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A Mood Boosting, Ailment - Busting guide to munching your way to Good Health

Food is really medicine in disguise. It's what nature always intended us to shove in our mouths when calamities happen.

Although serious condition should always be handled by a physician, for minor problems, food is a natural remedy that's often less expensive and has fewer side effects

To know exactly what to cook for what crisis, Indiadiets.com has compiled a list of the most common reasons you'd find yourself dialling the doctor, and matched the food to your particular misery. Yes, popping a supplement may be more convenient, but it isn't as effective. With foods, you get the combined effects of dozens of nutrients rather than just one or two. Pick your symptom and start eating.


BUILD MUSCLE

Eat a meal containing the perfect ratio of nutrients for building muscle - six parts carbohydrate to one part protein. In a University of Texas study, subjects who downed a carbohydrates and protein drink, a few hours after resistance training experienced 50% more muscle growth than those given only protein. The extra insulin released by eating carbohydrates intensifies the ability of the essential amino acids to promote optional muscle growth. 


COMMON COLD

At least one laboratory study suggests that chicken soup may fight colds by reducing inflammation, while peppermint tea, which contains methnol, may clear congestion. The jury's still out on vitamin C, but it can't hurt to consume foods high in C, such as orange juice, mosambi, hot lemon tea.


FATIGUE

Eat more iron rich foods such as fortified cereals, spinach, beans, chicken and red meat. (Lack of iron can make you tired and unfocused). Boost your intake of fruits and vegetables, too; their vitamin C will help your body use the iron in plant foods. Fatigue may also signal that you're mildly dehydrated, so drinking a few glasses of water during mid-afternoon slumps could help.


PMS

Is your calcium intake shamefully low? This could be the cause of your PMS symptoms. In one study, women who supplemented their diet with 1200 mg. of calcium a day (roughly the equivalent of 4 glasses of milk or fortified orange juice) for three menstrual cycles reported relief from crankiness, water retention, food cravings, and pain.


URINARY TRACT INFECTION

If you have got it bad, your best bet is antibiotics. But to prevent a UTI from striking again try black and blue berries (eg. jambools, karvandha). Studies at Rutgers University in Chatsworth,  NJ, have shown that these berries can protect against UTI's by preventing bacteria from sticking to urinary tract tissues. A handful a day should do it. 


PAIN RELIEF

Tart red cherries may offer relief. About 20 cherries have anti-inflammatory capability comparable to that of Aspirin or Ibuprofen, according to research from Michigan Stat University. If the fresh kind is not available near you, then try the canned variety.


CONSTIPATION

Boosting your intake of insoluble fibre (bran cereal, whole grain bread) is the key to keeping your system humming. Flax seed (linseed), praised for it's potential to protect against disease, beans and banana are also loaded with fibre. Drink plenty of water - at least 8 glasses every day - and try eating a few slices of pineapple after meals; it contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes regularity.


ENLARGED PROSTATE

Make a habit of guavas, or melon. It doesn't matter. Increased intake of fructose, the sugar found in fruit, may combat benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate - BPH, for short). Here's the theory: Fructose helps reduce phosphate levels in your body, and too much phosphate may raise your levels of 1,25-(OH)2D,a chemical that's been linked to both BPH and prostate cancer. 

Any fibre is good fibre, but soluble fibre - the kind found in oats and beans - is the best for your prostate. A recent study published in the Journal of Urology noted that men who ate more soluble fibre had lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. Soluble fibre may help lower PSA by clearing out harmful steroids that are involved in both BPH and prostate cancer.


MUSCLE INJURY

Peanuts contain medicine for your muscle: vitamin E. According to researches the extra Vitamin E present in peanuts may speed immune cells to the site of an injuty and help fight the inflammation that interferes with muscle healing. Grapes can also help out with flavonoids that increase the flow of blood to your sore spot. 


DEPRESSION

Research has shown that, over the long haul, omega 3 fatty acids ( found in fish oils) may stave off depression. Carbo - rich snacks, e.g., a banana, could also be a good bet for combatting crankiness in a pinch. Eating carbohydrates boosts your levels of tryptophan and serotonin - to feel - good brain chemicals (for the same reason this diet is also good for the stressed out). 

Another important nutrient you need to fight depression is Vitamin B6, found in meat, liver, whole grains and veggies like potatoes. Serious B6 deficiencies can result in dementia and paranoia. But even border - line levels can make a case of the blues worse. You could also increase the intake of Dahi - which is high in Riboflavin, another mood-boosting B. 

Beans are rich in folate, a hard disease fighting vitamin that may also help mend broken hearts. A Harvard study that examined blood levels of Vitamins in 213 depressed subjects found that low folate levels translated into higher levels of depression and a poorer response to medication.


HEART ATTACK

A daily dose of berries. Black or blue, they're sky high in Vitamin C. A guava or a few amlas will also do. Research shows that high blood levels of C may help improve the functioning of your blood vessels in a way that would help prevent a heart attack.


COLD SORES

A glass of red wine. According to a study published in Antiviral Research, resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, stopped the herpes simplex-1 virus from multiplying. Researchers aren't sure if this works in humans, but red wine isn't exactly castor oil, so give it a try.


YEAST INFECTION

Eating a cup of yoghurt or dahi daily may help prevent infections. The lactobacillus acidophilus - cultures present in dahi can help replenish the helpful bacteria that are necessary for controlling yeast levels.


KIDNEY STONES

Beer. Or a few porters. Both are high in hops, a beer ingredient that's believed to keep stone - forming calcium from accumulating in your kidneys. Finnish researchers studied approximately 27000 men and estimated that each glass of beer drank in a day lowered their kidney stone risk by 40%. Just don't binge; what's good for your kidney's isn't necessarily good for your liver.

If your doctor tells you to cut back on coffee because it contains compounds that may bind with calcium to form stones, he isn't up on his research. A study review published in the American Journal of Kidney disease found that those who drank coffee had a lower risk of kidney stones. 

But since caffeine is a diuretic, and dehydration is known to increase your risk of stones, drink plenty of water.


BROKEN BONES

Mix up some oil and vinegar for your salad dressing, using soyabean or mustard oil, both of which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids create a friendly environment for bone cells to do the job of building a new bone. Other sources that are high in omega-3s include fatty fish like tuna, sardines, and mackeral and walnuts.


TOOTH TROUBLES

Vitamin K. It helps your blood clot, which in turn will help close that hole left in your gums after a root canal. Leafy green vegetables are high in K, but since your chompers are on strike, drink vegetable juice instead. 

Soya can also help dampen your post surgical pain. Researchers found that when soy protein was fed to rats who later underwent surgery, their pain responses were suppressed. 


INSOMNIA

Compulsively shell peanuts or pistachios. It's the fat, not the monotony of shelling the nuts, that may help you doze off. Researchers in England found that when subjects were given a little fat, they fell asleep faster than when they were given salt or sugar. While peanuts and pistachios may not be any better than ice cream at knocking you out, the mono-saturated fat in them will improve your cholesterol levels.


LUNG CANCER

Grapefruit (paphanas). In a study published in tha Journal of the national Cancer Institute, subjects who frequently ate the tart fruit cut their lung cancer risk in half. Grapefruit, especially the white kind, contains naringin, a phytochemical that may help lower levels of a cancer causing enzyme. 

But if you are simply trying to quit smoking, go for more protein. There's a chemical reason why kicking the butt makes you feel like kicking the dog. Levels of cortisol, a mood lifting brain chemical, spike when you smoke but drop during withdrawal. In one study, people who ate a high protein lunch had a higher cortisol levels - and improvements in mood - then when they ate nothing.

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