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Dr K K Aggarwal

5 Ways to Use less Salt

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Use spices and other flavor enhancers such as spices, dried and fresh herbs, garlic and ginger, citrus, vinegars and wine. Flavors can be black pepper, cinnamon and turmeric to fresh basil, chili peppers and lemon juice.
  • Use the right healthy fats — from roasted nuts and avocados to olive, canola, soybean and other oils.
  • Searing and sautéing foods in a pan builds flavor. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of many vegetables and the taste of fish and chicken. If you do steam or microwave food, perk up these dishes with a finishing drizzle of flavorful oil and a squeeze of citrus.
  • Get your whole grains from sources other than bread. White bread contains salt, not just for flavor but to ensure that the dough rises properly.
  • Shop for raw ingredients with maximum natural flavor, thereby avoiding the need to add as much (if any) sodium. (Harvard)
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Facts about Soul and the Spirit

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Energy is the raw material of the universe.
  • Information is the organization of energy into reproducible patterns.
  • Consciousness is living information and energy (living energized information)
  • Consciousness is, therefore, intelligence.
  • Intelligence is information and energy that has self–referral or the ability to learn through experiences and the ability to reinterpret and influence one’s own information and energy states.
  • Consciousness is live, advanced, software–driven energized information.

    Closest example: Advanced computer software which can type, correct, interpret, edit and store spoken or read information.

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All about the Tea

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When we speak of tea, it is commonly assumed to be black tea with milk and sugar. However, the word ‘Tea’ means any herb. This means even hot Tulsi water is Tulsi tea or hot mint water is Mint tea. Many herbs can be converted into tea such as jasmine tea, lemon tea, lemon grass tea, masala tea, sounf tea etc.

When the leaves are boiled in water and reduced to 50%, it is called Kadha (decoction). Black tea without milk and sugar is much healthier than black tea with milk and sugar.

Classical tea without sugar and milk has an astringent taste. But according to Ayurveda, this is good for health as it reduces Kapha imbalance. When sugar and milk are added, both of which have sweet taste, they neutralize the weight-reducing and kapha–relieving properties of the black tea. Therefore, milk or sugar should not be added to tea. For the purpose of taste, one can add Gur or jaggery or artificial plant sweetener Stevia.

Black tea is also a mild diuretic and increases urination as it contains caffeine, which is also a stimulant. This is the reason why tea is used when there is a need to stay awake. In this regard, coffee is stronger than tea. When taken in moderation, black tea is good for the heart and general health. If one has to choose tea then jasmine, lemon and lemongrass teas are better.

In Ayurveda, different teas have been prescribed for different personalities. Therefore, you can get vata–pacifying tea, pitta–pacifying tea and kapha–pacifying tea.

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Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered.
It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body.

What is not offered to God should not be offered to our consciousness and that was the reason for this ritual in a temple. Vanaspati ghee increases bad cholesterol and reduces level of good cholesterol in the blood. On the other hand, pure ghee only increases bad cholesterol but does not reduce the level of good cholesterol. The medical recommendation is that one should not take more than 15 ml of oil, ghee, butter or maximum ½ kg in one month.

It is a spiritual crime to offer vanaspati ghee to God.

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The Science of Hygiene

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All of us are taught about hygienic living and this subject should be included as a chapter in the curriculum of every school. There are many different kinds of hygiene.

Respiratory hygiene: This is important to prevent cross infection, specifically, from flu and related respiratory illness. One should keep a distance of minimum 3 ft, from a person who is coughing, sneezing or singing. Most respiratory particles are more than 5 microns in size and do not travel a distance of more than 3 ft. This respiratory hygiene, however, will not prevent transmission of the tuberculosis bacteria, which are less than 5 microns and keep circulating in the area.

Hand hygiene: This is the fundamental principle for any disease prevention and the catch phrase is “before and after”, i.e. one should wash hands before and after eating food, touching any infected material, seeing a patient or after normal evacuation of stool in the morning.

Food hygiene: This means maintaining hygiene at home while cutting, serving and eating food. While cutting a vegetable, the surface or the cutting board should be clean and hygienic including the knife, hands, water, utensils etc. If that hygiene is not possible, follow the formula of ‘boil it, heat it, peel it, cook it or forget it’. This means that any food which has been boiled, heated or peeled is safe for eating. Peeling means removing the skin of a fruit such as banana or oranges.

Water hygiene: This involves drinking safe water, safe drinking glass, proper washing of glass, not washing multiple glasses in the same utensil and picking up glasses properly. People often try to pick up four glasses of water at the same time with one finger in each glass.

Sexual hygiene: This involves washing local areas before and after sexual contact.

Body hygiene: This involves 16 upchars, as mentioned in mythology. Out of these 16 basic steps, some are related to body hygiene and they involve washing feet first and then hands followed by mouth and finally the body. Washing of the feet is the most important as they are the ones which carry infections into one’s house.

Cleaning of mouth is cleaning the teeth with one finger, gums with two fingers, tongue with three fingers and palate with thumb.

Abhishekam or the snana of the body involves multiple steps. Ancient steps have been washing the body with milk water (rose water etc.) followed by rubbing with curd (soap), honey (moisturizers), ghee (oil), sugar (the drying agent) and finally with milk water again. This facilitates natural bathing and not dependent on soap.

Nail hygiene: This is also a very important hygiene, especially for food handlers, because they are responsible for causation of water and food disease. It is important that they be given typhoid vaccines and de-worming tablets every three months.

Another important hygiene to be observed at our homes is that of the servants or the help. They are often provided soap at the start of the month and they are supposed to use that bar of soap for a month. If by any chance, they lose that soap in 2-3 weeks’ time, they are apprehensive in asking the owners for soap. As a result, they may wash their hands without soap for the next 2-3 weeks, which includes washing of hands in morning.

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When we talk about health, everybody talks against soft drinks. They say that one should not substitute water with soft drinks. One should take not more than one soft drink a day.

From medical point of view, soft drinks mean any drink, which contains more than 10% sugar. Oral rehydration solution that is medically recommended for dehydration and marketed as a replacement solution is not a sugary drink as it contains not more than 2–3% sugar. A 200 ml bottle of soft drink, on an average, contains 20 gm of sugar, which amounts to 10%.

Most mithais or the so-called Indian sweets contain more than 10% sugar; an average person consumes 100 gm of sweets per meal.

The traditional halwas such as moong ki daal ka halwa or gajar ka halwa or suji halwa contain 30% sugar. Suji Halwa is made of one cup of ghee, one cup of suji and two cups of sweet syrup and four cups of water. Kalakand is the least sweetened Indian sweet as it contains only 300 gm of sugar in 10kg of milk. Indian traditional Burfi is 3 kg sugar in 10 kg of khoya. Kaaju burfi is 50% sugar, gulab jamun is 40% sugar, rasgulla syrup contains 50% sugar (made of only cow milk and sugar).

The sugar syrup, or chashni as it is called, is 50% sugar. Most soft drinks have 10% sugar.

Most Indian sweets are prepared either in sugar syrup or vanaspati ghee (hydrogenated oils). A sweet cannot be made in artificial sweeteners as artificial sweetener cannot be converted into a sugar syrup or chashni. The sweets prepared in vanaspati ghee are gulab jamun, laddoo, patisa, balushahi, sohan halwa. Sohn halwa contains the maximum hydrogenated oil. Balushahi also contains 60% ghee.

The sweets that are prepared without any ghee are those prepared with sugar syrup; they are rasgulla, ras malai, chum chum etc.

Most salty snacks are made in soyabean oil which is the cheapest oil. Other oils, which can be used are sunflower oil, cottonseed oil. Samosa, kachori are made of maida but they are not cooked in transfat or hydrogenated oils but in soyabean oil.

The hydrogenated oils or vanaspati ghee is only present in items like laddoo, balushahi, besan ka laddoo, patisa etc.

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Should doctors be detached?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In dealing with patients, the traditional Doctor-Patient relationship model has been that doctor should remain cool, calm and collected at all times. Doctor’s approach needs to be strictly scientific, logical, objective, methodical precise and dispassionate. This model has been since the era of William Osler, the father of modern medicine. The term used is imperturbability which means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances. Osler said a rare and precious gift to doctor is right of detachment. The right of detachment insulates the doctors and protects them from the powerful emotions that patients display in their presence like anger, frustration, grief, rage and bewilderment. It also insulates patients from the rolling emotions that doctors may at times feel towards them. However, a detached attitude also insulates doctors from empathizing with patients. A detached doctor may talk in a language that is over patient’s head. Detachment is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off to suit the situation. Detachment as a practice cannot be in isolation if it becomes your personal style of distracting from the world, it may not be just for the patients but also from your colleague, family friends and even yourself. I recall when I joined by hospital the first lesson given to me by my boss was not to get unduly attached with patients. As etiquette, we were taught not to socialize with patients. Even today the new American Guidelines talk that doctors should not socialize with their patients on social media including Facebook. Even doctors are human beings and their personal lives should not be known to patients. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it is equally true that known close patients file a law suit much more than unknown people because over a period of time they know your weakness. One should learn to empathize with the patients and yet be detached from its results. Doctors who follow Bhagwad Gita understand this concept very well.

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Carbohydrates as substitute to saturated fats not the answer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Many prospective studies have addressed components of diet and the risk of heart disease.

The type of fat consumed appears to be more important than the amount of total fat.

Trans fatty acids increase risk of heart disease while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats decrease the risk.

There is controversy about whether it is optimal to substitute saturated fats with carbohydrate. An increase in carbohydrate tends to reduce the level of good high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in addition to total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Thus, the reduction in heart disease risk may be less than predicted by the reduction of saturated fat alone.

Observational studies have consistently shown that individuals consuming diets high in vegetables and fruits (which are rich in antioxidant vitamins) had a reduced risk of heart disease.

Results of a number of randomized trials are now available and show largely no significant clinical benefits of antioxidant vitamins on heart disease.

Supplemental vitamin C, E, and beta carotene cannot be recommended in the primary prevention of CHD.

Taking supplements without clinical benefits could, in theory, increase the risk if individuals mistakenly avoid therapeutic lifestyle changes or drug therapies with proven benefits.

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