Air pollution is a universal threat to people. It occurs when harmful gases, dust or smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it difficult for living beings to survive as the air becomes contaminated. It is a serious issue which poses significant health risks. Air pollution can lead to several diseases like asthma, pregnancy and birth complications and other respiratory illness. Every time you go outside, you may inhale harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, you cannot hold your breath. But do not worry as there are certain precautionary measures which can safeguard you against air pollution.
Health expert Luke Coutinho, “Breathing polluted air tends to irritate and inflame inner linings of our respiratory tract, leading to mucous production as our body’s defense mechanism. While mucus is needed by the human body and immunity to protect us, too much of it is a problem and leads to sinus headaches, chest congestion, stuffy nose, snoring, wheezing and asthmatic symptoms.”
Luke Coutinho suggests top 6 ways to decongest your lungs:
1. Eliminate certain foods:
Foods play an important role in the overall health of a person. Your dietary changes can have a significant impact on your health. There are certain foods that trigger mucous production. These foods are dairy products, gluten, corn, soya, fried foods, refined oils, sugar, eggs and alcohol. When the air quality is bad you should avoid eating these foods. Also, avoid eating junk and processed food.
2. Breathing exercises:
Breathing exercises can help keep away the toxic effects of air pollutants. However, outdoor exercises should be avoided. Yoga exercises if practised indoors will be of great help. A deep breathing exercise like Pranayam is recommended on a regular basis. Therefore, you should practise breathing exercises like Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Anulom-Vilom.
3. Jal neeti:
Jal Neti is a technique that was used by yogis to prevent chronic diseases and most importantly to use the breath well for their yogic practices without any blockages. If you practise Jal Neti regularly it can help maintain the nasal hygiene by removing the dirt and bacteria which gets trapped along with the mucus in the nostrils.
But make sure you do this under a trained professional.
4. Steam inhalations:
Steam can be an effective natural remedy for people who have cold and flu, sinus or puffy nose. In order to beat the air pollution you can take steam with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. It will help relax the air passages and help your body remove the harmful particulate substances. For this you need to take hot boiling water. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into it. Try to inhale the warm steam. Also, make sure that you cover your face with a towel or a piece of cloth.
5. Healthy foods:
Foods like onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, raw honey, cardamom, ajwain and cayenne pepper can help you protect from air pollution. Add these foods in your diet can help you when the air quality is poor. Also, it is always best to eat food cooked at home.
6. Castor oil pack:
Castor oil packs help detoxify the liver naturally. As an added benefit, it supports uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation, and reduce inflammation. Moreover, it strengthens the immune system and increases the flow of lymph throughout the body, speeding the removal of harmful toxins from cells and the body. It also aids in digestion and increases the liver activity.
Can Garlic Help In Controlling Cholesterol? Our Expert Has The Answer
High levels of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in your blood can increase risks of heart disease. It is thus important to ensure that your cholesterol levels are under control at all times. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) are the two kinds of cholesterol , where the former is referred to as the bad cholesterol and the latter as good cholesterol. While cholesterol is made in the liver, there are certain foods that can increase cholesterol levels. These foods are primarily those high in saturated and trans fat. Similarly, there are foods that lower your cholesterol levels, and one such food item is garlic.
Garlic is a spice which is popular for its benefits on digestion, high blood pressure and inflammation to name a very few. However, there are some studies which talk about cholesterol improving properties of garlic as well.
WebMD says that garlic may reduce total cholesterol in the body by a few percentage points. This however, may only be for the short term. It further adds that garlic may prolong bleeding and blood clotting time. Thus, intake of garlic should be avoided before surgery or intake of any blood thinning drugs.
We ask clinical nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta about garlic and its cholesterol-reducing properties. She says, “Allicin is the active compound in garlic, which may be contributing to lowering cholesterol. However, it is more effective in controlling heart diseases vis a vis blood thinning and its anti-inflammatory properties. There are some studies which have talked about minor effect of garlic on cholesterol,” she says.
Foods that help in lowering cholesterol
Legumes are rich in minerals, fibre and protein. Some studies say that including legumes in your diet can lower bad cholesterol in the body.
Healthline mentions that some vegetables contain soluble fibre that can help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. Vegetables like eggplants, carrots and potatoes can all be included in your diet to keep cholesterol and weight under control. They are good for heart health.
3. Berries and fruits:
Fruits are rich in soluble fibre that help in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. Berries and grapes contain plant compounds that can increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol in the body.
4. Almonds and walnuts:
Including nuts in your diet can be good for heart health. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats. Walnuts contain omega 3s and almonds contain L-arginine, which is an amino acid that helps the body make nitric oxide. This helps in regulating blood pressure.
5. Fatty fish:
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tune are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are good for heart health as they reduce inflammation and stroke risk, and increase levels of good cholesterol in the body.
(Dr Rupali Datta is Consultant Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)
Most hip and knee replacements ‘last longer than thought’
Eight out of 10 knee replacements and six out of 10 hip replacements last as long as 25 years, said a large study from the University of Bristol.
This is much longer than believed, the researchers said, and the findings will help patients and surgeons decide when to carry out surgery, BBC reported.
To date, there has been little data on the success of new hips and knees.
But this Lancet research looked at 25 years’ worth of operations, involving more than 500,000 people.
Hip and knee replacements are two of the most common forms of surgery in National Health Service (NHS), but doctors often struggle to answer questions from patients on how long the implants will last.
Nearly 200,000 of the operations were performed in 2017 in England and Wales, with most carried out on people between 60 and 80 years old.
Dr. Jonathan Evans, orthopedic registrar, lead study author and research fellow at Bristol Medical School said, “At best, the NHS has only been able to say how long replacements are designed to last, rather than referring to actual evidence from multiple patients’ experiences of joint replacement surgery.
“Given the improvement in technology and techniques in the last 25 years, we expect that hip or knee replacements put in today may last even longer.”
As the aging population grows, and life expectancy rises, this becomes even more important, Evans added.
Chronic inflammation can lead to memory problems: Study
Acute inflammation, that results from injury and does not heal or is recurring, might lead to thinking problems, say experts. The report, which has been published in Neurology, further states that psychological stress and nagging infection can also trigger chronic inflammation.
In order to arrive at this result, blood tests on 12,336 men and women who were of the average age of 57, were conducted. These reports were then segregated and given a “inflammation composite score” based on factors like clotting, white blood cell count, and other tests. The cognitive facilities of the participants were also assessed through routine tests of verbal fluency, memory and processing speed. The study has been quoted in The New York Times.
After controlling for factors like age, blood pressure, heart disease, education, and many others, it was deduced that more the number of inflammatory factors, greater the chance of cognitive decline over 20 years of follow-up. Decline in memory seems to be strongly associated with inflammation.
“We know that dementia starts earlier than the appearance of symptoms,” Keenan A Walker, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins said. “We’ve shown that levels of inflammation matter for dementia risk. Reducing chronic inflammation involves the same health behaviors that we already know are important for other reasons — regular exercise, healthy diet, avoiding excessive weight gain and so on,” Walker added.