What is Pica – Causes and Treatment

What is Pica syndrome?
Pica
is an obsessive eating disorder where a person feels like eating inedible substances like mud, chalk, soap, paper, ice, paint, burnt match stick heads, cigarette butts etc. In some cases, the person may be inclined to eat large quantities of raw rice, cornstarch, salt etc. Pica is named after the bird ‘Magpie’ which is known to eat almost anything. Pica syndrome may also occur due to other factors like mental disorders, celiac disease or stress. But if these factors have been ruled out and a person is anemic, then the cause of Pica is mineral deficiency, largely iron and zinc. A person suffering from Pica syndrome loves to inhale smells like those of Petrol fumes, turpentine, paint, naphthalene balls and may give in to the urge of consuming these things as well! That is the point when it gets dangerous. Eating stuff like paint may cause lead poisoning,  inhaling petrol fumes and smelling naphthalene can affect your lungs. Pica eventually makes a person less hungry and dull. In many cases, a hardened mass is formed in the stomach from all the non-digestible substances that a person consumes.

pica - obsessive eating disorder

Causes of Pica syndrome
Anemia resulting from iron-deficiency is a major cause of concern among women, all over the world. In women, anemia is largely due to pregnancy, breast feeding and menstruation that render the body devoid of essential minerals like iron and zinc. Anemia is characterized by fatigue, weakness, pallor i.e. pale hands, eyes and nails in addition to hair loss. The problem here is that anemia often goes unnoticed till the symptoms get more severe. When a person is very anemic with low hemoglobin levels, Pica syndrome  sets in.

Pica Treatment
Do not hesitate to consult  your family doctor or general physician if you crave eating inedible substances listed above. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There are many women who suffer from this problem.

Your doctor will conduct blood tests to determine the cause of Pica. X-rays may be done to check the presence of foreign substances in your digestive system and chest.

If you are anemic with sever malnutrition, iron and zinc supplements in addition to other nutritional supplements will be prescribed. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe hemoglobin injections which bring back blood hemoglobin levels to normal, faster than iron supplements or tablets.

Pica syndrome may also result from other factors other like mental retardation or Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. In such cases, it is best to consult a psychiatrist.
People suffering from pica due to developmental disorders can avail of  psychological and psychiatric treatment that will help to rectify the disorder.  It is best to consult a mental health care provider for the same, if required.

In addition to iron supplements, women need to take proper care of their daily diet. Fresh fruits, green vegetables, fish, nuts, iron rich foods – in short, a proper balanced diet is very important. Eliminate stress and depression  by practicing relaxation techniques and physical exercises like yoga.

Pica resulting on account anemia and nutritional deficiency, disappears completely with a nutritious diet, health supplements and counseling.

Women need not be disheartened if they suffer from Pica syndrome. You can absolutely get rid of this eating disorder.

Photo Credits:Hunnnterrr

Money Management - Piggy Bank - Kids

Money Management For Kids With A Piggy Bank

Money Management - piggy bank

Money management for kids must be taught at an early age. Have you seen  kids who always insist on buying the latest toys and gizmos? Or kids who who make a huge fuss at supermarkets for buying everything they see? Well, some parents may argue that they are financially well off and there is no harm in pampering kids and meeting their demands and so on, as it keeps them happy. But have you heard of the saying “Give a man a fish and he will eat  for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime” The same goes for kids.

Now the next question would be, “How do I teach my kids money management?” The answer to this is not akin to studying rocket science, you just need loads of common sense.

Money Management Tips For Kids

Start At The Right Age

The best age to start teaching kids about money is from 5yrs-6yrs onwards. Smaller children are likely to accidentally swallow coins. So you need to be very careful.

Get A Piggy Bank

First and foremost, you need to buy an interesting money bank for your child. It may be a small toy house, you keep a coin at the doorstep, the door opens and a dog collects the coin before closing the door. The coin gets collected at the bottom of the toy house. Kids have short attention spans. The more interesting you make things for them, the more they will be keen on accomplishing tasks.

Teach Kids The Value Of Money

Next you have to tell them the reason behind parents going to work. They have to understand that you have to pay money for food, school fees, household expenses, petrol etc. Tell them nicely that people have to work and only then do they get paid.

Introduce kids to coins first. Encourage them to put coins in the piggy bank. Also make sure it is locked. You can tell your child that it will be opened on the first day of every month. This also inculcates some discipline in the child.

Play Money Games

Make them notice when you pay for groceries at the local grocery store. Show your kids that you have allocated a budget for groceries and you are going to spend within the limits. Any loose change that you get after paying for groceries can be given to the child as savings meant to be put into the piggy bank. Introduce role plays for money games like monopoly.

Teach Kids To Save

Encourage teens to go for summer jobs. For instance, if they want a trendy new bicycle, they can use their salary to get it and you may even chip in some more money if needed. This will inculcate self-esteem in the child, in addition to learning how to save.

A rule of the thumb is to teach a child to set goals for saving money.You need to explain the actual cost of a toy that he may want, for instance, and the rate at which he needs to save and the time after which he can take money out of the piggy bank to buy that thing. Put up a money tree on the notice board in your kid’s study. For every penny saved, put up a coin sticker on its branches. You may even  put up stickers on money worksheets.

Start Off With A Monthly Allowance

All said and done, you can begin by giving a monthly allowance for your child. Initially, make sure you are present when he spends the money. Advise him on the quality of the product he is buying. Teach him to understand if he is spending wisely on the right product. Let him not spend the entire money, you see, the purpose of this exercise is to make him save. So that has to be kept in mind.

As your kid grows, you can explain the concepts of debit cards, credit cards, ATMs, aspects of financial management and more.

Now you have something to start with. So go ahead and teach your kids the proper tricks of money management. And remember, this is a long process, you have to be there for kids to guide them on money matters till they are mature enough to take their own decisions.
Photo Credits – kenteegardin

Indian spices – health benefits – Part2

Coming back to health benefits of  more Indian Spices, their English and Hindi names and  health benefits.

Tej Patta: Bay Leaf
Indian spices - bayleaf tej patta

Bay Leaves or Tej Patta have nutritional and therapeutic benefits. Dried Bay leaves are generally used in Indian cooking. They lend a strong aroma and unique flavor to food and are added to food by tempering in hot cooking oil.

Health benefits of Bay Leaves

  • Bay leaves are a good source of Vitamin C, Folic acid and minerals.
  • Bay leaves have anti-oxidant and diuretic properties.
  • Essential oils of bay leaves have insect repellent properties.
  • Rubbing essential oils of bay leaves on to the affected area helps reduce swelling and pain due to sprains, arthritis, headaches and migraines.
  • Bay leaf tea is an excellent remedy for respiratory problems, colds and aids digestion and removes flatulence.

Dalchini: Cinnamon
Indian spices - cinnamon

Cinnamon or Dalchini is both a culinary spice and  a medicinal herb. It isnormally used whole for flavoring rice dishes like Pilafs and Biryanis. Cinnamon is also used as a powder for flavoring  desserts like cinnamon rolls.

Health benefits of Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon is good for controlling blood cholesterol  levels.
  • Cinnamon lowers high blood sugar levels and controls diabetes.
  • Cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and is a kind of natural food preservative.
  • Cinnamon tea is used to treat nausea and diarrhea.

Jaiphal:  Nutmeg

Indian spices - nutmeg - jaiphal

Nutmeg or Jaiphal is used  in desserts as well as savories. Nutmeg is used in powdered form.

Health benefits of Nutmeg

  • Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief from joint and muscle pain.
  • A large pinch of nutmeg powder taken with milk at night induces restful sleep.
  • Nutmeg when taken internally helps soften and dissolving kidney stones.
  • Nutmeg powdered and taken internally with some warm water provides relief from menstrual cramps.

 Hing: Asafoetida

Indian spices - Asafoetida hing

Asafoetida or Hing is used in powdered form mainly for tempering. It is used extensively in curries, gravies and pickles. If used without tempering in hot cooking oil, it will lend a bitter taste to the food. Hing is also used as part of other powdered spice mixes like sambhar masala powder, chaat masala powder and curry powder. Asafoetida lends a unique fragrance to food.

Health benefits of Asafoetida

  • Hing is used for providing relief from indigestion, colic and flatulence.
  • It is used as an expectorant for dry cough.
  • Hing is used for relief from menstrual cramps and menstrual disturbances.
  • Hing is effective against cough, cold and sinusitis.

Elaichi: Cardamom

Indian spices - cardamom elaichi

Cardamom or Elaichi is used to flavor food, desserts, payasam or kheer. In India Elaichi is often used to flavor tea.It is also used as part of different masala powders like Garam Masala. Elaichi imparts a uniquely strong flavor and has a beautiful aroma that stimulates taste buds.

Health benefits of Cardamom

  • Cardamom is a very good breath freshener.
  • Cardamom is an excellent diuretic.
  • Cardamom provides relief from indigestion.
  • Cardamom when taken with milk in powdered form, is a good remedy for impotence.
  • Regular use of cardamom flavored tea alleviates  depression.

Read the Part 1 of this article here  Indian Spices – Health Benefits – Part 1.

Indian spices – health benefits – Part 1

We come across a whole lot of spices in Indian cooking. These traditional Indian spices lend a  delectable and unique flavor to food.  These popular Indian spices have many health benefits in addition to being excellent immunity boosters. An Indian curry is a gravy made from traditional Indian spices in addition to stock, vegetables and meat(optional). Let us check out the benefits of some commonly used Indian spices.

       Methi: Fenugreek
Indian spices - fenugreek methi seeds

Fenugreek seeds aka methi seeds are used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders and in tempering (tadka in hindi). Fenugreek seeds are bitter and so must be used in small amounts while cooking. They impart a wonderful aroma to the food when used for tempering.

Health benefits of Methi

  • Methi seeds are an excellent source of  amino-acid 4-hydroxy isoleucine which supports healthy blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. Fiber present in Methi seeds reduces rate of glucose absorption in the intestines thereby controlling blood sugar levels. Boil a glass of water with a tablespoon of methi seeds. Allow this to cool down till warm and drink. Blood sugar levels can be controlled with regular use of methi seeds.
  • It is a good remedy for sore throat, cough and mouth ulcers. Boil 2 glasses of water with 1 tsp of methi seeds. Let this water cool till it is suitable for gargling. Gargling with methi boiled water provides relief from mouth ulcers, sore throat and cough.
  • Regular use of methi seeds in cooking improves appetite and aids digestion.
  • Use of Methi seeds increases milk production in nursing mothers and addresses the problem of insufficient lactation.

Zeera: Cumin seeds
Indian spices - cumin seeds

Cumin  seeds  or Zeera are used as whole for tempering and in powdered form to lend a unique flavor to curries, snacks, dals, dips, raitas etc.

Health benefits:

  • Cumin is excellent for flatulence,indigestion and morning sickness.
  • It is rich in iron and is good for people with anemia.
  • Cumin helps build immunity against common colds and flu.
  • Cumin has anti fungal and disinfectant properties. Cumin paste is used as treatment for skin disorders.

Dhania:Coriander

Indian spices - coriander seeds

Coriander – dhania is mostly coarsely ground or finely powdered before use, depending on the texture you desire!

Health benefits:

  • Coriander seeds lower blood sugar and bad cholestrol(LDL) levels.
  • Coriander seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium and iron.
  • Coriander is aids digestion and eliminates flatulence.
  • Coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder cures  blackheads  and pimples.

Laung: Clove

Indian spices - cloves

 Cloves – laung are used whole in several curries, pilafs and biryanis. Cloves are used in powdered form in combination with other spices for different types of masalas like Garam Masala. Ideally cloves must not be powdered and used alone, as clove powder loses aroma over time.

Health benefits:

  • Clove oil has analgesic or pain relieving properties. It provides relief from sore gums and tooth ache.
  • Clove oil  is  antiseptic in nature. It is used for relief from  cuts, wounds,fungal infections and bruises.
  • Cloves have digestive properties. Cloves provide relief from flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

More on Indian spices coming up in Part 2.

Top