Category Archives: HEALTH

About alternative medicine, ayurveda, accupressure, exercise, yoga, home remedies

Vertical Farming for Fresh Vegtables

Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health and microbiology once challenged his student to feed 50,000 manhattans with the farming on 15 acres of roof top gardening. After much of intelligent calculation, the student concluded that they couldn’t feed more than 2,500. The professor suggested them, “why not cultivate indoors, vertically?” The idea got instant response and from then on the theory, has been taken up by many journals and other professionals. Find out the strategies used by foreign brands to woo Indian consumers
 
Vertical farming techniques are quite familiar as we are now aware of the cultivation of tomatoes in hot houses. vertical farming building will be a high-tech building with fully automated systems for watering the farms, providing the lights etc. The existing successfully used technologies like drip irrigation, aeroponics and hydroponics can provide the basis for the vertical farming.
 
vertical farming
The Oasis Tower for Zabeel Park, Dubai is an answer to the rise in population and the dearth in the amount of land available for farming. The tower would provide a solution for urban farming and sustainable housing and may be able to provide food enough to feed 40,000 people each year. For more pictures of vertical farming world over visit the site:  http://www3.jjc.edu/ftp/wdc12/jjurkiewicz/vfconceptualdesign.html
Vertical farming provides a solution for some of the prevailing concerns like pollutions from the traditional farming methods; high cost of food, and doing harm to the nature. Since the farming is done inside a closed environment, there is little threat of pesticides, and, therefore, no pesticides are required. And the food that is produced in the city itself can be availed at cheaper rates, by the city dwellers. Presently in US, it is said that fast and unhealthy food are available at cheap rates, whereby increasing risks of obesity, heart diseases and diabetes.  
 
By the mid of this century, it is predicted that the world population will increase by 3 billion, and 80% of the population will be residing in cities, therefore, farming land area as huge as Brazil will be required to feed the world.  The present availability of land is insufficient, which can lead to an impending food crisis in future.  As the famous American humorist Mark Twain says, “Buy land. They’re not making it any more.”  Despommier estimates that a 30 storey block on a square block of land in a city is sufficient to feed 50,000, and he says that we have the technology to start a farm.
 
Over a period on 10,000 years, man has learned and invented new method of farming, which helps in cultivating high yields of crops and vegetables, on large stretch of horizontal farms. There are many drawbacks in importing or transporting vegetable from farms – many years of farming makes the soil infertile; the yield depends highly on natural elements like sunlight and rain fall, and high expense is incurred for transporting the fresh vegetables to cities. 
 
Though there are some concerns regarding the feasibility of vertical farming, and allegations that the advantages are exaggerated, there is more to gains from developing vertical farming.
 

Ancy Abraham

8 Home Remedies for Fever and Cold

home remedies for fever and cold

Every working parent lives with the nightmare of children falling sick. When the dreaded thing happens, parents, have to ensure that the fever doesn’t go high resulting in pneumonia, fit or other complications. Before consulting a doctor, there are many preventive measures that can be taken using ingredients in the kitchen to ensure that the cold and fever doesn’t escalate. Home remedies for fever and cold are risk-free and without side effects.

Children are prone to cold and fever mostly during climate changes or when they are exposed to a new climatic condition. Home remedies for fever and cold will keep them immune to viral attacks. Give them a balanced nutritional diet and let them play outside the closed air-conditioned accommodations at least for an hour every day.Whatever steps you take there will be an occasional attack of fever and cold; Parents have to keep aside some day-off for such emergencies. No escape from that!

Always keep handy a few easily available ingredients, that are useful for home remedies for fever and cold. Whereby you can start natural, no side effect, remedies as soon as you see the first indication of cold or fever. Even when there is no sign of fever give a spoon of honey and inhale vapour steam after playing in the water, having a lot of ice creams or when someone else having fever or cold,…….

Also Read:5 summer drink recipes to beat the heat

Products mentioned below are always available at home. As the products are all natural, you can administer preventive dosage even at the slightest doubt of fever or cold attack. Home remedies for fever and cold are natural products from the kitchen, so they produce no side effect when used as a precaution against the onset of fever and cough.

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Take a few leaves of Tulsi, wash it thoroughly and press the leaves to extract the juice. Add a tablespoon full of honey to the Tulsi extract.

Shallots

Sometimes referred to as small onions, shallots extracts are an elixir for fever and cold. Peel off the skin, crush, and then extract the juice from the shallots. Give the shallot extract in combination with honey and Tulsi juice.

Pepper

Crushed pepper with honey gives immunity against a cough and cold.

Honey

In the winter season if you take a spoonful of honey every day you can prevent a cough and nasal blocks.

Inhaler

Whenever there is a stuffy nose or a cough, use an inhaler added with some inhalation medicine. Close the room and leave the inhaler switched on for some time (Make sure to maintain the water level in the inhaler).

Crystal Sugar

There is a variety of crystal sugars with medicinal value. Crystal sugar can have every day. Babies can be given the sugar either as a powder or mixed with water.

Liquid Diet

Children refuse to take food when they have cold or fever. It is said that consuming less food is a natural process of the body to fight the fever and cold; there is no need to forcefully give food. Always give water as the body should not be dehydrated.

Rest

The best remedy for fever is to take complete rest. Most children recover after getting one day of complete rest – No games, only sleeping and drinking a lot of water. Parents should take a day off to give the child complete care & Love.
In addition, also keep some medicines handy at home as a cough syrup, a paracetamol syrup, capsules for inhalation, ……..

Walking Habit of Four Generation

Until a decade back,when transportation was costly and very few owned a vehicle, we used to walk a lot in India. As the years go bye the daily walking hours keep decreasing. My family was enthusiastic of walking. I thought why not make a comparative study of the walking habit of four generation – grandfather, father, myself and now kids spend walking. Read this post to find more about how walking boost memory.

Grandfather: An accountant by profession, before the independence of India, he used to walk hundreds of miles to meet his clients. He walked day and night, barefoot, and come back home sometimes in the wee hours of morning.
Diet: Rice was his staple food – breakfast of rice flour dishes; rice and curry for lunch and dinner. Every morning, at 4 AM, before starting his work, he had egg-milk (piping hot milk poured into a steel tumbler containing raw whipped egg). As a small child one day I insisted on having the same concoction and the same quantity as grandpa was drinking. Guess what happened – I couldn’t drink even one sip and that disgusting smell  of the raw egg persists in my memory!. Grandma says that this ‘Magic Egg’ concoction was the secret of his good health.
Health status: Grandpa was a thorough professional of those days with a high social status. He was active in many social circles until one day when he died of heart attack at the age of 75.
Father:  A post-independent product, the maximum my father walked was from his home to school, an aggregate of 10 kms per day. By the time he grew up there were buses and cycles. When he started working he brought a cycle and now he has a car.
Diet:  A strict non-vegetarian, he has only home made food. Ask him to control his weight or to change his food habit according to age – my kids don’t have to be coaxed so much to eat vegetables.
Health status: Now a days he is a cardiac patient and so he is supposedly on a cholesterol-control diet.
Myself: On a average I used to walk for 6 kms/days during my college days – home to bus stand / bus stop to college. Sometimes we friends used to walk for 3 kms, from the college to a Bus Junction. Now I have my private vehicle; the public transportation  also reaches upto my door steps. If I think of walking from the metro station to home, there are many hurdles – pollution, heavy traffic,….

Diet: Though I insist on having home made food; everyday I have a grab of the Junk food due to uncontrollable factors – office party, going out with family, overtime in office. Blame it on the lifestyle! The lifestyle promotes the Junk food culture!
Health status:Would have been an easy target for Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, spondylitis,….. had it not been for my regular walks, restricted diet and exercise.

Kids: They run, jump, jog, swing, leap, and yes walk also! Not the kind of walk that will enhance good health. They walk in schools, in malls, on the market lanes; they never walk fast consistently for 10 minutes. The residence are so small and packed with furniture that children don’t get a chance to walk inside home. Some also have skateboards to move around in the house.
Diet: Its hard to draw a clear distinction on the kind of diet to follow for kids – nutritional diet/freshly cooked food diet/Junk food. Mothers have to decide very early in life about the kids diet.  No matter how strict a mother is about home-made food and nutritional diet, a child on a average has atleast 100g of processed chips daily. In addition jam, sauce, biscuits, cakes,…….are all processed food.
Health status: Obesity is common, some kids are on weight reduction diet.We walk when the circumstances demand! There is no compelling factor, today, to wake up early in the morning for walk; until one becomes a victim of lifestyle diseases.Walking half an hour a day can keep lifestyle diseases away!

Walking shoes are essential

When we are yet to get used to the habit of walking for health, experts say that we should wear shoes for walking. Shoes is an alien concept, in India were we don’t have the tradition of covering the feet completely. Our forefathers used to walk barefoot hundreds of mile for a livelihood ; I used to walk to college in stilettos. So one fine day when someone says that walking shoes are essential for walking, sound irrational! Read this post to know about the fitness regime of the elderly.
I always ignored the advice to wear shoes for walking. Once I brought a canvas shoes, within a few days gave it in charity. There is nothing more comfortable than the lightweight, rubber slippers in which the foot can move freely.
I stuck to my theory for over a decade, until I saw many elderly women wear sports shoes for walk. Whether in sarees or salwar/kameez most of the walkers now walk in sport shoes. Though not fully convinced that there will be any visible change, I decided to go with the trend – I brought an athletic shoe for walking.
The Result!
My viewpoint has changed completely! My life has change for ever! There are atleast five benefits of walking in shoes.  Some of the advantages of walking in shoes are as follows:
  • Increase in Speed

I used to cover 10 laps in an hour; wearing shoes I can cover 15 lapse. Which means 50% increase in performance.

  • Less pressure on feet

While walking in a slipper the toes have the additional job of holding the straps in place. This decreases the speed of walking.

  • Shoes are walking aides

Walking shoes are generally designed to be flexible to the ball of the foot;  when you walk the weight of the body rolls from the heel, to the ball of foot and finally to the toes. A good walking shoe will help reduce the pressure borne by the foot.

  • Improves body posture

A good shoe helps create natural body posture. Buy shoes that are flexible in the toe so that you can bend and twist the toe part while walking.

  • Protects the feet

In the slippers the feet is covered with dust and they are prone to get injured. A shoe protects the feet from external damage.

Tips for buying a good pair of athletic shoe
Before buying the athletic shoe I surveyed the market by reading articles online, talking to friends and visiting athletic shoe showrooms. Some of the findings are as follows:
  • Running shoe is better than walking shoe for walking
  • The shoe should be lightweight and flexible.
  • There should be enough cushioning under the ball of the foot.
  • Ensure that the toes can move freely inside the shoe
  • Buy a shoe of good quality; use your instinct rather than the salesman’s opinion. Take a trial, of both the shoe, before buying.

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To lose weight, make friends with lean people

A scientific study says that if you want to lose weight make friendship with lean people. The attitude of my friends towards walking proves the finding to be true. Read this post to know about the walking habits of four generations of a family.

I have a couple of lean, perfectly in-shape, friends who have a predominantly fatty food diet. The difference between the lean, heavy-eaters and the obese is that the former does all the physical work without applying any brain, while the latter tries to find short cut for all activities. Since the zebra crossing is faraway, I would risk the busy traffic to cross the road. But my lean friends follows the rule and goes all the way to the zebra crossing to cross the road. When I take the escalator to go to the metro train platform, my lean friend prefers to take the stairways. Such lean people burn so much of calories during their daily routine, that they do not need any form of physical exercise

During friendly chats, when I tell my friends about the refreshing morning walks, they complain that I was too mean to not call them for company. So one of them decided to come for the walk at 7:00 in the morning. However I was awaken by a mobile message at 3:00 AM; which read ‘I won’t come for walk, as I slept very late yesterday‘.

Another friend decided that her children also require some exercise, so she accompanied me on morning walks with two teenage son and a little daughter. While we walked, the kids played badminton in the park. As the children were playing, our concentration was on the security of the kids; so we walked less and watched the kids more. In order to cajole the children to come everyday for walks, we used to have a small party of cookies and hot coffee after the walk and game section.
Walking with friends strengthens friendship but fails to achieve the ultimate aim of achieving physical fitness. So on weekday I walk alone and on on the longer weekend walks friends are also invited.
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Say ‘No’ to pollution in delhi

pollution in delhi
 
Pollution in Delhi is not a new topic of discussion. According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer, air pollution is a major cause of cancer. Their studies show that pollution in Delhi has high level of life-threatening pollutants. More about lead pollution in Delhi in this post.
 
That Delhi is a highly polluted city, is well-known, you can know the difference by staying here for sometime. Due to pollution in Delhi people say their food intake is less than half of what they have in the village. Delhiites always say “Nothing is fresh here”. To gain something we should also lose something (Kuch Paane ke liye Kuch Khona Padta Ha). In the village you would not have the income to buy all the fresh things. 
 
The cheapest and the simplest method to gain resistance from pollution in delhi is early morning walk and exercise in the park. Walks will prepare the body and mind to resist the pollutants inhaled during the rest of the day.  
 
In the park there were a few volunteers of alternative medicines distributing flyers and telling walkers about how therapies can heal various diseases. The flyers contained names of diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis,  diabetes, BP, Amnesia,……….. These diseases can be summed up under one name – lifestyle diseases. There is no need of medication, these diseases can disappear by adopting corrective measures in lifestyle. We cannot stop pollution in Delhi until the people and authorities work towards the common goal of making Delhi pollution free.  Until the pollution in Delhi in eradicated we can remain well armed to fight the menace caused by pollution. 
 
I find no school going kids in the park. Half of the walkers are the elderly; and the rest youth and the middle aged. People become conscious of their health after they develop some kind of diseases. 
 
Many business that promise better health are mushrooming in and around the park. Yoga, pranic medicine, auyrveda, all claim that their treatments are good to gain resistance, and cure, from diseases. Tell the herbal juice wala what kind of disease you have and he makes the right concoction for you ‘a glass of juice for arthritis please’. As it was weekends there were also camps for free medical check up. 
 
It will be a great blessing for the health of the city, if children put in the habit of running and exercising in parks. They will benefit in two ways. Firstly children, who are the largest victims of air pollution diseases like asthma, will gain resistant.  Secondly, if children inculcate the habit of walking they will be conscious about their health for lifelong. 
 
For the health of the City – Say ‘No’ to pollution in delhi ! Say ‘Yes’ to walking and exercise!

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Walking boosts memory

 
Today I read an article in a Newspaper that the memory power of those who walk in park is 20% more than of those who walk on street lanes. Naturally, while walking in a green surrounding there is more intake of oxygen and that makes the brain-cells work better. Maybe this is the scientific explanation for the inspiration that writers get when they are in the midst of nature. Remember the famous poem of Robert Frost “Stopping by the woods” penned down after he travelled through the woods on a cold winter night. Read this post to know the advantage of using walking shoes.
I observed that most of the people who walked in the park did not have athletic figure, they were walking more for their mental than physical fitness. Nowadays you need to be young, physically and mentally, to remain fit in the job market. There is one fellow, whose self-styled exercise routine has made him  the butt of joke in the park. He runs fast and when he finds some other jogger in front of him, he will reduce the speed with a loud noise, as if applying sudden break in a car. He faces to the west and claps so loudly that the sound vibrates through the entire premise of the park. He ends his exercise routine by standing straight, looking up at the sky, as if to roar like a lion, and then he laughs at the top of his voice. He is a successful entrepreneur, and I am sure he follows the ‘I don’t care what others think’ attitude even in his office.(The secret of all successful people is their confidence to act differently in order to attain their goals).
My boss, in her seventies, is another example of how fitness is important to remain mentally fit. She does yoga and walks everyday in the morning. She drinks one glass of green juice, and another of fruit, before leaving for office. Ask her about the content of any magazine she published 20 years back and she promptly gives details about its date of publishing, the cover picture and so on.
In this age when Dementia and amnesia are becoming common, the time is never late to begin exercising and walking in the parks. An hour of activity in the park everyday will keep one fit, mentally and physically always. 
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Brisk walking is good for health

The first golden rule to maintain a healthy lifestyle – Brisk walk everyday. I have read many articles about the benefits of brisk walking, but I still don’t know how fast I should walk. Since articles were of no use I decided to follow the footsteps of the fittest person in the park. I discovered that, if the articles were confusing, the ingenious walking techniques of the walkers were even more confusing. Read this post to know about the walking habits of four generations of a family.

I located the leanest walker, since I wanted to be that thin, and observed how she walks. There was nothing artistic about her style. She kept on walking, non stop, around the park for hours, with an earphone fixed in her ears. There were youngsters who ran at full speed –  I decided not to follow them. Then came a healthy girl in the opposite direction, she was taking long, hefty strides and swinging her hands to and fro, violently, as if she was going to beat someone. There were some who did combo-exercises. They stretched hand and legs; and swung them round and round while walking. Others just jogged.

While most walked alone, some were in groups. They walk to rejuvenate, so that they can start their day on a fresh note. While they walk, they occupy the whole space, disturbing the pace of the serious walkers. There was also a group of elderly aunts, who wore sports shoe with their traditional dress, walking religiously in the morning and evening. These beautiful women in their seventies are so fit and healthy that any youngster would want to make them their fitness icon. (I know them personally, the secret of their fitness, and beauty, is also because of their harmonious family life.)

After observing the walkers in the parks, and discussing with regular walkers, I concluded that how you walk or how fast you walk is not important. What is more important is to walk regularly without fail.

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The fitness freak elderly

 

Going to park in the morning is the most refreshing way to start a day. Parks are so common that every place in Delhi is within walking distance of one or two parks. There are parks in my colony, however I like to go the District Park which is situated in acres of land and the whole place is buzzing, in the morning, with fitness activities. Read this to know about an 83 year old international woman athlete.

Most of the early morning park goers are the elderly who can give tough competition to youngster with their innovative fitness techniques. In the ‘laughing clubs’ who stand in a circle and laugh their lungs out on some artificially created jokes. Some of them sit on the bench and sing spiritual songs or poems. Sometimes they decide the future of the government by just sitting on the bench – without jumping on their feet or running to the well of the house. Their spirits defy their age and they come up with new projects for the development of the colony.
As they have lot of time and they are keen to stay fit, they opt for traditional fitness lifestyle. So they use dantoon (neem twig) to brush teeth and have green herbal juice consisting of bitter herbs like alovera, gooseberry, bitter gourd, china grass,……etc.(tips: any herb or vegetable that in green and bitter can be included). The fitness-freak-elderly enthusiasm led to three make-shift herbal juice shops being erected inside the park, that make sweet money in return of serving the fitness-freaks bitter juice.
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