Sinus infections: Don’t let it get the better of you!

Those were the days, weren’t they? And I’m sure you’ll refrain from overly castigating me for breaking out in song in praise of those times in our recent past. You know, those times when sinus was a rare thing – and not quite the commonplace and all pervasive illness it is these days. Like me, I’m sure you know all too many people who are affected by the disease.

Now, if you didn’t quite grasp the true extent and impact of a sinus infection, and were too scared to ask, fear not, we’ve got your back -simply do read on.

First up, keep an eagle eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • A persistent cough
  • Fever
  • A steadily worsening headache
  • Thick yellow or green mucus
  • Pressure behind the cheeks & eyes
  • Tiredness

Once these symptoms have made themselves known, it’s time to spring into action! Please be aware that untreated sinus infections could result in a fair multitude of illnesses ranging from asthma or worsening of asthma (if indeed the condition does exist), bronchitis, ear and throat infections and even chronic cough. But hang on, we’re not yet done – an untreated infection could lead to swollen nasal membranes, nasal obstruction as well as nasal congestion.

Chronic sinus on the other hand could burden you with nasal polyps, I’m sure you will roundly agree that all of us could do without that! What’s more, these polyps also obstruct and hinder the treatment of the illness.

With all that we’ve chosen to include above, I’m sure you will act on sinus infections without delay. However, if you are more thick skinned than most, please also be informed that in severe cases, the infection could get straight into your blood stream! What’s more, the infection could even flow into the brain and eyes, resulting in blindness and even life threatening situations!

Woah! That sounded rather dire, and I’m sure we’ve definitely got your attention by this point. So do treat sinus infections without delay, and don’t let it get the better of you!

Own and Defeat Acne with the Home Remedies

Despite what they might tell you, the big corporations have made little headway in their treatment of that pesky, irksome thing which we’re all too familiar with. Yep, you guessed it, it’s acne. While some of us have felt this burden more keenly than most, we’re here to help you with some home remedies to treat acne effectively. So, without a moment to lose, let’s get right to it!

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Baking Soda: It’s got all the trappings of the Cinderella story! What am I on about? Well, it’s the elevation of the humble baking soda to unprecedented heights, and its ability to magically combat and defeat acne and pimples, of course! Baking soda, if you were quite unaware, acts as an exfoliant, effectively removing dead skin and unblocking them troublesome pores. For this, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, five tablespoons of honey, one tablespoon of cinnamon powder and the juice of half a lime in a bowl. Apply the resulting mixture onto the troublesome area, and keep it on for five minutes before washing it all off, and you’re done!

Multani Mitti Mix: Another great remedy for those upsetting acne and pimples, multani mitti or Fuller’s Earth can bring your treatment full circle! Now listen carefully, simply mix together equal portions of multani mitti, sandalwood powder and rose water, and that’s it. Keep this mudpack on till it dries up, and repeat once a week, and effectively sound the acne death knell for all time to come!

Toothpaste: Yes, you can stop rubbing your eyes this very minute, for toothpaste more than holds its own as an acne remedy! Moreover, as it’s something you always have lying about the house, it can easily be deployed to dry up the affected area, and even reduce that, oh so painful, swelling. Hey, we wouldn’t lie to you!

Tomatoes: Packed with antioxidants, and overflowing with vitamins A & C, this everyday vegetable is a potent pimple and acne defeater! Here’s how you can employ it- slice a tomato, and rub the slice all over the pimple dominated area, spend some time massaging the juice into your skin and wash away with some warm water. You could even do this twice a day, and deliver acne that killer blow!

Max Out Your Magnesium Levels With These Foods

Magnesium? Well, well, well, the mere mention of the ‘thing’ must cast your mind back several years to the chemistry lab of yore. As such, it’s not something that enters your consciousness on an everyday level. But lest we cast it aside quite unscrupulously, let’s be quick to inform you that magnesium is an essential substance (in prescribed quantities of course) for our well-being. For one, magnesium helps maintain muscle and nerve function, besides also helping boost immunity levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and even playing a key role in helping you maintain a steady heartbeat! Wow, who would’ve thought it?

Before you reach out for some magnesium supplements, why not take it in its natural form instead? And to do the very thing, we’ve handily put together a list of magnesium rich foods to set you well on your way.

Please keep in mind that you need somewhere in the region of 300 mg of magnesium a day. Do consult your doctor to find out how much you need.

First up, leafy green veggies such as spinach are packed to the gills with magnesium! Raw spinach contains 24 mg of magnesium for every 30 gm consumed; now when you take it in cooked form, that figure goes up to 157mg for every 180 gm of spinach!

Mackerel’s another stupendous source of magnesium and adds about 97 mg of magnesium for every 100 gm consumed. Other fish to consider include Tuna and Pollock.

Now, it may delight you to discover that dark chocolate is another superb source of magnesium! About 100 gm of this treat can add as much as 327 mg of magnesium to your diet, accounting for about a whole day’s worth.

Squash and Pumpkin seeds round off this list and can provide you with a truly amazing 534 mg of magnesium for every 100 gm you take. Other seeds to consider in this regard include sesame seeds, cashews and almonds.

Dress up Your Tresses With Some DIY Hair Masks

For a generation that seemingly eats only so that they can post about it on social media, appearances and how you appear are everything. Given all this, it only makes sense that you are always well-groomed and look your very best on every occasion.

To this end, we’ll start you off with some truly magical DIY hair masks that will ensure that your halo and indeed your crown is perfectly complemented by lustrous, healthy and glowing locks that are sure to turn heads. So, like any half decent gymnast would, let’s jump right to it!

  1. With the pollution at such startlingly high levels, it’s bound to leave your hair in a ‘not so nice’ state. Fret no more however, for our Coconut Hair Restorer-er Mask is right at hand! All you need for this is to mix one tablespoon each of coconut oil and honey in a bowl, and heat it up till the ensuing mixture melts. Now, simply apply from root to tip, cover with a shower cap for about 20 mins and rinse it off. Now, wasn’t that simple enough?
  2. For that extra lustre and gloss, we can’t go very far before recommending the Glowrious Hair Mask! For this, mash up an avocado until smooth, mix in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and half a cup of coconut milk, and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds. With that done with, apply on your hair and keep on for half an hour before you rinse it off.
  3. Now, you can fight back the frizz with our Frizz Frightener 2000 Mask! It’s so easy – mix half a cup each of yoghurt and honey with one tablespoon of almond oil and apply onto your truant hair. Keep it on for 20 minutes, and rinse off with some shampoo to reveal a more obedient and healthy head of hair.
  4. The Brown Sugar Mask is so good it should be made illegal! Why? Well, simply because it helps get rid of dead cells in a jiffy unlike anything else, leaving your scalp free of any unsightly and itchy flakes. Now, for the mask itself – mix two tablespoons of brown sugar and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, apply this mix from root to tip, let sit under a shower cap for 20 minutes and simply rinse off.

Zero Calorie Foods: They do exist!

You know how it is, you go about your day without a care in the world, and then someone crosses your path (not unlike the fabled black cat) and utters those three words, yes you guessed it– “Zero Calorie Foods!” Now, all that’s left of you is an unsightly crumpled heap!

A while ago, even alluding to such a thing as ‘zero calorie foods’ would signal that you should be hurried off to the nuthouse on a one-way ticket. Not anymore however, for further research has revealed that those mythical zero calorie foods do exist. What’s more, it’s the philosopher’s stone for those of us looking to lose or control their weight. But what indeed are those zero calorie foods? Well, let’s list ‘em out for ya!

A quick aside before we journey on: These ‘zero calorie foods’ aren’t exactly zero calorie foods. They are simply termed that way because they contain a miniscule amount of calories (less than 50) per 100 gm serving, which is great!

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Celery: Topping the class in this category, celery contains just a shocking 16 calories in a 100 gm serving! Woah! That should be enough to send you rushing over to the grocery shop and stuffing your shopping bag full of this green goodness!

Cucumber: With all their tangible water content, it’s hardly surprising that cucumbers come high up on this list. Coming up at pretty much the same calorie count per 100 gm as celery, you were always justified in including cucumbers in your meals. Now, don’t ever stop!

Asparagus: Clocking in at a mere 20 calories to a 100 gm serving, asparagus more than holds its own in this category. In addition, you’ll be getting a good dose of vitamins A, C, E & K when you load up on this veggie!

Cabbage: The humble cabbage rounds up this distinguished list, coming in at just 25 cals per 100 gm. Now, feel free to dig into more salads packed full of cabbage. Besides, it will keep you fuller for longer, and that’s what we want!

Cooking Oils: Which one should you choose?

By now it’s rife in the media, and they’re all saying the same thing – oil’s not good for you! While that’s partly true, that definitely doesn’t mean you should shun it all together. Context, as in most cases is key here, for, in truth, we all do need some oil in our systems, while too much of it will hasten your descent to the grave. Think of your body like a car, and you can hardly get very far if there’s no oil in your engine.

Now, while all that’s well and good, here are four cooking oils that are better for you and can positively affect your health.

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Coconut Oil: That mainstay of God’s own country has now wowed the world, leading many folks to claim it as a Godsend, and while that may sound like exaggeration, it’s not a million miles away. For one, coconut oil could help you shed some of that troublesome weight as it contains short and medium-chain fatty acids. Besides this, coconut oil also provides antimicrobial lipids, as well as lauric, capric and caprylic acid which helps boost immunity levels. What’s more, contrary to popular belief, it also promotes heart health!

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Olive Oil: After it has proved to be a good cooking mate for our friends in other lands. Olive oil has been the ‘flavour of the month’ for quite a while now at our shores. Now, while it helps improve bone health by helping you absorb more calcium, olive oil also helps neutralize the free radicals in your body thereby limiting your cancer risk considerably, and also reduces your risk of contracting heart disease, owing to the fact that lowers your blood cholesterol levels.

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Canola Oil: A relatively new entrant in the cooking oil market in India, Canola oil is now a popular choice. Canola oil is high in Omega 3s, that aside it is known to have one of the lowest saturated fat contents of any oil known to man. But that’s not all, it also contains plant sterols which prevent the onset of heart disease, as well the absorption of cholesterol!

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Rice Bran Oil: Again, a rather unheard of option, but it isn’t without its health benefits! Chief among which are the prospect of lower cholesterol levels, owed in large part to the fact that the oil contains Oryzanol. That notwithstanding, it’s also high in good fats namely, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats too!

Team Outing Boosts Productivity, Improves Morale

Man is a known sociable animal. Be it the bond you share with your family or your friends who you meet during different walks of your journey, you are born to be around people. And when this rule of being sociable applies to almost all, the same is true when it comes to work.

We spend most of our day with colleagues at work than at home and it becomes all the more necessary that we focus on building a comfortable atmosphere for our employees.

Many companies over the years have realized that the company’s success solely depends on the employee happiness quotient and their work quality. Hence were born ideas like, outdoor induction programmes, team outings, year-end parties, team luncheons, team dinners, cocktail nights and more at regular intervals.team outing - info.jpgIce-breakers

When new employees are hired in an organization, there is not enough time for them to know each other during work hours. Expecting them to work as a team becomes impossible as they cannot relate to being a part of the team. Hence the off-beat way of knowing thy “neighbour” helps the team to work better after an ice-breaker session. Some organisations even hire professional event management companies to organize team bonding events for such occasions.

Team Luncheons

Quite often, employees are caught in the rigmarole of meeting deadlines, SLAs, TATs or trying to sustain good quality work. Team luncheons to help sit in the company of teammates and discuss the kind of food they love or about their favourite football or cricket player, help them de-stress and boost their energy to work harder. These luncheons can be organized on a quarterly basis.

Dinner & Cocktail Parties

If you are a party person, the best way to re-energize is to let your hair down and get on the dance floor after a few cocktails. This helps get over all your inhibitions and see the happier, funnier and energized side of your peer and help bond with like-minded people. You could go sober and still have fun too!

Adventure Trips

For nature lovers, adventure trips and treks are helpful in letting employees enjoy the serenity and give them peace of mind. This helps them come back relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to take on more challenges at work.

Family Outings

Some companies even go out of their way and budget to make the employees feel special and invaluable, by organizing events that involve their families too. This helps the families of the employees appreciate the organization and boosts the employee morale.

In-house Fun Events

For those who want to consistently boost team morale, have smaller fun activities organized regularly to energize the employees on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. It could be conducting short fun games in the isle or cutting birthday cakes to celebrate members’ birthdays.

Once you’ve put in the effort to consider the need to have these events and more, it will not take too long for you to notice the positive impact on the work floor. There will be more communication, a boost in employee morale and everyone will be working as part of a team to achieve the bigger goal that the company is set out to achieve. This boosts productivity, helping you to become less stressed. It will also help make your company a fun yet productive place to work in.

Work it all off, beginning this Women’s Day!

First up, let us take the opportunity to wish all the females of the species a very happy Women’s Day, 2017! It pleases us no end, to acknowledge that women the world over have begun to fight (and dare I say win!) the inherent gender bias that plagues society, nay the world!

That said, many women feel nature has played a cruel trick on them by providing them with more fat cells than men. Before you despair, however, it all has to do with the ever so wonderful life nurturing properties that women bestow on the species.

Now ladies, we know just where that ‘extra baggage’ is stored, and that’s in the thighs, hips, abdomen and buttocks. Before we proceed, we’d just like to say that while this piece does not intend on disparaging women who are comfortable in their own skin, we do want to help those who want to shed those stubborn few kilos that are slowing them down. So, sisters, if you think you’re one of them, do read on.

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Mountain Climbers: This exercise could magically make all that weight around the abdomen disappear for good! Now doesn’t that sound good? Sure it does! To do this, assume push-up position and hold your core tight. Then, slowly bring one leg closer to your chest at a time, holding the position. Remember, only go as fast as you think you can, but do quicken the pace to whatever you think is comfortable. In time, you could always go faster!

Dead lifts: This exercise is simply awesome because it helps target all those troublesome areas, including the hips and glutes. What’s more, it also boosts your overall metabolism and strength. But before you buy your Wonder Woman costume, we strongly suggest that you ask your gym trainer to help you out with the exercise, because getting your form right for this one will prevent injury and help you get the most out of the move.

Squats: Squats are an often overlooked and underappreciated exercise, but like your PT master in school told you, no real workout is complete without the humble squat! This compound move isn’t simply a leg exercise, and also supremely works your thighs and core. We won’t go into the specifics of to how to do it, because we all know this, don’t we? If in doubt, please get in touch with someone who does.

Hip Raises: As the name suggests, this exercise involves you raising your hips, and after a while, we’re sure your hips won’t lie! This move helps shift that weight that clings to your buttocks, making you feel good, and look even lighter! Now to the actual move, lie down (with your back on the ground) with your knees bent and feet flat on a gym or yoga mat. Now for the actual move, tighten your core and glutes, and raise your hips off the ground, making a straight line from knees to shoulders. Pause for a while, and come back down. Now, repeat for best results!

We do hope you enjoyed this feature, and hope you include all the moves listed above in your workout regime – for a newer, lighter, more energised and enlivened you awaits you on the other side!

Note: Do contact your physician and gym trainer before proceeding headlong with any of these exercises, and don’t forget to warm up first.

Turmeric, the Wonder Spice and its Benefits

Turmeric is the aromatic spice widely used in India and is obtained from the roots of a plant of the ginger family. It has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, hot peppery flavour and mustard like aroma.

It contains potent active ingredient Curcumin (an antioxidant), the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow colour.

Turmeric has many antioxidant properties.  Antioxidants fight off cancer-causing free radicals and reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Turmeric helps those suffering from Arthritis, where free radicals cause the joint inflammation and damage the joints. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory combination effects clearly show how many people suffering from this find relief when they use the spice regularly.

  • Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Applying it on cuts and burns speeds the healing process.
  • When it is cooked with cauliflower it works as a preventive against prostate cancer.
  • Adding this to food regularly will help in preventing breast cancer.
  • It reduces the risks of childhood leukemia.
  • It prevents and slows the progression of Alzheimer diseases by removing amyloid plaque build-up in the brain.
  • It detoxifies the liver.
  • It helps in inducing metabolism and reducing fat.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in treating arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It improves digestion.
  • Purifies the blood
  • Strengthens your ligaments.
  • It is used as a skin tonic to help reduce acne. Its application helps reduce wrinkles and is best for cracked heels.
  • Helps during cough and also helps those suffering from Asthma.
  • It helps prevent bloating.
  • It lowers cholesterol and heals stomach ulcers.
  • It improves skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, etc.
  • It helps prevent cancer.
  • It reduces side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Turmeric is used as a herb in cooking.
  • It is believed to control diabetes.
  • It reduces cholesterol.
  • It prevents liver diseases.
  • Drink turmeric milk for a glowing skin. You can dip a cotton ball in turmeric milk and then apply on the affected area for 15 minutes. This helps reduce the skin redness and patches making your skin more radiant and glowing. Turmeric milk fights the free radicals that are known to damage our skin which eventually lead to loss of glow and elasticity.
  • Turmeric milk gives you flawless skin without any side-effects. It makes your skin smooth and blemish-free, reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and acne spurts.
  • Warm turmeric milk brings you relief from even the stubborn headaches.
  • The turmeric increases the mucus flow in the system, preventing sinus congestion and sinus problems.
  • As a mild phytoestrogen, this root helps promote the reproductive health in women who can’t conceive due to hormonal imbalances.

So, go on and try that golden spice, turmeric, and experience the benefits for yourself. But remember not to overdo it.

Fasting And Its Benefits

Today is Maha Shivratri, a festival observed to honour lord Shiva. It marks a remembrance of overcoming darkness and ignorance in life. Devotees of the lord chant prayers and meditate. On this occasion devotees observe a day long fast and worship Lord Shiva with great ardour in temples and at homes. The devotees believe that when you worship the Lord on this day you attain salvation. And by fasting on this day, you can reap the benefits of a whole year’s rigorous prayer.

While fasting on this day can give us benefits of a year’s prayer, I am here to tell you about the benefits that fasting once a week can have on your body. So, why not make a beginning from this day?

When you go on water only fast, your body eliminates the toxins and burns fat. This happens after you’ve been fasting for a couple of times. It is widely believed that fasting once a week detoxifies the body and cleanses your system. A weekly fast gives your digestive system some rest from processing every day. It gives your body a break from digesting.

With our tingling taste buds we often tend to indulge in eating savouries most of the times. And what is tasty is usually not good for health, is my belief. Unless you are somebody who believes that all healthy foods can be tasty all the time. And you need a break from this indulgence.

Fasting is not about eating junk all week and then trying to get on a detox for a day. For beginners to start water only fast can be difficult considering that the body is still not used to doing it. Hence we suggest that you start off with a liquid only fast. Here you can drink fruit juices, vegetable juices most of which cleanse your digestive system.

Fasting is believed to maintain your health and vigour. It has self-healing properties. When you give rest to the digestive system it also gives time for your organs to heal and repair themselves.

Fasting regularly can improve your digestive efficiency, increase mental clarity, remove toxins, improve vision and give a general feeling of wellbeing. Some communities also practice a 24-hour fast once a week as a religious practice.

Choose a day that is less stressful

Beginners can choose a day that is less stressful, with relatively less activities. Light exercises like walking, basic yogasanas, working on your computer, watching TV, driving short distances, etc. Avoid stressful activities like heavy exercises, going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, running long distances etc., as these consume a lot of calories and will make you tired and hungry easily.

Advantages of Fasting for a day in a week

  • It helps the body heal.
  • It helps focus better and gives clarity of mind
  • It eliminates toxins from the body and can help prevent illnesses.
  • It is believed to improve eye sight in the long run.
  • It improves immunity and has anti-aging benefits.
  • It gives an overall sense of well being.

So try it, if your body and mind permit it! 🙂