An instant energy booster, banana is one fruit that is commonly available across the globe. In India, it is given much importance where various regional cuisines use it in making sinful desserts – kheermalpuahalwapayasamsheera, and paniyaram, to name a few. The raw fruit too is not left behind. Cut into smaller chunks or thinly sliced using a mandolin, it gets used up in making wafers, subzis, kebabs, pakoras, and the famous curries of Kerala such as Avial and Kalan. If you travel towards the East and the Northeast, you will come across it in the local breakfast cereal, known as jolpan in Assam, which usually contains puffed or sticky rice mixed with curd and jaggery, and topped with banana pieces.

It is a common feature in breakfast menus, and it is definitely with good reason. It provides you instant energy to kickstart your day, and is said to be very good for the stomach. Most natural home remedies in India circling around an upset stomach, call for using bananas as a remedy along with a few other ingredients. A single piece of banana is said to contain only 90 calories, which also makes it a great (and healthy) snack to munch on rather than sugar loaded goodies or deep-fried treats. Carry one in your tiffin bag, and you will be thanking your stars whenever a sudden hunger pang grips you.

(Eat the Peels: How Banana Peels Could Help You Lose Some Weight)

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Benefits of Banana

 

A look into the nutritional breakdown of bananas and it reveals the following: per 100 grams, it contains 0.3 gm total fat, zero cholesterol, 1 mg salt, about 360 mg potassium, 2.6 gm dietary fiber, 12 gm sugar and 1.1 gm protein. If you still need reasons as to why you must include bananas in your diet, here are some –

 

1. High Fiber Content

 

Banana is loaded with fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber has the tendency to slow down digestion and keep you feeling full for a longer time. Which is why bananas are often included in a breakfast meal so that you can start about your day without having to worry about the next meal.

 

2. Heart Health

 

High fiber foods are said to be good for the heart. According to a study done by University of Leeds in UK, increasing consumption of fiber-rich foods such as bananas can lower risk of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).

 

3. Ease in Digestion

 

According to Ayurveda, banana has a sweet and sour taste. The sweet taste is said to bring about a sense of heaviness but the sour taste is known to stimulate agni (the digestive juices), thereby supporting digestion and helping in building up metabolism.

 

4. Powerhouse of Nutrients

 

Banana is a heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. It is loaded with essential vitaminsand minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy.

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5. High Source of Potassium

The high content of potassium in bananas makes it a super fruit. This mineral is known for its numerous health benefiting properties – it helps in regulating heartbeat, blood pressure, and keeps the brain alert.

 

6. Blood Pressure

 

It is a known fact that salt is the evil when it comes to high blood pressure. Bananas have low salt content and high potassium content, and these properties contribute to making it ideal for those undergoing this condition.

 

7. Helps Fight Anaemia

 

Due to the high iron content in bananas, they are good for those suffering from anaemia. Anaemia is a condition where there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. This leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, and paleness.

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Cooking with Bananas

There are a number exciting ways in which you can add bananas into your diet. Some points to remember while buying them are –

 

* If you are buying by the dozen, make sure you pick slightly firm bananas so that they last you at least 4-5 days without spoiling.

 

*Bananas tend to ripe really quickly, which is why after a while the peels turn back while the flesh become gooey. A smart thing to do would be to buy in smaller quantities and enjoy them fresh.

 

*Look for fruits without any blemishes or squishy spots.

 

*Do not store them in the refrigerator.

 

Here are some recipes to help you get started –

 

1. Coconut Banana Fritters

 

Bananas wrapped in dessicated coconut and baked perfectly. It is a hassle free and delicious dessert.

 

For the recipe, clickhere.

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2. Jowar Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

 

A wholesome jowar cake made with banana, and slathered with decadent salted caramel sauce for a sinful treat. You could also use chocolate sauce and throw in some nuts if you like.

 

For the recipe, click here.

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The health benefits of peach fruit include a relief from hypokalemia, cancer, obesity, cholesterol, blood stasis, and neurodegenerative diseases. It helps in eye care, skin care, maintaining healthy nervous system, bones, and teeth. It has anti-aging properties and also helps in detoxification, as well as improving digestion and cellular health. It has essential nutrients and antioxidants which are valuable during pregnancy and it helps in strengthening the immune system as well.

What Is Peach?

Peaches are juicy and versatile summer fruits that are native to China and South Asia. Their Latin name is Prunus persica and peaches are a product of deciduous trees that grow in temperate regions of the world. Peaches belong to the family of Rosaceae [2], which includes fruits like plums and cherries.

China is the largest producer of peaches and they are auspiciously revered as a Chinese symbol [4] of longevity and immortality. Other top contributors to peach production are Italy, Spain, the United States, and Greece. In fact, Georgia is also known [5] as the “peach state” for its contribution in producing the highest quality peaches with respect to flavor, texture, and nutritional content. Peaches attained the rank of the state fruit of Georgia in 1995. They are available in different sizes, and their colors range from yellow to red, depending on the country of origin.

Unlike nectarines, which have a smooth outer surface, peaches have fuzzy, velvety skin. They have a delicate aroma and a juicy, yellowish pulp. Peaches are drupes or stone fruits because their outer fleshy part surrounds a shell, which encloses an edible seed. Based on the grip of the flesh being free or rigid on the seed, peaches are classified [6] in the clinging-stone variety where the pulp clings tightly to the pit, a semi-freestone in which the flesh separates out with little effort, and a free-stone variety in which the pulp separates easily from the pit.

Nutritional Value Of Peach

Peaches store a broad range [7] of nutrients that are vital for the healthy functioning of the body. Peaches are a rich provider of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). They are also a good source of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin K (phylloquinone), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3(niacin), vitamin B-6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Peaches offer [8] a rich treasure [8] of minerals such as calciumpotassiummagnesiumironmanganese, phosphorous, zinc, and copper. They are low in calories, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and are a good source of dietary fiber as well.

Health Benefits Of Peach

Peaches also help in maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure and boosting cardiac health. Along with the fresh and processed products, canned peaches can also be used to obtain its health benefits. The addition of peaches to your diet can enrich you with countless benefits, with the lucrative bonus of having no harmful calories.

Besides their refreshing taste and aroma, peaches are rich in carotenoids [9] and offer a variety of health benefits.

Antioxidant Capacity

The peels and the pulp of peaches possess significant [10] antioxidant properties [11]. The presence of chlorogenic acid [12] in these fruits also contributes to their protective effects. Antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin help in scavenging oxygen-derived free radicals and thus protect the body against the harmful effects of various diseases.

Prevents Hypokalemia

Peaches contain [13] potassium, which is vital [14] for proper nerve signaling and cellular functioning of the body. The potassium content in peaches also helps in metabolic processes, utilizing carbohydrates, maintaining electrolyte balance, and the regulation of muscular tissues. A lack of potassium in the body can lead to hypokalemia which can affect muscular strength and can cause an irregular heartbeat.

Prevents Cancer

Peaches are rich in [15] phenolic and carotenoid compounds, which possess [16] anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties, as well as help in fighting various types [17] of cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer [18]. Studies [19] have supported the fact that chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid present in peaches exert beneficial effects [20] in inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells without affecting the normal cells, unlike chemotherapy, which negatively affects healthy cells as well. In addition to this, research has shown that the botanical group Rosaceae, which includes peaches, is rich in beta-carotene, thereby providing protective effects [21] against lung cancer.

Skin Care

Peaches help in maintaining healthy skin owing to the presence of a good amount of vitamin C, which also provides a defense against harmful free radicals and infections. Peaches also exert protective effects on the skin against ultraviolet radiation. Studies [22] have provided evidence that the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein have significant anti-inflammatory effects on the skin damage caused by UV-B radiation and they protect it from the hyperproliferation of cells. Flavonoids present [23] in peaches have photoprotective effects and help in preventing the skin from UV-induced erythema [24].

Peaches are widely used in the cosmetic industry for the manufacturing of skin creams and beauty packs. The wealth of flavonoids and essential vitamins and minerals in peaches help in sloughing off dead cells, as well as hydrating and revitalizing the skin. The antioxidants, in peaches, promote faster recovery of skin problems such as blemishes and spots.

Eye Care

Peaches are rich [25] in beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A within the body. Beta-carotene plays an important role in maintaining healthy eyesight and preventing various eye diseases like xerophthalmia [26] and blindness. An investigative research study [27] has shown that the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, present in peaches have positive effects associated with a reduced prevalence of nuclear cataract. As suggested by the studies [28], lutein and zeaxanthin reside [29] in the macular pigment of the eye and help in protecting [30] the retina from age-related macular degeneration. In addition to this, these components present [31] in peaches guard the retinal tissues against the damage caused by free radicals and the potential injury caused by high-wavelength light.

Peaches are valuable during pregnancy due to the presence of a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C helps in the healthy growth of the bones, teeth, skin, muscles, and blood vessels of the baby. It also helps in the absorption of iron, which is extremely crucial during pregnancy. The folate in peaches helps in preventing neural tube defects like spina bifida. Potassium, in peaches, helps in averting the muscle crampsand general fatigue, which is common during pregnancy. The presence of fiber aids in healthy digestion and reduces conditions like constipation.

Aids in Digestion

Peaches are good for maintaining healthy digestive health due to their alkaline content [32] and fiber. Dietary fiber in peaches absorbs water and helps in preventing stomach disorders like constipation, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, gastritis, and irregular bowel movements. It also helps in cleansing and eliminating the toxic waste from the intestines and preventing the body from contracting various abdominal disorders, including stomach cancer. Due to its laxative properties, peaches also aid in the dissolution of kidneys and bladder stones.

Maintains Healthy Nervous System

The presence of magnesium in peaches helps prevent stress and anxiety in the body and aids in keeping the nervous system calm. A deficiency [33] of magnesium can affect the functioning of the central nervous system, resulting in hyper excited muscles and the increased activity of nerve signals. An investigative research study [34] conducted in this regard has suggested that the intake of magnesium-rich foods along with vitamin B6 has favorable effects in the treatment of central nervous system hyperexcitability in children. Another study [35] has suggested that magnesium treatment helps in recovering from the symptoms of major depression. The consumption of peaches is also considered beneficial in Ayurvedic therapy for balancing the nervous system.

Treats Obesity

Peaches contain bioactive components that have shown beneficial effects in combating obesity-related disorders. An investigative research study [36] has suggested that the presence of phenolic compounds in peaches have anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity properties which help in fighting metabolic syndromes that can lead to serious health concerns.

Boosts Immunity

Peaches are rich in ascorbic acid and zinc, which aid in the normal functioning of the body and help maintain [37] a healthy immune system. Zinc and vitamin C exert effectual [38] wound healing and antioxidantproperties [39] that help in fighting infections and reducing the prevalence and severity of diseases such as the common cold, malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea. A deficiency of these components can result in oxidative bursts and impaired cellular activity.

Lowers Cholesterol Level

Research [40] has shown that the phenolic compounds present [41] in the peel and pulp of the clingstone peaches help in maintaining lower levels of LDL or bad cholesterol and stimulating HDL or good cholesterol. This aids in reducing the risk of developing diseases related to the heart and maintaining an optimal cardiovascular health.

Anti-aging Properties

Peaches are a source of zinc, which has anti-aging properties. The consumption of zinc-rich foods such as peaches promotes the production of antibodies and inhibits the cellular damage caused by free radicals. It also interferes with the aging process of male reproductive organs by boosting the levels of the reproductive hormone testosterone in the body.

Keeps Bones & Teeth Healthy

Peaches contain phosphorus which, along with calcium, helps in strengthening bones and teeth, and maintaining and repairing the bodily tissues. It also aids in the prevention of various bone diseases like decalcification, which can lead to osteoporosis, particularly in post-menopausal women. Consumption of foods rich in phosphorus such as peaches promotes re-mineralization of bones and maintains their rigidity. Along with calcium, the vitamin C content in peaches also plays an important role in the strengthening of jaw bones and gums, which helps in keeping the teeth intact.

Detoxifies the Body

Peaches are beneficial for cleansing and detoxifying the body, and they assist in flushing out harmful toxins from the liver and kidneys. An investigative study has proven that peach extracts possess hepato-protectant elements and are valuable in treating the condition of hepato-toxicity caused as a result of prolonged therapy for various diseases like migrainetuberculosis, and diabetes. Peaches are widely used in many cultures in the manufacturing of herbal detoxification products such as detox teas.

Treats Blood Stasis

The inner kernel [43] of peaches is suggested to be beneficial in treating the condition of blood stasis in which blood becomes inactive. Blood stasis may arise as a consequence of a long-term deficiency of blood and may result in its dryness. This can happen because of childbirth, abdominal injuries or surgeries.

Improves Cellular Health

Peaches contain [44] iron, which is vital for the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The consumption of foods like peaches is important during all the stages of life, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and phases such as menstruation and pregnancy.

Prevents Brain Disorders

Studies have proven that peach extracts exert beneficial effects on the central cholinergic system. The cholinergic system is a neurotransmitter system that acts as the backbone of memory and learning functions. Components present in peaches avert the cholinergic system from degenerating and thus prevent various disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Culinary Uses

Due to the abundance of health-promoting compounds, delicious flavor and low calories, peaches are often added as an ingredient in various healthy recipes such as yogurts, shakes, and cakes.

Other Uses of the Peach Tree

Apart from peaches themselves, other parts of the peach tree also provide a range of health benefits.

Peach Leaf: The leaves of the peach tree are beneficial for the treatment of cough, bronchitis, and abdominal disorders. They possess detoxifying, laxative, and diuretic properties, and are also effective in treating abdominal worms and in the healing of wounds. They are also used in the manufacturing of green-colored dyes.

Peach Flowers: The flowers of the peach tree help in relieving the symptoms of constipation and edema.

Peach Kernels: Peach seeds are effective [48] in the treatment of menstrual disorders [49]such as dysmenorrheaamenorrhea, and other conditions including blood stasis, asthma, and cough. They are also beneficial in the treatment of acute appendicitis and dyspnea (shortness of breath), and they promote healthy blood circulation.

Peach Bark: The dried bark of the peach tree is beneficial in the treatment of jaundice and dropsy.

Side Effects Of Peach

Allergic Reactions: Peaches may cause food allergies [51] due to the presence of certain allergens. Production and storage of dried peaches may involve the use of sulfite as a preservative, which can lead to allergic reactions including worsened symptoms of asthma, urticaria [52], bronchial-constrictions, and anaphylaxis

chiku is a fruit that is very popular in India and the tropical regions. This tropical fruit grows on a tree that is called Sapota. But in many cases, chiku is also called sapota by the name of the tree that bears it. Sapota or chiku are sometimes also referred to as ‘nose berries’ though they have no connection to the berry family at all. Chiku is a healthy fruit that is also extremely delicious. The health benefits of chiku often get ignored because it is seen as a very fattening fruit. If you are on a diet to lose weight, your dietitian will put you off some fruits like bananas, chiku and grapes. But health benefits of chiku far out weighs its calorie content. Besides, this healthy fruit is filled with natural sugars that can give you plenty of energy. Chikus are literally a storehouse of nutrients. The plentiful health benefits of chikus come from the vast variety of its nutrient content. The flesh of the chikus is brown and juicy. Both the flesh and peel of this fruit can be easily eaten and digested by human beings. There are seeds at the centre of the chiku that need to be discarded. Even small babies who do not have teeth yet can enjoy the health benefits of chiku because it is such a soft and mushy fruit. Here is a total head count of all the health benefits of chiku. Instant Energy Chiku has a very high amount of glucose in it. Having a single chiku can replenish all your body’s sugars in a matter of minutes. That is why, this fruit is very good for pregnant women, and growing children who need that extra energy. Prevents Constipation Chiku has plenty of dietary fibres that helps to keep bowel movements regular. In fact, its soft texture makes it a very effective laxative. Mental Well Being Chiku has the capacity to calm your nerves and also to help you reduce stress. That is why, people who are prone to anxiety should have chiku as a way to sedate themselves. Good For Strong Bones One of the main health benefits of chiku is that it is rich in calcium. This extra calcium helps to strengthen your bones. Women who are prone to osteoporosis should have more chikus. For Better Vision Vitamin A is abundantly present chikus. And Vitamin A is very essential for maintaining good vision. So, feed chiku to your kids so that they have a better eyesight. Glowing Skin Chiku actually has all the skin-friendly nutrients in it. But the most notable one is Vitamin E that helps you glow with good health. Cancer Protection The Vitamin A and B helps to keep the mucus lining of the body well lubricated. This mucus membrane helps to repel many cancer infections. Chiku also contains many antioxidants that helps to protect against cancer. Good For Pregnant Women Chiku can give you lots of carbohydrates and glucose in a single shot. That is why, it is very helpful for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Anti-inflammatory Properties Chikus have a chemical called tannins that has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to prevent inter-inflammation, especially of the gastrointestinal tract. Helps Lose Weight Chikus help in the secretion of many digestive enzymes that helps to speed up the metabolic rate. When your rate of metabolism is high, you lose weight indirectly. Cleans Up Dandruff The seeds of the chiku can be grounded and mixed with castor oil. Massage your hair with this oil and leave it overnight. Wash your hair the next day and you will wash away all the dandruff that has been troubling you. Fights Diarrhea Chiku is a fruit that is supposed to help you stop loose motions. Boiling chiku in water and having it can be a natural cure for diarrhoea and dysentery. Removes Kidney Stones The seeds of the chiku that you actually discard have diuretic properties. Having the crushed seed of chikus can help to remove stones from your kidneys. Stems Blood Flow The leaves of the sapota plant and also the crushed seeds of the fruit chiku have the ability to stem blood flow. That is why, sapota is a great home remedy for piles and even minor injuries. Softens Hair If your hair is rough and dry, then nothing like chiku to soften it. Apply the soft mass of the chiku on your hair to moisturise it naturally. Anti-bacterial Properties Chiku has plenty of Vitamin C that is extremely potent for fighting of bacterial infections. Fights Wrinkles Chiku is a fruit that is rich in antioxidants. Apart from cleaning up the system and fighting cancer, antioxidants also delay ageing. Reduces Hairfall Sapota seed oil is a very rare and effective hair oil for people who suffer from scalp infection and dermatological problems. Detox Your Body The healthy fruit chiku has diuretic properties. Thus it helps to flush out the toxins from your body easily. Cough n Cold The ample amounts of Vitamin C in chiku makes it very effective against cough and cold. Having this fruit regularly can help you cure chronic cold infections. Helps Digestion You can easily give chiku to small babies and old people who have reduced digestive capacities. This is because this fruit is really easy to digest. Cures Fungal Infection The sapota plant has thick creamy sap that has excellent anti-fungal properties. This sap can help to cure fungal infections like warts that erupt on the skin.

mango skin

1. Use Mango for Glowing Skin

A mango can give an eternal glow to your skin. For getting a dewy complexion, smear mango pulp on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. Beta carotene and Vitamin A present in mango aid in resurrecting the dull skin and turn the lacklustre skin into a radiant and luminous. What is more, this fruit helps reduce dark spots, freckles and all minor skin ailments.

2. Remove Blackheads Using Mango, Honey and Milk Exfoliating Scrub

Mix one spoon of mango pulp with one spoon of raw milk and 2 spoons of honey. Rub the resultant mix on your face gently to eliminate pesky blackheads and whiteheads.

You can use this mango scrub for sloughing away dead skin cells which cover the natural radiance of skin. Use this beauty tip twice a week for best results.

3. Use Mango Pulp for Removing Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Since mango is rich in anti-oxidants which promote collagen production to make your skin elastic and firmer. So all you need to do is to smear mango pulp with egg white on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. This recipe is very helpful in removing wrinkles, laugh lines and fine lines and it gives your skin a youthful bloom. You can use this anti-ageing face mask once a week to keep your skin firm and youthful the natural way.

4. Regular Use of Mango Improves Skin Tone

A very rich source of vitamin A, mango benefits by imparting a healthy glow to your skin. You can mix mango pulp with milk cream and apply this homemade face pack on your face for 30 minutes. You can also dry up mango peels in sun and use this powder mixed with milk powder. Then dab this resultant paste on your skin to make it fairer and spotless. Try this homemade face mask in summer to get whiter and spotless complexion naturally.

5. Use Mango and Yoghurt Home Made Facial Mask for Flawless and Spotless Skin

Mix sun dried mango skin with yogurt/curd and apply on your skin to get rid of all sorts of facial blemishes like pigmentation marks, dark spots and age spots, etc. Use this recipe for making your skin flawless and clear.

6. Use Raw Mango for Removing Acne

Boil baby mango or raw mango in water till water remains the half and use this water as facial astringent for drying up acne naturally. Use this mango astringent regularly on your face to remove acne, pimples and scars.

7. Home Made Facial Cleanser With Mango Pulp

Mix mango pulp with one spoon of wheat flour and rub on your face  to clean face like you do with facial cleanser. This recipe clears dirt from your pores to make your skin perfectly cleansed and radiant.

In addition, you can prepare a face wash by mixing one spoon of mango pulp and one spoon of almonds powder and some milk to make a paste. Use this mixture as a face wash to cleanse your skin naturally.

8. Home Made Facial Scrub Using Mango

Mix mango pulp, almonds powder and milk and some crushed oats. Apply this mixture on your skin to remove dead skin cells to reveal a bright skin on the outside. You can mix milk, oats, honey and mango pulp to scrub out dead skin cells from your sensitive skin.

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Natural herbs are considered best to use in hair care. Like herbal shampoos, hair wash, hair packs etc. One such herb that is widely used and gives extremely amazing result for hair is, shikakai. Basically we use Shikakai fruit pods that contain tiny seeds that we throw away.

Other than that shikakai has various benefits and its plant’s bark and leaves are also used. You can get shikakai from the market in powder or dried fruit form. Shikakai can be used as a hair wash, herbal shampoo or even hair pack to get rid of various hair related problems. Let’s see what are the benefits of shikakai first before starting off with the uses of shikkakai.

Benefits of shikakai for hair care

Shikkakai usually doesn’t lather much until it is mixed with reetha which is also called as soapnut but still shikakai effectively cleanses the scalp and hair. It can be considered as a mild hair cleanser which is good for dry scalp as it doesn’t take away too much of the natural oils from the scalp.

Shikakai for Shine and softness

Shikakai adds shine to the hair and hair looks much softer. When the shikakai powder is used as a hair pack or as a hair cleanser, it makes the hair softer, which detangles the hair easily. After the wash shikakai also adds subtle shine to the hair.

Shikakai for Dandruff

Shikakai has anti-fungal properties and other nutrients to nourish the scalp. This is why shikakai helps reducing the dandruff infection from the scalp and nourish the dry itchy scalp simultaneously. Regular use of shikakai will soon help treating dandruff from the scalp.

Shikakai for Stronger, thicker hair

Shikakai is also used to make hair roots stronger and healthier. Use shikakai as a mild hair cleanser, hair pack or as infused with the oil. Boil some dried shikakai in coconut oil and use that oil to massage the scalp. This is a good remedy to strengthen the hair.

Using Shikakai as Shampoo

Shikakai can be used to make Homemade shikakai shampoo. The recipe of this Shikakai shampoo is very easy. It is natural and devoid of chemicals. Soak some dried Shikakai pods, some Reetha (soapnut) and dried amla in water at night and the next morning, Boil that water till the pods gets softer enough to be mashed with hands. Let it cool and strain the mixture. Use the water as shampoo to clean the scalp. It may not lather like the store bought shampoos but is mild and very natural. You can also take powder of these three so that it will not take a lot of time to boil it or keeping it overnight.

Shikakai Hair Pack

Shikakai can be used as a hair pack as well. Hair packs with shikakai are extremely beneficial for the treatment of dandruff and other scalp related problems as we mentioned in the benefits of shikakai. For the hair pack, you will need dried shikakai or shikakai powder, neem leaves, fenugreek powder and some dried amla. Boil all of them in a cup of water. Boil them for 15 minutes and then let it cool. Mash the contents with hands and strain the water. Use that water to massage the scalp and hair. Keep it for 30 minutes and rinse off with plain water.

Shikakai is indeed great way to achieve beautiful, stronger, healthier hair.

 

 

summer

It is easy to neglect our skin in the summer. The warmer, more humid weather means our skin isn’t as dry and itchy as it is in the winter; and the sun-kissed look of a tan can make us feel better when we look in the mirror. But the lazy days of summer don’t mean we should be lazy with our skin care regime; in fact, it means we should be even more diligent. Follow these six easy steps for gorgeous healthy skin.

1. Wear safe, non-toxic sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

The worst sunburn I ever saw was on a person who thought she could stay out for hours without sunscreen because it was overcast. The sun’s burning rays are remarkably powerful and proficient, so wear sunscreen every day. When choosing a sunscreen, look for an SPF of at least 30, if you have fair skin. But don’t be seduced by super-high SPF numbers because their incremental sun protection diminishes as SPF increases, especially at higher levels. Many sunscreens with SPF from 50 to 100, for example, effectively block just 1-2% more sunburn rays than an SPF 30 products. Regardless of which SPF you choose, you should reapply often (ideally every 90 minutes), and always after swimming.

2. Avoid tanning beds.

We now know that tanning beds are linked to cancer and are no safer than the actual sun, so think carefully about the risks you expose yourself to when you go to a tanning salon. If you really want some summer skin color, avoid tanning beds and choose a safer option, such as self-tanning towels and lotions. Be sure to check the ingredients label to ensure the base formulation is safe and non-toxic (avoid methylparaben and synthetic perfume).

3. Exfoliate at least once a week, ideally twice.

Dead cells sit on the surface of your skin making it look dull, rough and dry. By exfoliating, you are removing these dead cells, allowing your more radiant, healthier summer skin to shine through. Exfoliating also allows skin cells to regenerate more quickly, which keeps aging at bay. Whenever possible, choose a gentle, more natural exfoliator. Some “fruit acid” exfoliators such as alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid (AHA and BHA) can actually be very harsh and cause significant irritation. Choose products with natural exfoliating grains instead.

4. Moisturize your skin

In the summer it is tempting to ease up on moisturizing because your skin may not feel as dry. But good moisturizers work over time, promoting healthy skin with consistent use. We don’t stop eating well or exercising in the summer, so we shouldn’t stop taking care of our skin. If you do happen to get a sunburn, act fast to mitigate the negative effects by moisturizing liberally and often with a lotion containing aloe vera. This will keep the burned skin well hydrated, and it will help to soothe the discomfort.

5. Have lots of summer fun, but don’t skimp on sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, which may slow the production of collagen in the skin. When our skin stops producing collagen, it begins to lose elasticity and starts looking tired and worn.

6. Drink lots of water.

Drinking water benefits how well your body functions and ultimately affects how your skin looks and feels. For example, proper hydration helps flush toxins from your body. When toxins build up, they cause organs such as your kidneys to work less efficiently, which has a direct impact on your skin. Sip water through out the day and consider following the 8 x 8 rule: drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day.

Following these simple tips will not only make your skin look and feel better, they will make YOU look and feel better.

 

 

papaya 2Christopher Columbus, an Italian voyager once referred to papayas as the fruit of the angels. The fruit which is extremely rich in Vitamin C has a wide range of health benefits making it a great fruit option to include in your diet. Here are some of the top health benefits of papaya.

1. Lowers cholesterol

Papaya is rich in fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants which prevent cholesterol build up in your arteries. Too much cholesterol build-up can lead to several heart diseases including heart attack and hypertension.

2. Helps in weight loss

Those looking to lose weight must include papaya in their diet as it is very low in calories. The fibre content in papaya leaves you feeling full and also clears your bowel movement making your weight loss regime easier.

3. Boosts your immunity

Your immunity system acts as a shield against various infections that can make you really sick. A single papaya contains more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, making it great for your immunity.

4. Good for diabetics

Papaya is an excellent food option for diabetics as it has a low-sugar content even though it is sweet to taste. Also, people who don’t have diabetes can eat papaya to prevent it from happening.

5. Great for your eyes

Papaya is rich in Vitamin A which helps protect your vision from degenerating. Nobody wants to lose their ability to see due to diseases like age-related macular degeneration, and eating papayas will ensure that you do not see a day where you cannot see.

6. Protects against arthritis

Arthritis can be a really debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly. Eating papayas are good for your bones as they have anti-inflammatory properties along with Vitamin C which helps in keeping various forms of arthritis at bay. A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that people who consumed foods low in Vitamin C were three times more likely to have arthritis than those who didn’t.

7. Improves digestion

In today’s times, it is near impossible to avoid eating foods that are bad for your digestive system. Often we find ourselves eating junk food or restaurant food prepared in excessive quantities of oil. Eating a papaya daily can make up for such occasional mistakes, as it has a digestive enzyme known as papain along with fibre which helps improve your digestive health.

8. Helps ease menstrual pain

Women who are experiencing menstrual pain should help themselves to several servings of papaya, as an enzyme called papain helps in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods.

9. Prevents signs of ageing

All of us would love to stay young forever, but no one in this world has managed to do it. Still, healthy habits like eating a papaya daily will prolong the process and may make you look 5 years younger than you are. Papaya is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and antioxidants like beta-carotene which helps prevent your skin from free radical damage keeping wrinkles and other signs of ageing at bay.

10. Prevents cancer

Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids that prevent your cells from undergoing free radical damage. Some studies have also linked the consumption papaya to reduced risk of colon and prostate cancer.

11. Helps reduce stress

After working hard for the whole day, it is a good idea to come home to a plate a papayas. The wonder fruit is rich in several nutrients like Vitamin C which can keep you free from stress. According to a study conducted in University of Alabama, found that 200 mg of Vitamin C can help regulate the flow of stress hormones in rats.

 

 

 

 

8 Amazing Benefits of Amla Juice: When Bitter is Better

Indian gooseberry or amla is undeniably a powerhouse of nutrients. The essential minerals and vitamins that it contains, are not only integral to our body’s well-being, but also indispensable to preventing and managing some of the most common and widespread diseases. Whether eaten raw, juiced, powdered or simply added in an array of pickles, jams, dips or spreads – including amla in your diet finales into good health by all means.

Amla is an excellent source of Vitamin C, hence it helps boost your immunity, metabolism and prevents viral and bacterial ailments, including cold and cough. Its nutritional profile also comes studded with a range of polyphenols that are known to fight against the development of cancer cells. According to Ayurveda, amla juice is known to balance all the processes in the body and brings to equilibrium all three doshas – vata, kapha, pitta. According to Dr. Rupali Datta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escorts Hospital, “Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, which means that it protects you against the harmful effects of free radicals. It helps in slowing down the ageing process and is needed for collagen production hence keeping your skin, hair healthy and supports the immune system.”

 One of the most effective ways to add amla to your diet is to juice it and have it diluted with water every day on an empty stomach. It clears your system, aids in digestion, helps in maintaining clear skin, healthy hair and good eyesight. Amla juice can be a tad unpalatable, but enjoys multi-fold health benefiting properties that will set your frowned faces right.

Benefits of Amla Juice

1. According to a Delhi based weight management expert, Dr. Gargi Sharma, amla juice can be taken as a powerful home remedy to treat cough and flu as well as mouth ulcers. Two teaspoon of amla juice with equal portions of honey consumed everyday can help a great deal in treating cold and cough. Mix a couple of teaspoons in water and gargle with it twice a day to get rid of mouth ulcers.

(Also Read: 5 Wonderful Benefits of Spinach You Never Knew)
amla juice

 
2. Regular consumption of amla juice helps in reducing cholesterol levels. Amino acids and antioxidants aid in the overall functioning of heart.

3. It is also helpful in managing diabetes better as well as respiratory ailments like asthma.

4. Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath shares that the alkaline nature of amla helps in clearing the system and strengthening the digestive system.

5. It supports liver function and flushes out toxins from the body.

6. Along with Vitamin C, amla is also rich in iron, calcium, phosphorous and hence can be taken as a complete nutritional drink.

(Also Read: 5 Herbal Tea Recipes To Boost Your Immunity)

7. “Our hair structure is close to 99% protein. Amino acids and protein present in amlahelp in hair growth, tackling hair fall and fortifying the root as well as the shaft,” noted Dr. Gautam.

8. “Dab it with a cotton swab onto your face to fight marks, pigmentation and blemishes. Amla juice helps in oxidizing melanin and closes skin pores,” concluded Dr. Gautam.

How to Have it?

It is best to have amla juice first thing in the morning. Have a small portion (20-30 ml) diluted in a glass of water. You can choose to mix a bit of lemon juice and honey to enhance the palatability. Dr. Guatam suggests mixing amla juice with jamun (Indian blackberry) and karela juice (bitter gourd) to manage diabetes better. For those who are fighting high cholesterol levels and hair issues, amla juice in combination with aloe verajuice does wonders. Also, want better eyesight? Amla juice taken right before sleeping helps a great deal; it also helps in detoxifying the ill-effects of junk food.

 

amla-2

It has eight times more vitamin C than an orange, twice the antioxidant power of acai berry and around 17 times that of a pomegranate. The humble Indian gooseberry, commonly known as amla, truly deserves its superfood status.

The translucent green fruit, which derives its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Amlaki’ meaning “nectar of life”, can protect us against countless ailments, be it the common cold, cancer or infertility. Ayurveda doctors claim that amla can help balance the three doshas (Kapha/vista/pitta) in the body and eliminate the underlying cause of many diseases.

If you are not already convinced, read this long list of amla’s health benefits and you would know why you should indulge in this sour treat daily.

  1. It helps fight the common cold

The vitamin C in amla is absorbed more easily by the body compared to store-bought supplements. Mix two teaspoons of amla powder with two teaspoons of honey and have it three to four times a day for instant relief when you have a cold or a cough, or consume once daily for permanent protection.

  1. It improves eyesight

Studies have showed that the carotene in amla improves vision. Daily consumption has also been linked to improvement in overall eye health as amla can reduce cataract problem, intraocular tension (the pressure you feel) as well as prevent reddening, itching and watering of eyes.

  1. It burns fat

This is the least talked-about yet most exciting benefit of amla. A protein present in amla helps prevent cravings. Regular consumers say drinking a glass of amla juice before a meal fills them up and make them eat less. Nutritionists say amla boosts metabolism too, making one shed weight faster. Amla has a high fibre content and acids like tannic which help relieve constipation and make you look less bloated.

  1. It builds immunity

Amla’s antibacterial and astringent properties boost one’s immune system. A significant number of health problems including cancer are caused by oxidative damage –when body cells use oxygen, they leave harmful by-products called free radicals behind. Considering amla is a potent antioxidant agent, it can prevent and repair the damage.

  1. It beautifies hair

Amla, like curry leaves, is a proven tonic for hair. It slows down graying, prevents dandruff, strengthens hair follicles and increases blood circulation to the scalp thereby improving hair growth. Amla also acts as a natural conditioner giving you soft shimmering locks. You could apply amla oil or mix amla powder into henna for a hair pack.

  1. It improves skin

Amla is the best anti-ageing fruit. Drinking amla juice with honey every morning can give you blemish-free, healthy and glowing skin.

  1. It helps manage chronic conditions

Amla is loaded with chromium which aids in reducing bad cholesterol and also helps stimulate insulin production, thereby reducing the blood glucose level of diabetics. Drinking amla juice early every morning or when one’s blood pressure is raised helps keep the blood pressure level under control, too.

  1. It relieves pain

Be it arthritis-related joint aches or painful mouth ulcers, amla can provide relief owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. For ulcers, you simply need to dilute amla juice in half cup of water and gargle with it.

How to use amla

Drinking the juice of fresh amla is the best way to reap the benefits of this fruit. Amla is easily available from December through April. However, if you can’t handle the sour shot, try these tasty options:

Dried:

Deseed and chop amla into small pieces. Mix with a little salt and leave to dry in sunlight for a few days. Once it is completely dehydrated, store in a dry jar for an ideal on-the-go snack.

Pickled:

Make a spicy amla achaar or a sweet murabba by soaking amla in sugary water.

 

tamatotama

Fresh vegetables are best known for their vitamin and mineral content, but these foods are more than nutritional powerhouses: They can also boost your weight-loss efforts by replacing higher-calorie fare and adding volume to your meals. With only 10 to 20 calories per half-cup serving, raw cucumbers and tomatoes add fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C to your daily menu. Incorporating these vegetables into a well-balanced diet — which also includes other healthful foods — can help you healthfully shed unwanted pounds.

Step 1

Substitute raw tomatoes and cucumbers for higher-calorie snacks like granola bars, cheese, crackers and chips. The low energy density of vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers makes them more satiating than foods that pack more fat or carbohydrates per bite. By munching on these vegetables when a snack attack strikes, you’ll feel full on fewer calories, helping you eat less throughout the day. Pairing them with lean proteins, such as grilled chicken breast or black beans, helps you feel even fuller after your meal.

Step 2

Add raw tomatoes and cucumbers to your meals as a side dish — and eat them before chowing down on the rest of your food. Because of their high fiber and water content, these vegetables add low-calorie volume to your meals, filling you up quickly and making you less likely to overindulge on the main course.

Step 3

Eat raw tomatoes and cucumbers with a low-calorie dip or salad dressing. By pairing these vegetables with other flavors, you’ll help add variety to your menu and stave off taste-bud boredom. Sprinkling cut-up tomatoes and cucumbers with herbs such as cilantro can also help you add flavorful, low-calorie variations to your daily diet. By opting for tasty vegetable dishes instead of higher-calorie items, you’ll lower your energy intake for the day.

Step 4

Store a see-through container of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a visible place in your refrigerator. When hunger strikes, convenience often triumphs over diet convictions. You’ll be more likely to pass over the high-calorie snacks and reach for the vegetables if they’re already prepared and in an accessible spot.

Step 5

Reduce the amount of high-calorie fillings you use in sandwiches — such as meat, cheese and mayonnaise — and add extra slices of raw tomato and cucumber instead. This will lower the calorie content of your sandwich while also providing flavor, nutrition and a satisfying crunch.