegetable (potato and spinach)
- Spinach bread (available in most stores)
- Spinach with lentils (dal)
- Spinach in yogurt
- Add it to vada and dosa batter
- And so on.
Make sure you stick to organic spinach though. People with kidney/gall bladder problems must be careful about eating spinach, as it could interfere with the absorption of calcium. It can also interfere with thyroid gland function. Caution for people with gout, too. People on a renal diet are usually advised not to eat spinach.
How to feel better when you have a cold?
The common cold, made more common by the fact that you can just “catch” it from someone in the vicinity can make you feel really miserable once it decides to take residence in your body for at least the next seven days.
But that does not mean you have to suffer. It is possible to pamper yourself and feel much better, even though you can cure the cold. So let’s take a look at what works, what doesn’t work, and hmmm…what probably can’t hurt!
Everyone’s family has traditional cold remedies passed on through the generations. The “Kashayam”, a concoction made of herbs boiled in water and consumed with honey, the chicken soup (for the cold) that is believed to get rid of that congestion, etc. are all examples
So, what works?
Catching a cold usually means not feeling yourself for the next two weeks. Here’s how you can reduce the misery:
Consume water and lots of liquids
While it is tough to flush out that cold, you can certainly help yourself by drinking lots of fluids. These could be water, juice, warm lemon water with honey, clear broths and soups. These help relieve the congestion and keep you from getting dehydrated. Remember, fluids do not include booze and caffeinated soda, as they can dehydrate you. Although personally I can’t ever imagine sacrificing drinking coffee!
The salt water gargle
Dissolve a quarter/half teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and use it to gargle. This can make a sore throat feel better.
Nasal drops and sprays
You’ve probably heard of or used nasal sprays/drops such as Otrivin. These relieve nasal congestion –you know the awful moments when your nose seems hopelessly blocked and uncomfortable and you feel you’ll be breathing through your mouth forever. Doctors recommend it even for children.
For the cold. Research shows that chicken soup can relieve cold and flu symptoms. It is an anti-inflammatory and also helps rid the body of congestion.
Over the counter medication
Okay, so there’s actually no OTC drug that can prevent your cold or even reduce the number of days you suffer. Also, there are side-effects associated with all of them if you’re tempted to use them over a long period. Some of them actually make you feel worse. Paracetamol (Crocin) – which is believed to be “safe”, can cause liver damage if taken over a long period. So, make sure you read the label carefully to make sure you don’t overdose.
If you also develop a cough that does not go away even if your cold feels better, it is essential to see your doctor. Warm water with lemon and honey is good for a cold. (No honey for babies, though – they’re sweet enough!).
These are prescribed when you sneeze a lot and your eyes water and your nose runs. However these only give very temporary relief and you have to get the correct dosage. Examples are Cetrizine, Allegra. Hmm. Used to think that Benadryl was real yummy when I was a kid. Oh, and don’t think you can just go and buy a cough syrup and drink it when you want. J Danger zone there.
Colds are common in winter because the viruses are happier in dry conditions. The dry air also dehydrates the mucous layer, which are responsible for the stuffy nose and throat irritation. So, the moral of the story is to be in a moist environment. Some people have humidifiers in their homes. For those that don’t, the traditional steam inhalation works.
What does not work.
You have probably felt frustrated at trying various suggestions only to find that they do not work, or just make you feel worse. Here are remedies that won’t work. Really.
No doctor prescribes an antibiotic when you consult for a cold. (all that waiting, what a waste!) Antibiotics may kill bacteria, but not the cold virus. So just don’t pester your doctor for antibiotics when you really don’t need them. If you’re adamant, know that taking antibiotics you don’t need can help you achieve two things: grow antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your body, and cause awful side effects.
Cold and cough medications for children
No OTC cold and cough medications for children under age 4 unless absolutely necessary and prescribed by the physician. Recently, there was this gruesome mess in Chennai where parents of children mixed up Crocin drops with Crocin syrup. They mistook the drops version for syrup – two absolutely different concentrations – and figured that a double dose of one or other would do no harm. In the drops, there is 100 mg of drug in one ml while with the syrup, there is 125 mg in five ml. Sigh.
Zinc is supposed to help fight cold but research studies are yet to show any real benefit. So, a lousy taste in the mouth and nausea are for sure – while it is not known how effective it really is. What to do? Avoid it.
Intranasal zinc can kill your sense of smell, too. So read that label, when you look at zinc-containing medication.
The feel-good stuff for cold
What about Vitamin C? It may not prevent a cold coming on, but apparently, taking enough vitamin C before the symptoms of cold show up can help get rid of the cold faster. Hmm. How do you figure that out? Simply by getting enough vitamins on a regular basis!
Vicks Vaporub is helpful too. On the chest and the back – you’ve seen those ads, right? It definitely helps. Rubbing it on the soles of the feet seems to relieve a cough too.
Then there’s Ginger Chai (tea) that feels good too.
In any case – take good care of yourself. Which means, no frozen or too-cold stuff, drink plenty of hot liquids, have fruits and vegetables for natural vitamins and minerals. A cold can be a terrible thing, but don’t be tempted to try every remedy you hear about. Rest well, and don’t forget to wash your hands often.
Here’s a knock, knock for you:
Eddy idea how I cad cure this cold