These are the 9 reasons why you should include sesame seeds to your diet
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These are the 9 reasons why you should include sesame seeds to your diet

Sesame seeds have numerous health benefits – while the antioxidant properties present in the seeds help in anti-ageing, the rich omega fatty acids content triggers hair growth, say experts. Here are some other health benefits of sesame seeds:
  • They help in healing skin and make it glow. Sesame seeds help the skin remain warm and moist. They are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that are vital in healing redness and other facial skin issues by getting rid of pathogens and other agents causing skin infections.

Mix one tablespoon olive oil and two tablespoons of powdered sesame seeds. Apply this mixture on your face after dampening it. Do it once or twice a week.

  • Benefits of sesame are not only for skin, but also for hair. They trigger hair growth by nourishing the roots with their rich omega fatty acids content. They also help in moisturising the scalp and improve blood circulation to rejuvenate hair follicles.

Add two teaspoons of sesame oil to 2-3 drops of rosemary essential oil and one tablespoon of aloe-vera gel. Apply this mixture on your scalp and massage gently with circular motions. Do this twice or thrice a week. Rinse your hair with a chemical-free shampoo and conditioner.

  •  Sesame seeds contain the highest amount of oil content as compared to any other seed. It helps in removing dental plaque and boosts oral health.
  • Sesame seeds enhance digestive health by relieving constipation.
  • They are also beneficial for people who are under radiation treatments for cancer.
  • Components of sesame seeds, like magnesium, help in maintaining insulin and glucose levels, and prevent diabetes. The rich magnesium content is also ideal to reduce hypertension.
  • Their anti-aging properties nourish hair and delay greying.
  • They also reduce inflammation in joints, bones and muscles. But remember not to consume excessive amount of sesame seeds because too much of anything is bad.
  • With the presence of natural antioxidants and natural SPF, sesame keeps the skin protected from the sun’s UV rays as well as from free radicals. Sesame has been traditionally used in several therapies worldwide due to these properties.
0 0 312 16 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Major reason for pollution-related deaths in India ? Household burning, coal combustion !
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Major reason for pollution-related deaths in India ? Household burning, coal combustion !

Exposure to household burning emissions and coal combustion were the main reasons behind 75 per cent of air pollution-related deaths in India in 2015 which came chiefly from rural areas, reveals a report. The report, by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Bombay and the US-based Health Effects Institute, found that residential biomass fuel burning contributed to some 268,000 deaths in 2015 and coal combustion from both thermal electric power plants and industry contributed to 169,000 deaths. Anthropogenic dusts contributed to 100,000 deaths; agricultural burning to 66,000 deaths; and transport, diesel, and kilns were behind over 65,000 deaths in India. ‘This systematic analysis of emissions from all sources and their impact on ambient air pollution exposure found significant contributions from regional sources (like residential biomass, agricultural residue burning and industrial coal), underlying that from local sources (like transportation and brick kilns),’ said Chandra Venkataraman from IIT-Bombay. According to the 2015 Global Burden of Disease analysis, these levels contribute to over 10 per cent of all Indian deaths each year. The premature mortality, attributed to air pollution, contributed to over 29 million healthy years of life lost. Overall, air pollution contributed to nearly 1.1 million deaths in 2015, with the burden falling disproportionately (75 per cent) on rural areas. The 2017 Global Burden of Disease identified air pollution, both outdoors and in households, as the second most serious risk factor for public health in India, after malnutrition, contributing to 6.4 per cent of all healthy years of life lost in 2016. ‘India has some of the highest levels of outdoor air pollution in the world,’ the researchers wrote in the ‘Special Report 21, Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India’. ‘The most comprehensive air pollution estimates available from both satellite and Indian ground-level measurements of fine particulate matter indicate that 99.9 per cent of the Indian population is estimated to live in areas where the World Health Organisation Air Quality Guideline for fine particulate matter was exceeded in 2015, contributing to some 1.1 million deaths in India in 2015.’ This new study provides the first comprehensive assessment conducted in India to understand exposures at national and state levels from all major sources of particulate-matter air pollution (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 µm, or PM2.5).  It takes advantage of enhanced satellite data and India’s growing network of air pollution monitors, and is the first to estimate the exposure from different air pollution sources state by state throughout India.
0 0 290 16 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Eating healthy but not losing weight ? Here is the solution !
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Eating healthy but not losing weight ? Here is the solution !

Many people have made weight loss their new year’s resolution and have stocked their kitchen shelves with healthy items like avocados, coconut oil and other healthy things. But, according to some nutritionists or dieticians, binge-eating healthy items can also stop you from losing weight, reports the Independent. Rather they would recommend counting calories, but that doesn’t mean the quantity of food you’re eating isn’t important. Specialist dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine of Nic’s Nutrition said, ‘Everything can be ‘unhealthy’ if consumed to excess; even water! Foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients, such as fries, doughnuts, crisps, chocolate and cake should definitely be kept to an ‘occasional’ food, but when it comes to foods that are high in fat and high in nutrients we can indeed have them more frequently.’ They say that the most important thing is to get your portion size right. Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert explained, ‘There are days where we overindulge and eat more than we usually would but in general it can be helpful to be mindful of what a portion size is for different foods.’ While Ludlam-Raine said,’ Consuming calories in excess of your daily needs on a regular basis will result in weight gain and although we should be getting 30 per cent of our calories from fats, it’s important to keep to the recommended serving sizes.’ So how do you know how much is too much?Here are the recommended portion sizes from nutritionists:
  • Avocado – half a large one or one small one
  • Houmous – two to three tablespoons
  • Nut butters – two tablespoons/30g
  • Nuts – 25/30g
  • Dark chocolate – 30-60g
  • Dried fruits – 30g (around five dried apricots, four dates or two to three figs)
Avocados provide us with essential fats, nuts, nut butters and houmous are also sources of healthy fats as well as protein, dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids and dried fruits are full of fibre. But people need to keep in mind that portion sizes can vary depending on how active you are, so there’s no strict one size fits all rule.
0 0 215 16 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Want To Grow Your Own Vegetables But Have No Time? Here Is The Solution
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Want To Grow Your Own Vegetables But Have No Time? Here Is The Solution

Have you ever played Farmville? The virtual game, which allows its users to build farms, plough, plant, and harvest? An initiative called Farmizen, started by Shameek Chakravarty, Gitanjali Rajamani, and Sudaakeran Balasubramanian is in a way bringing the virtual game to life. We at The Better India often bring you stories of people who have taken to organic farming, are practising terrace gardening, or have made sustainable long-term life choices which impact the environment in a positive manner. What if you could actually grow your own fruits and vegetables on a patch of land over which you have complete control and expert assistance. From deciding what to grow to what nutrients go into the soil, to harvesting the produce. Farmizen, an initiative, which has its roots in Bengaluru, is an app-based service, which gives the consumer a patch of land to manage.
A screenshot of the app
Here’s what you have to do: The Farmizen app is available across operating systems; so once you have downloaded it, enter your details to set-up an account. Ensure that you pick a community farm near you for better and easy access. Select the vegetables you wish to grow and then make the monthly subscription. Once your initial process is complete, the farmer managing the plot of land starts preparing your plot with the vegetables you have chosen. The app is constantly updated with details of every stage of the growth. You can also chat with other customers who have plots of land in the same community as yours. When your harvest is ready, you can visit the farm to pick it up yourself – or have the produce delivered right to your doorstep.
A family day -out
Each mini-farm is divided into 12 beds, so you can choose to either grow one vegetable on all beds or a different plant in each bed. Each plot is 600 sq. Feet and the monthly subscription can cost you around Rs 2500. Founder speaks: We spoke to Shameek Chakravarty, co-founder Farmizen and this is what he said. “Our food system has broken down, and unfortunately the existing system isn’t helping anyone – we as consumers go to the market and look for organic produce. However, do we know whether what we are buying is organic? Just putting a label does not make it organic.” The fault, he says, also lies with the consumer who is only looking to pick the prettiest vegetable. “Would you pick brinjal that doesn’t look like one in the conventional sense of the word?” “We are looking for perfection in the vegetables we consume, and that sends out a terrible message to farmers.”
A hard days work
Looks seem to trump even the taste and nutritional value of the vegetables, and that adds a lot of pressure on the farmer who resorts to using methods that may or may not be sustainable in the long run.” Did you know that in the United States almost 30% of the produce is discarded as ‘ugly produce’? “To ensure that we don’t get to that stage, it is essential that we educate and create awareness among the consumers,” says Shameek. One of the USP’s of Farmizen is the interaction that the consumer is able to have with the farmer. “To be able to visit the farm, see your produce flourishing without the use of any chemicals and fertilizers is something that we pride ourselves on.”
Happy customers
At Farmizen, the land is not mechanically tilled; they introduce earthworms that do the job for them. This is, in a way, going back to the systems that were followed long ago, but have since been forgotten. Consumer speaks Somnath Samanta says, “I always wanted to grow my vegetables, and with Farmizen that dream has become a reality.” “Never did I imagine that a 600sq.ft area can produce so many vegetables and that too without the use of any chemical fertilizer in such a short span of time.”
Somnath Samanta
Farmizen is now operational in Bengaluru with a customer base of over 400. They plan to launch this service in Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
0 0 279 15 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Bird Watching Proves To Be Good For Mental Health
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Bird Watching Proves To Be Good For Mental Health

According to this study, people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. The study conducted at the University of Exeter, involving hundreds of people, found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighborhoods. The study, which surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities, also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed. After conducting extensive surveys of the number of birds in the morning and afternoon in Milton Keynes, Bedford, and Luton, the study found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. The academics studied afternoon bird numbers – which tend to be lower than birds generally seen in the morning – because are more in keeping with the number of birds that people are likely to see in their neighborhood on a daily basis. In the study, common types of birds including blackbirds, robins, blue tits and crows were seen. But the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health, but rather the number of birds they could see from their windows, in the garden or in their neighborhood. Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low, suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds, not just specific birds, that provides well-being. University of Exeter research fellow Dr. Daniel Cox, who led the study, said: “This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being. “Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.” The positive association between birds, shrubs and trees and better mental health applied, even after controlling for variation in neighborhood deprivation, household income, age and a wide range of other socio-demographic factors.
0 0 251 15 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Prepare a ‘to-do’ list before you go to bed; This is how it would help you
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Prepare a ‘to-do’ list before you go to bed; This is how it would help you

Having trouble falling asleep? Jotting down your “to-do” list just before bedtime can help you doze off quickly, scientists say. Researchers from Baylor University in the US compared sleep patterns of participants who took five minutes to write down upcoming duties versus those who chronicled completed activities. “We live in a 24/7 culture in which our to-do lists seem to be constantly growing and causing us to worry about unfinished tasks at bedtime,” said Michael K Scullin, assistant professor at Baylor University. “Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract night time difficulties with falling asleep,” said Scullin, lead author of the study Journal of Experimental Psychology. While anecdotal evidence exists that writing a bedtime list can help one fall asleep, the study used overnight polysomnography, the “gold standard” of sleep measurement, Scullin said. For the study 57 university students, participants stayed in the lab on a week night to avoid weekend effects on bedtime and because on a weekday night, they probably had unfinished tasks to do the next day, Scullin said. They were divided into two randomly selected groups and given five-minute writing assignments before retiring. One group was asked to write down everything they needed to remember to do the next day or over the next few days; the other to write about tasks completed during the previous few days. Students were instructed they could go to bed at 10.30 pm. “We absolutely restricted any technology, homework, etc. It was simply lights out after they got into bed,” Scullin said. While the sample size was appropriate for an experimental, laboratory-based study, a larger future study would be of value, researchers said. “Measures of personality, anxiety and depression might moderate the effects of writing on falling asleep, and that could be explored in an investigation with a larger sample,” he said. “We recruited healthy young adults, and so we don’t know whether our findings would generalise to patients with insomnia, though some writing activities have previously been suggested to benefit such patients,” he added.
0 0 215 15 January, 2018 Alternative, Health, life more
Kerala to End Manual Scavenging
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Kerala to End Manual Scavenging

39 deaths were recorded in a period of 100 days in 2017. Cause of death – manual scavenging. Despite the ongoing heated debates about the need to eliminate manual scavenging and adopt mechanised methods over the years, not much of what was written on paper has been translated into action. As a result, the working conditions of sanitary workers remains unchanged across the country. Often a derogatory practice confined to people belonging to the most backward castes, manual scavenging provides no precautionary or safety measures for its workers and poses health hazards that outweigh the meagre wages these workers get. Despite passing laws like the Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act in 1993 (which was revised two decades later in 2013), manual scavenging continues to dig its claws into the social ecosystem of different parts of India. But Kerala has decided to put an end to the inhuman practice for good. Soon, robots will be seen replacing humans in cleaning sewers in Kerala. Developed by Genrobotics, Bandicoot is a low-cost robot with four limbs that comes with a bucket attached to a spider web-like extension. This robot will make its way into a manhole, scoop out waste and collect it in a bucket. It comes with a screen, a camera, WiFi and Bluetooth. The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and Kerala Startup Mission(KSUM) have signed a MoU on Thursday for transfer of technology and products, to use the robots. The MoU was signed between Kerala Water Innovation Zone at the chief minister’s office. The Bandicoots will start their operations by cleaning sewer holes in Thiruvananthapuram in March during the Attukal Pongala festival.
manual scavenging Kerala robots
Representational Image only. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Genrobotics’ project, funded by KSUM, through its innovation aims to put an end to manual scavenging.
0 0 224 13 January, 2018 Alternative, Health more
Travelling to Japan ? Keep chicken away from your diet
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Travelling to Japan ? Keep chicken away from your diet

Confirmation of the outbreak, which was reported earlier in the week, marked the country’s first cases of bird flu in poultry this winter.
Chickens at a farm in the area of Sanuki city in Kagawa had been confirmed testing positive for a highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Japan’s western Kagawa prefecture has begun a cull of 91,000 chickens after the discovery of a highly contagious form of bird flu on a farm, the local government said. The confirmation of the outbreak, which was reported earlier in the week, marked the country’s first cases of bird flu in poultry this winter. The local government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said late Thursday that chickens at a farm in the area of Sanuki city in Kagawa had been confirmed testing positive for a highly pathogenic avian influenza. Japan’s last outbreak of bird flu occurred in March. Between November 2016 and March 2017, a total of 1.67 million chickens were culled due to the H5N6 strain of bird flu, according to the ministry.
0 0 230 12 January, 2018 Alternative, Food, Health more
Lack of sun light could cause weight gain during winter
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Lack of sun light could cause weight gain during winter

Are you struggling to maintain that New Year's resolution to lose weight? A new University of Alberta study says the sun may be to blame for your extra winter pounds. The research, led by pharmacology professor Peter Light, shows the fat cells just beneath our skin shrink when exposed to sun rays — meaning the cells release some of the fat and hold less of it. "The blue wavelengths of light … actually penetrate the skin and can activate the fat cells so that they lose some of the fat," Light said. Like many of science's greatest discoveries, this potential breakthrough was discovered by accident — Light and his team were trying to engineer the fat cells to make insulin to help treat Type 1 diabetes. In their process, they found the cells were responsive to light. Light said he's finally living up to his last name. Other studies have shown the blue wavelengths of light have other effects on our bodies. The light is emitted from cellphones, laptops and other LED monitors and has been shown to suppress melatonin and increase alertness. Light said the pathways stimulated in the eyes from staring at screens are the same pathways they're seeing in the fat cells. He said his new findings could help make sense of the winter weight gain many people experience in a northern climate like Edmonton. With some sun exposure confirmed to help generate vitamin D in the body, Light said this discovery be another benefit. "It may help regulate your body weight and a lack of it may actually lead to extra storage of [fat] in the winter." But he said his findings suggest that current technology — like tanning beds or blue light lamps, for example — haven't shown the same effects as sunlight. "We think that that great big nuclear reactor in the sky, the sun, is what's required," Light said. "We need really intense light to actually penetrate the skin." Only one to five per cent of blue light penetrates the skin, Light said, and the sun is able to do that with limited exposure. But before you start spending exorbitant amounts of time in the sun and calling it a weight-loss routine, Light said it's still early and the study published is just a new avenue for them to explore. "The study we just published, actually, was more of an observation of the effect," Light said. "Now, we need to know what the underlying mechanism is."
0 0 303 12 January, 2018 Alternative, Food, Health, life more
All Foodies Head to Maharashtra Farms During The Winter Season ! This Is Why
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All Foodies Head to Maharashtra Farms During The Winter Season ! This Is Why

The farming community in Maharashtra excitedly looks forward to the winter season, not only because this is the time when the crops are harvested, but also because this is when they can enjoy a delicacy called hurda—the tender and sweet seeds of jowar freshly plucked off the plant. Hurda is high in fibre and provides them with much-needed nutrition. What started as a recreational snack slowly gained popularity and today, farms all over the state conduct and celebrate Hurda parties! A Hurda party is a party like no other. Farms in Pune, Solapur, Baramati and several other districts in Maharashtra, welcome guests, and the focus of the party is this simple snack that farmers love dearly. The drinks on offer are buttermilk or sugarcane juice! Jowar grains are cleaned by hand and then roasted on a small heap of dry cow dung. It requires skill to roast jowar in a way that it retains moisture and does not become too dry. All this hard work results in a delicious heap of Hurda! Hurda is usually served with yoghurt, garlic or groundnut chutney, and sometimes, along with ‘kharda’ an extremely spicy pickle made of green chillies.
It can also be enjoyed with jaggery. The newfound fascination for Hurda parties has prompted various recipes with this ingredient as a base. If you happen to visit a party, you might be offered Hurda chaat or fritters, Bhakri (flatbread), and Pithla (a curry made from gram flour). Occasionally, corn, eggplant, and onion are roasted along with Hurda. Loksatta estimates that around 300-400 people travel to villages every weekend during the winter season to relish this delicacy. Hurda parties typically begin in the afternoon and can continue until midnight.
0 0 464 11 January, 2018 Alternative, Food more