Watermelon – Nutritional value and Health benefits
Come summer we all love to quench our thirst and go on a liquid diet to keep our body cool. What better way to beat the heat than indulging on watermelons! The subtly crunchy, thirst quenching watermelon are a nature’s gift for summer. When I was kid, the green melons used to be available only in summer though now in many place they are available round the year but still its summer they are most sought after as well as of its best sweetness and quality.
Watermelon is not just about the water content; it is a powerhouse of many nutrients. Let’s check out its nutritional values and health benefits.
Nutritional value of Watermelon
Watermelon is rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. In fact 150 gm serving of watermelon can provide you the 20% and 17% respectively of daily value of required Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Awesome right?
Watermelons are also rich source of carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. So how lycopene does helps our body? They help as neutralize the free radicals and free radicals are substances in the body that can cause substantial damage.
Be a power ranger by eating Watermelon! Yes, Watermelon is also rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. The melon has a considerable nutrient like Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, magnesium, and potassium.
And to top it watermelon lower calorie content. One cup of watermelon has just 48 calories thereby delivering more nutrients per calorie.
Watermelon is also high in citrulline, an amino acid.
Health benefits of Watermelon
Being packed with important antioxidants, watermelon helps in soothening conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.
Watermelon being a good source of Lycopene, it has anti-cancer properties. Some studies indicate lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.
As mentioned earlier, watermelon being rich in B vitamins aids in energy production.
With higher water content and lower calorie it makes an excellent food intake to beat summer heat.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition which usually affects older adults, resulting in a loss of vision. In adults, 3 or more servings of fruits may help in reducing the risk of AMD. Watermelon with its rich varied antioxidant properties helps in larger extends in reducing the risk.
Being rich in Citrulline an amino acid, this through a complex process aids in building Nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide in turn helps in lowering high blood pressure.
92% of watermelon consists of water, which makes it an excellent thirst quencher in summer time, with all its health benefits as bonus!
So why wait? Go treat yourselves with a large serving of watermelon or glasses of watermelon juice!
Some Juicy Tips About Juice
No, really. It has to do with juice and specifically fruits and vegetables. We all enjoy a chilled tall glass of juice to refresh ourselves. Not only does it look pleasing, it also satisfies thirst while tasting great and delivering health benefits in the form of vitamins.
So what is in your glass? Are you going for vegetable juices, fruit juices or those quickie cocktails? Here’s the lowdown on which juice to choose.
Drink your vegetables
I meant that. It is the best way to add powerful plant-based nutrients to your diet. Tomato has lycopene to lower the risk of prostate cancer while beet juice is known to reduce blood pressure. If you’d rather pulp it up, you can load up on fiber to satisfy your hunger. And guess what the catch is? None. Nada. Nix. You’re looking at the perfect juice that’s low on sugar and low on calories.
Some good juice options are:
If you, like me prefer to stick to one glass of juice per day (I am a coffee person, folks) pick one that packs in the best nutrition. Pomegranate ranks number one here with its high sugar and calories, but balances it with a solid dose of antioxidants which protect brain function and help prevent cancer.
Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system. Unsweetened cranberry juice relieves urinary tract infections.
Blueberries improve memory and prevent age-related memory loss.
Acai Berry Juice
This hot berry is all the rage now. It is supposed to be rich in antioxidants.
This one is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking cherry juice before and after your work-out can reduce muscle pain that relates to exercise.
Red Grape Juice
Red grape juice is good for the heart (oh, hush – am not talking about wine!). Red grape juice has flavonoids and resveratrol, which are powerful antioxidants. Ok, ok, red wine is good for the heart, in moderation. The point is, red grape juice is made from the whole fruit, but when you eat the grape you spit out the seed which is nutritious.
Prune juice is reputed to relieve constipation because it is rich in fiber and has a natural laxative called sorbitol. But hey, it is not just to get the s**t out. Prunes are packed with antioxidants, iron, and potassium.
Now for the worst juice choice – cocktails
You’ve seen the words juice cocktail and juice-flavored beverage. These only have minimal amounts of the real thing because they’re typically made of water and a form of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup with flavoring. Nutrition wise, these are like soft drinks – heavy on sugar and high on calories and almost zero nutrition. These kinds of “juices” can usher in obesity in children along with all the related health problems.
How about 100% Fruit Juice ?
One might assume that pure fruit juice with no added sweeteners is the ideal thing to imbibe. While this is loaded with vitamins and powerful antioxidants, the issue with 100% fruit juice is this: it is also high in sugar. Hence, don’t freak out on more than one serving per day.
Orange Juice is healthy, right?
The standard choice for breakfast, orange juice is loaded with vitamin C, a great immune booster. Orange juice also has added calcium and vitamin D which means stronger bones. Unsweetened orange juice is low on calories, but you’ll have to sacrifice some antioxidants.
What about kids?
Kids love juice – but for the young ‘uns below six, limit it to one cup a day. If they bug you for more, water it down.
Go for the whole fruit
The best thing, according to dieticians is to go for the actual fruit, rather than always opt for the juice. Eating the fruit fills you with fiber and gives you the enjoyment of biting into the pulp – I swear it is a sensory experience and also a great way to stave off hunger.
Is there a topic you would like to read about? Please mail me at vidzword [at] gmail [dot] com
Vidya Sury gets her juice as a Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger. She’s mom to a teenager who loves mango, lychee, orange and pineapple juice.
When she’s not working, getting a caffeine overload, listening to music, reading or spring cleaning, she blogs at Going A-Musing, Coffee With Mi! , and Your Medical Guide
10 health benefits of Jackfruit
Jackfruit Tree is indigenous to Indian subcontinent. Do you know the name Jackfruit rom the Portuguese Jaca, which in turn, is derived from the Malayalam language term, Chakka. The fruit is considered by Tamilians as one of the three auspicious fruits (mukh kani) , along with banana and mango.
The fruit also has various health benefits. Lets check out 10 such benefits of Jackfruit:
Energy Booster: Abundant with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose, the soft and easily digestible fruits are energy powerhouse to revitalize the body instantly. And the real bonus point is that although Jackfruits are energy rich fruit but it contains no saturated fats or cholesterol making it one of healthy fruit to savor! So relish the fruit with no guilt!
Anti-cancer properties: Jack-fruit is rich in phytonutrients. Wondering what are they? Phyto nutrients are plant-based micronutrients that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds. These phytonutrients may help eliminate cancer-causing free radicals from the body and slow the degeneration of cells that can lead to degenerative diseases.
Good for constipation: Jackfruits have dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. It aids the bowel movement and so prevents constipation.
Anti-ulcer properties: Jackfruit is also known to contain anti-ulcer properties which help cure ulcers and digestive disorders.
Eye and skin care: Vitamin A helps in maintaining a healthy eye and aids in good vision. Small amounts of Vitamin A in Jackfruit helps in your dose of requirement needed for your eyes. Jackfruit has anti-aging properties, which makes the skin appear young by slowing the cells degeneration.
Lowers high BP: The fruit is a good source of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
For Asthma patients: Ayurveda prescribes the extracts from the root of Jackfruit tree for treating Asthma. Boiling the jackfruit root and its extract has been found to control asthma.
Strengthens the bone: Being rich in magnesium, Jackfruit helps to absorb calcium, thereby strengthening the bones.
Prevent anemia: The high iron content helps to prevent anemia and helps in proper blood circulation in our body.
Increases the sperm count: According to Ayurveda, ripened jackfruit helps increase the sperm count.
Did you check our Jackfruit visual recipe HERE ?
Whey to go!
You know Little Miss Muffet, who sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey (good girl!) Skipping the rest of the rhyme and the scary spider, let us look at the health benefits of “whey”. You’ve probably seen a host of health supplements singing the praises of whey. Even Bournvita has a kids’ building block-like package which boasts whey. So – is whey really healthy.
First, some gyaan on what is whey
Cheese is made by adding rennet to milk. This makes the milk curdle – the little lumps are curds and the watery liquid is whey. The curds are used to make cheese. People would throw away the whey water as waste, until its health benefits were discovered. When the water from whey is removed, whey protein is the result.
Why whey is special
If you want the features of milk in something without actually using milk, whey is used as a substitute. If you are worried about your sugar intake, whey can help, giving you that sweetish flavor. Manufacturers of food products add whey in place of sugar.
The Health Benefits of Whey
Studies show that whey has a host of health benefits
- Whey supplements can increase your lean body mass and improve the performance of your musculoskeletal system. The whey protein has amino acids that are broken down into muscle tissues. When you go for exercise and resistance training, these are the ones to be used first. Hmm. Six packs, any one?
- Whey speeds up your metabolic rate because it stimulates the building of muscle tissues. This helps lose weight. So if you add whey to your snack or beverage, you get a spurt of energy and control your food intake.
- Whey is a great source of bio-available calcium which helps build stronger bones and prevents stress fractures during rigorous exercise. It can also prevent bone loss especially in female athletes with low estrogen levels.
- For cancer patients who suffer with digestion problems, whey can help, as it is easy to digest. Whey reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer through its cycteine content, which is a building block of the antioxidant glutathione and helps combat free radicals that cause prostate cancer.
- Whey helps reduce your LDL or bad cholesterol levels and balances your blood pressure.
- Whey’s antioxidant properties strengthen the immune system, helping your overall health.
Whey water tastes quite pleasant. We used to drink it all the time, because milk would act very smart during summer when it wouldn’t turn into thick curds. We would sometimes grumble at the somewhat watery curd – and my grandma would say – drink it! It is good for health. Hmm. She knew her stuff. And so did Ms.Muffet.
Garlic – why you should include it in your diet
Garlic is a well known and well loved flavor in cuisines around the world. It has a potent spicy flavor and brings a host of health benefits as part of our diet.
Did you know that garlic has anti-bacterial properties? Studies prove that it can fight infections and even instances of food poisoning. Compared to bottled garlic, fresh garlic is more potent in terms of health benefits. So what are the health benefits of garlic?
- Garlic is known to treat the common cold
- It strengthens our immune system, helping us fight cancer.
- It fights heart disease and lowers blood pressure.
- It can prevent diabetes, hypertension and bacterial, fungal and viral infections. There are studies to prove garlic’s efficacy against strep, E. coli, Salmonella, H. pylori, Candida albicans, and other microorganisms. It improves serum cholesterol levels
- Garlic also called Allium sativa has the active components Alliin, an amino acid and Allinase, an enzyme. It also contains several trace elements such as copper, germanium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
- Garlic has sulfur compounds that reduce cholesterol from the blood stream, helping reduce blood pressure. Regular intake of garlic is said to help normalize low blood pressure.
- The antioxidants in garlic protect us against cell damage, inhibiting the growth of tumors.
- Garlic balances blood sugar by increasing the insulin levels in the blood stream, which is why it is used to treat diabetes.
- Garlic is a natural toothache remedy
- Garlic protects people from toxins such as aflatoxin that causes liver cancer. It also reduces the fat levels in the liver.
- It seems that garlic reduces your risk of a heart attack by at least 50% and your risk of developing stomach cancer by 50%
- My grandmother would suggest keeping a pod of garlic in the ear when we complained of an ear ache – it tackles ear infections.
- Peeled garlic crushed and boiled in milk is a good remedy for that gassy bloated feeling.
- Chewing garlic is supposed to ward off arthritis (and everyone else!)
Good reasons to enjoy garlic!
5 More Reasons to enjoy Dark Chocolate
Like you actually needed a reason to eat chocolate! There are not many people who actively hate chocolate. In fact, people who don’t usually crave it also like to binge on chocolate once in a while. Well – let me tell you why you can now grab that chocolate without feeling too guilty about it.
Studies show that chocolate, especially dark chocolate has some serious health benefits. Let us quickly see what they are:
1. Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, which means it reduces the risk of healthy people developing diabetes. (Oh yes, any one can develop diabetes, any time). While the docs are not yet sure about how much dark chocolate you need to eat to enjoy the health benefit, I’d say it’s a good idea not to overdo it. Too much of anything is excess. A couple of (or three) pieces of dark chocolate once in a while is fine.
2. Dark chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help keep your heart healthy and it reduces the level of CRP (C-Reactive Protein) in the body. CRP is an indicator of inflammation in the body and the test results tell your doc about your risk of developing coronary disease.
3. Dark chocolate can make you feel full for a longer period compared to milk chocolate. It is also supposed to bring down your craving for sweet, fatty or salty food.
4. I guess you’ve already read that chocolate is rich in flavonoids – which behave like antioxidants in our body, absorbing free radicals and all those other bad things, the bottom line being – helping you stay healthy. Antioxidants help you stay young, as they slow the aging process. In milk chocolate, the milk is believed to get in the way of the chocolate’s antioxidants being absorbed by our body.
5. Dark chocolate also triggers the release of those happy chemicals in our brain – endorphins – and acts as an instant mood-upper. . So – go for that yummy dark chocolate to feel happier, and look younger.
These five reasons are good enough for me to enjoy some dark chocolate every now and then – how about you?
Portable Energy Boosters
Taking up from where I left off about those food frauds, I guess it is time to make amends – I know I crashed a lot of diets out there, including mine! So, the least I could do is bring you some really easy to make “energy bars” and “muffins”
Muffins are universally loved snacks, both for children and adults. Easy to pack, filling and tasty, these are really very easy to make. So let me begin by giving you the recipe for the basic Muffin mix; once you have this ready, you can actually store it and use it with different flavor variations and experiment
The basic muffin mix needs the following ingredients:
1 and a half cups flour – any flour or combi of flours
Half cup to three fourths cups sugar – depending on how sweet you like it
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Half tsp salt
In a mixing bowl, take the dry muffin mix, add four carrots skinned and grated, half cup apple juice, one egg, half tsp cinnamon and one third cups melted butter. Mix these well. Preheat over to 350 degrees F and bake the mix in muffin moulds for 15 to 20 minutes or until a fork plunged in the muffin comes off clean. Oh, you know what I mean!
In a mixing bowl, add the dry muffin mix, one and a half cup cooked oatmeal, one egg, one third cup melted butter, half tsp cinnamon and a fruit of your choice. Mix well – bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15- 20 min.
Take mixing bowl, add dry muffin mix, one and a half cups applesauce, one egg, one third cup melted butter, half teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well. Bake in muffin moulds in 350 degree F preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Now go experiment with different fruits and raisins.
You can substitute the sugar for honey according to taste, but that means you can make the “dry” muffin mix and store it.
This one’s healthy and you need: one and a half cups whole wheat flour, one cup rolled oats, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, half tsp salt, 2 eggs, one fourth cup cooking oil, one fourth cup honey, one fourth cup milk, three medium mashed bananas and half cup chocolate chips (optional, of course).
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Grease muffin pan or get those paper cupcake liners. In a bowl, add flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt an dmix well. Then make a… umm… well in the middle.
Take a bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add oil, honey, milk and bananas. Mix well. Pour this mix into that well in the other bowl and stir – so that everything is just about moist.
Now is the time to add the optional choco chips. Gently stir it in – do not mix too much. Its okay if the batter seems a bit lumpy or if you see flecks of flour. Fill those muffin cups to 3/4ths. Bake for 20 min. Enjoy.
Okay – some energy bars now!
You know how convenient energy bars are – I grew up with chikkis – and really loved the texture and taste. They make wonderful pre-post-workout snacks, in between meals or on the road. They also serve as yummy desserts. So, in three words, delicious, nutritious and lets face it – practical. I picked a no-bake recipe for you:
- Half cup dates, chopped
- Half cup figs, chopped
- Half cup raisins
- One fourth cup wheat germ
- Five tablespoons of non fat dry milk powder
- Half cup biscuit/cracker crumbs. Digestive biscuits work well
- Two teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Combine 1 to 5 in a food processor until it becomes a ball of dough.
Take a bowl and mix 6 and 7.
Roll the dough into balls and coat it with the crumbs.
You can keep this in an airtight container for a week or ten days.
Each ball has 240 cals, 54 g carbs, 2.5 g fat and 5.5 g protein.
The dry fruit gives you most of the carbs and cals, but it also gives you fiber. Enjoy.
Another no-bake energy bar recipe
- 1 cup rolled oats
- Half cup wheat germ
- Half cup oat bran
- Half cup vanilla protein powder
- One cup crunchy peanut butter
- One cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
- One cup chocolate chips
- One cup honey
Here comes the best part = mix 1 to 8 and freeze in bar shape.
Ok – now am off to eat thair saadam and vadu manga (curd rice and mango in brine) – do let me know how these turn out for you – and don’t hesitate to send me samples! (Are you listening, Nona and Nandini?)
The fun part with these recipes is – you can’t go wrong. You can mix and match, and it WILL taste great.
Oh, Those Food Frauds!
Over the last three or four months, I wrote quite a few press releases for restaurants that advertised “authentic” continental and Italian cuisine. Their menu had all kinds of exotic items. But then, I wondered, how healthy are these exciting dinners? And why are most people who frequent these restaurants and rave about the food, almost always overweight?
A little bit of investigating (from the comfort of my keyboard) brought home the fact that some of the foods we think are healthy can be sly little diet destroyers. So let’s look at why just a few of the yummy things we enjoy and eat are not as healthy as we think. But hey, I love my treats too – so I’ve added a food fix. Tell me what you think!
Seems like quite a popular choice in restaurants and just one bowl of this cool Caesar salad, adds on 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat. The culprit? The dressing of course! There are lots of variations of this salad. So how do you tackle it yet not give it up? Go for just one tablespoon of the dressing and two tablespoons of the cheese.
I love that word. Makes me think of fresh fruits all whisked into a nice – well – smoothie! But you know what? The so called blend, when you order it in a shop comes with almost 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories, no protein, and most likely, no fresh fruit. They use fruit concentrates in place of fresh fruits. Add the sorbet, the ice-cream and the sweeteners and you’ve got nothing more than a milkshake. I love milkshakes – but since we’re talking about health here – unless you’re making your own smoothie, watch out for the fraud part. If you have to order it outside, go for a small cup. Insist on fresh fruit, milk, and protein add-ons.
Energy bars are all the rage now. Thing is – most are dressed up candy bars and have more than 500 calories – and frankly – I think they’re expensive and often wonder how people are satisfied with a bar that size. Two bites – and its over. Ugh. Pick bars that state 200 calories or less and indicate at least some fiber and protein that give you that energy rush when the sugar rush is gone. Want an easy recipe for home made energy bars?
The word Burrito has a cool ring to it. And you’d think, with healthy beans what could be a problem? Lots of saturated fat, over a thousand calories, cheese, cream, fat in the tortilla – thank you very much. If you order one of those XXL size burritos – lets face it – you’re only adding to the problem. Solution? Share it with a friend. Or opt for those soft tacos with fajita type grilled veg on corn tortillas and some low-cal salsa.
When it comes to weight loss – “sugar-free” just about seems ideal. The hassle is when we go for artificially sweetened food or beverages and follow it up with that “big” order of fries or yum – dessert. This adds a generous 300 calories to the meal and if you’re not burning off what you take in, you’ll obviously gain weight! So don’t blame the sugar-free stuff. Solution? Watch what you take in.
That Milk Latte
So you ordered a latte with low fat milk and then went and topped it off with whipped cream. Not a smart move, because you just added over 550 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat. Way worse than a cheeseburger. Fact is, any sweet frothy drink is a diet enemy. So do some damage control with skim milk and say no to the whipped cream. Tough I know – but think how you’ll avoid almost 150 calories and about two-thirds of the bad fat.
Mmmmm… Muffins. Big frauds. If you think they’re the ideal snack or breakfast add-on, think again. They are mostly sugary cakes made from refined flour. So, a ready made muffin comes to you with about 500 cals and close to ten teaspoons of sugar. Horrified? Ha ha. Read those labels before you buy. Make sure you go for muffins that are made of whole grains. I have a lovely recipe for muffins. Want to know?
And that brings us to the multigrain scam. If your pack of bread or pasta or waffles says multigrain, head for the label right away. Quite a few of these are made from refined grains which means you just lost the fiber and some important nutrients. So, look for labels that say 100% whole grain. Opt for more fiber.
It really breaks my heart to write this – but I love iced tea. Unfortunately, the antioxidants in iced tea don’t qualify as health food. There’s too much added sugar here and a tall glass of the iced tea is actually a health hazard and piles on the calories and sugar. What you do is, skip the sweet tea and choose unsweetened iced tea. Add lemon – and enjoy that zing without the calories. You can also go for herbal teas without sugar as they’re naturally pleasant-tasting. Okay, making it yourself is best.
I haven’t tried making microwave popcorn – I prefer the age-old pressure cooker style from natural corn. But apparently these branded “microwave popcorn” packs come with bad fat and trans fat. Why feel guilty when you eat popcorn? If you buy branded ready to make popcorn read the labels and go for the low fat, low salt version with 0% trans fat. If you like cheese, sprinkle it on the low salt version for an almost fat-free flavor
Which automatically brings us to salted toppings. Whether it is salads or snacks, quite a few of them are loaded with salt. Here the first thing to remember is – anything that is canned is high in salt. One way to counter it is to rinse canned food and use. Or just go for the fresh version.
Yes, I saved the best for last. Sadly, deep-fried bananas do not count if you’re thinking fruits and veggies. So they don’t actually look greasy, but one ounce equals 150 calories, 10 grams fat and 8 grams saturated fat. Steel your heart, and eat a fresh banana instead. It has four times more nutrition, zero fat and a max of 100 calories. Most important – never eat straight out of the bag. It is dangerous.
Thing is, when it comes to food one likes, the word “don’t” almost always looks like a “just do it”. So – rather than give up your favorites – eat them in moderation and make small healthy changes!
Now I’ll wait for your feedback. And hey, topic suggestions are welcome.
The benefits of a fast food diet
If you’re like me, you probably hate the word “diet” because it conjures up visions of not being “allowed” to eat the stuff you like most (because most good things in life are illegal, immoral or fattening), or starvation. I hate the pressure of most restrictions that prevent me from doing (or not doing) something and diet is one of them. It somehow seems to imply deprivation. Why not call it something more friendly – like “healthy eating plan”?
Hmmm. The problem is even bigger when there are festivals, you enjoy the binge-ing part and then feel guilty! How to tackle this dilemma? Let’s ask Momma Nature.
Its so nice to hear the word “natural” because you instantly get the feeling of being cared for. Rightly so. Because Mother Nature is geared to make you feel good. For example – take warm weather, and what happens? You hardly feel like eating those heavy, greasy meals. You’d rather stick to lots of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated and eat light, right? Great! Because that’s also healthy. So what have you got in summer? Watermelons, musk melons, grapes, mangoes. Rather tough to say no to. (Far better than sweating it out in the kitchen in hot weather)
You also get carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum and a variety of fresh lettuce – ideal for salads. Perfect for summer health.
Here’s what am getting at. The fruits and vegetables I just mentioned are Nature’s fast foods. Add water and you’re good to go, because sometimes nothing quenches your thirst like water. The best thing about these natural “fast foods” is that they taste good, and make you feel full, while automatically switching you to a healthy eating plan. Your body detoxes naturally, too.
Ha, ha, so what?
I find it hard to argue with the fact that these readily available veggies and fruits ensure that our immune system stocks up on vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. You’ve got to hand it to Nature.
Okay – so it is not all that easy to stick to a fruit and veg diet, right? But that’s okay – because it is only human to crave all those yummy comfort foods once in a while. Thing is – even if you make sure that you get some fruits and veggies on a daily basis – you can banish that guilty feeling because you’ll feel quite energetic and full without actually going on a diet.
Point is – if you’ve got some excess baggage on your body that you carry around – rather than go for those slimming products, consider a natural fast food diet of fruits and veg. It is an effective long-term strategy to stay fit.
Years ago (I refuse to tell how long ago) – I was quite crazy about ice-creams. Those Arun Ice-Cream guys had a fab range and every night, after dinner, on the pretext of going for a walk – I’d stop at the ice-cream parlor (so considerate of them to stay open till 10.30 at night) and have a cassata. And lop off a vanilla. Nice generous helpings. Well – just a couple of months later, I was puzzled to find that some of my clothes became a little too well-fitting for comfort. Oh well, didn’t take rocket-science to figure out that the ice-creams were the culprits (not me, mind you!).
So – to compensate, I thought I’d skip lunch every day. And ended up consuming several cups of over-boiled yucky tea. Mom decided to take matters in her hands one day and together, we decided to make some changes. (She was my partner in crime over the ice-creams although she didn’t put on weight. Sigh). We stocked up on fruits and veg. Every morning, we made a veg-rich soup for breakfast. I stopped tea completely. (Not my morning coffee though – that would have been suicide! And I wouldn’t be here rambling on like this!).
I carried sliced, diced, shredded or whole carrots or radishes as a snack to work J, alternating with tomatoes, cucumbers, baked potatoes – and hey, just about anything that constituted as natural, oil-free and healthy. I refuse to confess that I drooled at potato wafers, sweets, er.. Never mind!
What I am getting at is this – I was amazed at how quickly I shed that extra weight. Oh, I also went for a brisk walk – right past the ice-cream guy. Am sure he hated me for abruptly withdrawing his steady income source – but that’s life! Anyway – it worked – the natural fast food diet, did.
Try it. And by the way – I found that when I munched on carrots – the very idea of drinking tea didn’t appeal at all.
Have a healthy 2011!
Shall I post some salad recipes?
(And oh, I haven’t forgotten the home remedies for mouth sores – will post them soon)
What does mood have to do with food?
What does mood have to do with food?
Or put it the other way, what does food have to do with mood? Quite a bit, it seems. You can actually beat the blues or get over a sulking fit by watching what you eat and when you eat it.
If you tend to snap at others rather often and feel irritable, and your family/friends/colleagues feel as though they must keep a safe distance from you, you probably just need a better eating plan.
What causes these sudden mood swings?
Sugar is the culprit. A sudden low in blood sugar can make you really touchy. But that does not mean that you can focus on eating sweets as a solution, because a rise in sugar can also play havoc with your mood, making you tired, restless and drained.
So how to ensure that your blood sugar levels are balanced?
Here’s what you can do:
Consistent and small meals every five to six hours can make sure that your body, and brain are properly fueled. This prevents any lows in your blood sugar levels which cause that bad mood. If you have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, you may need to eat every 2-3 hours. Check with your doctor.
It is important consume less concentrated sugar such as soda, candy, jam, syrups, fruit juices, etc which can suddenly spike your blood sugar and just as suddenly cause drops in it. This makes you fatigued and puts you in a lousy mood. And oh, by the way, the same thing happens with refined starches – which means white bread, bagels, crackers, rice and so on. The reason is that these foods tend to break down quite fast in the digestive tract and converts into blood sugar.
What is the solution? Focus on the whole grain-based variety of foods that take longer to digest, thanks to their high fiber content which helps keeps your blood sugar levels balanced.
- Go for the high quality carb + lean protein combination
When you consume proteins combined with high-fiber carbohydrates – particularly the sort that is rich in soluble fiber such as barley, oats, some fruits and vegetables, it slows down the absorption of sugar in your blood stream. This means fewer mood swings.
Research shows that while certain foods can make you irritable, there are foods that can actually improve your mood by having a positive effect on the chemical messengers in your brain.
Focus on foods with omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid
Our brain has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other parts of the body. The great thing about Omega-3 is that it helps lift depression. You’ll find high concentrations of Omega-3 fats in fish such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel. For vegetarians, the sources are flaxseeds, walnuts and omega-3 fortified eggs.
Folic acid or folate also plays a critical role in determining your mood. Research shows that when this vitamin B level is low in the blood, it correlates with depression. So – if you’re someone who feels low and depressed rather often, tell your doctor. If your feeling of depression is temporary, go for foods rich in folic acid like leafy greens, sunflower seeds, soybeans, beets, oranges, etc.
Have you noticed if some foods make you feel better/worse? Which are they? Do share your take on this!