Tuesday, 12 February 2019

RED BELLPEPPER HUMMUS

A great dip for veggies or served chapatti.


      Ingredients: 
  • Cooked no salt added chickpeas- 1 cups 
  • roasted red pepper- 1 small
  • of minced garlic or to taste- 1/2 to 1 clove
  • sesame paste- 1/2 tsp
  • cumin or to taste- 1/4 tsp 
  • juice of one large lemon
  • salt to season to taste
  • pepper optional- 1/4 tsp 
  • crushed chilli flakes optional, if you want a spicy option - 1/2 tsp


     Method:


1. Add the cooked chickpeas to a food processor and process until very creamy. Add the other ingredients and blend in well. Traditionally served with drizzled olive oil and chopped parsley.

Friday, 8 February 2019

SUPERFOOD = SUPER YOU

SUPERFOOD = SUPER YOU

Super foods were definitely one of 2018’s biggest trends so let’s get to know a little more about these nutritional powerhouses!
So what exactly is a super food? The technical term super foods refers to any foods that is jam packed with anti-oxidants, powerful bio-flavonoid compounds and doses of health boosting micronutrients such a vitamins, minerals and yes even fibre.
The most common misconception in India’s wellness scene today are that ‘Super foods are Super Expensive!’ which isn’t necessarily true if you focus on the right super foods, or rather- those that are home grown and indigenous to our little part of the world.
Here are a few notable desi mentions


Green tea: loaded in catechins is made up of 30% antioxidants by weight! Making it one of the most power packed super foods out there today. India being the 2nd largest producer in tea also has no shortage of organically grown good quality teas.

How to consume: hot steeped as tea, cold steeped as an infused water.


Amaranth: this little gluten free grain better known to us as raj-gira or quite literally kings seed- is not only a rich source of minerals and vitamins but also protein! It also has anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering properties.
How to consume: use as a flour to make chapattis, bake bread etc

Turmeric: rightly called the king of spices- this sunshine yellow powder boasts a range of properties from anti-inflammatory to anti-viral, anti-fungal and even antibacterial making it the go to spice for healing and infections thanks to the bioactive compound curcumin that has even become the centre of cutting edge cancer research.
How to use: add to soups, sabjzi, even in your milk or tea

Chia seeds: the smaller better known cousin of our Indian sabja (aka falooda or basil seeds) being virtually tasteless and combing the benefits of fibre 9 thanks to the mucilage) and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3’s and 9’s. little known fact is that is even a complete protein ( meaning it contains all essential amino acids)
How to use: soak in water and add to kheer, milkshakes or even your infused water.
5.    
        Makhana: the popped seeds of the lotus plant are as simple and delicious as popcorn- making them our favourite tea time super food. They contain essential minerals while also boating a low fat low sodium profile, perfect for those foodies on a heart healthy journey.
How to use: make chaat or pop at home with interesting spice mixes to make a tasty snack for your office or kids.


White tea: We’ve all heard of green tea, but white tea is the new go to super food for those looking to turn back the time (hello anti-ageing). In a study rating 16 various substances for collagen and elastin boosting activity white king was deemed king. It also contains a whole host of health boosting free-radical repairing compounds that are proven effective for a range of chronic inflammatory cases such as cancer and the like.
How to use: Same as Green tea mentioned above.

Mustard seeds: The humble mustard seed has many health boosting properties including anti-inflammatory and even analgesic properties (that’s the ability to reduce pain!)
How to use: add to bhajis, tadkas and even into chapatti dough.

Kanji: This royal purple probiotic from Punjab had to make it to this list as its one of the lesser known yet super powerful gut boosting foods. The combination of anthocyanin’s and friendly bacteria in this drink make for a potent anti-inflammation drink.
How to use: consume on an empty stomach daily for best benefits.

Desi Ghee : Not only is this wholesome super food super tasty but it also easy to digest and contains all 4 fat soluble vitamins and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use: Use up to 1 tsp. a day of desi ghee on top of rotis, paranthas or for light sautéing or frying.

Amla: This tiny berry boast the title of one of the highest sources of vitamin c while also containing a variety of minerals and a special compound called tannins that is said to fight chronic inflammation due to rich source of antioxidants.
How to use: add a few to your daily vegetable juice or even chop up into salads for a sour twist


 Home-made Curd: This simple often overlooked ingredient is a rich source of probiotics to improve immunity while also providing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium potassium for heart helping and bone building benefits.
How to use : consume raw on an empty stomach or use to make raita’s, dressings dips or even to soften dough’s for roti.


 Green coffee: rich in chlorogenic acid a powerful antioxidant that is destroyed once the beans are roasted, however remains high in green coffee!

How to consume: brew hot and consume the same way you would green tea.

Monday, 10 December 2018

GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES


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].

Importance:
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)

Importance:
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.

Importance:
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

Importance:
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

Importance:
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

VITAMIN E

Questions:
  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

SUGAR

       Questions:  
  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

WORLD OSTEOPOROSIS DAY



 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

LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET



LOW CARB DIET: HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR BODY

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%.