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Micronutrients to help quit smoking – study

Taking micronutrients could stop relapses for people trying to quit smoking, says a New Zealand researcher.

The University of Canterbury masters student is hoping to demonstrate that micronutrients help with withdrawal symptoms. One in five adults currently smoke in New Zealand.

Researcher Phillipa Newton says there is a history of using nutritional supplements in the treatment of addiction, mood, anxiety and many more psychological disorders.

“Previous research on the use of micronutrients for addiction has shown that relapse rates and drug hunger can be reduced and psychological functioning can be improved while on the nutrients.

Phillipa Newton 1

“My study uses a broader array of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to evaluate the impact micronutrients have on withdrawal symptoms from smoking.

Smoking costs government over $1.5 billion a year because of early death, loss of production due to illness and smoking-related healthcare costs, Phillipa says.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand accounting for around 4300 to 4600 deaths a year. Second-hand smoke is the leading environmental cause of preventable death in New Zealand and kills around 350 people a year.

“More than 60 percent of Christchurch smokers have relapsed since the earthquake. Research indicates that the prevalence of smoking in Christchurch has increased since the earthquake while the rest of New Zealand rates are declining.

Phillipa is conducting a four-month trial, supervised by associate professors Neville Blampied and Julia Rucklidge, using micronutrients to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and improve the mood of the participants when they quit smoking.

“We expect that consumption of nutrients should result in the reduction of withdrawal symptoms at a faster rate compared to somebody who quits without the supplement on a placebo. Fewer withdrawal symptoms and better mood after quitting should in turn reduce the rate of relapse.

Business Health

Novartis loses court appeal, cancer drug to stay cheap

cancer pills, cheap drugs

Poor cancer patients in India would welcome Indian apex court’s decision, dismissing Novartis’ appeal for a patent for its anti-cancer drug, Gleevec. The Supreme Court judgement, delivered by Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Desai, has called for a strict interpretation of section 3(d).

India’s  Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) has described the ruling as a huge victory for human rights. Y. K. Sapru of CPAA says, “Our access to affordable treatment will not be possible if the medicines are patented.”

cancer pills, cheap drugs

The ruling is a landmark for the interpretation of section 3(d) of the Patents Act 1970 which prevents patenting of new forms of already known molecules, also known as evergreening, unless the new drug offers a significant enhancement in efficacy.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company argued that better physico-chemical qualities would satisfy the test of enhanced efficacy.

Rejecting Novartis’ argument, the Supreme Court held that the physio-chemical properties of the drug may be beneficial for patients in some manner but they do not meet the standard of efficacy required by Section 3(d).

At the root of the case is Novartis’ Gleevec, a drug used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a type of blood cancer. Novartis’ price for its version of the drug, Gleevec or Glivec, is INR 120,000 (USD 2400) per month, while generic versions are available for INR 8,000 (USD 160) to INR 12,000 (USD 240) per month.

Cancer Patients Aid Association procures the generic versions at discounted prices, and provides them to their members at subsidised rates. About 25% of the generic versions are provided free of cost to cancer patients.

Anand Grover, Senior Counsel and Director of Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, who represented CPAA in this matter, says that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 3(d) keeps it intact. “It is alive and kicking. It gives life to Parliament’s intent of facilitating access to medicines and of incentivizing only genuine research.

“By refusing patent monopolies on minor changes to known molecules, this judgment will facilitate early entry of generic medicines into the market for other medicines and diseases too. The impact will be felt not only in India, but also across the developing world.”

In the past, Section 3(d) was also used as one of the grounds to disallow patents for minor modifications of several antiretroviral (ARV) medicines used to treat people living with HIV.

The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+)  had been filing oppositions to patent applications on ARV medicines on the basis of section 3(d). “This is a crucial victory for people living with HIV and other diseases who can continue to rely on India for access to affordable treatment,” says Loon Gangte of DNP+.

The ruling will have significant benefit for many developing countries – as much as 98% of generic drugs that India manufactures are exported to other poor countries.

Leena Menghaney for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which relies on Indian-made generic drugs to treat AIDS and other diseases in Africa and many poor countries, says Novartis’s attacks on the elements of India’s patent law that protect public health have failed.

“The Supreme Court’s decision prevents companies from abusing the patent system to get secondary patents on existing medicines, to block price-busting generic competition on HIV and other essential medicines. This confirms that all patent offices in India have to use this interpretation and the law is now clear and must be strictly applied.”

Novartis has fought this battle for more than a decade. In 1998, Novartis filed a patent application in India for a product patent on the beta-crystalline form of imatinib mesylate (imatinib mesylate). The basic molecule, imatinib, had been discovered in the early 1990s and therefore was not patentable in India. India had not joined the WTO club then.

In 2005, the Chennai Patent Office heard patent oppositions filed by CPAA, represented by Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, and other Indian generic companies.

In 2006, the Patent Office rejected Novartis’ patent application on several grounds, including section 3(d). Novartis has been fighting this battle since.

In an expected reaction, Novartis says it will not invest on research and development in India, and will move its R&D facilities to “favourable destinations”.

The company will continue to introduce products in the country, but not invest in R&D here, Novartis India Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Ranjit Shahani told a media briefing in Mumbai.

Experts in pharmaceutical industry have expressed concerns over the implications of the decision. “The pharmaceutical industry is driven by innovation, and they need to be able to recover their cost of drug development,” said an industry observer in the United States.

“If cheaper alternatives are available in the market, major drug developers will struggle to recover money, and this will affect future drug development.”

It takes anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion to develop a drug, and the complete process ranging from research to securing patent takes 12 to 15 years for one drug.

(With inputs from a media release by Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and Cancer Patients AID Association)

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Be gentle on your skin this Holi

As the Hindu festival of colours comes closer, people are getting ready to paint the town red, green, yellow, blue and many imaginable colours. While these colours look beautiful and add ‘colour’ to the celebration, your skin begs to be protected.

What makes it worse for your skin is the coincidence of Holi with the change of season, which is when your skin is vulnerable.

However, your concern for your skin shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the festival of Holi. Here are a few skincare tips for Holi:

Holi skincare


Cover your body with clothes as much as possible. This would give lesser stains and less contact of colours on to the skin. Wear turtle necks, full sleeves T-Shirts. Avoid wearing short pants.

Remember, Holi colours are full of chemicals, and in some cases may even contain glass particles. Go for organic colours. Organic colours are not only safe and dry but are easy to get rid off from the skin.

Hydrate yourself well before the night of Holi. The more hydrated you are, the lesser colour would your skin hold. Drink good amount of water and moisturize well.

Hindu festival holi


First moisturize your skin with a thick moisturizer or a cold cream and then apply a high SPF Sunscreen to all exposed body parts. You may also apply olive oil optionally instead of the sunscreen. The oil would not let the colour stay on your skin and it would slip down easily. Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the finger tips, behind the ears and on the side of the nose. This wouldn’t let the colour to stay in these parts and avoid any cause of irritation in the skin folds.

Oil your hair well to avoid accumulation of chemicals in the hair and scalp.


Remove the colour while it is wet. If the colour dries up it’ll be absorbed by your skin.
Do not use harsh soaps to take out colour. Use moisture-based soaps or start with cleansing milk.

Use lukewarm water to remove the colours. You may also go for home remedies like a mixture of soybean flour and milk. Use lemon wedges on the areas of stubborn colouration.

Do not panic if the colour doesn’t go in one wash. It would keep coming out with every shower if you would hydrate your skin well.

Also consider some general skin-care tips. There are diverse ways that people can do to recover the health of their skin and to get better tone naturally.

For a healthy skin, follow these tips closely: have as much water as possible; apply jojoba oil; scrub the skin; use sunscreen, maintain a balanced diet.

Among the tips discussed above, drinking water is the most important habit to form.

Many skin-conscious women are realizing that natural beauty products and skin care tips are far better than some of the well known brands from the most expensive shops.

Amidst the glamour of top cosmetic brands, the role of water in improving the skin is taken for granted. Even though there have been disputes about drinking at least 8 glasses per day as part of beauty tips, health experts strongly believe that somehow, water ingestion is responsible for the general health of the skin.

(Priyanka Tyagi is a Cosmetologist for Skeyndor in India)

Bollywood Health

Sonakshi Sinha’s Weight Loss Plan

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha fat bikini

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha, who lost over 30kgs for her debut film Dabangg opposite actor Salman Khan, is set to shedding few more pounds.

“First, I had to lose weight for my debut in Dabangg. Now I’ve to get into even better shape for Joker and Race 2,” the 23-year old actress told a news service. “For the last two years that’s all I seem to be doing. Losing weight.”

Here are the secrets of Sonakshi Sinha’s guaranteed weight loss.

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha fat bikini

How did Sonakshi Sinha lose 30kgs

Work hard

You can’t lose weight fast. It takes a lot of hard work. In fact, Sonakshi worked hard for two years. It took a lot of determination.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy when I started, but once I did, there was no looking back,” she told a newspaper. “It was a combination of proper diet and vigorous exercise that got me to the shape I am in now.”


Also read: How did Sonam Kapoor lose weight

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Sonakshi attended gym and pumped iron for five days a week. This was combined with extensive cardio exercises.

Sonakshi Sinha’s Diet

Sonakshi also followed a strict diet for weight loss. “I eat small meals every three hours to keep me going.”

Sonakshi Sinha photo Maxim


She got her motivation and guidance from her Dabangg co-star Salman Khan. “He saw potential in me and egged me on to lose weight. I would say his contribution was the highest as I started taking it seriously only after he told me to.”

So there you go. You have your own weight loss plan straight from a Bollywood actress who has lost weight and achieved what may seem to be the impossible for many girls keen to get in shape.

Here’s a brief fast weight loss plan that shows how to lose 30 pounds as fast as possible.


1. Keep a record of what you eat. When you look at your journal, you will see that mostly you are eating one type of food.  Include a range of weight loss foods in your diet.

2. Drink lots of water. As a guide, divide your weight (in kg) by 8, and the resultant figure is the number of glasses you should drink. For example, if your weight is  72kgs, then you should drink 9 glasses of water.

3. Take some multivitamin tablets every day

4. Make sure you are eating one raw fruit and vegetable and some food that contains lean protein

Rapid Weight Loss Diet Plan

1. Exercise three times a week, half an hour for each workout. Avoid walking. If you have to walk, then walk briskly.

2. Drink plenty of fluid, mostly water. Avoid aerated drinks

3. Eat well: Have a balance of fruit, veggies and lean meat.  Avoid fast food and eat red meat in moderation

4. Sleep well: It is absolutely important to sleep about 7 to 8 hours daily – sound sleep, that is. Too less or too much sleep can put body in a distressed mode.

Secrets of Sonakshi Sinha’s weight loss diet

Sonakshi plays tennis, and visits gym twice every day.

Sonakshi uses hot yoga (Bikram Yoga) and spinning for flexibility

She follows strict diet regime and avoids sugar-heavy food

Whether it is Ranvir Singh losing fat and developing the perfect six-abs, or Kareen Kapoor losing her chubby flab to get into the zero figure, Bollywood stars have always inspired many Indians.

Many people look up to Bollywood actors and dream to lose weight by following the secrets of Bollywood’s weight loss diets and exercise plan.

The Global Indian magazine has spoken with the personal trainers of some of the top Bollywood stars to develop this list of secrets of losing weight as followed by Bollywood stars.

Here are the top ways to lose weight.


At a recent reality show Aap Ki Adalat, a lady in the audience asked Salman Khan the secret of his six pack abs, so that she could get her husband to lose weight. Salman said, “Get him in a job which requires him to take off his shirt in public.” In other words, Salman was referring to the need of his job as a movie star to have the perfect body. That’s his motivation. That’s his need. What’s your motivation? Do you have a need to have lean body and flat belly? Find a strong need to lose weight.

Bad habits

Each one of us has a different preference for food. Some like chocolate, some like french fries and so on. But the desire to have junk is common to all of us. What’s your preference for junk food? Is it chocolate? Is it sweets? Find your poison and make sure you don’t have easy access to it. Don’t stuff your fridge with junk food. ‘Watch what you eat and don’t binge!’, says Neha Dhupia.

Heavy breakfast

As the saying goes, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Bollywood celebrity John Abraham suggests a heavy breakfast. He starts his day with six egg whites.

He avoids egg yolk as it contains fat. He supplements egg whites with toast with butter, a few almonds and fresh fruit juice. He recommends a cup of tea for those who are not fond of juice.

Research shows that people who eat heavy breakfast fill fuller throughout the day and eat less food during the rest of the day. This helps in managing weight.

More meals

While traditionally we eat two large meals, Bollywood actors prefer to have small but more frequent meals. This fits well with your busy and erratic schedule. It also provides enough energy to carry on with their long work-hours.

Take Kareena Kapoor for example. She starts her day with muesli with nuts and yoghurt. She has a few chapatis and green vegetables with dal for lunch and dinner. At other times, she eats moderate amount of cheese, chana, groundnut.

Some of the low-fat foods that are also loved by Bollywood stars are: black beans, oats, salmon, brown rice, almonds and kidney beans

Fruits good for weight loss include: avocados, pears, blueberries

Vegetables recommended for weight loss: brocoli, spinach

It has been five years since Sonakshi Sinha has lost more than 20 kgs, and she has managed to keep that weight off, thanks to her sheer determination, willpower, and regular exercise.

Would you like to lose weight naturally? Find out how to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss, in this bestselling book: Magical Apple Cider Vinegar: Ultimate Guide for Weight Loss, Hair Fall and Skincare.

Also read:

Four foods to stay in shape

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Watch your salt

Too much salt in daily food can lead to high blood pressure which increases the risk of stroke, says a nutrition expert.

A high salt intake is also a risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and stomach cancer, and may also be a contributor to osteoporosis, warns nutritionist Nivedita Sharma Vij on the eve of Salt Awareness Week which runs from 11 to 17 March.

Salt_shakerThe Nutrient Reference Value for Australia and NZ recommends 2,300mg of sodium, or 6g of salt a day. “That’s about one teaspoonful of salt from all food sources. Just one cup of canned soup, for example, can contain more than 50% of the recommended daily sodium intake,” says the Auckland-based nutritionist.

As much as 75% of daily sodium intake comes from the processed and takeaway food that we eat.

“Too much salt in the diet is a leading cause of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke, being implicated in over 60% of cases.”

Mark Vivian, chief executive of Stroke Foundation, recommends reading the content labels of the foods before buying, and choosing the lower salt options more often, and steering clear of products high in salt. “Choosing more fresh foods and fewer packaged foods is a great way to reduce salt in the diet. Cutting down on salt will do everyone the world of good,” says Mark.

Nivedita suggests a few quick changes to diet to “shake the habit”:

Take the table salt off the table at work and at home for a week. Then continue the habit.

Add the salt at the end of your cooking. (Tip: taste your food and check if you really need it.)

Use low sodium salt and do not tell rest of the cooks in the house hold. Sneaky!

Season your food with fresh herbs and spices, or condiments. Tomato sauces, chutneys, marinades, instant noodles and soy sauces are packed with salt. (Use lemon, marinade meat with yogurt, herbs, ginger garlic or orange juice.)

Increase your fresh food consumption. Eat fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, unsalted nuts, milk with no added seasoning and salt. These foods are generally lower in salt than processed foods.

Read labels and look for sodium content: it should be less than 400mg/100gm and if you have high blood pressure then 120mg/100gm.

Look ‘invisible salt intake’ for seasonings added in the food – processed and packaged foods are usually high in sodium and hidden source of extra salt (Sodium Chloride).

For more information visit the New Zealand Stroke Foundation.

WASH 2013 poster

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Five guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol

How to lower cholesterol is one of the major concerns for Indians living abroad, especially those keen to lose weight. In fact, high cholesterol is one of the common health issues for NRIs and Indians worldwide.

The problem is also common among Americans. According to a media release by Proctor and Gamble, more than 102 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are considered borderline high-risk.

While cholesterol can lead to many illnesses, you can take some timely steps to control cholesterol. There are some guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol, as long as you are committed to lead a healthy life.

But before we look at the guaranteed ways to lower cholesterol, we must first understand what is cholesterol.

What is cholesterol

Every person has a waxy substance in many parts of their body. This is cholesterol. Not all cholesterol is bad. Not all cholesterol is fat. There are two types of cholesterol – HDL or good cholesterol, and LDL or bad cholesterol.

It is the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is a cause of concern as it builds up in the arteries and causes heart disease. On the other hand, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the good cholesterol, protects against heart attack.

HDL in fact cleanses our system by removing cholesterol from the arteries and back to the liver where it’s passed from the body. As you can see when you read this article, you can maintain healthy levels of cholesterol with these guaranteed yet simple changes to lifestyle.

Remember, LDL cholesterol is bad for health, but HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol is not only good but is also essential for your health. Don’t assume that high cholesterol is bad for you, like high blood pressure. Please get your cholesterol checked regularly, and learn how to interpret the cholesterol numbers. Keep a record of your cholesterol levels.

Why cholesterol is bad for health?

Cholesterol associates with triglycerides to form plasma lipids. Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body, says American Heart Association. “Triglycerides in plasma are derived from fats eaten in foods or made in the body from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories ingested in a meal and not used immediately by tissues are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells to be stored.

“Hormones regulate the release of triglycerides from fat tissue so they meet the body’s needs for energy between meals.” AHA says.

“Excess triglycerides in plasma is called hypertriglyceridemia. It’s linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease in some people.”

Now let’s look at the easy ways of lowering cholesterol fast. These steps are recommended by Metamucil and Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Lower cholesterol

Five Easy Ways to Lower Cholesterol Fast

Walk more

Dr. Roizen recommends the use of a pedometer and walking or running more every day. “Grab a pedometer and watch the numbers roll as you make simple changes for your health and take the stairs, walk to work, or stroll around the neighbourhood to increase your physical activity for better heart health.

Pedometer can be a great motivator. “Tracking your progress throughout the day can be great inspiration to keep going, and walking is a simple and easy type of exercise to help lower cholesterol!

Get an exercise buddy

One of the main reasons why people fail to lose weight is lack of motivation. Dr Roizen appreciates that a healthy lifestyle requires motivation, encouragement and a friend to lean on.

“Grab an exercise buddy and support each other in the challenge to lower your cholesterol.”

You can go on long walks with your friend or partner. Make sure you encourage each other to try new types of physical activity to get the heart pumping and to keep cholesterol levels down! This togetherness not only helps physically but also creates a positive mental energy.

“Enjoy each other’s company and laugh – reduced levels of stress will help your heart too!”

Eat well

No, we are not recommending eating more, or eating junk food. We are just suggesting eating the right food. Increasing the intake of fiber can help you lower cholesterol. Of course, not all fiber is good. Viscous soluble fiber like psyllium fiber, the natural dietary fiber found in Metamucil, is proven to help lower total and “lousy” LDL cholesterol because it forms a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acids and waste in the gut.

“This is why I recommend my patients supplement low fat, low cholesterol diets with 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium daily.”

When fat is good

Avoid fatty food but there is one thing that’s good for you – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid. DHA is good for your heart. It improves heart function and helps lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL).

It also raises the levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or the ‘healthy’ cholesterol. Some of the popular sources of DHA are salmon, sardines and tuna. But if you don’t like seafood, don’t panic “Try fish oil supplements, or if you don’t like fishy taste, get them from vegetarian supplements made from algal DHA.”

Avoid dangerous foods

They say: you are what you eat. Be aware of what you are eating. Read food literature and familiarise yourself with what goes in your bread and pasta.

“Get to know your ingredients and read the nutrition labels thoroughly,” says Dr Roizen.

Do you know that there are hidden sugars and unhealthy ingredients in your food that can increase your weight, which can lead to high cholesterol. Avoid all foods that contain high levels of cholesterol, saturated fat and hidden sources of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, some dextrins, or evaporated cane juice.


How does cholesterol affect health?

Lowering your cholesterol is the most important thing you can do to promote overall heart health. Too much cholesterol can result in atherosclerosis, which is when fat and cholesterol crowd the walls of the arteries,preventing adequate blood flow to parts of the body like the heart and brain, and resulting in signs and symptoms of heart disease, such as angina and heart attack

Whether you are 35 or 65, it is never too early or too late to start to reduce the risk of heart disease.

 How does fiber help heart?

Certain kinds of fiber lower cholesterol because they form a thick gel that traps and helps remove some cholesterol, bile acid and waste. Be sure to consume lots of soluble fiber, like beans, oats, barley or fruits. Most Americans only get 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day through their normal diet vs. the recommended 20 to 35 grams.

Also read:

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha’s weight loss plan

What diet did Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor follow to lose weight?

Four foods to stay in shape

(Editor’s note: Views expressed here are not of The Global Indian magazine. Seek medical advice.)

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Growing obesity pushing up diabetes in India

Healthcare companies love India.

It is the second diabetes capital of the world after China, with the treatment market growing at a double-digit year-on-year growth rate, presenting both domestic and Multinational Companies (MNCs) with promising opportunities, states a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research.

India’s 2011 diabetic population was 61.3 million, but is set to increase at an alarming rate, with an estimate by the International Diabetes Federation placing the Indian diabetic population at around 101 million by 2030.


Increased disease awareness and compliance with treatment is hoped to restrain disease prevalence in India. But sedentary lifestyles, the adoption of Westernized culture, and longer lifespans are raising the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, or acquired diabetes, in the country.

India offers lucrative opportunities to both domestic and foreign pharmaceutical players with anti-diabetic product portfolios. The type 2 diabetes therapeutics market, although crowded with generics, is being viewed as a significant growth opportunity for newly patent-protected products, owing to high disease prevalence and considerable unmet need.

Many MNCs are engaged in setting up strategic marketing and distribution agreements with domestic players, in order to improve their patient base and market share in India.

Sun Pharma and Merck’s joint venture to bring new anti-diabetics to emerging markets, the USV-Novartis collaboration for the marketing of Galvus, the Lupin-Eli Lilly alliance for the marketing of insulin, and collaborations between Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim all represent examples of this.

MNCs succeed in expanding their patient base, while domestic companies benefit from the pharma giants’ strong sales forces and manufacturing capabilities. Given the impressive growth rate predicted for the diabetes therapeutics market in India, more strategic consolidations are expected to follow during the forecast period.

GBI Research’s analysis values the Indian anti-diabetes market in 2011 at $680.3m, and predicts growth at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.3% to reach a value of US$1.4b in 2018, due to the large and growing diabetes population in the country and anticipated launch of many first-in-class and novel molecules during the forecast period.

However, low treatment-seeking and diagnosis rates, poor compliance to medical care, rising healthcare costs and an increasingly competitive market are some of the key hurdles for India’s domestic diabetes market.


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Life is too short for negative feelings – Hrithik

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan is very optimistic about 2013.

The Bollywood heartthrob opened India’s 2012 box office with the international box office success film Agneepath, which garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and set the precedence and benchmark for 2012.

Hrithik enters 2013 with heightened anticipation for another blockbuster year. He will start the year filming Fox Star Studio’s Indian remake of the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day with leading lady Katrina Kaif. The year will culminate with the release of his home production, Krrish 3, releasing on Diwali 2013. Hrithik’s profile will soar to greater heights as the 3D film sees Hrithik star as India’s much-loved superhero again.

In a heart-to-heart chat with The Global Indian magazine, Hrithik shares his insecurities and his hopes.

What will you remember the most about the year 2012?


It’s simply a dream film for any actor. 2012 has been an awesome year. Resuming my role as Krrish was nostalgic and very exciting. To end the year with homage of films at an esteemed festival, the Marrakech Film Festival, was such a humbling experience. All in all 2012 was a high throughout!

Hrithik & Sussanne

So what can your fans expect from you in 2013?

2013 is going to be a busy year. I will be working on various projects and some great films too. We are wrapping up Krrish which releases later this year and then in March I start filming with Katrina for the Indian remake of Knight and Day. I am really looking forward to 2013 as it will be another year packed with lots of excitement, but also a lot of hard work and early morning film shoots!

It must be so difficult to live up to the expectations as the Bollywood icon. Where do you get all this energy from?

My family has been my biggest inspiration – they are my true role models and they continue to be. My parents through to my grandparents have seen and experienced all shades of life, the good, the bad, and always faced any situation God presented to them fearlessly together. We share a unified bond which I also instill in my own little family with my wife and children.

Krrish 1 and 2 have been a huge success and audiences will be eagerly for its third instalment. What is going to be different about Krrish 3?

I think the audiences are going to be in for a treat with Krrish – if you loved the first two films, you will adore this edition. Krrish is our home production and was like coming home. It’s still early to comment fully on latter film – I know the audiences will be in for a fun ride with Katrina and I.

People like Hrithik as a dancer, the dance seems to be missing in his movies these days, is it intentional?

Not at all! However clichéd this sounds, I guess the scripts I’ve currently been working on just haven’t demanded any breakthrough dance sequences. But never say never though!

As a Bollywood megastar, the schedules are very hectic. How do you find time for your family?

I do try and see my family as much as I can as they mean a lot to me. I guess it’s crucial to prioritise time accordingly. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your family, it’s never really enough… But coming from a family where filmmaking runs through our veins, we do understand the pressures associated with work thus the understanding between us as family and for our work always helps us to strike that important balance.

Hrithik Courtesy RadoThe youth world over rave about your body, and the young boys are obviously keen to get some health tips on how to get  a six pack, and girls would want to know Hrithik’s diet plan. Would you like to share some weight loss tips?

I work out a lot and have a strict diet and exercise regime that I follow religiously. Being fit isn’t just about being physically strong but also mentally. My fitness workout is a major release for me, in a way it’s my way of chilling out!

Despite being a top actor in Bollywood, you come across as an approachable and friendly person. How do you do that?

Bollywood actor Hrithik RoshanI have always believed in being a good human first and foremost. My parents have brought me up with great morals and values, life is too short to create negative surroundings and feelings. Like they say ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’.

Finally, this may sound like a cliche question, but if you did not succeed in Bollywood, what else would you be seen doing?

I cannot imagine doing anything else! I know it sounds cheesy, but I love what I do! It really is in my DNA. I have had the opportunity to live multiple lives in one lifetime and through the power of cinema, did my small bit to touch a chord with the world and form a indescribable bond.

Health Lifestyle

Walk in the park – walk of life

joggers park delhi

I was up early – just by chance. I looked out of the window. The sun looked like a red dot on Indian woman’s forehead. Like bull’s eye. The silhouette outline of a local temple against the just-woken-up sun was a tempting site. I could see early life beginning to wake up – a driver cleaning a car, and a glimpse of a jogger through dense green cover of trees of a nearby park.

It had been three weeks since I used my running shoes. In fact, I wasn’t even carrying them on this overseas trip. As such, going for a run was not an option. But the temptation to go out for a walk was. It was coupled with the desire to discover the local park.

joggers park delhi

I put on my sandals and came out on the road. The park was just across. The thrill of experiencing something for the first time comes along only once. And I was excited for this first time.

As I stepped through the narrow gate of the park after giving way to five walkers on their way out, I prepared myself to negotiate narrow walkways with fellow walkers who would usually be engrossed in their phone conversations.

The sound of birds was pleasant – the quiet noise that usually precedes the ruckus that birds create once all of them wake up. This chirping of birds was the sign of early risers. It matched with the early walkers’ hustle. At that early hour of 6.45am, I could see about a hundred or more park- users. Yes, park users, not necessarily walkers.

The temperature, at 21 degrees, was closest to the minimum temperature of the day, and was a comforting precursor to the mid-thirties heat that the day would bring.

A couple of guys stood along the walkway, while another one used a long stick to reach out and break the baby-branches of a mature tree. One of them was removing the leaves from the tiny branch that they had just snatched from the tree, and the other was using the bare stem to brush his teeth. Indians have traditionally used neem tree sticks to brush their teeth. As I walked past the group, I was overtaken by two walkers – both had the neem branches sticking out of their mouths.

The walkway was unwinding like a telephone cord coil. Now I was walking below the Metro train’s overhead bridge which went diagonally across the park – almost a kilometre stretch.

There was huge banyan tree along the walkway, which provided shelter to a dozen pictures of Indian deities, adorned in marigold flowers and saffron paste. There was a man standing on the stone platform that went around the tree. The man was pulling a rope out of the ground. It seemed there was a well. At the end of the rope was a plastic bag. I could only assume that the bag contained water from the well, but it had some black contents in it.

Along the walking path was a homeless man, hiding in the knee-high grass that surrounded him. He was oblivious to the park users around him, and had an ease on his face that indicated that he belonged to the place while all of us were outsiders.

The walkway was now finished, but people kept walking on. So I followed them on a rough path. I was admiring the length of overhead train flyover that ran as far as I could see in both directions. Fortunately, I returned my gaze to the ground just in time to dodge what seemed like dog poo. The occurrence became more frequent as I followed the trail and saw a couple of teens giving in to nature’s call.

The untamed path was short-lived and I was soon back on tiled path. By now, I could not see where I had come from, and where I was headed. The trees around me had created shelter from urban concrete. There was a bit of a plain land on my right, which was occupied by 15 to 20 teenagers enjoying a game of cricket.

Along the way, few individuals and groups were practising yoga. This sight was familiar. I had seen it in earlier parks that I had visited – middle-aged men and women struggling to complete a posture of yoga. The joggers’ frequency was on the rise, but the walkway was wide enough to comfortably pass fellow walkers. I walked past a few tiny shades that resembled road-side slums of Mumbai. It seemed the park’s caretakers lived in those ‘houses’ that were waist-high and could only provide protection from the sun. The walkway was now shared by half a dozen stray dogs. Like the homeless man, the mutts were there to take a break from the mad-rush that existed beyond the high walls of the park.

I had now walked 2km, and was very glad to have discovered the park – definitely a good place for a run. Now I decided to head back, and I turned at the next ‘Y’ junction. The park was well-maintained in most parts. Ironically, the filthiest parts of the park were where the shades of the gardeners were installed. There was all sorts of rubbish piling up around it, including used condoms. It was also the least used area of the park.

As I continued, I came across a tree with Indian deities, and the man along the well. I opened my phone. I was using an iPhone App to map my walk, and it confirmed what I thought – I had entered an endless loop of the park.

I then used the GPS to guess my way back to get out of the park. As I reached the gates to get out, I noticed on the GPS that I had barely covered a third of the whole park, and I had walked 2km.

I ended my half-hour walk with satisfaction of discovering a track that I could use for a run. But at another level, I had discovered a world that existed within the confines of tall walls. A walk of life!

Health News

Leprosy endemic returns in India

Seven years after the disease was ‘eradicated’, leprosy has returned in India. The ‘poverty disease’ is redeveloping roots in India’s poor states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and most prominently, Bihar. India is home to more than half the world’s leprosy cases.

While the number of cases this year, at 127,000, is still lower than the 170,000 cases in 2005 – when the government had claimed victory over the disfiguring disease, the number is 400 cases higher than in 2010, which is causing an alarm.

The Leprosy Mission New Zealand (LMNZ) has been working in India through its sister organisation – The Leprosy Mission India Trust, based in New Delhi. LMNZ executive director Brent Morgan recently travelled to Bihar to review the work. He shares his experience in an interview with The Global Indian magazine.

Why did you choose Bihar for your visit?

“The reason for my visit to India was to see some of the work that LMNZ funds. This time it was to Muzaffarpur Hospital, a Leprosy Mission hospital three hours from Patna in Bihar. LMNZ has been supporting the work at Muzaffarpur for more than 20 years.

The Leprosy Mission India Trust, our sister organisation based in New Delhi, has been working in Bihar for many years. The reason we work there is that it is one of the states of India that is still leprosy-endemic, that is more than one case of leprosy per 10,000 population.”

Was your experience different from what you had expected?

“Yes and no. I worked in India from 1999-2005 as an expatriate with a large multinational company; so I know the country reasonably well and regard it as my second home. What I did notice was ‘middle India’ doing much better than it was 10 years back which is great.

“Going out into the rural villages, places like Muzaffarpur, I don’t think that the lives of poor people have changed very much. This remains a challenge for India – how to improve the lives of the poor and those with leprosy.”

What do you think could be done differently to tackle leprosy in India?

“The number of new cases has increased recently. There is more knowledge and expertise on leprosy in India than anywhere else in the world, both in government and NGOs like ours; so the skills are there. Leprosy can be tackled by the government committing more funds to detecting and treating the disease early, before it becomes a problem.

“I am encouraged to hear that the Indian government are considering committing more funds to leprosy work. The other issue, which is more long term, is addressing leprosy stigma.

“People affected by leprosy are often marginalised from society. Society must realise that leprosy is another disease – preventable, curable and not highly contagious. It must change its attitude if the leprosy-affected are to ever live in the mainstream of Indian society.”

The Leprosy Mission New Zealand has projects in India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea.  If you have a special connection with any of these countries and would like to support the Mission’s work, you can contact Michael Sheppard on +64 9 631 1807 or email him at There are many different ways you can get involved from awareness raising or fundraising through to helping out in the Auckland office.

India records the highest number of new leprosy cases in the world; of around 35% of new leprosy cases in India, 48,000 are women and 13,610 children newly detected with leprosy. (Source: World Health Organisation)

Leprosy cannot be transmitted by casual contact as people fear and 95% of people are immune to the disease. Dr Pankaj Maniar, consultant dermatologist and vice-chairman, Alert India, says, “People should shed their worries, not think about the stigma and societal concerns and seek medical advice on noticing the first signs of leprosy. Today, leprosy is treatable and medications too are available easily.”


Food Health Lifestyle

How to stay healthy with busy lifestyle

How to lose weight

Too busy to work out? Too stressed to eat healthy? You can’t use those excuses any more to explain your poor health, bad eating habits and low energy levels. Let’s face it, if you are over-weight or even under-nourished, you will have less energy to deal with the hectic schedule you are leading, and you will be more susceptible to falling sick.

Here are some solutions to stay fit and healthy while still leading a busy life. These small steps provide an all-round solution to staying fit – exercise, food, sleep and water.

Eat well

Okay, we all are guilty of doing this – after a long day’s work, it is logical to pick up a burger on the way home, especially when the stomach is grumbling. Or you have back to back meetings during the day, and you want to skip your lunch. Don’t. Keep a bag of dry fruits, or a box of fruits at your desk. Keep a couple of bananas in the car. Stack up tinned tuna, nuts, whole grain crackers in your drawer. Keep unflavoured yoghurt, veggie sticks and hummus in the fridge at work. Don’t forget to put your name on them, otherwise it will disappear just when you need it.

How to lose weight

Pack your sandwich with you before leaving home in the morning. I know, mornings are so rushed, especially when you are trying to pack the kids away too. Make the sandwich the night before, or at least prepare the ingredients at night, if you don’t like a soggy sandwich.

Make a smoothie for breakfast. Here’s the easiest way to make a healthy smoothie – get some milk, banana, yoghurt, blueberries, rolled oats and a raw egg, beat them up and take it with you. For the more leisurely mornings or weekends, make some muffins or muesli bars.

What’s for dinner? The healthiest and fastest option is fish – rich in Omega oils. Just fry some salmon fillets with garlic salt. Of course, don’t deep fry it. Add some stir fried veggies to it with lemon juice. Want to make it even healthier? Add almonds to it.

If you still want to pick up a takeout, avoid deep fried, oily and salty stuff.


This is an often-repeated advice, but I can’t stress it enough – drink at least 8 to 9 glasses of water. But spread it out at regular intervals. It is easy to forget to drink water when you have lots of meetings. Carry your water bottle everywhere you go. Avoid coffee if you can. But if you have to drink coffee or Coke, which dehydrates your body, drink lots of water. Plan your day ahead, so that if you are going to be away from a water source, take a bottle with you. I always keep a water bottle in my car.


If you are like me, you will try to go for a run or hit the gym in the evening. By the time you get home, you are so tired that you skip the exercise. Or your kid needs to be taken to the doctor. I have found that the best time to get some exercise out of the way is the first thing in the morning, when your kids are still in bed. Put on your sneakers and hit the road. If you go to bed late, and can’t get up early, try to fit in just 10 to 15 minutes’ exercise in the morning, and then hit the road for 15 minutes in the lunch hour. By splitting your workout like this, you can mix and match activities – weights in the morning, run in the afternoon, yoga in the evening.

Also, be on the lookout for small excuses to do exercise. Take stairs at work. Park the car a bit away while going for a meeting or grocery shopping. Walk to the colleague’s desk across the floor instead of emailing her. If your colleague shares the same passion, consider having a meeting with her over a walk around the block.


Our bodies recover and rebuild cells during sleep. It is absolutely crucial to get a good night’s sleep. Each person needs a different number of hours – but a minimum of six hours of sound sleep is crucial. Go to bed on time. Go to bed at the same time every night. A sleep deprived body produces chemicals that is harmful to our health. In fact, sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture for many centuries.

Say no

Finally, this is not a health tip, but has a direct impact on our health. We over-commit professionally and socially, and try to pack too much in our day. Learn to say no. Prioritise your commitments. Aim to reach your appointments before time. Look for excuses to laugh. All these things will reduce your stress levels, which will in turn improve your health.

Health Lifestyle Relationships Sex

Virginity cream draws criticism in India

vagina tightening cream 18 Again

A vaginal tightening cream is serving an unintended purpose in India – rekindling debate about sexuality in a society of contradiction.

The oxymoron? The second-most populated country in the world puts social taboos on public discussion or display of sexual activities. So when a television commercial (watch video) openly talked about regaining virginity, it raised more than eyebrows.

The advertisement for 18 Again, a virginity cream that claims to tighten vagina, shows a daughter-in-law in an orthodox Indian house dancing to a tune declaring “I feel like a virgin again”. Her husband joins her, putting his arm around her waist, as the shocked in-laws look on. If this wasn’t enough, read on. The advertisement ends with the shocked mother-in-law logging on the website for 18 Again to order the cream, while her husband stands behind in a supportive posture.

vagina tightening cream 18 Again

The makers of 18 Again are marketing the vaginal cream as a product that empowers Indian women. Says Rishi Bhatia, the owner of Ultratech that’s making and selling the vagina ‘rejuvenation and tightening’ product: “It’s a unique and revolutionary product which also works towards building inner confidence in a woman and boosting her self esteem.”

Hear him further: he says the goal of the product is to “empower women”.

Defending Rishi Bhatia is Curry Nation, the advertising agency behind the controversial ad, which expected the ad to generate viral publicity. In an interview to Tehelka, the agency’s account manager, Nagessh Pannaswami, insists that a tighter vagina is empowering, because “it’s not just about sexual pleasure, but also about preventing infection, discharge, urinary incontinence, and making older women feel good”.

Ultratech says the cream, selling for US$44, will take about three months of use before showing any results and contains gold dust, aloe vera, almond and pomegranate.

Launched by Bollywood actor Celina Jaitley, the product follows on the back of another product, which recently generated similar debate – a cream to lighten the vaginal skin, and was targeted at a market that still holds the view that fairer skin is better skin. Indian matrimonial ads still seek “fairer” brides.

So what’s the debate? First, the ad is ridiculous – a daughter-in-law dancing in front of her in-laws and announcing that she feels like a virgin again. The scene is far from common even in India’s modern cities.

Second, the use of the word ‘vagina’ is rare in mainstream television advertisements even in ultra-modern western countries.

But these are minor issues. Here’s a more serious objection – the objectification of women, disguised as their empowerment. Sure enough, there are numerous advertisements that objectify women, and I am not even discussing intercourse-related products.

There are ads that use women as an object to sell everything from soft drinks to cars. That’s indirect objectification.

Then there are ads for products, from fairness creams to weight loss tablets, that are sold to help women look more attractive. For who? Keep guessing.

However, this vagina tightening cream takes that exploitation to another level. It aims to create an inferiority complex among women who have, err, loose vagina.

Ask any woman who has lost virginity and you will know that it is a painful experience. To “feel like a virgin” is rarely going to be a pleasurable memory, at least for women. Then, for whose benefit is this cream really? Keep guessing.

For now, the land of Kama Sutra is witnessing a savvy businessman’s attempt to make a quick buck out of a deep-rooted mindset that does little to empower Indian women.

Food Health Lifestyle

Miracle Indian foods for weight loss

Looking for Indian foods for weight loss? Here’s a list of 9 Indian foods for weight loss that will help you burn unwanted fat and get in shape for summer.  These tips are based on Ayurveda which contains  knowledge of Indian foods for weight loss based on ancient Indian practices.

Mustard oil

Forget olive oil. Use mustard oil for cook which is full of vitamins and antioxidants. It helps in lowering cholesterol because it has less saturated fat.


Traditional Indian meal is incomplete without buttermilk, which is nothing but yoghurt diluted with water. This is possibly the easiest Indian food to lose weight because it contains nutrients but is low on calories. It is also probiotic, which means it helps in digestion. It has less fat that whole milk.

Curry leaves

Did you grow up watching your mother use curry leaves and always thought that these leaves were for flavour? Think again. Curry leaves are a super Indian food for weight loss because they help remove fat and toxins from the body. And you don’t have to go overboard with this Indian food for weight loss. Just use a few leaves in your food every day.


Indian foods for weight loss

Turmeric is quite unique to Indian cooking but is one of the best Indian foods for weight loss. Turmeric increases metabolism – which is the speed at which our body burns fat. Numerous studies have show that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, works on genes that cause heart related health problems. It helps in reducing bad cholesteroal (LDL) while improving blood circulation.


Yes, honey is high in sugar which is not good. But it helps in fighting obesity. It helps in burning fat in the body. But don’t go overboard with honey. Just consume one table spoon of honey with hot water in the morning. New Zealand honey, also known as Manuka, is said to contain high levels of anti-oxidants which are good for weight loss and healthy living.

Moong dal

While Moong dal is not a very glamorous food for weight loss, but it is one of the cheapest and healthiest Indian foods for losing weight. Moong dal, or bean sprouts are rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains potassium, iron and calcium.

While very low it fat, it has plenty of fibre and protein.


Spicy Indian food is said to be good for losing weight. Chillies have capsaicin which is responsible for its spiciness and helps to increase the metabolism of the body.


Just like chillies, even cardamom is a super Indian food for weight loss – it helps increase metabolism of the body while also helping digestion.


Finally, garlic is frowned upon because of its smell, but Ayurveda says that it helps in burning fat because it contains allicin which has  anti-bacterial properties.

Other Indian foods for losing weight include millets, cinnamon and cloves.
Editor recommends Health Lifestyle News

Diabetes among Indians set to boost pharma sales

Diabetes Indians

Diabetes among Indians is on the rise, as evident from the expected growth of market for diabetes products in India and China.

The low awareness about diabetes, and a growing number of diabetic Indians are attracting big firms like Roche, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Lilly to India, says a new report.

The report from healthcare industry specialists GBI Research predicts  the diabetes devices market to grow at 10% to a value of $285.2m by 2018. This market was merely  $146.5m in 2011.

“India has vast potential in this sector as it is home to the second highest population of diabetes sufferers in the world, after China,” says the report.

India was home to 61 million diabetic Indians in 2011. This figure is projected to grow – 101 millions Indians with diabetes will need healthcare by 2030.

Diabetes Indians

“Improved diagnosis rates, an increase in government initiatives, and greater interest from diabetes device manufacturers are all expected to be major factors in growing the sector within India,” says the report.

The Chinese diabetes devices market was valued at $776.2m in 2011, and is expected to grow at  the rate of 5.9% to reach $1,161m in 2018.

The Chinese government has been fighting to increase awareness of diabetes and spread the availability of treatment through schemes such as the National Diabetes Management Project. This is an important driver for the national diabetes devices market.

From a global perspective, the diabetes devices market is predicted to expand from a 2011 value of $17.7 billion to $25.3 billion in 2018, climbing at the rate of 5.2%.

With the festival season around the corner, the consumption of sugar-heavy sweets  is expected to make the problem worse.

Visit Diabetes Association of India

Editor recommends Health News

Helen Clark criticizes Indian cigarette company

smoking cigarette cancer

While a new law restricting cigarette displays in New Zealand shops came into effect this weekend, in another corner of the world, a former New Zealnd prime minister was presenting a business award to an Indian cigarette company.

India’s largest cigarette manufacturer received an award from Helen Clark, a former New Zealand prime minister, who then quickly described the award as “an oversight” and said her involvement in presenting a business award to a tobacco company won’t be happening again.

Helen Clark heads the United Nations Development Programme which supported a World Business Development Award to Indian Tobacco Company (ITC).

smoking cigarette cancer

India’s largest cigarette producer received  the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s highest prize for improving the environment and removing poverty.

In a statement, Helen says she was shocked that a tobacco company was given the award.

“I have worked tirelessly throughout my career to achieve a smoke free society in New Zealand, and was thus, shocked to learn that a World Business Development Award, supported by UNDP, was given to a company which derives a substantial proportion of its profits from tobacco,” she says.

“Unfortunately the criteria for the World Business Development Awards did not exclude projects implemented by companies from certain sectors like tobacco.

“This has clearly been a serious oversight.

“UNDP is reviewing its rules and regulations to ensure that an incident like this never happens again. UNDP will not participate in these awards in the future unless companies like this are excluded.

Ironically, Helen’s husband, Peter Davis, is a public health expert, and Helen has been true advocate of anti-smoking campaign in New Zealand.

In the meantime, New Zealand banned retail displays of cigarettes from today 23 July. New Zealand retailers will now have to keep all tobacco products hidden from customers, under the new law passed last year.

The ban will force dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations to store cigarettes below the counter.  Retailers may not even refer to tobacco products in their business names.

“The day has finally arrived when we can celebrate what we have done to protect our children,” says Skye Kimura, New Zealand Cancer Society’s Tobacco Control Advisor.

The ban marks the culmination of the Society’s campaigning since 2007 to get tobacco products out of sight.

“We want cigarette displays off the walls and under the counter,” said the Society in a statement in March 2007.

“Recent interviews with kids and teenagers tell us that one of the first things they see in a dairy is cigarettes,” the statement said.

The initiative was based on research at the time showing 66% of adult New Zealanders supported a total ban on the visual display of cigarettes. Support was even higher among non-smokers.

Since then numerous research papers and surveys have confirmed that cigarette displays ‘normalise’ smoking for young people – especially as displays are commonly sited next to the lollies. In another survey 45% of smokers agreed that cigarette displays at the checkout made it harder to quit.

“Our next job is to introduce plain packaging and then we will be well on our way to reaching our goal of a smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025,” says Skye.

A very high amount of tax has made New Zealand cigarettes one of the most expensive in the world, and has encouraged a practice of buying cigarettes while overseas.

Food Health Lifestyle

Ramadan – a month of fast and feast

Ramadan food ideas

Today marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan – the beginning of fasting for millions of Muslims around the world.

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Its a month of introspection, a month to practice humility and in multi-cultural societies, it also brings a feeling of community.

Ramadan, or ramazan as it is known in some parts of world, is also known for a variety of food that’s available.

The month-long Islamic tradition of self-reflection gets observers fasting from sunrise to sunset. Two meals of the day are eaten – one just before the sunrise (suhoor), and the other soon after the sunset (iftar).

While the day progresses on an empty stomach, the late afternoon aroma of tasty food cooking feels the air with excitement.

Ramadan food ideas

And the month long celebration of fast and special food culminates with Eid-ul-Fitr which is often celebrated with a feast, in the loving company of  family and friends.

Most Muslims insist on eating halal food which is prepared following Islamic dietary regulations. However, the food itself is then influenced by local cultures and traditions. But the central part of most Ramadan food is dates.

Dates are used to break the fast every evening during the month of Ramadan. Medically, dates also help to restore blood sugar levels after a long day of fasting.

Given the importance of food during Ramadan, some Muslim countries have very strict food regulations during the month of Ramadan.

“We will intensify our inspection drive during Ramadan,” says Sultan Taher, Head of the Food Inspection Section at The Food Control Department of the Dubai Municipality.

“As we have to be on high alert in relation to possible food safety incidents in Ramadan, we will categorically check and monitor groceries, malls and traditional kitchens.”

But its not just food safety that the administrators are worried about.  The Ramadan campaign for the year addresses two very important issues — food safety and food wastage, says  Khalid Mohammed Shareef Al Awadhi, Director of the department.

The department is advertising five rules:

Rule 1. Plan ahead for the amount of food you wish to prepare based on the number of people and serving size;

Rule 2. Limit the time between preparation and serving — the easiest and the safest way is to cook and serve immediately;

Rule 3. Store food safely after preparation — hot food should be held hot above 60 degree Celsius and cold food should be held cold below 5 degree Celsius. If this is not possible, food should be eaten within two hours after preparation;

Rule 4. Transport food safely in hot boxes or chilled vehicles. Follow Rule 3 for temperature control;

Rule 5. Buy safe: Don’t buy food/snacks that are sold in open condition on the street side and foods sold by unapproved vendors.

Cooked rice, meat, cut fruits, salads, desserts with milk, cream and eggs etc should always be held under temperature control as recommended above, says Asia Abdul Wahab Murad, Head of Development and Planning at the department.

“Cooked hot foods should be held at 60 degree Celsius and cold foods should be held below 5 degree Celsius. Such foods should be eaten within two hours of preparation if the facilities to store food at that temperature are not available.

“Since the weather is hot (in the Middle East), cold foods such as salads and desserts can become unsafe very fast. These are high-risk foods and should be kept chilled or prepared and eaten immediately. Such foods should not be left at room temperature for a long time.”


Editor recommends Health News Work Abroad

NZ employer fined for injury

A sawmill in New Zealand’s Kawerau was fined $20,000 after an employee sustained multiple fractures when he became trapped in a conveyor belt.

Sequal Lumber Limited Partnership was also ordered to pay reparations of $8,000 following the accident on 4 September last year.

The Whakatane District Court heard that an employee of Sequal Lumber was shovelling bark onto the conveyor belt when the accident happened.

“The employee dropped his shovel, tripped over it and fell onto the conveyor belt, trapping his right arm between the conveyer and its pulley,” says central region health and safety manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ona De Rooy.

The employee was seriously injured as a result. He suffered multiple fractures, including a fracture to his right arm, several broken ribs and lacerations.

“This is yet another unacceptable example of an employer failing to take the steps required to keep their workers safe on the job. All too often employees are seriously injured at work, when it is their fundamental right to go home safe at the end of their working day,” Ona says.

“This accident could have been prevented if Sequal Lumber had put in place adequate machine guarding. We encourage all employers to familiarise themselves with the machine guarding information available on the MBIE’s website, as well as our other information on keeping safe at work,” Ona says.

What does the law say:

Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, states:

Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—

· (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and

· (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and

· (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and

· (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—

· (i) in their place of work; or

· (ii) near their place of work and under the employer’s control; and

· (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

Editor recommends Health Lifestyle News

Charity suggests a national database of children

New Zealand’s largest provider of services to support the wellbeing of children under five is asking the government to consider a national child health database to record all the health care a child receives from birth, including GP visits, well child contacts, immunisations, specialist care and hospital admissions.

Such a database will help identify the children missing out on the services and care they are entitled to.

It would also improve sharing of information between providers so more support can be offered to families who need it most, and all children get the best start in life, says Plunket chief executive Jenny Prince.

“We need to concentrate effort on ensuring that families have the support they need to safely care for and raise New Zealand’s future generations”

New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of public investment in young people in the OECD.

The country ranks 28 of 30 nations for giving children a good start, based on measures such as overcrowding in homes and infant mortality.

Jenny has welcomed the Health Select Committee’s inquiry into preventing child abuse and improving children’s health outcomes. The inquiry aims to find what practical health and social interventions can be made from before birth until the child is three years of age.

In a joint oral submission to the Select Committee today, with advocacy coalition Every Child Counts, Plunket encouraged all political parties to have an investment approach to children.

“Evidence shows that those first three years are critical in a child’s development”, says Jenny. “Deprivation during this time results in poor outcomes in adulthood. Economic investment during the first three years will have pay back throughout life in health, education and social outcomes.”

“The health and wellbeing of our children is not just an issue for politicians though, it’s an issue for all New Zealanders. Focusing on giving our children the best start in life is vital in helping us create a better society.

“We are looking for leadership from Parliament and Government to support a societal attitude shift so the needs of children and those caring for them are prioritised in policy and fiscal decision making, as well as in communities and families” she says.

Health News

Winter cold maybe more harmful than you think

Winter is here in full swing, and with it comes the cold and flu. People usually either take flu vaccinations, or just bear the onslaught of cold and fever, hoping that it would go away as usual.

However, there is a prominence of Whooping Cough in New Zealand, which can be mistaken for winter cold.

Whooping Cough (pertussis) is highly infectious bacterial disease, easily spread through coughing and sneezing.

This cough usually infects the most vulnerable people – babies and young children, elderly and those with chronic illness.

The cases of Whooping Cough are increasing in Auckland, and the regional healthcare provider is aksing the public to take extra precautions against exposing those at risk of the disease.

Whooping Cough may start as an annoying cough initially, may not cause severe illness and might be disregarded, says Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS).

The problem lies in the fact that many infants who catch whooping cough get it from a parent, caregiver or older brother or sisters.

A good general rule is that if you have a cough you should stay away from babies and infants, says Dr Andrew Lindsay, Medical Officer of Health at ARPHS.

“If your work brings you into contact with babies, infants or pregnant women, get a whooping cough booster vaccination every 10 years.” 

If your child develops a cough, even if your child has been vaccinated for whooping cough, it is important to see your doctor.

This is because immunity to whooping cough decreases over time and the vaccine does not give 100% protection.

On time vaccination is the best way to protect babies and infants. The free vaccination programme in children starts at six weeks then followed at three months and then at five months of age.

Babies will not be protected until they have received all three doses.

If you are not sure if your child’s vaccinations are up to date – ask your doctor.

Just as important is the vaccination of those who may pass the disease to an infant or other vulnerable people.

Andrew encourages those who have regular contact with newborns to consider getting themselves vaccinated as an added protection.


Diet and exercise: how to get the right balance

Dieting and exercise are usually cited as two key things for weight loss.

Neither dieting nor exercise comes easily for most people keen to lose weight. And finding the right balance between diet and exercise almost seems impossible.

However, here are some tips to achieve that elusive balance between exercise and right diet, if you have a strong desire to lose weight.

First, note that most dieting and exercise plans devised independent of each other and this is a major problem why diet and exercise don’t work well.

Why? A poorly planned diet and exercise regimen usually leads to less than substantial weight loss results. It is not difficult to forecast what will likely happen in this kind of situation.

Poor results lead to frustration, and frustration leads to giving up. If you have tried to diet and exercise in the past, you may have experienced this disappointing cycle.

Here’s what to do to avoid frustration in getting leaner.

To achieve your weight loss goals, design your meal choices in coordination with your exercise regimen. This will allow your body to utilize the correct nutrients, to the maximum extent, to make your exercise efforts as effective as possible.

How to achieve optimum diet for weight loss?

First, remove unhealthy snacks from your eating habits. This does not mean you can’t snack, but rather that healthy snack choices will help your dieting and exercise regimen become more effective.

The easiest way to understand the harm that junk food causes, let’s look at the calories. Here is good example of the number of minutes a person would have to exercise in order to negate the consumption of unhealthy snacks:

If you were to eat the serving size of one ounce of Pringles, your caloric intake would be 150 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of fat. Taken together, this means that you would have to either: walk for 43 minutes, or run for 18.

While potato chips may be tasty, they are not the right choice for an individual striving to lose weight.

Once you have armed yourself with the food value breakdowns of the foods you eat, you can begin to cut out those food choices that do nothing for your body. Again, it’s important to realize that dieting and exercise must be accomplished together in order to be effective.

As the potato chip example shows, our food choices are vitally important to our exercise results. There are other food items worth paying attention to that are high in calories, like Starbucks coffee. The takeaway from these breakdowns: that small indulgence, taken with all of the others, equals weight gain. The last thing a person attempting a diet and exercise regimen wants is to negate their hard work simply because they are not aware of the negative effect of some of their food choices.

I hope this example drives the point well: successful dieting and exercise is not beyond your reach.

If you are serious about losing weight, educate yourself on the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Next, chose a diet plan that is right for you.

There are countless resources available for those willing to seriously attempt weight loss.

For those individuals who feel they are too busy to take on the added task of educating themselves on, shopping for, and then preparing healthy meals, consider a meal delivery service.