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Zinc is chemically a metal and a trace mineral with multiple health benefits. It is required by the body for a number of functions in small quantities on a regular basis. Some of its important roles include improving immunity, hormone production and promoting digestion, controlling inflammation, tissue growth and repair, etc. to name a few. It also helps in controlling free radical production and therefore has anti-inflammatory effects in reversing heart disease and fighting cancer.
About 5 to 8 mg of zinc is needed by a person per day, with smaller children needing it in the lesser range and women needing more of it. Natural sources of zinc include animal rich protein foods like animal meat and seafood. Dairy products, legumes, pulses and whole grains also contain good amounts of zinc. Modern day foods contain added zinc and therefore are good sources too, though they availability and utility value for the body remain a question.
- Zinc improves immunity i.e. the body produces what are called as T cells when there is any infection or foreign body in the body. These T cells also help in controlling and regulating immune responses and in people with zinc deficiency, the immune system is suppressed putting them at risk for infections and illnesses.
- Zinc has a great role to play in maintaining skin integrity and delayed wound healing is one of the first symptoms of zinc deficiency. These people also could develop chronic ulcers or wounds. There is increased bacterial growth (reduced immunity), increased inflammation, and reduced re-epithelialization, all leading to poor skin health and delaying wound healing.
- Zinc is essential for healthy gut function and it is one of the best remedies for diarrhoea. Deficiency can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
- Zinc reduces free radical damage, which is responsible for chronic inflammation. Eating adequate amounts of zinc can reduce this inflammation, leading to preventing heart disease, reducing the incidence of cancer, etc. It also is shown to prevent cellular damage in the retina, thereby reducing incidence of macular degeneration.
- Zinc is essential for proper growth and development. Zinc deficiency is shown to produce shorter stature, anaemia, and delayed sexual maturation. During the growing years especially, it is very important to provide an adequate amount of zinc for the body, either naturally or through supplements.
- Fertility and zinc also has a strong correlation. In males, it affects both the quantity and quality of sperm production. The sperm count was shown to improve with zinc supplementation in males who complained of low sperm count.
- Controlling memory is another function of zinc. It determines how neurones talk to each other, which is essential for transmission of signals across the brain and formation of memory. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Dinner is one meal that is the most treasured of all meals, especially because it is served after a hard day’s work and sweat. Hence, this particular meal of the day should not only be filling, but also nutritious. However, dinner can often turn out to be the unhealthiest of the three major meals in a day; given the fact that people are usually tired by the time they get served and thus, don’t pay much heed to what they are eating.
In some cases, it might happen because of being unaware of certain healthier alternatives and in others, simply because of their preference. Eating unhealthy, especially during dinner, is not a very good idea. If the food is laden with sugar and fats, it can add inches to your waistline. This is more prevalent during dinner as the metabolic rate slows down at night. Your best bet is to go for food items that are light and free from sugar.
Here are some foods that you can consider:
- Grilled chicken: Grilled chicken with a drizzle of olive oil is a dish that would enjoy a handsome rating on any foodie’s dinner list. It is light, contains proteins that will keep your muscles well fed and has little carbohydrates. You can add some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes to up the taste quotient.
- Plain chicken soup: This is an easy to prepare dish that is commonly consumed in the winter months for its therapeutic effects in fighting common cold. Like the previous dish, it is rich in protein and healthy fats. You can add some stock vegetables for a wholesome meal.
- Stir fried vegetables: This is another easy to prepare dish. Stir fried vegetables are one of the healthiest dishes you will ever come across. Simply cut some vegetables and toss them around in an oak for a few minutes, add some seasoning, such as mint leaves and sesame seeds. It is rich in Vitamins and antioxidants; also the fiber content of this dish helps you feel fuller faster.
- Poha: The quintessential Indian dish, poha or beaten rice pilaf is loaded with benefits. Poha is a complex carbohydrate, which means, the energy released from it will be slow and sustained. It is known for its high iron content and low calories. You can add vegetables and soya nuggets for taste.
The age old maxim of “Have your breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” serves true and good, even today. Most of us, when looking to lose weight, focus more on the exercises rather than the diet. In any weight loss plan, diet assumes a major role, as with the help of proper diet modifications and necessary diet changes, you can make sure the weight you are losing does not come back. Indian diets are primarily based on lentils and cereals and not meat heavy diets.
In order to tailor your diet according to your fat loss goals, you need to make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients in the right amounts. Here is laid out the traditional Indian diet plan to lose the unwanted adipose:
Breakfast like a king: Breakfast is your first meal of the day, which makes it the most important meal as well. The various options for breakfast are two hardboiled eggs and a slice of brown bread or a bowl of ‘dalia khichdi’ consisting of vegetables and a poached egg. Both these options contain complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, all of which are the basics if you want to give this long journey forward the most perfect kick start.
Do indulge in some mid-morning snacks: The mid-morning snack should ideally be 3 hours before lunch. A mid-morning snack is used to fill in the gap between lunch and breakfast, as a long gap can cause your metabolism to dip. Ideal choices for mid-morning snacks are soaked chickpeas or half an apple.
Have your lunch like a prince: Lunch needs to be lighter than breakfast, so avoid eating any refined grains. You can opt for two chapattis, a vegetable curry and a fish or a bowl of brown rice, vegetables and chicken soup.
Evening snacks: Don’t give them a miss! The evening snack can be a repetition of the mid-morning snack. Healthy sprouts or an apple serve as delicious yet very healthy alternatives.
Have your dinner like a pauper: Dinner should ideally be the lightest meal of the day, as a heavy dinner can stress your digestive system before sleep. Opt for a bowl of vegetable soup or a piece of chapatti and a bowl of dal. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
If you like your food sweet, but worry about calories at the same time, chances are you are leaning towards artificial sweeteners to solve your dilemma. The market is flooded with artificial sweeteners, so how do you choose one? And what are their pros and cons?
Besides weight control, artificial sweeteners are also used by people suffering from diabetes. But there is a debate as to how safe artificial sweeteners are, for normal people and diabetics alike.
You get multiple choices from aspartame to sucralose, present in stores. However, it is better to be educated about their benefits and disadvantages.
The pros and cons of most popular sweeteners are as follows:
1. Saccharin: This sugar substitute has been in the market for the longest.
a) It has zero calories
b) It does not elevate the levels of blood sugar
c) 200-700 times sweeter than normal sugar
a) It is a possible carcinogen (substances that cause cancer)
b) There is also the danger of saccharin acting as an allergen (substances that cause allergy)
2. Aspartame: It is the most commonly used sugar substitute. Almost all the food items that boast of being sugar-free have aspartame in them.
a) 160-220 times sweeter than common sugar
b) A small amount goes a long way, so calorie intake is lesser
a) Headaches, depression and cancer have been linked to aspartame use
b) Increased hunger
3. Sucralose: This sugar substitute is derived from sugar itself. It is gradually becoming the most popularly used sweetener as it is found in almost all cooked or baked foods.
a) It is heat resistant, so it is used liberally in cooking and baking
b) It has very few calories
a) Weight gain is still possible
b) It has chlorine in it, which is a carcinogen
4. Neotame: This is a new invention and is chemically related to aspartame.
a) 7000 -13000 times sweeter than common sugar with zero calories
b) Apparently, it is safe for consumption for teens, children and even for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
a) There isn't enough research done on Neotame, therefore very little is known about it
b) Since its chemical composition is closer to aspartame, there is much controversy about "neotame" affecting people the same way as aspartame