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Dr K K Aggarwal

This year’s WHO slogan focuses on ageing and health. The title is important to India in view of its increasing ageing population.  More and more people are toady crossing the age barrier due to advancements in medical fields.

Recently India saw 2 advancements in elderly population with heart disease called aortic stenosis where one of the valves gets narrowed and reduces the life span.

Firstly Padamshri Professor Jagdish Prasad, Chief Cardio Thoracic Surgeon & DGHS implanted a tissue bovine pericardial artificial aortic ‘Trifecta’ valve successfully to a patient at Safdarjang hospital. The valve is the most advanced pericardial aortic stented tissue valve design available by St. Jude Medical, a global medical device company.

The newest Trifecta valve is a clinically proven replacement valve designed for patients with diseased, damaged or malfunctioning aortic heart valves. The next-generation tissue valve has a tri-leaflet stented pericardial design that offers excellent hemodynamic performance (circulation and flow of blood through the valve) and long-term durability.

We have been eagerly anticipating the launch of the Trifecta valve in India and pleased to report the first successful implant of the same said Dr Prasad. The valve will offer numerous benefits to the patients including a durable design that reduces stress on the valve and allows it to last longer, and exceptional hemodynamic performance that allows the valve to perform more like a natural heart valve, which will allow patients to live a more active life.

The valve is constructed using a polyester and tissue-covered titanium stent, or base, to ensure structural integrity of the valve. The valve features leaflets manufactured from pericardial tissue attached to the exterior of the valve stent. This design allows the leaflets to open more fully and efficiently, mimicking the performance of a healthy aortic heart valve, while also mitigating tissue abrasion through tissue-to-tissue (stent-to-leaflet) contact, said Dr Yugal Mishra from Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

Also for those who are not fit for surgery India now has another alternative. A few weeks back Fortis Escorts Heart Institute launched replacement of the valve without surgery via a catheter.

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“Spiritual summary: AUM chanting is one of the most powerful mantra and should be done concentrating on the Ajna third eye chakra”.

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. The nine days purification process is observed twice in a year, at the start of summer and winter. Chaitra Navratri is observed at the start of the summer for preparing the body to tolerate summer.

Body detoxification involves special Navratri diet principles of eating less, once a day with no cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu (winter) or Singhara (summer) flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice.

Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga, one worshipped each day.

1.   Mata Katyayani is worshipped on 6th Navratri.

2.   SHE has three eyes and four hands and rides on a Lion.

3.   The top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage and the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon. The top left hand is holding a sword and the other holding a lotus.

4.   In Yoga Shastras she represents the Ajna Chakra and AUM bija mantra.   AUM chanting helps attaining success in religion, wealth, passion and salvation and removing fear and sorrows.

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In Chaitra Navratri one does no eat pulses and flour. The replacements for flour are fruit origin Kuttu flour and Singhara flour. The same for the pulses is amaranth seeds called as Cholai.

It is known as thotakoora, Cholai, marsa, and tamri bhaji, in various Indian languages. Amaranth in Greek means “everlasting” or never fading.

In India, amaranth grain is known as “rajgeera” meaning, “the king’s grain”.

The plant is an annual herb, not a “true” grain. The leaves are used in cooking in curries and soups.

It is highly vitamin-rich and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and riboflavin. It is rich in calcium, potassium, iron (60% of RDA), copper, magnesium, phosphorus and especially manganese.  It also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have cholesterol-lowering activity in humans.

Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting period.

It consists of 6-10% oil, which is found mostly within the germ. The oil is predominantly unsaturated and is high in linoleic acid, which is important in human nutrition.

It is high in proteins, up to 30% more than wheat flour, rice and oats. The protein is unusually complete when compared to other plant sources, containing a complete set of amino acids. It is high in lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains.  For people cutting down on meat, it offers a near-complete protein. It is low in leucine and threonine both of which are present in wheat germ.

Legumes (dal) are low in methionine and grains are low in lysine. A combination of legumes with grains forms a well balanced diet for vegetarians.  Common examples of such combinations are dal with rice; beans with corn tortillas, tofu with rice and peanut butter with wheat bread (as sandwiches). Amarnath being rich in both methionine and lysine is a complete food by itself.

It is high in phytosterols (beta-sitosterol). It lacks gluten.

It is high in insoluble dietary fiber. The fiber is three times that of wheat and its iron content, five times more than wheat. It contains two times more calcium than milk.

Using amaranth in combination with wheat, corn or brown rice result in a complete protein as high in food value as fish, red meat or poultry.

Its moderately high content of oxalic acid inhibits much of the absorption of calcium and zinc. It should be avoided or eaten in moderation by those with gout, kidney disorders or rheumatoid arthritis.

Reheating cooked amaranth is not recommended, particularly for consumption by young children, because the nitrates in the leaves can be converted to nitrites, as in spinach.

It can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted.

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Spiritual Significance: One should gain knowledge of detached attachment as the main principle of spirituality.

1.  Skanda Mata is worshipped on the fifth Day of Navratri.

2.  SHE is holding her son ‘Skandaa or Kartikaya’ on her lap.

3.   SHE has three eyes and four hands

4.  2 hands hold lotuses while the other 2 hands respectively display defending and granting gestures.

5. She is the ocean of knowledge.

6.   She rides on a lion.

7.      In Yoga Shastra she represents the Vishuddha chakra and HAM bija mantra.

8.      She also dignifies motherhood, fertility and mother child relationship.

9.       Skandaa means the one with six heads corresponding to the five senses and the mind. Or the one who has a control over the six demonic vices: kaama (sex), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (passion), mada (ego) and matsarya (jealousy).

10.   Kartikeya carries on one hand a spear and his other hand is always blessing devotees. His vehicle is a peacock, a pious bird that grips with its feet a serpent, which symbolizes the ego and desires of people. The peacock represents the destroyer of harmful habits and the conqueror of sensual desires.

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Persistent acidity is usually due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the food pipe. Mild cases of acidity reflux can usually be managed with lifestyle and dietary modifications along with antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors.

However, patients in whom lifestyle management joined with empirical treatment is unsuccessful or who have symptoms suggestive of complicated diseases should undergo endoscopy to rule out cancer of the food pipe, a condition linked with persistent acidity.

Symptoms that may suggest complicated disease include loss of appetite, loss of weight and difficulty in swallowing food, bleeding and signs of systemic illness.

Lifestyle changes for reflux involve elevation of head and of the body, avoidance of food before sleep and avoidance of food which makes the food pipe valve lax. The examples of such foods include fatty food, chocolates, peppermint and excessive intake of alcohol.

Hurry, worry and curry are the three main factors for causing acidity apart from alcohol and smoking. People with acidity should consume less of fermented, sour, salty and pungent food.

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Keep Smiling And Be Happy In All Situations

Spiritual summary: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the air (anahata plexus) within us by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu), keep smiling in both acceptable and difficult situations (smiling face) and killing the negative energies by using discus (power) when needed. This can be assisted by chanting YAM focusing on 4th heart anahata thymus plexus chakra”.

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. The nine days purification process is observed twice in a year, at the start of summer and winter. Chaitra Navratri is observed at the start of the summer for preparing the body to tolerate summer.

Body detoxification involves special Navratri diet principles of eating less, once a day with no cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu (winter) or Singhara (summer) flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice.

Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga, one worshipped each day.

Kushmanda is worshipped on 4th Navratri. SHE shines brightly with a laughing face. Out of eight hands (Ashtabhuja) in her four arms, she carries weapons like bow, arrow, discus and mace. In other three hands, she holds a lotus, a beaded rosary and a Kamandalu. In remaining hand, she carries a jar of nectar. SHE rides on Lion.

Rosary represents her power to bless her devotees with Ashtasiddhi (eight types of studies or wisdom sources) and Navanidhi (nine types of wealth).

In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the air element. In Yoga Shastra SHE represents the heart or Anhata Chakra with the Bija sound YAM.

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Navratre is the time to omit wheat flour from the diet and substitute it with buckwheat flour or kuttu ka aata. It’s not a cereal but a classified under a fruit and hence a good substitute for a Navratre fasts where cereals are prohibited.

The flour is extremely high in protein and is a wonderful substitute for those who are allergic to gluten (found in wheat). It is also good for patients with celiac disease.

It contains phytonutrient rutin, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It is rich in Mg, vitamin B, iron, calcium, folate, zinc, copper, manganese and phosphorus.

As the buckwheat hulls are hard to chew, traditionally they are soaked for about six hours and then cooked so as to make them softer and easily digestible.

It also contains Alpha Linolenic Acid which is helpful in promoting HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and controlling LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).

It is a good source of insoluble fibre and prevents occurrences of gall-bladder stones. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a 5% increase in the insoluble fiber intake results in a 10% reduced risk of gall-bladder stones.

Kuttu is 75% of complex carbohydrates and 25% of high quality protein which makes it an ideal food for weight loss.

The flour is gluten-free and hence potato is used to bind the flour together.

The flour has a different taste. Puris made of this flour are crunchier than the normal wheat flour pooris. One should not make pooris with hydrogenated oils or vanaspati as it will take away all the medical benefits of buckwheat flour.

Buckwheat flour however is subjected to adulteration. Left over flour of last year can cause food poisoning.

Mixtures of rye flour, Indian corn flour, wheat flour, and other ground cereals are often used as a substitute for buckwheat.

Being high in fiber and with low glycemic index it is good substitute for diabetic patients. The glycemic Index for buck wheat is 47. Low GI foods have a GI value less than 55; medium GI foods have a GI value between 55 and 69 and high GI foods have GI value greater than 70.

The chiro-inositol present in the buck wheat has been identified as responsible for the diabetes preventing component.

Asthma symptoms can occur in sensitized children when food allergens such as buckwheat are cooked in a confined area. Both acute and late-phase respiratory symptoms are seen.

In the place of puri or pakodas (fried items) made from kuttu atta one must go for kuttu ki roti. One can also prepare idli from the kuttu atta and dosa from the samak rice.

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“Spiritual summary on the 3rd Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the fire (solar plexus) within by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu) and killing the negative energies by using gada (power) when needed. This can be assisted by chanting RAM focusing on 3rd celiac solar plexus chakra”.

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. The nine days purification process is observed twice in a year, at the start of summer and winter. Chaitra Navratri is observed at the start of the summer for preparing the body to tolerate summer.

Body detoxification involves special Navratri diet principles of eating less, once a day with no cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu (winter) or Singhara (summer) flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice.

Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga, one worshipped each day.

1. Chadraghanta is worshipped on the 3rd day of Navratri

2. SHE is shown with golden skin and riding a tiger. She is depicted with ten hands and 3 eyes with a crescent moon on the head.

3. Eight of HER hands display weapons. The rest two are in the mudras or gestures of boon giving and stopping harm (Varada and abhay mudra) indicating protection.

4. Out of eight hands five contains bow and arrow (to bend, focus, one point determination. The bow and arrows also represent energy. Holding both the bow and arrows in one hand indicates control over both potential and kinetic energies); Trishul (balance), sword (sharp intelligence) and mace (power to destroy the evil). Rest three hands contain rosary (tapas); lotus (detached attachment) and Kamandalu (acceptance).

5.  In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the fire element.

6. In Yogashstra SHE represents the solar or Manipura Chakra with the Bija sound RAM.

7. Sound of her bell terrifies demons as well as all enemies.

8. SHE represents protector and bravery.

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