All You Need To Know About Green Tea – Benefits, Side Effects And Recipes

Green tea is probably the most discussed about superfood (or should I say super beverage) when it comes to improving health and battle/prevent several chronic and topical health problems. Almost every internet article about healthy diet is sure to have green tea in the list. When I was trying to find out about green tea myself,, the problem I faced was that the information were all too scattered and/or compartmentalized. I had to visit several pages to get a clear picture about the benefits I could expect, side effects I had to be aware of and recipes I could try (due to the yucky taste of green tea). So I decided to compile as much information about green tea as possible in a single blog post.

green tea

Green Tea

Green Tea Benefits

When it comes to human health, green tea positively affects almost all parts of our bodies. From the brain to the heart, from the kidneys to the prostate, a cup of green tea is like a fountain of magic serum that when taken regularly, might grant you a few extra years and that too disease and complication free. If you would also like to share in the wealth that drinking tea can bring, keep reading.

1. Green Tea Can Lower Cholesterol And Reduce Chances Of Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases are ravaging mankind today like no other health complications. Heart attack is the biggest cause of death among males throughout the world irrespective of their ethnicity, race or geographical location. Thankfully, green tea is here to help. Studies show that regular consumption of green tea can effectively reduce LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and Triglycerides while increasing the good cholesterol or HDL level. This does not allow the arteries to be clogged and reduces the chance of cardiovascular complication by up to 31%. That is a big number if you consider the amount of stress, pollution and junk food our bodies have to endue on a daily basis allowing heart problems to creep in. As green tea is considered to be a very powerful antioxidant, it does not allow oxidation of the LDL present in the body.

2. Green Tea Can Prevent Diabetes

If there is one disease that can do more damage than heart problems it is diabetes. Diabetes is now considered an epidemic affecting the lives of millions of people for the worse. Unlike heart diseases, diabetes affects almost every single part of your body in the long term. It affects the eyes, kidneys, liver, the legs, the heart, the digestive system, the urinary tract and slowly renders the victim begging for a quick death. Type II diabetes, which is the evil win of regular diabetes, causes more damage and is already affecting about 300 million people in the world. The good news is that green tea can actually prevent the risk of developing diabetes altogether. According to a study conducted on people of Japanese ethnicity, those who consumed green tea regularly had 42% less chance of contracting diabetes, a huge number in terms of diabetes prevention. Apart from reducing the blood sugar levels, it increases the insulin sensitivity of the body thus allowing it to process the sugar more efficiently. So if you do not want your lifestyle to be impeded by the black claws of diabetes, bottoms up!

3. Green Tea Might Prevent Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Diseases:

When it comes to neurodegenerative diseases (diseases caused by decay of the brain cells), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the undisputed champions. These diseases are brought about by decaying neurons and cells in the brain. As you grow older, your brain functions degenerate along with everything else in your body thus giving way to such diseases that can plague you in your twilight years. Thankfully, green tea can actually save the day if you drink it up regularly. The antioxidant in green tea called “Catechin” has been found to protect neurons from aging and also restore damaged brain cells. Drinking just 2-3 cups of green tea each day can significantly lower the risk of Parkinson’s among males. For women the best dosage is 1 – 2 cups. Further studies are being conducted to find out exactly how green tea manages to protect the brain from aging.

4. It Can Give You Healthier Teeth

This might not seem to be a very compelling benefit unless you have had to deal with cavities or root canals. There is a reason behind dentists being among the most active groups of medical practitioners. Bacteria formation in the mouth causes plaque to form which in turn leads to tooth decay in the longer run. Catechin can effectively prevent the growth of Streptococcus Mutans, one of the major plaque forming bacteria in the mouth. It can lower bad breath and the chances of infection of the mouth. Chewing a green tea candy can lower the chances of gum diseases caused by bacteria.

5. Green Tea Can Prevent Cancer

If the title caught your attention then there is even better news, green tea can not only prevent cancers but has the ability to fight existing cancer as well. According to scientific studies done on various control groups of people, green tea can remarkably reduce the chances of prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer. One study showed that drinking green tea can reduce chances of prostate cancer by almost 48% among males of different ethnicity. Green tea also has the ability to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Next time the fear of cancer crosses your mind, you know the way to combat it.

6. Green Tea Reduces Blood Pressure

Blood pressure levels can increase due to a variety of reasons. Blood pressure constantly above the levels of 120/90 is considered risky. Elevated levels of blood pressure has been linked to heart diseas and high cholesterol. Regular consumption of green has shown to moderate the levels of blood pressure among adult males.

depression

Green Tea Can Help Overcome Depression

7. Green Tea Helps Fight Depression

Let’s move from the body to the mind. While all of the health challenges that the world throws at us can cause great debilitation, depression and anxiety can be just as harmful. Chronic depression ruins a person’s life rendering him incapable of performing the basic functions of livelihood properly and in extreme cases might lead the person to insanity or suicide. Green tea has an amino acid called “L-Theanine” that can soothe the brain and provide a sense of calm to the drinker. Regular intake of at least one cup of green tea showed significant improvement in the moods and outlook of the people suffering from severe depression. Next time you are feeling down, put down the bottle of anti-depressants and pick up a cup of green tea to improve your mood in a natural way.

8. Green Tea Prevents Bacterial Infection And Improves Immunity

As discussed earlier, green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants which can prevent the growth and infestation of bacteria and viruses in our bodies. By combating some of the common viruses effectively, green tea can prevent flu, cough and cold and improve the immune system for even greater threats.

green tea weight loss

Green Tea Can Help Lose Weight

9. Green Tea Can Help Reduce Fat And Fight Obesity

Although many people do not consider obesity a disease, it has sure reached epidemic proportions in the US alone. And like every other health challenge mentioned above, green tea is here to save the day. This awesome beverage manages to increase the rate of burning of fat cells and improve the metabolism thus allowing more calories to be burnt. Some studies showed intake of green tea over a period of 3 months caused reduction in abdominal fat and body circumference when all other factors of the daily life stayed unchanged. Thus following a healthy lifestyle and consuming green tea can help you get rid of those love handles you are ashamed of.  

10. Green Tea Can Give You Healthier Skin

The antioxidant rich green tea has tremendous benefits for the skin as well. It slows the down the formation free radicals in the body which in turn reduces signs of skin aging such as wrinkles. Application of green tea on the skin can reduce tanning effects and soothe sunburn. Just what you needed to go with healthy internal organs.

Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function

Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function

11. Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function

Green tea has Caffeine, a stimulant coffee is known for, but not as much as you find in coffee. In fact just enough to improve the mood, memory and reaction time while avoiding the bad side effects of caffeine. Another amino acid called “L-Theanine” in green tea has been shown to improve the functions of neurotransmitters “Norepinephine” and “Dopamine”. These two elements also contains the functioning of inhibitory neurotransmitters such as Adenosine. A drink of green tea can give you long lasting good mood and improve your ability get work done more effectively. Some researchers believe long term consumption of green tea can make you smarter but there is no conclusive study about that yet.

12. Green tea Can Help Cure HPV Virus Infection And Genital Warts

Application of green tea ointments have been shown to reduce and cure Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and genital warts. There are specially made green tea ointments available in drug stores that can be used for such applications.

healthy old age

Green Tea Can Give You A Healthy Old Age

13. Green Tea Can Give You A Longer Healthy Life

This is of course not a singular benefit, rather a combination of all of them above mentioned benefits. Notice that stress is not on a just a longer life but a longer healthy life. After all, who would want to spend the last two decades of their lives bedridden or wheelchair bound and live to be 100. Just think of the benefits green tea can bring you, a smarter brain, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, a healthy heart, protection from several types of cancer, healthy radiant skin, lowered signs of aging, less chances of contracting diabetes, a healthy immune system, strong teeth to enjoy your favourite foods and a fit body, wouldn’t you live longer with all of those benefits? Oh and no Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia, talk about a fulfilling old age.

Green Tea Side Effects

Alas for every yin in nature, there is a yang, for every Luke Skywalker there is a Darth Vader. Similarly, green tea also has its share of side effects that might make it hard to consume it regularly for some people. But do note that some of these side effects are extremely specific and affect only a handful of people.  

1. Green Tea Can Cause Stomach Problems And Acidity Issues

For people suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or IBS, green tea can pose a problem as the tannins in green tea might instigate acidity. Hence green tea is best consumed when the stomach is full and you should limit the consumption to tolerable levels.

2. Green Tea Can Reduce Iron Absorption

Studies show that green tea can reduce the body’s capability of absorbing iron from food, especially iron found in beans, eggs and dairy products. To alleviate the problem, including lemon or other citrus foods in the diet is suggested as they increase iron absorption in turn. The best solution is not consuming green tea alongside the food as consumption of green tea between meals do not show any effect on iron absorption. Women suffering from Anaemia should exercise extra care while consuming green tea.

3. Excessive Green Tea Can Reduce Calcium Absorption

The caffeine present in green tea can reduce calcium absorption in the body which might lead to Osteoporosis. Limiting the dosage is the key.

4. Green Tea Can Cause Caffeine Intolerance

For people who cannot tolerate caffeine even in small amounts should stay clear of green tea. These people might experience headache, nausea, anxiety and irregular heartbeat after drinking green tea.

high blood pressure

Green tea Might Increase Blood Pressure

5. Green Tea May Aggravate Blood Pressure

Blood pressure levels slightly elevate after drinking green tea. People suffering from HBP should monitor their blood pressure closely if they are in the habit of drinking green tea. For some of them green tea consumption might aggravate the situation.

6. Green Tea Can Cause Pregnancy Risks

Catechin, Caffeine and Tannins present in green tea have been linked to pregnancy risks. About two cups of green tea during pregnancy is considered safe while any more can result in birth defects or miscarriage.

7. Green Tea Can Aggravate Diabetes

While green tea is very useful for preventing diabetes, for people already suffering from diabetes green tea might elevate the blood sugar level. Once again close monitoring and moderation in consumption is the key.

8. Green Tea Is Not For People Suffering From Liver Disease

Excessive green tea increases the presence of caffeine in the body, which has been linked to liver damage. People suffering from liver disease should consult a doctor if they want to consume green tea. About two cups of green tea a day is usually considered harmless. Apart from these side effects, green tea has been known to interact with several prescription and non-prescription drugs due to its highly active nature. In most of the cases, the caffeine is the culprit. If you are on any drug, it is better to consult a physician first before picking up the cup of green tea.

Green Tea Dosage

There is consensus among medical scientists that about 1 to 5 cups of green tea every day is safe and sufficient. For pregnant and lactating women the limit is 2 cups. Green tea should always be consumed fresh, although not scalding hot. It is ill-advised to reuse green tea leaves as carcinogenic materials (stuff that can cause cancer) and pesticides tend to manifest if leaves are used multiple times. As mentioned above, green tea should be consumed after meals and without milk. In the case of any physical discomfort, consumption should be cut down or stopped.

Green Tea Recipes

Admittedly, of all the beverages I have ever tried, a cup of green tea probably tastes the worst. I have asked around a bit to find out if it is just me or green tea and it turns out that it is green tea itself. So here to help you gulp down a few cups of green tea everyday, I present some recipes that might nullify the awful taste to some extent. I have intentionally left out some recipes that need the tea to be cooled or refrigerated for a too long because as mentioned earlier, green tea loses its nutritional values the longer you wait after it is ready.

iced green tea

Iced Green Tea

Iced Green Tea With Lavender

Very easy to prepare, I have tried it once, tastes a bit better. Much like iced tea, you do not heat the water too much. Simmer it for a few minutes, add green tea leaves, strain it after a minute or so and put in a glass filled with ice. Top it off with some lavender spring and drink while cold. You can try the regular iced green tea too if that is your cup of tea ;)

Green Tea Strawberry Smoothie

I quite liked this recipe which was shared by a friend. The strong taste and smell of strawberry mask the taste of green tea well. Preparing it is easy, just make the iced green tea without the Lavender spring. Take some almonds, about 5 or 6 whole strawberries, some curd or yoghurt and blend them together until smooth. Then add this smoothie in the green tea glass. Very tasty and healthy as well.

Green Tea With Honey And Lemon Juice

A glass of warm water with honey and lemon juice in the morning is said to help you lose fat pretty fast. Only in this case, we are introducing some green tea into the mix. The idea is simple, prepare a glass of green tea, let it cool a bit and then squeeze half a lemon into the tea (minus the seeds of course) and a tea spoon of honey.

Green Tea With A Dash Of Salt

Yep this is my own recipe. For times when I could not be bothered with the recipes listed above, I just add a dash of salt to the tea so that the salty taste overpowers the taste of green tea. In fact I think salt goes quite well with green tea as compared to sugar.

So there you have it, a blog post chalk full of green tea benefits, the troubles it might give and also a few mouth watering recipes to make it drinkable on a daily basis. There is of course more information on the interweb that you can explore if you want to dig deeper. But if you are looking for a one stop shop for green tea info, I would assume this is it. Enjoy your cup and stay healthy.

Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid To Keep Your Prostate Healthy

For those of you who do not actually know what Prostate is and what it does, it is a small gland resting at the base of the male genitals wrapped around the urethra (the urinary tract). It is one of the major organs involved in the male reproductive system as in it creates the semen fluid and is also connected to sexual urge among males. Prostate diseases often lead to the patient turning sterile or other urinary problems. Nowadays, prostate cancer and other prostate related problems are among the major diseases plaguing men around the world. The most common prostate problems include BPH or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, Prostate Cancer and Prostaitis or Inflammation of the Prostate. The risk for BPH and Prostate Cancer increases with age while Prostaitis is more common among young and middle aged males. BPH is basically enlarged prostate which starts to apply pressure on the urethra. Symptoms vary from low amount of urine, frequent urination, weak urination control to a noticeably weaker urine stream. Only 50% cases of BPH requires medical attention and only the most severe cases require surgery. The main culprit, however, is Prostate Cancer and the cases of men suffering from prostate cancer is increasing rapidly every year. After skin cancer, it is the most commonly occurring malignant disease in the world today and the numbers are pretty scary if you are a man. About 1 in 6 men is susceptible to prostate cancer and the numbers increase to 2 in 3 for men over the age of 65. Race and family-history (much like breast and ovarian cancer) often play a major role in deciding whether a person will develop prostate cancer or not. It has been observed that African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than their Caucasian counterparts. According to this report, 15% of all new recorded cancer cases in 2012 were prostate cancers while it made up 8% of all the cancer cases. That is a significant number if you consider that the total number of prostate cancer cases that year was over 1 million. Now, the objective of this article is not to scare you, rather to help you understand the risks and how to combat them in an easy and efficient way. It has been proven that lifestyle changes have a major impact on prostate health and a major part of your lifestyle is the food you eat on a regular basis. So following are some of the foods you should include in your diet and some to avoid in order to have a healthy prostate in a natural way. Foods To Take: Watermelon:

watermelon

Watermelon

You might be shocked to find this extremely popular summertime fruit on this list but it is here for a solid reason. Watermelons contain a healthy amount of Lycopene, an antioxidant behind the red colour of watermelons which also might lower prostate cancer risks according to some studies. Papaya, Guava and Tomatoes contain Lycopene as well. So if these fruits are in your regular diet, you are well on track for a healthy prostate. Beans:

beans

Beans

Fill up your diet with as many types of beans as possible. Beans have a lot of nutritional value, contain all the essential amino acids a human body needs and are also chalk full of fibre. Soy Bean is especially recommended to improve prostate health. It is believed that Asian men are less susceptible to prostate diseases due to their high consumption of Soy Beans. If you cannot get your hands on Soy Beans for a regular diet, Soy milk and Tofu might do just as well. Chia and Hemp seeds are also good options as they provide the same health benefits as beans. Green Tea:

green tea

Green Tea

Considering all the health benefits green tea provides, it would have been surprising to not see it on this list. According to research, green tea is among the few superfoods that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Thanks to modern culinary advancements, there are many green tea recipes available today apart from the standard beverage form. Omega3 Fatty Acids:

omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 Fatty Acid      Foods

Eat foods that are high in Omega3 content. Salmons, Trouts, Sardines and Cods are excellent sources of Omega3 fatty acids. These acids improve good cholesterol while cutting down bad cholesterol, improve heart health and lower blood pressure. They are also linked to improving prostate health over the long run. If you would prefer a more vegetarian diet, nuts, especially, Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil nuts and Pecans are also enriched with Omega3 fatty acids. Broccoli:

broccoli

Broccoli

Yes, all that time when your mom was persuading you to eat your Broccoli, she might have been onto something. Research shows that Cauliflower and Broccoli can reduce the risk of and even contain prostate cancer effectively. While the jury is still out on how these vegetables accomplish this, many believe that the phytochemical called Sulforaphane which is present in these vegetables might be the knight in shining armour. Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Antioxidants:

vitamin c

Vitamin C and Antioxidant Foods

Antioxidant laden fruits and vegetables can work wonders not only for your prostate but also your overall health. According to a study, regular consumption of Orange, lemons, Pomegranate, Avocado, Pineapple, Bell Peppers, different types of berries and tomato showed noticeable improvement among patients suffering from prostate cancer. Vitamins A and C are believed to be the major contributors towards prostate health. Sesame Seeds:

sesame seeds

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds provide us with Zinc, a mineral not commonly found in the food that we eat. According to medical studies, people suffering from prostate cancer usually have very low levels of zinc in their bodies. Eating Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Oysters or Adzuki beans provide them with the requisite Zinc which in turn helps battle prostate cancer. In nature, where there is Yin, there is Yang. Meaning, if there are foods that can grant you a healthy prostate, there are foods that can actually increase your chances of incurring prostate diseases. Following are some foods that you should cut down from your regular diet in order to get a healthy prostate. Foods To Avoid: Red Meat:

Red meat

Red Meat

For many people, red meats such as pork, beef, veal and sausages are an integral part of daily diet. The problem is that processed red meats consist of a number of Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and other known carcinogens that are linked to several types of cancers. With more and more evidence racking up each day, researchers have started to believe that red meats might be the major culprits in the occurrence of prostate cancer as well. So by cutting down on your intake of red meat, you might be doing your prostate a favour. Beer:

beer

Beer

Many readers might stop reading once they see their most favourite beverage come up on this list but if you have prostate issues or are worried about your prostate health, please read on. According to a study conducted on 10,000 men, heavy alcohol drinkers were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer or aggravate it as compared to moderate drinkers. Now this poses a critical question, what would you prefer to have more, beer or sex. Saturated Fat:

saturated fat

Saturated Fat Foods

It is no secret that saturated fat is bad for your health but they might be detrimental for the prostate too. Eating high amounts of saturated fat via foods like French fries, burgers, deep fried meats, chips and onion rings can increase prostate specific antigen or PSA levels which can ultimately lead to prostate cancer. Replacing these foods with fruits and salads is the way to go if you would like to have a healthy prostate. Taking or avoiding any one of these foods mentioned above may not do the trick but balancing your diet keeping all of these points in mind can surely make a difference. Ensure that your diet contains more antioxidants, fruits, beans, nuts, vegetables and Omega3 fatty acids and less red meat, alcohol and saturated fat. Following this diet on a regular basis will surely improve your prostate health and might even prevent prostate cancer.

5 Best Ways To Care For Your Plants And Make Them Thrive

Gardening is probably the best hobby in the world. It adds greenery to the earth, lets you nurture a living being as if it were your own and grants you tremendous joy when it thrives. Plants are now a fixture for many modern households. Rarely you would walk into a building and not notice beautiful green plants and flowers adorning the balconies and terraces of at least a few apartments. Lush, green plants offer calmness and peace of mind while adding immense value to the home decor.

But as it is the case with many, people often face the situation where they buy a beautiful plant from a nursery, water it, nurture it only to find out that the plant is slowly dying or not growing as it should. By adhering to the following 5 steps carefully, you would not only find your plants surviving,but also thriving to the maximum of their potential.

Buy Plants Suited For The Sunlight Your House Gets:

Plants need sunlight, that is a no-brainer. But how much? Therein lies to key to the growth of your plant. DIfferent plants have different sunlight needs. In this age of over population and cramped living spaces, very few houses get ample sunlight throughout the day. If you unfortunately live in an area where full sunlight is available for only a couple of hours, you would do better to choose plants that require less sunlight to grow. These plants are also known as indoor plants.

While this may seem elementary, most people, when they start gardening, have no idea about the sunlight needs of plants. Some best plants that grow without much sunlight are all variants of Epipremnum Aureum (commonly know as “Money Plant”), Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Fuchsia, Forget-me-not and Chinese Evergreen are among the best indoor plants. There are many many more plants in this category as well so do your research before deciding on one.

money plant

Money plants require very less sunlight

There are of course plants that require full sunlight for multiple hours. Plants such as Marigold, Hibiscus, Zinnia, Lavender, Petunia and Rose thrive when they get direct sunlight for hours at a time. If your apartment terrace or garden is flooded with sunlight, these plants are your best bets. In fact most plants with flowers require direct sunlight than other varieties of plants.

Marigold

Marigolds need a lot of sunlight but are worth the effort

Find Out The Watering Needs For Your Plants:

Believe it or not, you can actually water your plant to death. Same as sunlight, some plants require more water to survive while others can spawn a forest with only a glass of water each day. Watering too much causes the roots of the plant to rot eventually killing the plant. Watering your plants depend on the water supply of your area, the amount of sunlight and also your own schedule. If you work a 9 – 5 job, you surely cannot keep a plant that needs to be watered every 4 hours. Most plants, however, do quite well if you water them thoroughly once a day. This is even truer for potted plants. One general suggestion is to water the plant only when the soil is totally dried out. Poke a finger in the soil and if it is moist, postpone the watering.

Plants that require less water are often indoor plants needing less sunlight as well. So many of the plants mentioned in the list above will appear in this list as well. For starters, all types of cacti need less water (obviously). The Christmas cactus is great for indoors along with Peruvian Apple, Bunny Ears and Rat’s Tail. Golden Barrel Cactus is also quite popular but it is more suited for a garden. Apart from cacti, Money Plant, Snake Plant, Palm, ZZ Plant and Sempervium also require less water and will thrive indoors.

indoor cactus

Cactii need less water and look great indoors

snake plant

Snake plants are great for decoration

Some plants, on the other hand, require lots of water to grow properly. All variants of the Iris, Yellow Hibiscus, Sunflower, Pendula and Daffodils are all plants that will need a lot of water. As mentioned above, most plants with bright flowers require lots of sunlight and water. According to The American Gardening magazine, tropical plants with large dark leaves have higher water requirements as the large surface area of the leaves allow more water to be vaporized. If you are not sure about the watering needs of a plant. go for plants with thin pointy leaves as a rule of the thumb.

blue iris

Blue Iris need a lot of water to grow

Setting The Soil:

Once you have decided on the plant, soil is the next most important thing to decide upon. Do not use general soil or dirt from the garden to set your plant. These soils often have weed seeds, fungi, insects or other elements that can ruin your pants. You can get good quality soil quite easily from a nursery nearby. There are sometimes different types of soils needed for different plants. Quiz the guy in the nursery about the type of soil best suited for your plants.

soil

Set the soil loose

Choosing The Pot

If you are going for potted plants, choosing a good pot is the key. First of all, make sure that the pot has a hole or holes beneath to drain out water. There are plastic pots available now-a-days where the hole has to be punched in before you can use the pots. Make sure the hole in the pot is large enough to drain water but not too large otherwise soil will escape.

While setting the plant and soil, ensure that the soil is loose enough to let water pass through. Never pack the soil too tight. Once you start watering the plant, the loose soil on top will settle down and you can add some more soil to the top of the pot. A general way to find out if the soil is too tight is to check how long it takes for the water to subside. If the water sits on top for a long time creating a puddle, you need to loosen the soil. To stop soil from escaping through the hole, you can place a few small rocks above the hole before setting the soil. Some people prefer to put a net on the hole so that water can escape the pot but not the soil.

clay flower pot

Clay Flower Pots

Clay pots are usually the best choices as these are porous. They allow air and moisture to pass through thus keeping the soil and the plant healthy. But clay pots can break easily so you have to be extra careful while handling them. Plastic pots are heavily used due to their unbreakable nature and attractive prices. Beautiful Chinese clay pots are good for indoor plants as they add to the beauty of the plant.

Utilizing Food And Fertilizer:

Some plants, especially plants with flowers, require food and fertilizer to be added to the soil apart from watering them. Fertilizer provides them with Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Fertilizers can be water soluble, in grain form or in paste form. Grain fertilizers need to be pushed into the soil before watering. They make way to the root of the plant and fertilize it from within. Water soluble food, as the name suggests, can be mixed with the water making your job easy. Fertilizers that come in paste form needs to be mixed with the soil carefully usually once a week.

fertilizer

Fertilizers are a critical component for plant growth

Over fertilizing can burn or kill a plant quite fast. If you notice wilting flowers or dead leaves on the plant even though you are doing everything as prescribed, you might be using too much fertilizer. If such is the case, stop adding the fertilizer and water the plant thoroughly a few times to drain out the remaining fertilizer from the soil. It is best if you take advice form a knowledgeable person about the food requirement of a particular plant. Plants that need direct sunlight and more water require more fertilizer as well. It is best to fertilize very little when a flowering plant is dormant such as during the winters.

There is much to know about gardening than this article can convey. But I hope that these 5 cardinal points about gardening will help you grow many beautiful plants just the way you wanted. Repot the plants if they outgrow the original one. If it is too hot and dry for you as a human, it is probably just as hot and dry for your plant as well. Just remember that plants are living, breathing organisms just like us. Treat it as such and enjoy the best hobby this world can offer.

Best International Summer Drinks To Beat The Heat Part 1

Well, the summer is upon us again and due to global warming or whatever, it feels hotter every year. The scorching heat is driving people insane as we seek solace in ice cold drinks to keep ourselves functioning. Everyone has their favourite drinks for summer, non-alcoholic drinks that can be consumed anywhere any time. In order to make things interesting and keep you refreshed a little bit more, let me introduce you to some cool summer drinks from around the world. Hope you enjoy them!

Lassi (India):  It is one of the most popular traditional summer drinks of India. Initially enjoyed only by the people of the state of Punjab, Lassi is now served in restaurant across India and it is prepared in many homes of India as well. This drink is made by mixing curd, water, sugar and ice together. Due to the curd the drink comes out quite thick and it is served chilled. Almonds, peanuts, butter and dry fruits are often added for extra flavour.

lassi

Roh or Sugarcane Juice (Pakistan): Sugarcane juice is very popular in the south-east Asian countries and it is considered the national drink of Pakistan. The juice is made by applying pressure to sugarcanes manually or via machines. In summer it is served with ice. Lemon, ginger, mint or black salt is often added to enhance the taste.

sugarcane juice

Ayran (Turkey): Ayran is the national non-alcoholic drink of Turkey. Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, water and salt. Thickness and saltiness of the drink varies from person to person. Apart from its chilled goodness to suppress the summer blues, Ayran is also considered very healthy as it can replenish sodium in the body very fast.

ayran

Chicha Morada (Peru): Apart from having a very attractive name, this Peruvian drink is super tasty and super refreshing as well. The base of the drink is Maiz Morado, a purple maize that is boiled with cinnamon, clove, quinces and pineapple until the drink is of deep purple color and the maize is soft.  

chicha morada

Frappe (Greece): Although Frappe is widely available and popular throughout the world, I am compelled to mention it in this list as the Greek were drinking Frappe much before the rest of the world took notice of it. For the uninitiated, it is iced coffee, or cold coffee as some like to call it. A great drink to have in the summer.

frappe

Žinčica (Slovakia): This Slovak drink is made from sheep milk and the best type of Žinčica is called Urda. Common types of Žinčica are either sour or salty. It is a highly regarded non-alcoholic summer drink in Slovakia.

zincica

Mugicha Tea (Japan): A popular summer refreshment drink in Japan, Mugicha Tea is made from kernels of Barley. Even though it is available in bottled form, there are some homes in Japan that still brew Mugicha Tea at home.

mugicha tea

Kvass (Russia): Kvass is a traditional Russian drink consumed in the summer. It is made by fermenting rye bread. Kvass is considered a non-alcoholic drink as the alcohol is in Kvass is often only 0.05 to 1%. Beet, plum, strawberry, raisin and mint is often added to enjoy different flavours of Kvass.

kvas

Agua Fresca (Mexico): Agua Fresca is a refreshing drink made from various fresh fruits and consumed all over Mexico. There are many types of Agua Fresca drinks depending on the fruits used such as Agua de Papaya, Agua de Jamaica, Agua de Fresa, Agua de Melón etc. The fruits are chopped and then blended to create a purée. The purée is mixed with water, sugar and lime juice and served chilled.

agua fresca

Pinolillo (Nicaragua & Costa Rica): It is a traditional drink enjoyed in these two countries round the year but it serves as a summer drink if served cold. Made from milk, water, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and white cornmeal, Pinolillo is so popular in Nicaragua that they call themselves Pinoleros.

pinolillo

Gluehwein (Germany): It is a Apple and Tea punch that requires apple juice, lemon juice, tea, orange juice, sugar, spices and even the orange peels. When the heated mixture is served with ice cubes, it can make you forget the heat right away.

gluehwein

Sorrel Punch (Jamaica): It is a beverage made from dried Hibiscus flowers, if this makes you a little suspicious about this drink, please do not worry. It is a very popular summer drink in the African countries that needs Hibiscus flower, sugar, water and gingerroot. The best thing about this drink is that when served chilled, it makes for a refreshing drink and if you add a dash of rum, it becomes a great party cocktail.

sorrel punch

Telba (Ethiopia): This Ethipian beverage is a creamy drink made from flaxseed, water and honey. Apart from a drink, Telba can be also served as a dessert. It is usually served chilled.

telba

Mote Con Huesillo (Chile): It is a traditional Chilean summer drink that contains no alcohol. It is made from wheat and dried peaches which is cooked in sugar/honey, water and cinnamon. The name of this drink comes from “Mote” the Chilean word for husked wheat.

Mote con huesillos

Lemonade Cordial (France): It is a non-alcoholic French drink made from lemon, mint, sugar and water. After mixing the lemon juice, water, mint and sugar,  it is boiled and simmered. After leaving overnight. the chilled drink is mixed with sparkling mineral water, ice cube and fresh mint before serving.

lemonade cordial

Virgin Orange Blossom (Belgium): It is a replacement for the Orange Blossom cocktail. Using lime soda as a base and mixing with orange juice and almond syrup, the drink is topped up with dry citrus notes and fizz to make up for the lack of hard drinks.

virgin orange blossom

Shirley Temple (Canada): Shirley Temple is available in many countries but the Canadian version is a bit different. It comes in a large glass with Orange juice, lemon-lime soda and grenadine. Have chilled Shirley Temple in the summer and say goodbye to your summertime blues.

shirley temple

Leche Merengada (Spain): Leche Merengada is a traditional Spanish drink that can be made at home or found at restaurants or bars. Made from milk, egg whites, cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar, the mixture of mile, cinnamon, lemon zest and and sugar is cooked and chilled. The milk white is whisked and added to the drink later. Leche Merengada is served chilled with Cinnamon garnish.

leche merengada

VÅR (Norway):

In a country where almost every citizen is a connoisseur of fine cocktails, it is hard to find quality non-alcoholic drinks.  Luckily, there is VÅR. The name VÅR means spring and it is made from fresh fruits and berries. VÅR is available in many flavors such as pineapple, cedar, pear and raspberry.

var

Saft (Sweden):

Saft is a traditional Swedish drink that is available in both homemade and commercial (bottled) forms. Sweden is known as the country of a thousand berries and each of these berries are available to be turned into a Saft flavor of choice. Saft is to be mixed with water or sparkled water and consumed cold for summertime fun.

Saft

Sima (Finland):

Sima is basically a type of Finnish lemon soda consumed during the month of May. It is made from yeast, dark brown sugar, water, granulated sugar, lemon juice and raisins. The brown sugar gives the drink a caramelized taste. It takes around 4 days to prepare this drink and it is served chilled.

Sima

Cuáker (Ecuador):

This is an oat based drink that is very popular in Ecuador and yes it borrows its name from the Quaker oats. This drink is made by boiling rolled oats, peeled pineapples, Cinnamon, water and sugar together. The mixture is then boiled or pureed and served cold during the summer.

cuaker

So there you go. Some of the traditional non-alcoholic drinks to try that originate from different parts of the world. You can try most of these recipes at home and even try your own twists to make them super tasty and refreshing. Enough reading, now it’s time to wait for the 2nd part of this post and indulge :)

6 Reasons To Eat Eggs Everyday

Egg is one of the primary non-vegetarian foods available to us at a cheap price. Yes if you compare the price of eggs with that of chicken, mutton or various red meats, it will prove to be very very cost effective. There was a time when egg was an integral part of the daily diet for many families around the world. Their day started with eggs and ended with eggs.

In the recent years loads of studies and articles have surfaced that claim to have figured egg out as a “bad food”. These studies keep yapping about how egg raises the cholesterol level in the body, increases fat and contributes to cardiovascular diseases. The truth, however, is far from it. Egg is probably the healthiest food on the planet if we consider the amount of nutrition it provides per serving. Here are the top 6 reasons why you should eat eggs every day.

Eggs

Eggs

1.  Egg Is The Best Natural Source Of Vitamin:

If you missed the biology class in your school, let me reiterate the vitamins a single egg contains:

  • Vitamin A 8% RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 18% RDA
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 12% RDA
  • Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H (Biotin) 20% RDA
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate) 12% RDA
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) 56% RDA
  • Vitamin D 32% RDA
  • Vitamin E
  • Choline

As you can see, egg has an impressive list of vitamins contained within it each of which is essential to our overall health. Vitamin A is important for our immune system and skin, Vitamin D is required for healthy bones, teeth, skin and immunity and the Vitamin B group help us in a host of functions from metabolism to cell growth and from liver functions to brain functions. To think of the number of people who need to take vitamin supplements, many of them would do much better if the y consumed at least one egg per day.

2. Egg Contains Some Very Important Minerals:

In order to maintain your overall well being, minerals are just as important as the vitamins. With minerals like Calcium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Selenium and Iodine, an egg is like a smorgasbord of essential nutrients for the body. Phosphorus is necessary for teeth and bone. Iodine is necessary for the smooth functioning the Thyroid glands and the creation of Thyroid hormones in the body. Selenium works as an anti-oxidant. Iron ,Calcium and Zinc are needed for immunity, blood formation and bone & teeth health.

bolied eggs

Boiled Eggs

3. Egg Increases Good Cholesterol And Improves Heart Health:

There is a strong contingency that believes eggs increase LDL or the bad cholesterol which increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases. In reality, an egg diet actually increases the level of HDL or good cholesterol in the body and improves heart function. According to a study conducted on men and women with metabolic disorders, 3 eggs a day over a period of time helped reduce their insulin resistance and improve the HDL while increasing the size of LDL which makes it harmless .

4. Eggs Help In Losing Weight:

It might come as a surprise but there is a solid reason behind this phenomena. Egg scores the highest on the Satiety Index, an index that indicates how full or satisfied a person feels after eating a particular food. According to a study conducted on 40 overweight women, those who had eggs in the breakfast felt more full and consumed less amounts of food for the rest of the day. This is the reason why people are suggested to eat boiled eggs after an exercise session. Eggs help produce the feeling of fullness without the consumption of too much calories.

5. Egg Helps The Eyes:

Egg contains two antioxidants called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, both are equally important for the improvement of eyesight. Regular consumption of Lutein and Zeaxanthin helps prevent eye problems like Cataract, Macular Degeneration and retinal malfunctions. Eating 2 eggs per day will improve your retina functions and prevent eye diseases that are caused by old age.

Egg Salad

Try interesting recipes like Egg Salad

6. Egg Is The Highest Quality Source Of Proteins:

There are several proteins required by a human body for its functions. It takes 21 amino acids to build these proteins out of which 12 can be produced by the body itself. The rest you can get from egg. Egg not only has these amino acids but it has them in the exact right proportions and structures. Hence the source of protein in eggs is considered to be of the highest biological value of 100.

One fact to remember is that in order to obtain all the goodness an egg has to produce, you have to eat the yolk along with the white. The egg white contains only protein while the yolk has all the vitamins, minerals and amino acids you are looking for. Eat 2 -3 eggs per day and your health will be much better.

General Elections In India Is Over – What Does The Future Hold?

Hello guys, I am posting after a long time. A lot has happened since my last post, we welcomed 2014, the hostile conditions in Syria continues, my post on how to drive safely while drunk (if you absolutely have to) got thrashed over the internet, the World Cup Football 2014 is about to start but most importantly, from India’s point of view, the general elections in India is over and we have got a verdict. It is the Bharatiya Janata Party that recorded a landslide victory and Narendra Modi, former chief minister of Gujarat, is all set to take the helm as the 17th prime minister of India.

election

indian citizens waiting to cast their votes

The 16th general elections in India was also the longest. It was the largest election in the world with 814.5 million eligible voters. This election also saw the highest voter turnout in Indian history at 66.38%. The verdict was out on 16th May and the results were crystal clear. For the first time after 1984 an Indian party touched the magic number of 272 seats, meaning for the first time in 30 years India is set to get a single party ruling without support.

narendra_modi

Narendra Modi

Now, many are ecstatic about Nerendra Modi becoming the prime minister as they feel Mr. Modi will be able to finally turn India into a country of the 21st century. Many are sceptical due to his radical Hindu extremism pasts and the 2002 riots. People change over time hence there is no denying that Mr. Modi might have changed as a leader and a person as well. But to what extent is this true? Has he really changed or has he just dawned the mask of secularism for election’s sake? Will the Muslims be safe under the BJP government? Is vibrant Gujarat a reality or a myth? Questions like these are bouncing around the media and the minds of the people and no easy answer is yet to come by.

If we, for an instant, assume that Mr. Modi has really changed as a person and mended his older ways, that would mean that the Muslim contingent in Gujarat are safe and happy at this moment. In fact that is the picture that has been painted over the last 3 or 4 months. The reality, however, is a little different.

During a recent study conducted by a leading newspaper of India, Muslims in Gujarat expressed their concerns over their real plights being overshadowed by manufactured news. The study revealed that even in premier cities like Ahmedabad, it is still very difficult for a Muslim to get a rented house. Muslim women are taunted, teased and abused at every opportunity hence many of them have been forced to leave their jobs. A Muslim NGO worker told the newspaper that the stories of vibrant of Gujarat were grossly over-hyped.

godhra riot

Fire of hatred – The Godhra Riot

Apart from his Godhra riot connections, a horrific massacre of human lives that took place in 2002, there are doubts over the financial solidity of Gujarat as well. Numerous Indians, both young and senior citizens, are almost worshipping Mr. Modi as a messiah of financial breakthrough, a healing force that will bring the reeling Indian economy on track just by his sheer presence. During the election campaign, the success of the “Gujarat model” and how Mr. Modi will use this same model to straighten up Indian economy have been reiterated again and again. There is, however, one small problem. India is not Gujarat. India is a collection of 32 states and 6 central territories, a country where each state has its own unique problems. If Mr. Modi or anybody for that matter believe that the “Gujarat Model” will work for the violence riddled north eastern states or the terrorism  burdened state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is difficult to vouch for their mental sanity.

gujarat children

Even Mr. Modi could not change this picture

Closely scrutinizing the “Gujarat Model” reveals that Mr. Modi an his government has given tremendous importance on the growth of business in the private sector. This has created a lot of job opportunities in the larger cities while the human resource index in the villages and remote areas keep dwindling. In terms of child health, nutrition, education and healthcare, Gujarat’s growth has been minimal.

Even after keeping all these negatives in mind, it cannot be denied that the people of India have spoken and they have chosen Mr. Narendra Modi and BJP as their leaders for the next 5 years. A government without support from the allies mean that it will never have its hands tied for the sake of keeping the government alive. Mr. Modi has got a great opportunity to prove his words right and his opponents’ wrong. One thing is for sure, if he tries to blindly implement the “Gujarat Model” everywhere or leads another manhunt against the Muslims, history will throw him away just like it has thrown the Indian National Congress away. Now it is time to wait and watch.

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