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Dr K K Aggarwal

Eating high fiber diet

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• There are two types of fibers. One is soluble and the other is insoluble.

• Soluble fiber includes those that are made up of carbohydrates and absorb water. Examples are oats, barley and legumes.

• Insoluble fiber comes from plant cells and does not dissolve in water. Examples are wheat, ragi and other grains.

• Traditionally, fiber is insoluble fiber.

• Dietary fiber is a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.

• The recommended intake of dietary fiber is 20–35 gm in a day.

• Eating a high–fiber diet both can prevent constipation, reduce cholesterol, and help in reversing obesity and heart diseases in children and adults.

• A high–fiber diet should be a balanced diet with food from all food groups.

• The common sources of fiber are whole grain produce and cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

• Raw vegetables such as carrot, garlic or cherry tomatoes are rich in fiber.

• Salads with dark green lettuce provide high fiber content.

• Eating whole wheat bread or with added fiber is a rich source of fiber.

• Prefer brown rice over white rice.

• You can eat whole wheat carbohydrates, bran muffins, bran cereals or oat meals.

• Avoid eating refined white flour, cereals and other starches.

• If juices are to be taken, one should take 4–6 ozs.

• Fruits are better than juices • Try to develop a taste for bran by starting with 2–4 tablespoons every day.

• Mix a high fiber cereal with a regular cereal.

• Isabgol is a fiber supplement.

Understanding who we are…

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The classical description of ‘who we are comes’ from Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam, where he says that even the wife refuses to touch the same physical body after death, and if she touches it, a ritual bath has to be taken. This means physical body is not what we are.

If we weigh physical body before and after death there will be no difference. The life force also called consciousness or atman has no weight, shape or dimensions.

In Bhagavad Gita, in Chapter 2, Krishna describes its characteristics as “fire cannot burn it, air cannot dry it, weapons cannot cut it, and water cannot wet it. It is omnipotent, omnipresence and omniscient”.

Though modern medicine may not talk about soul but it does differentiate life and death based on certain parameters.

Vedic description describes five different movement forces in the body: apana vayu expulses urine, stool, baby and menses; samana vayu controls the intestinal movements; vyana vayu controls the circulatory system; udana vayu controls the neurological impulses and the connection between soul and spirit; and prana vayu controls the brain stem reflexes.

Soul or consciousness is linked to udana vayu and prana vayu. The best description of these five forces apart from Ayurveda text comes from prasannopanishad.

A patient with brain stem death can be kept on ventilator for months together, as the body has normal vyana vayu, sana vayu and apana vayus. The patient will therefore, maintain blood pressure, GI functions, urinary functions and reproductive functions. These three vayus are controlled by the atmospheric oxygen and not by the life force.

Can anyone remember the weight, height, abdominal circumference or size of collar, waist or shoes of Lord Krishna? He is only known only from his actions and the soul profile.

All of us have physical, mental, intellectual, ego and soul characteristics. Soul characteristics are same in all and are positive. The examples are love, compassion, care, humility, etc. These soul characteristics are influenced by the subtle mind, intellect and ego characteristics.

While introducing ourselves, most of the times we talk about define our intellectual or ego profile and not the soul profile. When we describe our status, house, car or money, we are describing our ego profile and not the soul profile. Our aim in life should be to understand our soul profile, as without the soul nobody will come near us. The very same people will dispose off our body at the earliest opportunity they get.

Most of us correlate life span with the life span of the physical body, which has to perish sooner or later. When we ask people how long they want to live, their usual answers are 60 years, 70 years, 80 years or 90 years. Nobody thinks beyond physical death. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Mother Teresa are not dead. Though their physical body does not exist, their good karmas, work, memories and the soul profiles are still alive.

The purpose of life should be to create an atmosphere or an aura in such a way that the society remembers us after the death of our physical body. This is only possible when we shift our thinking from the ego profile to the soul profile.

Soul is nothing but an energized field of information and can be equated to the live information fed in any computer or mobile phone. Both computer and mobile phones with and without information weigh the same. Similarly, weight of radio does not change whether the radio is on or off. The live data information in the TV, radio or mobile phone can be termed as their soul. A computer without this soul is useless, so are the mobile and radio sets.

The information is always static and still without any movements. This information in a computer requires a software to run. The static soul in our body also requires a software called life force.

Soul, thus can be described as a combination of the life force and the static information. In Hindu mythology this is called shiva and shakti. Some people describe them as prana and chitta. In vedic philosophy by controlling prana one can control chitta and vice versa.

For a computer to operate, two softwares are required: operational software and application software. Operational software makes the computer do basic work and application software helps one to manipulate the data the way one wants.

All of us our born with the operational software or the life force. We develop and create our own application software over a period of time by using the triad of action, memory and desires.

To understand oneself, therefore, one needs to control our own application software and do not let them go beyond its desired scope of work.

Science Behind Regrets

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a US-based study, dying people were asked about their regrets, if any. The top five regrets were:

• I wish I had the courage to live a life I wanted to live and not what others expected me to live.

• I wish I had worked harder.

• I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.

• I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

• I wish I had let myself be happier.

Regrets are always based on suppression of emotions or non–fulfillment of desires and needs. These need–based desires can be at the level of physical body, mind, intellect, ego or the soul. Therefore, regrets can be at any of these levels.

I did a survey of 15 of my patients and asked them a simple question that if they came to know that they are going to die in the next 24 hours, what would be their biggest regret?

Only one of them, who was a doctor, said that she would have no regrets. The physical regret was only one and that was from a Yoga expert who said that her regret was not getting married till that day.

Mental regrets were two.

• A state trading businessman said, “I wish I could have taken care of my parents.”

• A homeopathic doctor said, “I wish I could have given more time to my family.” Intellectual Regrets were three.

• A lawyer said, “I wish I could have become something in life.”

• A businessman said, “I wish I could have helped more people.”

• A retired revenue inspector said, “I wish had married my younger child.” Egoistic regrets were two.

• One fashion designer said, “I wish I could have become a singer.”

• A housewife said, “I wish I could have become a dietician.” Spiritual regrets were six.

• A Consultant Government Liaison officer said, “I wish I could have made my family members happy.”

• A businessman said, “I wish I could have meditated more.”

• A Homeopathic doctor said, “I wish I could have spent more time with my family.”

• A reception executive said, “I wish I could have spent more time with my parents.”

• An entertainment CEO said, “I wish I could have taken my parents for a pilgrimage.”

• A fashion designer said, “I wish I could have worked more for the animals.”

Non obstructive heart blockages not benign

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a retrospective study of patients undergoing elective coronary angiography, non-obstructive coronary artery disease (heart blockages), compared with no apparent coronary artery disease (no blockages), was associated with a significantly greater 1-year risk of heart attack and all-cause mortality.

After risk adjustment, there was no significant association between 1- or 2-vessel non-obstructive coronary artery disease (blockages in one or two arteries) and mortality, but there were significant associations with mortality for 3-vessel non-obstructive coronary artery disease (blockages in all three arteries).

Veterans with evidence of non-obstructive CAD on elective coronary angiography had a 2- to 4.5-fold greater risk for heart attack compared with those with no evidence of blockages and 1-year heart attack risk was found to increase progressively by the extent of blockages, rather than increasing abruptly when blockages became obstructive. The results of this study are published in Nov. 5 issue of JAMA.

Never tell your patients “that your coronaries are fine and they have nothing to worry about.” Instead, one should say “There is evidence of atherosclerosis and while there is no need to panic, we need to address it.”

Remember there is nothing like “mild coronary artery disease.” Up to 1 in 4 angiograms show minimal plaque or blockages.

Non-obstructive blockages mean presence of atherosclerotic plaque revealed during coronary angioplasty or angiography that does not appear to obstruct blood flow or result in angina symptoms.

These non-obstructive lesions occur in about 10-25% of patients undergoing elective angiography, and their presence has historically been characterized as “insignificant” or “no significant blockages in the medical literature even though multiple studies have shown plaque ruptures leading to heart attack commonly come from non-obstructive plaques.

Mindfulness meditation – Sit on a straight–backed chair or cross–legged on the floor.

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.

Once you have narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations and ideas.

Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

Children and adolescents with congenital heart disease should avoid body piercing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Body art in the form of tattoos and piercing has become increasingly popular among children and teenagers.

Children and teenagers with congenital heart disease should be strongly discouraged from getting a tattoo or piercing their ears or other body parts, because it could lead to a potentially deadly infection of the heart called endocarditis. Infective endocarditis occurs when bacteria or fungi attach to and begin to grow on the valves of the heart. If left untreated, it can lead to a fatal destruction of heart muscle.

Most people are not aware that they should talk to their doctor before tattooing or piercing their body.

Most experts today strongly discourage all forms of body art. For those who cannot be dissuaded, the recommendation is to give antibiotics prior to tattooing or piercing, “with strong advice for prompt treatment of any signs of subsequent infection”.

Why Spirituality is Happiness Friendly

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• What you believe in can have a big impact on health and longevity. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress.

• Positive thinking produces nearly a 30 percent drop in perception of pain.

• Spirituality and the practice of religion is associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

• Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who don’t. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12 percent a year.

• People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.

• Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.

• Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.

• Spirituality can affect immune-system function. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.

• Prayer heals the heart. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

• Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral illness most commonly caused by the Coxsackie virus A6.

• Enteroviruses 71 (EV71) can also cause hand, foot and mouth disease.

• Both adults and children can develop this infection. But young children below 5 years old are more susceptible.

• It is a moderately contagious illness.

• The incubation period is 5 days.

• The illness begins with fever, which lasts for 24–48 hours.

• Fever is followed by appearance of painful sores in mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. Tongue is involved.

• There are peripherally distributed small tender non itchy rash with blisters on the palms of hands, and soles of feet and buttocks.

• The sores hurt on touch and swallowing is difficult.

• There is proximal separation of nail from the nail bed.

• The virus is present in mucus from nose, saliva, fluid from sores and traces of bowel movements.

• The virus spreads in the first week of infection.

• The infection spreads from person to person by direct contact with nasal discharge, saliva or blister fluid or from stool of infected persons.

• The virus can persist in the stool for weeks.


• The illness is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals

• The illness stays for 2–3 days. It is usually mild and self-limited.

• Entero 71 virus is associated with brain involvement (meningitis and encephalitis), lungs and the heart.

• The patient remains infectious after the symptoms have gone.

• Test is not necessary.

• There is no specific treatment.

• Paracetamol tablet can be taken to relieve pain and fever.

• Aspirin is to be avoided in children.

• Dehydration should be avoided.

• Eat ice cream to numb the pain.

• Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth

• Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.

• Avoid exposure to infected person.

• Maintain touch hygiene to reduce your risk of acquiring the infection.

• During first week of illness, the child should be kept in isolation.

• Schools should be closed.

• There is no vaccine currently available.

Understanding Gossip

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Gossip is a way of non-violent communication and is common cause of creating misunderstanding between people and relational harmony. The gossip is a stress-related risk factor for developing of heart diseases. Gossip has the following three major characteristics:

• In gossip one talks about others.

• The talk is in their absence.

• It is invariably without source.

One should learn to avoid gossip as it invariably reaches he person whom you are criticizing, condemning or complaining about.

The message often gets distorted. Chinese Whisper is a classical communication exercise where a message is passed to different people and when the message comes back, it is totally distorted.

Never be judgmental and always quote the source when you are talking. Instead of criticizing a person in his absence, you should have guts to speak in his presence.

Dark Chocolate good for the heart

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Dark chocolate is thought to promote relaxed arteries, also have biochemical effects that may discourage atherosclerosis suggests a report published in the March 2014 issue of the FASEB Journal.

In a randomized, double–blind study, eating dark chocolate—acutely and over weeks—not only improved objective measures of endovascular function, it also improved biochemical markers that reflect leukocyte activation, inflammation, and other signs of atherogenesis.

Changes in endothelial function were reflected in improved flow–mediated dilation (FMD), blood pressure, and augmentation index, while “changes in leukocyte–cell counts, plasma cytokines, and leukocyte adherence markers after chocolate consumption point toward a less–activated state of cellular adherence and, hence, a less atherogenic milieu, according to the authors, led by Dr Diederik Esser (Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, The Netherlands).

Why is there a ritual or tradition of offering food to God before eating?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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This is a Vedic reminder to oneself that one should eat only those foods that are offered to God. Each time you offer food to God, it is a reminder to you to change your decision and choices. For example, alcohol, tobacco, onion, garlic, radish, etc. are not offered to God. If they are part of your food, there are chances that you will not consume these food items, if you observe this ritual.

Over a period of time people have stopped following this ritual and now eat some foods, which cannot be offered to God in all their 21 meals during a week. This is the reason why the incidence of lifestyle diseases is increasing in the community.

Top 10 Ways to Keep the Kidneys Healthy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We all want our kidneys to last for a lifetime. We should all show our love for kidneys by adopting 10-step program for protecting kidney health. Start with monitoring blood pressure and controlling weight and then move on to the rest of the kidney-healthy tips.

• Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol.

• Control weight.

• Don’t overuse over-the-counter painkillers.

• Monitor blood glucose.

• Get an annual physical exam.

• Know if chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes or heart disease runs in your family. If so, you may be at risk.

• Don’t smoke.

• Exercise regularly.

• Follow a healthy diet.

• Get tested for chronic kidney disease if you’re at risk.

The Science Behind Addiction

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The three main reasons for any addiction are ignorance, ego and dependence. If you ask people why they smoke, some would say that they were ignorant about its side effects (ignorance), while others would say that it gave them a status in the society (ego). And the rest would say that once they started, they could not quit and are now dependent on it (dependence).

The treatment of ignorance is based on education – the principle of hearing (suno), listening (samjho), understanding (jaano) and action full of wisdom (karo).

Ego can only be treated by proper counseling. The principles of counseling are well described in Bhagavad Gita and involve 18 sessions over a period of time.

Dependence treatment involves early detoxification followed by counseling and education.

Is caffeine good for the health?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant in the world,

2. It is consumed in the form of coffee and tea.

3. At present there is no scientific data to promote or discourage coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.

4. Short term benefits include mental alertness and improved athletic performance.

5. Short term adverse effects including headache, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia.

6. Long term adverse effects include generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders.

7. Long-term benefits are dose-dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

8. Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long-term risk factor for myocardial disease.

9. Most studies show a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality.

10. Caffeine withdrawal is a well-documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom. (Source: UptoDate)

Can death be postponed?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yes. If you read Vedic science, it is possible to postpone death. As per Chandoghya Upanishad, death is a process in which first Karma Indriyas die, then Gyan Indriyas die followed by mind, intellect, memory, ego, and then Prana vayu merges with Udana vayu, which then merges with Tejas and finally Tejas leaves to merge with the Sat. That means at every step it is possible to help the body.

1. At the level of Karma Indriyas, the immunity can be strengthened by providing adequate fat and oil based nutrition to the dying person.

2. Karma Indriyas, mind, intellect, memory and ego can be strengthened by giving non-fat based earthy food to the dying person that means maintaining full calories.

3. Prana Vayu can be strengthened by providing liquid hydration and with the assistance of ventilator as and when required.

4. At the level of Tejas, it is possible to postpone death by creating artificial therapeutic hypothermia in which the body temperature is brought down to less than 95, preferably to 89.

5. If the heart has stopped, it is possible to revive it by the CPR 10 technique which is based on the formula – within 10 minutes of death (earlier the better), for the next 10 minutes (longer the better), compress the center of the chest of the victim with a speed of 10×10=100 per minute.