The Health Q
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 1715 6165 | Library & Archives Canada Entry
Editorial: Un-clutter your mental space; Wash away allergies; Recipe for healthy eating; Wisdom digest; Prescriptions for good bones in an old age; Like ants, keep on ploughing; Disease mongering
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Unclutter Your Mental Space
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
With days getting longer and more sunlight around, the time to shake off the debris of winter is finally around. This is the time when people start un-cluttering their homes and yards, the time to shake things off, both literally and proverbially.
But we should not just be content with un-cluttering the physical space. Though that is a good start, we can take advantage of this spirit by taking it further—by cleaning out our mental and emotional space. It is where we harbor all the debris of emotional and mental wreckage and it is much more harmful than the clutter and baggage in the physical space. One does not carry around with oneself the cluttered homes and yards. Though we live there, yet we also get to leave that space for some other, be it the workplace or other places like the Mall.
Emotional and mental space, on the other hand, is what we always have within us and we carry it around all the time and any clutter or un-needed baggage in that space will continuously weigh us down and wear us out. But would we really like to suffer that?
If not, let us make a commitment to let go of all the emotions and thoughts that are weighing us down. Slowly release them as if you would take the physical clutter out. Make a conscious effort. If there is more un-cluttered space in the mind, one can dance more to the joys of life.
In this issue, we are introducing a new section—Healthy Eating. Each month we will share with you a delicious vegetarian recipe with focus on health, taste and the joy of eating. This month, Dr Manjit Handa shares the recipe of Carrot Peas Potato Curry, made with Indian flavors in a low fat medium. I hope you will enjoy it. Joanne Malar talks about the value of swimming for old people and Gurdarshan Jyot writes about the role of determination in success.
Enjoy the sunshine, Parmjit Singh, PhD
Wash Away Allergies
by Parmjit Singh
With Spring knocking on our doors, it is time to clean up, not only homes and yards but also our body and mind. Over the time, toxins build up in the body and leave us vulnerable to various allergies and other related problems. Rather than running to a nearby pharmacy for every cold and allergic break-out, yoga offers a cheap and effective method to control these flare-ups, especially related to nasal passage. It is called the Nasal Wash, performed with a neti pot (see the image).
How to do it?
• Take the neti pot (it is available from health and yoga stores) or simply get a small kettle. Wash it properly.
• Fill it with lukewarm water and mix in approximately one-quarter teaspoon of salt. The water in neti pot is usually equivalent to normal body saline level; so do not worry if you fear that it will sting you while pouring through your nostrils. If needed, adjust the salt quantity so that it does not bother you while doing this exercise.
• Bring the spout to the nose, bend over the sink with the head slightly bent forward and slightly tilted (to the right if pouring water through left nostril and vice versa) so that water can flow out from other nostril freely.
• Raise the neti pot so that water starts pouring into nostril. Then it will start flowing out from the other nostril. The flow will depend upon whether the passage is clear or clogged.
• During this process, breathe through mouth.
• After pouring through one nostril, blow freely through both nostrils to force out excess mucus and water. If you feel still congested; kneel down, put your forehead on the floor and blow as you did before.
• Then repeat the cycle for the other nostril.
• Clears internal sinus passages and restores their health.
• Helps fight allergies, colds and other sinus problems.
• Allows easy breathing during meditation and yoga.
• Dissolves excess mucus.
• Hydrates dry nasal passage due to travel, smoke and other pollutants.
Prescriptions for Good Bones in Old Age
by Joanne Malar, Three-Time Swimming Olympian
Swimming is one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise. Not only is it fun but people of all ages reap handsome health benefits from this non-weight bearing total body workout. It is also very beneficial for people suffering from medical conditions such as arthritis.
In general, swimming:
1. Helps in improving overall strength: Since swimming works your total body, you will be able to strengthen a wide variety of muscles that are often bypassed in other activities. The benefits of taking swimming, especially for old people, are multiple. Apart from developing generalized muscular strength, it helps to improve both mental and emotional strength.
2. Improve your balance: Falls are common among the elderly and even minor falls often cause breaks and fractures. Exercises that develop your core abdominal muscles will aid in preventing future falls or close calls. Swimming increases your stabilizing muscles core by holding your body posture in the water and activating your abdominals throughout the motions. Strengthening this muscle group will help you to correct your stance and improve your reaction time when thrown off guard.
3. Is non-impact: Due to the lack of gravity, swimming is easier on your body. Especially, it is a great workout for the seniors who are able to safely increase their heart rate and extend the duration of exercise without the negative toll on their body and joints that high impact exercise can often bring. Faced with the choice of exercise, more likely in sunset years, swimming is a choice to prevent injury.
4. Helps through injury: Swimming is an excellent rehabilitation tool. Many elite athletes get to swimming after getting injured from high-intensity sports such as running, football or cycling etc. The advantage of swimming through injury is that you can still maintain your level of fitness and cardiovascular endurance without further irritating the injury due to the non-impact nature of the water. There are many water devices that aid safeguarding your injury in the water such as a pull buoy. This is a floatation device that you put in-between your thighs that keeps your legs afloat and allows you to swim without using your legs. There is a belt that you can wear around your waist that keeps you afloat upright so you can get the benefits of running in the water without touching the bottom. Lastly, kickboards allow you to stay afloat while resting your arms on the board and relying on your legs to kick and propel you through the water.
5. Improves Cardiovascular endurance: Swimming is one of the best exercises to strengthen your heart and lungs. It fashions up a great cardiovascular workout to strengthen your aerobic system. Again, because of the non-impact nature of swimming, it is suitable for the aging population to maintain their fitness and bone-mass.
One of the major concerns amongst our aging population is osteoporosis. As with many health issues, there are varying opinions on the best preventative measures. Osteoporosis is characterized by the loss of bone mass and bone mineral density (BMD). Traditionally experts recommend weight-bearing exercise to maintain and increase bone mass. Weight-bearing activities or load-bearing exercises typically suggested are weight training, resistance tubing, hiking, jogging, step aerobics, stair climbing, any exercise or sport that requires you to work against gravity. Some experts say swimming and walking, the two most recommended forms of exercise for the elderly are not bone building activities. However, should all the health benefits of swimming and walking be overturned due to this one focus? Other experts argue there is evidence that swimming does help increase bone mass in seniors but the problem is a lack of research on the aging population as studies often focus on younger elite swimmers for measurement.
When there are discrepancies in research, whether in nutrition or in exercise, the best advice is moderation. Swimming works best in combination with other activities. Swimming a couple of times a week mixed in with other activities will ensure that a wide range of muscle groups are used, under different weight loading quantities.
Mix some resistance bands, free weights, weight training, stair climbing, step class or racquet sports into your routine a couple of times a week. Focus on including stretching, balance and flexibility into your routine as well. Think quality over quantity, and fit in what you can while enjoying the variety!
This regimen of including various activities will help maintain and promote bone mass and overall health! [HQ]
Like Ants, Keep on Ploughing
by Gurdarshan Jyot, PhD
You could be the most talented, good-looking, smartest person on the earth, but if you aren’t focused on what you want and willing to go after it, your dreams will remain just dreams. The one quality you need the most to succeed is determination. Determination is the key to keep going ahead in spite of obstacles or discouragement.
You may get a glimpse of this even in a child. When they want something, there is no hesitation, they’re focused on it, and they go after it. If an obstacle is in their way, they push it or pass around it to get what they want. As we grow older, we may be taught that we can’t always have what we want, to be careful or cautious, or told “No, you can’t do that.” But in order to make your dreams come true, you have to be focused and follow it with unrelenting persistence. You need to concentrate like a hunter—focused, sharp and unwavering.
As Robyn Davidson said “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
Healthy Eating-Carrots, Peas and Potato Sabji
Recipe by Manjit Handa, PhD
Carrots: One Pound
Potatoes: Two medium sized
Peas: One cup
Onion: One small
Garlic: One clove
Ginger: Half an inch
Tomato: One medium sized
Olive/Canola oil: Three table spoons
Cumin seeds: One tablespoon
Turmeric powder: One teaspoon
Salt and Black pepper according to taste
Fresh parsley or coriander leaves for garnishing
Peel and chop the potatoes, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic and tomato. In a large skillet heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start spluttering, add garlic, onion and ginger. When they all turn golden brown add the tomato and turmeric. Just when the tomato is tender enough add carrots, potatoes, peas, salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the vegetables. When the water comes to a boil, cover and simmer the heat. Cook until all the vegetables are tender and mushy, around 25-30 minutes. Mix them well and transfer it to a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley/ coriander and serve with roti, nan bread, tortillas or simple bread. It can also be served as a side dish. Enjoy!
compiled by Parmjit Singh, PhD
• Red chilies help in cancer prevention and even treatment (Biological Pharmacology)
• Prolonged consumption of red and processed meat hikes the risk of colorectal cancer (JAMA)
• Regular exercise may cut down the over-all risk of sudden cardiac death (JAMA)
• Maintaining emotional and psychological health is beneficial for your heart (Psychosomatic Medicine)
• Yogic practice helps to treat diabetes (Nepal Medical College Journal)
To What extent faulty science and money-mentality is responsible?
by Parmjit Singh
Ever thought of diseases being mongered or artificially created? Probably you do not like to think about this horrible prospect. But some segments of scientists are becoming more vocal about this possibility. Not only are they expressing dissent about the way everything is given a medical twist, but are also hosting conferences to debate this disturbing issue. One such conference was recently hosted in Newcastle, Australia.
It is sad that some scientists in connivance with pharmaceutical companies are cooking up diseases to fatten their purses and advance their financial and professional agendas. More than that, it brings a bad name to those hard-working and conscientious scientists trying to find genuine alleviation to various problems.
Good science serves an important purpose in our society and should not be allowed to be sullied by greed and myopic professional gains. It is the responsibility of the public, government, scientists and pharmaceutical companies to encourage good science and practice so that we can find genuine solutions to the diseases we face today. Otherwise, people will start suspecting even the genuine concerns shared by physicians and scientists.
If you are interested in knowing how Viagra became a lifestyle drug or why the diagnosis of depression has gone up by 1000 folds or if there is any logic to bipolar mania, visit Public Library of Science at www.PLOS.org. Better still, unlike other information outlets; it is an open access library where you can read all the material absolutely free of charge. [HQ]