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The mere thought of biting into a chilled watermelon or sipping chilled watermelon juice during summer is a refreshing thought. What many do not readily realise is that not just they are not just a refresher, but they are also loaded with multiple health benefits. Another surprising fact is that they have been in use since 5000 years ago and are referred to in ancient literature. There are about 300 varieties and are easily available during summer.
Many may think that watermelon is loaded with water. However, there are also multiple compounds including vitamins and minerals; vitamins C, A, B1, B5, and B6; minerals like potassium and magnesium, and compounds like carotenoids and lycopene. These have multiple benefits on the health and so watermelon can be consumed without any second thought in abundance.
Read on to know some of the wonders of this melon.
- Hydration: One of the best remedies to avoid the ill effects of summer is to improve hydration levels, and there could be no better way to do this than with watermelon (eat it or drink it!) It is 92% water, and therefore leaves you refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Heart health: Lycopene helps reduce cholesterol, reduce thickening of artery walls, and reduces oxidative stress. The various minerals and vitamins also add to the heart health qualities of watermelon. The citrulline in it also increases nitric oxide level in the body, which expands or dilates blood vessels and improves blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory benefits: The lycopene and Vitamin C reduce the levels of C-reactive protein which are responsible for inflammation. The antioxidant levels also lower inflammation, thereby reducing the onset of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Eye health: Watermelons, through their anti-inflammatory effects, reduce the onset of age-related macular degeneration. Those who already have it can also see the delayed progression of the condition, thereby prolonging vision loss.
- Muscle soreness: Those who have muscle soreness should reach out for a slice of watermelon to get instant relief from this soreness. Watermelon also improves exercise endurance and performance, and the added benefit on the heart also improves exercise tolerance.
- Skin and hair benefits: These benefits come from multiple sources in the melon. The vitamin A helps improve skin regeneration, vitamin C helps collagen formation and improved skin tone. Lycopene and beta-carotene help control the damage caused by sun exposure and pigmentation.
- Digestive benefits: The very nature of watermelon almost completely water and high fibre directly benefits the stomach. It cleanses the stomach and promotes bowel movement. Not just the red portion, even the rind and seeds are beneficial as there is a lot of citrulline and chlorophyll which are also healthy. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
"Getting back in shape” – These are the words that are simpler said than done. Some people treat every day with a renewed vigorousness and attack them with an aim to lose the excess fats. But in most cases even after spending hours at the gym and having a regularised diet may not be effective in losing the weight proportions. The chances are that they are ignoring one fundamental principle in any weight loss procedure - Doing things the right way. Hitting the gym hours together and starving cannot make you lean. They can lead to other health conditions altogether. Having a proper schedule both in the exercise and in the diet are mandatory to achieve an appropriate weight loss. Let us walk to through some of the common mistakes that are hampering weight loss.
- Protein intake: Protein intake is crucial, but having too much protein is not recommended as the excess protein can get stored as fat. They can eventually add to the weight instead of reducing it. Maintaining the average grams required per day is the healthier option. The dietician can chart it down as per the person's body condition.
- Vegetables: While most people add vegetables as a part of the diet they are mostly in the cooked format, thus by the time it is taken in all beneficial components are reduced. It is advisable to eat raw vegetables in subtle quantities, as eating too much raw can also be hard on the digestive system.
- Fruit juices: Just having a cup of juice in the morning is not enough as most fruits have sugar and they can indirectly increase your blood sugar levels. Always make it a point to have a healthy breakfast loaded with fibre and protein as they give all the energy to support a person throughout the day.
- Exercises: It is a common misconception that doing an exercise repeatedly can help in contouring that part. This is not correct as the muscles need time to rest before getting on the next set of exercise. Have the training evenly spaced out so that the strength gets retained in the muscle? In this way, the results also will be long standing. Also initially when starting to exercise, the results will be drastic, but over a period wears out. This does not mean that the effects are not visible. It is simply our body's way of stating that it has accustomed to the new routine and it will make the necessary changes in its own time. Remember that weight loss is not a single day achievement.
- Walking: Man has been designed to walk. Hence do not restrict yourself from this nature's biggest gift. Walking half a mile can rejuvenate the body both physically and mentally.
- Sleep: Having a good relaxed seven to eight hours sleep is also mandatory for the overall body condition. Make sure that the rest is always included as a part of the weight loss program.
The Dietician's Take:
A good dietician would say- "Have patience in any weight loss treatment." This is very much true as weight loss is a step-by-step procedure and avoiding these common mistakes can make the impact more profound and everlasting. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
The obsession over getting the perfect body has gotten into everyone's psyche. Thanks to well equipped gyms and easily available home kits, this obsession is no longer a dream. But the gym trainers and bodybuilders suggest that in order to build muscles, following a healthy diet is also necessary. A healthy diet helps to develop the central muscle mass and burns the extra fat in the body.
Here is a list of foods you should include in your diet which will help you to gain muscle:
- Eggs: Eggs are rich in proteins and help in overall development of the muscles, making it a must have inclusion in your dietary regime. Also, the good cholesterol found in the egg yolks helps to prevent atherosclerosis.
- Nuts: Nuts such as cashews, almonds or pistachios are a perfect blend of fats, fibres, and proteins. Every ounce of cashew or almonds contains 150-170 of top-class calories. Daily intake in a small amount will help you to get the calories without any significant weight gain.
- Lentils: Lentils are useful to develop the central mass of the body. A cup of ready-to-eat lentils has a protein content of 18 grams and an overall content of 40 grams of top grade carbohydrates. A diet consisting of green salad, lentils and brown rice is recommended by gym trainers for the development of body muscles.
- Spinach: Spinach contains rich amounts of the amino acid called 'glutamine', which helps in the development of the lean muscles. Besides, a daily intake of spinach might also help to build the overall muscle strength of the body.
- Apples: Apples contain certain polyphenols which help to build the muscles and prevent any form of tiredness in the muscles. Also, polyphenols are also useful in burning the extra fat which makes it an essential fruit to have before workouts. If you are not comfortable with apple, you might also try oranges as your pre-workout fruit, which perform more or less the same function as apples.
Note: Besides the above mentioned ones, you can also include oatmeal, yogurt, organic milk, fat free chicken and beans in your dietary routine for muscle development, along with regimented body building schedules. 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.
Allergy is a response of the immune system. It only occurs when a harmless substance attacks the body and it tries to attack it by creating antibodies as a triggering response. While there could be a lot of triggering agents, some of the basic ones include dust, food, and dander. Conventional allergies can be easily treated with medicines and environment changes whereas chronic allergies need medical attention. Either way there exists some great natural supplements which when applied can immediately deal with seasonal and occasional allergies:
- Probiotics: Natural probiotic supplements include kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut etc. They are known to assist the immune system and can alter the course of allergy. The fermentation of probiotic produces good bacteria that assist the immune system.
- Quercetin: It is a bioflavonoid that can be found in beans, onions, red wine, leafy vegetables, apples, etc. They have anti-oxide and anti-inflammatory properties can give allergies a run for their money. Research suggests that quercetin contains certain substances that successfully block allergy creating elements.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays get strokes in fighting allergies and setting the immune system right. They can successfully stop the development of allergies in the body. The body fetches the right level of vitamin D with a 10 minutes walk in the sunlight.
- Stinging Nettle: This is a plant that effectively counters allergy by fighting with symptoms such as a headache, anaphylaxis, migraines etc. The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb fight allergy symptoms instantly.
- Butterbur: This again is a herb that contains medicinal properties and can successfully counter allergic symptoms. A study found that butterbur is as effective as a certain allergic medicine such as Zyrtec. Another good thing about this supplement is the fact that they do not put a person to sleep like other allergic drugs.
- Steam inhalation: When hot steam is accompanied with eucalyptus oil, tea tree, rosemary oil, myrtle oil and inhaled for about 20 minutes, instant relief is expected. For patients with chronic allergy, this natural supplement can be tried twice in a day.
- Lemon oil: Lemon oil is one of the versatile agents for treating allergies. It fixes the immune system, drains lymphatic fluid and detoxifies liver toxins. They can also be used as a disinfectant for washing clothes and home.
- Honey: Honey is one of the most tested agents for countering allergy. They can create greater tolerance to pollens and is widely considered as one of the most effective long-term solutions for chronic allergy patients.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin that is extremely effective for treating cold and allergy. Being a disinfectant, turmeric can instantly arrest allergic symptoms.
- Astragalus: It is a Chinese herb, which has proved to be mighty effective for treating allergy over the years. Its anti-inflammatory properties can arrest allergic symptoms such as sneezing, asthma and itching.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
Vitamin B is not one vitamin, but is a complex of 8 vitamins, which not only essential for a good health, but also enables smooth functioning of various functions of the body. Further, each of the vitamin B complexes has specific body functions ranging from iron metabolism to hair health to preventing migraineOur body requires vitamin substances, as stated by their names.
Vitamin B complex is widely present in food sources, and in someone who eats a well-balanced diet would be getting the required amounts of vitamin B complex.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is required for the body to make new cells and so has a significant role in the immune system. It ias also known as the anti-stress vitamin as it helps in improving immunity. It also is required for breakdown of carbohydrates.
Vitamin B2, chemically known as riboflavin, is essential for red blood cell production and transporting oxygen throughout the body. It also has antioxidant properties by reducing free radicals. This also has antiaging properties and reduces the onset of heart disease.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is essential for cholesterol regulation. It promotes the formation of good cholesterol and so essential for preventing the onset of heart disease. It also is shown to have anti-acne effects.
Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, is essential for fat and carbohydration metabolism. It also is required for the production of hormones including testosterone and cortisol (stress hormones). It is also beneficial to the skin by reducing antiaging effects including reducing brown spots.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, has a major role to play in sleep and mood regulation. It produces various neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine which are essential for emotional well-being. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin B7 or Biotin is known as the beauty vitamin, as it has major hair, skin, and nail benefits. It is also essential for glucose level maintenance. It assumes great importance in pregnancy as it is important for normal growth of the baby.
Vitamin B9 or folate or folic acid is again very essential in pregnancy as deficiency can lead to neurological defects in the developing baby. It also plays a major role in carrying oxygen to the cells through the RBCs.
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is essential to ensure the other vitamins are functioning properly. B12 deficiency leads to anaemia, as it enables the red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. It is mostly present in non-vegetarian foods and supplements are commonly given in anaemic people.
PMS is one of the worst food sensitive diseases. Symptoms include moodiness, bloating and headache. All it takes is one symptom to crop up for the whole body to go down. While environmental changes and preventive measures play a crucial role in dealing with this condition, careful choice of food goes a long way in keeping PMS under control. Here is a list of some best and worst food for PMS:
Foods that are Good During PMS:
- Brussels sprouts, Artichokes and Broccoli: These veggies with high fibre content are known to ease bloating. Furthermore, the high water content of these veggies effectively deals with gas, discomfort, and puffiness. The idea is to refrain from foods with high sodium content that only contributes to the suffering.
- Quinoa, what berry and popcorn: These foods help to deal with a short temper which is a very common occurring of PMS. Some other good effects of a high carb diet such as these include fighting anxiousness, depression and maintain composure. Consuming whole grain on a daily basis also helps to keep the mood cheerful. This happens because of the added secretion of the feel good factor hormone called serotonin.
- Banana: Many women tend to face sleep disturbances before the period sets in. A recent study at the John Hopkins University found that less sleep before the period makes a woman susceptible to cramps and discomfort. Banana contains melatonin. The latter helps the body maintain its natural rhythm.
- Eggs: The cravings during PMs can be very difficult to handle. It is therefore very important to start the day a very healthy breakfast. The right amount of protein and healthy fat present in an egg helps to keep the body energised throughout the day. Scrambled egg and an ounce of chicken is a perfect answer to PMs craving.
Some foods to avoid during PMS:
- Processed fats: Processed fat contains a lot of processed fats, sodium and salt. Processed fats make a woman puffy and increment bloating. Processed foods contain very high protein content that becomes very difficult for the body to process during PMS.
- Sugary foods: Craving for sugary food is pretty normal during PMS. However, too much sugar consumption during PMS fluctuate the blood sugar level. They also aggravate tension and mood swings. The latest study has found that refined sugar can disturb the immune system and creates a lot of fatigue in a woman.
- Caffeine: Restricting caffeine during the period can help prevent the cramps and bloating. Certain caffeine such as coffee, cigarettes and chocolate can aggravate breast tenderness, anxiety, and depression. What's more, they systematically create a craving for sweet and other caffeine-related stuff. A better alternative to caffeine during PMs is herbal and green tea, water and fruit juice. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.
Brain health is essential for people of all ages. Of late MIND and DASH are two popular approaches that are leading the way dietary requirement for brain health. MIND stands for Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay whereas DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Both the approaches argue that diet plays a crucial role in maintaining overall brain health. Here is a list of 8 diet changes that can boost the brain health without having to take any other brain supplements:
- Leafy green vegetables: Leafy vegetables are tried and tested source of natural brain tonic. Vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens and arugula should be thoroughly washed and chopped. They can be consumed with salads, pasta, and soups.
- Pulses: Pulses such as lentils, beans and peas can be consumed with salads to maintain brain health. Alternatively, they can be consumed along with burgers to give it a twist. They can also be used to make patties. A mixture of black beans, onions and peppers can be mashed along with some spices to form the main entrée of the patties.
- Whole grains: A batch of brown rice, quinoa, oats or faro can be prepared and consumed to upgrade brain health. While grains comprises of fibre and makes for a very fulfilling meal. Whole grain can be prepared in batches so that it can be consumed throughout the week along with salad and soup.
- Home-made snacks: A snack made from walnuts, pumpkin, almonds and pistachios can serve as a quick snack during long drives and small breaks in between meetings. A small portion of these snacks will not only boost brain health but give a sense of fulfilment.
- Berries: Frozen berries are known to be extremely beneficial for brain health. They can be mixed with smoothies and consumed during breakfast and or in the form of snacks. Berries are a nice addition to oatmeal as well.
- Olive oil: the butter or the refine oil can be traded with olive oil while preparing vegetables and meats. It can also be used as a base for homemade vinaigrettes. Olive oil serves the purpose of good health and has hardly any side effect on the body.
- Poultry items: One can become a lot creative when it comes to consuming poultry items. Chicken breasts for instance, when cooked with garlic and onion in a pressure cooker, can be a real agent for brain maintaining brain health. One can add some flavour and consume it along with sandwiches and salads.
- Fish: One fish should be consumed once in every week. Salmon fish is known to have a great effect on mental health.
Food’s relation with depression is a complicated one. A person can suddenly lose appetite or become extremely voracious. There are instances when you feel hungry, but do not eat due to the lethargy of cooking. Either way, it is a difficult task to eat healthy during a depression. Here is a list of tips that will help you to refrain from eating and drinking unhealthy and unhygienic food items such as alcohol, junk foods, chocolate, caffeine and ice-cream.
Prepare frozen meals well in advance:
During depression, not many people feel the urge to cook a meal. The alternative, in this case, is to prepare as many meals as you can and freeze them for future consumption. Food items such as black beans, pasta and chicken can be cooked and stored in the refrigerator for quite a few days. Store the cooked food in as many jars as you have. This cooked items will act as a life saviour when you feel hungry, but do not feel like cooking.
Use fewer dishes:
Minimising the number of dishes will save your life. A lot of people lose the urge of cooking or eating healthy when they see a pile of undone dishes in the wash basin. Use a minimum amount of dishes that is required for daily use and immediately wash them when you are done eating. This way you will fell motivated to cook and eat healthily.
Do not go for complicated meals:
They are a lot of easy to cook healthy meal options out there. Do not go for a dish that is difficult to prepare. If you mess up, chances are that you will neither enjoy eating the dish nor it cook in the future as well. The best thing to do is to prepare simple and easy to prepare healthy meals. Refer to a recipe book if you need help.
Listen to music while preparing food:
Cooking can be boring if you do not enjoy it. A good alternative is to listen to music while cooking. This will keep boredoms at bay and meals will be prepared in a whisker. Not to mention music will also keep your motivation level high. If work and play are not your things, you can watch the cooking shows to get your motivation level up.
Eating out is not a crime. If you feel the urge to eat out, go by all means. You need not eat junk food when you are out. Instead of going to a fast food joint, go to a good restaurant that serves healthy yet tasty food. It is a great way of improving your mood and eating healthy at the same time. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.