Clean Eating & Anxiety: Is There A Connection?

Clean eating is sometimes dismissed as a ‘fad diet’, but it’s not really a diet and certainly not a fad. It’s based on the idea that eating whole foods, while restricting or avoiding processed foods can yield health benefits. This fundamental belief is supported by evidence[1], which shows that high intake of refined sugar, trans fats, and other additives can contribute to a variety of ailments. Not surprisingly, cutting back on processed foods and focusing on whole foods may also help cope with anxiety disorders. Although there is a need for more research, this idea is supported by animal studies [2], which show that diets high in sugar and fat can affect behavior. Research into the gut-brain axis [3] also points to the role of diet in brain function and mental illness. 

We’ll take a closer look at some food groups that are notable in the context of clean eating and anxiety relief.

Healthy Fats

Despite what you may have heard, not all fats are unhealthy. When we talk about healthy fats, we’re mainly referring to omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These nutrients are vital for brain health and are found most abundantly in foods like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Vegetarian sources of these healthy fats include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. Studies suggest [4] that adequate intake of these healthy fats can improve the brain’s ability to adapt to different situations, helping you cope with stressors more efficiently.  

These anti-anxiety benefits could be linked to the vital role that healthy fats play in the regulation of dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters. They are also known to reduce inflammation, which can protect against brain cell dysfunction that is linked to mental illnesses like anxiety.

Vitamins E & D

While balanced nutrition is essential and all of your vitamin requirements should be met, vitamins E and D deserve mention, as deficiencies in both vitamins have been linked to anxiety and depressive disorders. Vitamin E intake can be boosted by consuming nuts like almonds and peanuts, and by using oils like sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, but it can also be obtained from the same fatty fish that are rich in healthy fats. Other whole food sources of the vitamin include egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese. Vitamin D deficiencies are among the most common, so it’s important to get your levels tested and take supplements if you need to. 

Vitamin E works as antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage and is believed to protect against changes that increase the risk of anxiety and depression. Research shows [5] that vitamin E supplementation may even slow the progression of degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s. Similarly, vitamin D is essential for mental health as studies suggest [6] that vitamin D deficiency results in neuronal changes and a reduction in serotonin levels in the hippocampus. 

Minerals – Magnesium and Zinc

As with vitamins, adequate intake of all minerals is essential for the maintenance of optimal health. However, we now know that magnesium, zinc, and potassium play a particularly important role in the maintenance of mental health. Magnesium appears to be particularly important, as research suggests [7] that magnesium deficiencies are widespread among patients who suffer from depression. This important mineral can be obtained from whole foods including leafy greens like spinach and kale, pulses like chickpeas and soybeans, nuts like almond and cashews, seeds like chia, flax, and pumpkin, and whole grains like wheat, barley, and oats. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also good sources of magnesium. 

Like magnesium, low serum levels of zinc have been observed in patients [8] with depressive disorders. Zinc may benefit patients with disorders like anxiety and depression as it is believed to increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (sometimes described as brain fertilizer!) in the hippocampus. Zinc intake can be increased by eating whole foods, especially red meats like beef, pork, and lamb. Shellfish like oysters are healthier low calorie sources of zinc. The mineral can also be obtained from the same nuts, seeds, pulses, and whole grains used to boost magnesium intake.

Probiotics

The role of probiotics in gut health, inflammation, and mood disorders is a burgeoning area of research and there’s much that we have to learn about the subject. So far however, studies do show [9] that probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, and tempeh, can help in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders because of the strong connection between the gut microbiome and brain function. One study published in the journal Gastroenterology [10] found that the functioning of brain regions that regulate emotion and sensitivity improved with daily consumption of 125gms of yogurt twice a day for 1 month. 

While our focus here is limited to a few food groups and nutrients, this in no way implies that other nutrients are non-essential. The importance of the nutrients mentioned here is emphasized as they are most commonly associated with anxiety disorders. In addition to ensuring balanced nutrition and increasing your intake of the foods mentioned here, you should also increase your intake of whole foods that are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, as they are associated with a wide range of health benefits, including stress reduction and improved brain function. 

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723973/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762204/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31460832-the-microbiota-gut-brain-axis/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540034/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9110909-a-controlled-trial-of-selegiline-alpha-tocopherol-or-both-as-treatment-for-alzheimers-disease-the-alzheimers-disease-cooperative-study/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132681/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046018/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20156515-the-role-of-zinc-in-neurodegenerative-inflammatory-pathways-in-depression/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25470391-gut-emotions-mechanisms-of-action-of-probiotics-as-novel-therapeutic-targets-for-depression-and-anxiety-disorders/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839572/

5 Reasons Why Should Include Chia Seeds In Your Diet

Chia seeds have grown in popularity in recent years. From cereals to salad and smoothies, these edible seeds are everywhere these days. The word ‘chia’ in itself means strength and the seeds are harvested from a flowering plant in the mint family known as Salvia hispanica. Once cultivated by the Aztecs, chia seeds were a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets.

Chia seeds are nutrient-dense and contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, minerals, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Don’t be fooled by their size, an ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 138 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein, as well as 17 percent of your daily calcium needs, 12 percent of the iron and 23 percent of your magnesium [1].

Chia seeds are tasteless, which means it can be added to almost anything – from granola bars to cereals, sauces, and baked goods. When added to water, these seeds expand to hold about 10 times their dry weight and swell into gel-like globules

Here are five reasons why you need to incorporate chia seeds into your diet

1.Loaded with Nutrients & Minerals:  A combination of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese makes chia seeds extremely nutrient-dense. You can get 20% of your daily calcium requirement from chia seeds, which makes it a great choice for people who do not consume dairy products [2].

Calcium is essential for bone health, while Manganese plays an important role in collagen production. Magnesium is known to improve mood and the quality of sleep, whereas phosphorus helps from cell structures and keeps the bones healthy. Whip up a smoothie with some chia seeds for a boost of energy. You can also sprinkle some seeds on your yogurt or oatmeal.

2. Full of Antioxidants: Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants which helps the body defend itself from cell damage. Antioxidants are known to fight free radicals [3], which contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Add some chia seeds to our cereal for healthier and younger-looking skin.

3. High In Fiber: Chia seeds are one of the best sources of fiber as 40% of its weight is made up of roughage [1]. Its high soluble fiber content contributes to a feeling of fullness, which keeps you from snacking mindlessly.

This makes chia seeds a good option for people trying to lose weight. Fiber also helps keep the gut healthy and prevents constipation. It promotes slower absorption of your food which keeps blood-sugar levels stable. Add chia seeds to your salad or stir fry it with veggies for a healthy and wholesome meal.

4. Rich In Protein: Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein and amino acids, especially for vegans and vegetarians. About 14% of chia seed’s weight is protein, which is comparatively high when it comes to most plants [1].

Protein is crucial for our overall health and promotes healthy muscle growth and hormone balance, amongst other things. Protein also helps you feel fuller for longer, aiding in weight loss. Satiate your sugar cravings with some easy to whip chia pudding. Creamy, satisfying and packed with proteins, chia pudding is a healthy take on desserts.

5. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids: Often referred to as the ‘superfood’, chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3. These unsaturated fats help keep the heart and brain healthy.

Omega-3 also protects the body against inflammatory diseases such as Arthritis [4]. Unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to ground chia seeds to benefit from its nutritional properties. The gel from soaked chia seeds can replace egg in vegan baking. You can also top your baked goods with toasted chia seeds for a healthy crunch.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627181/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796167/

Good Vs Bad: Choosing Healthy Fats

For years we’ve been told that fats are responsible for clogged arteries, obesity, and diabetes, among other things. However, not all fats are created equal. Knowing the difference between the good and the bad fats can help you decide which to avoid and which to eat.

Fat is a nutrient that is crucial for normal and healthy body function. The body uses it to build nerve tissue and it also supports cell growth. In addition, they are vital for the digestion, absorption, and transportation of vitamins A, D, E, and K. So, the fact of the matter is, our body needs fats.

To make the best dietary choices, it is important to understand the different kinds of fats and how they affect the body. There are 2 main types of fats – unsaturated and saturated fats.

Healthy Fats

Unsaturated fats are considered healthy fats and include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats, these are liquid at room temperature. Incorporating healthy fats in your diet can help you feel fuller for longer, thus promoting weight loss. To include unsaturated fats in your meals, consider drizzling a dash of olive oil, adding a few slices of avocado or a small serving of nuts.

  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: Eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps reduce bad cholesterol low-density lipoprotein (LDP) levels in your blood, which can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. They help your heart stay healthy by increasing the level of good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in your blood [1].

Some good sources of monounsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, olive, peanut butter and cooking oils made from plants or seeds like sesame, sunflower, canola, olive, peanut, and soybean.

  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Polyunsaturated fats help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering your LDL cholesterol. The two main types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 and both offer excellent health benefits. These fats are essential for normal body functioning and cannot be made by the body, therefore they must be obtained from food. They play a role in many important body processes such as blood clotting and blood pressure regulation.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Studies suggest that Omega-3 is beneficial for heart health and reduces the risk of coronary artery disease [2]. They help lower the triglyceride levels in the blood, the increase of which puts the heart at risk. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Whereas flaxseeds, walnuts, nuts, chia seeds, and canola oil are some of the plant-based sources of this fatty acid.

  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to protection against heart disease and diabetes, and are an important source of energy for the body. These fats can also help with the symptoms and pain of rheumatoid arthritis [3].

Foods in omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils.

Unhealthy Fats

Saturated and trans fats are the two main types of unhealthy fats. These fats are usually solid at room temperature, which is why they’re typically referred to as solid fats.

  • Saturated Fats: This type of fat comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol levels, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease [4].

Processed and junk food have a lot of saturated fat, excess of which can lead to weight gain

  • Trans Fats: Trans fats serve our body no nutritional purpose [5]. Health experts recommend that the consumption of this kind of fatty acid should be as low as possible.

Meat and dairy products contain a small amount of naturally occurring trans fats. However, it’s artificial trans fats that are considered dangerous as it not only raises LDL cholesterol but also lowers good HDL levels. Being linked to heart disease and stroke [6], artificial trans fats have been banned in several countries.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875103/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357022/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634864/
  4. https://www.internationaljournalofcardiology.com/article/S0167-5273(18)36924-9/fulltext
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016047/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26620830

How to Calculate The Calories for Losing 1 Kg Of Weight

When it comes to losing weight, we often talk about shedding calories, but it’s essential to have a fair understanding of what calories are and how it affects your fitness goals. Having some knowledge about your daily calorie requirements helps you be on track to lose weight. Here, we explain how to calculate the exact number of calories to be burned for shedding one kilogram of weight.

What are calories?
Calories are a measure of units of energy as per the international system of units. The number of calories in a food is a measure of how much energy that food possesses. Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), the number of calories you burn each day plays a vital role in maintaining your weight. 

Exercise, Diet & Calories
Exercise can regulate energy balance by affecting the intake and expenditure of calories. The more intense the exercise, the more calories you will burn. For instance, when researchers compared runners and walkers within a period of six years, they found that calories burned through running led to 90 percent more weight loss than calories burned through walking [2]. A study states that low-calorie diets (one that restricts your intake to 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day for men, and 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for women) are a safe strategy for weight loss [3].

Calorie Requirement for Weight Loss
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is responsible for burning 60 to 70 percent of the total calories you burn in a day. Calculating it is the first step to find out the calories for losing weight. Listed below are two formulas for calculating the BMR : 

  1. Mifflin-St Jeor Formula
    Mifflin-St Jeor formula is believed to give the most accurate results [4]. Here is how to estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate using the Mifflin-St Jeor formula:

Formula for estimating BMR in women:

(9.99 x bodyweight (in kilograms)) + (6.25 x height (in centimeters)) – (4.92 x age) – 161

Formula for estimating BMR in men:

(9.99 x bodyweight (in kilograms) + (6.25 x height (in centimeters)) – (4.92 x age) + 5

  1. Harris-Benedict formula for estimating BMR in women:
    It is one of the oldest and most commonly used formulas for calculating BMR.

Formula for estimating BMR in women:

BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

Formula for estimating BMR in men:

BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

After you estimate your BMR using the Harris-Benedict formula, the next step is to include the number of calories you burn during daily activities based on your lifestyle: 

Sedentary: If you do minimal or no exercise at all, multiply your BMR by 1.2.

Lightly active: If you exercise lightly for one or three days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.375.

Moderately active: If you exercise moderately for three to five days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.55.

Very active: If you perform hard workouts almost six to seven days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.725.

Extra active: If you engage in a very hard workout for six to seven days a week or have a physical job, multiply your BMR by 1.9.

The final number will be the approximate calories you require daily for maintaining your weight.

According to a study [5], a pound of fat is around 3,500 calories, therefore to lose 1 kg per week, you need to cut 7,700 calories from your diet each week or 1,100 each day. However, this number may vary depending on various factors such as gender, age, height, bodyweight, metabolic health, etc. Having a better understanding of calorie calculation can help you determine the best activities, both exercise, and non-exercise for meeting your fitness goals.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3630467/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23190592
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1319349/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15883556
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376744/

 

Diet & IVF Treatment: Is There A Connection?

It’s been almost 40 years since the first baby was born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and today many people are opting for this treatment. IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. During this process, mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs (embryos) are transferred to a uterus. 

Several studies have reported that the success rate of IVF treatment is relatively high when combined with a tailored diet [1]. It helps manage issues such as ovulatory infertility [2], sperm DNA damage [3], poor semen quality [4], polycystic ovaries [5], and endometriosis [6].

What to Nutrients to Have During IVF Treatment?

  1. Folate-rich foods
    Folate can improve your fertility rate by increasing progesterone levels and reducing risks of ovulatory infertility [7]. It is also a vital nutrient for men who are trying to conceive. Studies have proven that folate consumption can improve sperm concentration and motility [8]. For including folate in your diet, consume daily servings of vegetables such as  broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and beetroot [9]. Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, orange, and other citrus fruits are excellent sources of folate. Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are also rich in folate.

  1. Iron-rich foods
    Research says that proper iron nutrition is essential for lowering the risk of ovulatory infertility, an inability to produce healthy eggs [10]. Include iron-rich foods in your diet such as meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, eggs, raisins, etc. Also, to enhance iron absorption, it is necessary  to pair them with vitamin-C-rich foods [11].
  1. Healthy fats
    Healthy fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6). According to a study [12], omega-3 fatty acids can promote fertility in men by improving sperm morphology. Another one quotes that omega-3 acids can lead to improved pregnancy rates in overweight and obese women undertaking IVF treatment [13].

What Not to Have During IVF Treatment?
Just like how certain foods improve the chances of conception during IVF. There are certain foods that both men and women should avoid while undergoing this treatment, they are discussed below:

  1. Unhealthy fats
    Unhealthy fats such as saturated fats and trans fats can have a negative impact when consumed in excess. For example, processed red meat, an important source of saturated fat can lower sperm concentration and total sperm count [14]. Trans fats are usually found in fried foods, processed and baked foods. Therefore, refrain from such foods during IVF treatment.
  1. Alcohol
    Studies suggest that women who are planning to conceive should abstain from consuming alcohol as it can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle [15].  Alcohol can also affect the health of eggs and lead to fetus impairment.

  1. Caffeinated Beverages
    Limit the consumption of tea and coffee while undergoing IVF treatment. A recent study has revealed that  there is an increased rate of spontaneous abortion with more than 300mg caffeine/day [16]. Therefore do not consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day during IVF treatment. If you can, refrain from it completely.

Diet plays a crucial role in increasing the success rate of your IVF treatment. A Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended diets while undergoing fertility treatment. According to the latest study, this diet can improve the embryo yield in IVF [17]. It focuses on  high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and dairy products, and limited consumption of red meat. The healthier you are, the better your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby. 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079277/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209201?dopt=Abstract
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935557?dopt=Abstract
  4. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/20/4/1006/701270
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3752890/
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325092608_Endometriosis_and_food_habits_Can_diet_make_the_difference
  7. https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(07)00828-X/fulltext
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4614702/
  9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12193
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17077236
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2507689
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22416013/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26742065/
  14. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/144/7/1091/4615605
  15. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh26-4/274-281.htm
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733907/
  17. https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12958-019-0520-9

No More Winter Blues: 7 Ways to Stay Healthy In This Season

The much-awaited winter season has finally arrived! While you’re glad to get some much-needed respite from the scorching sun, this season also brings with it a few notorious guests such as cold, flu, joint pain, dry skin, dandruff, and more. If you’re battling week-long flu or those unexpected aches and pains, then we have a solution for you. Try tips listed below to combat these issues and enjoy the season in full swing.

  1. Eat Right

  • Fiber: Make sure to include plenty of fiber-rich fruits such as apples, pears, and dried fruits [1] in your diet as they help prevent inflammation. Substitute your daily dose of potatoes with sweet potatoes as they have high fiber content. 
  • Protein: Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are great sources of protein, calcium, vitamins A and B12. They can improve your bone health and strengthen the immune system [2]. 
  • Antioxidants: Mushrooms are one of the richest sources of natural antibiotics and antioxidants along with onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. These foods are great immunity boosters [4]. 
  • Vitamins: Opt for colorful fruits and vegetables as they are a good source of the phytochemical – beta-carotene that aids in better immune function. Vitamin D is vital for better bone health and muscle function, and the lack of it can lead to joint and muscular pain. For this vitamin, get adequate sunlight exposure and consume foods such as oily fish, milk, fortified cereals, yogurt, and egg yolks.
  1. Supplements

While food is the best source of nutrients, sometimes these may not be enough. Additionally, the food preparation process and digestion tend to kill most of the essentials in food. Hence, fill this gap with dietary supplements of vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids.

  1. Drink Herbal Teas

There are several herbal teas available in the market that help you stay healthy during winters. These are ginger, lemon, tulsi, peppermint, and chamomile [5], which not only ward off common colds and flu but also soothes your nerves and provide better sleep. 

  1. Wash Your Hands

Though this may sound a little weird, it is a must-have practice during the winter season (and all year round) to protect yourself and others. Frequent washing your hands can prevent the spread of flu and cold. 

  1. Do Not Skip Workout

The chilly weather can often make you feel lazy and tempt you to skip the workout. However, stay determined to engage in some exercise for at least thirty minutes every day. It can be a brisk walk, jogging, yoga or Zumba. Daily exercise will not only improve your physical health but mental health as well.

  1. Give Extra Love To Your Skin

Moisturize your skin at regular intervals as the cold weather can make it dry and dull. Include yogurt and honey in your home-made face packs as they have excellent moisture-locking and antibacterial properties. Always carry a lip balm wherever you go. Dandruff is another common problem faced by many during winter. To prevent it, wash your hair on alternative days with sulfate and paraben-free shampoo.

  1. Give Warmth To Aches & Pains

A hot water bag can provide great relief from aches and pains during winter. The transfer of heat to aching areas reduces inflammation and reduces pain.

As the cold weather moves in, finding the motivation to stay healthy and fit is quite challenging. However, by paying extra attention to your wellness routine you can stay away from common winter health problems. Make sure to sleep for at least eight hours as your body needs enough time to rest and repair. Drink plenty of water to flush out all toxins from the body.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/five-ways-to-stay-healthy-this-winter/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
  4. http://www.phytojournal.com/vol2Issue3/Issue_sep_2013/39.1.pdf
  5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8c16/540f738c3572102a86efc0b4308d29f3d7f2.pdf

8 Tips To Help You Stick To Keto Diet This Party Season

The year 2019 certainly qualifies as a year that flew past quickly for a lot of us. Now that it is nearing the end, people all around are bombarded with parties and chances of bingeing on food, the major ones being Christmas, New Year, and not to forget the lavish Indian weddings. This definitely has an impact on your waistline, if not your overall health. 

Yes, we understand that a diet is not something that naturally comes to mind in the holiday season, but you can actually stick to your food routine, especially the amazing keto diet, and still enjoy the holiday season in style. 

What Is Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet aims at reducing the intake of carbs and shifts the focus of the digestive system towards fats and ketones (the chemical made by your body for converting fat to energy). For individuals who struggle with diabetes, insulin resistance, and face difficulties in controlling body weight, this is an excellent option. The body burns fat in place of carbs to produce ketones and stops relying entirely on glucose for energy. Keto diets keep insulin-release to the minimal and make the body utilize stored fat, creating weight loss situations.

How Can You Stick to Keto This Season?

1. Choose right: Usually, a keto-based diet allows only 10 percent of your daily calorie quota from carbs, this means you can only have about 20 to 30 grams of it (this may differ as per nutritionist’s guidance). This is why you need to choose low-carb and protein-rich foods at a party with a whole lot of greens. However, don’t forget to check for hidden carbs, for instance, breadcrumbs coating on appetizers, rich-cream paneer, etc.

2. Plan food: If you know about plans in advance, then you can plan your meals too. Eat a protein-rich dish at home before stepping out. You can even carry a small snack for the times when the party continues through the night or for when you might be stuck in traffic. 

3. Don’t give into pressure: While attending someone’s party, it is okay to give them a heads-up about your dietary restrictions. Gluten-free and vegan diets are very common these days. However, another side to this would be your friends and family calling you a downer for sticking to a diet during the holidays. Stay firm and don’t give into the pressure to having ‘one small item’. In fact, you could cook and carry a delicious diet-friendly meal for everyone at the party.

4. Motivate in advance: Keep a list of reasons why you started this diet, handy. When you feel rather vulnerable with all the food around you, pull out this list out and read it. Another key tip is to plan in advance for your cravings and weak moments. If you have been on a diet for a while, you can understand and predict your moments of craving and what really tempts you, here’s how you can deal with them.

  • For these times you can carry small snacks that will be filling. 
  • A study [1] suggests that you need to form habits to deal with temptations every single time, and not just think about curbing it at that moment. You can train your mind in advance to eat right.
  • During the moment, if you are drawn to the food counter, take a few deep breaths and let the thought pass. This study [2] suggests small meditations help in curbing that sudden temptation. 
  • If that doesn’t work, replace your activity or distract yourself for the moment. Remember temptations are temporary, their effects are not!
  • Plan to motivate yourself well in advance. 

5. Every single time matters: It’s true that the one small cookie or a bite of French fries will not immediately pile on the weight, but it will break your will power to fight cravings. Tell yourself that every time matters! Do not strengthen your brain muscle to give in, instead train it to be firm, as it creates a series of ‘one small bite or one small dish’ leading to you being weak when the cravings come. 

6. Sleep well: Sleeping well is tough when you have late night parties and then after parties (and after-after parties!) However, sleep you must! Try to get enough rest during the day as sleep is directly connected to your mental health. If you have a hangover, are in an irritable mood or slightly anxious you are more likely to give in to cravings and binge on some comfort food [3]. 

7. Slow down: Since your food options are limited, why not trick your mind to think you are eating a full, hearty meal. Sit down and have a slow meal, by this we mean relish each bite and chew slowly. Mindless eating makes you feel hungry soon, and leaves your mind unsatisfied, craving more.

References:

  1. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/publications/psychological_science
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4731333/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3086895/

6 Indian recipes to keep you warm this winter

I come from a traditional Marwadi family and I grew up under my grandma’s watchful eyes! Be it stomach ache, cough, tiredness, heavy head or acidity… I remember my grandma going to the kitchen for a cure and not to the drawer that stored our supply of pills. As I look back, I now realize the importance of these essential ingredients in our daily diets and how even nutrition science backs up their efficiency.

Members of the older generations in an Indian household heavily relied on the power of traditional herbs, spices or kitchen ingredients as a traditional system of medicine. These remedies are not just quick fixes, but are natural and have stood the test of time and science.

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

We never really take out the time to reflect upon the seasonal shifts and the produce that nature avails at that particular time.

Did you know…

  • Sesame seeds are an immunity booster, regulates body heat and provides conditioning to your skin and hair during winters
  • Jaggery is loaded with anti-oxidants and thus fights with various infections in our body.
  • Ajwain fights gaseousness, aids in digestion and fights the common cold.
  • The superfood ghee is a natural moisturizer, improves digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and also gives you the much-needed warmth to fight the winters.
  • Millets like bajra, rajgeera and jowar provide us with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre to kick-start our metabolism.

And a lot more!

Wholesome Indian recipes use these traditional herbs, spices, local vegetation etc. to strengthen our body’s immune response and mechanism. There are ingredients that help you prep for a seasonal shift, ingredients that instantly cure indigestion, a runny nose, aching feet and even an unwanted pimple! These recipes include ingredients or combinations in which they are made to take care of anything and everything!

If you are enthusiastic to fight ailments the healthy way or prevent them all together, this can be your guide to a happy and healthy winter. Find some of our traditional, wholesome recipes below to warm you up this winter.

  • Bajra khichidi with home-made makkhan

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Image credit- econet

The name ‘khichidi’ makes us go all warm and fuzzy inside. This creamy Rajasthani bajra khichidi with home-made makkhan is a winter-favourite in many households. Bajra, known to be one of the healthiest millets in the world, is a great combination of insoluble fibre, essential amino acids, minerals, and is a high energy-low glycemic index food. When paired with rich butter, this recipe provides you nutrients and increases your metabolism and body temperature.

  • Handwa

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Image credit- Food Forever

Handwa is a Gujarati dish that is very versatile for the use of its ingredients.  Because it uses a batter of mixed dals, rice, some veggies and a generous tadka of mustard seeds, sesame seeds, hing (asafoetida) and curry leaves. This is steamed and served so makes for a perfectly warm and fluffy dinner. Thus, with the use of all these ingredients, we bag up on protein and carbs in a great ratio with the goodness of veggies and the tadka takes care of our digestion, vitamins and minerals.

  • Sarso ka saag

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Sarso ka saag is a famous north-Indian delicacy made from a combination of green leafy veggies. Traditionally it uses spinach, mustard and bathua leaves that leave a slight bitterness in your mouth. However, this combination is a great source of anti-oxidants that build up your immunity, is anti-inflammatory and keeps you protected from lung disorders. When paired with a makke ki roti, this turns into a delicious meal.

  • Undhiyu

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Image credit- Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana

If there is one dish that does justice to the winter produce around you, it has to be the lip-smacking Undhiyu. Traditionally slow cooked (or steamed in an earthen pot) with groundnut oil, undhiyu uses a variety of vegetables with spices that are cooked to perfection. Therefore, this gives the body all the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and makes up for a nutritious bite. Also, it makes use of green garlic that is found in abundance during this season. These tiny garlic bulbs with dark green stalks have an amazing flavour. They are a natural antibiotic, so can fight digestive infections, boost immunity and are great for the heart. So, sprinkle generously on your chaats, tikkas and starters.

  • Gur ka paratha

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Image credit- foodaholic

It has been a winter tradition in my house to finish our meal with a piece of gur roti. This natural sweetener, prepared fresh in the winters, is rich in vitamins & minerals. Therefore it boosts immunity, regulates body temperature, wards off cold and cough and prevents anaemia. And moreover, it is a delight to finish your meal with this!

  • Kaadha

bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Image credit- mavcure

Every family has their own recipe for a ‘kaadha’. However, it is essentially a concoction of turmeric powder, ajwain, black peppercorns with a dash of honey. This concoction fights cold and cough It has anti-inflammatory properties which relieve sore throat and boosts immunity. Sip on this kaadha the next time you want to get rid of your cold instead of popping pills.

Try these wholesome and healthy recipes this winter to ensure a healthy body and happy taste buds!

 

bon happetee indian food calorie counter appAkansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.

Exercise and Eat Right for a Fitter You!

Exercise is King, Nutrition is Queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom. For you to climb to the zenith of fitness, you need to get that combination of exercise and nutrition spot on!

Bon happetee weight loss and weight gain app

Exercising is not only about a slimmer waistline or ripped physique, but also about a lowered risk of lifestyle diseases and improved mood and energy levels. And to ensure that you are gaining maximum benefits from that grueling gym session, it is important to fuel your fitness with proper nutrition. Continue reading

EATING FOR TWO: DIET FOR A HEALTHY PREGNANCY!

Pregnancy Nutrition is essential for a healthy baby. Without a doubt, a well-balanced eating plan can be one of the best gifts you can give to your developing baby. A healthy wholesome eating plan can not only keep you feeling healthy during pregnancy but also pave the way for an easier labour. It also helps to establish essential building blocks of growth and overall health of your child.

Bon happetee best diet plan app

Your body will gain weight during your pregnancy which is proof that your body is nurturing your growing baby. By the time you are ready to deliver the baby, your total blood volume will increase by as much as 60%, your milk production will be optimum, your uterus will grow to accommodate your baby who will grow 2-4 kgs (on an average). Thus, to accomplish this, the body needs that extra wholesome nutritious dose of food to lay the ground for these productive changes. Continue reading