Blog Posts by Suma Nagaraj

  • Go on a Bangalore Heritage Walk!

    For World Heritage Day, Yahoo! India caught up with software professional turned Bangalore/Karnataka heritage specialist Poornima Dasharathi, who runs a tidy little tourism initiative called Unhurried that specializes in heritage tours in Karnataka and heritage walks around some of the oldest parts of Bangalore city.

    For World Heritage Day, Yahoo! India caught up with software professional turned Bangalore/Karnataka heritage specialist Poornima Dasharathi, who runs a tidy little tourism initiative called Unhurried that specializes in heritage tours in Karnataka and heritage walks around some of the oldest parts of Bangalore city. Poornima self-confessedly stepped into the world of heritage tourism when she realized she knew more about the by-lanes of Boston than she did about the tree-lined avenues and old world charm of Bangalore, the city she calls home. Combining her love of history with her penchant for travel and passion for Indian culture, this young heritage ambassadress conducts various heritage walks during weekends for the city's laidback settlers as well as passersby and tourists who want to carry home with them a piece of a city that is perennially stuck in an identity crisis - bustling metropolis or pensioner's paradise? - Bangalore.

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  • Who knew? Drink water to keep diabetes at bay

    Did you know that March 22nd is World Day for Water? Water has earned its pride of place as the panacea for most ills and the importance of staying hydrated, especially during dry, sweltering Indian summers is something we all know.

    But did you know that water can also help keep diabetes at bay? This recent research states that the amount of water intake has a direct effect on how sugar regulation happens in the blood.

    In almost a decade-long study conducted on about 3000 people, those who drank more water everyday were found to have lower blood sugar levels than those who didn't. The mechanism of sugar regulation lies with a hormone called vasopressin, which rises when the body is dehydrated and makes the liver produce more blood sugar.

    More research is needed to ascertain the effect of water on blood sugar levels, but initial evidence suggests that adequate water intake can actually help stave off diabetes.

    For more, read: 'Drinking water may lower the risk of diabetes'.

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  • Who Knew? Yoga for Firm Upper Arms

    Yoga, when practised diligently and regularly, is a great way to get the lean and mean look, we all know. Yoga helps in not only cutting the flab, regularising your body's mechanisms, improving your metabolism and helping you achieve long-lasting results where your fitness and well-being are concerned, it has no equal when it comes to the toning of your body to help you achieve a flexible, limber body with a never-ending supply of stamina.

    But can Yoga help in battling the dreaded arm flab, also referred to indelicately as batwings? Turns out, yes, it can.

    Here's a video on the upper body workout as performed by Yoga experts for enviably toned shoulders and arms. A word of caution, though - before you begin any exercise routine, please take your personal trainer or a fitness expert's advice on what is best for your body.

    Yoga for upper arms

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  • Who Knew? The Broken Heart Syndrome

    The next time you run into someone in your social or office circle who doesn't seem to want to come out of their doldrums, spare them a thought before you give them the tag of Sad Sack. Losing a loved one, a recent bereavement, a love affair that went south or being laid off can have a toll on one's emotional health so much so that their grief can actually lead to a heart attack, a recent study says.

    Being called the Broken Heart Syndrome or BHS for short, some people have found to be chronically predisposed to wallowing. Even if they're otherwise in the pink of health, a sudden loss or disappointing outcome can have detrimental effects on their emotional health, more so in the first month of loss or grief.

    Read: Unbreak my heart

    If there's someone you care about and they've gone through a heartbreak or a bereavement, remember to lend a hand or a shoulder. It could go a long way in helping them heal emotionally and get over their loss.

    More on the study: Grief can cause a heart attack

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  • Who knew? Presenting the exercise hormone

    Exercise has a hormone. Who knew?

     This newly-discovered hormone may help in not only burning fat and turning it to energy, but may also help in staving off diabetes and other health issues associated with obesity and decreased metabolism.

    This hormone, being called the PGC-1 alpha, is produced abundantly during and after exercise, says the study. This is primarily responsible for converting the unwanted white fat, stored as visceral fat around organs, into healthier brown fat that uses up oxygen and helps in burning calories.

    The study lends credence to what health experts have said all along - that no amount of dieting (crash or long-term) can as a standalone measure keep weight off and contribute to a healthier life. This may be the factor that differentiates the chronic only-dieters from those who eat healthy as well as exercise regularly.  PGC1 may also be the missing link that explains why physically active people are not susceptible to lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes

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  • Feelgood factor: A brand new hairdo

    Ask any beauty or celebrity what gave them a boost after a traumatic period, the death of a relationship or a mid-life slump and chances are you will receive a unanimous opinion - a snazzy new hairstyle.

    Talk to your hair stylist and see what cut, colour and style works for you. Conservative women might find it a bit daunting to go all in for something completely different from what they're used to, but the results are worth it, stress these women. They feel a new hairdo is almost like a rebirth of sorts, of being given a second chance to look the best they can.

    The only two things you'll need for this - a good stylist who understands you and the confidence you can place in her.

    The most recent example? Jennifer Aniston. Long maligned for not experimenting with hairstyles, the 42-year-old stunner went in for a short cropped do recently that not just added to her appeal, but as her hair grows out, she continues to experiment with lengths, layering and  highlights.

    Moral? A new hairdo is

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  • Who knew? Coffee to zap cellulite

    Which woman would not want firm skin, especially on problem areas like buttocks, upper arms, thighs and the waist area, where fatty deposits are more prone to settle into cellulite?

    There's nothing less flattering than flabby, dimpled, unsightly skin.

    It has been noted that regular intake of coffee ups the chances of developing cellulite, but not many know that coffee is a double-duty beauty food. It's been long established as a heart-friendly drink, is rich in anti-oxidants and can serve as a pick-me-up on a dull day or when lethargy gets you down. But the coffee grounds that get left behind usually make it to the trash or to the garden.

    Coffee grounds, when used with a bit of olive oil as a scrub for problem areas where cellulite forms easily, is an inexpensive way of reducing cellulite. This simple do-it-yourself fix leaves you with smoother, firmer skin.

    Read more: 7 double-duty beauty foods

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  • Who knew? Eat more to gain less

    This is for all you ladies out there - the time has come to do away with the age-old adage of 'breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper'. Today's mantra of losing more weight is to eat more.

    The caveat? No caveat, actually - just smart compartmentalisation of your meals. If not gaining weight is your prime concern (as opposed to losing it), eat frequently. A new study claims that girls who eat more frequently through the day, including meals and snacks, tend to gain fewer pounds (okay, kilos) than those who have 3-4 heavy meals.

    Moderation is key for this to work, the research says. When a woman eats every couple of hours, the body conditions itself to be on the alert for frequent meals so it actively works towards not storing energy in the form of fat. One has to eat healthy, of course. If we eat candy bars and chips, the study is moot. But if our meals are and healthy, and our portions are small, the body's metabolism regulates over time and stops paving the

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  • Who knew? Red wine not heart-friendly, after all

    Remember being told that a glass of wine everyday is not just 'not unhealthy', but also an elixir that can do wonders to your heart's health? Turns out there's not much truth in it after all.

     A recent damning report suggests that all the years of research that proved that red wine is a heart-friendly drink is based on fabricated reports. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in large amounts in red grapes, and hence red wine, was touted to be a miracle discovery. Investigations that began in 2008 have found damning evidence to the contrary and all the research that suggested that red wine is good for the heart is likely to be dismissed.

    The man who led the research at the Cardiovascular Center at the University of Connecticut, Dipak K.Das, has alleged that the investigations are a conspiracy against him and that as a result of the pressure, he has suffered a stroke.

    The jury is out still on the effects of resveratrol, but before you relax with your evening glass of red wine, think again.

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