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Fight your sweet tooth with these 4 natural sweeteners and fluids



Natural sugar

New Delhi, Jan 3: We are all set to begin the New Year with new pledges and resolutions to stay fit and tune in to a healthy lifestyle. To beat a big hurdle in your healthy resolution — dieting boredom — one needs to keep the diet plan and healthy eating target as exciting and simple as possible.

Nature has blessed us with a few natural sweeteners which can best fit into our healthy diet, says nutritionist and fitness trainer Iram Zaidi. Here are her four top natural sweeteners.

*Stevia-plant based, zero calorie, easy to use and safe sweetener

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Stevia is getting popular across the world as a natural sweetener. There were certain misconceptions with its bitter taste as a majority of products were based on traditional stevia sweeteners offered in the form of high purity Reb A molecule. A recently developed variety of stevia tastes exactly like sugar, so that our taste buds should not be compromised. Given stevia can replace some unwanted sweetener calories, it can be one tool for cutting calories from your daily diet without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels.

* Sugarcane juice — Nature’s superfluid and a great sweetener

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Sugarcane juice has been a part of Indian culture for thousands of years. Ayurveda acharyas prefer the juice to be extracted from healthy canes and consumed in hygienic form. A great energy drink, skin toner, body cleanser and loaded with a variety of medicinal properties to fight a majority of diseases, sugarcane juice is unfortunately missing from our diet plans. One of the biggest reasons was the hygiene factor. Now, a bottled sugarcane juice or cold-pressed sugarcane juice are good pick-ups for a healthy start.

* Honey — Nature’s best anti-biotic and great sweetener

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Natural honey is loaded with nutrients and is an essential part of Indian home remedy solutions from ages. It has proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The plant enzyme amylase present in raw honey is effective in breaking down and helping the predigestion of the starches and also helps to raise the level of antioxidants required in the body. One teaspoon of honey is only about 20 calories.

* Coconut sugar — lower glycemic index and great nutritional value

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Coconut sugar is also called coconut palm sugar. It is a natural sugar made from sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It is a good source of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants. Coconut sugar and coconut nectar contain a fiber known as inulin. This fiber may help slow glucose absorption, offering an alternative for those dealing with diabetic concerns.

So, go ahead with these natural sweeteners as there is no need to put an extra effort to fight your sweet tooth by eliminating sugar from your meals.



World Sleep Day: Over 60% Indians feel sleep is not a priority, finds Survey



world sleep day

New Delhi, March 16: Over 60 per cent of Indians feel exercise is the top factor impacting health and well-being more than sleep, finds a survey that highlighted the need for good sleep for better health.

The survey, led by Philips India, showed that 19 per cent of Indian adults account overlapping work hours with normal sleep time (shift work sleep disorder) as a key barrier to sleep.

According to another 32 per cent, technology is a major sleep distractor.

While 45 per cent adults have tried mediation to initiate and maintain good sleep, 24 per cent reported having tried specialised bedding.

“Sleep disorder is a much more serious issue than what most people understand, especially given their direct correlation with other serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke etc,” Harish R, Head (Sleep and Respiratory Care) at Philips, said in a statement.

“In a country where snoring is traditionally associated with sound sleep, it is extremely challenging to make people aware that it is a sign of a serious sleep disorder,” he added.

The findings will provide directions to raise awareness and innovate interventions to ensure an important but oft-neglected aspect of health and wellbeing: sleep health.

The survey was based on Philips annual global survey conducted with over 15,000 adults across 13 countries — India, the US, the UK, Germany, Poland, France, China, Australia, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Japan.


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Slow down ageing with right food, ample sleep



slow down aging
slow down aging, Photo youtube

New Delhi, March 13: Want to age slowly and live a longer life? Eat right, get adequate sleep and stay positive.

“There are a couple of things, one is food for sure. What you eat is what you show on the outside. The second is what and how you think… if you are more positive, if you are happier then your skin and your cells are happy and you don’t age as fast as you would if you were unhappy or stressed,” Neha Ranglani told IANS on behalf of Sony BBC Earth’s show “How to Stay Young”.

“The third is sleep, which is super important. These three things determine your youthfulness,” added the nutritionist and wellness expert.

VLCC’s wellness expert Anju Ghei said the food one eats has direct impact on physical, mental, and emotional health.

“A well-balanced diet can provide all the nutrition you need to fuel your daily activities. The total daily calorie intake should take into account the level of daily physical activity,” Ghei said.

Ranglani said “fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains to a small extent and pulses are extremely healthy”.

“The more natural and less processed you eat, the slower you age because then you’re giving your body the nutrients, vitamins, the anti-oxidants which help to form the collagen and maintain the elasticity of your skin.

“That way, your cells break down and repair faster rather than just breaking down and not repairing because of the unhealthy food,” she added.

How can young professionals include that in life who prefer to grab a bite while on the go?

Ranglani said: “The whole point is that they need to be organised as to what they would eat the entire day, and depend less on packaged and outside food.

“So if they are organised and carry proper meals for proper timings and instead of eating chips or having tea or coffee, if they pick up fruits or have more of coconut water with malai or have a handful of nuts that would help them give them the nutrients that their body needs.

“They just need to be mindful about what put in their mouth at every point of time.”

Ghei also said eliminating stress, sleeping well and sleeping enough, kicking the butt and curbing alcohol will also make a difference.

“It’s the continued stress and our body’s natural, evolutionary response that causes all sorts of health problems, including weight gain,” she said.

To this, Ranglani added: “Tea, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes should not be consumed at all. These things can wreck your whole youthfulness. The internal and external smoke and toxins can actually make your skin look dull and dead, leading to wrinkling and ageing faster.

“These addictions are something which everyone needs to get over for a happy and a healthy life.”


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Parliamentary panel red-flags government’s ambitious healthcare scheme




New Delhi, March 13: The Modi government has released less than half of the budgeted allocation for health insurance of poor families in fiscal 2017-18, even as it promised to step up coverage with the proposed launch of what is called the world’s largest government healthcare programme.

The revenue allocation of Rs 975 crore for the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was reduced to Rs 565 crore and, as the year progressed, the actual release was just Rs 450 crore — less than half of the budget estimate, according to a parliamentary panel’s report.

“Funds as a central share of premium under RSBY of approximately Rs 450 crore were only released for such states that submitted their proposal during the year 2017-18,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its report.

As for the reason for reducing the budgeted allocation, the panel quoted the Department of Health and Family Welfare, saying: “This ministry had moved a proposal for another scheme with an enhanced cover of Rs 1 lakh per family.

“However, this proposal is still pending with the cabinet. Therefore, such states that were waiting for the new scheme to be launched did not submit any proposal and meanwhile stopped implementation of RSBY.”

Even the amount of Rs 25 crore allocated for capital purposes in 2017-18 for setting up office premises for the proposed scheme with an enhanced cover of Rs 1 lakh remained unutilised during the period as the cabinet approval for the scheme remained pending. The money was surrendered.

The RSBY provided a limited coverage of only Rs 30,000 and there was a proposal to increase it to Rs 1 lakh. While the government had difficulties in implementing the healthcare scheme, it announced the launch a bigger healthcare programme in its Union Budget for 2018-19 last month.

The proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which would subsume RSBY, would cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, and the coverage is further enhanced to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.

However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee has warned of possible failures.

The committee reported that the enrolment in RSBY was quite low. “Only 57 percent of eligible are enrolled and less than 12 percent of the eligible persons got their hospitalisation covered through RSBY.”

Citing a comprehensive review of various studies on RSBY, the panel said that in a majority of states (eight out of 14) there was an increase in out-of-pocket expenditure related to RSBY, while only two of 14 studies showed a reduction in expenditure.

It further noted that many states have opted out of RSBY in favour of state-run schemes. “The government should form a committee to analyse the failures of RSBY and ensure that inadequacies plaguing the operation and implementation of RSBY are not repeated.”

The panel observed that the new scheme is just a modification of the earlier one as more than half of the target beneficiaries proposed to be covered under the NHPS were already covered under existing government-supported schemes.

“What would indeed have been a step forward is if it covered out-patient treatment as well, but that is lacking,” said the Parliamentary panel.


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