Is It Okay To Drink Coffee During Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has recently gained immense popularity among celebrities and fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Right from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Hollywood celebrities like Hugh Jack and Kourtney Kardashian swear by the benefits of this dieting trend. Intermittent fasting is also one of the top-searched diets in 2019 according to Google Trends data [14]. As the name suggests, it involves eating during a certain number of hours in a day and fasting the rest of the time. 

What is Intermittent Fasting?
Whenever you eat, you get energy from glucose (sugar) in the food. Insulin secreted by the pancreas helps deliver glucose to the body’s cells. There, glucose is either used immediately or stocked for later access. In intermittent fasting, insulin production in your body is reduced as your body uses the stored glucose for energy. Once that glucose is gone, it relies on fat and leads to weight loss. The latest study published in the translational research journal reported that intermittent fasting can result in a 3-8% weight loss within 3-24 weeks [1]. This dieting trend also offers a myriad of other health benefits such as improving blood pressure [2], increasing sensitivity to insulin [3], and lowering cholesterol [4].

Can You Drink Coffee During IF?
If you are new to intermittent fasting, you may wonder whether you are allowed to drink coffee. Coffee, in itself, is a fat-free and almost zero-calorie beverage. It is what you add to the drink that increases the calorie count! As long as you feed your body with more calories, it won’t utilize the glucose that is stored in the fat cells and prevent you from getting the desired results. When you add sugar or milk to your coffee, it would add calories, fat, and glucose thereby breaking the fast. Black coffee is the safest beverage during intermittent fasting. 

Benefits of Drinking Coffee during IF
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a cup of regular black coffee brewed from ground beans contains just two calories [5]. Therefore, it does not considerably affect your fasting, in fact, it can be beneficial.

  1. Aids in weight loss
    According to a report published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology in 2017, the caffeine contained in coffee can increase your metabolism and helps promote weight loss [6]. Caffeine and other constituents of coffee, such as chlorogenic acid and quinides also aid in weight loss [7]. Therefore a moderate coffee consumption is good for you while following an intermittent fasting routine.

  1. Improves brain function
    One of the main reasons behind the popularity of intermittent fasting is its potential to improve brain health and prevent age-associated neurological disorders. During fasting your body produces energy from fat in the form of ketones, a process that enables improved brain function [8]. Surprisingly, coffee also promotes ketone production [9]. Studies have also reported that coffee consumption reduces the risks of developing stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease [10]. The caffeine contained in coffee increases alertness, improves mood, and concentration enabling you to stick to the fasting routine.
  1. Reduces inflammation
    In a study published in Cell [11], Mount Sinai researchers mentioned that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections. Coffee contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, which may prevent inflammation [12]. Therefore, intermittent fasting and coffee intake may help reduce inflammation.

Just like the saying ‘excess of anything is bad’, you need to moderate your black coffee intake during fasting as it affects sleep quality or even causes cardiovascular function impairments [13]. 



Grandmother Knows Best: 6 Scientifically-Backed Remedies to Survive Winter

Temperatures in India are on a steady decline and winter has set in with cardigans, mufflers, sweaters, and monkey caps around. Unfortunately, this is also the time when most of us get a common cold, cough, flu, and have joint pains. Interestingly, in this season most of our grandmothers charge into the kitchen and prepare natural remedies in a secretive sort-of manner. While we may have avoided these kitchen-remedies our whole lives, we may need to pay heed to them now, as even science says that our grandmas were right. 

Desi foods by grandmothers provide wonderful concoctions of nutrients and immunity, which are beneficial for the entire body, so we tell you the best home remedies for surviving winter.

  1. Cold and Cough: Sniffles, sneezes, fever, and body aches, the common cold can be quite a downer during the party season.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heard about the magic potion called ‘kaadha’? It is made with two power ingredients pepper and turmeric. The latter is known to increase mucous secretion, which helps flush out the harmful bacteria. Plus, its antibacterial properties help fight the infection. Pepper is also antibacterial and contains vitamin C for boosting immunity. 

  1. Immunity Issues: Has it happened to you that despite wearing all possible layers of warm clothes, you still manage to catch the flu? This indicates a problem of low immunity. 

Grandma’s Remedy: To strengthen your immunity, consume a combination of ginger juice [2], basil (tulsi) leaves, and a teaspoon of honey. Ginger has anti-inflammatory benefits and is anti-bacterial to help the immune system fight better. Basil leaves increase natural antibodies and T helper cells in the blood, thereby increasing immunity. Similarly, honey also has antibacterial properties that help strengthen your body from the inside [3]. 

  1. Chest Congestion: A common winter complaint is that of wheezing, sore throat, and sleep difficulties due to congestion of mucus in the chest.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heat cow’s ghee in a pan and add a few garlic cloves to the same. Massaging this gently on your chest will help you fight chest congestion. The usage of cow’s ghee is part of Ayurvedic treatment for relieving cold-like symptoms, while the intense aroma and antioxidants in cloves provide relief from chest congestion. [6]    

  1. Joint Pain: If your morning has started with muscle cramps, backache or knee pain, try this before you pop that pain killer.

Grandma’s Remedy: Have a spoonful of turmeric with ghee or turmeric milk. Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that ease the pain, reduce swelling and ensure smooth functioning of joints. Additionally, the fat in milk or ghee helps make turmeric more effective when consumed.

  1. Digestive Problems: Suffering from constipation or indigestion due to party season binge? Do not be in a hurry to gulp down tea or coffee early in the morning. 

Grandma’s Remedy: Have warm water with lemon juice, which would work to clean the digestive tract and also eliminate fat. Lemon flushes out the toxins floating around your GI tract and also relieves the symptoms of indigestion. [8]

  1. Dry Skin: The dry weather tends to absorb the hydration and moisture of the skin, leaving it dry and dull. If you don’t take care, you might also see a few signs of aging in the form of wrinkles.

Grandma’s Remedy: The problem of skin dryness can be solved by using curd. It is rich in lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells and helps replenish new ones. [9]



How to eat what you love with diabetes!

The minute you are detected with diabetes, your doctor inevitably will chuck out all sugar and naturally-sweet foods especially, mangoes, banana and pineapple as well as high-carb foods such as rice, pasta from your diet. In short, he is prescribing you the “Dreaded Diabetic Diet” which is no less than a nightmare if you love eating fruits, potatoes and can’t do without rice, isn’t it?

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What if, we told you that there is no such thing as a Diabetic diet or that even with diabetes, you can relish mangoes in the swelter summers, custard apple during monsoon and the juicy grapes during winters?

Too sweet to be true? Continue reading

Signs that your body is telling you to stop eating

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Let’s face it, in today’s world, most of us ‘live to eat’ rather than ‘eat to live’. With globalization and so many food varieties and options available, of course, we ‘live to eat’! However, we often eat when we are not truly hungry, we eat because we see something that makes our mouth water, or we eat when we are so famished that we could eat like a glutton and then we eat more till we are so full that.. burrrp, yes we overate!

Do you ever complain of acidity, burps, farts, gas or heartburn? These are all signals from your body warning you that you have overeaten. As a nutritionist, my clients are often asking me ‘quick fixes’ for acidity and gas. And my answer is always ‘There is no quick fix to these problems. Stop overeating and eat at regular intervals for them to disappear’. But what do you do? Pop an antacid or an effervescent salt and get ready for the next meal.

So how do you know how much to eat and when to stop? Continue reading

7 natural remedies for constipation without laxatives

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‘Motion se hi emotion hai’ remember this tagline of the movie Piku? People who suffer from constipation will agree to it to the core! Their ‘nature of loo’ determines their moods. The film has captured this perfectly in the character of Bhaskar Bannerjee – played by Amitabh Bachchan – who was always constipated and this pissed off all the people in his life, including his own daughter. Constipation is not something to be taken lightly, it can drive people away from us!! While you may be more than willing to share how much your sore throat is torturing you, rarely do you go into the office and announce that you haven’t pooped in five days. If you continue to feel constipated for more than one day, you are bound to give this issue a top priority.

bon happetee indian food calorie calculator appConstipation occurs most often because people don’t have enough fibre and/or water in their diet. It can also occur as a result of too little exercise, or it can be a side effect of a number of different drugs. Everyone experiences this phenomenon from time to time, but the good news is there are a number of safe, gentle and natural remedies to both relieve and prevent constipation. Natural remedies for constipation can help relieve your discomfort and keep you free of strong medications. This article will help you learn how to take care of sluggish bowels in a healthy way.

Start with good habits:  Our habits make or break us. And inculcating good habits in our life can go a long way in keeping us away from all types of health-related issues! Practising good habits is the basis of healthy living! So here are a few habits that can drive constipation away-

  1. Add Fiber to Your Diet

Make sure you include enough fibre at least 24 to 38 grams in your daily diet from fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high fat, high sugar and dairy can increase your chances of constipation. Fiber goes straight through to the colon and goes to help keep your bowels moving on a regular basis. It also helps to keep water in the bowel to keep stools soft. Include these foods for extra fibre:

  • Vegetables: peas, broccoli and artichokes
  • Fruits: Apples, pears, and berries
  • Beans/Legumes: Lentils, black beans, and split peas
  • Grains: Bran, flax, whole-grain pasta, and barley

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  1. Increase Water Intake

Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily is good for general health. And in case you have constipation, add about 2 to 4 glasses of warm water every day. Besides, you should drink 10 to 20 ounces of regular water in the morning before breakfast. This will help flush out waste and toxins. Avoid sugary drinks to replace water. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, give it a squeeze of lemon juice.

  1. Establish Good Bowel Habits

Holding back bowel movements can really plug you up inside. Try not to hold it and go as soon as the urge hits you. The feeling that you need to have a bowel movement is a natural reaction by the body to tell you that it is time. If you don’t go when the urge hits, the body pulls the water out of your stool and makes it hard.

Try to have a set time each day for your bowel movement. This is a time when you have privacy. You can train your body to go at the same time every day and get some reading materials to relax if necessary. And in this way, you can transform this utterly boring task into ‘me time’ and wait eagerly for it, every day! 😛

  1. Loosen up with a hot cup
  • A morning cup of hot java will help. Caffeine has a bowel-loosening effect. Just don’t drink too much since it’s also a diuretic. Coffee lovers, are you listening? Here’s one more reason to love coffee!
  • Herbal or decaffeinated tea or a simple cup of hot water with lemon juice will also help to get things moving.
  • Dandelion tea has a mild laxative effect. Steep one teaspoon of the dried root in one cup of boiling water. Drink one cup three times per day. So tea lovers, well, we have some good news for you all too!
  1. Get up and go
  • The evening walk used to be called the daily constitutional. Regular exercise helps your body move food quicker. Aim for a daily walk at the very least. Because if you aren’t active yourself, how can you expect your digestion system to be active enough to provide you with the pleasure of hassle-free motion!

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Helpful Home Remedies for Constipation: Because there is a reason why ‘dadi ma ke nuskes’ have been popular over the years. Our darling grand moms found solutions to every problem in the kitchen. And how can something as important as constipation be left behind?  So here is a list of all the humble items available in our kitchen which can fight constipation-

Honey & Lemon

How It Helps: Honey is a safe and all-natural remedy that has a mild laxative effect. Used daily it can both treat and prevent ongoing bouts of constipation.

How to Use: Use 2 teaspoons of honey 3 times daily. It is even more effective when you add 1 tablespoon of honey to an 8 oz. glass of warm water and lemon juice. This mixture works best when used first thing in the morning before breakfast.

Flaxseed Water

How It Helps: There are numerous benefits of using flaxseed, but one of them is laxative properties. Flaxseeds are high in fibre that can help with both mild and severe bouts of constipation.

How to Use: Take 1 tablespoon flaxseed and stir into a glass full of water. Allow it to sit for 2 or 3 hours and drink at bedtime. Your constipation should be relieved by morning. You can even sprinkle your cereal with 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseed and chase it with a full glass of water

Molasses & Milk

How It Helps: Molasses, especially blackstrap molasses is a great natural laxative that can get your bowels moving because of the high level of magnesium that is produced naturally when processing.

How to Use: Take 1 teaspoon of molasses prior to bedtime. It can be stirred into milk/juices to improve the taste. You can also stir it into peanut butter and eat it on your toast first thing in the morning. If 1 teaspoon does not help, you can increase gradually up to 2 tablespoons.

Olive Oil

How It Helps: Olive oil helps to stimulate bowel movements and get things going. If you use it on a regular basis, you may even prevent regular episodes of constipation.

How to Use: Take 1 tablespoon before breakfast in the morning. If you don’t take it when you first wake up, take it on an empty stomach later in the day. If you don’t like the taste, mix it with the lemon juice for an added punch to wipe out constipation.

Epsom Salt

How It Works: Epsom salt contains magnesium, which naturally stimulates bowel contractions. It also allows more water to enter the bowels to soften stool. It is a “dry laxative” that is mixed with fluids.

How to Use: Take 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts and mix into a cup of water or juice. Wait 4 hours and if you have not had a bowel movement, repeat one more time. For little ones, only use a ½ teaspoon.

Castor oil

How it works: Castor oil has a compound that when digested stimulates the small and large intestines.

How to use: Swallow one to two teaspoons quickly on an empty stomach and give it eight hours to work its magic. Tastes nasty but it works!

Relax and don’t wait

Regardless of what constipation treatment you use, give yourself enough time to sit on the toilet when you need to go. Holding the urge can make your constipation worse. Set aside a time in the day when you know you’ll be left undisturbed for several minutes. After all, freeing your body of all the waste you stuffed inside it is an equally important task and needs proper attention, just like any other daily chores!

Also, don’t ignore the problem. Untreated constipation can lead to real problems, such as haemorrhoids and tears in the skin around the anus (called fissures) that make you bleed. If you strain too hard, you might even cause a part of your intestines to push out through the anus — a condition called rectal prolapse that can sometimes require surgery.  Now you know why Mr Bachchan in Piku gave utmost importance to his constipation problem!

When to see a Doctor
While this article may tell you how to get rid of constipation naturally, you may need medical help if it does not go away. Complications from constipation include anal tears or fissures, haemorrhoids or a prolapsed rectum. Constipation can even get bad enough that it needs surgical intervention. See a doctor immediately if:

  • Constipation becomes a long-term issue
  • You have blood with bowel movements
  • You experience abdominal pain
  • You lose weight
  • You have not had a bowel movement for over 3 days with treatment
  • You cannot have a bowel movement at all or been constipated for over 3 weeks

Constipation may be something that people like to keep to themselves, but whether you don’t tell a soul, or announce it on graduation day via the loudspeaker, it all comes down to the fact that it can seriously impede day to day life. It is also, thankfully, something that can often be effectively treated naturally & at home. As a bonus, many of the lifestyle changes that help constipation (diet, exercise, etc.) also make you an overall happier, healthier human being.

It’s high time that we don’t consider ‘constipation’ as a shameful problem, dealing with it surreptitiously but go out in the open and discuss it with people and find solutions to it just like we talk about catching a cold or any other health problem. Perhaps take a cue from Bhaskar Banerjee from Piku (who made the whole world aware of his constipation problem). After all, shitting is natural and that’s why it’s called ‘nature’s call’!

Since diet (especially fibre) is one of the most important components in dealing with this problem we have an app that helps you track your diet and suggests changes for more balanced meals.

Following a good diet is a lot easier than it seems – bon happetee is where the love of food meets the love of math. Yes, you heard that right. We have used math and analytics to help you eat what you love.
Let us show you how … And yes, of course, it is personalized 🙂

From weight loss to lifestyle changes to mindful eating to just enjoying food without guilt. This app has it all.

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Rashmi extensively educated herself in the field of nutrition to create awareness amongst people.  Being in this field for 9 years, she believes that having the body that you always wanted is to nourish it with love, understanding and care.