Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
HEALTH IS WEALTH
People around me get surprised when they come to know that I never got a fever or a cold for the past 20 years! And they ask me to show them the way to the healthy way of living.
So I decided to share some important things with them and also with everybody.
Yes, I never got a fever or a cold for the past 20 years! That despite I get drenched in rain, bear the severe cold weather, and the hot temperatures of the Sun. All that I get when I go to a place of high density microbes is just two hours of sour throat of low intensity! Shall I tell you the secret of my good health? There is no magic involved in this. As I am a Microbiologist, I know how to hoodwink the little creatures that cause misery to millions around the world.
Now let me tell you too how to go about it.
First you need the whole picture of how microbes live and work! Yes, if you don't have one, it is extremely difficult to hoodwink them! Because a partial picture makes you unprepared for the war with them! It also helps if you know how a human body works. So for laymen it is really difficult to achieve what I have achieved! But still there is no harm in trying.
There are a few steps you must take.
1. Maintaining moderate hygiene
Avoiding large numbers of harmful microbes: I don't recommend total avoidance because you should give a chance to your immune system to do its work properly. If you avoid microbes totally, you don't develop immunity towards them. There is a thing called "Inoculum Potential" - which can be defined as 'the total potential of a pathogen to cause infection —note the potential is related to both the quantity and the quality of inoculum.
If you allow the microbes in small quantities below this potential to enter into your body, they cannot cause any harmful infection in your body but at the same time your body develops immunity towards the microbes. Your body recognizes what is a good microbe and what is bad to the body and tries to asses things properly so that you don't have problems with allergies too.
Yes, you have to wash your hands, then wipe them with a clean towel before eating anything. But don't worry if you cannot do this every time you put your fingers in your mouth! If you have a healthy immune system, it doesn't matter at all! Just see that your hand is completely dry when you do this. This reduces the chance of infection. Also see that your hands don't come in contact with dirty surfaces before you eat with them.
(Please note that very old people, very young children, people who have/just recovered from major illnesses, people who take low value nutrition because of their economic statuses, and people with certain health conditions like diabetes and HIV should maintain absolute hygiene because their immune systems will be weak.)
Watch this video which says - Are we too clean? How changing a body's microbes leads to illness
2. Developing a healthy immune system: To achieve this, foods belonging to all varieties should be consumed - especially fruits and vegetables. I eat at least 10 types of fruits and vegetables - I include atleast one leafy vegetable in the list - daily! ( Fruits must be eaten separately - should not be mixed with other foods to have full advantage). I include 2-4 types of pulses, 2-4 types of boiled grains ( rice, wheat, ragi, barley, millets, jowar, corn etc.), 2-3 types of oils - just a tea spoon full of oil is enough for me per day! 750 ml of diet (low fat) milk/curd, 2-3 varieties of nuts, 2-3 varieties of oil seeds ( roasted peanuts, sesame, copra etc.), ginger and garlic paste and turmeric powder - small amounts, 1-2 onions. I take small amounts of food - just one cup at a time - 5 times in a day, with three hour gaps starting from six in the morning till six in the evening. After 6 or 6.30 in the evening, I won't eat anything till 6 am the next day! I drink about 6 glasses of clean water ( enough for my body weight) per day. Never tasted tea or coffee in my life! No oily foods, fast foods, and spices for me. I am almost a vegetarian (by choice).
(But remember that 'no one-fits-all healthy diet exists'. Genes definitely play a role in deciding about weight, cholesterol levels, varying insulin production in living bodies despite having same food plans -ref. 4,5. What works for me need not work for you. So knowing individual body mechanisms is very important before deciding on the diet.)
3. Keeping away from things that might cause harm to the body: I never smoked or tasted alcohol in my life! Never did drugs. Never go towards fast foods and soft drinks. Absolutely no red meats for me. A simple vegetarian diet can be good too.
I don't eat sugar ; whenever I want to bring sweetness to any dish, I use dates, raisins and two tea spoons of natural honey.
I eat sweets, cakes, ice creams and fried foods only during festivals and marriage, birthday and house warming ceremonies I attend once in a while.
4. Maintaining the body's clocks and rhythms properly.
You must have a good rhythmic sleep too to develop good immunity towards diseases.
Many processes in the body naturally turn on or off with a near-clocklike precision. Sleeping and changes in body temperature, mood and metabolism — the process of turning food into energy — all follow a cycle. This cycle repeats on a near-daily, or circadian, schedule. It’s driven by a master internal “clock,” a clump of brain cells that serve as a timekeeper. Now scientists have found that a confused clock may impair a person’s immune system, a collection of cells that fight infection and disease. The finding explains why people whose clocks are off may be more likely to suffer from some immune disorders. Therefore, it is important to go to sleep daily at a time - say 10 pm and wake up at the same time daily say 4 or 5 am.
I go to sleep at 10 pm and get up at 4 am daily and sleep for just six hours. I don't disrupt this rhythm no matter what!
Moreover, the experts say that the body actually has many cellular clocks scattered throughout its tissues—in the liver, pancreas, body's fatty tissue and elsewhere. Disruptions in any of the secondary clocks may increase an individual's risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or depression, among other conditions (2,3).
5. Allowing microbes of all varieties to grow in the body so that they have a competition among themselves so that no microbe dominates to cause a disease.
Not taking antibiotics that kill all types - including the good ones - of bacteria is good too. This makes some resistant ones and viruses and fungi to grow more. I usually don't take medicines and allow the body cope with things like pain on its own! I don't visit doctors, clinics or hospitals unless it is absolutely necessary.
When you stay at a place for a long time you naturally build your immune system to tackle the microbes there. Problems arise when you go to a new place like when you are traveling. Then one should take care to drink only boiled water, consume hot, just cooked foods or fully washed and dried foods. If you don't have a good immune system, these things are a must!
6. Request others around you to maintain hygiene too: If somebody is having infection and is coughing or sneezing, ask the person to cover his/her mouth and wash his/her hands after doing this. Ask people not to spit in public places. Ask them to try to help others and cooperate with them so that others don't contact these diseases.
7. Immunization: Yes, it helps if people get immunized for certain highly contagious diseases. Especially children who have low immunity towards diseases, can certainly benefit from immunization. Small pox and polio have been eradicated totally and in most parts of the world respectively in this way. I have been immunized in my childhood by my parents against some of the harmful diseases.
8. Good exercise: I walk for about 45 minutes daily. I do all the hard work at home and outside myself. So I am in a very good shape, with just the right amount of body weight.
9. Do the things you like the most and make you absolutely happy. Don't just follow others blindly and come under peer pressure and do things even if they don't make you comfortable. What you are doing must make you smile, your skin glow, make your body radiate with healthy energy, and fill your mind with sublime feelings.
10. Little amount of stress is okay: I am not entirely stress-free because of the nature of my work in several fields. According to some scientists some amount of stress is good to make people do their work well (Ref 1). I take things in my stride, try to be like a normal human being, and go about dealing things the best way I can. Sweet are the uses of adversity! The lesson I learnt and follow in life: Don't worry too much about the stress you undergo. It is for your good only!
And it works for me!
Now that you know the secrets of my health, why don't you give them a try? That is - only if you want to! Walking on the road that leads to a healthy life is not difficult at all if you are fully determined.
“Asthma is a very prevalent disease in our society now. It wasn’t so 50 years ago. And we now realize that the very early life microbes seem to have set you up or not for asthma.”
Microbiologist Brett Finlay, from the University of British Columbia. In a study of Canadian infants, his team found “at three months of age, which is a really tiny little kid, there are four microbes, if you had these four microbes you had very very low risk of getting asthma, if you didn’t have these microbes you were at very very high risk of asthma.”
Finlay spoke February 17th at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Where he also discussed a recent follow up study among kids in rural Ecuador.
“And a big risk factor associated with asthma whether they had potable, clean water. So ironically the kids that got the clean water had higher asthma rates than the kids that had the dirty water. Now that makes sense in terms of microbial acquisition…it makes sense but I must admit I was surprised to see that, you’d think if we clean the water up that’s good for the world…this is all part of the big ‘hygiene hypothesis’…I say we’re suffering from a hygiene hangover, we have cleaned our world up too much, and we’re just not getting the microbes that our grandparents got. And as a result that’s affecting many, many of the diseases that we experience in our society that we didn’t experience a hundred years ago...
Hah, I already told you this!
Want a long life? Eat fruits and vegetables
LONDON: Eating at least seven daily portions of fruit and vegetables lowers risk of death by 42%. It also lowers risk of death from cancer and heart disease/stroke by 25% and 31%, scientists will announce on Monday.
Scientists analysed lifestyle data of more than 65,000 randomly selected adults aged at least 35. They also tracked recorded deaths from among the sample for an average of 7.5 years.
On average, the survey respondents said they had eaten just under four portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day. During the monitoring period 4399 people died.
The analysis revealed that eating fruit and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of death overall and deaths from heart disease/stroke and cancer.
The higher the intake of fruit and vegetables, the greater the protective effects seemed to be.
Scientists also found that vegetables pack more of a protective punch than fruit. Around 2-3 daily portions of vegetables were linked to a 19% lower risk of death compared with a 10% lower risk for the equivalent amount of fruit. And each portion of salad or vegetables seemed to confer a 12-15% lower risk of death.
But while fresh and dried fruit seemed to strongly curb the risk of death, a portion of frozen/tinned fruit seemed to increase it by 17%, which public health doctors from the University of Liverpool describe in an accompanying editorial as "intriguing."
The UK government currently recommends eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, prompting the suggestion in an accompanying editorial that it may be time to review national dietary recommendations.
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables has been linked to good health but many of the studies on which this association is based have largely been carried out on people who are already likely to be health conscious.
And while plenty of fruit and vegetables in the diet are recommended to boost cardiovascular health, the evidence for its impact on warding off cancer has been less clear-cut. Scientists say added sugars in 'processed' fruit could explain this finding why eating canned fruits increases mortality risk.
They concluded that current dietary guidance which includes consumption of dried or tinned fruit, smoothies and fruit juice as legitimate ways of reaching the '5-a-day' goal, might need to be revised.