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Red Gold – Connects Us All



Blood, red colored fluid running in veins, pumping up the heart, running the life. No one would have ever imagined that this fluid can be extracted or used to save someone’s life. We are always thinking to find peace, to create ease for ourselves…but only a blood donor has idea how it feels when you bleed for saving a life, how comforting, peace giving and calm this feeling is. A blood donor is not just a life saver, he is a life giver, every time you donate blood you donate life, you donate smiles, you donate happiness.

The link built because of donating blood would never end and the donor would never die, he will stay alive in the veins of others. There are many people who think that donating blood would make them sick or it causes obesity, but these all are myths made by some un-educated person. I, being a volunteer at a student based organization named JZT, Jehad for zero thalassemia have experienced this many a time that people hesitate from donating blood. They may do not have idea that by one prick of the needle which is inserted to donate blood may save two or three people’s life.

One person can donate blood after every four months, and red blood cells have to die after every four months, so blood cells are already going to be recycled, why not donate them and someone’s life? There is an amazing fact about the blood volume of human beings, normal human body contains 5 to 5.5 liters while a normal body needs 4.5 to 4.7 liters, so technically the blood volume above 4.5 liters is already extra in your body, and that is someone else’ debt on you, you owe it to them.

There are many people who may need blood transfusions i.e. during surgery or in case of accident, but one kind is most fatal, the thalassemic. They need blood after two weeks; one bag of blood will save them just for two weeks. Such people are completely depending on other’s blood. How can someone refuse to those innocent faces for blood? No one would! Donating blood to thalassemic not only brings life to them but also to their parents and care givers too. One, who saves the life of a single person, saves the whole humanity (Al-Quran). So in this way, a blood donor saves the whole humanity, and if he is a regular donor, he saves humanity every three months. It’s huge, if one realizes it.

Blood donation is a phenomenon that connects people together. It is a process which benefits the receiver and the giver both. The recipient gets only blood but the donor gets a lot of benefits. It decreases the risk of heart attacks and hyper tension. It helps in improving cardiovascular health. A deadly disease cancer’s risk can be reduced by donating blood. Blood donation is a noble and peaceful way of showing that you love humanity and want to save it. On this day, 14th June, 2017 let’s make an intention, a promise of donating blood regularly for thalassemic and in any case of emergency too.

Written by Moazzama Ibrahim
JZT Pakistan

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‘Health is Wealth’ – Explained



As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’, have you ever wondered why they say so? Mahatma Gandhi also says, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. So basically, it means that there is nothing in our life that is more valuable than good health. Health is more valuable than money, as the latter can never buy healthiness and happiness. But a healthy person remains in a state of bliss despite of being poor. Without health there is no happiness, no peace and no success. A person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy.

By health we do not mean the absence of physical troubles only. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, a healthy person is completely free from any illness or injury. A person with sound health enjoys a stability that also includes a healthy mental condition. Our health depends upon several factors, such as food habits, hygiene, fetishes, pollution, sleeping habits, mental condition, air, water, sunlight etc. Some of them are elaborated further below.

Importance of light, air and water: Fresh air and sunlight are very important for our health. Brisk morning walks are very helpful for the fitness of our mind and body. Breathing the fresh air each morning rejuvenates the mind and soul and surmounts the energy that one would need to keep going throughout the day. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin-D. A dirty and damp atmosphere breeds a lot of diseases. Fresh and pure drinking water is also necessary for good health. Impure drinking water causes many ailments. So, we must take care of these things.

Food:  Good food, too, is essential for the body. A healthy fiber-filled breakfast each morning is imperative for a good start of the day. Fiber rich foods such as oats, whole grain wheat, bran rice, etc. help us improve our digestive system. Nutritious foods helps us to maintain good health. We all should know, how, when and what to eat.
We should always include a portion of green vegetables, fresh fruits or salads with minimal dressing in our meal. All of these are sources of vital macro and micro nutrients. A balanced and nutritious diet helps the proper growth of the body. But we must remember that we eat to live and not that we live to eat.

Physical exercise and sports: We all know the proverb, “A sound mind in a sound body”. In order to keep the body healthy, we need to keep the mind sound. Physical exercises keep us fit. There are varous kinds of physical exercises. We may walk a kilometer or two every day. We may take some yogic or aerobic exercises or even zumba, dancing and swimming. At the same, games and sports are very useful for health.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is crucial for good health. Without cleanliness, it is very difficult to maintain fitness. We should clean our house and the surrounding areas every day. Alhough bathing  should ideally be twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, yet once atleast is mandatory. After eating food, we should clean our hands with soap. Various types of diseases erupts from unclean surroundings. We should always throw the garbage in the dustbin. Cleanliness is the key to great health.

Some rules of hygiene: We must know some simple rules of hygiene. Our house must be airy and sunny. Apart from all this, we must form good habits. We should keep ourselves free from  unwanted cares and anxieties. Early rising and early to bed is equally necessary for good health. So we must try to keep fit.

We should take proper care of our health so that we can enjoy our life completely because when we are ill, we do not want to play or work. Our bad health robs us of our daily efficiency, sound sleep and appetite. Life becomes a burden if one  is constantly ailing. Life is left with little charm then. He feels tired of life, always bickering about one thing or the other. On the other hand, one with good health enjoys his life. A healthy person is mindful of all food he eats and enjoys sound sleep.  A healthy person is able enough to sing the glory of life and works hard to realize his dreams. He is cheerful and hardly complains. He may be poor, with limited income and may have to work very hard to earn a living, but even the richest man if ill would envy him for his good health and cheerfulness. A  person with sound health can lead a happy and enjoyable life. A rich person can afford various luxuries of life such as a costly car, posh house, branded accessories, air-conditioners, good furniture, trendy clothes, delicacy foods etc. But, he can enjoy these luxuries only if his health is good. Health is, thus, definitely much more important than wealth. Health is a greatest treasure and  the highest blessing.

Let us plan now to cherish the health we are blessed with, and try to give this gift to all we know so they, too, would enjoy the wonders of this life while being grateful.

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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Dieting Myths and Misconceptions Busted



Dieting Myths and Misconceptions Busted

Haven’t we heard our parents or grandparents say ‘no eating after 8 pm, avoid rice, bananas, meat and potatoes!’ Aren’t these the things your friends and relatives exclaimed when you expressed a wish to lose weight? And you ended up following their futile advice without even researching further or realising that it may not do you any good, but rather be detrimental sometimes.

Frankly speaking, we are served a number of myths when it comes to ‘dieting’ and that’s the reason why several weight watchers fail to achieve formidable results despite of being highly motivated. Let’s look at few such diet related misconceptions and their impact on our body.

Myth #1: Low fat = Low calorie

One of the biggest myths of all time. The fact that lot of people have believed this literally made up this falsity is the proof that we humans are actually quite naive. Low-fat diet simply doesn’t mean low-calorie diet and therefore it doesn’t give you the license to eat as much as you want. If you pile up your plate with low-fat farsan or savouries, you may end up eating more calories than what you normally would if you had a one serving of chips. In order to make products low in fat, manufacturers add substituting ingredients like flour, sugar, starch, etc. to improve taste and this adds calories. Therefore the best way to know about how healthy your food product is check the nutritional count at the back of each pack, and know how many calories, fat, sugar you intake.

Myth #2: Say no to rice, potatoes and bananas

Any Tom, Dick and Harry could easily put you off on these. Learn to make smart choices and include these foods regularly but in balance in your diet without letting them hamper your calorie count. For example, banana or two in the morning will not only provide you with a generous dose of potassium, fibre, vitamin C, etc. but will also provide you with simple form of energy viz glucose and fructose which will help you to keep going throughout the day. Similarly rice, whether brown or white, contains methionine which helps mobilise fat from the liver. All you have to do is maintain balance and just stop mindless eating and control portion size when it comes to eating rice based preparations.

Potatoes are loaded with nutrients too but we make it unhealthy by using faulty cooking treatments like deep frying to make chips, cutlet, French fries, etc from it. If included meticulously in diet it can protect against cardiovascular diseases and few types of cancers due to high potassium and Vitamin B6.

Myth #3: Late night meals are fattening

Obviously, weight a person gains is a result of what you eat throughout the day and not just at night. This might be true for people who keep skipping meals at day time and binge at night. The idea is to keep a gap of at least an hour before hitting bed and eat something light as you don’t need too many calories in the night.

Myth #4: Avoid eating outside food while dieting

Most fast foods are unhealthy but not all, and if you choose your options carefully you can include them in your healthy diet. Tips you can follow:

1. Avoid high-calorie toppings like cheese, butter, mayonnaise; instead you can go for salsa, garlic dip, etc.
2. Pick fresh fruit juice or milkshake rather than aerated drinks.
3. Choose salad based wraps and burgers.
4. Ask for steamed, baked or grilled items rather than deep fried. Now a days air-frying is also a cool option.
5. Try out fruit salad stalls rather than the regular unhygienic chaat selling hawkers.

Myth #5: Eat less, weigh less

If you eat less or skip meals you will end up binging later on when you feel extremely hungry. And therefore you gain more weight and your efforts get wasted. Moreover, if you keep yourself on extremely low-calorie diet for longer period of time, your metabolism gets altered and restricting yourself from essential nutrients also poses great health threats.

Myth #6: Say no to snacking

While mindless snacking can gift you with several extra kilos, thoughtful snacking can help you reduce several kilos. People who have small, frequent meals with snacks are more likely to get better weight loss results. Choose snacks which are low in calorie and high in protein and vitamins like fruits or salads without much dressing so that they can curb your hunger pangs in a healthy way.

Myth #7: Vegetarians are devoid of good protein sources

False, there are plenty options for vegetarians too. Include at least three servings of milk and milk products (one glass milk, one cup curd, 40g cottage cheese), two servings of pulses especially soybean, one serving of nuts to meet your protein requirement. Vegans also have amazing options and varieties available, recipes of which are all over the Internet.

Myth #8: Fast to nullify the feast

As ridiculous as it may seem, the idea to compensate your feast with fast is actually a mistake you wouldn’t want to make. When you eat larger meals than required, your body stores the extra fats in liver and when you skip you food, there is an urgent need of energy by the body and that is served by breaking muscle proteins because breaking down fat for energy is a long process and it doesn’t come into circulation that easily. Thus all your effort turns futile.

Myth #9: Eggs are unhealthy

If taken for breakfast, eggs help limit your calorie intake all day. Eggs are the best and reference source of protein along with several vitamins and minerals essential to your health like vitamins B2, B12, A, E, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Boiling an egg is one of the healthiest ways you can consume it and is the perfect option for those watching their weight. It would be wise to include one egg in your daily diet without bothering about cholesterol levels.

Myth #10: Fruits are the best breakfast option

No doubt fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals and carbohydrates. But cereal is a better option when it comes to refuelling your body after a long gap because it contains complex carbohydrate and protein and a fibre. Ideal breakfast should contain a serving of cereal, milk or milk product, and a fruit.

Asian dieting approach is met by number of myths and misconceptions. Keeping a clear mind after the above clarifications, an approach of eating a balanced diet if adopted will faclitate in keeping you active throughout the day while bearing long term commendable results. After all who doesn’t love good health while having a shapely stature!

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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