Rainbow Diet For This Winter


Come winters and along with, bloom fresh,colourful variety of foods available from the farm to the homes. This is one such time of the year when one is also tempted to indulge, and if not wary can leave you heavier at the end of the season! So how exactly can we make the best of the bounty of foods at our disposal and yet maintain a healthy fit body? Well, it’s not difficult at all, if we make a couple of good choices from the plethora of multi colour fruits and veggies available using the rainbow formula. Yes, just think the 7 colours of the rainbow and plan your day’s diet, and vow there you are with a completely balanced multi nutrient diet at your disposal!

Considering the seven colours,the options are many: RED: the colour red denotes richness and warmth. Foods like tomatoes, red bell pepper, strawberry, cherries, red apples, beets, guavas etc.are the fruits abundant in winters. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the anti oxidant factor which provides immunity to the body and also known to be heart healthy besides reducing risk of cancer. To derive the full benefits of this nutrient it needs to be consumed in heated form like in tomato,gravies, soups and purees. It’s also rich in vitamin C which can be got by eating them raw like as salads and juices. ORANGE: this is a blend of red with yellow and signifies activity, enthusiasm, optimism and confidence. Foods like oranges, papaya, peaches, carrots, apricots etc. are good sources of antioxidants and vitamin C which strengthen the immune system. YELLOW: this colour also signifies warmth, illumination and life. Foods like banana, honey, corn, grape fruit, yellow zucchni are rich in photo chemicals which are needed for healthy function of the liver, gall bladder and pancreas. GREEN: this colour signifies life, healing spirituality and freshness. Foods like all green leafy vegetables (spinach, asparagus, mint, mustard leaves, cauliflower leaves, broccoli, celery, peas, beans, lettuce and wheat grass. All these foods are a power hose of iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and calcium. BLUE, INDIGO, VIOLET: these foods include blue berries, black berries, brinjal, purple cabbage, plums etc. contain pigments like anthocyanin, phytochemicals and flavonoids all of which reduce mortality and reduce risk of cancers . Apart from the rainbow colours white also is equally important which include functional foods like garlic and onions which contain the enzyme allinin which help fight high cholesterol and hypertension, besides preventing cancers and infection. Foods like banana and potatoes are also rich in potassium and flavinoids which are anti inflammatory too. Another colour other than the rainbow spectra is the earth colour- Brown. Although not part of the rainbow, one just cannot escape the various shades and hues of this neutral colour! Even if you were to have all the 7 colours, your meal would be incomplete without this one – the staple cereal base of any country. It could be the basic brown bread or the whole wheat chapati or the equally nutrient dense millets like the bajra and the Jowar. Legumes and pulses too can not be ignored as without these your protein and energy requirements would still not be complete! Therefore, a wise combo of the rainbow foods along with a healthy cereal and legume combo, you could be having one of the most healthy platter at your disposal. Even if one consumes five of the seven colour foods, you are sure to maintain a healthy, disease free life.
However, a word of caution would be in place to warn you against the traditional high fat associated foods more often being a part of any good meal or snack. Inclusion of butter, cream or ghee in liberal amounts even with the rainbow foods can tilt the balance and undo all the goodness of these winter foods. So folks, with the help of bachelorarbeit-schreiben-lassen.com to enhance your academic writing projects as a reliable partner, rake up your culinary skills and get the best of Nature’s bounty this winter!

Sweets Not Taboo For Diabetics

Attention all my diabetic friends! Enjoy this Festival of Light and Sweets. Despair not folks as the good news is that after all sweets are not taboo for you all! Did you hear or read right? Yes you did! It’s not the sugar free sweets I’m referring to but the actual sugar sweet! Rather sugar free sweets can be more dangerous and misleading than having an actual sugar sweet.

The trick lies in the choice of sweets and also tweaking your menu for the day you decide to have some sweet.

What actually matters for diabetics is the total amount of carbohydrates taken rather than the source to maintain their blood sugar levels. In any case you do consume almost 50%-55% of your total calories as carbs which come from the so called ‘diabetic food’ comprising cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables and milk and milk products. Now, in order to appease your sweet tooth, all you need to do is to swap the sweet with an equivalent amount of carb containing food item you would have had either from a roti or a bowl of pulse or say from a serving or two of fruits or milk. You would need to have some idea of the amount of carbs in various foods to be able to do this swapping. A serving of cereal like a chapati or a bowl of dal or a glass of milk normally contain about 15-17 grams of carbohydrate, which is also considered as one unit of carb. Equivalent amount of carbs would also come from 3 tsps of sugar. Most of the Indian sweets which are prepared from either cereal, plus or milk would comprise almost 25-30 gms of carbs. This means to be able to have one sweet you would have to forego either 2 servings of fruits or 1.5 serve of pulse or 1.5 serving of bread or chapati.

You could also opt for some home made sweets made with lesser sugar or a smaller portion size. Another way would be to make wise choice of sweets like the ones without syrup or excess sugar, e.g. A rasgulla or a khoya barfi.

Here are some simple tips to help you indulge and also maintain your sugar levels.

– avoid very juicy or syrupy sweets or with excess sugar contents.
– opt for home made sweets if possible

– stick to the golden rule of ‘ moderation’

– choose to have the sweet in the day time, so that you would have the margin to make adjustments with your balance carbs.

– avoid sugar free substitutes as they can be misleading and harmful too.

– avoid high fat foods or those deep fried

– make it a point to squeeze in some 45-60 minutes of brisk activity like a walk or work out to balance the input.

– try to include good high fibre foods before having a sweet to minimise sugar absorption.

– last and not least avoid making it a routine way of indulging. You would enjoy more when you do it in special occasions!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and celebrate this Diwali with your family and friends.
Happy Diwali to you all!

Is Sugar Free Really Free Of Sugar

It has almost become a fad these days with a number of ‘so called health freaks’ to omit sugar from their cup,of tea or coffee. So far so good! After all, we all know by now that sugar is considered as one of those white poisons in our day to day foods that we have. But then most of these people are resorting to ‘sugar free’ pills or artificial sweeteners as they are called. This is where they are faltering! What needs to be borne in mind is that these white pills may be sweetening their cup of tea, but at the same time may be poisoning their health! Recent research published in the Wall Street Journal has exposed some hard bitter facts of the sweet myth. According to studies in mice and people, the artificial sweeteners can actually raise the blood sugar by its action on the normal gut bacteria which can induce such adverse reactions.

Moreover, sugar free can actually, be deceiving you into over indulgence due to the fact that you may be tempted to eat liberally assuming that food to be non sweet or zero calorie. In fact it is just sugar free, but not fat free! Most of the sweets are laden with fats and will actually lead you to gain extra kilos.

So if you are diabetic or over weight, you would do better having a spoonful of sugar rather than those sweet sugar free poison foods. After all even diabetics are allowed around 1-2 Tsps of sugar, provided they count their total carbohydrates! So folks just chuck those pills or sachets containing the bitter sugar and keep healthy!

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Dine Out To Good Health

Dining out is a much happening concept in today’s world , be it a family, social, official, business or corporate event as can be appreciated with the fast growing hotel industry. But this culture of dining out or even ordering for ‘home deliveries’, has gradually given rise to a new dilemma of how to balance healthy dining with the compulsions or obligatory responsibilities of social dining, without compromising on one’s long term health consequences.
We know all restaurant foods are mostly laden with the undesired fats, carbs and sodium, the three musketeers acting against one’s long term health. So does that mean you have to deprive yourself of all these social activities and outings? Well no. You can still enjoy going out without compromising on your health, provided you act judiciously and practice a healthy eating. Yes, first of all you need to be motivated enough and have a good will power to choose wisely. Then go ahead, just keeping in mind some useful tips as follows:

• Firstly do not set out totally empty stomach. Fill up partially, say with a light healthy snack like some salad or soup or perhaps a bowl of fruit salad.

• Study the menu and look for items with minimum fats, carbs or refined products. Do not hesitate to ask. Have the waiter describe the recipe like the ingredients used and how it is cooked. If possible you could request to tweak the recipe to minimize extra cheese, cream or butter etc.

• Order for fresh lime juice to kick off while you decide on the menu.

• Order items that are steamed, broiled, roasted or grilled, requesting to avoid butter or cream etc.

• For starters non vegetarians can opt for grilled, roasted or steamed chicken or fish without excess fat. Vegetarians will be better off opting for some grilled seekh capsicum, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, onions etc. or some roasted papad (if sodium is not a concern). Avoid paneer as it is mostly the high fat variety. Addition of herbs and spices can enhance the flavor.

• Some of the worst appetizers to be kept off from are, paneer or chicken tikkas, chicken wings, potato, cheese burgers or potato fingers and all dips.

• Order for light clear soups, requesting to get the add ons separately so that you can make you own choice.

• You can choose from the salad bar, but avoiding items like potatoes, corn, grated cheese, creamy dressings, croutons etc. lemon squeeze or rice vinegar instead of salad dressing can do the trick.

• For enjoying the dip with the salad, just dip the fork into the dip before helping with the salad, rather than taking spoonfuls or spreading it over.

• Order for breads without added butter or ghee.

• Avoid paneer dishes as they are high fat as also the Indian vegetable recipes, unless they are stir fried or steamed or baked.

• Keep track of portion sizes, since portion control is the key to safe and moderate indulgence.

• Lastly, if you are too tempted to sweeten your taste buds, surely you can go ahead but just having a small bite or portion. If your companions are generous, you could just take a portion off from their share rather than ordering the whole serving.

Above all, not to forget that a regular good session of any physical work out, be it a brisk walk or any sport or even hitting the gym can balance the indulgences you might love to give in to occasionally.
So, guys go ahead and dine out to your good health.

Diet in Monsoons

This is that time of the year when risk of food borne infections and illness are at its peak. So friends, here are some of important factors to be kept in mind to keep fit and healthy to enjoy the monsoons:

    • Avoid heavy fried and fat rich foods -difficult to digest
    • Use only pasteurised milk and milk products from the same-curd, buttermilk good options.
    • Avoid cut fruit and other roadside juices and foods.
    • If desired use stew of chicken, rather than heavy curries or fried forms.
    • Eggs especially white portion can be consumed if boiled or cooked well to avoid infection.
    • Sprouts and salads cut at home are safe and healthy options.
    • Pickles and other preserved items to be stored in air tight containers to avoid fungal growth.
    • Spices like hing, zeera, pepper and cinnamon are good for digestion.
    • Dry cereals, pulses etc. to be stored in air tight containers to prevent worm infestations
    • Use of coriander and mint is gut friendly biput need to be washed well.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables first by soaking in potassium permanganate solution or vinegar solution and then rinsed with fresh water.
    • Refrigerate cooked food once it reaches room temperature. Freeze foods not intended to be used soon.
    • Have plenty of fluids like water , lime juice, coconut water etc. avoid aerated beverages like colas, sweetened drinks which can cause dehydration
     So friends eat healthy, stay healthy and enjoy the monsoons!

Summer Drinks

Well, if you have been under the impression that all these are ‘soothing’ or ‘refreshing’, especially juices, hold your breath, they are not! Surprised?  Well, the truth is that fruit juices and such drinks can actually harm your liver! Yes, they contain high levels of fructose (fruit sugar) besides being devoid of fiber. This fructose undergoes a unique metabolic pathway in the liver, whereby this is converted to fatty acids, which gradually deposit there, leading to the first stage of liver damage, ‘fatty liver’. These fatty acids over a period of time lead to enlarged liver, and if not controlled at this stage progresses to the irreversible condition, ‘cirrhosis’, which has its own complications. Therefore next time you head for a glass of juice, thin twice. Even if you must, it is a good idea to dilute it with water to lessen the harmful effect.

To be on the safe side, avoid all sweetened beverages, juices (fresh or canned), colas and other sweetened sodas. On the contrary, go for healthier safe options like lime juice, lassi or buttermilk, jal jeera, green tea, vegetable juice or just whole fruits. At the same time modify your lifestyle to a more active one and a diet with fiber rich whole grain cereals and pulses, low fats, and plenty of green vegetables. Most important keep well hydrated with plenty of plain water!

Coronary Artery Disease- Can It Be Prevented?

These are called the communicable diseases the incidence of which was very high about 2 decades ago. But gradually the incidence of these has considerably decreased, thanks to the boon of improved technology and better living standards. However, another set of diseases, called the non communicable diseases (NCD) have slowly crept in and now has laid its trap on mankind in this industrialized society. These are the ones which occur not due to contact but due to certain modifiable and non modifiable factors. In this class is one of the most wide spread disorders, the coronary artery disease (CAD).

The non modifiable factors are age, gender, race and family history. Family history could include incidence of diabetes, blood pressure, obesity or cardio vascular disease. The risk of developing CAD increases with age greater than 45 years in men and 55 years in women. A family history of early heart disease would mean heart disease in the father or brother diagnosed before age 55 years and in the mother or sister below 65 years. So what about the modifiable risk factors? Can we by some modifications in our lifestyle help avert the dreadful disease? Yes certainly. These are our lifestyle factors –dietary habits, our environment, our social life and habits like alcohol, smoking, physical activity and sleep pattern.

Our dietary pattern and eating culture have taken a big leap from that of high fiber based cereals, pulses, vegetables and fresh fruits to refined, processed foods, high in fats and also in sodium content. Added to these, is the decreasing physical activity from that of a once more active lifestyle. These are the main causes of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Consumption of alcohol, smoking and erratic sleeping hours coupled with a highly demanding stressful life have further added to the miseries.

In this context, therefore health workers have shifted focus on prevention of such diseases and thereby increasing our lifespan rather than just treat or cure them. The answer to these problems hence lies in to reverting back to the age old lifestyle of healthy diets, more physical activity and avoidance of alcohol and smoking. For this one can get involved in some relaxation activities like yoga, meditation or going out for long walks or perhaps a break from the demanding schedule once in a while.

In non modifiable conditions, where there is a family history of any one of the above mentioned problems, even there we can play some role in averting or perhaps delaying it or at least minimizing the severity of the disease. Timely action can always go a long way in developing more complications in the long run. It is advisable to maintain a routine check of those either annually or 6 monthly in case of high risk groups. For instance, one could get his/her blood pressure check done and monitoring it at the ideal or near ideal value of 120/80 mm of Hg.  A fasting blood sugar value of < 100 mgs/dl, a total cholesterol value of <200 mg, triglycerides <150 mgs, LDL (bad cholesterol) <130mg and a HDL (good cholesterol) of 45 -75 mg/dl should be the ideal target to be maintained.

So to avoid falling prey to the coronary artery diseases, the major focus in our lifestyle should be on healthy eating pattern, a healthy body weight, a desirable lipid and blood sugar profile and an acceptable blood pressure range.

A little care and effort in our day to day life can certainly help us remain healthy and disease free for a longer span in the times to come.

Is Your Child Having Enough Iron

You would wonder, the child is otherwise active and appears normal with no apparent problem, but when it comes to eating, he just refuses to. He might gorge on other products like milk, biscuits or chocolates or kurkure etc, but no food. Well, do you know the mystery behind this behavior could be nothing else, but just lack of iron in your child’s body? Yes, anemia, as it is commonly known, is a manifestation of iron deficiency. This phenomenon was earlier observed generally in the less privileged class of society due to lack of food availability or poverty etc. But now this problem is not restricted to a class of people, but widely prevalent across all sections of classes thanks to the western influence on our eating culture, to the extent that iron deficiency anemia is regarded as one of the National nutrition problems in our country.

There would be other subtle signs and symptoms which parents may generally fail to recognize, like growing very irritable, easy fatigueability, a pale look and pica, which is quite a common sign of iron deficiency, i.e. craving to eat mud, clay or wall scrapings and failure to grow. Pica and loss of appetite are one of the earliest signs in a child which should alert the parents that all is not well and their child could be suffering from anemia. According to studies, almost 53%-54% of children in a survey were found to be anemic, with greater prevalence of girls compared to boys.

The main causes of this high prevalence are nothing but faulty feeding habits right from infancy. Children who have not been exclusively breast fed till 6 months of age, children having diary milk which could be diluted too, excess of milk intake (as high as 1 lt/d), inadequate cereals, pulses and veggies in their diet, munching of biscuits, chocolates or other processed foods and most important those who are addicted to tea, all fall prey to iron deficiency anemia. Breast milk has a higher bioavailability of iron compared to other milk and a child deprived of this milk in early infancy can begin with a setback of deficient stores which are not easily repleted, as the child’s demands increase with age. On the other hand, prolonged exclusive breast feeding or any other dairy milk beyond 6 months, without adequate supplementation of cereals and pulses also can result in iron requirement not being met, because milk is almost devoid of iron. Once the iron stores are depleted in the body, the child will just refuse to eat, even though he may accept milk, tea or other non nutrient foods. Once this deficiency sets in, depending upon the severity, the symptoms too may get more serious like palpitation, shortness of breath, abnormally shaped nails, lowered IQ level and gastro intestinal problems. At this stage, just diet will not help alone and iron supplements in the form of capsules or syrup need to be given too.

Therefore, as we know prevention is better than cure, it would be wise on the part of the parents and care givers to ensure the child is breast fed exclusively for first 6 months followed by adequate cereal supplementation by way of healthy home based foods rather than encourage foods like bakery products, sweets, coals, or even excessive milk and milk products. Some good iron rich sources of foods are whole cereals and pulses, gram, ragi, jaggery, green leafy vegetables, dry fruits like almonds, raisins, dates and egg yolk.

The Salt Factor in Our Diet

As a routine, we may not be even aware of how much salt we are actually consuming. This is because it is not just the visible salt that we add in our diets, but there are a number of ‘hidden sources’, which may actually make one consume far in excess than actually our body requires, which is no more than 3-5 grams per day. Ideally it is the sodium component of the salt (sodium chloride), which matters. This is present in a number of foods around us including medicines.

Our body does require some sodium since it helps to maintain the right balance of fluids, helps transmit nerve impulses and influences the contraction and relaxation of our muscles. But what is required is the right balance of sodium in our diet. This is maintained by the kidneys by holding on to it when our body stores are low, or excreting it out when there is excess of it. But with a prolonged period of excess intake of sodium the kidneys may one day fail to maintain this balance, resulting in increased blood volume by holding on to fluids. This can lead to heart problems, renal and liver disorders and hypertension etc.

The sodium requirement also varies with age. With increasing age it is advisable to reduce the sodium content by reducing the total salt intake per day. This does not imply table or cooking salt alone, but a number of foods which may be having ‘hidden sodium’, in them which actually may add up to much more than just salt consumed as such.

Some of the main sources of sodium, commonly consumed on day to day basis are:

Processed or Ready to Cook Foods: bread, biscuits and all other bakery items (which require soda bicarbonate or baking soda), pasta, noodles, pizzas, burgers, cheese etc.

Preserved Foods:  Pickles, jams, marmalade, chutneys, spreads, ketchup, sauces, chutney, papad, vadi, all tinned foods, breakfast cereals like cornflakes etc.

Natural Sources: Dairy products, meat, chicken, eggs, fish, legumes.

Medicines; Certain medicines may be sodium based (read label or check with your physician)

Some tips for cutting down sodium in your daily dietary intake are:

  • Eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Limit use of sauces, dips, salad dressings, pickles and chutneys etc.
  • Use dried herbs and spices for flavoring
  • Black or rock salt as is commonly referred to, has the same amount of sodium as the normal salt.
  • Read labels carefully on all medicines and foods while shopping for groceries. Look for ingredients like baking soda, baking powder, disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, sodium nitrite.
  • Avoid table salt or salt dispensers.

Finally, your taste for salt can be acquired with sustained elimination of excess salt from one’s diet, since the taste buds get adjusted to enable you to enjoy your low sodium diet.

The Importance of a Good Breakfast

As the name suggests, breakfast implies ‘breaking the fast’, and that is the overnight fast, the last meal being the dinner of the previous night. In effect, it actually means the first eating occasion of the day within 2-3 hours of waking. i.e by about 9.00 -10.00 a.m.

But in the present day the concept of breakfast has transformed considerably.   A decade or two ago, a typical breakfast comprised a serving or two of any cereal, milk or milk product, egg or cheese and perhaps a fruit which was calorie and protein dense. Today the trend has shifted to a calorie and carbohydrate dense breakfast with not so high proteins. This too has been accompanied by a reduction in the actual number of, who do have breakfast.  Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of losing out on the benefits of a healthy breakfast. According to a recent study in the U.S., approximately 32% of adolescents skip breakfast on a daily basis and up to 60% skip almost 3 times a week. Similar observations have been made in our country too, thanks to the pressure of a power packed schedule which puts diet in the background. The commonly attributed factors for this trend are lack of time by 50% of the respondents and lack of appetite by almost 60% of them. Other causes sited were, inconvenience, forgetting to eat and not of the desired taste.

It cannot be over emphasized that a good breakfast is the key to a healthy day’s start.  A number of studies have shown that children who have had a healthy breakfast do significantly better in their scholastic performance  and have a higher retention capacity as compared to those who have not had breakfast. Recent evidence also suggests those people having a healthy breakfast (protein rich) rather than carbohydrate dense, are able to maintain normal body weight, since it leads to improvement in appetite control and satiety and reduced food intake over the subsequent meals. The rapid progression of incidence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the younger age groups can be considered as consequences of an unhealthy or no breakfast, as has been evident by a series of studies in this aspect. Therefore, it is highly recommended that children and adolescents and also adults should begin the day with a good, healthy breakfast, since besides giving an energetic kick start for the day, it is now also considered to be the key factor in preventing obesity and diabetes especially in the younger age group