Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ode to barley: The grain of good health

Several studies suggest that barley can lower cholesterol levels by 15 per cent in individuals with elevated cholesterol levels. In one study, subjects with hypercholesterolemia were fed barley or oat foods for six weeks. Barley and oat flours were used in equivalent amounts in breakfast cereals, bran muffins, and flat bread recipes. While both barley and oat diets lowered total cholesterol by five per cent, LDL (bad) cholesterol was reduced by 14 per cent in subjects fed barley diet compared to seven per cent in those fed the oat diet.

Barley and oats are a good source of "beta glucan", a water-soluble form of fibre. The viscous fibre seems to retard fat and cholesterol absorption by the intestine. The fibre tends to bind bile salts, thus increasing cholesterol removal from the body. Presence of fat-soluble substances such as tocotrienols (vitamin E) in it appears to suppress cholesterol synthesis by the liver. However, this does not explain barley's efficacy in getting cholesterol levels down. A 100 gm of barley contain about 3 gm of soluble fibre which pales in comparison to oatbran's 7.2 gm. Barley's cholesterol-reducing capacity goes beyond what its soluble fibre content provides. Scientists are trying to figure out what is it about barley that makes it effective.

Another important benefit of barley is its remarkably low glycemic index, which means it releases its carbohydrate much slower than most grains. This property helps increase the satiety value of the meal and offers immense benefits for those with diabetes and obesity.

Barley is a high-fibre, low-fat food that helps to promote satiety. It is also a pre-biotic i.e. it promotes the growth of friendly bacteria. It has been found extremely useful in treating ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, constipation and diarrhoea. Barley broth and lemon barley water are also used to treat urinary tract infection.

While several varieties of barley are known, it is mostly used today for preparing malt. Whole barley is available as porridge (cracked) or ground as barley flour. Pearled barley is a refined form which may not be as useful as "whole" for cholesterol reduction. Meanwhile, just add barley to your diet as a flour to make rotis or bread, to porridge, in soup or salad.

Source: Indian Express

Monday, April 26, 2010

Natural Ways to Lighten Your Skin

Natural Ways to Lighten Your Skin

Dark spots, and freckles, and skin-damage - oh my! Looking to lighten your complexion? Every shade of skin is beautiful, but as we grow older our skin tone can change. Freckles may appear, dark spots can arise, and skin may not be as light as it once was. So, if you're still not ready to embrace your dark side, read on for a few natural whitening tips and tricks.

Use Sunblock
One of the easiest ways to stay fair is to use sunblock on a daily basis. Find a moisturizer that includes an SPF of 15 or higher and use it every morning after washing your face. Sunblock not only prevents your skin from getting darker, but also blocks harmful UV rays that can cause cancer and premature aging. Remember your hands when applying sunblock, as they are a prime area for age spots.

Exfoliating once a week will remove dead skin cells to lighten and brighten your skin. Mix two tablespoons oatmeal and two tablespoons brown sugar with a quarter cup of milk, and stir until a paste forms. Gently scrub your face, rinse, and moisturize.

Make a Mask
A homemade mask is a great way to lighten your skin and a good excuse to kick back on the couch. Try using one once a week. Use one tablespoon of each of the following: sandalwood paste, lemon juice, tomato juice, and cucumber juice. Mix them all together to form a paste. Spread the mixture on your face and wait until it dries. Rinse and moisturize for a natural glow.

Licorice Extract
Licorice extract contains glabridin, a component that acts as a natural skin whitener. Apply a thin layer of the extract morning and evening, after you wash your face and before you moisturize. Licorice extract can be found at any health food store or ordered online. Be sure to store the bottle in a cool, dark place to maintain freshness. 

Note : Test a small amount on the back of your arm before using on your face to be sure you do not have an allergic reaction.  

Remember to love your skin no matter what color it is. It's a part of who you are and that's what makes you beautiful and unique.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


1.   Laugh.
When you laugh, you actually cause a pleasurable change in your body’s chemistry that lasts as long as 45 minutes. So take in a comedy at the movies, watch a funny television show, or invite friends over for a game of charades.

2.   Pets.
Physical contact with pets or even just their presence has been proved to be therapeutic for hospital patients. Play with your dog, hold your cat, or sing to your bird: all of these activities can help reduce blood pressure and bring a feeling of calm.

3.   Nature.
The soothing, stress-relieving power of nature has been recognized for centuries. Many hospitals and health centers now make “nature areas” a part of their therapeutic environment. And when properly tailored to the individual’s conditioning and enjoyment, physical exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety. Take a walk outside!

4.   Music.
Music’s calming effect has been proved during dental procedures, during labor, before and after surgery, and in emergency rooms. This effect is probably due to music’s ability to distract and soothe.

To Be Continued....

Monday, April 5, 2010

10 Health Benefits of Water :

Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Just look at the facts: The brain contains 74% water, blood contains 83% water, lean muscle has 75% and bone has 22% water. Experts agree that water is one of the most powerful forms of treatment. So how come most people don't drink enough water? 

1. Water prevents kidney stones. The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Since water dissolves the substances that form stones in the urine, drinking 12 glasses daily helps treat kidney stones. 

2. Water treats urinary tract infection. The more water you drink, the more you will urinate. "Drinking lots of water will help flush out harmful bacteria from your bladder," says Medical City kidney specialist Dr. Roberto Tanchanco. 

3. Water helps patients with diarrhea by preventing dehydration. As a first-aid for diarrhea, you can make your own oral rehydration solution at home. Mix a glass of water with 2 teaspoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt, and drink as much as you can tolerate. This is similar to the dextrose solution in the hospital. 

4. Water helps reduce fever. For symptoms of flu, water can help lower your body temperature when you urinate the "heat" out of your body. If you're sick, drink more water for you to recover faster. 

5. Water helps treat cough and colds, sore throat, and respiratory infections. Water helps loosen sticky phlegm. A respected lung specialist told me that some mucolytics out there are just as beneficial as drinking lots of water.


Source : By Dr. Willie T. Ong