Is Your Water Safe to Drink ?

                 There was a time when if you were thirsty all you had to do was walk over to your kitchen sink and pour yourself a glass of water; it was always clear, healthy and ready to quench your thirst. But nowadays you have to be concerned about the quality of the water coming out of your tap, whether you’re in the city or in the country because what you don’t see can hurt you or at least make you very sick. But where do you start to make sure that your glass of water is just water? .

  • Water contaminants : There are five principal groups of water contaminants:

1) particulate, which includes particles of rust, dirt and sediment;
2) dissolved inorganics, including heavy metals (mercury, lead, chromium, silver, etc.), and asbestos;
3) organics, which include calcium and magnesium carbonates, the components that make water “hard,” and nitrates, chemical solvents, pesticide residues, and industrial pollutants;
4) radiological contaminants, both natural and industrial, such as radon and radium; and
5) biological pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

• Particulate
Problems associated with the particulate category involve mainly appearance, smell and taste. Particulates can be removed with simple filters. Filters are effective only against larger particles. They are ineffective against dissolved toxic chemicals.

• Dissolved inorganics
Dissolved inorganics are a very serious problem, especially lead. However, another major inorganic pollutant is nitrate. Nitrate contamination occurs mainly in groundwater, especially in agricultural areas.
                Chemical fertilizers and manure from animals are particularly concentrated sources. The danger is particularly great for children. Nitrates are converted to nitrites in the digestive tract, and nitrites interfere with the ability of blood to carry oxygen, which can result in brain damage and death.

• Organics
Dissolved organics include some serious problems. Many public water supplies contain low levels of organic compounds created as byproducts of water chlorination. Pesticides, industrial effluent, and hazardous waste sites are other sources of organic pollutants. These chemicals are associated with liver, kidney, and nervous system damage, and possibly cancer.
              Dissolved organics include some harmless, although annoying, chemicals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates.

• Radiological contaminants
Radiological contaminants, such as uranium, radium and radon, occur naturally in various parts of the country. The most serious effects of radiation exposure include birth defects and cancer.

• Biological pathogens
              Biological pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa, are uncommon in public water supplies due to chlorination. But some organisms are becoming resistant to chlorine, and this may become more of a problem in the future.

 • Water purity checks
               If you have municipal water, ask the local utility for a copy of its latest water analysis. Federal law requires periodic testing and making the results available for inspection. You can have lead levels checked by a private testing laboratory.
              If your water is from a well, you can call the local public health department to inquire about groundwater problems in your area.  In general, if your water is from a private well, you should also test for organic chemicals. In agricultural areas, nitrates and pesticides should be among the requested tests. If your house is more than 30 years old or contains copper pipe, you should test for lead.

Home water treatment : The three primary home water treatment methods are:
1) activated carbon filters,
2) reverse osmosis systems, and
3) water distillers.

1) Activated carbon filters :    Activated carbon filters work by a process known as adsorption whereby the carbon attracts and holds various pollutants in a honeycomb of tiny channels and pores. They are best suited for removing bad tastes, odors, chlorine, organic chemicals, and pesticides. They are not effective against microorganisms, lead or heavy metals, sodium, fluoride, or minerals that produce hardness.

• Drawbacks – Carbon filters can become breeding grounds for microorganisms. Sediment in water can clog the filter. Effectiveness declines over the period of use-it is necessary to be diligent about replacing cartridges.

 • Advantages – Activated carbon filters are the least expensive of the three main water treatment methods. The solid carbon filters are considered the best, while powdered carbon filters are the least recommended.

2) Reverse osmosis :   Reverse osmosis is effective at removing inorganic contaminants, such as dissolved salts, fluoride, nitrate, lead and some organic contaminants. It is not effective against high levels of hardness minerals.

 • Drawbacks – Reverse osmosis systems waste a lot of water. Only 10-25% of the water passing through the unit is forced through the membrane. The rest goes down the drain. Reverse osmosis is slow, 3-6 gallons per hour.These systems can be expensive to install and maintain.

 • Advantages – Reverse osmosis systems do not use electricity, and the cost per gallon of treated water is less than distillation.

3) Water distillation  :    Water distillers work by boiling water and then condensing the steam into purified water. Distillation is most effective at removing sediment, dissolved inorganics (including heavy metals), radiological contaminants, and biological pathogens. It is less effective against some volatile organic compounds unless combined with a carbon filter.

• Drawbacks – Water distillation is slow and uses considerable electricity, making it the most expensive method of water treatment. .

• Advantages – Distillation, especially when combined with a carbon filter, is the most effective means of home water treatment.


Simple screening tests for Adulterantion detection.

          Adulteration in food is normally present in its most crude form, prohibited substances are either added or partly or wholly substituted.  In India normally the contamination/adulteration in food is done either for financial gain or due to carelessness and lack in proper hygienic condition of processing, storing, transportation and marketing. This ultimately results that the consumer is either cheated or often become victim of diseases. Such types of adulteration are quite common in developing countries or backward countries. However, adequate precautions taken by the consumer at the time of purchase of such produce can make him alert to avoid procurement of such food. It is equally important for the consumer to know the common adulterants and their effect on health.

In the following table simple screening tests for detection of adulteration in common foods have been prescribed. These tests give idea of presence of adulteration. However, conformation for these adulterations is normally made through laboratory tests.

Simple Screening test for Detecting Adulteration in Common Food

Food article
Vegetable oil
Castor oil
Take 1 ml. of oil in a clean dry test tube. Add 10 ml. Of acidified petroleum ether. Shake vigorously for 2 minutes. Add 1 drop of Ammonium Molybdate reagent. The formation of turbidity indicates presence of Castor oil in the sample.
Argemone oil
Add 5 ml, conc. HNO3 ­­to 5 ml.sample. Shake carefully. Allow to separate yellow, orange yellow, crimson colour in the lower acid layer indicates adulteration.
Mashed Potato
Sweet Potato, etc.
Boil 5 ml. Of the sample in a test tube. Cool and a drop of iodine solution. Blue colour indicates presence of Starch. colour disappears on boiling &  reappears on cooling.
Take 5 ml. Of the sample in a test tube. Add 5 ml. Of Hydrochloric acid and 0.4 ml of 2% furfural solution or sugar crystals. Insert the glass stopper and shake for 2 minutes. Development of a pink or red colour indicates presence of Vanaspati in Ghee.
Rancid stuff (old ghee)
Take one teaspoon of melted sample and 5 ml. Of HCl in a stoppered glass tube. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Add 5 ml. Of 0.1% of ether solution of Phloroglucinol. Restopper & shake for 30 seconds and allow to stand for 10 minutes. A pink or red colour in the lower(acid layer) indicates rancidity.
Synthetic Colouring Matter
Pour 2 gms. Of filtered fat dissolved in ether. Divide into 2 portions. Add 1 ml. Of HCl to one tube. Add 1 ml. Of 10% NaOH to the other tube. Shake well and allow to stand. Presence of pink colour in acidic solution or yellow colour in alkaline solution indicates added colouring matter.
Invert sugar/jaggery
1.      Fiehe’s Test: Add 5 ml. Of solvent ether to 5 ml. Of honey. Shake well and decant the ether layer in a petri dish. Evaporate completely by blowing the ether layer. Add 2 to 3 ml. Of resorcinol (1 gm. Of resorcinol resublimed in 5 ml. Of conc. HCl.) Appearance of cherry red colour indicates presence of sugar/jaggery.
2.      Aniline Chloride Test : Take 5 ml. Of honey in a porcelain dish. Add Aniline Chloride solution (3 ml of  Aniline and 7 ml. Of 1:3 HCl) and stir well. Orange red colour indicates presence of sugar.
Kesari dal(Lathyrus sativus)
Add 50 ml. Of dil.HCl to a small quantity of dal and keep on simmering water for about 15 minutes. The pink colour, if developed indicates the presence of Kesari dal.
Metanil Yellow(dye)
Add conc.HCl to a small quantity of dal in a little amount of water. Immediate development of pink colour indicates the presence of metanil yellow and similar colour dyes.
Lead Chromate
Shake 5 gm. Of pulse with 5 ml. Of water and add a few drops of HCl. Pink colour indicates Lead Chromate.
Ergot infested Bajra
Swollen and black Ergot infested grains will turn light in weight and will float also in water
Wheat flour
Excessive sand & dirt
Shake a little quantity of sample with about 10 ml. Of Carbon tetra chloride and allow to stand. Grit and sandy matter will collect at the bottom.
Excessive bran
Sprinkle on water surface. Bran will float on the surface.
Chalk powder
Shake sample with dil.HCl Effervescence indicates chalk.
Common spices like Turmeric, chilly, curry powder,etc.
Extract the sample with Petroleum ether and add 13N H2SO4to the extract. Appearance of red colour (which persists even upon adding  little distilled water) indicates the presence of added colours. However, if the colour disappears upon adding distilled water the sample is not adulterated.
Black Pepper
Papaya seeds/light berries, etc.
Pour the seeds in a beaker containing Carbon tetra-chloride. Black papaya seeds float on the top while the pure black pepper seeds settle down.
Powdered bran and saw   dust
Sprinkle on water surface. Powdered bran and sawdust float on the surface.
Coriander powder
Dung powder
Soak in water. Dung will float and can be easily detected by its foul smell.
Common salt
To 5 ml. Of sample add a few drops of silver nitrate. White precipitate indicates adulteration.
Brick powder grit, sand, dirt, filth, etc.
Pour the sample in a beaker containing a mixture of chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. Brick powder and grit will settle at the bottom.
Badi Elaichi seeds
Choti Elaichi seeds
Separate out the seeds by physical examination. The seeds of Badi Elaichi have nearly plain surface without wrinkles or streaks while seeds of cardamom have pitted or wrinkled ends.
Turmeric Powder
Starch of maize, wheat, tapioca, rice
A microscopic study reveals that only pure turmeric is yellow coloured, big in size and has an angular structure. While foreign/added starches are colourless and small in size as compared to pure turmeric starch.
Lead Chromate
Ash the sample. Dissolve it in 1:7 Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) and filter. Add 1 or 2 drops of 0.1% dipenylcarbazide. A pink colour indicates presence of Lead Chromate.
Metanil Yellow
Add few drops of conc.Hydrochloric acid (HCl) to sample. Instant appearance of violet colour, which disappears on dilution with water, indicates pure turmeric. If colour persists Metanil yellow is present.
Cumin seeds
(Black jeera)
Grass seeds coloured with charcoal dust
Rub the cumin seeds on palms. If palms turn black adulteration in indicated.
Soap stone, other earthy matter
Shake a little quantity of powdered sample with water. Soap stone or other earthy matter will settle at the bottom.
Shake sample with Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Asafoetida will settle down. Decant the top layer and add dil.HCl to the residue. Effervescence shows presence of  chalk.
Hidden insect   infestation
Take a filter paper impregnated with Ninhydrin (1% in alcohol.) Put some grains on it and then fold the filter paper and crush the grains with hammer. Spots of bluish purple colour indicate presence of hidden insects infestation
            Selection of wholesome and non-adulterated food is essential for daily life to make sure that such foods do not cause any health hazard. However, visual examination of the food before purchase makes sure to ensure absence of insects, visual fungus, foreign matters, etc. 
                         Therefore, due care  taken by the consumer at the time of purchase of food after thoroughly examining can be of great help. Secondly, label declaration on packed food is very important for knowing the ingredients and nutritional value . It also helps in checking the freshness of the food and the period of best before use. The consumer should avoid taking food from an unhygienic place and food being prepared under unhygienic conditions.
                         Such types of food may cause various diseases. Consumption of cut fruits being sold in unhygienic conditions should be avoided. It is always better to buy certified food from reputed shop.

Why Fruits Are Good For You ?

Fruits are an important part of a well-balanced diet.

P.P.Aniruddha Bapu also describe benefits of consumption of Fruits in his Ramrajya discourse.
              He said ,” All the fruits that we eat cause weight gain. Remember always, the fruit is actually the primary food of man. All the human digestive enzymes are meant to digest fruits. The fruit increases the ‘oj’ (valour) in man. 
                In both men and women, eating fruits brings about changes that are both appropriate and necessary. So do eat all kinds of fruits for breakfast and also after dinner. Also fruits that can be eaten with the skin, must preferably be eaten with the skin. The skin of certain fruits contains vitamins, selenium, cobalt and other such substances that are missing in other foods.”
Fruits provide fiber and some vitamins and minerals essential to good health and also ,
• Fruit is 100% bad-cholesterol free;
• Fruit stimulates the memory;
• The idea that fruit is an expensive nutrition;
• The miraculous healing effects of fruit;
Pears :

Pears are rich in Vitamin C and copper. Vitamin C and copper are great antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxygen-related damage. it also helps with blood regulation and it has anti-cancer properties as well.
**1 pear – 103g, fiber 15%, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 24%, Calcium 6%, Iron 2%.

  • Oranges :

Oranges have extremely high level of Vitamin C. Oranges contain antioxidant properties that reduce cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Vitamin C helps to build strong bones and teeth as well as fighting cell damage that may lead to cancer or heart disease.

  • Grapefruits :

Grapefruits are a great source of Vitamin A and C. It also contains some potassium, calcium and iron as well.
Grpefruits also contain the antioxidant lycopene, known to possess anti-tumor activity.
Grapefruit is also great for constipation, it aids in bowel movements. This fruit has also been promoted as a food that helps burn fat. It helps prevent cancers, in particular prostate cancer.
**1 Grapefruit (230g) = Vitamin A 53%, Vitamin C 120%, Calcium 5%, Iron 1%.

  • Watermelon :
Watermelon has many antioxidants, namely lycopene. Lycopene protects against many cancers including breast, prostate, lung and colorectal.Watermelon also contents high levels of Vitamin A (good for the eyes) and Vitamin C, a great antioxidant.

**1 cup of watermelon (154g) – Vitamin A 18%, Vitamin C – 21%, Calcium 1%, Dietary Fiber 1%.

  • Papaya Nutritional Benefits for Health :

Papayas are rich in vitamin C . Papayas help with colon cancer as well as regulating cardiovascular system.
It helps prevent atherosclerosis, which is the building of plaques in the arterial walls leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Papaya prevents colon cancer by preventing toxins from binding to colon cells. Papaya also contains the enzyme papain which helps decrease inflammation in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or ashtma.
**1cup (140g) – 10% fiber, 31% vitamin A, 144% Vitamin C, 3% calcium, 1% iron.

  • Bananas :
Bananas are healthy for you because they are rich in potassium. Potassium helps to regualte blood pressure and therefore reducing changes of a heart attack or stroke. Potassium also help to regulate calcium loss in the urine, therefore strenthening bones.

Potassium in bananas also helps muscles contract properly so it helps assist when you get cramped during sports activities .Bananas are also have high levels of B6 for energy and it also contains pectin, a fiber which helps you during bowel movements. Bananas are also given to babies as one of their first solid foods, since it’s tasty, nutritional, easily digestible, and rarely ever allergic.
** 1 medium banana – 105 calories, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 17%, Dietary fiber 12%, Potassium 12%

  • Mango Health Benefits :

Great for indigestion, constipation, cancers and heart problems.
Mangos have high fiber content and is also a great source of vitamins and minerals. They contain enzymes that aid with digestion. it has been found that manogs help with prostate and skin cancer. Mangos also contain magniferin which is beneficial in inflammation, and bacterial repression.
**1 medium mango (135 calories, 15% dietary fiber, 12% carbohydrate, 1% fat, 32% vitamin A, 96% Vitamin C, Calcium 2%.

  • Nutritional guide to apples :

A medium apple contains 3 grams of fiber. Apple has two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber helps the LDL be removed from the liver.
Apples also contain quercitin a flavinoid that helps you lower your heart disease risk.
**1 medium apple – 1 serving: Calories 65 – has Vitamin A – 1%, Vitamin C – 10%, calcium 1%, iron 1%.

• Select fresh fruits that have no signs of bruising.
• Most fresh fruits are perishable and should be refrigerated.
• Use fresh fruits quickly to avoid spoilage and waste.
• Store canned fruits in a cool (best if below 85 degrees Fahrenheit), clean, dry place.
• Fruits that are cut up should be served just after preparing to prevent vitamin loss.

  • Which Fruits are good FRESH, FROZEN OR CANNED ?

Processing fruits can cause some nutrient losses. Freezing, canning and drying can result in variable losses of vitamin C and vitamin A.Also, canned and frozen fruits are often packed in sweetened syrups, which add extra calories.
           Nowadays, FDA has established standards of identity that apply to many processed fruit products. They include requirements for what may be identified as a particular canned fruit, fruit juice, fruit jelly, or frozen fruit pie etc. Dried fruits have a high concentration of sugar because most of their water content has been removed.
          When buying fresh fruits, consumers should look for bruising because the chemical reactions that occur from bruising cause loss of some nutrients. Nutrients can also be lost by paring, slicing or dicing fruits.
          Slicing, dicing, chopping and mashing can also rob fruits of some of their vitamins by exposing the surfaces to air and light. 

Weight-Loss Pills : Does it work?

Diet pills side effects may affect your health seriously. We all know that there are “good” and “bad” diet pills and we know that we have to stay away from the “bad” ones. Shocking truth is that even weight loss pills that were considered as “good” have nasty and dangerous side effects.
The best of course is to stay away from any kind of diet pills and lead a healthy lifestyle with healthy diet and physical activity but modern days make us rush and run where we forget about ourselves. Here’s where weight loss pills come into play as a great alternative for slimming but we must be carefully what we choose.
If you are currently taking weight loss pills, or are even considering taking them, then you should be aware of weight loss pills side effectsSome of the most popular products have numerous diet pills side effects!

After  some  deeply investigating various side effects of diet pills, here we gathered following data:

Number of side effects
Side effects
Diarrhea, Frequent fecal urgency, bloating, fecal incontinence, anal leakage, fatigue.
Alli diet pills prevent the absorption of up to 25% of fat. This is a good achievement but uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing side effects are down turn for many potential users.
Severe skin reactions, dizziness, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, seizures, hyperthermia, strokes.
*Ephedra was removed from US shelves in 2004 for resulting in 155 deaths. It has been re-established in 2006, following a petition, but Ephedra is still banned in some regions of the US (if the supplement contains ephedrine alkaloids).
Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches,  diarrhea…
*Phentermine is quite effective appetite suppressant with average weight loss of 2lbs a week but because of its dangerous side effects it’s illegal to sell this pill in many countries.
Headaches, dry mouth, abdominal pain, diarrhea, palpitations, can cause hypertension, depression, impotence, seizures, menstrual cycle disorders, tachycardia, kidney disorders
*Reductil should be used for maximum of 1 year! You should stop using Reductil if you don’t experience weight loss of 5% of your body weight after 12 weeks
Blood sugar levels may constantly raise and drop, gastrointestinal problems, can cause constipation, weight loss results that are so fast or dramatic that your weight drops to a dangerous level or you may feel extremely weak or tired, inadequate fat production resulting in dry skin, hair loss, nail weakness or fatigue, inability to focus or concentrate, increased heart rate, anxiety, nausea.
Jitteriness, worry, being hyperactive (especially if you’re sensitive to stimulants).
Anxiety, nervousness, headaches, dizziness, tremors, sleep disorders (insomnia), diarrhea or constipation, skin sensitivity, itchiness.
*It provides a steady loss of 2lbs per week but can’t be used with other medicines. Also usage period is restricted to 12 weeks. Some of side effects are even life threatening.
Insomnia, increased blood pressure, irritability, nervousness, dry mouth with or without a bad taste, blurriness in vision, heartburn or acid reflux, change in libido, clumsiness and dizziness, confusion, headaches, irregular heartbeat, nausea, psychosis, skin sensitivities such as itchiness or appearance of a rash, painful stomach, fatigue.
*It’s a prescription only appetite suppressant which contains active ingredient phentermine. Prescribed only to really obese patients.
Bleeding nose, insomnia, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches
*IMPORTANT: FDA has warned dieters and bodybuilders to immediately stop using the widely sold Hydroxycut weight-loss supplement!!!
Constipation, dry mouth, headaches, abnormal sweating, nervousness, insomnia, vomiting.
Excessive urination, excessive thirst, nausea, excessive gas, diarrhea, sleeplessness
Jitteriness or nervousness, insomnia, bursts of energy followed by periods of extreme tiredness, nausea or vomiting, headache
Abdominal pain or cramping, nausea, diarrhea, pain in rectum, dental problems, influenza, upper or lower respiratory infection, ear, nose and throat problems, back pain, arthritis, joint problems, tendonitis, proneness to urinary tract infections, difficulty in hearing, rashes, skin sensitivity, headache, dizziness, possible sleep disorders.
  • Dangers of Diet & Weight Loss Drugs

Diet and weight loss pills can have a significant impact on our blood pressure, metabolism and general health. Pills are not an easy option for easy or fast weight loss. Whether they assist weight loss or not, most diet and weight loss pills have unpleasant side effects, create drug-dependency and interfere with other medications. 

Weight loss medications are really designed for obesity control where the advantage of losing weight outweighs the disadvantage of side-effects. They are a short-term diet aid for severely overweight dieters. Finally, nearly all clinical trials of diet and weight loss pills show that weight loss drug therapy is only effective when part of a comprehensive weight management program of diet, exercise and weight loss support.
You’ll agree that beauty makes sense only if your body looks great and you feel healthy and good. 
Diet and weight loss drugs or pills, whether prescription or over-the-counter weight loss supplements, are only effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan.