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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.
The battle of supremacy between processed and whole foods has been raging on for quite some time now. Which is better? Which is more nutritional? The debate seems a never ending one. This article will tell you the benefits and drawbacks of both types of foods. It’s for you to decide which one is better for you and which isn't.
Processed foods are foods which have been altered in some way or the other to make them healthier, to make them taste better or for storage purposes. Almost every day to day food that you consume is processed. Some examples of processed foods include breakfast cereals, cheese, milks, soft drinks, bread etc.
Advantages of processed foods
Here are some advantages that you drive home from processed foods:
1. Processed foods like different types of jams and juices taste very good and last longer, making them a part of every household.
2. Processed fruits, vegetables and herbs, when stored in cans, tend to be free from bacteria and other harmful agents.
3. They are easy to purchase because they are available in all seasons
Disadvantages of processed foods
Processed foods have their own set of drawbacks. Here are some of them:
1. Some processed foods are genetically modified, which may cause a negative impact on your health.
2. Foods tend to lose their nutritional value when processed.
3. Foods that contain added sugar and fat can lead to a lot of health problems like diabetes, heart diseases and other cardiovascular problems.
Natural foods are those which don’t undergo any change in the form of added color, sugar or flavor. Natural foods go straight from vegetable farms and poultry farms to the market where you can purchase them.
Advantages of natural foods
Fresh fruits, vegetables or meat are categorized under natural foods, including a host of other foods as well which are not processed. Here are their advantages:
1. Natural foods are as nature intended them to be. They contain no added ingredients or flavor.
2. A diet comprising of natural foods keeps many diseases at bay.
3. Natural foods are free harmful flavor enhancers like MSG
4. Natural foods are rich in vitamins and minerals which are necessary for a healthy you.
Disadvantages of natural foods
There are not many disadvantages of natural foods apart from the facts that they are difficult to store, spoil after a certain period and are not available all year round. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
As one of the oldest tree foods to be cultivated by humans, walnuts have long since been known as a wonder fruit that can treat and manage many diseases, even as it ensures that one gets to enjoy many other health and cosmetic benefits. This is a nutrient-laden dry fruit that can be eaten in any season and can also be used as a healthy snack.
Read on to know how walnuts can help you in the health department!s
- Weight Management: One can obtain weight loss by switching deep fried and other snacks with this fruit as the snack of choice. This will help in weight loss because it is known to be loaded with many ounces of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which can make your metabolism work overtime so that you end up burning all that useless fat. Regular consumption of walnuts will ensure that you get the right amount of calories in just a fistful of this dry fruit. You can also combine this with almonds and raisins for a healthy breakfast, if sprinkled in your oats or any other cereals.
- Glowing Hair: If you have been facing problems like thinning hair, and hair loss as well as dandruff, then walnuts can easily come to your rescue. Eating lots of walnuts will help in restoring the oil and moisture balance of the scalp which will make your hair rich and bouncy again. You can also apply walnut oil to your scalp in order to boost the health of your hair to a great extent. This is due to the fact that walnuts contain Vitamin B7 which is known to prevent hair loss.
- Heart Disease: You can prevent a majority of cardiovascular issues and heart disease with the help of walnuts. This is due to the fact that walnuts also contain a lot of antioxidants, which can help in regulating the cholesterol levels as well. One can actually remove the bad cholesterol and keep the good cholesterol so that lifestyle issues and conditions like diabetes and heart disease can be avoided. One should have at least 28 grams of walnuts in a single day so that these kinds of diseases can be successfully prevented.
- Fertility: Walnuts are very important for male fertility. One of the main things in male fertility is the sperm, especially the quality of the same. So, if you have had a sperm test and it does not have very encouraging results, then eating walnuts can easily solve this problem along with whatever other medication you may be having for the condition. One should have at least 75 grams of walnuts every day in order to increase the vitality of the sperm for those men who fall in the age group of 21 years to 35 years of age. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Burning fat with food must sound contradictory, but there are certain foods that can actually melt away your fats by improving your metabolism. Some foods have an extensive thermogenic effect (metabolism increasing effects) that can lead to the reduction of fat in your body. Read on to find out five such super foods and burn your fat away.
- Tuna: Tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and it also helps boost the production of a hormone called leptin. This particular hormone gives the illusion of fullness and you don't end up having large portions. It also accelerates your metabolic process. Apart from tuna, sardines too have the same properties.
- Green tea: The benefits of green tea are widely known. It has 'epigallocatechin' which improves the nervous system and elevates the heart rate. Drinking three cups of green tea daily has proven to burn up to 80 calories.
- Hot peppers: Different kinds of hot peppers not only spice up your food but they also melt calories. Capsaicin, a chemical present in peppers can increase metabolism rate by 25% for up to three hours after you consume your meal.
- Grapefruit: This delicious fruit has the amazing power to make you slim. Grapefruit has an antioxidant called 'naringenin' which can aid your body in its use of insulin more effectively, thereby keeping the blood sugar level under control and prevent diabetes. Recent studies have shown that sugar control coupled with grapefruits lead to improved calorie burn.
- Cinnamon: Studies have shown that including cinnamon into your daily diet can help you lose weight. A teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder added to a cup of boiling water can also help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels along with bad cholesterol levels (LDL) while having no effect on the good cholesterol (HDL). Hence, it's beneficial for both heart and type 2 diabetes patients. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
There are many myths about diabetes, especially related to what you can eat and what you can’t. Lots of people think that diabetics shouldn’t eat sweets at all. This is not true. Similarly, all carbs and fats are not bad. A high protein diet is also not required and there are no special diabetic meals. So, what should you as a diabetic, eat to combat diabetes? Read on to find out:
- Low glycemic index foods: Complex carbs are best for you as they limit the amount of sugar released into your blood stream and are digested more slowly and prevent your body from releasing too much insulin. These are also called low GI foods as well as slow-release carbs and are also high in fibre. Processed carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as sodas, packaged meals, and snacks must be junked. These are all called high glycemic index (GI) foods and spike your blood sugar.
- Manage sugar wisely: Diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t eat sugar or desserts. It means you have to be smart with sugar, like
- Take smaller servings of your favourite desserts as they are best eaten in moderation.
- Reduce the sugar in your diet slowly rather than at once. This will give your taste buds some time to adjust, reducing sugar cravings.
- If you want to eat dessert, hold back on carbs in a meal. Balance out meals so that you don’t eat too many carb-heavy foods.
- Add some healthy fat to your diet, as it slows down the digestive process, which means that your blood sugar levels don’t spike as quickly.
- Eat sweets along with a meal and not alone: Sweets eaten alone can spike your blood sugar levels a lot.
- Don’t drink alcohol: Alcohol is full of calories and carbs and cocktails are loaded with sugar. Alcohol can interfere with diabetes medication and insulin, as well.
- Avoid junk, soft drinks, soda and juices: They are all packed with sugar.
- Avoid processed or packaged foods: These are loaded with hidden sugars. Eat food cooked at home.
- Remember high protein diets are not always good: Studies have shown that if you eat too much protein, especially animal protein, you may become insulin resistant. A healthy diet for diabetics includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats for the body to function properly.
- Eat more of these
- Healthy fats found in raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, and flax seeds.
- Also eat more fruits and vegetables. Avoid juices.
- Eat more high fibre cereals.
- And avoid foods like
- Trans fats which means all deep-fried foods
- Fast foods, especially cakes, pastries, and chips
- Red meat
Remember, your overall eating patterns are very important. It’s also important to eat at regular intervals and avoid missing meals. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
With age, especially during late twenties or early thirties and beyond, it is almost an accepted fact that you will grow fat in the middle. Belly fat affects both men and women with bulging waistlines. This however, is just more than unsightly, as belly fat increases the chance of heart disease, diabetes and other serious ailments. A few simple and proven ways to reduce belly fat are mentioned here.
- Reducing carbohydrates in your diet: Carbohydrates are the source of energy for your body, as they are usually transformed into glucose by the body, which can then be absorbed by the cells. However, your diet may include too many carbs and cause you to gain belly fat. Reducing carbs is known to have the following benefits:
- Reduces appetite in general
- Burns fat reserves as the body tries to use alternative sources of energy
- Diet low in carbohydrates are also know to reduce water weight and show quick results during weight loss
- Low carb diet will have a beneficial effect, if you have type 2 diabetes and helps in keeping the blood glucose levels under control
- Avoid CRAP foods: Avoiding CRAP wherein, C: Carbonated beverages & caffeine, R: Refined sugars, A: Alcohol & Artificial sweeteners, P: processed food from the diet is of great help in burning belly fat.
- Unprocessed and lean meat: Unprocessed and lean meats are a good source of protein and have fewer calories than non-lean meats. Lean meats are popular amongst people following low calorie and low fat diets. Poultry is a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline.
- Avoid processed sugar and sweetened beverages: Fructose found in most products within the market, such as cookies, sweets, sodas and other similar beverages cannot be absorbed or processed by the liver and is converted into fat. This will not only increase your girth, but also contribute to insulin resistance and lead to serious problems such as heart diseases.
- Include and increase fiber in your diet when you want to lose belly fat: Fiber, especially viscous fiber is known to improve bowel movements and improves the health of gut bacteria. It also reduces abdominal fat and thus reduces belly fat.
- Increase protein intake: Reducing carbs and increasing protein in your diet will help you lose belly fat as well as over all body fat quickly. Protein decreases the chance of developing insulin resistance and also helps the body in using up the blood glucose for energy more efficiently. Include unprocessed animal protein as well as vegetarian protein sources in your diet to lose belly fat, but ensure that they are cooked or prepared in a healthy way.
- Try yoga or free hand exercises: You don’t have to go to the gym with an expensive fee to lose belly fat. Just try free hand exercises and cardio to ensure that the metabolism in your body remains high along with a balanced diet as mentioned above. Yoga in general or certain yoga poses are also very effective in reducing belly fat. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Obesity is a global epidemic, affecting almost all areas of human health, from heart disease to cancer, and impacting upon most of the major causes of preventable death. However, in recent years, obesity has increased dramatically in many parts of the world with India ranking third in the world’s most obese countries. Although diet and lifestyle choices play a big role, obesity might be in your genes, according to a recent study.
With over 50% of obesity being attributed to genetics, obesity can be an inherited condition. We inherit a lot more from our parents and grand-parents than our skin, hair colour and intelligence, but also predisposition to conditions such as obesity. Understanding one’s genetic profile can help individuals understand their body type and tailor their diets to foods best suited to them.
The obesity gene – FTO
The FTO gene, commonly called the obese gene is a major contributor to obesity in individuals. One version of this gene makes impulse control difficult, affecting your food choice and makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Several other genes such as MC4R, INSIG, TCF7L2, LEP, IRS, have also been found to contribute to obesity. While genes do play some role in causing a predisposition to obesity, they are not entirely to blame. According to a study published by Harvard School of Public Health, ‘Active adults who carried the obesity-promoting gene had a 30 percent lower risk of obesity than inactive adults who carried the gene’. In addition to genetics, there are several factors that play a role – unhealthy lifestyles, diet inadequate in nutrients but rich in calories, higher stress levels, physical inactivity, rise in conditions such as diabetes, hormonal imbalances, in fertility etc.
Genetic tests are available nowadays to tell you what type of genes that you carry and your susceptibility to obesity. Personalised weight management programs are more effective than one size fits all approach that provides generic advice.
Simple dietary modifications can help you to overcome risks of gaining weight that might be caused due to your obesity genes:
- Drink 1 glass of water before every meal that you consume. This helps you to make you feel full and eat less.
- Slow paced eating (20-25 minutes) helps you to feel full and also aids in digestion.
- Protein rich breakfast such as two egg whites or 1 cup of pulses will help you to maintain your satiety.
- High fibre diet (at least 3-4 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits) will help you to lose weight.
- Adding a variety to your diet will also help you to lose weight.
We all love to eat out. Good food and good company, these are incomparable joys of life. But what about healthy eating? are you supposed to forget all about it, when you're dining out? absolutely not. We tell you how you can eat healthy when eating out. Use these tips to make smart choices, and you can enjoy the occasional splurge, without worrying about the calories.
1. Do not go out on an empty stomach
Have a light, but filling snack before you head out for dinner. An empty stomach may lead to over-eating or bad choices. Have a fruit, maybe an apple, or a low-calorie yoghurt, to keep the hunger pangs at bay.
2. Be informed
Check the menu of the restaurant beforehand. You'll be able to make healthier choices, and have a better idea of what you wish to eat.
Once there, do not hesitate to ask the server or the chef, about the nutritional information of the dish you want to order. Ask them about the method of cooking if you're unsure. Also, a lot of restaurants these days can customize dishes according to the customer's preference. For example, if your dish comes with a side of chips or fries, get it replaced with veggies.
3. Order right
For non-vegetarians, we recommend grilled or kebab meats. Always opt for lean meats. Tandoori items are your best bet, as they are relatively healthier, when compared to fried items or gravy based dishes. For vegetarians, grilled, baked and roasted dishes are recommended.
4. Go for an a la carte meal
Tempting as they might be, avoid buffets. Surveys have shown that buffets encourage over eating. That second or third helping of a dish may seem tempting, but it is never good for your waist line!
5. Drink lots of water
Drink water with your meal. It will keep you full, and is a much better alternative to sugar filled cold drinks. Also, water helps break down the food, so that your body can absorb the nutrients. But occasionally, we don't say no to a glass of wine, along with your meal.
6. Guilt free dessert
There's good news for all those who have a sweet tooth. You can eat the dessert! all you need to know is how to go about it. Dessert does have a lot of calories, but you can skip the main course and just opt for the dessert instead. That way, you will just be consuming the calories from the sweet treat, instead of the main course. So go ahead, have a slice of that delicious red velvet cake for dinner!
7.Diet friendly alcohol
For people who can't have social outings without alcohol, you should make intelligent choices when it comes to booze as these are sheer empty calories. While champagne is the best choice as it has the least no. Of calories, scotch has 105 kcal, vodka has 96 kcal and beer will definitely give you a beer belly. Red wine is good for the heart but has good 125 kcal per serving. Try diluting the drinks with more of sodas or water unlike juices or aerated drinks, as they further add on to the calories.