Foods that heal: Bottle Gourd

This vegetable and its juice are extremely beneficial for health. It is low in calorie, high in water content, high in fibre, very low in fat and cholesterol. It has iron and vitamin C.
It is suitable for hypertensive patients because of its high potassium content. Per 100 gram of it contains 85 mg of potassium.


Bottle gourd, being alkaline in nature, helps in reducing the acidity of urine and has a cooling effect in summers. Its water content keeps the body hydrated. No doubt its a favourite vegetable in the summer season. Consuming its juice has lots of health benefits. If the liver is inflamed due to any condition, it helps the liver to come back to its normal condition. The juice is very healthy for the heart and high blood pressure, thus a cardio tonic. Nothing like an organic bottle gourd.

Water and Health

The saying goes correctly here that we don’t value what we have in abundance and is free of cost. And one big example is of water.  Mother earth has given us water in abundance.

How many of us drink water in the required portion, may be just a handful.  Doubtless if the body is well hydrated then one deals with much lesser health issues.

First lets check if we are dehydrated or not. Thirst is not a fool proof sign of dehydration as the weather and activity level can interfere, so if you are not thirsty ,does not mean that you are not dehydrated and don’t require water. Some signs of dehydration are fatigue; headache, mood swings and severe dehydration can cause mental confusion. Researches say that dehydrated people score low in reasoning tests and have difficulty in concentration.

In fact dehydration sometimes sends body wrong signals of hunger and in response body gets more prone to sugar cravings.  On the other hand staying well hydrated sends the body signals of feeling full, as the satiety level is influenced by the stomach. Drinking water can curb the appetite.

Dehydrated body can cause dry mouth; means there is less saliva production. Saliva keeps the mouth naturally fresh by rinsing away odor causing bacteria and food particles, where as dry mouth from dehydration lets debris built up in the mouth surface contributing to foul smell. So next time your mouth smells, can be due to less intake of water.  To avoid bad breath, keep sipping water through out the day, keep snacking on hydrated fruits.

Dehydration plays an important role in the quality of skin. Due to less moisture the skin can get flakey, dull, can have fine lines and dark spots. Even if one has an oily skin, that does not mean it is healthy. In fact then the skin is prone to breakouts. As the oil glands try to make up for the lack of moisture. Keep the skin glowing by drinking a large glass of water before consuming tea & coffee. Avoid long hot showers which dry the skin further. Dehydration is also associated to headaches. Low blood pressure means less blood and less oxygen carried to brain cells.  The vessels in the brain widen to try to increase the flow, this triggers the headache, drinking enough water may prevent headache.

A good way to judge whether we are well hydrated. Check the urine. If the urine is pale yellow, means you are well hydrated, if it gets more yellow means you need to drink more water. Dark yellow to orange urine indicates severe dehydration.

The ideal advice is to drink eight glasses of water per day. Though many a times the amount of water needed by the body depends on health, activity levels, 2.2 liters of water i.e. nine glasses keeps a healthy adult well hydrated.

So the trick to drink more water. If you force yourself to drink more water even for a week, you will start felling the change in your body like more energy, less confusion, better physical activity, a feel good factor. These signs are self encouraging. Many times water helps your muscle contract, lubricates the joints and makes it easier for the brain to process information. People who drink more water consume less calories, salt, fat and sugar.

Use tricks to keep yourself motivated to drink water. Match a glass of water to every cup of tea or coffee. Even if its soda or sparkling water, try to increase your intake.
On a funny note play a drinking game with yourself means drink water whenever you check social media.  Keep your water bottle visible through out the day, sip while watching TV.
Old people and young children have weak thirst response. They should learn to be proactive. Keep colorful favorite cartoon glasses for children.

Another good trick would be squeeze few lemons adding leaves of mint, some cumin seeds. Add water n run in a blender. Freeze in cubes. Every time you drink water and you feel tasteless, add a cube and drink, so you also get additional antioxidant with every glass.

Making a jar of thin butter milk and drinking it through out the day adds up to the liquid intake of the body. Eat water rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, and carrots. After a work out, cool down with cucumber and watermelon slices. Eating these whole foods can replace the vitamins, amino acids and water loss from the cells. Crush mix fresh fruits in a jar and keep in the fridge to make whole days healthy drink, this way the sugary drinks can be avoided.

Live a healthy life, along with a glowing skin and a healthy mind and body with a free of cost measure, drink water often.

Skin, Food and Antioxidant Relation

As the saying, reap what you sow; means you get as much, as much you put in.  Same theory goes on the skin too. The skin will exactly show what you have eaten. A healthy pink looking skin indicates good health surely followed by good diet.

Let us understand the theory of antioxidants and free radicals and how they correlate with the condition of the skin. Our body, by the result of metabolism and continuous working produces free radical in a limited number constantly. Atom or molecules always have a paired set of electrons. Free radicals are the atoms or molecules having impaired electrons. That particular electron always looks for another electron to be paired with. It can go to the neighbouring molecule to snatch an electron to be paired for itself, leaving that molecule to become a free radical now and this chain process goes on. A series of the molecules involved in this process are affected to make that particular section of that body unhealthy. It can be skin or any another of them.

So now the chain reaction of borrowing an electron, creates havoc in the living organism. It is estimated that such a chain reaction can trigger 10 Billion molecules per second. 

Free radicals are a result of:
·      Diet
·      Smoking
·      Stress
·      Alcohol
·      Drugs
·      Sunlight
·      Air pollution
·      Inflammation

With such factors, free radicals form spontaneously.

Whenever the body’s immunity is low, it is prone to the attack of virus and bacteria very often. These organisms live in the human body on oxygen. The more oxygen they use to survive, the more free radicals are produced as a result of their metabolism.
Till a limited number free radicals are good for the body, as they help the immune system to eliminate the unwanted virus, which produce illnesses. But if they are too much in their number, then the problem arises affecting the skin and other organs.
Free radicals destroy the cells of the affected organ by damaging their cell membrane, as a result taking away the nutrients and leaving the cell weak. They also weld molecules together like putting handcuffs on then, so they don’t perform to their maximum capacity.

Now comes the role of antioxidants. They enter the body, lend the extra electron to the free radical and thereafter in return become a weak free radical itself, which cannot harm the body. So now the original free radical has become an antioxidant, as it has got that extra electron, ready to favour the body with good health. Free radicals are available to the body in two ways, i.e., by diet and by supplements. The body cannot produce antioxidants, so they must come from the outer source. The major antioxidants are Vitamin A, C & E.  

Foods containing Vitamin A are:
·      Asparagus
·      Broccoli
·      Beets
·      Carrots
·      Bell Pepper
·      Kale
·      Mangoes
·      Peaches
·      Pumpkin
·      Spinach
·      Sweet Potatoes
·      Watermelon
·      Tomatoes

Foods containing Vitamin C are:
·      All Berries
·      Broccoli
·      Sprouts
·      Kiwi
·      Mango
·      Orange
·      Papaya
·      Tomatoes
·      Red, Yellow, Green peppers
·      Vitamin E
·      All nuts
·      Sunflower seeds
·      Flax seeds
·      All Fishes

Other antioxidants are Zinc, which is found in beans, nuts, red meat, fortified cereals and whole grains. Selenium, is found in, tuna, poultry and fortified grains. Quercetin is a phytochemical found in onions, teas and apples. Other antioxidants are Flavonoids found in chocolates. Resveratrol in wine. And, Lycopene in tomatoes. Eat foods rich in all the above. Yoghurt prevents wrinkles.

Natural bleaching agents for application on the skin are:
·      Lemon juice
·      Potato juice
·      Tomato juice
·      Curd

You can apply the on the affected dark spots.



Fruits are extremely beneficial for good health. Few body conditions allows one to eat them in less quantity, otherwise fruits never overload the body with extra digestion work, keeping the body less stressed.

Fruits are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, fibre and potassium and all these are very useful to the body compared to many foods overloaded with calories. Fruits are low in calories, help in weight-loss and at the same time filling. But at the same time it wont be correct to live only on fruits and miss out other important foods to give our body the right balance.

Let's discuss few fruits and their benefits.



There is a myth pertaining to this fruit that it is fattening. Infact bananas are full of vitamin B6, Potassium and Fibre thus help in reducing the risk of heart disease. If we consume one banana a day, we need not worry about weight gain.



Its red juice is full of polyphenol antioxidant. It reduces the LDL in the blood thus is heart healthy. It removes toxins from the body and improves the blood flow.


This is one fruit which is full of health benefits. It has an enzyme called papain which helps in digestion. It has fibre, vitamin C and carotenes.



High in antioxidant, consuming blueberries keeps the fat cells from accumulating in the body thus aiding weight loss. 

Eating strawberries produces a hormone known as adiponectin and leptin which increase metabolic rate helping in fat burning property. They are also anti inflammatory healing internal injuries.



This highly fibreous fruit is helpful in fat burning. Consume it during breakfast for full benefits.



This fruit with sweet and sour flavour is full of vitamin C and antioxidants. The black seeds within are insoluble fibres aiding to no constipation.



This fruit is low in calorie and high in fibre. It contains vitamin, minerals and iron, also helps in slimming down the body.



It is one of the most fibre rich food. It lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, is an energy booster, prevents aging, boosts immunity, balances hormones, improves bone health, regulates bowel movement and reduces constipation.

So if you want to look healthier, lose weight, feel fresh then incorporate fruits in our daily diet.

Healthy Winter

As winters approach, the seasonal change brings in breathing difficulty, cold, coughs, sore throat, sinusitis, specially when the body's immunity is not high, all of these keep bothering through out the winter season. Some diet changes really help increasing the immunity. Like  a high intake of vitamin C really helps. So, do not forget to take Amla in this season. A mixture of honey and ginger helps the respiratory disorders to be at bay.

Another problem commonly seen is blocked nose . Take steam regularly, add eucalyptus oil and mint leaves in the water used for steam. Make a habit of gargling regularly with warm salty water to keep the throat clean.

Take warm lemon water once a day as it is high in vitamin C which again increases immunity. Use black pepper in foods and seasonings. Usage of cloves , cumin seeds, kesar/ saffron, cardamom is also beneficial in this season.

Some weight gain is expected in this season. Since our aim is to increase the immunity, it is fine as we want a healthy body which does not fall sick again and again