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Monday, February 24, 2014

Watch Ryan Gosling Explain How Depressing It Is to Be an Actor


Watch Ryan Gosling Explain How Depressing It Is to Be an Actor

If you thought it was easy becoming Ryan Gosling, successful Hollywood actor and meme-inspiring heartthrob, you were wrong. In Seduced and Abandoned, the Hollywood-focused documentary from director, screenwriter, producer, and this month’s Vanity Fair contributor James Toback, Gosling describes to Toback and Alec Baldwin (Toback’s collaborator on the film) his unglamorous memories of being a struggling teenage actor in Hollywood. Gosling is just one of the filmmaking figures with whom Toback and Baldwin meet—they also chat with Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, James Caan, and Jessica Chastain in the film, which premiered on HBO last October.

Exam Stress -Motivator for students to stay focused on the bigger picture. (AASRA)

It's exam season once again and students are under tremendous pressure to do well. We wish all students Best of luck in their endeavors and hope that they will keep in mind that exams and results don't make one successful. It's what you do with the knowledge you gain that determines your future. So don't lose hope even if you have fared poorly. It's not an endgame..It's just the beginning of LIFE's many lessons!

Help motivate those who feel debilitated by Mental disorder. Dont lose hope. You are special People. If you need to talk ,,, Do call AASRA 91-22-27546669 (24x7)

This will help motivate those who feel debilitated by Mental disorder. Dont lose hope. You are special People. If you need to talk ,,, Do call AASRA 91-22-27546669 (24x7)

Monday, February 17, 2014

An article about AASRA in the Deccan Herald 21 st Jan 2014

'Tough times don't last, tough people do'

Jan 21, 2014, DHNS:

Alarming: A recent survey says that adolescent suicides are increasing at the rate of five to 10 per cent.

While the society stays blissfully unaware, an epidemic called ‘suicide’ is sweeping over the youth of India. A recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences found that adolescent suicides are increasing at the rate of five to 10 per cent and that underlying triggering factors like mental disorders are occurring more often in girls than boys with gender disparity becoming evident early on.
India has an estimated 24.3 crore boys and girls aged between 10 and 19 years, which comprises 21 per cent of the total population. A 2012 survey undertaken by a separate group of researchers came up with a statistic of 1,87,000 suicide deaths in India - 1,15,000 men and 72,000 women among persons aged 15 years or more. This is higher than the World Health Organisation’s country-wise average of 1,70,000 annual suicide deaths.

Most of these cases are being attributed to depression from an unhappy family background, broken relationships, stress of studies, unemployment, drug and alcoholism and financial problems. Aasra, a Mumbai-based NGO has been running a 24X7 national helpline for the youth for the past 15 years now. Its director Johnson Thomas says, “We get up to 50 calls a day. 70 per cent of these are from people in the age group of 15-45 years. Worldwide, this is known as the most suicide-prone age group as the most sensitive of life events – the crucial exams, start of a career, marriage etc. take place during this time.”

“For the same reason, people in this age bracket also need the maximum amount of family support and guidance. However, that has been frittering away with increasing Westernisation in India. Parents get separated or are busy with their careers and hence don’t have enough time for the kids. The children also live in their virtual world of Facebook and Twitter much more than with their families. The rift is widening.”

Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Hospitals, says the increasing competition in schools, colleges and workplaces is also taking its toll. “We are a performance-driven society these days. All we care about is scores in exams, which college one made it to and how much one is earning. There is little time to relax and enjoy life. Your mental strength is being tested all the time. No wonder, people succumb.”

Johnson Thomas says life is never devoid of problems but then every problem has a solution. All one needs to do is focus on that and remember their achievements and happy moments. “Every person feels failed and lonely at some point of time in life. It is important that you reach out to people even if they are not aware of your situation. Friends are always helpful in tiding over traumatic times. It is important that you share your feelings.”
“Tough times don’t last, though, tough people do.”   

1 International Student from TISS(three month internship) & Students from Sion Hosp on a short term project 'Vicarious Trauma' at AASRA

Students from IIM Indore(M Campus) interned at Aasra for seveb weeks

Aasra Statistics and Activity Updates upto Feb 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Aasra writeup in Hindustan Times 9th Feb 2014

  • 14 Jul 2013
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Tasneem Kausar

They will hear you out when you need to talk

NAVI MUMBAI: Located in sector 16 of Kopar Khairane, Aasra aims to help manage mental illness by providing professional care and support to the depressed and suicidal.
The objective of Aasra is offer a non-judgmental listener to anyone who is feeling anxiety, stress or despair. Members of Aasra believe that a suicide can be averted by active listening. The NGO has launched a 24x7 helpline for citizens.
Johnson Thomas, the director, said “We have been working here since 1998. So far, we have registered around 4 lakh cases with regard to distress and suicidal problems. We look after around 30 such cases a day. We not only address their problems, but also conduct workshops in different parts of the city."
Aasra is a member of the Navi Mumbai Swayamsevi Sanghatna Sansthanche Vyaspith and is also a member of the Navi Mumbai NGOs Forum.”
“As a part of both forums, it has spear-headed various activities in the fields of community and women’s development. Both Forums jointly tackled the 26/7 devastation when the entire city was ravaged by floods, by coordinating reha-
Kopar Khairane crisis intervention center for the distressed and suicidal bilitation initiatives that provided succour to the multitudes that were rendered homeless without hygienic food and water for several days,” Thomas said.
In addition to this, other activities undertaken by Aasra include anti-tobacco campaigns, HIV/AIDS awareness programs, comprehensive health fairs in colleges, Women’s Day programs and skill development, awareness campaigns, legal literacy workshops, nutrition programs, group savings initiatives for women belonging to the economically weaker communities to make them selfsufficient.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SC: For abetment, a positive act to instigate suicide must be proved

The Times of India

SC: For abetment, a positive act to instigate suicide must be proved

TNN Jun 6, 2013, 01.03AM IST
MUMBAI: There is often confusion over suicideinvestigations in the absence of uniform rules or policy, leaving cases open to the discretion of the investigating police officer, admit legal experts.
Over the years, the city police in almost equal measure closed cases as suicide or charged alleged abettors. In the absence of a suicide note, there could be arrests or may be only a round of questioning; and, even when there's a suicide note with names, cops have been known to make arrests only after bereaved relatives have cried foul.
As the police take up Jiah Khan's case, they would do well to take note of a landmark 2010 Supreme Court judgment which dealt with abetment of suicide. A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik said abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. "Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained," they said. What makes up a "positive act on part of an accused" is the question police often grapple with.
Abetment of suicide is an offence under section 306 of the IPC, one that requires rigorous proof of actual instigation by an abettor. It is punishable with a maximum 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
It's not necessary for every suicide case to have an abetment angle, said veteran criminal lawyer Shrikant Bhat. But the police ought to investigate each case to rule out foul play.
A suicide may be a suicide even when there is no note left behind, said a lawyer. "Police have discretion in probing a case and looking at all angles. Abetment is a widely-worded charge. Once it is made and added to an FIR, it often becomes difficult for the accused to rebut it and appeals can be prolonged," said criminal law advocate Arfan Sait.
In the 2010 case of G M Reddy versus Andhra Pradesh, the trial court had convicted the accused, a farmer, of harassing his farm-hand by accusing him of theft and thus abetting his suicide. The high court upheld the conviction. The SC held that the conviction had no merit and set it aside.
The SC in a number of other judgments has clarified that to convict a person of abetment of suicide, there has to be a clear mens rea (a guilty mind or intention) to commit the offence. "It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide...," the SC has held.

A Case In Point!

Gujarat High Court
Vikrambhai vs State on 22 June, 2012
Author: Z.K.Saiyed,
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CR.MA/6248/2012 7/ 7 ORDER
MISC.APPLICATION No. 6248 of 2012
RAMABHAI DESAI - Applicant(s)
OF GUJARAT - Respondent(s)
========================================================= Appearance
Applicant(s) : 1,
MS HANSA PUNANI, APP for Respondent(s) : 1,
: 22/06/2012
1. This
successive bail application has been preferred under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in connection with the offence being CR No.I-423 of 2011 registered with Vastrapur Police Station, Ahmedabad, for the offences under Sections 306, 294-B, 507 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 33 of the Money Lenders Act.
2. Heard
Mr.P.M.Thakkar, learned Senior Counsel appearing with Mr.Y.N.Ravani, for the applicant. Earlier the present applicant had filed Criminal Misc. Application No.12033 of 2011 before this Court and the same was withdrawn on 8.9.2011 with a liberty to approach the lower Court after filing of the charge-sheet. Thereafter, second application being Criminal Misc. Application No.14835 of 2011 was filed. On 22.11.2011, learned advocate for the applicant submitted that present applicant is in custody under PASA and therefore, permission was granted to withdraw the said application.
It is contended that to encourage to commit suicide has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is contended that so far as provisions of Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code is concerned, provocation, instigation and abetment has to be proved prima-facie, from the evidence of the witnesses as well as from the case of the prosecution. He has read contents of FIR and contended that deceased borrowed money on interest from the applicant and in the result when he demanded money from the deceased he committed suicide. It is contended that to prove prosecution case act of the present applicant should fall within the meaning of instigator, provocator or abettor to commit suicide.
4. He
has contended that from the case of the prosecution prima-facie it does not prove that due to the act or abetment the deceased has committed suicide. He has relied on the decision in the case of M. Mohan Vs. State, represented by the Dy. Superintendent of Police, reported in (2011) 3 SCC 626. He contended that the applicant has not abetted the victim to commit suicide. He has contended that as per observations of the Apex Court it requires commission of direct or active act by accused which led deceased to commit suicide seeking no other option and such act must be intended to push victim into a position that he commits suicide. The applicant has only asked for giving money back. It is contended that charge-sheet is already filed. No material is available on record to rope the present applicant in commission of alleged offence. He is in jail since long period.
5. He
has read Sections 306, 294-B and 507 of the Indian Penal Code and contended that so far as punishment under Section 306 of the IPC is concerned, it is not for life imprisonment. He has read paras 44 to 49 of the said citation and contended that prosecution has produced script of mobile telephone on record to disclose that due to harassment of the present applicant husband of the complainant has committed suicide.
6. So
far as mans-rea is concerned, Mr.Thakkar has relied on the decision in the case of Madan Mohan Singh Vs. State of Gujarat and Anr, reported in (2010) 8 SCC 628. He has contended that intention of accused to aid or to instigate or to abet the suicide must be proved. He has contended that from the papers of the charge-sheet it appears that prosecution has failed to prove that due to the abetment and provocation of the present applicant deceased has committed suicide. He has contended that in the present case no inference can be drawn that due to provocation of the present applicant the deceased committed suicide.
7. He has read contents of Banakhat and Power of Attorney and contended that from the transaction made by the deceased with the present applicant, prima-facie, case against the present applicant does not appear. He has contended that jail period of the present applicant is required to be considered. He has lastly contended that even in huge scam cases Apex Court has granted bail. Therefore, he has prayed to grant bail to the present applicant.
Heard Ms.Hansa Punani, learned APP for the respondent - State. She has has vehemently opposed the present application. She has read contents of the FIR and contended that from the allegations made against the present applicant, prima-facie it appears that present applicant has committed offence of Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. She has contended that so far as statements of witnesses Sarlaben and Rajulaben are concerned, they have stated before the Investigating Officer that conduct of the present applicant was very rude and in the result of demand of high interest amount, the incident happened and victim committed suicide. She has therefore prayed not to grant bail to the present applicant.
Heard learned advocates for both the sides and perused the papers. It is true that so far as question regarding instigation, provocation and ingredients of Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code are concerned, ingredients of Sections 107 and 108 of the Indian Penal Code is required to be perused. To constitute instigation for commission of an offence it would depend upon the facts of each case. Just to decide whether person has abetted by instigation, the commission of an offence or the act of abetment has to be judged in conspectus of the entire evidence in the case. The act of abetment attributed to an accused is not to be viewed on tested in isolation. The human nature is very complex. The human behaviour varies from man to man. Different people behave and react differently in different situations. The human behaviour depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. How a man would behave in a particular situation can never be predicted. In the given circumstances the behaviour of the deceased who has committed suicide shows conduct of the present applicant from whom he borrowed money. But only conduct cannot indicate that, prima-facie, ingredients of Section 107 of the Code appears. It is true that previous conduct of a person is also required to be considered. So far as document of Banakhat and Power of Attorney are concerned, prima-facie, it appears that in connection of the loan amount both the documents were prepared by the deceased in favour of the present applicant. The provisions of Section 107 of the Code shows that intentionally aiding and active complexity is the gist of the offence of abetment. In para-3 of Section 107 of the Code it is observed that, a person can abet the commission of an offence in any one of the three ways set out in Section 107 of the IPC. In the present case, it is the question that whether case of the present applicant would squarely fall under the category of Section 107 of the IPC or not. It is true that normally, one would not commit suicide unless there are strong and compelling reasons for it, so there must be a very pressing motive behind every case of suicide. In the present case statements of Sarlaben dated 27.7.2011 and Saileshbhai Patel dated 12.7.2011 both are perused. Therefore, without entering into merits of the case, jail period of the present applicant and provisions of Section 306 of the IPC I am of the opinion that this is a good case for bail. There is no submission from the prosecution side that present applicant will temper with evidence.
10. Considering
the above, this Application is allowed. The applicant is ordered to be released on bail in connection with CR No.I-423 of 2011 registered with Vastrapur Police Station, Ahmedabad, for the offence alleged against him in this Application on his executing a Bond of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees ten thousand only) with solvent surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial Court and subject to the conditions that he shall-
a) not
take undue advantage of his liberty or abuse his liberty;
b) not
to try to tamper or pressurise the prosecution witnesses or complainant in any manner;
c) maintain
law and order and should cooperate the Investigating Officer;
d) not
act in a manner injurious to the interest of the prosecution;
e) not
enter into Ahmedabad City till the trial against him is completed.
f) not
leave the country without the prior permission of the concerned Sessions Judge;
g) furnish
the address of his residence to the I.O. and also to the Court at the time of execution of the bond and shall not change the residence without prior permission of this Court;
h) surrender
his passport, if any, to the lower Court within a week.
11. If
the breach of any of the above conditions is committed, the concerned Sessions Judge will be free to issue warrant or take appropriate action in the matter.
12. Bail
before the lower Court having jurisdiction to try the case. It would be open to the trial Court concerned to give time to furnish the solvency certificate if prayed for.
13. Rule
is made absolute. Direct service is permitted.

World Cancer Day 2014 — Top 10 cancer myths busted/ Foods that prevent cancer

World-cancer-day-2014Cancer is the one of the scariest diseases and a major cause of mortality all over the world. And the main reason behind this fear is the prevalence of myths about cancer which till date cause an interference with thinking of people in the community as well as people having cancer. Today, on Feb 4, recognized as World Cancer Day, let’s target some common myths about the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer. Let’s educate ourselves and spread accurate information about cancer within our family and community. 
Myth 1: Nothing can be done about cancer. Treatment is only meant to delay death
Fact: With early diagnosis and right treatment strategies, one third of common cancers can be prevented and treated. According to 2008 statistics on cancer survivors, 0.64 million deaths were reported in India. This number has reduced to 0.56 million according to the 2010 statistics. Although the change is not that significant, but there’s surely a reduction in death cases. The number of cancer survivors is increasing day-by-day. Moreover, with latest developments in cancer treatment, the quality of life of cancer patients can now be improved to a great extent. Read more about the predicted increase in new cancer cases by 2025.
Myth 2: You cannot control your risk of getting cancer
Fact: There’s no single magical spell that can completely prevent cancer, but with awareness, lifestyle and dietary changes, the risk of cancer can be reduced greatly. 
Myth 3: If you don’t have anyone in your family suffering from cancer, you have nothing to worry about
Fact: It’s true that cancer is hereditary, but only 5 to 10 percent of cancers are inherited through genes. Mutation in cancer causing genes is the main reason why cancer develops during a lifetime. These changes mainly occur due to smoking, tobacco use, radiation and exposure to different chemicals. 
Myth 4: Frequent use of deodorants, antiperspirants and hair colors or dyes can cause cancer.
Fact: There is scientific proof that these things can cause cancer or even increase cancer risk. Use of chemicals can be harmful to the body in a lot of ways, but it definitely does not cause cancer. Here are ten myths about breast cancer. Read more about prevalence of myths about breast cancer.
Myth 5All cancers are painful despite advances in treatment
Fact: Pain is common in patients suffering from cancer. But, the developments in pain management techniques are truly remarkable and cancer pain can now be treated successfully in 95 percent of cancer cases. 
Myth 6: Drinking water from bottles made of re-used plastic can cause cancer or drinking bottled water that’s been kept in a car for a long time can cause cancer due to release of some chemicals.
Fact: Neither of them is true. According to the American Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK, drinking water from bottles made from re-used plastic does not cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer. Chemicals that are released from bottled water are not yet scientifically proven to be carcinogenic. Read more about heart problems caused by chemicals in plastic bottles. 
Myth 7: Chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment is worse than getting the disease.
Fact: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have their own side effects and can be undesirable at times, but recent advances have made chemotherapy drugs and other treatments much tolerable. There’s a lot of scope in cancer treatment to ease side effects and improve the quality of life. 
Myth 8: With daily use of sunscreen, you can prevent skin cancers
Fact: Using sunscreens everyday is good habit because it protects you from the sun’s UV radiation. It may reduce cancer risk but we cannot yet rely on sunscreen to eliminate the risk of cancer completely. Read more about the role of sunscreen in preventing cancer.
Myth 9: Smoking a couple of cigarettes in a day will not cause cancer.
Fact: Smoking is still the greatest contributor of cancer cases worldwide. Researchers believe that the relation between cancer risk and smoking is linear. Even if you cut down on smoking from 20 cigarettes to just say 2 cigarettes per day, your risk of dying due to other smoking related diseases (cancer, heart diseases, lung dysfunction) is reduced by just 5 percent. Read more about how smoking increases the risk of cancer. Take a look at theseeasy ways to quit smoking.
Myth 10: Constant use of mobile phones can result in brain cancer.
Fact: Constant use of mobile phones is definitely not advisable because it might be harmful to the ears. But there is no established relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer. One such study analyzing the risk of cancer with mobile phones was carried out by experts at Danish Cancer Society. They screened about 420,000 mobile users in Denmark and found absolutely no relation between cancer incidence and mobiles. Other studies from the New England Journal of Medicine also report no connection. But researchers have not totally eliminated the possibility. More research is required to confirm the risk. Here’s what WHO has to say about mobile radiation and health hazards.
  • Cancer Research UK (
  • American Cancer Society (
  • Prakash S Bisen, Demystifying Myths of Cancer
  • Cancer Fact or Fiction: Separating Myths from Good Information -By the National Cancer Institute
You are here: Home» Articles» World Cancer Day 2014: Foods that prevent cancer

World Cancer Day 2014: Foods that prevent cancer

NDTV Cooks, Updated: February 04, 2014 13:56 IST
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World Cancer Day 2014: Foods that prevent cancer'World Cancer Day' is celebrated annually on 4th of February to deepen our understanding of this killer disease. This year the campaign focuses on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration that is to reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer with the tagline, "Debunk the myths".

There has been enough research to validate that food acts as the most promising ammunition to fight the battle against cancer.  Keeping in with this year's campaign we bring to you six common queries that are addressed by Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath.

1) What is the most common cause of cancer? 

Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. There are around 100 types of cancer. The most common types of cancer are -  Men: Lung, esophagus, stomach, oral and pharyngeal cancers. Women: Cervix and breast cancers.

Cancer has many possible causes, the prominent ones being -

  • Genetics: Certain cancers run in families. For example, certain mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes greatly increase a person's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking accounts for around 30% of all cancer deaths. It is linked with increased risk of these cancers - lungs, larynx, oral cavity, nose and sinuses, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, ovary, colon, rectum and acute myeloid leukemia. Chewing of tobacco, a carcinogen, is linked to dental caries, gingivitis, oral leukoplakia, and oral cancer.
  • Diet and Lifestyle: Research shows that a poor diet and not having an active lifestyle are the key factors that can increase a person's risk of developing cancer. 
Three things to keep in mind in order to stay cancer free:

- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout your life.
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.

2) What are the foods that up the risk of developing cancer?

Some cancers like that of the stomach have a more direct relationship with food. Foods which should be consumed in moderation to avoid the incidence of cancer are  -

  • Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, lunch meats and hot dogs.
  • Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).
  • If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
  • Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.

3) What are the preventive foods that guard against cancer?
In accordance with the most common types of cancers that our country suffers from, the following foods can help:

Oral Cancer: A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables and proper oral hygiene has been shown to offer protection against oral cancer.

Breast Cancer: Reduction of high calorie foods, increased intake of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity is preventive.

Lung Cancer:
 Avoid tobacco and stay free from environmental pollutants. Increase intake of vegetables, fruits and beta carotene.

Stomach Cancer: 
Diets high in fruits and vegetables particularly raw vegetables, citrus fruits, and possibly allium vegetables (onions, leeks, garlic etc.), foods with high levels of carotenoid, high vitamin C intake and consumption of green tea helps prevent stomach cancers.

4) What foods help in healing cancer and how?

Good nutrition is a key to good health. Foods which are rich in Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Lycopene are known to protect DNA from damages. Research proves that these foods help in healing cancer -

 Apple contains quercetin, epicatechin, anthocyanins and triterpenoids which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to lower the risk of cancer specifically Colorectal cancers. The apple peel is the most nutritious as the majority of Quercetin (80%) is found in it. Other cancers in which apples are known to heal are lungs, breast and stomach.

Blueberries: Blueberries have great antioxidant power, due to the presence of many phytochemicals and flavonoids like Anthocyanins, Ellagic acid and Urolithin. These are known to decrease free radical damage to DNA that leads to cancer. They also decrease the growth and stimulate self-destruction of mouth, breast, colon and prostate cancer cells.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Green Cabbage, Cauliflower, White Turnip, Kale, Green Collard: The Glucosinolates present in them is converted into isothiocyanates and indoles on consumption, which decreases inflammation, one of the risk factors of cancer. Beta-carotene promotes cell communication that helps control abnormal cell growth.

 Both sweet and tart cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. The dark red color comes from anthocyanins, which are antioxidants.

Cranberries: They are high on dietary fiber and vitamin C. They're very high in antioxidant power, most of which comes from phytochemicals like anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and flavonols, ursolic acid, benzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid. Proanthocyanidins and ursolic acid decrease growth and increase self-destruction of several types of cancer in cell studies.

Grapefruit: An 18th century hybrid of the pummelo and sweet orange. It is grown mainly in the Americas. Its name derives from the fruit's appearance as it grows: grape-like clusters on trees. Grapefruit contains these naringenin and other flavonoids like limonin and other limonoids, beta-carotene and lycopene (pink and red varieties). Foods containing lycopene lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Green Tea: Since ancient times, tea has been used as both beverage and medicine. Both black and green teas contain numerous active ingredients, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. One class of flavonoids called catechins has recently become the focus of widespread study for their anti-cancer potential. Tea is the best source of catechins in the human diet, and green tea contains about three times the quantity of catechins found in black tea. In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells. Other studies involving green tea have shown similar protective effects in tissues of the lung, skin and digestive tract.

Winter Squash/Pumpkins:
 They contain Alpha and Beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A inside the body. The yellow pigmented lutein, zeaxanthin helps to filter high energy ultra violet rays that can damage our eye's lens and retina. Lab studies suggest that dietary intake decreases the chances of skin cancer related to exposure from sun.

Walnuts: The major actives found in walnut are - Elligtannins, Gamma-tocopherol, Alpha-linolenic acid, phytosterols and Melatonin. Laboratory studies show that consuming walnuts helps in breast cancer, colon tumor and prostate cancer. The studies also show decreased damage to DNA by regular consumption of walnut.

5) Do all chemicals, preservatives and additives in foods cause cancer?

Additives serve a wide variety of uses. For example, preservatives protect foods against deterioration and prevent growth of fungi and bacteria. Other additives help improve the texture and consistency of foods, keep them flowing freely when poured, or prevent them from drying out. Flavourings restore taste losses or can enhance the flavour or aroma of food. Emulsifiers ensure that oil and water in foods do not separate.

Some commonly used preservatives which are doubted to have a relation with cancer are - Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a phenolic antioxidant which prevents rancidity of fats and oils in food by protecting against lipid oxidation. High levels of BHA is found to create stomach tumor in laboratory animals.

Some other chemicals which are found in canned foods and are known to perpetrate cancer are -

  • Bisphenol A(BPA) can be found in reusable plastic food containers and the lining of food and beverage cans. Research shows that BPA exposure is linked to breast cancer, and has been shown to interfere with chemotherapy treatment for the disease.
  • Phthalates can be found in some plastic food containers and are considered as endocrine disruptors. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.
  • Some pesticides and herbicides used on foods we eat have been labeled as human or animal carcinogens.
  • Zeranol: Commonly found in the beef industry processing, it mimics an estrogen like action in the body and has been found carcinogenic in laboratory animals. This chemical is banned by the European Union.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to produce food packaging. It was one of the first chemicals designated as known human carcinogen and has been linked to increased mortality from breast cancer and liver cancer among workers involved in its manufacture.

6) A lot is being talked about the Mediterranean diet and its anti-cancer properties. How helpful is the diet?

The Mediterranean diet got popular in 1990's for its protective qualities against heart ailments. Later it was found to be effective for other lifestyle disorders and cancer. Instead of accepting all the dishes that are offered in the name of a Mediterranean diet we should look for some basic concepts for which this cuisine is revered. These are - good to control weight gain, bad cholesterol and blood sugar.

A typical Mediterranean diet includes - abundant plant foods, fresh fruits, olive oil, cereals, wine, moderate consumption of fish, poultry and low amounts of red meat.

The main benefit of this type of a diet is that it reduces inflammatory changes and oxidative stress in the body. By reducing inflammatory changes and delaying the age related changes in body it increases longevity and improves health. At least 7 types of cancers are related to obesity and in that context a Mediterranean diet helps to maintain a healthy glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favourable effect of a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3, essential fatty acids and high amounts of fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and wine.

7) Five tips that you recommend one should follow for a healthy lifestyle.

  • Include fibers in your diet for healthy bowel movements. Regular bowels are important for detoxification.
  • Regular exercise is most important to boost immunity and avoid metabolic disorders like diabetes, hyper cholesterol, obesity, thyroid, hypertension etc. Yoga, paranyam are good for reducing stress, improving flexibility and correcting posture.
  • Nuts provides a good source of energy and other nutrients which are helpful. They help in the reduction and maintainence of weight. Nuts are advisable for controlling bad cholesterol. Nuts like walnut, almonds and pistachios are good for diabetics, hypercholesterolemia.
  • Intake of fruits and vegetables provides necessary antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These help to neutralize the oxidative stress in the body and avoid damages to DNA, ageing.
  • Regular detox through green and herbal teas helps to maintain the balance in the body. Spa and Ayurveda therapies like body massages, shirodhara, chooran svedanam help to relax the body and mind. Lymphatic drainage therapy is also helpful to cleanse channels and get rid of toxins from the lymphatic system.

About Dr Ashutosh Gautam

He is currently working as a manager of clinical operations and coordination in Baidyanath. He is an ayurveda scholar with particular interest in spreading awareness about diet (Ahar) & Dincharya (routine) on one's health.

He gives lifestyle consultations in Manta Vedic Spa. His specialization is diet consultation according to ayurvedic principles of Parkruti (basic constitution of person), Nadi Parikashan (pulse examination).

He is also involved in the introduction of new products & development in the organization and holding CME (continue medical education) for doctors about latest advances in the field of Ayurveda.

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