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
Health Problems from Wearing Heels
Heels are one of those great inventions that make anything look fabulous, but is a torture device at the same time. Podiatrist have a distinct hatred for heels and the health problems it brings to the wearer. We wear heels as part of our professional attire or for fashion, but at the end of the day we all slump up on our sofa saying “my feet is killing me”. Who knows why we still allow ourselves to go through this torture, but wearing heels does make you feel a little bit more powerful.
Human feet are not designed to wear heels all the time. Our feet are designed at a 90 degree angle to fully support our frame, altering it to a 60 or 45 degree angle will alter the foot function and position causing health problems. Below are some of the health problems you will encounter from wearing heels overtime.
Heels will increase the pressure on your forefoot and making you adjust your posture to maintain balance. Your lower body will tend to lean forward as your lower body leans backward. Long period of keeping this position will affect the posture.
The back and spine have a normal S- curve that helps absorb shock and lessen pressure on the spine. Wearing heels will flatten this structure and alter the body’s positioning. This poor alignment will cause you to use more muscles, causing muscle pain and back pain. Posterior displacement can be fixed with the help of a medical professional.
Toe Pain and Ankle Pain
Wearing heels will increase the pressure that your toes and ankle face. Trying to balance out your body structure while wearing heels can wear down the joints in your ankles and cause muscles inflammation and calluses on the feet and toes.
Corns and Keratin Build-up
Corns and Keratin build-up will start to appear on the feet due to the pressure on the skin. Corn usually appears under the balls of the foot where most of the weight is pressed down. This corns will feel like small rocks and can cause discomfort.
Pinched nerves or neuromas can cause mild to severe pain to wearers in the future, leaving it untreated can cause severe damage in the future.
Crack on the Bones
Wearing heels for a long period of time will result in cracks in the bones of the feet and stress fractures.
Choose low heels that have a slightly thicker heel. This will allow more balance and spread the pressure on your feet.
Wear soft insoles. Wear rubber soled shoes instead of leather, this will absorb pressure better.
Wear heels when there is limited standing or walking. Bring flat shoes when commuting or walking for a long period of time.
Stretch every day, especially leg and calf stretches in the morning and at night.
Take in calcium supplements to make the bones stronger.
Wear heels are seldom as possible.
Obesity can impair learning, memory: Study
Obesity can break down our protective blood brain barrier resulting in problems with learning and memory, a study has found. Chronic activation of the receptor Adora2a on the endothelial cells that line this important barrier in our brain can let factors from the blood enter the brain and affect the function of our neurons, scientists said.
The team from Augusta University in the US have shown that when they block Adora2a in a model of diet-induced obesity, this important barrier function is maintained. “We know that obesity and insulin resistance break down the blood brain barrier in humans and animal models, but exactly how has remained a mystery,” said Alexis M Stranahan, neuroscientist at Augusta University and corresponding author of the study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
In the brain, adenosine is a neurotransmitter that helps us sleep and helps regulate our blood pressure; in the body it’s also a component of the cell fuel adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.Adenosine also activates receptors Adora1a and Adora2a on endothelial cells, which normally supports healthy relationships between brain activity and blood flow.
Problems arise with chronic activation, particularly in the brain, which is what happens with obesity, Stranahan said in a statement. People who have obesity and diabetes have higher rates of cognitive impairment as they age and most of the related structural changes are in the hippocampus, a centre of learning and memory.Fat is a source of inflammation and there is evidence that reducing chronic inflammation in the brain helps prevent obesity-related memory loss.
For the study, young mice fed a high-fat diet got fat within two weeks, and by 16 weeks they had increases in fasting glucose and insulin concentrations, all signs that diabetes is in their future. In the minute vasculature of the hippocampus, the researchers saw that obesity first increased permeability of the blood brain barrier to tiny molecules like fluorophore sodium fluorescein, or NaFl. Diet-induced insulin resistance heightened that permeability so that a larger molecule, Evans Blue, which has a high affinity for serum albumin, the most abundant protein in blood, also could get through.
When they looked with electron microscopy, they saw a changed landscape. Resulting diabetes promoted shrinkage of the usually tight junctions between endothelial cells and actual holes in those cells. When they gave a drug to temporarily block Adora2a, it also blocked problems with barrier permeability. Whether that could work in humans and long term as a way to avoid cognitive decline in obese humans, remains to be seen, Stranahan said.
‘Love hormone’ may help treat alcoholism, says study
A nasal spray of ‘love hormone’ oxytocin may help treat alcohol use disorder, according to a study conducted in mice.
Oxytocin plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, found that oxytocin blocks enhanced drinking in alcohol-dependent rats.
Targeting the oxytocin system may provide novel pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of alcohol-use disorder, said researchers from the National Institutes of Health and The Scripps Research Institute in the US.
Administering oxytocin can decrease consumption, withdrawal symptoms, and drug-seeking behaviour associated with several drugs of abuse, researchers said in a statement.
This shows promise as a pharmacological approach to treat drug addiction, they said.
Researchers tested the hypothesis that oxytocin administration could normalise the maladaptive brain changes that occur in alcohol dependence and thereby reduce alcohol drinking in an established rat model of alcohol dependence.
They investigated oxytocin’s effects on dependence-induced alcohol consumption and altered signalling of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) – a key brain region in the network affected by alcohol dependence.
The experiments demonstrated that oxytocin administered systemically, intranasally or into the brain blocked excess drinking in alcohol-dependent but not in normal rats.
Moreover, oxytocin blocked GABA signalling in the CeA, researchers said.
Taken together, these results provide evidence that oxytocin likely blocks enhanced drinking by altering CeA GABA transmission.
These results provide evidence that aberrations in the oxytocin system may underlie alcohol use disorder, researchers said.
Targeting this system, possibly by intranasal administration, could prove a promising therapy in people who misuse alcohol, they said.