Soaked Vs Raw Almonds: We Unveil The Truth

Widely known for its numerous benefits, Almonds are seeds or nuts of a tree called Prunus dulcis. They are native to Iran and its surrounding regions but are cultivated worldwide. We have all been recommended to eat almonds at some point in our lives as they promote a healthy lifestyle.

Packed with vitamin E, almonds act as an immunity booster. Apart from being a rich source of proteins, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, almonds are also one of the tastiest and most versatile tree nuts. 

Due to its versatility, people are often confused about the best way to consume almonds. There is often a debate regarding the benefits of having soaked almonds over raw almonds. Soaking almonds overnight for at least a period of 6-8 hours before having it is often recommended.

Here are 7 reasons why you should soak almonds before eating them.

  1. Eases Digestion: Almonds may be difficult to digest because of their hard texture. Soaking almonds overnight softens them making the whole process of digestion a lot easier [1]. Soaking almonds also leads to the release of the enzyme called lipase which stimulates the digestion of fats in the body. 
  2. Nutritional Content: Our body can absorb more nutrients from soaked almonds than raw almonds. The soft texture of the almond after soaking will facilitate chewing which in turn leads to the absorption of more nutrients. The outer brown peel of almonds contains a substance called tannin. Tannin is said to prevent nutrient absorption and inhibits the release of enzymes until proper sunlight and moisture conditions are reached. Once the almond is soaked in water, due to moisture the outer peel comes out easily allowing the nut to release more nutrients. Soaking almonds overnight also reduces phytic acid which inhibits nutrient absorption [2].
  3. Weight Loss And Aging: Soaked almonds are rich in antioxidants [3] which eliminate harmful free radicals from the body and prevents inflammation. Antioxidants like vitamin E delays the process of aging and help you maintain your younger-looking self. Soaked almonds also aid in weight loss. They are rich in monounsaturated fats because of which you can munch on almonds and satiate your midnight hunger pangs without gaining additional weight [4].
  4. Regulates Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Level: Soaked almonds help regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They are rich in protein, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, which helps in combating heart diseases and reduces the chances of artery congestion [5]. Moreover, they help regulate blood sugar levels, which reduces the risks of diabetes [6].
  5. Better Taste: Some people prefer soaked almonds as they taste much better than raw almonds. Soaking the almonds makes it softer and gives it a better texture and taste. They are also easier to chew. Raw almonds are hard and have a bitter taste making it less appealing to eat.
  6. Skin and Hair: Soaked almonds can be blended with milk to be used as a face scrub and body moisturizer. This scrub acts as a great exfoliating agent and can also be used to treat skin inflammations. Using a hair mask with soaked almonds will give luster to your hair and help in preventing hair fall and hair damage due to their high nutrient profile.
  7. Other Health Benefits: The high content of folic acid in soaked almonds helps in reducing birth defects during pregnancy. They are often recommended to pregnant women as they are nutrient-rich and provide ample energy for the healthy development of the baby. Vitamin B17 present in soaked almonds helps to fight cancer and tumor growth [7]. Children are also encouraged to eat soaked almonds as they are said to boost their memory and act as a tonic for the brain. Constipation can also be treated with soaked almonds due to high fiber content.
    References:

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854608/
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325021/
    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276397/
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898316/
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946253/
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22296169
    7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986699/

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/

Understanding Antioxidants And Their Effect on Free Radicals

A walk down the aisles of a grocery store is proof of the fact that the hype around antioxidants is very much real. They are in your food, your packaged juice, and your skincare. Highly promoted by dieticians and health professionals, antioxidants are said to slow the aging process and help prevent vision loss, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, amongst other things. But what is an antioxidant and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look.

Antioxidants are a group of compounds found in food that share a chemical property. They are known for their ability to protect our body by neutralizing free radicals. They help prevent and reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

What Are Free Radicals?

By definition, free radicals are essentially unstable atoms and are natural by-products of chemical processes such as cellular respiration [1]. Additionally, free radicals are also formed from the air we breathe, the water we drink and things we consume such as tobacco or alcohol.

Our body needs the energy to function. We get this energy from the food we consume, which is then broken down in the mouth, the stomach, and the intestine and finally absorbed into the blood. Once in the bloodstream, sugars are made into energy within tissue cells by a process called cellular respiration, the by-product of which is free radicals.

Free radicals form when atoms or molecules gain or lose electrons. Because of their unstable and reactive nature, free radicals scavenge the body to find a replacement for their missing electron and regain stability. In this process, they end up damaging proteins, DNA and even cause cell death [1]. 

How Do Antioxidants Work?

An imbalance between the free radical and antioxidants leads to a state called oxidative stress, which leads to cell and tissue damage [2]. Factors such as lifestyle, diet, and environmental conditions contribute to oxidative stress, symptoms of which include headaches memory loss, fatigue, gray hair, and more.

This is where antioxidants come into play. They bind with the unstable free radicals by giving up their electrons. This terminates the oxidative chain reactions and the body’s cells and muscles are no longer under attack.

Sources of Antioxidants

Our body produces some antioxidants on its own, however, it is not enough. A diet rich in antioxidants is essential to keep the body healthy. Here’s a list of most common antioxidants and where you can get them.

  1. Vitamin A:  Orange vegetables like carrot, sweet potato and green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage are good sources with vitamin A.  Vitamin A is also found in liver, milk, and egg yolks.
  2. Vitamin C: Citrus fruits such as orange, lime, kiwi are rich sources of Vitamin C. Additionally, green vegetables such as broccoli, capsicum, and spinach are also packed with this vitamin.
  3. Vitamin E: All kinds of nuts, sunflower seeds, and greens like spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of the vitamin. You can also find vitamin E in vegetable oils, avocados, and whole grains.
  4. Beta-carotene: This antioxidant is mostly found in fruits and vegetables that are red, yellow or orange. These include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango, apricot, cantaloupe, and carrot. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli also contain beta-carotene.
  5. Lycopene: Red fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruit, and papaya are packed with lycopene. Guava, red cabbage and bell peppers are also excellent sources.
  6. Lutein:  The best natural food sources of lutein are green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, broccoli, and spinach.
  7. Selenium:  Animal produce and seafood such as ham, tuna, oysters, beef, beef, chicken, and shrimp are rich in selenium. Brazil nuts, tofu, cottage cheese, whole-wheat pasta, and mushrooms are great vegetarian sources of this antioxidant.

Additionally, dark chocolates, green tea, and coffee are also rich sources of antioxidants. If required, one can take supplements as per directions from the doctor.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10693912

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/

Make your own diet chart that works for you

Every profession has certain trade secrets.

As a nutritionist, the complicated math and science of menu planning is the ace up my professional sleeve. And today, I am decoding all the mystery shrouding calories and nutrients.

Yes, I am spilling the beans, cereals, fruits, veggies, nuts, and eggs that go into chalking out a diet plan. My motive is that I want you to become a smart eater. I want you to choose a diet that is perfect for you; a diet that caters to your health goals. Continue reading

Walk your steps to better health

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If you ask your parents about the happiest memories they have had of their children growing up, the first answer to pop up would be ‘the time my child took his first step’. Every parent knows that the first step in a child’s life is a landmark event. Our parents witnessed the smile and the thrill radiated through our face and that was a joyous moment carved in their memories. As children, we stumble and topple a few times over till we can manage to walk confidently, without any support. And when we turn from crawlers to walkers, it brings together a sense of independence, productivity and exploration.

So what changed as we grew up? Continue reading

Are fried foods really bad for you?

The title itself must have grabbed your attention. After all, who doesn’t love eating pakoda, chips, fries or samosa?

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But these delicious dishes are packed with fat, the most-calorie dense nutrient. So, what’s the solution? Learn to eat it the right way.

Frying has always been an integral part of Indian cooking. And not to forget, it can be healthy too.

The whole fad of non –fried samosa is actually bad as it increases the glycemic index of the food as compared to the fried version. You could easily gobble down 2-3 baked samosas thinking the baked versions are good for your health. However, in reality, one fried samosa is far better than 2-3 baked ones.

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Yeah, that’s the bitter truth.

But worry not! Help is at hand. Without much ado, let’s learn the smart way to eat fried.

Pairing and timing:

These two concepts of our PPTF approach should become your best friends if you want to relish fatty foods without worrying about the weighing scale. Once you learn to implement these two concepts, you’ll be able to make every day a cheat day!

Instead of the evening, savour your fatty food early in the morning, when you’re more active and your BMR is at its peak. As a result, fewer calories will get converted into fat.

Let’s say, you are in the mood for a samosa. Our advice is to skip the pav and instead get a protein-rich egg-white omelette or a besan chilla for breakfast along with the samosa. This way, you’ll get all your three pillars of nutrition – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – in one meal. And btw, restrict yourself to one samosa.

Similarly, you can eat fries made from a medium-sized potato along with grilled paneer and veggies or grilled chicken for lunch or breakfast.

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If you are craving for everyone’s favourite street food – pani puri, go ahead and treat yourself. Just remember, skip the potato and opt for sprouts, chana or ragda filling to balance the nutrients.

Choosing the right oil and cooking style:

Choose the right oil and frying method and the battle is half-won. Groundnut oil is your best bet. With its high smoking point and goodness of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, it is the ideal oil for frying.

Cooking fried at home is a trick that always works. You can monitor the quality and quantity of oil. Since frying is a tedious process, this way you’ll only use the frying pan once or twice a month. And yeah, deep frying at a high flame is much better than deep frying at a slow flame since lesser oil will be absorbed.

PS: Shallow frying may seem a healthier alternative, but sometimes, it absorbs more oil than deep frying. So, keep an eye on the oil you use while you shallow fry.

Some frying secrets:

Now, we are sharing some super tricks that will allow you to eat fried foods without any guilt attached:

Control the moisture

If the moisture of a particular food is high, the fat absorption goes double or even triple. So, keep the moisture content in check to ensure that fried foods do not absorb excess oil.

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Let’s say you are preparing batata wada at home. The besan batter has to be of pouring consistency. If you add a lot of water, then the wada will absorb more oil and in turn, make it greasier and fatty. The same rule applies for pakodas.

The ‘magic’ ingredient

A soya-fortified batter is an excellent way to increase the protein content and lower oil absorption. Adding 10% soy flour with wheat flour or 20% soy flour to gram flour batter reduces oil absorption by nearly 20%. Now, that is a smart trick to ‘have your pakoda and eat it too’.

Avoid using fried oil repeatedly for frying

When we reuse oils, its smoking point decreases. This, in turn, leads to higher fat absorption.

Simple steps such as avoiding sodium bicarbonate in the batter or removing your favourite munchie on an absorbent paper will keep the fat in fried foods in check.

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And if you are looking to get some smart recommendations on making nutritionally balanced meal plans then head right to bon happetee app and try the “build my meal” feature in meal suggestions section. Just tell us what you feel like eating and let the app build a complete meal around it. Say no to diet plans, say yes to smart meal plans and lose weight naturally.

Happy eating fried foods from team bon happetee 🙂

content writer - bon happetee diet plan app

Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.