Absurdly hot chili peppers are actually amazingly good for you

SUPER-SPICY PEPPERS AND crippling hot sauces are having a heyday. But while fire-breather types have long boasted of the health-boosting and fat-burning benefits of the fruits, but not many studies have tested their health-promoting benefits—until now.

Hot peppers may actually help you live longer, according to a new study published in PLoS ONE. The researchers studied data on 16,000 Americans from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey who were followed for 23 years, and discovered that the people who tortured themselves to the strains of hot red chili peppers reduced their risk of dying from heart disease or stroke by 13%. Study authors aren’t quite sure why this is, but they speculate that main ingredient capsaicin could effect the gut bacteria population for the better, or that the compound could affect the cellular mechanisms that regulate blood flow and prevent obesity.

 Of course, that isn’t the only reason to enjoy them. Despite their absurdly intense heat, mad-scientist pepper breeds like the Carolina Reaper—which, at an astounding 1,500,000 Scoville units, will absolutely vulcanize your mouth and pretty much the rest of your intestines—are more popular than ever, partially because eating them triggers a flood of endorphins. (Or maybe it’s the car-crash spectacle of watching someone eat them and lose their mind on YouTube).

The takeaway for your takeout order? To maximize the benefits of capsaicin, previous studies experimented with about 2.5 grams of hot peppers per day, which is about a quarter of a medium pepper. You can also use cayenne supplements at about a 1 gram dose three times a day—but start off with a light dose, since this is straight-up hot pepper we’re talking about.


5 satisfying beef, pork, and lamb tenderloin recipes that’ll fuel your muscles

COOKING FOR YOURSELF, a date, or a party? Sink your teeth into these simple, satisfying tenderloin meals. Juicy, lean, and loaded with protein, the following 5 recipes—provided by Lindsay Brown—have 40g of protein or more to help you satisfy hunger and fuel muscles.

 Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Makes 4 Servings 

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ lb boneless pork tenderloin
salt and pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F with the rack in the middle.
2. Trim tenderloin of fat and any silver skin, then pat dry with a paper towel. Pierce pork loin all over with a fork. Rub with 1 tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle onto tenderloin. Then, use your hands to rub in the spices until evenly coated.
4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large oven-safe pan (cast iron or a Dutch oven will work). Once oil is hot, add pork and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total.
4. Place in the oven and bake uncovered at 400˚F for 13-15 min, flipping the tenderloin over halfway through baking. Bake until center of pork registers 145˚F on a meat thermometer, then transfer to a cutting board and let meat rest 5-10 min.

Nutrition info, per serving: 310 calories, 45g protein, 13g fat, 1g carbs

Pair with: a simple green side salad, mashed sweet potatoes, steamed asparagus, or grilled zucchini.

Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin

Makes 4 Servings 

1 ¼ lb pork tenderloin
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 to 4 limes)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Trim any fat and silvery skin from the tenderloin. In a bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour about half the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve the other half for later. Add the pork to the bag, seal, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove pork from the marinade and add to pan. (Make sure you throw away the bag and any remaining marinade in it!) Sear the tenderloin, turning until it’s browned on all sides, about 6 minutes.
3. Place pan (or Dutch oven) into the oven and cook about 15-18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork measures 150°F on a meat thermometer.
4.  While the pork is roasting, pour the half of the marinade you reserved into a saucepan and simmer on the stove for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Remove tenderloin from the oven and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Cut into ½-inch slices and drizzle the reserved sauce on top.

Nutrition info, per serving: 412 calories, 40g protein, 24g fat, 10g carbs

Pair with: Black beans and brown rice or oven-baked sweet plantains.

Simple Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Makes 6 Servings

2 ½ lbs center-cut beef tenderloin
1 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan, rub beef tenderloin with oil. Season with at least 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper.
2. Place beef in oven and roast, turning halfway through, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on desired doneness.
3. Remove from oven and cover pan loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing and serving.

Nutrition info, per serving: 409 calories, 55g protein, 20g fat, 0g carbs

Pair with: Roasted vegetables, butternut squash puree, or simple spinach salad.

Makes 6 Servings

2 ½ lbs beef tenderloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1. Trim tenderloin of fat and silvery skin. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper, then set aside. In a large resealable bag, combine remaining ingredients. Add tenderloin to bag and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer tenderloin to a baking dish and roast for 30 minutes, for rare, and up to 45 minutes, for well done.

Nutrition info, per serving: 531 calories, 56g protein, 29g fat, 10g carbs

Pair with: Brown rice, roasted green beans, or snow peas.

Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Lamb Loin

Makes 6 Servings

2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup spinach leaves, shredded
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 lbs boneless lamb loin
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In medium-sized skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and basil, then cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in feta cheese; set aside.
2. Trim fat from lamb and slice halfway through meat, down the center, lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap. With a meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin or heavy pan), pound the lamb to 1-inch thickness. Place filling down center of meat; roll and tie with cooking string at 2-inch intervals. Brush with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place lamb in a roasting pan, then roast in the oven to desired doneness: 145°F for medium-rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done. Cover with foil and let lamb rest 10 minutes before carving.

Nutrition info, per serving: 360 calories, 45g protein, 19g fat, 2g carbs

Pair with: Couscous with cucumbers and onion, tomato salad with mint, or mixed green salad with arugula.


1. “Beef tenderloin is one of the leanest (and most expensive!) cuts around, so be sure you don’t overcook it,” Brown says. Buy a cheap meat thermometer at the grocery store, if you don’t already have one, she adds. For rare, insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin and cook until it registers 125-135°F; for medium, it should register 135-140°F; and for well-done, it should register no more than 150°F.
2. “To evenly cook your beef tenderloin, tuck the thinner, tapered ends under themselves and tie with cooking twine,” Brown recommends. Or, ask your butcher to tie it for you.
3. Always trim the white or silvery connective tissue off the tenderloin before cooking. “If you leave it on, you’ll be left with a tough slab of meat that’ll be hard to cut and chew,” she adds. (This goes for lamb and pork, too!)


1. When buying lamb, look for a cut that’s soft pink in color and has white marbling.
2. “Lamb can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before use and frozen for up to 4 months,” Brown says.
3. For the ideal medium-rare lamb, roast for 15 to 20 minutes per pound at 325°F.


1. You’ll know your pork is done when a meat thermometer reads 145°F and the juices run clear.
2. When marinating pork, never reuse the leftover marinade the meat’s been in contact with—it can be full of bacteria and make you sick. Instead, set aside a small amount to use for basting or reducing before you marinade your meat.
3. “Pork tenderloin is a lean, delicate cut of meat, so marinating the meat before cooking will lock in the flavor and keep it moist,” Brown says. .

For a dry marinade liberally coat tenderloin with: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

For a liquid marinade, add the following ingredients to a ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 30-45 minutes:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Pineapple juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Juice from half a lemon
1/2 olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste


Here’s why mix-matching your cuisine can make meals more satisfying

DREXEL UNIVERSITY FOOD and hospitality researchers recently found that, to maximize your enjoyment when eating out, go for a mismatch of cuisine styles when you order your meal.

In their experiments, they paired Italian or Thai dishes of varying quality—either an app or entrée—with each other and found that when a high-quality app preceded a subpar main course, diners reacted negatively. But when cuisines were mixed and matched, eaters had a much more positive dining experience—regardless of how tasty each dish was—and rated the meal more enjoyable overall.


A Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables Outweighs The Risks of Pesticides

A Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables Outweighs The Risks of Pesticides

When you shop for groceries, do you carry a copy of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen,” list with you? It’s a list of the 12 vegetables and fruits with the most pesticides, and some people only buy organic versions of the items on the list. It’s the companion piece to the “Clean Fifteen,” which showcases the 15 options with the least pesticides.

These annual reports generate a lot of media coverage, and their presence seems to influence our grocery shopping habits. But research shows that the lists – which are being questioned for their scientific validity – may be doing more harm than good.

Organic . . . or nothing?

It’s vital to eat your veggies. Low in calories but rich in vitamins and antioxidants, vegetables and fruits have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Yet, most Americans aren’t getting enough. Could the “Dirty Dozen” list may be part of the problem?

That depends on what message we take away when we read about pesticides in vegetables and fruit. Researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago wanted to know how the list influences our buying habits. They surveyed more than 500 low-income shoppers about their thoughts on organic and conventional vegetables and fruit, and published results in the journal Nutrition Today. They found that specifically naming the “Dirty Dozen” resulted in shoppers being less likely to buy any vegetables and fruit. That’s right – it’s not just consumption of the top 12 pesticide-laden items that drops, it seems we buy and eat less of every vegetable and fruit. Misinformation about pesticides breeds fear and confusion, and many find it easier to skip fresh produce altogether.

And when asked about the promotion of organic produce, 61 percent of participants said they felt the media encouraged them to buy organic foods. The problem is that they are often unaffordable.
So, does it really make sense to pay up to 47 percent more for organic vegetables and fruit? Food toxicologist Carl K. Winter doesn’t think so.

Winter is the vice chair of Food Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis, and one of the researchers who did a deep dive into the Dirty Dozen list. The results, published in the Journal of Toxicology, found that the list lacks scientific credibility.
“Foods on the Dirty Dozen list pose no risks to consumers due to the extremely low levels of pesticides actually detected on those foods,” says Winter.

Think of it this way. Pesticides may be present, but mere presence is not enough to cause harm. Winter explains that the first principle of toxicology is that “the dose makes the poison”; it’s the amount of a chemical, and not its presence or absence that determines the potential for harm. Plus, some pesticides are more toxic than others, but they are all treated equally in the Environmental Working Group’s ranking system, which makes for a weak comparison. Unfortunately, that information is not making its way to consumers, who believe that any amount and any type of pesticide is bad news. Even though the Dirty Dozen foods do have pesticides, Winter says “actual exposure levels are typically millions of times lower than those that are of health concern.”

“The methodology used to rank produce items on the Dirty Dozen list was seriously flawed as it failed to consider the three most important factors used in authentic risk assessments – the amounts of pesticides found, the amounts of the foods consumed, and the toxicity of the pesticides,” says Winter. “When we consider these factors, foods on the Dirty Dozen list are clearly safe to consume.”

Even the Environmental Working Group doesn’t recommend avoiding the items on its own Dirty Dozen list. Their website says “the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables.” That should be the key message that everyone hears in 2017.

Vegetables and fruit account for 43 percent of U.S. organic food sales, so it’s a big industry. And organic vegetables are healthy – no doubt. Some studies show that they have more of certain vitamins and minerals compared with conventionally grown produce, and the farming methods may be better for the planet. If organic items are affordable, available and preferable to you, buy them.

But organic food isn’t necessarily pesticide-free either, explains Winter. “Studies have indicated that as much as one quarter of organic fruits and vegetables may contain pesticide residues.” But remember, as is the case with conventional fruits and vegetables, the pesticide levels are not high enough to be a health concern.

So, the bottom line remains: The best thing you can do is consume lots of vegetables and fruit for their health benefits, whether you choose to buy organic or not.


What to Do With Leftover Almond Milk?

What to Do With Leftover Almond Milk?

Recent online special guests included Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, who wrote about cooking with an Instant Pot. Here are edited excerpts from that chat. Recipes whose names are capitalized can be found in our Recipe Finder at washingtonpost.com/recipes.

Q: I bought a quart of unsweetened almond milk because the soup recipe I have called for 1/3 cup. The soup is great, but any suggestions for what to do with the rest, other than drink it?

A: Add it to smoothies, such as our Berry Almond Smoothie or Apple-Spice Smoothies. It’s good in Fruity Overnight Oats, or it can go savory in Chloe’s Vegan Sweet Potato Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
If you think you won’t use it up, freeze it. If you freeze it in ice cube trays, you could use it as a substitute for ice in future smoothies.
– Kara Elder

A: You can use it instead of cow’s milk in lots of ways. My favorite is just on cereal.
– Joe Yonan

Q: I have an Instant Pot in my Amazon cart waiting for me to hit “buy,” as I was thinking it may get more use than the pressure cooker I have. Does it really save time, like the pressure cooker? Is it more versatile? I’m also debating: Do I really need another item for the kitchen? Could it replace the rice cooker?

A: The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker. It does pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking. There are a number of brands out there that do all of that, including Fagor Lux. These multi-cookers are versatile and can save you space, since you need only one machine instead of three.

– Bruce Weinstein

Q: I have never been adventurous when it comes to foods. At restaurants, I stick to a handful of foods that I know I like. When I was growing up, my mom cooked eight to 10 dishes; when I started cooking, those are the meals I would make. I feel like I am eating the same meals over and over again. One of the challenges of finding something new is not having a lot of time to experiment in the kitchen. I know a few things I don’t like: things made with peppers or anything with a fishy taste. What is a good way to introduce a few new meal options?

A: Can I offer one little bit of advice? Use your restaurant dining, not your home cooking, to expand your range. When you’re at, say, an Italian restaurant, order an appetizer or even a main course that might push you a bit. If you like it, then go on a search for recipes for that dish. Bruce and I have taught lots of classes on helping people get off processed food and onto “real” food, and we find that eating out is a terrific place to start: It’s not as daunting and is a bit more user-friendly.
– Mark Scarbrough

Q: I was making a recipe that called for tempeh but could not find it at my grocery store (a Harris Teeter in Virginia). I replaced it with tofu and don’t think it turned out well. Where can I buy tempeh? And when would you recommend using tofu vs. tempeh?

A: You can find tempeh – usually Lightlife brand – at Whole Foods, Mom’s, other organic markets and often at major supermarkets, too. I’ve bought it at the Harris Teeter in Navy Yard. Different stores have it in different spots, but always refrigerated. Did you ask?
Tofu and tempeh are very different and not something I’d substitute one for the other.
– J.Y.


Why Shorter Days Call for a Dose of Vitamin D

Why Shorter Days Call for a Dose of Vitamin D

It is officially winter in our household because I have pulled out the vitamin D supplements. My daughter was too young last winter to remember that she added a vitamin to her morning routine, but my boys knew what it signaled.

Instead of gobbling down the vitamins without query as they did last winter, my boys fired questions my way as to why they had to take them. I guess this is what teenagers do: They question their parents about everything, even the things they have taken for granted for more than a decade.

I’m okay with their questions. I certainly don’t want them blindly taking vitamins or pills under any other circumstances, even if prescribed by a doctor. Asking questions is good. Demanding explanations is good. Understanding dosages is good.

So, boys, here are the reasons I want you to take vitamin D in the winter, even though we should get all of our other nutrients from whole foods.

Our bodies naturally derive vitamin D from two main sources: sunlight and food. In the winter, there is no way you boys get enough sunlight on your bare skin. The sun is low, the days are short, long sleeves and gloves prevail, and you guys, like almost everyone else in the winter, spend a majority of your day inside. Also, like most kids your age (and most adults for that matter), you do not eat enough of the foods that are naturally high in vitamin D: fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon, and cod liver oil. Although many brands of milk and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D, it is still almost impossible to derive enough of it solely from food.

Why is Vitamin D Important?

Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin but rather a group of hormones. You may be surprised that I am suggesting we bring extra hormones into our house, but like all hormones, these have some pretty important jobs. They help the body absorb nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. This is why vitamin D is added to calcium-rich milk. Studies show that only 10 to 15 percent of calcium in food is absorbed without vitamin D.
If you boys want to fight off colds this winter so you don’t miss any sports games or weekend fun, vitamin D can help boost your immune system. If you would like strong, healthy bones, vitamin D is king. If you don’t want your heart to putter out at an early age or your mind to deteriorate, look to vitamin D. It is also shown to prevent cancer by regulating cellular growth.

The current recommended daily allowance for individuals ages 1 to 70 is 600 IU, or international units, but more recent research at the Boston University School of Medicine recommends up to 2,000 IU. Other studies recommend even higher levels for optimal health. The confusion around the ideal daily allowance prompted a 2010 large-scale study at a Boston affiliate of Harvard University to investigate whether vitamin D can help prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions in more than 25,000 American men and women. Stay tuned – the study is expected to wrap up later this year.
Because one glass of milk provides just 100 IU of vitamin D, a piece of salmon offers 360 IU and an egg yolk under 50 IU, even the lowest recommendation of 600 IU a day is hard for most children to attain without regular sun exposure. No wonder so many studies show a vast number of kids in the United States, especially adolescents and those living in northern states, are deficient. So until the spring comes, the sun shines steadily, and you guys get off the indoor basketball court and onto the outdoor baseball field, a vitamin D supplement will join us for breakfast each morning.

– – –

Consult your doctor as to whether a supplement is right for your child. Individual needs differ based on how much time people spend outside, where they live, their skin color, the foods they eat and their use of sunscreen.


Prebiotic Foods Versus Probiotics: What’s Best For Our Diet?

Prebiotic Foods Versus Probiotics: What's Best For Our Diet?

For quite a long while, probiotic bacteria and yeast were considered the hero of the stomach, fighting to swell the amount of ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut i.e. bacteria that may have been depleted by stress, illness, certain medicines, or an improperly-balanced diet that is low on fiber. Probiotics were said to battle with IBS, diarrhoea and stomach-related ailments and subsequently even improve skin conditions, clear up allergies, and generally reduce nagging health conditions.

However, later studies showed that most of the probiotics being ingested were actually not completely effective. This is because the highly acidic environment of the stomach, necessary to break down food, was destroying the bacteria as it made its way down. Besides, even drinking something hot, like a cup of tea, after consuming probiotic substances, would destroy the bacteria. What to do?

What are Prebiotics?

Enter the new star of the stomach – prebiotics. They are a far more recent concept, having been developed around twenty years ago. What are they and how do they differ from probiotics? Let us take the definition of Professor Glenn Gibson, food microbiologist at the University of Reading, who read a paper on Gut Microbiology and Health at a Meeting of the UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.

“They are dietary ingredients that can selectively enhance beneficial components of the indigenous gut microbiota, such as lactobacilli or bifidobacteria, and are finding much increased application in the food sector. In contrast to probiotics, they can be added to many ingredients including heated products. Prebiotics were first defined as ‘non digestible food ingredients that are selectively metabolised by colonic bacteria which have the capacity to improve health’. As such, their use is directed towards favouring beneficial changes within the indigenous gut microbial milieu itself.”

What does all this mean in layman’s terms? Simply that prebiotics provide an environment that helps nourish the multiple microbial species that already exist in the gut. Prebiotics are usually non-digestible carbohydrates that are metabolised by our gut microbes; they can be found in foods that are high in fibre.

They’re sort of the indestructible manure that helps the gut bacteria to thrive. To break it down even more, prebiotics are food for the probiotics; both complement each other in a symbiotic relationship. You might even see them as the dynamic duo of digestion.

probiotic curd

Prebiotic Foods For Your Diet

Do prebiotics work? Or are they just a new buzzword, designed to sell more products and boost food company bottom-lines? Studies seem to indicate that they do. For instance, Gemma Walton, a PHD student at the School of Food Biosciences at University of Reading, studied the diet of eight cowboys. Half were put on a prebiotic diet and the other half on a probiotic diet and their excreta was examined every day. The prebiotic group managed to boost their good bacteria by 133 million! The probiotic bunch saw little to no difference (although Ms Walton is quick to specify that there is evidence to show that over a longer period of time, probiotics can make a difference).

To get enough prebiotic into your belly, you may have to pop a supplement. But for most of us, a healthy, varied diet that has enough fiber, should do the trick. Remember though, not all fibrous foods have prebiotic properties. So which are the ones richest in them? Let us turn to Joanne Slavin, who wrote a paper on Fibre and Prebiotics. She tells us that it can be found in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey (especially Manuka honey from New Zealand), artichokes, leeks, asparagus, chicory, wheat, oats, and soybeans. And apparently, potato skins, avocado and apple cider vinegar also contain inulin.

oats 620

Eating Prebiotic Foods
Some of those are a little hard to get here. For instance, where in Mumbai does one get artichokes? But for the rest, it’s not really that hard to incorporate them into our diets – chances are, you already cook with most of them. However, the one thing to remember is to try eating them raw or as lightly cooked as possible. Once they are cooked, they lose their indigestibility, the very property that makes them prebiotic.

1. For Breakfast

Let’s begin with breakfast. Start the day with a boost of prebiotics with a bowl of whole-grain wheat breakfast cereal or oats; that’s been shown to have a substantial prebiotic effect. Adding a banana to your breakfast will also help the good bacteria to grow, and having two a day as pre-meal snacks will administer a double-dose of prebiotics; a study found that women who ate bananas twice daily before meals, for 60 days, experienced a spike in good bacteria and a subsequent reduction in bloating. It also helps to pick bananas that are not quite ripe.

If you aren’t vegetarian, make a masalaomelette and then toss in a few chopped onions or garlic, tomatoes and green chillies.


2. Lunch and Dinner

Luckily, as Indians, we already consume a fair amount of onions and garlic in our food – both of those have high levels of inulin. You could also try eating them raw in a green salad, with a honey-vinegar-olive oil dressing to cut the pungency. (When it comes to prebiotics, raw is better than cooked.) Accompany the salad with garlic bread, for a proper prebiotic kick. Raw garlic also pairs fairly well with avocado, in the form of guacamole.

But if you can’t stand onions and garlic raw, try lightly and quickly stir-frying them with veggies, like asparagus for more prebiotic deliciousness. Use miso paste to get some soybean goodness in – soybeans are said to have high amounts of both prebiotic and probiotic compounds.

asparagus 620

3. Snacks

For a snack, try roasting potato skins, until they are crisp – then make a raita and spade it up with the scoops of skin. Or try spreading avocado slices with a squeeze of lime on whole wheat bread. You could even try blending bananas into a smoothie, with some yoghurt.


7 Natural Home Remedies for Gout

7 Natural Home Remedies for Gout

Gout is a form of proactive arthritis, a condition which affects the joints, caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals, as told by Dr. Minakshi Sharma, an Ayurveda consultant at Vedic Vision Health Care Centre. Uric acid is a substance which is formed when the body breaks down purines (important substances which are regarded as the building blocks of DNA, as well as impacting blood circulation, digestion and absorption of nutrients); blood transports the uric acid to the kidney and stamps it out in urine. The condition in which excess uric acid is formed in the body causes gout, also called hyperuricemia. Usually, gout is the problem faced by men, but it triggers in women after menopause. Dr. B.N Sinha, a Delhi-based Ayurvedic expert, says, “Gout is also caused due to the consumption of more proteins and curd, so to avoid that one should lessen the intake of pulses or any other sources of protein and curd in your diet.”

At a time gout can affect only one joint, but if left untreated, it may trigger other joints as well. “There are many symptoms of gout like bitter joint pains which causes inflammation and redness, and commonly affects the toes. It can also affect ankles, knees, fingers and wrists in the long run. Gout can also cause swelling in the joints as well,” says Dr. Minakshi Sharma.

To diagnose gout, doctors conduct a uric acid test to know the level of uric acid in the body. It is also observed that the people with high level of uric acid do not always experience gout whereas some people may notice the symptoms without having high uric acid level.

It is often suggested to go for natural ways to cure any disease rather than depending completely on medicines. Here are some home remedies for curing gout:

1. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is an herb with light green leaves and small white flowers. Dr. Sharma says, “Consumption of fenugreek seeds can help cure gout as it helps in reducing internal as well as external inflammation of the body.”

How to use: Soak 1 Tbsp fenugreek seed in half cup water overnight and drink that water in the morning and chew the soaked seeds. This will help in reducing the swelling of the joints and can relieve pain.

fenugreek seeds 620

2. Garlic

Garlic is an incredible cure for gout. It helps in removing the excess uric acid from the body.

How to use: Swallow one pod of garlic and if you find it difficult then you can finely chop the garlic and then consume it. It will help cure gout from its roots.


3. Carom Seeds (Ajwain) and Ginger

Both carom seeds and ginger work towards making you sweat, which help in removing the uric acid from the body. Moreover, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which relieve pain and swelling.

How to use: Take ½ Tbsp ajwain and 1 inch slice of ginger, boil with a cup of water. Strain the decoction and consume half of it in the morning and the other half in the evening.
ginger 625

4. Castor Oil

Dr. B.N Sinha suggests taking tolerably warm castor oil and massaging it on the gout affected area or just dabbing it with a cotton ball. It will help in breaking down the toxic deposit and relieving redness and pain.

castor oil

5. Coriander

Coriander helps in improving the gastro intestinal tract with its antioxidant properties, thus decreasing uric acid level. Drinking adequate amounts of water too can work wonders in stabilizing uric acid levels in the body.

How to Use: Take a few sprigs of coriander and mix it in a glass of water and consume. Add it to your food as garnish and have it.


6. Turmeric

Belonging to the ginger family, turmeric is believed to have lots of potential medicinal value. Turmeric suppresses chronic inflammation, which reduces the activity of Xanthine oxidase (an enzyme which produces uric acid).

How to use: Turmeric can be consumed after mixing it in the milk, Haldi Doodh as it is popularly known in India.


7. Cherries

A study conducted by Boston University found that patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period showed a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, as compared to those who did not eat the fruit. The findings indicated that consuming cherries (up to three servings, a single serving containing one half cup or 10 to 12 cherries) or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack.


1 in 5 Teens Lose Sleep Over Social Media: Study

1 in 5 Teens Lose Sleep Over Social Media: Study

One in five teens regularly lose sleep over social media, waking up in the middle of the night to send or check messages on social media. This makes them three times more likely to feel constantly tired at school in comparison to their peers who do not log on at night, warns a new UK study.

Researchers at Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) in the UK also found that girls are much more likely to access their social media accounts during the night than boys. They warned that this night-time activity could be affecting happiness and well being in the young people.

Over 900 pupils, aged between 12-15 years, were recruited and asked to complete a questionnaire about how often they woke up at night to use social media and times of going to bed and waking. They were also asked about how happy they were with various aspects of their life including school life, friendships and appearance. One in five reported ‘almost always’ waking up to log on, with girls much more likely to access their social media accounts during the night than boys.

Those who woke up to use social media nearly every night, or who did not wake up at a regular time in the morning, were around three times as likely to say they were constantly tired at school compared to their peers who never log on at night or wake up at the same time every day. Moreover, pupils who said they were always tired at school were, on average, significantly less happy than other young people.
“Our research shows that a small but significant number of children and young people say that they often go to school feeling tired – and these are the same young people who also have the lowest levels of wellbeing,” said Sally Power, professor at WISERD. “One in five young people questioned woke up every night and over one third wake-up at least once a week to check for messages. Use of social media appears to be invading the ‘sanctuary’ of the bedroom,” said Power.

The study findings support growing concerns about young people’s night-time use of social media. However, because of the complex range of possible explanations for tiredness at school, further larger studies will be needed before any firm conclusions can be made about the social causes and consequences of sleep deprivation among today’s youth.

The study was published in the Journal of Youth Studies.


‘Very Serious’ Air Pollution, Urgent Steps Needed: Supreme Court

'Very Serious' Air Pollution, Urgent Steps Needed: Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court expressed concern over the increasing air pollution in Delhi saying it was a “very serious problem” and solutions need to be found urgently.

A bench of Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice P.C. Pant said that some victims of air pollution suffer due to inefficient systems and non-implementation of norms. “This pollution problem is very serious. If you talk for years for a solution, then it is a problem,” said the bench after it was told by amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve that there was a need to ensure 100 per cent compliance of Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificates and linking them with the insurance of vehicles done every year.
The bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Central government, to specify the number of PUC centres in Delhi, and was told that there are 962 such centres in the capital with each of them inspecting around 5,000 vehicles every three months. Show cause notices have also been issued to some 174 centres for irregularities and licences of 14 centres have been cancelled, he said, adding that licences of 75 centres have been suspended and warning notices issued to 78 such centres, Kumar told the bench.

Hearing this, the court asked the Central government to file a status report regarding show cause notices issued to PUC centres. It also directed the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to inspect all 962 PUC centers and submit the report about their functioning. After the bench was informed that consultations among all stakeholders is being done regarding banning of petcoke and furnace oil as industrial fuel in Delhi-NCR region, it asked the government to file the status report in this regard before the next date of hearing on February 6. The bench also sought from Centre an Action Taken Report on setting up of real time Air Quality Monitoring Centres in Delhi-NCR region in compliance with its earlier order.