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/

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/

8 Foods To Eat Your Way Out Of A Hangover

Sometimes (often during weekends) you wake up with a terrible headache, dizziness, dry skin, and little memory of the previous night’s binge drinking with friends. Maybe you didn’t need to have that fifth drink, even though it tasted delicious. Now, we can’t do much about the last evening’s embarrassing videos and photos, but we could help you with the hangover, by suggesting these nutrient-rich foods.

What Happens in a Hangover?

That soul-crushing hangover is nothing but the alcohol interfering with the neurotransmitters of your brain. Alcohol is known to release reward chemicals like dopamine, hence you feel happy when you have a drink or two. Now, when the drinking stops your brain takes time to regain its regular balance of these happy chemicals, making you feel confused and sometimes sad. 

Additionally, when your body processes alcohol it creates a substance called acetaldehyde, which makes you feel nauseated and gives you those neverending headaches. If you drink moderately, your liver can get rid of acetaldehyde, however, when you binge it puts pressure on your liver, causing the sick-in-the-stomach feeling, literally. Of course, the dehydration and acidity due to lack of water and food, doesn’t help.

How Can You Fight Hangovers?

Since you can’t turn back time and drink in moderation, eat these foods the next morning to get rid of the hangover.

1. Bananas: When you are dehydrated, your body loses electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. [1] One banana has almost 12% of the potassium that a person needs daily [2]. Bite into this yellow fruit and see the magic.

2. Eggs: Your morning omelet is packed with amino acids that help produce antioxidants in your body. Now when you drink, it depletes your body of these powerful fighters that aid your liver to process alcohol. Eggs help fuel-up these antioxidants in your body, making you feel healthier and full [3].

3. Nuts: Alcohol stays in your bloodstream for 24 hours. Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts contain magnesium, which helps break it down for your liver [4]. This eases hangover symptoms.

4. Leafy Vegetables: Alcohol is known to attack the iron storage in your body, hence you feel fatigued the next day along with having a pale, dull skin [5]. Spinach, kale, and other leafy vegetables are rich in folate or iron and help replenish this nutrient in your body.

5. Ginger: This amazing root has a host of health benefits. It is ideal to cure a sore throat, nausea, and upset stomach that come with hangovers. It has anti-inflammatory properties and calms the acidity [6] in the body, soothing the throat and the stomach.

6. Coffee: If you’re severely dehydrated, coffee may not be the best option, but it might be a boon if you have it an hour after drinking enough water. It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the stomach [7]. If you need to get to work, you will definitely need a caffeine pick-me-up after a fatigued and confusing morning. Stick to a light one with milk.

7. Other Fruits: Have water-rich and citrus fruits like orange, pineapple, watermelon, and berries that are packed with vitamin C and fiber to help your body recover. This vitamin helps slow down the conversion of alcohol into acetaldehyde easing symptoms of a hangover [8].

8. Oatmeal: Complex carbs in oatmeal provide a slow and steady release of sugar into your body, helping you avoid the spikes of high or low blood sugar [9], common after an alcohol binge. 

References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14044808
  2. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1930162/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23740536
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11505030
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/ginger
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S175646461200093X
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12499341
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1322250/

 

7 Breakfast ideas with a high score

Bon happetee indian food logging app

We have always talked about the importance of breakfast and we can’t seem to stress on it enough.  Food is our fuel and breakfast is the first meal of the day that breaks our night long fast.  Scoring high on your breakfast kick-starts your day at a healthier note and with our help, you can make it yummy as well.

With bon happetee diet app you get health and tasty and how do we do it? Well, apart from giving you personalized meal recommendations, we also score your meal! 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.

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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

How to teach kids to eat healthy

Watching your kids gorge on chocolates and fries the whole day long could be a mom’s worst nightmare. Though the importance of healthy eating has been doing the rounds in schools lately, it may not be enough. Mothers everywhere have a tough time trying to get their kids to eat veggies.

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The media is also responsible for misguiding the children by selling off junk food under false illusions. The attractive covers misquoting that they are full of healthy goodness are enough to tempt the little kids. It’s very tough for a mother to explain the contrary to her kids especially when they tell her that so and so brand of noodles is now healthy and tasty too. So how do we as mothers win our battle over the junk food funda? How do we instil the right food and wrong food idea into their little minds?

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Well, it’s easy! Read on further on how to educate your kids about healthy eating: Continue reading

10 Fuss-Free Healthy snacks to munch on, this game season.

One of the biggest events of the year for the cricket buffs is on. Watching the game with friends and family through the thrilling catches, miraculous comebacks and jaw dropping moments is an exceptionally endearing feeling. What the game also revolves around is the food! The feeling of grabbing a greasy pizza, chomping on fries that are washed down by a bottle of cola is what makes a game-night a pleasurable event. But the oh-so-captivating gamer grub, apart from calming down your grumbling stomach for a while, does not really do a favor to your waistline (or your body).

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Did you know that sitting in front of a television screen for a long duration has been linked to erratic eating behaviors and subsequent obesity?

The mindless munching of foods that are high in carbs, fats and salt does not bode well with the sedentary nature of the game night. But there can be no fun without your gamer grub around for the games night, right? Let bon happetee come to your rescue.

Here is the list of the most exotic, scrumptious and healthy snacks that blends health with taste. Continue reading

11 Amusing Weight Loss Tricks You Wish You Had Known Earlier

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Hello fellow foodies, we hope you have been doing well, and have now started to get in shape with all the goody-foodie advice that we keep giving you. After having told you to always wake up early, brush your teeth after dinner, to never skip a meal, and even telling you various ways to lose kilos in a few months … today, we are bringing you a few, rather funny diet tricks, that may help you keep off that bulge. Continue reading