Tea is more than just a drink

Lifestyle Desk, Barta24.com
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When you think about tea, there is probably a specific image which pops into your head. A tall glass of bubble milk tea from your favourite store, the classic British-style tea set, perhaps the dregs of light-green tea leaves as they sit at the the bottom of a cup on your colleague’s desk.

These images all represent tea as a finished product, something to be consumed by the drinker.

Tea is all of these things, but our experience of drinking tea is not something static or dead, but an interactive experience influenced by centuries of cultural evolution.

Tea is quite literally a living thing - a plant. But on a grander scale, tea resembles the development of human societies in the way it has changed and adapted through the decades, centuries, even millenia. In this sense too, tea has a life of its own.

According to one legend, tea was discovered by the mythological figure Shennong, who tasted hundreds of herbals to cure the poisoned compatriots and finally spotted the divine grass, tea.

Now tea is a universal beverage, enjoyed in almost every corner of the world, and while practices and tastes may vary, tea is an essential component of countless peoples’ lives.

Some people I have met have been curious about the difference between Chinese and British tea. Although you can buy all kinds of tea nowadays, British people most prefer black tea, especially in the morning or afternoon, and tend to add just a drop of milk to their tea, unlike Chinese milk tea in which the milk itself makes up half or more of the volume.

In China, different types of tea are associated with different seasons when it is good to drink, red tea in winter to warm up the body, green tea in spring when the weather is clammy to clear the system, oolong tea is said to be best suited to summer drinking.

To think of tea as having medicinal properties might be strange to people in some other parts of the world, so though all tea comes from the same kind of plant, cultural background guides the experience of the drinker.

Our experience of tea is subjective in this way. Tea is a moment. To someone in Fujian, the light orange, fluorescent colour at the bottom of your cup as you sit in the light, cooling breeze of the evening, to someone from Beijing, perhaps the white and green of jasmine flowers, the piping hot temperature as you sip your flask to wake yourself up for work.

Tea affects our mood, some teas have a calming effect, others drink tea to stay awake or help them study better.

We have an intimate relationship with the things which are most prominent in our lives, like tea, which though inanimate is woven into our experiences like an invisible thread; we cannot imagine our lives without it.

Thus while it is common to ask how tea has been changed by people, a better question might be, how has tea changed us?

Source: Xinhua

Why you should check your Blood Pressure regularly?

Dr. Muhammad Muhidul Islam
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High blood pressure is referred as ‘Hypertension’ as a medical term. This disease is often compared to an Iceberg. Because most of the sufferers doesn't even know about their disease, which resembles the submerged danger of an Iceberg. Some research shows that 42% of patients are unaware of their disease. 24% of patients are aware but do not take any steps to control their blood pressure. Only 34% of patients controls their BP.

Complications of uncontrolled Hypertension:

- Stroke (i.e. Intracranial Hemorrhage)
- Blindness (i.e. Hypertensive Retinopathy)
- Heart Attack (i.e. Coronary Artery Disease)
- Kidney Disease (i.e. Chronic Renal Failure)

How to diagnose Hypertension:

If someone has a blood pressure of 140/90, that is called Hypertension according to medical textbooks. Here, systolic blood pressure is 140mmHg and diastolic blood pressure is 90mmHg.

But before recording that blood pressure and confirming the diagnosis, the doctor must assure that the patient was at rest for at least 30 minutes and the patient didn't smoke or drink etc.

It is funny that some patients can show very high blood pressure only during a doctor's visit. This is called 'White Coat Hypertension'.

Hypertension has 3 grades:

G1: Systolic 140-159, Diastolic 90-99
G2: Systolic 160-179, Diastolic 100-109
G3: Systolic ≥180mmHg, Diastolic ≥110mmg

Causes of Hypertension:

Well, 95% of the cases don't have any definite reason. Those are called ‘Essential Hypertension’ as a medical term. But the rest are related to some conditions:

- Alchololism
- Obesity
- Pregnancy
- Kidney Disease
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Drugs: Steroids, Birth Control Pills, Anti-depressants etc.

Treatment Strategy:

A registered medical practitioner will prescribe drugs after reviewing the overall condition of a patient. Anti-hypertensive drugs should never be stopped without a doctor's consultation. Also, some advices must be followed by the patient:

- Avoid excessive salt consumption
- Avoid drinking and smoking
- Sleep for at least 7 hours at night
- Reduce excess body fat, etc.

So, check your blood pressure regularly.

Dr. Muhammad Muhidul Islam (MBBS)
Family Physician,
BioMed Diagnostic and Research Laboratory


Simple home remedies to get rid of dark circles

Lifestyle Desk
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Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar recommended some effective remedies made with easily available natural ingredients

Dark circles can be a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, including lack of sleep or high stress levels.

While adequate sleep and nutrition can work towards keeping dark circles at bay, there are some easy home remedies that can also help remove those dark patches.

Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar recommended some simple home remedies made with easily available natural ingredients:

*Make tea using ginger, tulsi (basil), kesar (saffron); add honey and drink once a day. Each of the ingredients come with a lot of health benefits.

*Peanuts, jaggery and coconut — take a little bit of everything in a bowl and enjoy it as a 4pm snack.

*Diwekar also suggested a homemade pack for dark circles. Mix besan (gram flour) and fresh milk to make a paste and use it as a cleanser for the face; avoid soaps/ face wash, she suggested.

*Nap in the afternoon (maximum 30 mins) and sleep at night before 11:00pm.

*”Stay away from toxic people, both online and offline,” Diwekar further wrote on Instagram.


Kiara Advani's style files have been the best all along

Lifestyle Desk
Kiara Advani

Kiara Advani

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Ever since Kiara Advani's debut in Bollywood, we have been continuously swooned by her fabulous styles.

Well, this weekend calls for a special fashion party, because it's none other than this style diva's birthday. The actress has been blowing up the Internet every now and then with her statement fashion looks giving us ample inspiration. Be it her edgy pantsuit looks, ethereal saree looks or tropical beach looks, there's no one quite like Kiara Advani who does it all so brilliantly.

Well, she's someone who doesn't settle for "less fashionable" looks; it's "take your audience's breath away with your style" or nothing at all! She has been a muse, a trend-starter making it her own statement and giving us countless moments to gasp in awe and wonder.

Kiara Advani

In honour of her birthday, here's to looking back at the stylish power that Kiara Advani is and of course, the great outfits.


'Indians don't talk about sex - so I help them'

Lifestyle Desk, Barta24.com
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Many Indian schools provide no sex education, leaving it to parents to talk to their children about sex and relationships. But often they are unsure what to say, sex coach Pallavi Barnwal tells the BBC's Megha Mohan.

Looking back, my conservative Indian upbringing was actually the perfect grounding for someone who would end up as a sex coach.

The earliest influence on me, although I didn't realise it at the time, was my parents' own relationship.

There were rumours about my parents' marriage for years. When I was around eight years old, I started getting questions about it. At parties, if I was separated from my family, an infantry of breathless aunties would corner me for an interrogation.

"Do your parents still share a room?"

"Have you heard any arguments?"

"Do you ever see a man visiting?"

I would be standing by a dessert table, about to spoon a scoop of ice cream into a bowl, or wandering through a garden looking for other children to play with and before I knew it, I'd be surrounded by excited women I barely knew, asking questions to which I definitely did not know the answer.

Years later, after my own divorce, my mother told me the full story. Early in my parents' marriage, before my brother and I were born, my mother felt a deep attraction to a man that turned into a physical affair. Within weeks guilt set in and she ended it. But in Indian communities, there are eyes and mouths everywhere. Over time, rumours reached my father.

It took my father 10 years, and two children, to finally ask her about it.

He promised her that any answer would not affect their relationship, but after years of murmurs he had to know. She told him everything. It was less about sex and more about intimacy, she said. It had happened at a time before they had started a family, when their marriage hadn't yet found its groove.

As soon as she stopped talking she noticed an immediate chill in the room. My father had instantly withdrawn. My mother's confirmation of a story he had suspected for years immediately severed any trust between them and their relationship rapidly decomposed.

This showed me very clearly that our inability to properly talk about sex and intimacy could break down families.

My family is from the state of Bihar in eastern India. It's one of the most populous, and largest regions in the country, bordering Nepal and with the river Ganges slicing through its plains. I had a conservative childhood. As with a lot of families, sex was not a subject that was openly discussed. My parents didn't hold hands or embrace, but then I don't remember seeing any couples in our community being physically affectionate either.

My first exposure to anything to do with sex came when I was 14.

Bored one afternoon, I went fishing through a pile of books in my father's cupboard when a thin pamphlet stacked between his novels and history books fell out. It contained several detailed short stories about a secret world where men and women explored each other's bodies. This book was definitely not literature, it was naughtier than that. One story was about a curious young girl who drilled a hole into a wall so she could watch a married couple she knew in bed. I had to look up the meaning of a Hindi word I had never heard before, chumban, which means a passionate French kiss.

I had so many questions but there was no-one to talk to.

My friends and I had never discussed anything close to this.

Engrossed in the book, it took several moments to come back to the present and hear my mother's voice calling me from another room.

At this time, in the late 1990s, I didn't know that I hadn't done anything wrong, that many children over the world had begun to learn about intimacy at this age, mostly in school. In Belgium, children are taught about sex as young as seven. But India isn't a place where sex is a mandatory part of the school curriculum. In fact, it wasn't until 2018 that India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released sexual education guidelines for schools. More than a dozen states out of 29 have chosen not to implement them. According to The Times of India, more than half of girls in rural India are unaware of menstruation or what causes it.

Source: BBC