Monday, 10 December 2018


People have been eating leafy greens since prehistoric times. Dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of nutrition required by the body.

It is dense in Vitamins like A, C, E and K, and many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain an abundance of antioxidants and photochemical that protects cells and plays an important role in safeguarding our health.

They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.

Many varieties of greens are available in the markets—the most popular green leafy vegetables are turnip greens, spinach, and fenugreek.

Now let us understand the local green leafy vegetables available for the land of Goa. Although these vegetables are easily available and loaded with nutrients, in this era of technology we are forgetting our rich resources and opting for the chemically produced products. We must get back to our roots and consume the food of the land. 

1. Talkulechi Bhaji 

Talkulo [cassia tora] is a monsoon wild leafy vegetable abundantly grown on roadside during the mirg [the period before monsoon] arrives. This vegetable is being consumed by all Goans as it has healthy and medicinal properties. The edible part of this plant is the fresh tender shoots. Its plucked the same way tea leaves are plucked.

Local name:  Talkulechi bahji [Goa].

  • Sanskrit - Chakramarda, Taga
  • Bengali & Oriya - Chakunda
  • Gujrati - Kawaria
  • Marathi - Takala
  • Tamil - Tagarai 
  • Telugu - Chinnakasinda 
  • Malyalam - Chakramandrakam, takara

Botanical name: Foetid Cassia / Cassia tora linn
[Cassia tora commonly known as Foetid Cassia, belongs to family Leguminosae].

According to Ayurveda the leaves and seeds are acrid, laxative, antiperiodic, anthelmintic, ophthalmic, liver tonic, cardio tonic and expectorant. The leaves and seeds are useful in leprosy, ringworm, flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, constipation, cough, bronchitis, cardiac disorders. Its leaves, seeds and root are used in folk medicine, primarily in Asia. It is believed to possess a laxative effect, as well as to be beneficial for the eyes. Cassia Tora also helps by removing intensive heat from the liver and improving vision, moisturizing intestine and easing the bowels. Great help for losing weight as well.

2. Drumstick Leaves

Drumstick leaves are abundantly grown all over India. It is used mostly as medicinal herb and leaves are the most nutritious part of the drumstick plant.

Local Name: Shewga chi bhaji / maskha chi bahji

Botanical name: Moringa oleifera Lam (Moringaceae)

The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, pro vitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese and protein among other essential nutrients.

Moringa is used for anemia, arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism),asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy, stomach pain, stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms, headache, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney stones, fluid retention, thyroid disorders; And bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections. Also used to reduce swelling, increase sex drive (as an aphrodisiac), prevent pregnancy, boost the immune system and increase breast milk production.

3. Vaalchi Bhaji 

Local name: Vaalchi bhaji

Botanical Name: Basella alba/ Malabar spinach
Vaalchi bhjaiis locally grown in Goa is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vegetable, mostly leafy is consumed. Basella alba bears thick, fleshy, broad, oval to heart-shaped leaves all along its vine length. Basella rubra features pink or purplish stems and pink color veins running in the leaves.

Fresh leaves, particularly of basella rubra, are rich sources of several vital carotenoid pigment anti-oxidants such as ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes. Its thick, fleshy leaves are a good source of non-starch polysaccharide, mucilage smooth digestion, bring reduction in cholesterol absorption and help prevent bowel movement problems. It is also loaded with iron, potassium and vitamin A & C.

4. Koddukeachi Bhaji / Koddu Bhaji

Local name: Koddukeachi bhaji /kuddu bhaji

Common name: Silver Cockscomb, Flamingo Feather

Botanical name:  Celosia Argenta/ Celosia

It grows abundantly wild in monsoons. Its use as a vegetable is common in some parts of Maharashtra & Goa. Ayurvedic physicians recommend the seeds of this plant for treating kidney stones. Flower and seed is astringent, haemostatic, ophthalmic, parasiticide and poultice. It is used in the treatment of bloody stool, haemorrhoid bleeding, uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea and diarrhoea.
Beta-carotene: extremely high in leaves; vitamin E: medium; folic acid: high; ascorbic acid: medium; calcium: medium; iron: medium; protein: 4.7%. Leaves contain also amaranthine (betacyanin), oxalic acid (ca. 0.2%) and phytic acid (ca. 0.12%).

 5. Colocassia Leaf

Local Name: Taro / Aalu leaf

Botanical Name: Colocasia esculenta

Taro is one of the finest sources of dietary fibers. They carry high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fiber, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals and vitamins. Tender leaves have significant levels of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants such as ß-carotenes, and cryptoxanthin along with vitamin A. 100 g fresh taro leaves provide 4825 IU or 161% of RDA of vitamin A. Altogether, these compounds are required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), folates, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin.

Further, the corms provide healthy amounts of some of important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has very good amounts of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Taro Root likewise helps with irritability, reduces blood pressure, helps prevent cell damage, helps you to safeguard from colds and flues, aids in skin rashes, nausea, as well as aids you to control cholesterol, builds strong bones, as well as supports thyroid function.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018


  1. Is it better to take tablets or have a vitamin E rich diet

Vitamin E is known for a lot of health benefits mainly due to its anti-oxidant properties that prevent the cell from oxidative damage. It is one of the supplements that is used widely for skin and hair, however the good news is, it is also available in the natural form, so you do not need to depend on the supplemental form. However, In case of certain conditions such as Menopause, supplementations maybe required, but do so under the supervision of a medical practitioner. As Vitamin E supplements are fat soluble and higher levels can lead to toxicity. Thus, go natural, eat a balanced diet rich in Vitamin E and get all your hair and skin issues resolved.

      2.  How can we include more vitamin E in our diet to help us get better skin and hair

Fortunately Vitamin E foods are abundant through the diet and deficiencies are rare, though sometimes deficiencies are seen in cases where absorption of fat is an issue.
Focusing on diet rich in in the following foods such as Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sabza seeds, peanuts etc, food such as avocado, spinach, sweet potatoes, oils such as olive oil, palm oil etc. can aid in boosting beautiful and glowing skin and aiding in lustrous hair. It is also found in meats and fortified foods.

      3. Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E has innumerable benefits from protecting the cell from damage, aid in lowering health problems from heart disease to cancer. But here are some other benefits:
·       Meeting Vitamin E daily requirements has been linked with hair growth and also adds shine to the hair making it look lustrous and strong.
·      You can effectively treat dry skin problem with the help of vitamin rich diet. Especially during the winters it’s essential, as it aids in soft and supple skin.
·   Vitamin E can also promote good immune system. Besides protecting the cell from oxidative damage, it also keeps you from falling sick very often.
·   Vitamin E can promote good eyesight and has been linked to decrease risk of age-related degeneration or cataracts.
·    Being a fat soluble vitamin, it also aids in the production of certain hormones called prostaglandins that aid in regularising blood pressure. 

Monday, 26 November 2018


  1.       What are all alternatives to processed white sugar and their benefits?
White sugar is an ingredient that is added just for taste. This white crystal does not provide the body with any nutritional benefits, except energy as it’s a simple carbohydrate which is quickly absorbed in the body. The fact that more people are being aware about it, is a good thing but due to so much of information on the internet, people usually fall prey to synthetic alternative which are equally bad. For starters, you should definitely avoid artificial sweeteners like sugar free tablets or powders as these can create more damage to your body than you know. Also, sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol can wreak havoc on your digestion, gut health, kidney function to name a few. Thus, the recommended way is to stop using sugar all together or have a restricted quantity of about a tsp. sugar per day. In addition, foods such as biscuits, ice creams, milk shakes, cakes etc. are loaded with sugar, so I recommend to limit its consumptions. But during times, where you crave for a little sweetness, you can use the following healthier alternatives:

  •  Honey: Organic raw honey is natural food that is made by bees. Always opt for the organic form that contains lots of beneficial nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Make sure to buy a good quality from authentic sources. Honey has been used as an age old remedy in times of sickness due to its immune system boosting properties and presence of antibacterial compounds that help fight infection in the body.
  • Jaggery: This natural sweetener has been a great go to ingredients since centuries. The two commonly used jaggery types are palm and sugarcane. It has been used to boost immunity, haemoglobin levels and prevents constipation.
  •  Date Syrup: Date syrup has been used to improve iron levels and is also packed with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. It has shown to improve digestion, fight against infections etc.
  • Stevia: A leaf of a plant native to South America is ground into powder called Stevia. Its unique property is that it’s 100 times sweeter than sugar and it’s all natural. Though as a nutritionist I still would avoid it and go for honey or jaggery instead.
  • Other natural flavour enhancers: Cinnamon, dates, prunes, dark chocolate or raisins also count as natural sweeteners or flavor enhancers that can be added or consumed for sweetness.
However it’s important to note that all these alternatives are nutrient dense and therefore have to be used in limited quantities.

     2. Is there any false claim regarding any, that you would wish to bust?

Yes, since the health awareness has boomed in these years, so has the demand to low calorie food products. Thus artificial sweeteners which were originally used as a replacement to sugar for diabetes but nowadays it has been more advertised for weight loss (zero calories). However, since it’s synthetic it is 2000 times sweeter than sugar. Frequent use may change the way we taste our food which means we may find less sweet foods like fruits or unsweet foods such as whole grains, vegetables less appealing and sweeter foods such as diet soda or coke more appealing. Abstaining or preventing yourself from having these artificial sweeteners can lead to withdrawal symptoms and can have short term and long term side effects. Thus next time you pick up a sugar free capsule, please ask yourself at what cost?

Personally, I would recommend a bit of white sugar in tea/ coffee than use of these artificial sweeteners.

      3. Best ways/pairing of sugar alternatives with foods?

Healthier alternatives to sugar such as honey, date syrup can be added to milk, milkshakes, yoghurt smoothies etc. Dates syrup can also be added to oatmeal, fruits, custards etc. Jaggery could be used in tea/ coffee. I would also like to share an interesting healthy recipe that I make for my kids i.e. Pancakes for which I use wheat flour, milk, egg and jaggery instead of maida and white sugar.

Saturday, 20 October 2018


 Preventing Osteoporosis Through Diet

The age at which osteoporosis can occur in a person depends upon how good diet and healthy lifestyle the person had during his childhood and youth. It also depends on the rate at which calcium loss takes place from the bone.
Nevertheless it’s too late to improve your bone health. Women are very much prone to the risk of osteoporosis later in life and hence should be able to add all the nutrients needed for healthy bones.

The 4 Major Nutrients you need to know for bone health :
1. Calcium
2. Magnesium
3. Phosphorous
4. Vitamin D
Let’s explore each of these a little bit more:
Calcium:  Bones are the main storage site of calcium in the body and hence can be considered as one of the major building blocks of strong healthy bones.
Sources: Tofu, Milk, yogurt, cheese, soya, sardine, tuna and salmon with bones.
There are some foods that contain enzymes that have high affinity towards calcium and hence hinder its absorption
Phytic acid present in plant tissues, raw beans, seeds and grains
Oxalic acid present in spinach
Diet Dr Clinic Cooking Tip: When making your meal calcium rich, do not mix more than 2 calcium rich sources together.
Phosphorous: Calcium and phosphorus work together to build up bones by combining together to form a crystal that gives bones their strength.
Sources: Milk and milk products, whole grains, beans, nuts

Magnesium: A diet rich in calcium on its own is of little to no use as magnesium plays a key role in the absorption and utilisation of calcium as well as vitamin D in the body. It also teams up with the thyroid gland to control many essential aspects of hormones related to bone health.
Sources : Nuts, Seeds, fruits like avocado ,figs, seafood and certain veggies like broccoli, cauliflower etc.

Vitamin D : is necessary for calcium absorption. This fat soluble vitamin is available through food and from body through your skin by the help of sunlight.
Sources: Vitamin d rich foods are mackerel, tuna, egg yolk, beef liver, cheese. It’s difficult to get all the vitamin D we need from the diet but the easiest source is from the sun.
Apart from these caution must be exercised for those cases at risk of osteoporosis with life time exposure to other risk factors like smoking and chronic alcohol abuse.
Remember building better bones starts on your plate.

Sunday, 14 October 2018



1. What is a low carb diet? What it means to cut carbs out of your diet?
Carbohydrate, protein and fat are macronutrients which form a balanced diet. As per the dietary guidelines from National Institute of Nutrition our diet should comprise of 50-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% fat and 15-20% protein. Only in certain cases such as medical conditions like cancer or tuberculosis or body building or weight management wherein carbohydrate is reduced by 5-10% and protein content is increased by 5-10%.
However these days, low carb diet or let’s say high fat or high protein are the latest due to diet trends and lot of people have been reducing carbohydrates excessively and having only about 5 % instead of 55% of carbohydrate and either increasing protein and fat percentages to 60-80% . This can however lead to many detrimental effects such as affecting the kidney, liver, causing nausea, headaches, fatigues etc. As carbohydrate is our main source of energy. Being health conscious, one can definitely avoid carbohydrates such as pizza, donuts, burgers, maida etc. But do not cut down on whole grains, fruits and vegetables as they are the main source of energy and will prevent deficiencies.

2. What are the positive and negative implications of low-carb diet?
When people go on diets which changes the proportion of macronutrients such as high protein diets or high fat diets, they start cutting down on carbs or completely avoid carbohydrates, when you do this, you might drop few pounds but you’re body gets into a deficiency mode which in return causes hairfall, pigmentation, inflammation of gut, mood swings, fatty liver, constipation, high uric acid and the list is endless.  After a while one starts craving for unhealthy carbohydrates such as pastries, ice cream, chocolate, donuts, burgers etc. Thus it’s important not to fall prey to such diets and include healthy carbohydrates such as rice, roti, bread on a regular basis. Though In certain medical cases low carb diets are given and they produce positive results but under complete supervision and for small period of time. 

3. Is it a sustainable model or something that should be adopted for a short term basis for internal detoxification?
Cutting carbs from the diet is obviously not sustainable. As from the beginning we have always been eating carbohydrates such as rice, roti, bajra, jowar, potato, fruits breads etc. and suddenly avoiding these foods and shifting to high fat or high protein will only affect our body and cause harm to kidney, liver etc. Also it is not sustainable as carbohydrates are our main source of energy and cutting down carbohydrates drastically will only damage our health.

4. Who can go for a low carb diet and who definitely should not go for it? (Health conditions that need low-carb diets and conditions for whom these diets will be detrimental?
Certain health conditions like insulin sensitivity, PCOS, autistic or epileptic patients may need less of carbohydrates but under complete supervision and regular blood checks have to be conducted to see how the patient is responding to the change in macros and whether kidney or liver is not getting loaded.

For someone who is plateaued at certain weight, they can cut down carbohydrates by just 5-10%, eliminate unhealthy carbohydrates such as donuts, pizza, maida etc and focus on good carbohydrates such as roti, rice, bread etc. Also if a person is into sports or weight training, carbohydrate is again reduced by 5% -10%. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018


Change in lifestyle a key to obesity

Have you any time come across these questions, when you start going into deep thoughts. Here are some interesting things which will make you think more and also at the same time will help you to clear the doubts.
How do you feel when you don’t fit in your favourite clothes? 
When people comment on you?
When people stare at you?
When you feel left out from from your friend circle?
Now let us discuss why is it so, that today's generation is facing such stigmatizing issues in school, at workplace and at home.
What is it that is affecting today's generation. Is it your eating habits, genetic factor, stress, using gadgets or physical activity?
Yes, my dear friends it is ultimately all these factors stated above which play a vital role in developing obesity.
Can you imagine a 20-year-old girl or boy of height 5.5’’ weighing 150-200kg?
Yes, it is a fact in today’s society that people are rapidly putting on weight. Can you site a reason behind this? If genetically, 20% of the given population is obese than today we see about 80-90 % people are overweight. This is due to lifestyle modification i.e.

   1.    Lack of sleep: Attending late night parties, accessive use of gadgets like mobile phones, video-games, watching late night movies disturbs one’s sleep pattern which pulls down your daily performance.

The Solution: Practicing good bedtime habits such as having a routine bedtime, leaving your white light devices (such as your phone, laptop, ipads) outside the bedroom and getting a steady flow. Incase you need to stay up late, have a healthy snack on standby like a glass of milk or a handful of unsalted nuts.

     2.    Eating habits:  

     a)    Neglecting breakfast / skipping meals: Do you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day which helps in kick starting your day and also helps in boosting your metabolism. As our body needs 6 meals per day. It can be light mid meal with light fillers like fruits and nuts which is necessary for the proper functioning of your energy levels.

    b)   Dead foods: Food with long shelf life is known as dead food. For example: ice creams, fruit juices, McCann, biscuits, cakes, pizzas etc. A study reveals that these foods are too high in saturated or trans-fat, sugar and sodium and too low in vitamins, minerals and fibres.

Secondly, they tend to be calorie packed per bite, readily available which all add up to overeating by throwing off our normal appetite, hunger and satiety mechanism.

The Solution: Eating whole foods and meals made-at-home instead of processed or refined foods (especially those that come out of a packet). Try keeping regular meal timings instead of eating erratically for the best benefits that means not leaving the house without a good breakfast homemade options like poha, upma, roti are all great as they will keep your energy levels stable as the day progresses avoid processed breakfasts such as sugar laden cereals, nitrate loaded cold meats like sausages bacon and salamis and of course stay clear of trans fat loaded bakery items like patties etc.

Come evening time avoid giving yourself and your kids dead foods as snacks such a biscuits, namkeens, tetra packed juices etc instead opt for makhana (find our awesome makhana recipe ideas here , boiled or roasted peanuts, coconut water, buttermilk are all great options.

    3.    Physical activity: Obesity is found in person who leads sedentary lifestyle and pay less importance to physical activity one simple example is using vehicles to cover short distance instead of walking. Obesity is also noticed amongst children who spend much time on studies and not participating in school games etc.

The Solution: Keep active wherever possible, instead of taking your car to the store try and walk it, wherever possible take the elevator instead of the stairs. Try and take a short walk post major meals aiming for about 1000 steps to increase your activity levels.

    4.    Stress: Food is one of the many stimulants of endorphin (feel good) neurotransmitter. Release of endorphin hormone encourages you to crave for more food than the body’s daily requirement. Due to which stress leads to excess calorie intake.

The Solution: You could try breathing exercises, seated yoga, sip relaxing teas such as chamomile, lavender or ashwagandha or even a glass of milk with cinnamon powder.


We have to accept and is a proven fact that obesity is caused due to lifestyle modification and wrong eating habits. Correcting our eating habits, regular exercise, sleep and maintaining food discipline, sufficient consumption of water and following a balanced diet will help in getting rid of the word “OBESITY”

Inputs by:  Sunidhi Vernekar

Tuesday, 9 October 2018


Navratri Tips

Kick-start this Navratri with a twist. Navratri does not have to be about headaches, bloating and weight gain, but instead if you fast the right way, you can lose weight, get your metabolism kicking and a cleaner and healthier system as we eliminate all the toxins.

Some of the tips to fast right this Navratri are:

  1. Avoid potato, fried foods (fries and chips) and sweets such as (gulab jamun, kajukatli and halwas. Opt for healthier options like sweet potato, antioxidant smoothies, nourishers, vita boosters. For customized rejuvenators, nourishers get in touch with Diet Dr Clinic nutritionist team.

  2. Replace white sugar with healthier alternatives such as palm sugar/ coconut sugar /date syrup.

  3. Drink plenty of water and fluids like infused water which will keep you hydrated as well as will eliminate toxins from your system. To get a customized infused water recipe for your body kindly contact Diet Dr Clinic nutritionist team.

 4. Make sure to include seasonal super foods according to the city you live in. It will take care of the weight as well as the weather shift.

 5. To make Navratri fast more effective, try to finish the last meal by 7.

For a customized Navratri Diet Plan, contact Diet Dr Clinic powered by Harpreet Pasricha.