Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What is BPA? How does it affect your health?




BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It is a chemical substance that is used to make polycarbonate plastic that is hard and durable.

Polycarbonate plastic is durable and has high heat resistance, therefore making this kind of plastic ideal for the manufacture of many products such as water bottles, baby bottles, dental fillings, sealants, dental and medical devices, eyeglass lenses, DVDs, CDs, household electronic and sports equipment.


Effects of BPA on the Human Body


BPA interferes and disrupts the proper production, function, and elimination of the natural hormones in the body.

BPA can act like the hormones in our body with dangerous effects on our health and well-being.

Babies, young children, and pregnant woman are found to be especially susceptible to BPA.


Sources of BPA


The main source of BPA is the plastic that leaches from the lining of containers that are made from polycarbonate plastic when they are cleaned with strong detergents, high-temperature liquids or with cleaning liquids that have high acid content.


How to avoid exposure to BPA?

  • Do not microwave foods in plastic containers.
  • Do not wash plastic containers in the dishwasher.
  • Avoid cleaning plastics with harsh detergents.
  • Do not eat from canned foods and drink from cans unless the label mentions BPA free.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A used in the manufacture of hard plastics and can adversely affect our health and well-being. 
BPA also adversely affects animals and plants on Earth.

References
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/221205.php

Image Credit
free image by pixabay

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What are the benefits of recycling plastic?




Nature’s resources are depleting day by day. Recycling helps to conserve nature’s resources.


What is plastic recycling?

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering plastic from the plastic items that have been trashed. The recovered plastic is then used to make new plastic items.

Benefits of recycling plastic


The process of producing plastic products releases greenhouse gasses including carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that causes global warming.

Recycling plastic items saves up on landfill space. Recycling one ton of plastics saves up to 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.


Plastic bottles used for bottling water and other food products takes about 100 years to biodegrade. 

Every ton of plastic bottles recycled saves approximately 3.8 barrels of oil.

Energy saved from recycling one plastic bottle can power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour.

Recycled plastics are converted into new plastic bottles, bin liners, carrier bags, CD cases, fleece jackets, fiber fillings for sleeping bags and duvet, lawn and garden products, grocery bags and many more products.


What is plastic - An Introduction


Plastics are synthetic polymers that are lightweight, durable and can be molded into any shape when soft depending on the type of plastic being used. Plastics are made from cellulose, coal, petroleum, and natural gas. 


In 1869 John Wesley Hyatt, a US inventor made the first plastic from a plant material, cellulose and called it celluloid.

Leo H. Baekeland, a Belgian was the first to make plastic from synthetic (made by humans) materials, and he named them Bakelite. 


Later scientists developed many different plastics that were stronger and lasted for a longer period.

References

https://www.completerecycling.com/resources/plastic-recycling
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/benefits-of-recycling.php
http://kids.britannica.com/elementary/article-400149/plastic
http://www.mrcpolymers.com/PlasticRecyclingFacts.php

Image Credit - allfreedownload

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What is Quark Cheese?


Quark Cheese
(free image by pixabay)



Quark cheese is smooth and creamy. It is made from pasteurized milk and does not have the sour taste of yogurt.

Quark cheese is similar to Greek Yogurt but has more protein content and less fat content when compared to Greek Yogurt.

Quark cheese has 14 grams of protein per 100-gram serving

whereas

Greek Yogurt has 7 grams protein per 100-gram serving

Composition of Quark Cheese

Quark cheese has 60 % - 80 % water 

The dry mass of Quark cheese has about 40 % of fat, 80 % protein (casein) along with calcium and phosphates.

Quark cheese can be used in many ways in cooking and baking. It is a healthy choice because of the high protein content and less of fat content.

Quark cheese is common in Europe and Germany.

A little about string cheese

When mozzarella cheese is heated to 140 degrees centigrade, the milk proteins align themselves into a single line in many layers thereby making the cheese stringy.


References

http://www.dietvsdisease.org/what-is-quark-is-it-healthy/
http://www.cheesemaking.com/Quark.html

Monday, May 2, 2016

Popcorn - A Healthy Snack?

free image by pixabay

Popcorn is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is high in fiber content and low in fat.

Popcorn comes from a plant called Zea mays everta. 

Popcorn is a healthy snack if it is not covered in butter, heavily salted or doused with caramel.

Popcorn keeps you full for a long time and provides you with the necessary fiber content.

Popcorn is rich in iron, protein, vitamin B 1, vitamin B 2, calcium and phosphorus.


Nutrition in 4 cups of air-popped popcorn

Fiber -5 gms

Calories – 122gms

Carbohydrates – 25 gms

Fat – 1.4 gms

Saturated fat – 0.2 gms

Monosaturated fat – 0.4 gms

Polyunsaturated fats – 0.6 gms

B 1, B 2, B 3, B 6 and folic acid -6 % of RDA (recommended daily allowance)

Magnesium – 16 % RDA

Selenium – 8 % RDA

Zinc – 10 % RDA

Buy popcorn kernels and pop it at home with healthy oil. Sprinkle a little salt and enjoy.


How does a popcorn pop?

Popcorn has a soft starchy center covered by a hard shell. The natural moisture inside the kernel turns into steam when heated. The steam builds up pressure inside the kernel that makes the popcorn pop, and the starchy inside comes out in the form of a fluffy ball. 

Corn Field



References

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/a-snack-that-pops-popcorn
http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/farmschool/food/corntyp.htm

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Facts About Energy Drinks That You Need To Know

Image Credit

Energy drinks have become very popular nowadays. Teenagers and even children are attracted towards energy drinks. They think that all that an energy drink does is to provide energy, but they do not realize the side effects of energy drinks.

Energy drinks are infused with vitamins and chemicals that boost your energy levels for a short time. Energy drinks have high sugar content and caffeine that are responsible for the boost in energy.

Side effects of energy drinks

Ingredients that are used in energy drinks increase the rate at which the heart beats and cause a rise in blood pressure. The rise in blood pressure can adversely affect people with already existing high blood pressure or heart illnesses.

Allergic reactions can occur if the body system does not agree with the ingredients used in the energy drink. This can result in symptoms such as rashes, hives, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, vomiting, diarrhoea.

After the effects of the energy drink have worn off symptoms of a headache and nausea may set in.

Energy drinks are high in sugar, and this can result in obesity, diabetes, tooth decay.

Other ingredients that you can find in an energy drink -


Sodium benzoate, PhenylanineEphedera , Maltodextrin, Inositol, Carnitine, Creatine, Corn syrup, Citric acid, Sodium benzoate, Sodium citrate, Phosphoric acid, Ginseng, Taurine, Vitamin B additives.

Guarana also known as Brazilian cocoa has a compound called guaranine. One gram of guaranine is equal to 40 mg of caffeine. This can rapidly increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Alcohol should never be mixed with energy drinks. Mixing energy drink with alcohol leads to alcohol poisoning that can lead to death.

Do not confuse energy drinks with sports drinks. Energy drinks should not be had before, during or after an exercise session.

According to the article published in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings (A Peer Reviewed Medical Journal) -

"Ingestion of Energy Beverages before an event or during training can have serious adverse effects most notably restlessness and irritability, can increase blood pressure and may result in dehydration. 

Limited ingestion of energy beverages by healthy people is not likely to cause major adverse effects, but binge consumption or consumption with alcohol may lead to adverse events. 

Individuals with medical illnesses especially underlying heart disease should check with their physician before using Energy Beverages because they may exacerbate their condition."

Instead of opting for energy drinks, choose to eat superfoods that give energy the natural way. Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly for increased energy levels.

References

http://www.caffeineinformer.com/energy-drink-side-effects

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2966367/

http://www.naturalnews.com/033794_energy_drinks_side_effects.html

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/04/whats-in-your-energy-drink/

http://gulfnews.com/life-style/health/drink-and-drain-your-energy-1.1232866

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What is freezing rain?







Freezing rain is rain that falls into a shallow layer of cold air with temperatures at or below 0 degrees Celsius near the surface. When this rain becomes supercooled it can freeze when it comes into contact with trees, vehicles, powerlines, bridges, roads.


Formation of freezing rain 

1. Falling snow passes through a layer of warm air that completely melts the snow to become rain.

2. The rain continues to fall and passes through a shallow layer of cold air 
with temperatures at or below 0 degrees Celsius about 100 meters above the ground.

3. The cold air reduces the temperature of the raindrops to freezing point or below the freezing point of water but does not freeze the raindrops to ice; (this phenomenon is called supercooling, and the drops are called supercooled drops.)

4. As the supercooled drops continue to fall to the ground, they freeze forming a thin layer of ice on any surface that is in its path. 
For example, roads, bridges, power lines, trees branches, windshields.

References
http://earthsky.org/earth/all-about-freezing-rain
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-glossary
Image Credit

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interesting Facts about Snow



Image Credit - feelgrafix.com
Snow falls when water vapor suspended in the air become ice crystals directly without first condensing into water. This happens when the temperature is below 0 degree Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

How does snow form?

The formation of snow starts off with a tiny droplet of water freezing around a particle of dust in the clouds.  

The cold air freezes water vapor directly into ice crystals
when the temperature is below 0 degree Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each ice crystal keeps growing in size as more water vapor turns into ice crystals and gets deposited.

When the ice crystals become very heavy due to deposition they fall to the ground as snow. 

After the snow falls to the ground, they remain as snow without melting if the temperature is cold enough.

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest snowflakes recorded were 15 inches in diameter and 8 inches thick. The record snowfall took place in eastern Montana on 28th January 1887.

Image Credit



Snowflakes in Different Shapes

What is a Snowflake?

Snowflakes are made of ice crystals. Each ice crystal joins with other ice crystals to form snowflakes. 

Each ice crystal varies in shape depending upon the temperature and water vapor content of the surrounding air.

Some of the most common shapes of snowflakes are are hexagonal prisms, needles, branching star like formations, branching fern formations, triangles, rimed crystals.

Temperature conditions and humidity can change the shape of the snowflakes.


What is lake-effect snow?

Lake-effect snow occurs when cold air passes over a warm body of water. 

When cold air passes over a warm body of water, the lower layers of air become warm and rises up into the cold air. 

As the warm air rises up into the cold air, the warm air  gets cooled and condenses to form ice crystals. These ice crystals grow in size and falls down as snow. This snow is called lake-effect snow.

What are hailstones?

Hailstones are pellets of ice that form when there is a strong upward movement of air during a thunderstorm. Hailstones can be small or can be as large as a golf ball. 

The formation of hail begins when the raindrop at the bottom of a thunderstorm cloud is blown upwards towards the top of the thundercloud by strong currents of wind blowing upwards. 

As the raindrop is blown upwards it freezes into ice as it enters freezing temperature. 

The frozen ice begins to fall again but the upward movement of air blows it upwards where it accumulates more frozen layers of ice and falls to the ground when it becomes too heavy for the air to blow it upwards.

The largest hailstone ever found was in Vivian, S.D., that weighed  1.9 pounds and measured 8 inches in diameter.

What is sleet?

Sleet is a type of precipitation that occurs during the winter season. In winter when the snowflake falls through warm layers of air it melts partially on the outside but the inner core remains frozen. 

As the partially melted snowflake falls it freezes again when it passes through layers of cold air and falls to the ground as tiny ice pellets or ice balls. Sleet melts quickly because the air above the ground is warmer and also because it does not have many frozen layers like the hailstones.


More about Snow

** Snow is colorless. It appears to be colored because it reflects the color of the dust particles or algae present in the snow.

** Heavy snowfalls are called snowstorms. 

** A blizzard is a snowstorm with freezing temperatures and winds blowing at high speeds.

** Fear of snow is called Chionophobia

** Average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour

** Around 12 % of the earth’s surface on land is covered with permanent snow and ice.


** Snow reflects a high level of UV radiations that can cause snow blindness also known as photokeratitis. Sunglasses help to protect the eye from such radiations.


References

http://library.thinkquest.org/3876/snowfacts.html
http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-fascinating-facts-about-snow.php
http://www.learner.org/interactives/weather/iceandsnow.html
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class.htm