Monday 30 September 2013


What's "normal" varies from person to person. Some people go three times a day; others, three times a week. Although having a bowel movement once a day is common, it's fine to go a few days without one. Constipation means having fewer than three bowel movements per week. You're considered severely constipated if you have less than one movement a week.

Some people believe that constipation causes the body to absorb poisonous substances in stools. They believe this causes diseases such as colon cancer. But there's no evidence that the stools produce toxins or that colon cleansing, laxatives, or enemas can prevent cancer or other diseases.

You may feel too busy at work to have a bowel movement. Or you'd rather wait until you're home. But ignoring the urge when it comes may not only make you physically uncomfortable -- it can cause or aggravate constipation by weakening the signals over time.

Eating foods with fiber helps you feel full and stay regular. Insoluble fiber in particular can help ease constipation because it's indigestible and doesn't dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stool and helps it pass through the intestines faster. Good sources of insoluble fiber are whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereal. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. As part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, it may lower heart disease risk.

It's true that the caffeine in coffee can stimulate the muscles in your digestive system to contract, causing a bowel movement. So why isn't it recommended as a fix for constipation? Coffee can actually make stools harder to pass because it is also a diuretic, so it draws liquid out of stools. If you are constipated, avoid coffee and other diuretics such as caffeinated tea and cola.

Enemas and colon irrigation (high colonics) may temporarily remove body waste, but they're not an effective way to prevent or cure constipation. Enemas can actually cause constipation in older people who get them regularly. Colonic irrigation, which is usually done by colonic hygienists or therapists, can damage the colon and can lead to other issues.

Castor oil is a powerful laxative. But like other laxatives, it should not be used long-term. Overusing laxatives can hurt your body's ability to absorb nutrients and some medications. Castor oil can damage the bowel muscles, nerves, and tissue if overused -- all of which can cause constipation. Use it only with a doctor's guidance.

Blood in a bowel movement is not always serious, but you should always call your doctor if it happens. Bright red blood is usually from hemorrhoids or tears in the anal lining called fissures. Constipation and straining during bowel movements can be the cause. Maroon or tarry black blood or clots usually mean bleeding is coming from higher in the gastrointestinal tract. The cause may be more serious.

It's true -- but only in rare cases. Sometimes swallowing large amounts of gum or many pieces in a short time can form a mass that blocks the digestive tract, especially if you swallow it with other indigestible things. The blockage can cause constipation. But for most people, the indigestible parts of gum move through the intestinal tract and eventually get eliminated from the body just like other foods do. So swallowing the occasional piece of gum is harmless.

Travel can change your daily routine and diet, contributing to constipation. Avoid dehydration-related constipation by drinking water, especially if you're flying. Also move around when you can.

Depression may trigger constipation or make it worse. Reducing stress through meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques may help. Acupressure may help, too. And massaging the abdomen may help relax the muscles that support the intestines and get your bowels moving.

Some medications for pain, depression, high blood pressure, and Parkinson's disease are associated with constipation. Too much calcium and iron can also lead to constipation. Calcium supplements, especially if taken with another supplement or medication that binds the stool, may also cause problems.

Not having enough fiber in your diet often leads to constipation. To prevent it, try to get at least 25 grams a day, but more is better. Eat more whole fruits and vegetables; replace white rice, bread, and pastas with whole-grain products. Increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid gas and bloating. Drink at least 2 to 4 extra glasses of water a day. Don't expect results overnight.

This small, dried fruit has earned a big reputation as "nature's remedy" for constipation. Prunes (often called dried plums) can prevent or improve constipation symptoms. They're packed with insoluble fiber, as well as the natural laxatives sorbitol and dihydrophenylisatin. The soluble fiber found in prunes may help lower cholesterol. And they're safe for long-term consumption. Children who don't like prunes might eat prune juice ice pops or sip prune juice mixed with another juice to disguise the taste.

Drinking plenty of water helps prevent dehydration, which can lead to constipation. Liquids can help keep your stool soft to help prevent and alleviate constipation. Talk to your dietitian/nutritionist about how much water is good for you.

Lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation. Exercise, however, can help make your bowel movements more regular and can reduce stress. Wait at least an hour after eating a big meal before you exercise to give your body time to digest your food. Then get moving! Try a 10- to 15-minute walk several times a day. Stretching and yoga can also help constipation.

Wednesday 18 September 2013


Figs are a delicious fruit, whether fresh or dried, and have many health benefits as well. Figs grow on the ficus carica tree which belongs to the mulberry family. Dried figs are a better concentrated source of minerals and vitamins. Figs have also been mentioned in Holy Quran in “Surah at-Teen”:
“By the fig and the olive, By mount Sinai, By this city of security (Makkah), Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould),”

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Eat figs! If I would say a certain type of fruit was sent down to us from the heavens, I would say it’s a fig because it has no seeds. It ends (cures) the piles and is useful for rheumatism.”

To treat piles naturally, soak 2-3 dried figs in milk in a coated utensil/pot overnight. Eat these soaked figs early in the morning on an empty stomach for 14-15 days.

Figs are a uniquely nutritious fruit, as they have the highest amount of calcium of any fruit. Figs are also a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, as well as vitamin K. They contain different types of antioxidants. Antioxidants mop up free radicals which may contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease and the visible signs of aging by damaging DNA and other body systems. The riper the fig, the more antioxidants it contains. Figs are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. The American Diabetes Association recommends figs for a high fiber treat. Fig leaves are also surprisingly healthy. Several cultures use the leaves in cooking, particularly to wrap meats and fish. Studies have shown that an extract of fig leaves increases insulin sensitivity, and may be useful for preventing diabetes. Cholesterol levels can be kept in control by pectin, a soluble fibre found in figs. 

Being high in alkaline content, they curb acid levels in the body. Studies have shown that figs lower triglyceride levels. If you're suffering from iron deficiency, figs are the way to go. They are excellent for building red blood cells, which help carry oxygen throughout the body. Eating 2-3 dried figs with 1 cup warm milk is best to improve low platelet level. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help prevent coronary heart diseases. Figs have traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac.

Caution: Figs are a very safe food but as they do have a slight laxative effect so should not be consumed in excess, particularly when dried. They also contain oxalates, a substance which can cause kidney and gall bladder stones when it becomes too concentrated in the body. Though figs do not contain a large amount but people with existing kidney problems should consume them in moderation.


Dried Figs Halwa

Clarified butter ------------------------ 2 tbsps
Dried Figs (chopped) ----------------- 1 cup
Saffron ------------------------------- 1 pinch
Warm milk --------------------------- 1/2 cup
Condensed milk ---------------------- 1/2 cup

Soak figs in warm milk for an hour. Grind to a fine paste with milk. Heat clarified butter in a vessel and add condensed milk, saffron, fig paste and cook on medium heat. Stir continuously till it leaves the sides of the vessel and then serve.

Sunday 15 September 2013


Dates  - A divine fruit

The botanical name of dates is “Phoenix dactylifera L.” It’s a perennial plant & starts giving fruit within an average of 5 years.

Dates have also been honored in Quran as a blessing of Jannah. Hazrat Maryam (A.S) was commanded to eat this fruit in Surah Maryam:

The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She [Maryam] said, “Oh if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!” A voice called out to her from under her, “Do not grieve! Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes…” (Quran)

Research shows  that dates contain some stimulants, which strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy. This helps the dilation of the uterus at the time of delivery .

Dates have also been mentioned frequently in many Hadiths of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). His favorite dates were Ajwa.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "He who eats seven Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them." (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated Salman ibn Amir: "The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying."

Dates can be considered a powerhouse of energy. They are rich in sugar particularly glucose and fructose. They are alkaline in nature so they can be used to treat the problem of acidity. Dates have high iron content and are very useful for treating anemia. Being rich in fiber, they are very effective to prevent and treat constipation. Soak dates overnight and take them along with water to have added advantage. Dates are rich in potassium and low in sodium which makes them an ideal fruit for people having hypertension. Dates are a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics. Eating dates in the morning on an empty stomach kills intestinal worms and other parasites, for dates have an antidotal potency, which inhibits their growth.


Dates Smoothie

Dates _______________________ 10
Coffee ______________________ 1/4 tsp 
Chocolate sauce _______________ 2 tsp
Yogurt ______________________ 1/2 cup
Milk ________________________ 1/2 cup

Put dates, coffee, chocolate sauce, yogurt and milk in a blender and blend these ingredients well. Then add crushed ice to it and serve cold.
Note: A healthy recipe for those who want to gain weight. Have at least one serving of it daily to see good results.

Saturday 14 September 2013


1. Do not talk with food or drink in your mouth.
2. Sit up straight.
3. Do not tilt your chair back.
4. If you are chewing gum, dispose of before you sit down to the meal.
5. Pick up your glass when drinking through a straw.

6. Keep elbows close to your body when cutting and eating.
7. Bring food up to your mouth, not your mouth down to your plate.
8. If anything unintended (a burp, hiccup, or food) comes out of your mouth, excuse yourself quietly. Don't make a big deal of it, and no one else will.
9. Chew with your mouth closed.
10. Don't bring your face down to the plate. Instead, sit up straight and bring the utensil up to your mouth.
11. Don't talk with your mouth full.
12. Once you've used a utensil, don't let it touch the table again. Leave it on your plate.
13. Do not push your plate away when you have finished eating.
14. If you need to leave the table, say "Excuse me". It is not necessary to tell where you're going.
15. Follow your host's lead. Don't do anything - such as sit, start to eat, or leave the table - until he/she does it first, or invites you to do so.
16. Don't put your fingers in your mouth or pick food out of your teeth. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.
17. When it comes to bread plates, cups, etc., many people wonder which one is theirs when dining at a big table with many other people. Always go for the one on the left.
18. Do not overload your plate at a buffet.
19. Never put liquid in your mouth when you have food there unless the food is burning your mouth.
20. Do not crush ice into your mouth.