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Smog: How it affects the eye

The Kashmir Monitor




First, it was the irritation, later, Debiparna Chakraborty saw that her eyes were red and swollen. The 28-year-old media professional has been living in Delhi for four years now and of late, the time during and after Diwali has become extremely trying for her. This year was no better. “My eyes have been itchy and irritable since the smog set in. Some days I wake up with swollen red eyes. I have to splash it with water several times a day,” she says. “Sometimes even that doesn’t help. Nor does air purifiers,” she adds. At present on antibiotics, Chakraborty says the medicines have helped in curbing the itchiness.

Anjali Nayar, another media professional says, “Post Diwali, I would experience irritation in my eyes after a bike ride or if I spent too much time outside. My eyes used to irritate and then they would become watery. Sometimes it occurred in just one eye, at other times in both”. The cause of discomfort was the same as Chakraborty’s – smog.

A thick haze of smog has enveloped the city for days now. On Tuesday (November 13) a PTI report stated that the air quality in the capital remained severe. According to the same report, the level of PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) and PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) in was recorded at 238 and 399 respectively in Delhi.


The pollution has severe health hazards and affects the eye as well. Dr Sudipto Pakrasi, who leads the Ophthalmology division at Medanta, Gurgaon, admits that the frequency of patients complaining of eye soreness, redness, burning sensation increases significantly post Diwali every year.

“Post-Diwali we see a huge increase in the number of people coming with these symptoms. These are related to commonly found air pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, lead, chlorofluorocarbons, particulate matters, and dioxin,” he says.

“During Diwali, the most common conditions which people experience and come to an eye specialist for is allergic conjunctivitis. This causes redness in the eye and watering. The increase in the dust level leads to blurry vision,” says Dr Radhi Malar, Ophthalmologist at the Fortis Malar Hospital.

At such times, taking basic preventive measures go a long way. “Try to wear glasses during this time. They act as a barrier. However, do avoid contact lenses as they tend to aggravate allergy,” says Dr Parul Sharma, Ophthalmologist at Max Multi Speciality Centre Panchsheel Park and Max Hospital Gurgaon.

“General hygiene is a must when it comes to avoiding eye problems. Washing of hands, wearing protective eye wear like polarized sunglasses while travelling outside and maintaining a good and healthy lifestyle is important,” Malar says. However, Pakrasi maintains that in case redness in the eye persists, or there is a prolonged burning sensation in the eyes for some time, consulting a doctor is a must.

The effect of smog is not a recent phenomenon. Milap Kashyap, a 25-year-old who works at a corporate bank, recollects the scare he faced last year. “Last year during Diwali, my eyes reddened and after four days, a thin blue line appeared along with the redness. Panicking, I went to consult a doctor. He gave me some medicines and suggested that I do some tests,” he says. “However, things quickly worsened and my eyesight in my left eye became blurred. I visited Center for Sight in Safdurjung where I had to undergo a couple of more tests. After some doctor consultation, I was finally given spectacles with cylindrical numbers. I wore it for 10 days and then gradually recovered,” he added.

The problem, clearly, has become a fixture with the festive season. Long after the spark from the crackers has been put out, a dark cloud of gloom surrounds us and it refuses to subside.

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These Nutritious Breakfasts Can Give A Kick Start To Your Day: Do Try Them!

The Kashmir Monitor



Breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day. It is the meal which kick-starts your metabolism and helps you burn calories throughout the day. Not only is it important for people who are trying to lose weight, it is simply important for a person to stay fit and healthy. Breakfast is the one meal which can give you the energy to do things and focus at your work and school. WebMD says that including breakfast in your diet can have positive effects on your memory and concentration.

Following are some breakfast options suggested by Delhi-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra, which can give a boost your energy and also keep you warm during the chilly winter months.

Try these healthy breakfast options right now!


1. Stuffed rotis

Winter is the time when a variety of vegetables are in season. Stuffed rotis or paranthas made from methi (fenugreek), mooli (radish), gobi (cauliflower), matar (peas) or gajar (carrots) can all make for a delicious and wholesome winter breakfast. You can cook them with ghee (make sure you use it in the right quantity) and eat them with pickle and curd. Stuffed rotis are essentially the traditional Indian breakfast which people have been having for years. Prepare them as your grandmother used to prepare and enjoy them throughout winter.

2. Palak or beetroot roti with mint raita

Palak or spinach is a leafy geen veggie with more health benefits than you can count in your fingers. Similar is the case with beetroot, which is a root vegetable which is incredibly low in calories and is a great source of essential nutrients like fibre, folate and Vitamin C. Beetroot also contains nitrates and pigments which can help in controlling your blood pressure and may improve your overall athletic performance.

3. Egg parantha or scrambled eggs with chapati

Now that is a protein-rich breakfast which can help you keep full for longer. Prepare egg paranthas or eat scrambled eggs with roti for the perfect blend of protein, fat and carbs in your breakfast. Also, do not separate the yolk from egg white. A whole egg will provide you with all essential nutrients.

4. Bajra roti with beetroot raita/bajra khichdi

Bajra is a healthy grain which can be included a weight loss diet as well. You can either make a dough of bajra flour or prepare bajra khichdi as a healthy breakfast option. Bajra or millets has properties that can help in stabilising cholesterol levels in the body. Being rich in fibre, the grain is great for digestion and makes for a healthy breakfast option during winter.

(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)

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5 Super Healthy And Warm Drinks To Keep You Hydrated During Winter

The Kashmir Monitor



Are the teas and coffees failing to keep you warm during the chilly winter? Then need not worry as we are right here with multiple options for warm and comforting drinks during winter. Warm drinking options are important to keep you hydrated during winter. Staying hydrated during summer seems to be way easier as cold and healthy drinks are aplenty. The easiest way to stay hydrated during summer is to simply gulp down a bottle of water. But in winter, the body is usually in need of something which keeps us warm and on-the-go. Keep reading if you want some alternative warm drinks instead of sipping on a third our fourth cup of coffee.

Drinks to keep you warm and hydrated during winter

Turmeric latte:


Well, this is nothing but our very own haldi doodh. It is the traditional drink which is taken when a person is suffering from cold or fever. It is a healing drink which can naturally detox your body and even strengthen your bones.

Ginger, honey, lemon tea:

Yes, this is another traditional drink which can be taken in warm form as well. You can create a tea concoction by adding ginger, honey and lemon to water and bring to a boil. It can make for a refreshing and warming drink during the chilly winter months.

Hot mulled cider:

All you need to do is add cardamom, peppercorns, star anise, ginger, lemon and cloves to apple cider vinegar. Add a tinge of all these ingredients in a cup of ACV and heat it in low flame. The drink is going to make for a flavourful companion to you and your favourite book by the fireplace.

Vegetable/chicken/bone broth or soup:

Soups or broths are filling and extremely warming during the cold winter months. You can either prepare steaming hot vegetable soup or broth or chicken soup or bone breath. Broths and soups are fluids which can help you hydrated during winter while also boosting your immunity and protecting your from catching a cold or infection. Just make sure that their preparation is light and healthy.

Vanilla-almond steamer:

Now this is a toasty treat you all have been craving! All you need is some warm milk, cinnamon, vanilla and some almonds. This velvety winter drink is going to be your all time favourite! What’s more is that you can prepare it beforehand and have it when you’re ready for a warm treat for yourself.

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Fasting can improve overall health, study suggests

The Kashmir Monitor



Fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation.

Fasting can lead to improved health and provide protection against ageing-associated diseases, a recent study suggests.

According to the research, fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to improved health and protection against ageing-associated diseases. The study was published recently in Cell Reports.


The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment. And, while food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear, until now, how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.

“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said lead author Paolo Sassone-Corsi.

“Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” Paolo asserted.

According to the researchers, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against ageing-associated diseases.

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January 2019
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