The Telangana Science Journal

Health and Nutrition

(An International Electronic Science Digest Published from the United States of America)
(Dedicated to one of the most backward regions in India, "Telangana," My Fatherland )

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Issue 146

5111 Kali Era, Virodhi Year, Magha month
2066 Vikramarka Era, Virodhi Year, Magha month
1930 Salivahana Era,
Virodhi Year, Magha month
 2010 AD, February





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Diet and Exercise

Bitter Melon
Milk Products
Obesity in American Kids


Safe Lice Killer


Bitter Melon Stir-Fry

Diet and Exercise
Bitter Melon
Momordica charantia (family Cucurbitaceae): the bitter melon, 苦瓜; Hanyu Pinyin: kǔguā (Chinese), karela (Hindi), kaakara (Telugu),  haagala (Kannada), pavakka (Tamil), pare or parai (Malay and Indonesian), paria (Filipino), bitter gourd, balsam pear, or balsam apple, is the edible fruit of the tropical and subtropicalvine, named for its bitter taste.
Bitter melon, a tropical and subtropical vine, widely grown for edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all vegetables. Bitter melon is commonly used for cooking in the continents of India and Asia.  It is very popular throughout the Indian continent, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.  

A popular dish in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab is the fruit stuffed with spices and then fried in oil.  It is also prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt on the side to offset the bitterness.
At least 32 active chemicals have been identified in Bitter Melon so far, beta-sitosterol-d-glucoside, citrulline, GABA, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and vitamins.  Bitter Melons are rich in iron. They have twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contain Vitamins A, C, B1 to B3, Phosphorus and fiber. Many claim that Bitter Melon’s bitterness comes from the high concentration of quinine it contains, however little documented evidence has supported this claim. Despite the lack of documentation, it is still regarded by Asians, as well as Panamanians and Columbians, as a valuable agent for preventing and treating malaria.

An extract from bitter melon has shown promise in its ability to kill breast cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.  Researchers at Saint Louis University said in a report in March 1 edition of the journal Cancer Research  that bitter melon was shown effective in killing breast cancer cells in a controlled lab setting. Previous research has shown bitter melon can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Bitter melon has been used in India and China as a folk medicine to treat diabetes.
A study, published in a 1999 issue of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin, used an aqueous suspension of bitter melon vegetable pulp in patients with type 2. In another study, published in a 1981 issue of the Journal of Natural Products, bitter melon was prepared as an injectable “plant insulin” and injected into patients with type 1 and type 2. Both studies reported positive results.

Milk Products
Lactose is a sugar in milk, and most babies are born producing enough of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine to digest it. But worldwide, most people's lactase levels progressively decrease throughout childhood. How low those levels drop determine whether a person can, for example, drink two cups of milk at a time without discomfort -- pain, diarrhea, gas or bloating -- by adulthood. 
Northern Europeans evolved to keep ingesting milk after childhood, while other populations where milk and cheese were less a part of the diet lost that ability and adults may not need milk.  Regardless of ancestry, how well people can digest lactose is highly variable, and there is no good count of how many experience symptoms that mean full-scale lactose intolerance, said a panel of specialists convened by the National Institutes of Health.  Many people who think they cannot digest dairy products might do all right if they eat a small amount at a time, but surprisingly little is known about just how many have true lactose intolerance.  Many people who think they cannot digest dairy products might do all right if they eat a small amount at a time, but surprisingly little is known about just how many have true lactose intolerance, the government panel concluded.
It should be noted that milk is not only a source of vitamin D and calcium, but also contains saturated fat. Eating saturated fat can significantly raise the risk of stroke for women over 50, a large new study finds. We already know that diets rich in fat, particularly artery-clogging saturated and trans fat, are bad for the heart and the waistline.  The new study looked at stroke risk in women and across all types of fat. It showed a clear trend: Those who ate the most fat had a 44 percent higher risk of the most common type of stroke compared to those who ate the least.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting fat to less than 25 to 35 percent of total calories, and trans fat to less than 1 percent. The healthiest fats come from nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
In addition, milk is not the only source of vitamin D and calcium.  One can get enough calcium and vitamin D from other sources, such as fortified orange juice, lactose-removed dairy brands, calcium-rich broccoli, soy products and supplements.  Vegans will do fine with soy, broccoli and orange juice.  As we age our ability to digest broccoli, soy and milk may diminish, when we need supplements or other fortified foods.

Obesity in American Kids
About 32% of children and adolescents today -- 25 million kids -- are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Those extra pounds put kids at a greater risk of developing a host of debilitating and costly diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  A 2005 study found that kids today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity. Obesity costs the country a staggering $147 billion a year in weight-related medical bills, according to government data.
Michelle Obama says she will use all the power of her White House pulpit to promote a multifaceted campaign that will include more healthful food in schools, more accurate food labeling, better grocery stores in communities that don't have them, public service announcements and efforts to get children to be more active. Some of her plans, such as tax incentives for businesses, will need congressional approval.  Let's Move ( aims to do for healthy eating and exercise what the government's anti-smoking campaign did in the 1960s: change how people think about their health.


Safe Lice Killer
Benzyl Alcohol Lotion 5% (known as UlesfiaTM) works by suffocating lice, the new non-neurotoxic treatment for head lice has been found to have an average of 91.2% treatment success rate after one week, and to be safe in humans from six months of age and up. This is the finding of a study recently published in Pediatric Dermatology.
Ancient Chinese Pain Killer
While the use of scorpion venom to treat some body disorders seems counter-intuitive, the Chinese have recognized its effectiveness hundreds of years ago. The Chinese use scorpion venom, believing it to have powerful analgesic properties. Some studies have also shown that scorpion venom can be used to treat epilepsy.  Using an approach called "rational design" or "biomimicry," scientists are developing painkillers that mimic the venom's bioactive components. The idea is to use nature as the model, and to modify elements of the venom so that a future painkiller designed according to these toxins could be as effective as possible, while eliminating or reducing side effects.  Scorpion venom might be used as an alternative to dangerous and addictive painkillers like morphine, a Tel Aviv University researcher claims, reported by American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

Yoga has received less attention in the modern medical literature, though it has become popular in recently. It is estimated that about 7.5% of U.S. adults had tried yoga at least once, and nearly 4% practiced yoga in the previous year.

Patanjali’s yoga, aimed at self-realization and self-knowledge, has eight elements: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.  In popular culture, yoga is practiced with only one to three elements. Hatha yoga is the most common type of yoga practiced in the United States, with three elements: asana (aasana) - physical pose; pranayama (praanayama), controlled breathing practiced in conjunction with asanas; and dhyana (dhyaana), a short period of deep relaxation or meditation. 

In a 2008 study, it was reported that the yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI, indicaating the value of techniques like yoga that can help a person regulate stress and, therefore, pain responses. In a 2005 study, it was reported that women in the yoga group reported improvements in stress, anxiety and depression. In another 2005 study, it was reported that after taking yoga classes the levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility and fatigue dropped significantly in the participants.
Other studies of yoga practice have demonstrated improvements in mood and quality of life for the elderly, people caring for patients with dementia, breast cancer survivors and patients with epilepsy, and that yoga can help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well.


Bitter Melon Stir-Fry
Ingredients: 1 pound bitter melon (about 1 1/4 melons); 1 tablespoon minced garlic; 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes; 2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying; 2 tablespoons soy sauce; 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; a few drops sesame oil (optional).
Preparation:  Cut the bitter melon half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut on the diagonal into thin slices.  Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic.  Heat wok over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then splash with the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften. Stir in a few drops sesame oil if desired. Serve hot.

Notice: This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial, tax, medical or health care advice. For information about specific needs or situations, contact your financial, tax agent or physician.
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Source: The primary sources cited above,  New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle (DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP,, etc.

Copyright ©1998-2010
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2010.  All rights reserved.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for special medical conditions or any specific health issues or starting a new fitness regimen. Please read disclaimer.

Om! Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya, Mrityorma Amritamgamaya, Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih!
(Om! Lead the world from wrong path to the right path, from ignorance to knowledge, from mortality to immortality and peace!)
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