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Believed to be used by even Christopher Columbus on his discovery voyage, papaya is known as the angel of fruits. While it is not a taste that most usually enjoy the very first time, it can grow on you slowly and then stick on forever. The raw ones are used in salad and curries, the ripe can be eaten either in solid or liquid form, alone or in combination with other fruits.
Some of the wonderful benefits of papaya are listed below.
- Anti-inflammatory: The various minerals and vitamins (A, B, C, K) in papaya help improve immunity and prevents infections. It also promotes healing of burns and wounds.
- Cholesterol control: The antioxidants, flavonoids and fibre help in cholesterol/plaque accumulation in the arteries. The lipid and triglyceride content can also be reduced with regular consumption of papayas.
- Digestive benefits: The enzyme papain contained in papaya is quite effective in reducing the damage caused by eating junk and oily foods. It helps in breaking down proteins and is, therefore, useful as a home remedy for indigestion. It is also rich in fiber and helps relieve constipation.
- Diabetes: The high fiber content in papaya combined with the low calories (a medium sized fruit contains about 110 calories) is a boon to diabetes patients. They can eat to their full content without feeling guilty of the sugar levels. Some people also consume the flowers (sautéed in oil) to control diabetes.
- Arthritis: The various minerals (potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium) in papaya can help keep a check on arthritis and bone and joint pains in the long run.
- Weight loss/ cleansing/ detox: The various minerals and vitamins along with the rich fiber content ensure you get a good detox of the system. Papaya is one of the widely used fruits in people who want to lose weight.
- Antiaging effects: The antioxidants which reduce the rate of inflammation and the multiple vitamins help in looking younger by improving skin, hair, and overall immunity levels.
- Stress buster: Again, the antioxidants and vitamins (C in particular) is a good way to refresh your energy after a long tiring day.
- Anti-cancer effects: The flavonoids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants help to prevent free radical damage which is the main cause of cancer. They also contain beta carotene which helps control prostate and colon cancer.
- Eye health: The beta carotene, vitamin A, and lutein help in improving moisture in the eyes and controlling macular degeneration.
- Hair health: The scalp produces sebum which is rich in vitamin A. Papaya when applied to the scalp gives the same effect as sebum, which keeps the hair shiny, silky, and lustrous. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
In India, we move from one festival to the next. Lohri is the first major festival of the year and is celebrated in most parts of North India to mark the waning of winter and the harvest of Rabi crop. Lohri celebrations are characterised by blazing bonfires, folk dance and songs and trays filled with rewri, peanuts, popcorn, gajjak, sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. Unlike traditional mithais that go along with all other festivals, these foods are in fact healthy. Here are a few of their health benefits.
- Rewri and Gajjak: Rewri is a hardened toffee like sweet made from jaggery and sesame seeds. Jaggery helps regulate digestion and internal temperature, cleanses the blood and helps prevent problems like acne, joint pains and menstrual problems. It is also a rich source of iron and has anti-allergenic properties.
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are rich in copper, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. These nutrients help promote healthy bones, boost immunity, reduce stress and fight free radicals. This can help reduce chances of osteoporosis and slow down the ageing process. Sesame seeds are also said to have the ability to reduce the risk of many types of cancer.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are a rich source of folate, manganese and essential amino acids like tryptophan. This helps regulate blood sugar, metabolise fats and carbohydrates and helps the body to absorb calcium and promote healthy joints. Pregnant women can benefit from peanuts as the folic acid in them can help reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby with congenital defects. Peanuts can also help prevent gallstones and help regulate mood swings. Peanuts are also great for the brain as the vitamin B3 and niacin in them helps boost memory. These nutrients also help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Hence, peanuts reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Popcorn: Unlike the popcorn you enjoy at a movie hall, popcorn that is eaten at Lohri celebrations is free from butter and added flavouring. On its own popcorn is a rich source of fibre and has a very low calorific value. This makes popcorn a good snack to eat between meals. Popcorn is a whole grain snack and is rich in anti-oxidants called polyphenols. This can help protect the body against cancer, heart disease and other diseases caused by free radicals.
To make your Lohri even healthier, don’t just sit around the bonfire and warm your hands, Get up and dance to the beat of the dhol and burn all the calories you’ve been eating.
5 Diet Tips For Youthful Skin
A beautiful, radiant and glowing skin is every girl's dream. So follow these tips and get a great youthful skin.
1. Eat lots of vegetables: vegetables will also provide you with plenty of fiber and antioxidants. For example roast parsnips can bring up our blood sugar more than pure table sugar. Good fruit options are berries, as they are relatively low in sugar and high in antioxidants.
2. Cut out the sugar: the less sugar we eat, the better it is. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame should be strictly avoided. Not only are they nasty chemical substances, but they have also been connected to obesity and diabetes.
3. Eat more healthy fat: one of the crucial things our body and our skin needs for long-term health is fat. The increase in fat consumption has to be done in conjunction with sugar and grain reduction.
4. Don't forget your daily protein: protein provides important building blocks for our entire body. However, our body has little capacity to store protein. So, to supply our body and skin with all it needs, we have to provide it with sufficient amounts of protein on a daily basis.
5. Spice up your life: herbs and spices including rosemary, garlic, curcumin and cinnamon are a great addition to any skin health and longevity eating plan. Not only do spices greatly add flavor and variety of our food, but they also contain bioactive substances with positive effects on general health, skin and life span.