Exercising for 15 minutes a day not only enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health, it also can extend lifespan by an average three years, a new study indicates.

Normally, doctors say exercising for at least half an hour a day will help a person prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss and stave off some diseases.

In fact, regular physical activity — ranging from gym workouts to vigorous walking — can help a person prevent or manage a wide range of health problems, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.

Although the World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity a week to stay fit, a new study by Taiwanese researchers has found that smaller bursts of exercise can have a number of health benefits.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Taiwan Department of Health, the Clinical Trial and Research Center of Excellence and National Health Research Institutes.

About 35 per cent of U.S. adults exercise for at least 150 minutes a week or about 30 minutes a day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Still, one-third of U.S. adults and 17 percent of children and teens are obese, which can increase the risk for diabetes, cancer, stroke and other illnesses.

In many countries, physical activity often takes a nosedive during adulthood, according to researchers. In addition, a sizable number of people in chronically inactive populations work office jobs that have them hunched over a desk for at least eight hours a day or more.

“The 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week has been the golden rule for the last 15 years, but now we found even half that amount could be very beneficial,” lead author Chi-Pang Wen told ABC News. “As we all feel, finding a slot of 15 minutes is much easier than finding a 30-minute slot in most days of the week.”

The study focused on how much exercise was undertaken over eight years period by more than 400,000 people in Taiwan. The study results showed that even a little exercise can go a long way.

Researchers categorized participants as “inactive” ranging to “very high” based on their level of physical activity so they could directly compare health benefits and exercise levels. The study, however, found that more than half of those surveyed were classified as “inactive.”

Participants who exercise for an average of 92 minutes per week — about 15 minutes a day — had a reduced risk of mortality as well as a 10 percent reduced risk for cancer compared to the inactive group. Every additional 15 minutes of exercise reduced the risk of death by 4 percent and lowered the risk for cancer by 1 percent.

“These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks,” wrote the researchers. “Individuals who were inactive had a 17 percent increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.”

If the minimum exercise requirement of 15 minutes a day were followed, one in six deaths in Taiwan could be postponed, about the same reduction in mortality that experts believe could occur if the general population stopped smoking cigarettes, the researchers suggested.

“This low volume of physical activity could play a central part in the global war against non-communicable diseases, reducing medical costs and health disparities,” the authors wrote.

In addition, the researchers found that the participants who exercise at an average of 30 minutes a day can live four years longer than those who do less than one hour of moderate activity per week. The study was published in the journal The Lancet.

Additionally, physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave a person feeling happier and more relaxed, which can boost their confidence and improve self-esteem. Regular physical activity, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to tissues, can improve muscle strength and boost endurance. It can also help a person to sleep faster and deepen the sleep when exercised much earlier to bedtime.

(Source: International Business Times)

Aloo Tikki

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Potatoes: 3-4 medium sized, boiled and peeled

Salt: As per taste

Black pepper: ½ tsp

For stuffing
Green peas: ½ cup, cooked well

Ginger: ½ tsp minced

Garam masala: ¼ tsp

Salt: As per taste

Red chili powder: ¼ tsp

Cumin: 1tsp, dry roasted, coarsely grounded

Oil: For frying

Method

Mash the cooked green peas. Add all the stuffing ingredients except oil and mash well. Divide the mixture into 10 equal portions and keep aside. Mash the potatoes very finely and add salt and pepper and knead until properly mixed. Divide it also into 10 equal portions. Rub your palms with little oil.  Take each portion of potato mixture and make a ball. Taking one at a time, gently flatten each ball into a round patty of about 1/2-inch thick and place a portion of stuffing in the centre and fold the edges together very finely so that the mixture does not come out. Very gently flatten the stuffed ball into a 2-inch patty. Repeat the procedure for all pieces. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan. Slip in the patties and pan-fry on both sides till crisp golden brown, adding oil if required, on a very low heat. Serve tikkis with tomato sauce or mint chutney.

Aloo Shami Kebab

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Potatoes: 4-5

Chana dal: 1 cup

Garlic: 12 cloves

Cumin: 1 tsp

Black pepper: 1 tsp

Dry red chili: 10-12

Black cardamom: 1

Green cardamom: 3-4

Clove: 3-4

Cinnamon: 1 inch piece

Coriander leaves: 2-3 tsp

Onion: 2 tsp, finely chopped

Green chili: 1tsp

Lemon juice: 1 tsp

Saffron: A few strands

Sweet kewra: A few drops

Salt: As per taste

Method

Peel, wash and boil potatoes with chana dal, garlic, cumin, black pepper, dry red chili, black cardamom, green cardamom, salt, clove and cinnamon, together until chana dal becomes soft but not placid. The water level over the ingredients should be only 1 inch above the ingredients. Grind the cooked ingredients without adding any water. Check salt at this stage. Then add chopped green chili, chopped onion, chopped coriander leaves, kewra, saffron and lemon juice to the paste. Make small balls and flatten between your hands like an aloo tikki. Heat oil in frying pan and shallow fry kebabs till golden brown and serve with pudina chutney.

Note: If the paste becomes too soft, you can add some roasted gram flour as a binding agent.

Vegetable Kebab

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Potatoes: 2 medium sized, boiled and peeled

Paneer: 1 cup

Cauliflower: 1 cup

Cabbage: 1 cup

Green chili: 2, finely chopped

Coriander leaves: 2 tsp, finely chopped

Maida: 1 cup

Chili powder: 1 tsp

Ghee: 2 tsp

Salt: As per taste

Water: 1 cup

Oil: For deep frying

Method

Grate the boiled potatoes, paneer, cabbage and cauliflower. Heat ghee in a pan and fry both cabbage and cauliflower for 4-5 minutes. Then add potato, paneer, green chilies and salt. Check the salt at this stage and cook till all the water from the vegetables dries up. Remove from the fire and allow it to cool. Make small balls of the mixture and flatten between your hands and keep aside. Make a batter by mixing maida, ¼ tsp salt, chili powder in 1 cup of water. Heat oil in a frying pan, dip all the kebabs in the maida batter and deep fry them till golden brown. Serve them hot with pudina or tomato sauce.

Hara Bhara Kebab

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Potatoes: 4-5 medium sized, boiled

Green peas: 1 cup, boiled

Spinach: 1 bunch

Green chilies: 1 tsp, finely chopped

Coriander leaves: 2-3 tsp, finely chopped

Ginger: 1 tsp, finely chopped

Chaat masala powder: 1 tsp

Salt: As per taste

Corn flour: 2-3 tsp

Oil: For deep-frying

Method

Grate the boiled potatoes and mash the boiled green peas. Cook spinach leaves in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes and wash the partly cooked leaves in cold water and squeeze out the excess water before finely chopping the leaves. Mix grated potatoes, peas and spinach and add chopped green chilies, chopped coriander leaves, chopped ginger, chaat masala powder and salt. Add corn flour to the mixture for binding. Divide the mixture into 25 equal portions and shape each portion into a ball and then press it in between your palms and flatten it. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the kebabs in hot oil for three to four minutes.

Note: If you are too diet conscious, you can shallow fry the kebabs on a tawa. To make kebabs look dark green, you can add more spinach leaves, but have to add more corn flour for a good binding.

A man out of northeast England has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after he hacked his neighbors’ bank accounts using information they posted on Facebook and Friends Reunited, a U.K.-based social networking site.

According to The Telegraph, Iain Wood spent up to 18 hours per day using the personal information his acquaintances posted online to work out passwords for their bank accounts.

He used the personal details to get past security checks and steal more than 35,000 British pounds ($57,000) over two years, which he blew on gambling.

Wood typed the usernames of his Facebook friends on bank websites. After using the option that he couldn’t remember the password, he was asked security questions about date of births, mother’s maiden names, and other personal information and was able to answer them correctly in some cases. If he got into the bank account, he changed the address details and took out cash.

Most of the accounts he targeted were dormant, but he was able to exploit the overdraft limit before anyone noticed. He was caught when he changed his operation and directly transferred money out of one neighbor’s account into his own. The victim was contacted on a withdrawal of 1,500 British pounds, realized it was fraud and the police were called.

Police suspected this was Wood’s only victim until he blurted out, “Have you been on to me for a while?” A search of his place found bank account pin numbers, someone else’s passport, bills and other paperwork, much of which he took from his neighbors’ mailboxes, according to The Telegraph.

Wood pleaded guilty to seven counts of false representation and fraud.

Though Wood was a dedicated scammer, he didn’t use fake Facebook apps or malware-infested websites. Be careful what you click, whom you friend and what you share on Facebook — make good use of the privacy settings. If you’re sharing personal details, don’t use the same information for important online services like banking.

Readers, are you surprised that one man with no software could do such damage?

(Source: Mediabistro.com)

 

Aloo Raita

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Potato: 1 cooled, peeled and cut into small cubes

Onion: 1 finely chopped

Green chili: 1 finely chopped

Coriander leaves: 2-3 tsp finely chopped

Yogurt: 2 cups

Salt: As per taste

Mustard seeds: 1 tsp

Dry chili: 2 broken

Curry leaves: 2-3 strands

Oil: 1 tsp

Method

Mix yogurt, potato cubes, coriander leaves, chopped chili and salt and keep it aside. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add dry chili and curry leaves. Saute till they are crisp and add tadka to the raita. Mix well and for few seconds and then transfer the Tadka to raita and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves. Chill the raita before serving.

Tadka Raita

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Recipes
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Ingredients

Yogurt: 1 cup

Salt: As per taste

Green chili: 1

Mint leaves: 1 cup

Curry leaves: 2-3 strands

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Mustard seeds: 1 tsp

Oil: 1 tsp

Method

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add curry leaves and green chili and sauté till they are crisp and remove from fire. Add it to the yogurt and check for salt. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve chill.

Onion Raita

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Recipes
Tags: ,

In summer, we all love to keep our body cool and when we have spicy food, we feel like having yogurt and a plain yogurt will not satisfy our taste buds. So here is what I do with yogurt, turn it into tasty raita with few additions.

Onion Raita

Ingredients

Yogurt: 1 cup

Onion: 1 finely chopped

Green chili: 1 finely chopped

Coriander leaves: 3-4 tsp finely chopped

Salt: According to taste

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Check salt and add if required. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with coriander leaves. Chill and serve.

Hummus and Tahini

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Recipes
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Whenever we visit a restaurant in the Middle East, we come across Hummus, one of the most popular Middle Eastern dips. It is served with fresh or toasted pita bread. It makes for a great snack or appetizer. I wondered what it means. Hummus is a dip/spread made from chickpeas. Hummus in Arabic means chickpea. Little search about hummus yielded that it is one of the oldest foods dating back to ancient Egypt. And one more thing, the taste of hummus differ from restaurants to restaurants, it is not constant. Some have lemon flavour, some have garlic flavor and some have a spicy tone. So I came to know that while preparing hummus at home, we can keep our taste buds in mind and add a little of this and remove a little of that and still have a great culinary masterpiece. So here goes the recipe for it.

Ingredients

Chickpeas: 1 cup

Lemon juice: 2-3 tsp

Tahini: 1 tsp

Garlic: 2 cloves crushed

Olive oil: 1-2 tsp

Salt: according to taste

Method

Soak chickpeas overnight, drain and cook in a vessel. Set aside the cooked water from the chickpeas. Add ¼ cup of chickpea water and grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste. Put in a serving bowl and create a shallow well in the centre of the hummus. Add 1 tsp of olive oil in the well and garnish with coriander. Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Note:

If you want spicier hummus, add red chilies; if you love yogurt add ½ cup of it to get a creamy dip.

Hummus can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. You can add little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.

Now, let me tell you how to prepare Tahini, which is the most important ingredient in hummus.

Tahini

Ingredients

Sesame seeds: 1 cup

Olive oil: ¼ cup

Method

Dry roast sesame seeds till you get nice aroma. Do not allow to brown. Cool it and grind it to powder. Add olive oil and grind it to a fine paste.

Note: Tahini can be stored in refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 3 months.