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Mustard oil has been used for centuries as a food additive and remains a staple in a majority of Indian homes. Incorporating mustard oil into your daily diet is known to protect against heart disease. The oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, both of which help lower bad cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol hence maintaining one’s cholesterol balance, which in turn leads to healthy cardiac functioning.
“Mustard oil also works well as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent and can help fight bacterial infections in the digestive system,” Executive Chef Arun Sundararaj told IANS. “From the taste point of view, mustard oil is an acquired taste for most people. Although pungent in character, mustard oil brings tremendous flavours to any dish. I believe that there is no ingredient that comes close to it — mustard oil has a unique texture to it. At the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, we use mustard oil in dishes such as Mustard Prawns and Bhatti Murgh,” he said.
At the same time, Sundararaj adds, “It is recommended that one does not use mustard oil as the sole medium for cooking and instead uses a combination of different oils depending on the dish you are cooking. Mustard oil has a high smoking point and as a result, is ideal for deep frying.”
Executive Chef Sonu Koithara had a similar take on the benefits from the health and palate point of view of cooking in mustard oil. Noting that mustard oil has culinary as well as therapeutic uses, Koithara told IANS: “It has an edge over other oils due to the optimum ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and its low content of saturated fats. It contains about 60 per cent monounsaturated fats (MUFA), as well as polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), and saturated fats. These fatty acids are considered ‘good fats’.”
He also pointed to research which suggests that mustard oil has strong cancer-fighting properties and that it contains ample amounts of linolenic acid, which when converted to omega-3 fatty acid, helps prevent cancers. “Mustard oil also benefits the heart as it contains rich amounts of MUFA and PUFA as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These good fats lower the risk of developing heart diseases and is also a very powerful natural stimulant and improves digestion and appetite by stimulating digestive juices,” Koithara explained.
Umesh Verma, DGM (Corporate Communications) at Puri Oil Mills Ltd, the makers of P Mark mustard oil, said: “Mustard oil is the preferred choice of generations of chefs across traditional Indian cuisine spanning Kashmir, Punjab and West Bengal as it brings alive the flavour of food.
“Indians like to carry the taste of India to whichever country they move to — and find ingenious ways to track down their favourite brands in those countries. We keep hearing of our mustard oil being available in the US and in various European cities. It’s a great feeling.”
Are there any foods that particularly lend themselves to being cooked in mustard oil? The oil is one of the best-suited for Indian homes because of its versatility, Sundararaj said, adding it complements Indian spices and beautifully brings out the flavours of our food.
“While mustard oil complements both vegetarian and non-vegetarian ingredients, dishes such as pickles of all kinds taste best when made in mustard oil. In addition, mustard oil can be used as a salad dressing along with lemon and honey. “Also there are many Bengali fish preparations like sarson bata maach, paturi fish and other dishes like mangsho (mutton), murgir jhol (chicken) are best enjoyed when cooked in mustard oil,” he said. For, Koithara, the use of mustard oil in Bengali food “is immense and it absolutely complements the Bengali palate. Foods like Shorshe bata ilish and Chingri bhapa are delicacies that cannot do without the generous use of mustard oil”.
Any other thoughts they’d like to share on the subject? “There are some ingredients that can never be replaced in the Indian kitchen and mustard oil is one such essential because of its unique and pungent flavour,” Sundararaj said.
Pointing to mustard oil’s immense health benefits, Koithara said it is very good during winter as it produces body heat and protects the body from cold. “For this reason, people in Rajasthan use mustard oil on their bodies during winter to keep the skin supple and themselves healthy. Additionally, mustard oil has been used extensively as a cure for cold and cough for decades,” he added. IANS
China's CoronaVac and Sinopharm Covid vaccines may be waning in immunity levels, several studies have shown. CoronaVac and Sinopharm -- both inactivated vaccines, which use killed SARS-CoV-2 virus -- account for almost 50 per cent of the 7.3 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered globally. China administered about 2.4 billion doses of the vaccines to its citizens, but almost one billion doses have gone to 110 other countries, particularly the less wealthy nations, Nature reported.
However, many countries, including Seychelles and Indonesia, which used the vaccines reported Covid-19 surges earlier this year, sparking a debate about their waning protection and the need for boosters. "These are not bad vaccines. They're just vaccines that haven't been optimised yet," Gagandeep Kang, a virologist at the Christian Medical College in India's Vellore, who advises SAGE, was quoted as saying. After receiving a second dose of CoronaVac, only 60 per cent had high levels of neutralising antibodies one month, compared to with 86 per cent of those who had received two shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, revealed a study of 185 health-care workers in Thailand, not yet peer-reviewed.
China's CoronaVac and Sinopharm Covid vaccines may be waning in immunity levels, several studies have shown. | Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash
After three months, the antibody prevalence dropped to just 12 per cent in the same group, Opass Putcharoen, an infectious-diseases specialist at the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Clinical Center in Bangkok, was quoted as saying. However, "waning of antibodies isn't necessarily the same as waning of immune protection", noted Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
CoronaVac induces a significantly lower antibody response compared with Pfizer-BioNTech's mRNA jab one month after two doses, however, the T-cell response was comparable, showed a study from Hong Kong, also not peer-reviewed. Vaccines made using other technologies have seen a similar trend of waning antibodies and protection against infection, but more-robust protection against severe disease and death. But researchers say that because the Chinese inactivated vaccines start at a lower base of neutralising antibodies, the protection they offer could drop faster than those with a stronger head start, the Nature report said.
However, a drop in protection can prove deadly for the elderly. An analysis of about one million people, hospitalised with Covid-19 in Brazil, showed that CoronaVac offered up to 60 per cent protection against severe disease up to the age of 79. But in people over 80, CoronaVac was only 30 per cent effective at preventing severe disease and 45 per cent effective against death. As a result, several countries, including Chile, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and China, are giving booster jabs of mRNA or viral-vector vaccine to people who received the CoronaVac or Sinopharm vaccines, the report said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: antibodies, waning, coronavac, protection, vaccines
By Devina Kaur
Everything in life is temporary. The only constant in life is change itself. That is a reality that we cannot deny. The beauty of this fact is that it allows us to confront our fears, trust the magic of the moment, and enjoy the precious gift of life. What lasts forever is our true self -- the real you -- the person you were born to be. If you feel stuck, trapped, boring or insecure -- acknowledge yourself, find yourself and who you really are on the inside. Your shiny sexy brilliant self is there. It's been there all along. You just need to unveil it.
It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. We might be able to give a definition of ourselves, like professional or student, or that we're introverts or extroverts but this doesn't really represent our true selves. We might also try to describe our best qualities and say that we're kind and smart but again, these qualities only indicate the surface level of who we really are.
It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. | Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash
To find out who we truly are, we need to delve deeper and create something that is uniquely ours. So instead of answering the question about who we are from society's perspective or what traits define us, it is better to answer by showing examples of what makes us the person that we are on our own.
A tree is perfectly content being a tree. It doesn't think about becoming a chair or a birdhouse. Yet it knows how to be what it truly is. Trusting in your own true nature is sexy, brilliant, and way more fun than any comparison game because it builds beyond the temporary.
Here are 3 ways to overcome temporariness:
*Invest in yourself
The most challenging thing in life is to unleash your potential, open your heart and shine. Start now by doing one thing 100 per cent for yourself -- spend time in inner development, learn a new skill, do something you have been dreaming of for a long time, or go somewhere nice and take a photo of yourself, really look at yourself in the mirror. Then look straight into the eyes of the person you see in the mirror and tap into your innermost desires with a promise to yourself that you will not stop until you have achieved your dreams and wishes. Focus on your career, be willing to be flexible with your time and desires and allow your needs and passions to change over time.
Focus on your career, be willing to be flexible with your time and desires and allow your needs and passions to change over time. | | Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash
*Discover your true self
Discovering your true self is not easy. To do this, introspection is required. There are many ways that you can take the time to explore who you are, but it is important to find your passion and drive. Spend time being still and silent and using that time to get to know who you are. Once you know who you are, you can then practice radical self-acceptance. Through self-acceptance, we can have more self-love for ourselves. I have been lucky enough to know and love as my true self for so long. I have found the journey this year to be more meaningful than any other year in my life because it has given me the chance to explore who I am and what I am really passionate about. Don't forget to practice self-care and health, set boundaries, start knowing and accepting yourself, as self-acceptance leads to more self-love.
Spend time being still and silent and using that time to get to know who you are. | Photo by Taisiia Stupak on Unsplash
* Be kind to yourself: People often neglect themselves and fixate on their imperfections. This can lead to low self-esteem, self-doubt, and other negative thoughts that worsen the mental and spiritual senses. It is important that we maintain our own well-being even if it means doing things that we might not enjoy or feel like doing at first. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising, spending time outside in nature, reading a book, etc. I connect to the Earth and embrace my inner child by walking barefoot whenever I can. When you reach a stage of youth, you start to gain a clear vision of how you want your future to be like.
It is important that we maintain our own well-being even if it means doing things that we might not enjoy or feel like doing at first. | Photo by A A on Unsplash
The most successful people are the ones willing to learn new skills and unlearn their old conditioning! Don't forget to practice self-care and health and set boundaries. It starts with self-knowledge and self-acceptance, as self-acceptance can lead to more love. Remember that the journey to self-love is love itself. Your life has just begun, if you make the most out of it, your personal development becomes the best version of itself. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: development, nature, person, practice, yourself, acceptance
Actor and environmental activist, Dia Mirza, who is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was showstopper for Indian designers Abraham & Thakore at the recently held LFW X FDCI event. The designer duo who are pioneers of slow fashion and sustainability in the Indian fashion landscape showcased a timeless sustainable collection.
IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.
Q: Did you enjoy the on-ground fashion event and the energy that came with the physical show and appearance?
A: Yes absolutely. It was just so refreshing and wonderful to finally be back from a virtual audience. Last year we did a digital show and the energy was just not there, this is an interactive experience and we draw so much from real people.
Q: The outfit that was chosen for you, how did it complement your style?
A: It's a garment that I think involves and is reflective of what I stand for, I deeply care about sustainability and I love the fact that the garment has been made with repurposed material, used and created with a hundred per cent post-consumer bottles, and made by the waste generated from the pieces of fabric that we discard while creating other garments. So it was a very special garment that really and truly celebrated repurposing and reusing and upcycling.
IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. | Wikimedia Commons
Q: In the world of fashion celebrity collaborations are replacing celebrity muses, what are your thoughts on that?
A: I think it's wonderful because you know, celebrities have interesting sensibility and you know designers and celebrities who care and have a similar value system and ethos work really well together. I have such wonderful partnerships with people, who have worked with me over the years. I haven't created a line with any of them yet, but I think it would be a lot of fun.
Q: How do you support sustainable fashion?
A: I think it's very exciting for India that we have so many more young upcoming and exciting designers, who make absolutely fantastic sustainable collections. Abraham & Thakore and the kind of work they've done over the years is fabulous, but what's even more important is the fact that they're empowering local craftsmen and artisans, creating livelihood support.
Q: A book, a movie, the gym, or a night out; your perfect way to unwind?
A: It really depends, but if I had to choose one, I would choose movies because I love cinema.
Q: What is an experience in your life that you're waiting to have?
A: Trekking up Machu Picchu.
(Article originally published on IANS life) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: indian, sustainability, designers, sustainable,