Health and Safety

It could be that you live in a time of vampires and werewolves. In this case, sleeping with a clove of garlic under your pillow should also be supported by a silver cross above your bed, holy water at the door and a wooden stake at your right hand.

If you keep garlic under your pillow below things will happen.

A study by the Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi has revealed that certain variants of a human gene may offer resistance against the novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, which has infected more than 1.5 million people globally and killed tens of thousands.

The SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of the coronavirus, which also caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The new strain of the coronavirus, however, has proven to be the most difficult to deal with, due to its fast spread.

The research by Dow University, which has been reviewed by peers and published in the Journal of Medical Virology, says that two variants of the ACE2 (angiotensin I converting enzyme 2) gene — that has been established as the functional receptor for the novel coronavirus — may make a person more resistant to the infection.

The research team, led by Dow College of Biotechnology's Vice Principal Dr Mushtaq Hussain, observed the binding of different variants of the ACE2 gene with the new coronavirus and noted that most of them "showed similar binding affinity for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as observed in the complex structure of wild type ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein".

However, the research team said that two allelic variations of the ACE2 gene, identified as S19P and E329G, "showed noticeable variations in their intermolecular interactions" with the virus.

The researchers studied mutations in ACE2 after examining over a thousand samples of the gene obtained by genomic data mining. The molecular structures of the variant genes were created by homology modelling. According to Dr Hussain, genome data had been extracted from individuals residing in China, Latin America and some European countries.

It should be noted that considering the number of countries that have been hit by Covid-19, the number of variants studied is quite low.

It is also pertinent to mention that the research does not suggest that the person who possesses the variants would become immune to the virus. They would not, however, experience severe symptoms and may only need to be isolated for two weeks.

Dow University's Vice Chancellor Muhammad Saeed Quraishy congratulated the research team on their findings and expressed hope that studies like these would enable the world in finding a way to curb the virus.


When life gives you lemons … you're in luck. Lemons are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. They are especially good sources of vitamin C and folate.

Lemons are one of the most popular acid citrus fruits, according to the Purdue University Horticultural Department. Their origin is unknown, though some horticulturists theorize they come from Northern India. Lemons grow throughout southern Europe, the Middle East, and into East Asia. They were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Today, the leading lemon producers are California, Arizona, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, South Africa and Australia. 

Lemons are available throughout the year but summer is their peak season. Lemons are an extremely versatile fruit. You can eat them in slices, sip healthy lemon water, make lemonade, garnish food with them, candy their peels, and use their juice and peels in cooking and more. 

Nutrient profile

"Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, flavonoids and compounds called limonins," said Alissa Rumsey, a New York City-based registered dietitian, certified strength and conditioning specialist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Limonins are found in the juice of the lemon."

According to World's Healthiest Foods, a quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 3 percent of folate and 2 percent of potassium — all for around 13 calories. A whole raw lemon contains 139 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C intake and has 22 calories. 

Recent studies have examined the role of lemons in accessing carotenoids, which are beneficial phytonutrients, from other foods during the digestive process. Carotenoids can have low bioaccessibility and bioavailability, meaning that even if you eat a carotenoid-rich food like carrots, you might not absorb many of the carotenoids. A 2018 study in International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering found that the carotenoids in boiled or mashed carrots, when combined with lemon juice, olive oil and whey curd, were nearly 30 percent more bioaccessible than without. This suggests that lemons can be an effective exigent food, meaning that, in addition to their own nutritional properties, they can unleash benefits from other foods when combined with them.

Here are the nutrition facts for lemons, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Health benefits


"Vitamin C is plays a role in immunity and helps neutralize free radicals in our body," said Rumsey. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and may protect the integrity of immune cells. Vitamin C helps protect leukocytes, which produces antiviral substances. 

Heart health

"Folic acid is said to aid in preventing strokes and may contribute to helping cardiovascular health by lowering homocysteine levels," Rumsey said. A 2010 meta-analysis published in The European Journal of Internal Medicine found that results from clinical studies examining folic acid and heart attacks were inconclusive but folic acid consumption can result in a modest improvement in stroke reduction. 

Vitamin C, too, is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, said Rumsey. A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at more than 100,000 people and found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 15 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Those with the highest vitamin C levels in their plasma had even more reduced rates of heart disease. 

Scientists theorize that vitamin C may have cardiovascular benefits because it is an antioxidant that protects against dangerous free radicals. It also may lower bad LDL cholesterol and keep arteries flexible, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

"Studies have also shown the effect of limonin on lowering cholesterol," said Rumsey. In a 2007 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, men and women who had high cholesterol were given limonin and vitamin E daily for a month and their cholesterol levels lowered 20 to 30 percent. The researchers think that limonin reduces apolipoprotein B, which is associated with higher cholesterol levels. 


Kidney stones

Lemons and limes contain the most citric acid of any fruits, which makes them beneficial to those suffering from kidney stones. According to University of Wisconsin Health, citric acid deters stone formation and also breaks up small stones that are forming. The more citric acid in your urine, the more protected you are from forming new kidney stones. Half a cup of pure lemon juice every day or 32 ounces of lemonade has the same amount of citric acid as pharmacological therapy. 


A 2011 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found that lemon extract applied to breast cancer cells induced cell death. The lemon extract was applied in-vitro, but the results may suggest powerful cancer-fighting properties in lemons.


"There are numerous studies being conducted to understand the role folate plays in cancer reduction," Rumsey said. A 2007 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that folate's possible cancer-reducing properties are likely linked to its role in the production of substances that silence cancer DNA. The study points out, however, that some research has suggested that in some cases high levels of folate could actually encourage cancer cell growth. The authors write, "Folate may provide protection early in carcinogenesis and in individuals with a low folate status, yet it may promote carcinogenesis if administered later and potentially at very high intakes."


Limonins have also been linked to a decrease in cancer risk, said Rumsey. A 2012 article in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomicslooked at limonins in breast cancer cells and found that they could be a helpful aid to chemotherapy. 


Pregnancy health


"Folate is essential for pregnant women in order to prevent neural tube defects," said Rumsey. While folate is present in prenatal vitamins, consuming it through whole foods is an excellent way to make sure the body absorbs it. 


Lemons, peels and weight loss


Rumsey said, "Lemons are a great, low-calorie way to flavor drinks and food." And indeed, lemons, lemon water and lemon peels have become popular with dieters. A 2017 Scientific Reports study of short-term juice-based diets, all of which had lemon juice as a primary ingredient, saw that participants' intestinal microbiota associated with weight loss had improved, their vasodilator nitric oxide had increased and the oxidation of their lipids had decreased, resulting in improved wellbeing overall. 


Rumsey added that the peels also contain many nutrients. "Grating the peels and adding to salads, chicken or fish dishes can add a citrusy flavor. Peels can also be blended into smoothies or soups." But she emphasized against treating them like a magic bullet for detoxing and weight loss. 


Liver disease


New research in BioMed Research International suggests lemons may help damaged livers. The 2017 animal study found that rats who had severely damaged livers from alcohol intake saw liver improvement after consuming lemon juice. Lemon juice significantly inhibited negative effects associated with liver disease. More study is needed to determine if humans would see similar protective effects. 

Antimicrobial properties


Lemons are known for their antimicrobial properties. A 2017 book, "Phytochemicals in Citrus: Applications in Functional Foods,"describes how solvents made with lemon peel show antimicrobial activity against salmonella, staphylococcus and other pathogenic bacteria. A 2017 study in The Journal of Functional Foods found that fermented sweet lemon juice showed antibacterial activity against E. coli bacteria.


Contaminated nuts are a major source of human exposure to mycotoxin aflatoxin B1. Aflatoxins are carcinogens associated with liver cancer in cases of high exposure, according to the National Cancer Institute. A 2017 study in Food Control found that lemon juice can be effective in preventing exposure from contaminated nuts. Researchers roasted contaminated pistachio nuts in 30 ml of water, 15 ml of lemon juice and 2.25 g of citric acid at 120 degrees Celsius for 1 hour and saw that the nuts' level of aflatoxin B1 was reduced significantly to a much safer level without harm to the pistachios. 

Risks of consuming lemons

In general, lemons are quite good for you, but if consumed in excess, can cause gastric reflux problems or heartburn for those who suffer from the conditions. Additionally, the citric acid can wear down the enamel on your teeth, according to World's Healthiest Foods, which encourages drinking lemon water through a straw. 

Here is how to grill that meat like a host with the most. —Photo courtesy: AFP

Barbeque's always been an essential part of our cuisine but our love for grilled meat is especially pronounced on Bakra Eid; everyone has at least one barbecue scene to attend out of the three days of festivities.

If you're hosting one, you need to do something to make yours stand out; let's redefine what barbecue means this year a little. We don't have to eat the same old masala packet glazed boti, and we definitely can stop serving them in that sad looking hot-pot (you know the one I'm talking about).

Here's a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the years that will help you take your BBQ game up a notch:

Experiment with sauces

No shade to mint raita or tamarind chutney but there's so much more out there in the world of condiments.

And the best thing is, this way, you can cater to a number of different tastebuds; like me and my friends are big on plating barbeque with chipotle but others might want to pair their meat with Thai sweet chilli sauce, or a Peri Peri sauce.

Psst: since imported goods are heavy on the wallet these days, we recommend looking into Dipitt, a local brand with a wide range of interesting options.

Plum chutney is super yum paired with spicy barbecued meat —Photo courtesy:
Plum chutney is super yum paired with spicy barbecued meat —Photo courtesy:


Either that or let loose in your kitchen. Caramelise your favourite fruits into a sauce, like has anyone ever told you that plum makes for a mighty good sauce with spicy barbecued meat?

Marinate it as soon as possible

Prepare your marinade mixture as soon as the meat arrives because it takes time for the spices to soak into tougher meat, particularly beef. If left for days in the refrigerator, I assure you, you are in for a flavourful kicker so ideally, maybe host your Eid barbecue on the third day...

Pro-tip: please abandon the age old method of using yoghurt as a base to marinate your meat in. Remember, it’s not the foundation of marinade, it's just one of the ingredients.

Use Coke to baste

Pakistani palates are big on spice, but we sometimes forget to balance flavours. Barbeque also needs heat so we recommend using some Coke to caramelise the barbecue first.

Don't knock it till you've tried it. —Photo courtesy:
Don't knock it till you've tried it. —Photo courtesy:


Now hear me out, I haven't lost my mind. It's a better alternative to sugar to leave a hint of sweetness on your barbecue and helps ground the flavours more.

So brush some cola on your seekhs as you barbecue them on the grill periodically, just like you would do your oil brushing routine.

Think outside your company-produced packaged spice mixes:

And by that, I mean quite literally, think outside the box.

These mixes have standard proportions of different spices which means your barbeque will taste the same each time. Tweak these proportions as you prepare your own masala mixes at home.

You want to marinate cuts like raan well in advance. —Photo courtesy:
You want to marinate cuts like raan well in advance. —Photo courtesy:


This ensures two things: you get to use freshly ground masala which has a different taste of its own, and you get to add your twist to it.

Three words for you: fresh green papaya

While we usually rely on company-manufactured meat tenderisers that we can easily stock up on, this year's Eid ul Azha happens to coincide with the season of a natural alternative, papaya.

Sorry not sorry for this picture of raw meat. It's Bakra Eid, get used to it. —Photo courtesy: vanillahills.blogspot
Sorry not sorry for this picture of raw meat. It's Bakra Eid, get used to it. —Photo courtesy: vanillahills.blogspot


Head to your local fruit vendors, and grab some green papaya, peel it and then ground the green bits of the flesh into a paste. Add that to your marination mixture, and you will definitely get better results than your packeted meat tenderiser.

Prep in advance

Ensure you are stocked up on coal. Fire up your angeethi way before your guests make their way to your home because the process is quite lengthy, and can quickly become frustrating. Lighting the angeethi produces way too much smoke so please save yourself the hassle, and your guests the tears.

Get the wider seekhs instead of the round ones; they're more sturdy and the meat cooks more evenly.

Oil is your friend

Brushes over spoons make all the difference.

Also, don’t use extra virgin olive oil, it isn’t the right choice of oil for BBQ. Extra virgin olive oil is likely to burn off quickly and smokes as soon as it comes into contact with the meat so use light olive oil or vegetable oil instead.

Hate to break it to you but extra virgin olive oil could be messing up your BBQ game
Hate to break it to you but extra virgin olive oil could be messing up your BBQ game


So next time you have teary eyed relatives, and loud coughing sessions interrupting hearty conversation, know what you have to do.

Presentation is key

You shouldn’t just dump freshly barbecued meat into a hotpot in a newspaper like we all tend to usually do; those containers are airtight which makes the boti moist, almost soggy. The newspaper's ink starts to leak, which contaminates your food. I say just munch onto your seekhs as you get them, we all love doing that, don’t we?

But if that doesn't work, a glass bowl is your best bet; either way, switch away from using hotpots and disposable cutlery that isn’t biodegradable.

نیویارک : متعدد افراد کو ذہنی تشویش اور مایوسی (ڈپریشن) کا زندگی کے مختلف مراحل کے دوران سامنا ہوتا ہے جو جسمانی وزن بڑھانے کے ساتھ دیگر امراض کا خطرہ بھی بڑھا دیتا ہے۔

مگر سوال یہ ہے کہ آخر کوئی شخص ڈپریشن میں مبتلا ہونے کے بعد اس کی شناخت کیسے کرے؟

درحقیقت ڈپریشن کی چند مخصوص علامات ہوتی ہیں جو اکثر افراد پہچاننے سے قاصر رہتے ہیں اور زیادہ سنگین نوعیت کے ذہنی عوارض کا شکار ہوجاتے ہیں۔

ان علامات کو جاننا یقیناً آپ کے لیے فائدہ مند ثابت ہوگا۔



اُداسی کا مستقل ذہن پر چھایا رہنا بھی مایوسی کی اہم علامات میں سے ایک ہے، خاص طور پر ہر وقت اُداسی کے شکار رہنے والے میں خودکشی کے خیالات بھی عام پائے جاتے ہیں اور ان میں ہی اکثر اپنی جان لینے کی کوشش کرتے ہیں۔


نیند کے مسائل

بہت زیادہ سونا یا کم نیند دونوں ہی ڈپریشن کی ممکنہ علامت ہوسکتی ہیں، ایک امریکی تحقیق کے مطابق مایوسی کے شکار افراد کو اکثر راتوں کو دوران نیند اچانک جاگنے کا تجربہ ہوتا ہے اور اس وقت انہیں محسوس ہوتا ہے کہ ان کے حواس کام نہیں کر رہے اور وہ مسائل کا بوجھ محسوس کررہے ہوتے ہیں، اسی طرح کچھ لوگ سوتے تو ٹھیک ہیں مگر پھر بھی ان کی تھکاوٹ دور نہیں ہوتی۔

کھانے کی خواہش میں تبدیلی


ڈپریشن لوگوں کی بھوک پر بھی اثر انداز ہوتی ہے اور پھر کئی بار وہ ضرورت سے زیادہ کھا لیتے ہیں تو بعض اوقات ایسا ہوتا ہے کہ وہ اپنی عام خوراک سے بھی کم کھاتے ہیں، لاشعوری طور پر کم کھانے والے افراد میں وزن کی کمی کا خطرہ بڑھ جاتا ہے تو زیادہ کھانے پر موٹاپا لوگوں کو شکار بنا لیتا ہے۔


ذہنی توانائی میں کمی 

ڈپریشن کے شکار افراد کو اکثر ایسا احساس ہوتا ہے کہ روزمرہ کے کاموں کے لیے ان کی دماغی توانائی ختم ہوگئی ہے اور انہیں یہ بھی لگتا ہے کہ وہ مختلف چیزوں پر ضرورت سے زیادہ سست ردعمل کا اظہار کر رہے ہیں، جبکہ ایسے افراد کو توجہ مرکوز کرنے میں بھی مشکلات کا سامنا ہوسکتا ہے۔


جسمانی علامات

 مایوسی کو اکثر اس کی ذہنی علامات کی بناء پر جانا جاتا ہے مگر اس کے ہمارے جسم پر بھی اثرات مرتب ہوتے ہیں جن میں پیٹ درد، سرد درد اور سینے میں کھنچاﺅ وغیرہ شامل ہیں جو زندگی کو عذاب بنا دیتے ہیں۔



ڈپریشن کے شکار افراد ہر چیز میں اُمید سے محروم اور قنوطیت کا شکار ہوجاتے ہیں، اسی طرح ان میں ماضی کی غلطیوں پر پچھتاوے کا احساس بھی بڑھ جاتا ہے (چاہے انہوں نے کچھ کیا نہ بھی ہو)۔


دلچسپی ختم ہوجانا 

ان افراد کی دلچسپی ان مشغلوں سے بھی اٹھ جاتی ہے جن میں وہ ماضی میں بے پناہ دلچسپی کا اظہار کرتے نظر آتے ہیں اور یہ صرف مشغلوں تک ہی محدود نہیں رہتا بلکہ اپنے پیاروں کی کشش بھی ان سے منہ موڑ لیتی ہے۔

The virus killed 14 birds at an unspecified location in Riyadh, leading to the culling of about 60,000 birds in total

Saudi Arabia has confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu in Riyadh that led to the culling of nearly 16,000 ducks.

Based on information from Dr Ali Al Doweiriej, director general of Veterinary Health and Monitoring Department, the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain infected and killed 14 birds at an unspecified location in the Saudi capital, says the World organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which is based in Paris. Other birds in a flock of around 60,000 exposed to the virus were culled.

Bird flu strains have hit poultry flocks in a number of countries across the world in recent years, with some types of the disease also causing human infections and deaths.

Saudi Arabia this year imposed restrictions on poultry imports from countries such as Bulgaria in an effort to prevent the disease spreading. The Saudi ministry of environment, water and agriculture has also taken other preventive measures including collecting samples for testing and preparing an emergency plan. Last week, the ministry lifted a temporary ban on importing poultry and eggs from Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania and Mozambique after receiving confirmation from the OIE that there had been no new outbreaks of bird flu in those countries in the past three months.

Avian or bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that is hosted by birds but may infect several species of mammals, including horses, seals, whales, pig and humans. The virus was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and has now spread worldwide.

My dad was big on juicing, and here I refer to the ’70s era, when only a few indulged in such uppity pastimes. One fine day he picked up a juicer, and suddenly orange juice, apple juice and, most importantly, carrot juice became a daily breakfast fare. I loved the little talks I got while drinking the juice, especially carrot juice. “Beta, for sure your eyesight will remain 20/20 forever if you drink a glass of carrot juice every day.” Rightly so, I don’t need glasses at this ripe old age a little south of 50.

And then there was my school friend Ayla, whose older sister developed an orange hue to her skin tone because she ate a bucket load of carrots while on a ‘teen years-onset-induced diet’. Hence the carrot anecdotes I have are many, but for now I’ll introduce you to some interesting history notes about the journey of the carrot.

Borrowing from the article Food Stories: Gajar Ka Halwa, “Carrots were indigenous to Afghanistan for almost 5,000 years. They came in colours such as red, yellow, black and white, but not orange, until the 17th century when the horticulturalists in the Netherlands decided to honour William of Orange, from the House of Orange, by creating an orange carrot. Though many believe that it was a coincidence, and the orange colour was a mutation of the red and yellow carrot and had no significant link to the Royal House of Orange, this new orange carrot was sweeter, prettier and of a non-sticky variety, making it popular amongst the cooks of the world. Legend has it that the Sikhs from Punjab introduced it to the house of Mughals.”

This simple winter vegetable can be transformed into delicious dishes

The cooks in the subcontinent liked the new imported carrot and the sweetness that came with it. It was an era when new cuisines were being developed by chefs and connoisseurs and the new carrot proved to be something to be experimented with to make halwa, with sugar, milk and butter, sans the flour and nuts.

Punjab apparently took an instant liking to it, and began to develop innovative new recipes, sweet and savoury. It was a vegetable that was harvested in abundance in winters and the cooks came up with a hot delicious dessert best served any time of the day, before or after a meal, or as a side with chai or doodh pati. Gajar ka halwa was an instant hit all over the Indian subcontinent.

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of carrots, may it be sweet or savoury, or a little tangy, like the carrot achar. Hence, I share with you my three favourite carrot recipes, from my kitchen to yours.



2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon amchoor powder
Salt to taste
4 to 5 tablespoons oil (or as desired)
Curry leaves
Garnish with chopped coriander, lemon wedges and green chillies


Heat oil, add cumin, curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, onions, fry for a few minutes and toss in the vegetables. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring and spraying with water, periodically, once vegetables are tender, add all the masalas, cook for a few minutes, garnish and serve.



1 kg carrots (orange)
1 ½ to 2 litres of milk
½ pint Half-and-Half
1/3 pint heavy whipping cream
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
¼ cup oil
8 to 10 cardamoms
1 tablespoon raisins
2 tablespoons blanched and chopped almonds


Lightly peel and grate carrots and set aside. Bring milk to boil and add the carrots, let the milk and carrot mixture come to a boil then add half-and-half and sugar, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture comes to boil, reducing heat to medium. Once the milk evaporates (should take one-and-a-half to two hours) add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Once cream evaporates, add butter, oil and cardamoms stirring constantly, keeping the flame medium to high. Keep stirring until oil separates, and the colour is a rich beautiful deep orange. Garnish with raisins and almonds and serve.



2 pounds carrots, chopped
4 or more cups water
1 can condensed milk, or malai with sugar (I prefer it with condensed milk)
Dash of nutmeg/cinnamon or green cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon fresh ginger


Blend carrots in a blender, adding water; sieve through mulmul (muslin) cloth. Squeeze extracting all juice, discard the pulp and pour the juice into the blender, adding all ingredients. Puree and serve hot or chilled.

Published in Dawn, EOS, December 3rd, 2017

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