Wednesday November 22, 2017

How to wean kids away from Maggi and other noodles?

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New Delhi: So what do you do if your child hankers for noodles, now that Maggi and other brands are under a cloud? Experts say one should go for the generic varieties or make alternatives more interesting.

It’s difficult to stop children from eating their favourite noodles or fast food, so put in extra effort, suggests Aarchie Bhatnagar, dietician at BLK Super Speciality Hospital here.

“Mothers can buy plain raw noodles and cook, adding vegetables to make the dish healthy. Momos or burgers can be also made at home by replacing maida with rice floor,” says Bhatnagar.

But what about pesticides, contaminants and germs in raw food bought locally. From the farm to the table, our food passes through different processes and different hands.

Experts advise that vegetables and fruits should be washed well. Peeling fruits will cut down surface pesticide content. Thewater-soluble compound potassium permanganate may also come to your aid.

“Mix enough of the permanganate in water to give it a light pink colour. Soak fruits and vegetables and rinse them well. This will effectively remove pesticides, bacteria and other pests,” advises Kanika Malhotra, senior clinical nutritionist from HealthCare at Home (India), a global venture offering home health care services.

Too much of the permanganate, though, can be harmful so ensure that the water colour is light pink and not dark, she adds.

Sonia Bajaj, an acclaimed nutritionist and fitness expert advises that suma tablets (chlorine-based sanitising tablets) may be used to clean or sanitise vegetables and salads. Even vinegar can help, she adds.

Another option for healthy food at home is to look for a good ultrasonic food washer. This washer uses the principle of ultrasonic and reactive oxygen to remove most of agricultural chemicals from fruits and vegetables.

It also removes fungicides, pesticides and contaminants and has been found to be quite effective, says Ritika Samaddar, head (dietetics) at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi. “The cost, however, is an issue and cannot be a solution for the masses,” explains Samaddar. The price of a washer starts at around Rs 7,000.

But should vegetables and other food items be bought only from reputed grocery stores? According to Bhatnagar, one should only buy food items from reputed stores as they have certain basic hygienic standards in place. “This will ensure certain purity but adulteration-free food cannot be guaranteed,” she maintains.

For Samaddar, “buying even from a local vender is fine provided the fruits or vegetables are washed properly before consumption”.

Organic food is another choice. An organic product is considered truly organic when it is duly certified and contains 95 percent or more organic ingredients.

“Organic foods will mostly be without pesticides and more nutritious per serving. But these are more expensive, hence not an option for the public, Samaddar says. She advises that one should look for certification, wherever possible, from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India or ISO.

What are the other ways to ensure that healthy food items reach our table? Read food labels carefully and do not get fooled by gimmicks.

“Check how much fat or sugar is there in the food. Just saying ‘contains oats’ and actually ‘containing four percent per 100 gms’ is not justified,” Malhotra points out. As a rule, the more processed the food is, the more toxic it is likely to be.

But what about the children’s craving for junk food. Samaddar says junk food can also be made healthy by incorporating some simple changes at home.

“Use a wheat crust for your pizza and top it up with lots of crunchy veggies. Have a whole wheat bun and add lettuce with your patty to make it more healthy,” she says.

Malhotra suggests that parents can ensure that kids eat healthy at home. Start the day with fruit and a handful of nuts. For breakfast, pack upma, poha, stuffed veggies, chapati roll or sandwich. Keep lunch simple with a roti or rice, sabzi and dal.

In the evenings, give them a glass of milk and another fruit.

“Make dinner interesting with a bowl of soup, stuffed rolls with chopped tomatoes and pav bhaji minus butter, with whole wheat bread/barbecued or tandoori chicken/paneer with a bowl of soup and salad,” says Malhotra.

Once the kid is full, he or she will not look for junk food. Hopefully.

(IANS)

 

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Women can Boost their Working Memory with Hormone Therapy

Benefits of oestrogen therapy in women.

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oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress
oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress. wikimedia commons

New York, Nov 5: Undergoing a type of hormone replacement therapy — used for menopausal treatment — may help protect as well as improve working memory for some women as they age, according to a new study.

Hormone replacement therapy uses female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – to treat common symptoms of menopause and ageing.

The findings showed that women taking oestrogen-only therapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed better on tests of “working memory” following exposure to stress compared to women taking a placebo.

“Our study suggests that oestrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress,” said lead author Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, a researcher at the University of Southern California – Davis.

To measure the effect of oestrogen therapy on working memory under stress, the team recruited 42 women with an average age of 66.

Half of the postmenopausal women had been on estradiol — a type of oestrogen therapy — for approximately five years, while the others had received a placebo.

The researchers, in the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, collected saliva to measure the women’s levels of cortisol, oestrogen, and progesterone.

They also ran a test of working memory called a “sentence span task”, in which the women were each given a series and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each one.

While women receiving oestrogen therapy had a smaller increase in cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function, even after being exposed to stressful situation, those taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels as well as demonstrated a decrease in working memory function.

Previous studies have pointed to potential health risks — the Ahigher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots — of the treatment.

Thus, Herrera noted that “hormone replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able to have the conversation with their doctors”.(IANS)

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YouTube Kids launches its Newly Updated App Today

YouTube Kids launches its revamped app today.

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YouTube Logo
YouTube Logo. wikimedia commons
  • The company Launches its app on Friday.
  • The app enables you to make your child’s profile as per your selection of videos.

On its first anniversary in India, Youtube kids launches its app with new look and feature

Users can now create a profile for each kid and choose between younger or older content levels to manage the types of videos they can watch. Kid profiles work across all different devices.

“With improved connectivity and affordable data plans, we have seen enormous growth in creation and consumption of learning and educational content in the country, making India the fastest growing YouTube Kids country in Asia Pacific,” said Don Anderson, Head of Family and Learning Partnerships, YouTube APAC, in a statement.

With over 800 million learning video views per day, YouTube Kids is now live in 37 countries.

“Designed to put parents in control and appeal to kids in the age group of 2 to 10 years, the newly updated app comes with features that have been incorporated based on extensive research and inputs gathered from kids and parents,” the company said.(IANS)

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Drop-dead (to become) Gorgeous? How Social Media Corrupts our Definition of Body Image

Researchers believe that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are even more harmful than stipulated websites in support of anorexia due to the increased accessibility and wider target audience of as these mediums.

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Anorexia is not photogenic. Instagram

New Delhi, November 1, 2017 : I have grown up as a conscious kid; hours spent looking at pictures of strangers with perfectly toned bodies have been like an everyday ritual, carried out religiously, day after day. But thankfully, my fascination for the ‘ideal’ body that ruled the internet never materialized and it was not long before I became happy in my own skin.

Years later, I look at my 12 year old sister, who wishes to consume only watermelon juice because that’s what her favorite blogger does too, to maintain her fit body. She is my teenage sister’s ‘#fitspo’, she proudly announces.

Just a young teenager, where is she getting all this information from, you’d wonder.

The answers is; everywhere!

We are all chasing unrealistic expectations when it comes to our body image, courtesy the enormous content we consume over different social media.

Social media has completely radicalized the way we see body image- ourselves and other people, and transformed the way we interact with the larger society.

If analyzed duly,
aren’t we all seeking validation
on the internet at the
expense of a ‘like’?

You can never be sure which side you will be on – messages on social media can spread self-hatred, animosity, encouragement, joy and a myriad of other emotions. It is like this that movements have created not just ripples but waves on the social media; some positive while others more damaging than we are prepared to handle.

People are constantly being bombarded with pictures of the body image that is ‘goals’, the ‘ideal’ body; photos and videos of people dieting and exercise have become a part of mainstream generation, so much so that the hashtag fitspo is one of the most used hashtag of the present times.

This increased proliferation of the ‘ideal’ body image often has people comparing themselves to images of strangers and people online, hoping to be more like them.

We are at a phase of life when
images of strangers’ bodies and lifestyles not only affect but govern our lives-
in ways that may be far beyond
our expectations.

According to a study published in October, it was revealed that an increasing number of people are celebrating extreme thinness on various social media accounts. The research, carried out by researchers at University of Exeter, shed light on the hundreds of users, especially women, who were praising anorexic bodies on Twitter and Instagram under the umbrella term ‘thinspiration’.

The Research

Researchers analyzed 734 images that were posted on Twitter, Instagram and We Heart It with indicative hashtags- #thinspiration, #bonespiration and #fitspiration.

body image
An anorexic model. Pixabay

 

The images that came under the scanner were selfies taken by girls, boasting about their withered bodies by highlighting their protruding collar bones, spine, rib cage and hip bones.

It was revealed that an alarming amount of content online is dedicated to glorifying such shrunken bodies, plagued by eating disorders.

Shockingly, the researchers found that every shared image was complimented alongside proud captions boasting about the calories they had consumed that day, or how they ‘totally rock a thigh gap’.

 

 

The Instagram Effect

I remember being in school when the entire ruckus about a thigh-gap gained momentum. After almost 5 years, I am a 22 year-old adult now, and the world continues to rave about the thigh-gap.

Different eating orders, even umbrella terms like “Pro-Ana” and “Pro-Mia” that were essentially aimed at promoting anorexia and bulimia as an ideal lifestyle choice, are not new. However, the only difference is the dangerously new breeding platform that social media has provided to these hazardous body image campaigns.

Researchers are convinced that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are even more harmful than stipulated websites in support of anorexia due to the increased accessibility and wider target audience of as these mediums.

Not very surprisingly, the Bonespiration movement has now become rampant – easily accessible with hashtags like needtobethin, thinspiration, fitspo, etc, pro-eating disorder and a specifically shrunken body image content drive this campaign on almost all social media platforms.

According to Claire Mysko, spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association, “Thinspiration is content that promotes weight loss but often in a way that actively glorifies eating disordered behavior and thoughts.”

#Thinspo and #Fitspo And Eating Disorders

#Thinspo :  The thinspiration or the thinspo movement has an enormous presence with almost all bloggers and models using it as a hashtag in their posts. Although thinspo does not categorically promote eating disorders, it is dominated by images of unrealistically (and dangerously) thin women (and sometimes men), who portray themselves as the ideal body image; an inspiration for people to lose enormous amounts of weight.

#Fitspo : The fitspiration, or fitspo hashtag initially emerged as a counter movement to thinspo by promoting healthy eating and working out culture but it is popularly believed that the movement makes use of equally unrealistic and hence dangerous imagery.

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Fitspo can loosely translate to being obsessed with healthy eating and working out. Pixabay

These extreme behaviors foster unhealthy expectations in the minds of individuals who then begin to seek impossible results from their diets and exercise plans to look like the ‘ideal’ bodies that rule the internet.

Various researches are known to have noted that constant exposure to such content psychologically affects users.

According to another study published in January by researchers at University of Adelaide (Australia), it was found that women posting ‘fitspiration’ posts on Instagram are at a greater risk of suffering from eating disorders.

Additionally, anorexia nervosa reports nearly 10 per cent mortality rate, thus being the most dangerous psychological disorder. People who do not die from anorexia can still suffer health effects like loss of bone mass, damage to heart, and withered immune system.

In 2012, Instagram had banned the use of five hashtags “thinspiration”, “imugly”,  “anorexia”, “proana”, and “thighgap”.

However, that did little to no help as propagators of these body image hashtag trends look for alternate spellings or combinations of words that are close to the original and can convey similar meanings. You would be surprised to know that despite the ban, there continue to be more than 1,44,000 posts tagged #bonespo on Instagram to date.

body image
Notice the variations in spelling, following the ban of the hashtag thinspiration. Instagram

Is There No End?

Social media has garnered a lot of criticism for such gregarious body image content that propagates unhealthy behaviors and attitudes, because of which some social media sites have updated their guidelines and instructed users to strictly not post content promoting self-harm in any manner, doing which can lead to dismissal of their accounts. However, how practical is it to monitor the billions of posts that are shared on a daily basis?

While several hashtags like #pro-ana or #pro-mia have been banned by social media vigilantes, several users continue to post #thinspiration content with new hashtags that haven’t been recognized by the social media police.

Certainly, this has emerged as an online epidemic, now beyond the realm and control of social media.

Approach to Recovery

Every coin as a flip side.

Social media platforms also combine pro-recovery groups that make use of hashtags that people seeking a way out search for.

“It is like an intervention”.

– Claire Mysko,
                     director of programs,
the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), USA

Individuals seeking recovery from an unhealthy lifestyle or anorexia can connect with people who have been affected by similar notions of an unhealthy body image and eating disorders and receive comments of encouragement from all over the world – the warmth and the support are literally like getting a virtual hug.

Instagram has also now installed a filter that offers support every time a user searcher for similar dangerous words like anorexia.

body image
Support filter on Instagram. Instagram

~  NewsGram supports all things healthy.  

We urge you to go online and have a look yourself at all the ‘thinspiration’ posts. They tend to glamorize anorexia and promote frail models and starvation, ignoring their health and well being.

Anorexia is not photogenic.

Anorexia is not glamorous. Not from the outside, definitely not from the inside.