The food that you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
Planning healthy meals and mid meals is easy when your pantry is stocked with these healthy must-haves. It becomes all the more imperative for working women to shop their grocery smartly. All it requires is some smart planning and proactive stocking.
I am a Nutritionist, and these foods are always in my kitchen. They are an essential part of my main meals and mid-meals, at home, or on the go.
Eggs are an excellent source of inexpensive high-quality protein. One large egg contains 6 grams protein, including all essential amino acids; it is considered a complete protein. More than half the protein is found in the egg white alongside vitamin B2, D, B6, B12 and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and copper too. Yolks too contain good amount of protein, cholesterol, and vitamins A, D, E and K. Eat your eggs for a protein-packed power breakfast, with whole grains, as a mid-meal or post your workout to instantly repair worn out muscles.
Nuts are the easiest to stock and easiest to pack snack. They are a storehouse of nutrients. Packed with protein, healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, fibre and various vitamins and minerals, a handful of nuts are a perfect snack any time of the day, especially if you stay away from home for long hours. Nuts are calorie-dense because of high fat content, so a handful is just enough to keep you satisfied for long. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, raisins, pistachio, and the list goes one, one is simply spoilt for choice.
Good things come in small packages’ holds completely true for these nutritional powerhouses. Since seeds form the basis of a new plant, they contain loads of essential nutrients. A source of healthy fats (MUFA and PUFA), fibre, and various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, what more do you want! Flax, chia, pumpkin, aliv, sesame, hemp, melon seeds, all of them have amazing health benefits. Stock up on at least a few of them, and eat them as such, sprinkle on your salads, add them to smoothies/shakes, grind them and mix with your flour, throw them into ladoos or granola bars, or use your culinary creativity to find more ways of using them.
- Fruits & Green veggies
Fruits & vegetables fall in the category of ‘protective foods’. They are low-calorie and nutrient-dense; a rich source of fibre, vitamins and minerals like carotenoids, vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium etc. They are also loaded with antioxidants, ant-inflammatory agents, phytonutrients, all of which work together to protect us from disease. The more colorful your plate, the more phytochemicals it packs. It is recommended that fruits and veggies should comprise half of your daily food plate. Just remember, ‘eat local, eat seasonal’, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket and it’s certainly more superior in nutrient value.
It’s one of the most misunderstood and underrated fruits and hence deserves special mention. It’s rich in both soluble and insoluble fibres, hence safe for diabetics. A rich source of potassium and low in sodium, so heart-friendly; it is also a good source of B vitamins and antioxidants. It also has a natural antacid action. Banana is a great probiotic and also promotes gut friendly bacteria. Banana has been my first meal of the day for years now, gives me instant energy to see me through my mornings. It prevents those early morning blues and also prevents cravings through the day.
Rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, Vit A, B2, B12, it’s an easy way to improve your protein intake and ensure bone and dental health too. It’s a probiotic food, very easy to digest. It’s highly recommended for people dealing with gastric disorders like IBS and can easily be digested by those dealing with intolerances. Eat your yoghurt as a mid-meal, alongside main meals, as plain curd/ raita, or churn it to make namkeen lassi, smoothies, or go the Punjabi way and make delicious kadhi out of it!
- Roasted chana
A highly popular snack all over our country, a half cup serving of roasted chana provides 130 calories and about 7 gram protein. This humble food is a very inexpensive way of increasing your protein intake. It’s rich in fibre and keeps you satiated. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. The fibre prevents constipation and aids weight loss. Roasted chana in a stainless steel dibbi is a permanent feature in my kitchen, on my desk and in my bag.
- Green tea
The health benefits of green tea have been talked over and over again. It’s a great stress reliever for me. The antioxidants in green tea help fight free radical damage that the environmental stresses keep inflicting upon us.
There are many more of these nature’s bounties. Yet there are some foods which never make to my pantry – refined flour, carbonated drinks (regular/diet), packaged juices, ready-to-eat meals, artificial sweeteners, processed foods to name a few. Here’s hoping that my lists serve as a useful guide while you go grocery shopping.
(Pooja Malhotra is a city-based nutritionist) Courtesy NDTV
5 Foods That Will Detoxify Your Lungs And Heal Them Naturally
Are you a chain smoker? Do you live in a polluted area? Our lungs are a vital organ and the most ignored organ of our body. It is through them that we breathe.
Consequently our lungs are also sucking in harmful elements from the air around us. They are exposed to harmful pollutants and microbes that get deposited from the air we inhale. For people who smoke, their healthy lungs turn black with the deposition of tar in their lungs. Regular detoxification of lungs will help in smooth functioning and help in expulsion of toxins. Thus it is important that we choose healthy foods to cleanse our lungs, so as to reduce common lung diseases and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cystic fibrosis.
Some foods which are great for good lung health are listed below:
1. Garlic: The anti-inflammatory properties along with a high level of allicin helps to fight infections and reduces inflammation. Garlic has also been considered by many as being an effective remedy in improving asthma and can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
2. Apples: An apple is healthy, loaded with nutrients, high energy, high fiber, low calorie food. Its flavonoids and the wide variety of vitamins, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, helps us to maintain a strong immune system and a healthy respiratory system. When we have healthy respiratory functions, we can fight off lung diseases and prevent them naturally.
3. Ginger: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will help to clear your lungs naturally. You can add ginger to various dishes as it is a widely used herb. Also you can add it in your morning tea.You can also use it to prepare ginger tea blended with some lemon in it. This is beneficial to remove toxins from the respiratory tract.
4. Green tea: Drink a cup of your favourite herbal green tea before going to bed to release toxins in the intestine that can lead to constipation or other stomach ailments. You should refrain from overloading your lungs with tedious work during this purification process.
5. Lentils: In order to optimize the oxygen transportation faculties of the lungs, healthy hemoglobin levels are absolutely critical. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that is found in red blood cells and aids in transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue. As an added benefit, hemoglobin stimulates the internal processes that returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled from the body. Black beans, cow peas, dried peas, lentils, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans are some foods containing properties that raise hemoglobin levels. Additionally, supplement beans and lentils with vitamin-C rich foods to maximize iron absorption.
Fasting may help keep age-related diseases at bay: Study
Fasting can boost the body’s metabolism and help protect against age-related diseases, a study has found. The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment. While food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear, until now, how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.
“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the US. “Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” said Sassone-Corsi.
The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.
“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression,” he said. “In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against ageing-associated diseases,” said Sassone-Corsi.
The study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.
High-fibre diet lowers risk of death, non-communicable diseases: Lancet
Eating up to 30 grams of naturally-occurring dietary fibre — such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits — daily may prevent the risks of developing non-communicable diseases, finds a review of studies published in the journal The Lancet.
The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality; and reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.
Increasing fibre intake is associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intake or synthetic and extracted fibre.
“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases,” said Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.
“The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer,” Mann said.
Protection against stroke, and breast cancer also increased. Consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but the data suggest that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.
The researchers included 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants.
The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against Type 2 diabetes and stroke only.
Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
However, high intakes might have ill-effects for people with low iron or mineral levels for whom high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels, the researchers noted.