Tuesday, July 31, 2018

14 Potent Natural Remedies For Arthritis Backed Up By Science

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14 Potent Natural Remedies For Arthritis Backed Up By Science
Arthritis is a rheumatic disorder that causes chronic, intermittent pain which affects the joints and connective tissues. Where bones connect within the body, it expresses itself with swelling, redness, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
Though there are more than 100 types of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is caused by repeated wear and tear damage to the joint cartilage. It usually occurs with age, in the hips, knees, and fingers. Over time, osteoarthritis can culminate in bone grinding directly on bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the body’s immune system attacks the synovial membrane that encloses the joints. It tends to crop up in middle age in the feet and hands. Eventually, this autoimmune disorder can progress to the point where cartilage and bone are destroyed within the joint.
Arthritis, as a whole, affects more than 54 million people in the US alone and is the leading cause of work-related disability. Typical treatments for pain and swollen joints include analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as medications to suppress the immune system. Each of these treatments can cause some worrisome side effects and may not be very effective.
Natural therapies offer an alternative way to get relief from the pain and inflammation of arthritic conditions. Read on to discover the herbs, botanical oils, supplements, foods, and lifestyle tweaks that will aid you in your fight against all types of arthritis.

14 Potent Natural Remedies For Arthritis

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being just 10 pounds overweight adds 30 to 60 pounds of force on the knee and other joints with every step. This increased pressure not only makes walking and other activities more painful, it can hasten the breakdown of cartilage as well.
Maintaining a healthy body mass index significantly reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place. Overweight women are nearly four times as likely to develop osteoarthritis while obese men have a fivefold greater risk. Studies have shown that losing even small amounts of weight can help reverse the effects of osteoarthritis; for example, for every 11 pounds of weight loss, the risk of knee osteoarthritis dropped by over 50%.
For rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, weight loss can lead to sustained remission. In a large study, researchers followed the progress of 982 rheumatoid arthritis patients for three years. Of these, 32% had a healthy BMI, 35% were overweight, and 33% were obese. While all patients received similar treatments and therapies, those who experienced sustained remission had a healthy BMI. Patients who were in the overweight category were 25% less likely, and those in the obese category were 47% less likely, to have the same results.

2. Regular Exercise

While it might be the last thing you want to do when your joints ache, keeping things moving with a regular exercise program will help ease pain and stiffness. Physical activity provides a multi-faceted range of benefits for arthritis sufferers, including strengthening the muscles around the joints, improved bone strength, maintaining a healthy body weight, more restful sleep, more energy throughout the day, and better balance.
Exercise won’t worsen your joint health – in fact, lack of movement is what may be making your joints stiffer. Just a few minutes of physical activity each day – such as walking, swimming, or using a stationary bicycle – can have a huge impact on quality of life. It doesn’t need to be rigorous – go slow, move gently, and if it’s too painful, take a break. Here are a few low-impact workouts that are arthritis-friendly.

3. Manage Your Stress

It’s not too surprising that those living with chronic pain struggle with depression and anxiety at a rate of two to ten times greater than the general population.
While all types of arthritis can have a negative impact on your mental health, people with rheumatoid arthritis are at an especially heightened risk of major depressive disorder. It appears that these two conditions co-occur and feed off of each other – feelings of depression and anxiety can lower your pain threshold, while constant pain can worsen your anxiety and depression. The prevalence of depression in arthritis patients may be related to elevated inflammation levels in the body, since pro-inflammatory enzymes are implicated in both rheumatoid arthritis and depressive symptoms.
If you’re struggling with low mood, it’s time to talk with your doctor. In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to help manage anxiety and depression. Simply tending a garden or taking a walk are powerful ways to boost mood that will keep you active. Supplementing with St. John’s wort or herbal tinctures may offer some relief, as well as using aromatherapy with essential oils for anxiety.

4. Avoid These Pro-Inflammatory Foods

Limit or avoid these foods that are known to trigger inflammation in the body:
Sugar – Consuming processed sugar releases inflammatory cytokines that can make your pain worse. Here are some tips on how to quit sugar and several natural sweetener alternatives.
Refined Carbohydrates – White bread, white rice, and other kinds of refined grains are high glycemic index foods that can fuel inflammation. No carb diets like Paleo and Keto have healthy meal plan ideas that can help limit your carbohydrate intake.
Fried Foods – Reducing the amount of fried foods – like french fries and doughnuts – can lower inflammation levels and help restore the body’s natural defenses.
Red Meat and Processed Meat – Eating a high protein diet of steaks and hot dogs can induce inflammation and accelerate the process behind inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Trans Fats – A type of unsaturated fat that is widely used in the food industry, trans fats can cause systemic inflammation. Avoid margarine, shortening, lard, and processed foods.

5. Eat More Foods that Fight Inflammation

Ensuring your diet includes plenty of anti-inflammatory foods is a natural way to combat arthritic pain. According to Harvard Health, the top foods that fight inflammation include:
Fruits such as tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, apples, cherries, oranges, and pineapples are rich in antioxidants that help ward off inflammation.
Leafy Greens like spinach, kale, and collards.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts.
Fatty Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
Olive Oil is a healthy substitute for trans fats.
To fight inflammation with food, try the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers throughout the body.

6. Fermented Cod Liver Oil

An excellent source of vitamin A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, fermented cod liver oil offers a natural way to fight pain and inflammation.
In a study published in 2008, taking 10 grams of cod liver oil each day to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis helped the patients reduce their intake of NSAIDs by more than 30%.  Additionally, if your arthritis is complicated by depression, the omega-3s in cod liver oil have been shown to lessen anxiety and boost mood.

7. Ginger

The gnarly tuber that is aromatic and spicy, Zingiber officinale – or ginger – contains powerful compounds that combat both pain and inflammation.
Long used medicinally, ginger possesses broad anti-inflammatory action that shares many of the pharmacological properties of NSAIDs, but with better results and fewer side effects. Ginger also interacts with specific genes responsible for encoding enzymes involved in inflammatory responses, which is especially beneficial for those who suffer from chronic inflammation.
Include fresh ginger in your foods, whip up some thirst quenching switchel, or take a daily ginger supplement like this one.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric root (Curcuma longa) has wonderful applications for the skin as well as overall physical health. For arthritis sufferers, turmeric can also provide relief from the swelling and pain of inflamed joints.
Numerous studies involving curcumin – turmeric’s medicinal component – and inflammation have found it is capable of inhibiting several pro-inflammatory enzymes, including lipooxygenase, COX-2, leukotriene, interleukin-12, tumor necrosis factor,  and even NF-κB – considered to be the “holy grail” of inflammation.
In a meta-analysis of curcumin’s effect on arthritis, researchers found that turmeric supplements helped reduce reliance on typical pain killers, improved pain levels when walking, less morning stiffness, and better range of movement.
To get your daily dose of turmeric, try mixing fresh rhizomes or dried spices into a tasty beverage. Another option is to make turmeric paste and apply it directly to achy joints for quick pain relief. Or take a daily curcumin supplement, like this one formulated with bioperine for increased bioavailability.

9. Collagen

The most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is found in our skin, bones, tendons, organs, and cartilage. With degenerative diseases like arthritis, collagen supplements may help rebuild joint cartilage, strengthen bones, and relieve pain.
According to a review of the available scientific literature ranging from 1947 to 2017, oral collagen supplements significantly reduced pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients and improved their ability to carry out physical activities. When compared with the immunosuppressant medication methotrexate, collagen had a similar impact on swelling and joint tenderness in rheumatoid arthritis, but without any adverse effects.
Collagen can only be sourced from the skins, tendons, marrow, and ligaments of animals. You can replenish your collagen stores by making healthful bone broth or by purchasing powdered collagen that you can add to an array of yummy recipes.

10. Eggshell Membrane

The egg membrane is the thin, transparent layer that clings to the inside of an eggshell after you’ve broken an egg. It is composed off all sorts of good stuff for joint and tissue support: collagen, glucosaminechondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acids.
Eggshell membrane was effective for people with joint and connective tissue disorders, according to a study published in Clinical Interventions in AgingTaking 500 mg of eggshell membrane daily resulting in a 28% increase in flexibility after just 7 days, and a 72% reduction in general pain, 44% increase in flexibility, and 76% decrease in pain associated with range of movement after 30 days of treatment.
It’s super easy to harvest eggshell membranes yourself, but to get a larger dose you can pick up eggshell membrane capsules here.

11. CBD Oil

A relatively new entrant to modern medicine, cannabidol oil has shown promising results in treating a range of ailments. Distinct from THC, the component of Cannabis sativa that produces a “high” when consumed, CBD is non mind-altering and possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.
CBD interacts brain receptors within the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating pain sensation, the immune system, and mood. Preliminary findings on CBD suggest it may be of therapeutic value for arthritic conditions.
In a 2006 study published in Rheumatologyrheumatoid arthritis patients used Sativex – an oral spray composed of CBD and THC in equal parts – daily for five weeks. Compared with the placebo group, there were significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, sleep quality, and self-reported pain.
Using pure CBD oil alone had clinical improvements in arthritis-induced mice, according to a 2000 study. Effective when administered orally, CBD oil helped protect the joints against damage and decreased pro-inflammatory enzymes such as tumor necrosis factor. The researchers concluded that CBD oil has a potent anti-arthritic effect due to its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory action.
When rendered into a topical gel, CBD applied to inflamed joints reduced swelling and spontaneous pain in an animal study published in the European Journal of PainIn addition to its effectiveness, CBD gel’s therapeutic effects were long lasting and without any adverse side effects.
CBD oil and other derivatives are available in some US states with, or without, a prescription. Check out this page to see whether CBD is legal where you live.
If CBD is legal where you live and you’d like to experience it for arthritis relief, browse the selection of products on this page which includes CBD liquids, tinctures, sprays, balms, creams and roll-ons.

12. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the element of chili peppers that gives them their fiery heat. When consumed as food or used topically, capsaicin selectively interacts with nociceptive neurons in the brain which are responsible for how we perceive pain.
A 1991 study in Clinical Therapeutics investigated how a 0.025% capsaicin cream applied to knee joints four times per day impacted pain in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients. After two weeks, 80% of patients experienced a reduction in pain. After four weeks, the rheumatoid arthritis group had a mean pain reduction of 57% while the osteoarthritis group had a 33% reduction.
Capsaicin is easily sourced from chili peppers like jalapeno, cayenne, and habanero, which you can grow yourself and use to make some homemade capsaicin cream. Another option is to purchase a topical cream with capsaicin standardized at 0.1%, like this one.

13. Gamma-Linolenic Acid

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in botanical oils like evening primrose, black currant, and borage. Taken as a dietary supplement, GLA appears to be an effective treatment for joint pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Although several in vitro and animal studies have been performed on GLA, a human trial published in Arthritis and Rheumatism found that it is capable of suppressing inflammation at a daily dose of 2.8 grams. Involving 56 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, and grip strength was significantly improved after taking GLA supplements, such as this one, for six months. After one year of GLA treatment, 76% of participants experienced a meaningful reduction in overall disease activity.

14. Healing Herbs

The earth is abundant in herbaceous plants that possess the ability to soothe and heal – and new cultivars (and uses for them) are being discovered all the time. Here are a few healing herbs that hold great promise as treatments for rheumatic conditions:
Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) – The bark and roots of this woody vine have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduced pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Cat’s claw can be taken as a dietary supplement.
Frankincense (Boswellia spp.) – Native to India, frankincense has been shown to help curtail pro-inflammatory enzymes, improve joint health, and reduce the deterioration of cartilage. Frankincense is available as an essential oil and daily supplement.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) – Stinging nettle is a weed that grows in the wilds throughout North America. In addition to its many uses around the home, stinging nettle may help improve inflammation and pain.
Rosehips (Rosa canina) – One of the richest sources of vitamin C, rosehips have natural pain-relieving properties that had a benefit for people with osteoarthritis.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) – Pineapple stems and juice contain bromelain, an enzyme which has exhibited potent pain and swelling relief in knee osteoarthritis and may be a good alternative to NSAIDs. Increase bromelain intake by eating more pineapples or by taking a dietary supplement.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Money management: 6 steps of financial planning for new salary earners

Managing money can be an overwhelming process especially when you have just started earning. Millenials need to be aware of the nuances of financial planning. The foundation of financial planning starts early in life.

By:  | Published: July 26, 2018 10:34 AM
Financial Express/ money
Make a flexible plan at the start of your career; you may change jobs or move cities. 
You have just got a job but you are clueless as to how to manage your money. You either spend your entire disposable income or let your savings sit on the credit side of your saving account. Either way, you are not doing the right thing.
Managing money can be an overwhelming process especially when you have just started earning. You are a millennial and still celebrating the fact that you are able to afford your rent, utilities and other expenses on your own. However, if terms like savings, investment, personal finance and money management are making you anxious, then try to understand these points:
1) Setting a monthly budget
Big organisations run on the simple principle of budgeting. The marketing department sets a campaign budget; the product department sets a research and development budget. Similarly, we set a budget before we think of making a big purchase. The same concept applies to our monthly expenditure as well. Write down your income and expenses. Try to limit the expenses by up to 60% of your income by budgeting the same. It can be done once you track, list, categorise and prioritise your expenses. Create your budget revolving around your lifestyle. Don’t try to copy someone else’s spending habit. Setting a budget in conformity with your expense can give you a lot of clarity and control. Also, the budget should not be so restrictive that living becomes a punishment. You can use apps like splitwise, mint, walnut, Intuit, Smart Spends etc.
2) Build a habit of consistent saving
The budget set shall help you to reach at a definite income-expense ratio after several attempts of trial and error. You may find yourself succumbing to temptations courtesy brilliantly curated advertisements. Don’t worry. Keep aside a definite buffer sum for your crave-purchases. After adjusting various expenses for the first few months, slowly include savings into your budget. If you find savings difficult, then think long-term. Would you rather want a trip to Rome or fifty days of fine wine and dine? Learning to live within the means can be difficult in the present times but, your money-hygiene is just as important a discipline as your work-out regime. Financial planners suggest avoiding debt by keeping a check on credit card usage. Set short-term and long-term financial goals.
3) Leave room for some flexibility
At the start of your career, you may change jobs and cities. Make a flexible plan. Avoid committing to a long-term payment cycle like home loan if your work life and goals change frequently. Also, tying your savings into long-term products may not work if your goals change and you need funds immediately. Your investment plan shall also move like your savings plan. Park your investments in instruments which give you a lock-in which is similar to your financial goals. For example, if you are planning to get married in 3 years, then invest your money in an instrument with a 3-year lock-in.
4) Allocate towards an emergency fund
To hedge yourself against uncertainties, it is essential to build an emergency fund before assigning a chunk towards investment or savings. You have just started your career and you may get hit money-wise when you are exploring your options. Hence, an emergency fund can come to the rescue to give you some buffer time. Treat this fund as a cushion in order to remain debt free and review this fund from time to time.
5) Start investing your saved money
Investment is a term which is Mariana Trench deep. There are many products on the market you may not be aware of. Start simple. Focus on tax-efficient investment products like equity-linked saving scheme funds, provident funds and dividend incomes. Keep a certain amount aside dedicating to your retirement fund. Before splurging on couture think about getting a health and vehicle insurance. The investment options should be based on your financial situations. Putting all your money in equity in a stock exchange can prove to be financially fatal if you don’t have enough margin of safety to fall back on. While you can postpone life insurance for a while but, you shall cover yourself with a health insurance if you are self-employed.
6) Maintain a sound credit history
Banks may decline your loan petition in future if you have demonstrated a bad behaviour in repaying debts. Pay your bills on time. A good credit profile is useful later in life when you wish to borrow funds. Just like your country, you are also rated on your financial credibility.
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A heartfelt hug

Rahul Gandhi emerges as the moral antithesis to Narendra Modi

The decision of the Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, to walk across to the prime minister's seat in the Lok Sabha and embrace Narendra Modi last Friday apparently took even his mother, Sonia Gandhi, by surprise. His supporters were quick to hail the "spur-of-the-moment" act as a political masterstroke. His detractors dismissed it as a cheap gimmick that, once again, underlined Rahul's political "immaturity" and confirmed that he was no match for Brand Modi.
But for anyone who has followed Rahul Gandhi's trajectory, the concluding words of his speech expressing gratitude to Narendra Modi as well as his unscripted gesture of embracing the prime minister were neither tactical nor theatrical. Rather, it marked an organic progression of a deeply personal battle that has now fused into a much bigger political objective.
Long before Narendra Modi came on the national scene, Rahul Gandhi struggled to overcome feelings of anger and hate. Like his father before him, Rahul was a reluctant politician. But Rajiv Gandhi had a very short political apprenticeship before being propelled into the post of prime minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He did not have time to brood about the nature of politics and, in any case, was much too pragmatic and cheerful by nature, at least in the persona he portrayed to the public.
Sonia, too, initially refused to step into her husband's shoes after his assassination in 1991 even though she was the Congress Working Committee's first choice to lead the party. It was only in 1998, when the Congress appeared to be in terminal decline that she decided to take the plunge. Her success in keeping the party together, then winning a series of assembly elections and finally wresting power at the Centre after stitching together a coalition, sealed her position as the undisputed leader in her own right. For the Congress rank and file, the Nehru-Gandhi family was the glue that kept it together - never mind the incessant attacks on "dynasty".
In light of this experience, everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before Rahul Gandhi would also be impelled to join, and then lead, the Grand Old Party. But unlike his charismatic sister or charming father, Rahul took a long time getting used to politics. Despite having politics in his blood as it were, Rahul came across as gauche and awkward, not at all at ease with the glib and smooth-talking ways that come so naturally to men and women engaged in the cold-blooded pursuit of power. He was no "people's person" either, the kind who just love the adrenaline rush that comes from addressing mass rallies, from offering patronage and receiving adulation in return.
Rahul's formal entry into politics with an election victory from the family borough, Amethi, in 2004 also coincided with the return of the Congress - as head of the United Progressive Alliance coalition - to power. But he refused to join the government, and his sporadic comments against the "system" made him an object of ridicule. He focused on revamping the Youth Congress, and later the Congress - efforts that earned him more opprobrium. It seemed hypocritical for someone born to privilege, to the most powerful political dynasty in the country, to talk of democratizing the Congress and making it an instrument for social change - when the Congress was synonymous with the Establishment and had long ceased to be the open platform it had been in the pre-Independence era.
As the UPA's decade-long innings came to a close, the attacks on it - and on Rahul - from a resurgent Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party became fiercer. Rahul was cast as the know-nothing "Pappu", a man without talent or vision, thrust into a position of leadership by the virtue of his birth. A presidential battle between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, a prominent public intellectual declared, was a "no-contest". Modi would win hands down. He did.
But despite all the ridicule, Rahul made it repeatedly clear - both before and after 2014 - that he was not in politics for the power and pelf of office; power for its own sake held no charm for him, he had seen it up close and personal, and had been tormented and traumatized by it. At the Jaipur session of the Congress in January 2013 when he was elected the vice-president of the party, he famously said, "Last night everyone congratulated me. But last night my mother came to my room and she sat with me and she cried. Why did she cry? She cried because she understands that the power so many seek is actually a poison... The only antidote to this poison is for all of us to see it for what it really is and not become attached to it."
On other occasions, he has spoken of the anger and pain he suffered after his grandmother and his father were assassinated. For Modi and millions of his supporters, the Congress president may be the dynast greedy for power. But Rahul thinks of himself - and his sincerity is obvious even to cynics - as someone burdened by a cruel destiny who must overcome his personal demons and then take on the bigger challenges that fate has bestowed on him.
At the same Jaipur speech, Rahul spoke of these demons. "When I was a little boy," he said, "I loved to play badminton. I loved it because it gave me balance in a complicated world. I was taught how to play, in my grandmother's house, by two of the policemen who protected my grandmother. They were my friends. Then one day they killed my grandmother and took away the balance in my life. I felt pain like I had never felt before."
Addressing a rally in Churu in October 2013, he once again referred to the experience and how it took 10-15 years to get rid of the anger he felt towards his grandmother's assassins. He went on to say, "After Indira's assassination, there was only anger all around. Today, that anger has disappeared from the minds of our Sikh brothers. It takes minutes to start anger but years to get rid of it."
More recently, at an interaction with Indian Institute of Management alumni in Singapore in March 2018, he, once again, drew from personal memory to make a larger political point. Rahul said both his sister and he were very upset and hurt and angry after their father was killed but had now "completely" forgiven the killers.
Elaborating, he said, "I remember when I saw Mr Prabhakaran [the chief of the LTTE, the organization which assassinated Rajiv Gandhi] on TV lying dead, I got two feelings - one was why are they humiliating this man in this way. And second was that I felt really bad for him and for his kids and I did that because I understood deeply what it meant to be on the other side of that thing."
"So to me," Rahul said, "when I see violence, regardless of who it is, I know that there is a human being behind that, there is a family behind that, a kid crying behind that."
But even after transforming his own feelings of anger and hate into forgiveness and empathy, Rahul was still floundering for a role in public life that went beyond pedestrian power play. The last four years that have witnessed an exponential rise in hate crimes and hate speech, in the spread of venom and vitriol, in the daily assaults on the ideals of liberty and fraternity, of pluralism and diversity have provided Rahul with a purpose, a mission. It is no longer about his personal traumas, dwelling on which seemed to others an act of self-pity and self-indulgence. Suddenly, his canvas has become much bigger, his "love conquers all" message more urgent. And if he has found the heart to forgive the assassins of those he loved the most, surely he can reach out to political adversaries who merely abuse him?
That explains why Rahul thanked Modi so profusely for "teaching me my religion, teaching me the meaning of Shivji" - an allusion, perhaps, to Lord Shiva drinking poison for a greater good. That explains Rahul's heartfelt hug for Modi.
The Congress president may often seem awkward and bumbling even if sincere and well-meaning; he lacks the 56-inch muscularity, the killer instinct to be Modi's sole political alternative. But with his ringing message of love and compassion, Rahul Gandhi has gone beyond politics as we know it. He has risen to become the singular moral antithesis to Narendra Modi...