All posts by Afifa Faridi

I love to write.

An Apple a day!

You might have already said ” keeps the doctor away” in your mind as you read the topic.

An Apple is very nutritious but also there are so many facts that make it more interesting.

  1. Apples when kept with other fruits can help in ripening them as apples give our ethylene gas that accelerates ripening.
  2. Apple is the official fruit of six states. They are New York, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Illinois.
  3. There are more than 7000 varieties of apples in the world. Most apples in the world are cultivated by China. More than 2500 varieties are grown in US.
  4. Apples have 25% air in it which makes it possible for it to float on water.
  5. Apple can be a substitute for toothpaste as it has acid that can brighten teeth.
  6. They contain no fats.
  7. It takes 4-5 years for an Apple tree to produce it’s first fruit.
  8. Apples ripen faster when stored at room temperature than in refrigerator.
  9. Apples are a member of rose family.

Weird facts about Dreaming

Dreaming is a part of sleeping. We dream every night whether we remember it or not. Some dreams are happy, sad, scary, etc.

There are many weird facts about Dreaming that your weren’t aware of

  • Not all of us have a colourful dream. 12% of the population has black and white dreams.
  • The dreams that we see in the morning are generally longer.
  • While we are dreaming our muscles are paralyzed to avoid actions due to dreams.
  • The dreams that we see again and again have one theme. For example, it could be about being chased, falling, agressive actions, etc.
  • The part of our brain that is responsible for making sense of things shuts down and therefore, the dreams that we see make no sense.
  • Whatever we think in a day or two, those thoughts are responsible for what we see in a dream.
  • In our dreams we only see faces that we’ve seen before.
  • When you are in a good mood and not stressed, you are more likely to see a happy dream.
  • Women have more nightmares (scary dreams) than men.
  • We see nightmares mostly during the last part of the night.
  • Sleep paralysis is a disorder in which the body gets paralyzed when you are in between the state of being awake and asleep.
  • Eating late night just before sleeping isn’t helpful as it increases the metabolism and the brain becomes more active. As a result, chances of having a nightmare increases.
  • Blind people can see images when they dream.
  • Pets have dreams too.
  • We forget 95 to 99% of our dreams.

Wisdom teeth facts

All we know about wisdom teeth is that they grow once we became an adult and mostly everyone is born without it. Here are some more facts that you weren’t aware of.

  • Wisdom teeth are called so because they come around when a person is in between the age of 17-25. This age is also called as the age of wisdom.
  • It is also known as third molar.
  • Many many years ago, early human brains started growing at a great speed ( 3 times more than the original size) hence, changes in the shape of the back part of the skull also took place. As a result, there was no place for third molars. Therefore, wisdom teeth are of no use.
  • The number of wisdom teeth that people have vary from person to person. Some might have one, two, there or four wisdom teeth. Super rare cases of five wisdom teeth are also seen. The number of wisdom teeth depends upon the size of your jaw.
  • In Korean, they are called ‘love teeth’ as early 20’s is the time when most of the people experience love.
  • Scientists are studying dental stem cells to see if they can repair or regenerate tissues.
  • They can be problematic and start to cause pain after a certain period of time and might also lead to problems like tumours. Hence, they have to be removed.

The Firefly Festival

The Firefly festival is one of the lesser known festivals in Tokyo, Japan. This festival takes place every year for a time period of 10 days and is celebrated in the summer season.

The festival is divided into two parts. First is the narrow lane of a Market that leads to main stage which is a big black tent which is illuminated by hundreds of flying lights. The second is the small garden where the Firefly show takes place. The garden area is turned into alleys which are decorated by yellow lights. Around every corner, a cage full of glowing insects is kept. Other attractions of the festival include stalls with traditional food, flowers and manga. Plants are also displayed and a special type of orchid-sagiso is the main attraction.

The fireflies glow to communicate with each other. The male and female find a partner in the 10 day period and lay eggs for next year.

In good weather conditions, about 30,000 fireflies are seen in the period of 10 days near the Tenryu river.

Effect of pollution

Due to the establishment of silk industry and other industries, the rate of pollution shooted up in the area and the species almost died. However, the local people of the town worked and protected them and now the festival has become a tourist attraction.

Requirements

For the fireflies to grow a snail called ‘ Kawanina’ is required. The baby insects eat the snail and grow while the fireflies spend about 9 months of the cycle growing in fresh water.

The town has created parks for the insects that provide water from river and waterfall. Hence, an oxygen-rich aquatic home is created for their growth and survival.

Lifecycle

Fireflies grow for the whole year and fly for only 10 days. In these 10 days they find a partner for mating and laying eggs. They leave behind the next generation before they die.

The festival is held at the night time as the insects can be seen glowing

Event cancelled

Due to Covid-19 lockdown, this event is cancelled this year and people will have to wait for next year for this event. However, the insects can be seen blinking on and off in the night sky and the atmosphere is serene.

Remdesivir

The drug Remdesivir is said to have clear cut potential to treat Covid-19. It improves the speed of recovery of the patients affected by the virus. However, it was seen to be of limited  benifits for patients who required mechanical ventilation.

The drug Remdesivir, is developed by Gilead which is a US company.
It was developed to treat Ebola. It works by attacking the enzymes required by the virus to replicate inside our cells. Hence, for the severe cases it is not so effective as the virus has already replicated to an extent. While in the early stage of Covid-19, the drugs kills the enzymes that help in replication of the virus hence, it is proved to be very effective.

The US has bought up almost the entire global supply of it and stocked it for next 3 months.

La Fioritura

Castelluccio, a small village in central Italy has become a centre of lentils and poppy bloom. This happens every year and the event is called La Fioritura (the flowering). It takes place during the period between May to July.People have reported that this year it’s unusually colourful due to the Covid-19 lockdown that has reduced pollution.

Piano Grande

Piano Grande is surrounded by Sibilline group of mountains. It is also an important tourist attractions of Italy.

Rainbow appearance

Due to the variety of flowers that grow here, it looks very colourful and is comparable to the colours in a rainbow. This year it looks more beautiful and the flowers are completely bloomed due to climatic conditions and less pollution.

Nature’s masterpiece

Number of wild flowers bloom across the Castelluccio plain which makes it appear like a painting.The flowers and crops include lentils, poppies, brown pulses, daisies and cornflower make it look like a floral carpet.All the nature lowers should definitely visit this place once in a lifetime.

Socially-distant hearts

In the parks of Bristol, UK, hundreds of giant white hearts have been painted considering social distancing.

The hearts are 3 metres wide and have at least space of 2 metres between them.

They are painted by a team of artists from Upfest – Europe’s largest Graffiti festival. The spraying of graffiti on the grass in parks began on Tuesday morning.

Keith Rundle, operations director at Bristol City considers this as a step to safely opening Bristol City after lockdown.

More hearts will be appearing across the area to encourage safe unlock.

This idea can be followed by other countries as well for opening parks and public spaces all over the world. The distance between two hearts will prevent people from coming in contact with each other hence, people can enjoy the fresh air of the parks safely.

Lesser known facts about Greenery

Everyone is aware about how greenery contributes in the betterment of the environment by decreasing pollution. But it is not just limited to that.

When human body is surrounded with greenery, it improvises many functions.

  • Recovery Booster

Ever wondered why do we give flowers to a sick person admitted in the hospital?
It is because plants help us feel calm.
That is why most of the hospitals are surrounded with trees to increase the patient’s recovery.

  • Stress reducer
Places with a lot of plants and trees help reduce mental stress and increases your energy. If you ever feel sad or depressed head out and take a walk in the garden, maybe barefoot, and you’ll notice that your mood got a lot better than it was before. Also, it has no side effects.

  • Soothing to the eyes
Whenever you feel a sense of stress due to looking at a screen for a long time, look at the trees outside your window. The greenery is soothing to the eyes and helps to relax the eye muscle. It is also because the trees are at a distance from the viewer that helps to focus on the target.

  • Increase in lifespan
As the green spaces reduce problems like stress, depression and anxiety, which are often the reasons which lead to heart stroke or cardiac arrest.
Thereby increasing the lifespan of an individual and staying healthy.

  • Healthy sleep
When you go out for camping or to a village, a place surrounded by trees, you start to feel sleepy before midnight instead of staying up late. It is due to the effect of nature and unavailability of artificial lights that results in better sleep making you feel fresh when you wake up in the morning.

  • Increased focus on work
When we work in a place surrounded with greenery you will observe that your focus on your work increases. It is because our involuntary attention gets engaged in seeing, hearing and smelling without utilising huge brain power. Hence, the voluntary attention is focused on the work without much effort.
  • Forest Bathing
There is a Japanese therepy called Forest Bathing where people can jog, meditate, etc., in a forest.
As forests are filled with trees all our five senses are relaxed. The sound of the birds and the leaves of the trees rustling against each other, the fragrance of the forest, the greenery that soothes the eyesight and the warmness of the sunlight peaking through the branched and falling in our skin. Breathing in the clean and fresh air along with the forest fragrance is called aromatherapy of phytoncides. 
All of these things together activate the sixth sense that is the state of mind. You will feel happy, calm and relaxed. Along with all these things you can also do activities like yoga, jogging, meditation, breathing exercises, plant observation, etc.

Forest bathing can be done anywhere, the only requirement is trees.

Hence, greenery not only cleanses the environment but it also cleanses your body to some extent.

The Mind Maze

We hear the terms ‘ mind ‘ and ‘ brain ‘ often in our day to day life. Have you ever wondered if both mean the same or have different meanings?

Let me tell you that both the things are a bit different from each other.

Brain is the physical part of our body while Mind is the mental thing. It is the part where imaginations take place.

  • Levels of the mind

Our mind consists of three stages or levels which contribute in

Alcohol and Covid-19

The Covid-19 lockdown has increased the sales of alcohol by 55%. People are bored at home and not sure what to do so they consume alcohol in the name of ‘chilling’.
But did you know you are more prone to get affected by corona virus by consuming alcohol? The disease caused by corona virus affects the respiratory system the most.

What happens when you take the first sip?
As soon as you take the first sip, your body makes it a priority above all the other functions that it carries out to metabolize the alcohol and send it out of the body. The metabolism of alcohol takes place in your liver where it is broken down into two parts viz., water and carbon dioxide. It’s the liver’s job to detoxify your body. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, alcohol can’t be stored in your body. Hence, it’s metabolism is prioritized.

When you consume too much alcohol at once, without giving proper time to your liver to carry out its metabolism, some quantity of alcohol remains in your liver and slowly starts damaging it followed by other body parts. Consumption of too much alcohol at once also pressurizes the liver to carry out its metabolism.


Liver diseases
I. Fatty liver
When alcohol remains in the liver, it develops molecules that inhibit fat oxidation in the liver and lead to condition called fatty liver.
This condition seen in 90% of the people who consume 45ml-60ml per day.
If you drink that much or more on many days of the week, chances are that you are already on the first stage of fatty liver.
Symptoms include sudden weight loss, pain above the abdomen and fatigue.
Although this disease can be treated by completely stopping the consumption of alcohol for six weeks.


II. Liver Hepatitis
During the metabolism of breaking down alcohol, highly toxic chemicals are released. These chemicals lead to inflammation destroying the liver cells hence, causing the replacement of healthy tissues by scar tissues.
The amount of alcohol that leads to this condition is not yet known. However, consumption of 105ml of hard drinks or seven beers or seven glasses of vine or seven shots of spirits over a long period of time might put you at risk.

Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal tenderness, loss of appetite and often low grade fever.

III. Liver Cirrhosis
It is the most advanced form of liver disease which starts with fatty liver to liver Hepatitis and at last liver Cirrhosis. Sometimes a person might develop Liver Cirrhosis without undergoing Liver Hepatitis.
When the healthy liver tissues are replaced by scar tissues, it becomes difficult for the liver to function.
Hence, the body does not produce enough protein or filter the toxins as required. This leads to liver damage.
Symptoms include Jaundice, skin itching., Etc

• Note to the heavy drinkers
If you spot a yellow tinge on your skin, pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen or have a sudden weight loss, consult your doctor immediately.

Bacterial growth in the gut
Sometimes because of alcohol, bacteria grows in the gut and then moves to the intestinal wall and then to the liver Hence, damaging it.

• Effects on heart
Alcohol causes a condition called cardiomyopathy, in which the heart becomes weak. It also causes irregular heart beat pattern known as arrhythmia.
Some people might also develop the problem of high blood pressure.


• Effects on Immune system
The people who drink everyday or almost everyday, might catch cold, cough, flue or other illness very soon as compared to the people who don’t drink.
Alcohol weakens your immune system and makes you prone to all the infections.


• Effects on respiratory system
Excessive drinking damages the lungs. The airway starts altering over a period of time, making the inhalation process difficult, decreasing the production of saliva and also increasing the risk of bacterial growth in the mouth. These factors further lead to lung disease and infections. As the immunity decreases, the risk of the spread of bacteria into the windpipe and lungs also increases.


• Respiratory system diseases

  1. Alcoholic Pneumonia
    Alcohol weakens the function of processing the bacteria in the body. The immune function in the lower airways is also weakened, thereby weakening the body’s ability to remove mucus from the lungs. This leads to aspiration.
    Pneumonia often leads to death.
    Symptoms include excessive coughing, fever or chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, etc.
  2. Additional lung diseases caused by alcohol
    • Tuberculosis
    • Sepsis
    • Lung infection
    • Aspiration
    • Severity in asthma cases

Other effects
It might lead to cancer of mouth, throat, liver, pancreas, oesophagus or breast.
Pancreatic inflammation is also a result of alcohol.

Hence, consumption of alcohol causes various harm to your body. So next time you brag about you drinking tolerance and capacity, know that the jokes are on you.
As we battle Covid-19, it’s important for us to do every possible thing and keep our immunity system strong.
Covid-19 affects the respiratory system therefore, we must avoid everything that affects our respiratory system.
As for alcohol, it affects our immunity system as well as respiratory system. So it’s a request to everyone to avoid alcohol as it makes you more prone to Covid-19. There won’t be any chilling if you won’t be living.