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/

5 Nutrients To Combat Hair Loss In Winter

The dropping temperatures, snug pull-overs, and warm lattes; winter brings a sense of happiness to most. However, for those with thinning hair, this season may bring the exact opposite emotion. While it is normal for you to lose hair in winter [1], an excessive amount of this can be quite disheartening. Don’t pull out your hair in worry just yet, we tell you ways to fix this with amazing nutrients and foods. 

  1. Iron: Iron controls the hemoglobin in your body, which is used to transport oxygen in the blood and to your organs [2]. If you are low on iron, your body finds it tough to get enough oxygen, especially to your hair and nails, causing hair loss. Have iron-rich foods or supplements to strengthen your hair. 

Foods Rich in Iron: Green vegetables, mangoes, lentils and beans, nuts and seeds.

  1. Selenium: Your body has enzymes that are responsible for killing the harmful free radicals that affect your skin and hair cells, causing hair fall and premature aging. Selenium helps them be more reactive, which means fight better. It even helps balance the thyroid function and boosts antioxidants, both of which help in better hair strength.[3] More importantly, it is used to treat dandruff, a common side effect in the dry winter air.

Foods Rich In Selenium: Brazil nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, oats, brown rice, fish, seafood, and lean meats.

  1. Zinc: Zinc influences your hair follicle’s protein structure. In addition, it acts as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) that manages hormone-related hair loss. [4] In fact, most hair supplements have zinc to stop and even reverse the early stages of balding.

Foods Rich In Zinc: Meat, seafood and fish, legumes and beans, dairy, eggs, and whole grains

  1. Protein: Proteins are the building blocks of life, and amino acids are building blocks of protein. They help breakdown foods, move nutrients to the bloodstream, and regulate hormones and appetite, so they’re a vital part of your body. Your hair cells are full of amino acids, but the harsh weather can reduce and damage these nutrients, hence you need to replenish them with your diet. Not only do they stop hair fall, but they also aid in creating healthy and shiny hair.

Foods Rich In Protein: Meat, fish, dairy products, pulses, soy

  1. Biotin: This is a water-soluble vitamin B [6] that helps process certain nutrients like amino acids and minerals, and convert them into useful energy for the body. It helps revitalize your hair and keep them strong.

Foods Rich In Biotin: Egg yolk, roasted almonds, cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potato and spinach

Along with a healthy diet of the above items, ensure that you care for your hair with organic shampoos and oils.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2003996
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678013/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-20041-9
  6. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/

A sneak peek into a simple 1600 calorie Indian diet plan

Want to know what a simple 1600 calorie diet plan looks like?

Here it is – an easy doable meal plan that keeps you full and satisfied and still helps you to lose weight.

simple 1600 calorie meal plan

This sample plan teaches you how to fuel right to get the most out of your workouts. Also, it shows you how to eat the ‘fattening’ egg yolk, paneer, peanut butter and banana without worrying about the weighing scale.

But if you are still worried about:

Can I eat pasta? When and how much?

What should I eat for breakfast on the days I don’t work out?

What is a good alternative to sprouts?

Then, you have come to the right spot. bon happétee is always ready to help.

It analyses your food preferences, exercise regime, calorie intake, and fitness goals. The app recommends nutritious choices for every meal you eat, every single day.

It’s a one-stop-shop for all your fitness needs.

simple 1600 calorie meal plan

We also have a 1300 calorie diet plan and a 2000 calorie diet plan

So wait no more. Get started with bon happétee right away- your best Indian weight loss app.

content writer - bon happetee diet plan appVishruta 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.

Indian diet for hair growth and health

indian diet for hair growthMothers are often seen scolding their kids because they forgot to eat nuts, didn’t drink the glass of milk or refused to eat spinach and dal. It might have happened with you when you were a child. It has happened with most of us.

Turns out mothers had a good reason to be strict when it came to consuming all these foods. Because they know that these nutrients are required for healthy hair.

Bon Happétee has compiled the best Indian diet for hair growth  and health- Continue reading

Let’s look at a 2000 calorie Indian diet plan

Diets didn’t work for you? Neither did drinking green tea? You didn’t lose a single pound. Furthermore, you are finding it extremely difficult to sleep and lose your cool for apparently no reason.

Extreme diets can do that to you – lead to disturbed sleep, mood swings and unhappiness.

At bon happetee we understand your frustration. Here is a sample plan to speed up your weight loss without compromising on your sleep, mental health and most importantly, taste.

Let’s look at a 2000 calorie diet plan-
Continue reading

A republic of unbalanced diet – Causes & Solutions

Bon happetee indian food logging app

Diet of our nation is poor, here’s how we can be better this republic day

Just like any developing nation, our diets have been continuously evolving and has seen a paradigm shift in the past few decades. On one hand, we are consuming more calories than ever with an increase in the daily consumption of fats and sugar and on the other, malnutrition is still a severe problem In India.

Take a look at these statistics and studies (and some of them may come as a shock to you):

  • India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China. 14.4 million children in the country have excess weight.
  • India leads and is home to 102 million underweight men and 101 million underweight women, that is 40% of the global underweight population.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), one-fifth of Indian women, or 20.7 %, in the age group of 15-49 are overweight.
  • Over half of women of reproductive age — 51 % suffer from anaemia, which is a serious condition that can have long-term health impacts for both mother and child.
  • About 21 percent of children under 5 is defined as ’wasted’ or ‘severely wasted’ — meaning they do not weigh enough for their height.

From a country using natural ingredients, fresh produce, traditional superfoods and a sit-down meal culture, what changed in the way we eat causing us to reach this tipping point? A recent article shed some light on the eating patterns of Indians and how most of them eat unbalanced diets.

A well-balanced diet comprises of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients from various food groups. With the ever-evolving Indian diets and factors like income, food prices, convenience, personal beliefs, availability and traditions, Indians are eating fewer nutrients from all these food groups.

Bon happetee indian food logging app

Balanced diet

The recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 by the health ministry revealed that 47% (less than half) of all women consume dark green, leafy vegetables daily and another 38% eat them only once a week. The NFHS-4 showed that only half (45%) of women eat pulses or beans daily and an equal percentage consume them weekly. Milk or curd is consumed daily by 45% of women and weekly by 23%. 7% never have either milk or curd and 25% consume these dairy products only occasionally. The pattern of food consumption by men is similar to that of women, but men are slightly more likely than women to consume milk, curd, fruits, chicken, meat, fish or eggs regularly.

Low intake of these nutrients predisposes an individual to poor heart health, diabetes, obesity, lifestyle disorders and metabolic disorders.

How can we change this?

Don’t ignore the risks of unhealthy diets: Eating too much or too little, not focusing on balanced meals and nutrients are related to developing deficiencies that turn into disorders and diseases in the long run. Focus on traditional meal pairings, a good ratio of protein and carbs in a diet, healthy fats and the recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals meal-to-meal, day-to-day.

Equality between the nutritional requirements of men and women: Providing men with optimum nutrition is as important as nourishing the nation’s women. Women tend to consume lesser milk and milk products, meat, poultry and eggs etc. The low socio-economic status, gender inequality, their reproductive role etc. predispose them to poor diet and deficiencies.
Provide healthy and affordable food for all: Along with battling obesity and undernutrition at the same time, we need an adequate food system capable of delivering healthy food at affordable prices to everyone.

bon happetee indian food logging app

cooking with your kids can make them eat right

Teach children about nutrition and making the right food choices: Educate children about where the food they eat comes from, the difference between natural produce and junk food, how different foods get digested differently in the body and how we should nourish our bodies to gain maximum potential.

Focus on adolescent girls and women: Focusing on nutritional requirements in early stages of life is crucial to tackling the health of the nation. Healthy girls in the society give birth to healthy babies and in turn reduces cases of stunting, malnutrition and infant mortality.

Good health is a key criterion for human well-being and economic growth of the nation. The choice towards a healthier nation starts with every individual ensuring to nourish himself, his family, his community and everyone around him.

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Akansha, founder & consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale, is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management & physical activity. She’s a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi

Be a Yummy Mummy (with our easy peasy tips!)

“Wow you are a Mom to a 5 year old? You don’t even look married!!”

Compliments like these make my day. I am sure any mom would love to receive such compliments. We all would love to look young and cool just like our celeb moms Malaika Arora, Karisma Kapoor, Mandira Bedi to name a few. Well, just because they are in media we feel its very easy for them to do it or that it’s a mandate for them. On the contrary, I feel it’s a “conscious choice” you make to stay fit and healthy even after a child birth.

Looking good and feeling confident go hand in hand, the sooner you start some physical activity which fits into your schedule the faster you will reach your pre-pregnancy weight. After 9 months of being pampered, eating for 2, eating whenever and whatever comes to sight, giving in to your tiniest craving thinking you so deserve it … it’s now time to get back to reality and step out from your comfort zone, wear your workout gear and get going to achieve your post pregnancy weight loss. Continue reading

Why should you eat little but often?

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“Eating a proper breakfast is a challenge. Forget that mid-morning meal at 11!”
“I don’t feel like eating anything with my evening chai, but when I sit for dinner, I can’t resist that extra roti/helping of rice/ dessert.”
If you are someone who gets caught in similar situations on a regular basis, you are inviting acidity, bloating, deranged sugar levels and weight gain!
Surprised? It’s the long gaps between meals that are the root cause of this problem.
Just make a small tweak to your lifestyle by eating a small meal between your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and you will reap innumerable benefits!

Chalo, let’s talk about the benefits that these mid-meals have to offer: Continue reading

Butter roti is Healthier than plain roti

Bon happetee weight loss and weight gain appIt is weekend! Along with your foodie buddies, you have decided to try out this new restaurant that has become the talk of the town. It is your turn to place the order, and keeping in mind the 2 kilos you’ve put on last month, you safely go for a plain roti with some chicken curry. You tell yourself it is the right thing to do. But you can’t stop ogling at the butter roti that the skinny chick at the next table is having. You frown and tell yourself, “She can afford to eat all that butter, not me. All the aerobics I did last week will go down the drain.”

Bon happetee weight loss and weight gain appWhat if we told you, you can eat that butter roti and still lose weight? Yeah, now we are talking! And why stop at just the butter rotis? We say bring on the tempting ghee ke paranthe, the delicious butter chicken, and even the gulab jamuns.

But before you embark on this indulgence, we would like to give you a little gyaan about GLYCEMIC INDEX. As foodies, we need to understand the concept of Glycemic Index (GI) and the factors that affect GI of foods and meals. Why food pairing is not only important but the only way for you to enjoy your white rice, white bread, and sweet treats ? How the right pairing of foods can help you eat what you love, without the guilt and without the bulge? Continue reading