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Dr K K Aggarwal

Harvard 7 tips for smarter snacking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Go for the grain. Whole–grain snacks — such as whole–grain low–salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high–fiber, whole–grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power. 2. Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole–grain toast topped with low–sugar jam? Low–sugar granola also makes a quick snack. 3. Try a “hi–low– combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks. 4. Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small. 5. The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole–grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low–fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied. 6. Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal. 7. You can take it with you. Carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

Did all Gods suffer before death?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most Gods and spiritual gurus had suffered in their last days. Lord Krishna had a nonhealing wound, Jesus Christ was crucified, Bhagwan Rajneesh had an infectious disease, Swami Chinmayanand had low functioning heart, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi had heart and pancreatic disease, Satya Sai Baba was put on a ventilator etc. When they were God–like personalities, why did they suffer in their last days? The answer to this comes from Vedic knowledge within the concept of rebirth. Vedanta says that the very fact that we are born means that in the last birth we did not attain moksha or liberation. In other words, this means that there were some sufferings yet to be faced. You are born to face those sufferings. When you face the last suffering, there are high chances that that suffering may be your last suffering before liberation. Most Gods or saints who died in a phase of suffering may mean that they did not attain liberation. A person who dies suddenly or unnaturally would mean that he would have to take rebirth to face more sufferings. According to me, terminal sufferings are good from spiritual point of view.

Vitamin D Facts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Calcium has an indispensable assistant in building bones: vitamin D. • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. • Increasing vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis. • A small amount of sun exposure can help the body manufacture its own vitamin D. • Five to 30 minutes of sunlight between 10 am and 3 pm twice a week to your face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen will enable you to make enough of the vitamin • People with fair skin that burns easily should protect themselves from skin cancer by limiting sun exposure to 10 minutes or less. • Food and sun exposure should suffice, but if not, get 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily from a supplement.

Prayer for Inner Happiness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress is defined as the physical and mental reaction to the interpretation of a known situation. In absence of a known situation there cannot be a stress. One cannot be stressful for a person who has just died in New York in an accident unless he or she is a known person.

There has to be a right, conscious based interpretation of the situation as the same situation can bring happiness to one and stress to the other.

The most important consequence physical or mental of stress, therefore, depends on the right interpretation of the situation.

The interpretation or judgment in the body is governed by chemical reactions and is controlled by the balance of autonomic balance system, which in turn is governed by the interaction of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.

During the phase of acute stress when the sympathetic system is predominant, heart rate and blood pressure rises and a person cannot take correct and decisive decision. He or she is likely to make mistakes, which can often be detrimental to living. Sympathetic mode is basically the mode of flight or fight reactions of the body.

Right conscious–based decisions can only be taken in a state of relaxed mind when the intention is inserted in the field of consciousness. The relaxed mind state of the body is the parasympathetic mode which is healing and is evident by reduction in heart rate, blood pressure and increase in the skin resistance. Most conscious based decisions will be based on truthfulness, will be necessary and will bring happiness to both the persons and the surroundings.

The yogic lifestyle by which a person learns the dos and don’ts of living, does regular practice of correct postures, daily pranayama and practices regular withdrawal from the outer atmosphere, helps in preparing a state of physical and mental body state, which is more receptive for conscious-based decisions. Yoga Sutras of Patanajali included them in his ashtanga yoga as the processes of Yama, Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama and Pratihyar.

Prayers have no value when the mind is not at rest. All of us have participated in hundreds of mourning prayers with two minutes of silence. This prayer has no value if the two minutes of silence is not observed. If prayer is done without it the mind will remain restless and we will keep on thinking these two minutes are not over yet. The process of silence does shift our awareness towards test and parasympathetic state and temporarily we get to be in contact with the memories of the departed soul and we pay homage to him or her.

Today a large number of organizations are teaching the process of meditation but the same cannot be taught unless a person practices procedures by which the mind gets relaxed.

The eight limbs of Patanjali focus in detail about premeditation preparations and once that is learned one can go to the other three limbs which are Dharna, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Yoga asanas are different from exercises. They stimulate and stretch all or one of the seven charkas, autonomic plexuses, and ganglion and there located ductless endocrine glands. Also during a yogasana the mind is in the exercise and not wondering here and there.

While yogic exercises at rest are termed yoga asanas and the same yogic meditative exercises with activity are called traditional Indian dances. Western exercises and dances do not follow the principles of yoga. Many international studies have shown that over one–third of the people during their lifetime pray either for their own illness or for somebody else.

All hospitals should have spirituals areas. The prayer and meditation rooms in a hospital setting invariably will provide an arena which will improve patient–doctor relationship and will reduce the rising disputes amongst them in the country.

Patients with acidity should avoid chocolates and peppermint

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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 along 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 foods.

Can I postpone death?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yes. If I read Vedic science, it is possible to postpone death. As per Chandogya Upanishad, death is a process in which first Karma Indriyas die, then Gnan Indriyas die followed by mind, intellect, memory, ego, and then Prana vayu merges with Udana vayu and that merges with Tejas and finally Tejas leave 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 is based on the formula – within 10 minutes of death (earlier the better), for the next 10 minutes (longer the better), compress the centre of the chest of the victim with a speed of 10×10=100 per minute. ….

Snoring how boring

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When this irritating sound blasts through the quietness of the night it can drive the sanest of people insane – well almost! There are many couples who have divorced on this ground. It’s no joke to be accused of snoring – neither for the snorers nor for the sufferers who have to endure sleepless nights! Even the fair sex is not immune to this malady howsoever they might deny it. The cause of snoring is air flowing through the open mouth and causing the soft palate (side area around the back of the tongue and the tonsils) to vibrate. This results in the production of sound – the snore! Medically, snorers are found to be more prone to heart attacks and sudden death. Certain conditions can predispose to snoring. These are: • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids • Congestion in the nasal sinuses • Deviated nasal septum • Loose dentures • Nasal polyps • Sleeping on your back (causes the tongue to fall back and block the windpipe partially) • Aging causes the throat muscles to become flabby. This is also caused by alcohol, and certain drugs – tranquilizers, pain killers, or sedatives, all of which depress the brain and cause the muscles to be loose. Practical remedies for this malady • Find the cause and treat it if snoring is due to any of the above conditions. Corrective measures should be undertaken ant it may stop snoring. • Sleeping on the side: The tongue does not block the airway and hence helps to prevent snoring. For this purpose a ball is stitched on the back of the night suit shirt to remind the person to sleep on the side. • A special anti-snoring pillow can be made in which the portion under the neck is higher than the one under the head, hence extending the neck this prevents snoring. • Lose weight if you are overweight, especially around the belly. • Stop smoking as smoke irritates the nasal mucosa and the throat. • Sleep without dentures if you use them. • For the sufferers, one last line: Stuffing your ears with cotton wool (or your partner’s mouth) or sleeping in another room may be the best answer to the solution. If nothing helps – just pray to God for endurance.

What do you mean by ‘food is Brahman’?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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‘Food is Brahman’ is a saying from the Vedic Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita. Brahma is consciousness, therefore, food is consciousness. Though the traditional Vedic teaching has been that consciousness is present in everything and yet only food is considered Brahman. We never say that stone is Brahman nor dog is Brahman. As per Chandogya Upanishad (6.15.1) at the time of death, our Vak Vritti (motor senses) merges into Karm Indriyas or manovritti (sensory senses, mind, intellect, ego and memory) and that now merges with Prana (Udana Vayu) and finally this merges into Tejas which leaves the body to merge into the Sat. Vak Vritti, Manovritti and Prana Vritti, in the form of vibrations in the atmosphere, come back through rain and are taken by the plants to become plant consciousness. Therefore, as per Chandogya Upanishad, the consciousness of the Brahman moves from human to plants and plants to human. The plant food once eaten and absorbed enters into the human body and ultimately makes Prana, Tejas, Ojas, Sperms and Ova. Through Sperm and Ova, it enters into the next life. If this theory is correct, then food makes the consciousness and consciousness makes food. This also further proves that vegetarian food, as it is full of Brahman creating a satvik mind and takes one towards spirituality. The Tamsik food which is dead and devoid of consciousness does not lead to a healthy mind as it may produce Mal (waste) or make flesh but will not make essence. As per Chandogya Upanishad, fiery food makes Karma Indriyas, earthy food makes Gnan Indriyas and Water in food makes Prana. It further emphasizes on the fact that one should eat freshly cut fruits and vegetables as far as possible as life or consciousness in them can only stay for some time (as per Jainism up to 48 minutes).

Vaccination for elderly

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The best gift to your grandparents is to get them vaccinated if they have not been vaccinated earlier. • Annual influenza or flu vaccine is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older. • Pneumonia vaccine should be given to all adults aged 65 years and older. • Tetanus Toxoid should be given to all irrespective of age after every 10 years. • A single dose of herpes zoster vaccine is recommended for adults aged 60 years and older regardless whether they have had a previous episode of herpes zoster. The vaccination begins at 60 years of age. • Hepatitis B vaccine should be given to all if they have not been vaccinated earlier. • All diabetics aged 60 years or older should be vaccinated for hepatitis B. This recommendation is based on increased need for associated blood glucose monitoring in long term care facilities. • All patients with chronic liver diseases should also be given the Hepatitis B vaccine.

All about Diabetes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications

• India may soon be the diabetic capital of the world.

• People with diabetes are nearly two times more likely than people without diabetes to die from heart disease, and are also at greater risk for kidney, eye and nerve diseases, among other painful and costly complications. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications.

• In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. In type 2 diabetes the body makes insufficient insulin or does not use insulin well.

• Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. Though it usually goes away after the birth, these women and their children have a greater chances of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.

• Type 2 diabetes has begun to affect young people.

• Losing a modest amount of weight — about 15 pounds — through diet and exercise can actually reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent in people at high risk.

• In type 1 diabetes, tight control of blood sugar can prevent diabetes complications.

• Choose healthy foods to share. • Take a brisk walk every day.

• Talk with your family about your health and your family’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.

• If you smoke, seek help to quit.

• Make changes to reduce your risk for diabetes and its complications — for yourself, your families and for future generations.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell also produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Aagamaarthamtu devaanaam

gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam

Kurve ghantaaravam tatra

devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”

What are the two basic truths of Vedanta?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Two Hindu principles that symbolize the outcome of freedom of thought were conceptualized four thousand years back by unnamed rishis in Rig–Veda which says, “This world is one family” (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) and that “The Universal Reality is the same, but different people can call it by different names” (Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti). In these two statements made in ancient Hindu India, we see the seeds of globalization and freedom of thought. Most religions teach belief in One God. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are, in fact, Semitic religions essentially speaking of One God. Even Hinduism that talks of many gods, in its highest form speaks only of One God. This was defined in the Sanskrit verse in the Rig Veda: “Ekam Sat vipra bahuda vadanti” (The Truth is One, but scholars call it by many names.) “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” defines that you and me are not different from each other and we are the part of the same web of life. The same spirit is shared by you and me and we are just the two sides of the same coin. And hence, it adds on to say, how can there be any conflict between us? The truth is one, but is perceived differently because different people are at different levels of evolution in spiritual terms. Everybody perceives it with their level of understanding and perception. For an uneducated village society even an entry of intelligent person in the village will be perceived as of GOD. Vedanta upholds the reality of this indivisible, immanent and transcendent truth called Spirit. Vedanta denotes one’s identity with the rest of humanity. According to it, there is no stranger in this world. Everyone is related to one another in the kinship of the Spirit. In Vedanta, there is no ‘I’ and “for me”; but is ‘ours’ and ‘for us’; and ultimately ‘His’ and “Him”. If the Vedanta philosophy is rightly followed upon, it will obliterate all evils. It is the science of right living and it is not the sole monopoly of the Hindus. It is for all and it has no quarrel with any religion. It preaches universal principles and Vedanta is the only universal, and eternal religion. It is a great leveller and it unites all, giving room to all.

Judicious use of cardiac screening

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Unnecessary screening can have a considerable cost beyond that of the test itself, warn members of an ad hoc committee convened by the American College of Physicians. Screening tests should be performed judiciously, and the committee has assembled a list of common clinical situations in which more testing is unlikely to be helpful and may be harmful, writes Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, from the ACP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and colleagues in the January 17, 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. ACP committee has identified 37 clinical scenarios in which screening does not promote patient health, and might even have adverse consequences. Those related to cardiac scenarios: • Performing coronary angiography in patients with chronic stable angina who have well–controlled symptoms on medical therapy, or who lack specific high–risk criteria on exercise testing • Routinely repeating echocardiography in asymptomatic patients with mild mitral regurgitation and normal left ventricular size and function • Obtaining ECG to screen for cardiac disease in patients at low to average risk for coronary artery disease. • Obtaining exercise electrocardiogram (ECG) for screening low–risk, asymptomatic adults

Leverage your strengths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Know your strengths • According to a British study, only about one–third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths. • If something comes easily, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength. • If you are not sure, ask someone you respect and who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you. • Strengths which are most closely linked to happiness are gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love. • Strengths are so important that they’re worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

Seven Behaviors Cut Heart Deaths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Seven heart–healthy behaviors can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In a prospective study, by Enrique Artero, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, and colleagues and published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those who met 3–4 of the American Heart Association’s ‘Simple Seven’ heart–health criteria had a 55% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality than those who met no more than two of those practices over 11 years. Four core behaviors 1. No smoking 2. Normal body mass index 3. Engaging in physical activity 4. Eating healthfully Three parameters 1. Cholesterol lower than 200 mg/dL 2. Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg 3. Not having diabetes