7 Whole Grains to Add Your Diet for Good Health

Whole Grains to Add to Your Diet for Good Health

If you are an Asian like me, wheat and rice must be your staple diet. While grains offer a wealth of nutrients, each grain has its own specialty, whether it is the taste or nutrition. This is why alternating grains in your daily diet is quite helpful. But the problem these days is that the white refined flour has become quite popular. And this is leading to many health-related problems. People should instead opt for whole grains.

Being rich in Vitamin B, whole grains help your body in converting food to energy. Further, eating only a particular type of grain and not including a variety of grains in the diet might lead to health problems in the long run. Here is a list of alternative grains that have become popular recently due to the major health benefits they offer. Here are a list of grains you can add to your diet for a better health.

1. Quinoa

Rich in protein, quinoa is also a good source of calcium as well as iron. People who are strictly vegetarian should include quinoa in their diet. This is because vegetarians avoid meat, fish and other such products. Higher protein content in quinoa replenishes protein levels in food. Termed as ‘super grain’, this fiber rich grain is quite old.

However, people have realized its importance as of now. Quinoa also contains Riboflavin, manganese, magnesium and lysine as well. If you have already bought quinoa and are thinking how to use it, you can prepare it like any other grain. Make a tabbouleh using it, prepare pancakes and burgers or cook up a humble porridge. Quinoa is quite versatile, you know!

2. Barley

Barley is known for the presence of beta-glucans in it. These powerful compounds help the levels of cholesterol in the blood. They even lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol. Barley is rich in fiber, aiding in digestion and weight loss. It is even high in vitamins and minerals and provides a boost of antioxidants to your skin.

Barley has low gluten content. Hence, if you want to use barley to prepare breads, mix it with wheat flour to raise the dough. Barley is being successfully used as a thickening agent in soups, stews and other recipes. What more! Barley can use to prepare ice creams too. Isn’t it interesting!

3. Oats

Ah! Here’s my breakfast staple. I am very lazy in preparing breakfast. Hence, oats has been saving my life since a couple of years. I cook it with milk and add some jaggery for taste. If I have some energy to add dry fruits like almonds and raisins, I do that.

I relish this lovely breakfast and prefer it over cereals. And if you are one looking for something gluten-free, then oats is a good option. When it comes to nutrition, oats is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, manganese, magnesium, copper, folate, phosphorous, iron, zinc and even antioxidants.

Oats can be had with milk, water or even Greek yogurt. Prepare porridge, cookies (I did that), pancakes, breads, etc. with oats and you will never go wrong. Just remember that if you want to use oats for baking, you need to mix it with other flour.

4. Amaranth

Amaranth, a type of flour, helps in supplying amino acid lysine, which is not present in most of the cereal grains. It can even helps in building healthy bones due to the presence of calcium in good quantities. It is gluten-free and quite dense. Hence, mix it with other grains to get good results. Amaranth is also high in protein, carotenoids, fiber, phosphorous and iron as well. Amaranth is quite healthy for babies as well.

To prepare it, boil amaranth with good quantity of water, say around six cups water is required to boil one cup of amaranth. You need to stir it occasionally for 15-20 minutes and drain and rinse before consuming. You can use it as a thickening agent in soups and sauces or prepare snacks using it. If you are creative, turn this grain into a burrito, risotto, exotic salad or even a parfait.

5. Millet

So many types of millets to try and only one life! Yes, I am being dramatic over here. but, the truth is that there are actually many types of millet available. There is Foxtail millet, barnyard millet, finger millet, kodo millet, pearl millet, little millet and even proso millet. Millet is quite easy to digest and is very rich in protein. Presence of silicon in millet is good for hair and nails.

Traditionally used as a cereal, millet has come a long way. It has gone global, thanks to the versatility. Humble millet is high in nutrients and contains B-vitamins, minerals, potassium, dietary fiber, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and others. It is gluten-free as well and versatile when it comes to cooking. Millet can be used to prepare porridge, pancakes, breads, burgers, falafel, crepes and many other meals.

6. Sorghum

High in antioxidants, sorghum is an ancient cereal grain. It is quite versatile and loaded with nutrients. Sorghum is quite rich in magnesium and carbohydrates. If you are thinking of something for breakfast, you can opt for sorghum as it is digested slowly and keeps you full for a longer period.

Many people substitute sorghum for wheat flour because of the similar texture. It is a gluten-free grain and can even be used to prepare porridge, cakes, waffles or breads. People suffering from blood sugar control can opt for this cereal.

7. Rye

Here is a grain apt for weight watchers. Termed superior to wheat or barley, Rye contains a unique type of fiber. It keeps you full for a longer duration and does not cause the insulin to rise, which generally happens when consuming wheat.

Rye bread is one of the popular snacks to avoid hunger pangs. Rye is high in minerals, vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, B-complex vitamins and others. It helps boost metabolic performance and prevents ailments like cancer and asthma. Rye is very much popular for baking and turns out good cookies, bread, loafs, crepes, pies, crackers. You can even use it for preparing waffles and pastas.

Finally…

Make a smarter choice with grains, now you have a list of them. Visit the nearest grocery stores and inquire about the available variety of grains and flours. This will not only break the routine but also bring a twist of taste in your diet. Happy munching, fellows!

What Foods to Eat in Winter Season to Stay Warm and Healthy

Foods to Eat in Winter Season to Stay Warm and Healthy

I remember an incident when I was quite young wherein my grandma offered me some kind of sweet to eat. I happily accepted but spat it the next minute. Because that thing tasted nothing like sweet. She advised me to eat that up as that sweet is no less than a medicine for the winter season. It helps one stay warm. Being naïve, I ate it up but made some awful faces thereafter. I was not ready to believe that food instead of sweater will help me stay warm. However, after so many years, I came to understand what my grandma was trying to say. Her medicinal sweet indeed works. I didn’t complain about weather last winter as much as my friends did. This is because my mother had given me what my grandma used to give – a sweet prepared out of fenugreek seeds.

Not just fenugreek seeds, there are many foods that work inside out by keeping the temperature of the body warm. Hence, it is required that our diet changes according to weather. While in summers, you should eat food that keeps you cool – I do not mean ice creams rather I mean foods like cucumber, in winters, you should include sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, peanuts, etc. in your diet. If your diet is planned according to weather, your body will not react extremely. When your food is good, your health will follow suit. Eating warm foods in winter will save you from cough and cold to an extent as well.

Do you know additional calories are required in order to keep your body warm? Winter season brings with it many ailments. Your body needs a fair share of calories for dehumidifying air, prevent you from cold and keep you snug. Gorging on warm foods will even keep your energy levels high in the season. I also remember my mom telling me that whatever you eat in winter keeps you going on throughout the year. I think this is what animals and birds do. They collect food in summer and eat it up in winter. I think even we should eat hard and workout harder in winter to stay fit throughout the year.

Ginger

This is my favourite root. While I do not like much in other things, but ginger is a must in my cup of green tea. I even like ginger cookies – they taste spicy and sweet at the same time. But, why is ginger associated with winter. This is because ginger is a root that helps in digestion. With the onset of winters, our diet comprises rich heavy food. Together with this, even our activities become limited due to shorter days. If you feel lazy after a heavy meal, pop some ginger and find lethargy bidding goodbye to you. Ginger even helps in throat inflammation and relieving congestion.

Turmeric

What should I say about this magical food – there are so many benefits of a tiny pinch of turmeric powder. Turmeric is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral as well. While it is beneficial all-round the year, winter has some special relation to this yellow food. Turmeric helps keep respiratory ailments at bay during winter. It even keeps your skin glowing when had with warm water in the morning. This is because turmeric is rich in antioxidants as well. I usually give raw turmeric powder mixed with honey to my two year old to cure coughing. Do not forget to add a pinch of turmeric in soups this winter to stay healthy.

Carrots

I love munching on carrots in winter, especially because I need something to eat to beat the hunger pangs that arrive with this chilly season. Carrots help in digestion as they are high in fiber. So, munching on carrots is a healthy trait. Carrots also help in improving night vision due to the presence of beta-carotene in them. If you are looking for something to lock in your age, then carrot is the answer. This wonder food is even high in antioxidants. Include carrots in your diet to flush out the toxins naturally.

Sweet Potatoes

Again, high fiber content of sweet potatoes makes them a winter favourite. Including sweet potatoes in your diet is very beneficial in winters. This is because sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C enriched foods help to keep winter ailments like cold and cough at bay. If you feel stressed up in winter season, eating sweet potatoes will be a welcome change. Due to less of sunshine, you might not get as much vitamin D as required in this season. With high content of Vitamin D, sweet potatoes are a hot favourite in winters. Also, this cousin of potatoes even builds up your immunity.

Leafy Greens

It is the season of greens, right. My refrigerator is stocked with different kinds of greens with the onset of winters. I do not need to think much on what to cook in this season. While I knew that leafy greens are good for health, but I was not aware that they are particularly good for winter season. Leafy greens are rich in beta-carotene as well as vitamin c. Plus, they are even full of antioxidants. This means eating them is good for your health and skin as well. In addition, you can ward off winter ailments by including these in your diet.

Red Bell Peppers

In winter season, the most required thing is… immunity. If your immunity is low, nothing can save you from recurrent cold and cough. Make sure that your diet includes red bell peppers on a regular basis. Rich in vitamin C, red bell peppers help build immunity. It is better compared to citrus fruits as well due to double the amount of vitamin c in it.

Whole Grain

A few years ago, refined flours ruled the roost. This is because refined flours are quite flexible. However, the trend has reversed now. More and more recipes are being prepared using whole grain flour. Whole grain cereals as well as flours are very good for health whereas refined flours have been stripped of all the nutrition. With winter, whole grain becomes all the more popular. Whole grain provides you with required protein, carbohydrates and fiber. They even keep you warm during the winter season. Make sure that you include whole grains in your diet.

Dry Fruits

While fresh fruits are a favourite in summers, dry fruits top the list in the winter season. This is because dry fruits are warm in nature. High in protein and fiber, dry fruits keep you filling full for a longer period as well. Popular dry fruits in winter are apricots (high in iron, potassium and vitamins), dates, raisins, almonds, figs, peaches, prunes and walnuts as well.

Garlic

There is so much that can be done using this magic food. It is quite tiny in size but very useful and versatile. Garlic does not only add flavor and fragrance to meals, but it is known to build immunity as well. With contents like potassium, sulfuric compounds like calcium, garlic can be your best kept secret to survive the winter season without getting any coughs and colds. Garlic is even helpful in treating vaginal infections, skin infections, bacterial and viral infections as well.

Fennel

Fennel seeds are known to cool the body. However, they are even helpful to ward off the winter. Thanks to the presence of vitamin C in fennel seeds, they are helpful in increasing the resistance of your body to infections that are quite common in this season. Fennel seeds are also rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, fiber, selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants. The presence of zinc in it helps in keeping you away from winter ailments as well.

Spices

Winter is a season of spices. I love the smell of cardamom in warm tea, cloves in concoctions, cinnamon in cookies, black pepper and bay leaf in soups. While the taste is enhanced with the addition of spices, they are quite necessary as well in this season. Including cloves in your diet in winter helps in warding off winter problems like joint pains and cough. This magic food also helps in loosening up the mucus in the throat. Cinnamon too helps in relieving cold and its symptoms by warming up the body. Rich in antioxidants, cardamoms too helps relieve cold. The presence of vitamin c in black pepper is quite essential in winter as it acts as a natural remedy against cold and cough. If you desire soft and supple skin in winter, consume it with warm water in winter. Raw coriander seeds contain folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A and protect against common cold and even help in preserving healthy tissues.

Water

If you are not drinking enough water in winter, you are making a big mistake. The need for moisture goes up in winter months as the air is drier outside. Plus, if you use heater and bathe with hot water, the skin loses moisture all the more. Drinking enough water will make sure that your skin is bouncy and fresh. Water even keeps you satiated and prevents unrequired munching. This prevents adding extra pounds in this season.

Fresh Air

If you are suffering from cold in winters, do not make a mistake of staying indoors all day long. Fresh air for an hour every day will help you recover faster in this season. Go out in the sunshine and take in the vitamin D. It will help your body build immunity and ward off the infections as well. Going out for a walk or other physical activities will also keep winter blues away.

Stay Away from Alcohol

The popular notion is that alcohol keeps you warm in winter. However, this is not the truth. Contrary to general belief, alcohol is not a great choice to keep your body warm in winter. In fact, the rush of heat that is felt on consuming alcohol is false. Your overall body temperature does not rise through alcohol instead the core temperature goes down by drinking it. You might be exposed to the risks of hypothermia because of this.

Are you warmed up for winter now? Winter season is already knocking our doors. This is the time to make the most of it. Instead of sitting in your blanket and cribbing about it, go outside and embrace it with grace. All you need to do is take a healthy diet and balance it with planned workout. This will definitely help you sail through this season. Happy winters folks!

How Mothers Can Inspire Kids to Eat Healthy?

How Mothers Can Inspire Kids to Eat Healthy

How healthy are the children is so much dependent on their mothers, at least in the early years! While a mother cannot control to an extent what the kids after a certain age, but she can do a whole lot of things to make sure that the kid eats healthy stuff, inside the home and even outside it.

I remember once I asked my two year old to not eat chocolates straight out of the fridge. She was resistant to the idea but gave in. Once she caught me doing the same. I had opened a Pandora’s Box by doing this. She asked me, “Why can you eat cold chocolates and not me?” she continued, “why didn’t you let me eat cold chocolates,” et cetera.

Being a mom, I am the role model for my daughter. I had to follow the rules that I had set for her. And such rules are most applicable when it comes to food, health and nutrition. Kids have superb memory. They remember our mistakes very well. Why can I eat noodles and not my tot? Why am I allowed to eat ice creams at night but not she? And why does she have to eat fruits for breakfast whereas I can gobble up a cheese sandwich?

Kids try to emulate us in many things, in fact, almost all the things. If I do not listen to her or pay heed to her mumblings, she tries to do the same. If I am checking messages on my cell phone, she uses an imaginary phone to message her friend. And if I am entertaining myself by talking to a friend, she wants to watch the television too to stay occupied. As a mother, we need to set good habits in our kiddos, right from the beginning.

There are so many things that we can do as a mother to make sure that our kids develop healthy eating habits all their life. Many mothers have an opinion that kids will understand the difference between good and bad, only once when they are old enough to do so. However, most of the habits are formed till the kids reach three years of age. Even the body of a child gets accustomed to the food habits by that age. Hence, whatever changes that you want to do needs to be done before that.

Pregnancy

These are the best nine months to inspire your baby. There will be no resistance from your child. As a mother, you need to eat a variety of foods so that the fetus not only gets nutrition but gets to taste different things. Even research suggests that babies might develop food habits as early as the pregnancy phase.

The taste of what pregnant mothers eat gets transferred to the amniotic fluid. Hence, the baby gets to taste the food. And this, in most cases, is reflected in the eating preferences of the baby in the early years. If a pregnant mother has had more of apples, the baby prefers apple flavored foods in the beginning. This may or may not be the same for all babies. But, as a mother, it is better that you do not take chances and introduce your fetus to a variety of interesting foods. So that the baby develops good and healthy eating habits once he starts eating on his own. If you do like pungent and spicy foods, you should eat the same throughout the pregnancy if your health provider permits. This will help the fetus to adapt to such foods.

When I was pregnant, I ate everything – even those things that I was not fond of. Thankfully, my daughter is not a picky eater. One interesting thing that I noticed is that I used to skip fruits as that time I was not very fond of them. And my daughter makes faces when I serve fruit to her now. Further, I avoided sweets and confectioneries to avoid unnecessary weight gain. My daughter too is not much fond of sweets. This might be a coincidence too.

Breastfeeding

While some say that pregnancy is a difficult phase, I will contradict completely. For me, it was the breastfeeding phase. During pregnancy, I could make informed choices in spite of a plethora of advises that I used to get on a daily basis. However, I did not have that much time and energy when I had the baby. So, if Aunt A told me that do not eat carrots during pregnancy, I obliged and carried on. And when Aunt B told me to eat carrots and avoid tomatoes, I changed my diet again, without thinking much. No, I never made Aunt A and Aunt B meet to discuss this. However, now that my baby is older and after meeting many moms belonging to different cultures, I have understood the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the diet of a breastfeeding mother. Just like pregnancy, mothers should eat a variety of healthy foods even during the breastfeeding phase.

Yes, it is true to an extent that the babies get flavored milk if you eat something different. But another truth is that some babies like the specific flavored milk that they get. So, if you had garlic in the lunch today, then your baby might like to drink more of that milk rather than avoid it altogether. Further, if you are avoiding something just because it causes gas or other such problems, then you might be wrong. There could be many reasons of a bloated stomach of your baby, rather than just the food you had. Hence, keep calm and keep eating whatever you like. This way, your baby might eat all the things that you prepare instead of choosing a particular food group that you introduced to him during breastfeeding.

Six Month Onward

Continue breastfeeding your baby and also introduce other types of foods. While you introduce a variety of foods now, you can also make sure that you set a schedule for your baby as well. Make sure that you alternate between breastfeeding and regular food. If possible, feed other foods to the baby while the rest of the family is eating. The baby will be inspired to eat then. Even you can eat together with the baby. Your baby will be glad to see you eating a variety of stuff. Include colorful foods in your diet. Do not switch on television or other similar gadgets while the baby is eating. If he is not eating, he might not be hungry. Try after a while. Eating food does not require any kind of entertainment.

Toddlers

Toddlers are picky eaters, so say most of the moms. However, it is on you whether you desire to give such a label to your kid. If you have made sure that your baby eats healthy and a variety of foods, right from the beginning, then your toddler will not be a picky eater at all. Toddlers find the food interesting if it is presented well. Do not give the same foods on a daily basis. If you serve a fruit pancake today, then give porridge tomorrow, in spite of the fact that your baby will gobble up the pancake even today. Do not make pancakes dull for your baby by serving them every day. Make a point to eat meals together as a family. Let your baby eat by herself. Introduce finger foods at this stage that she can munch on. Give a complete meal to your baby.

Pre-Schoolers

If your baby has started going to pre-school, then you might be a mom who wonders what to give for tiffin on a regular basis. While you make sure to fill in the box with foods that your baby will finish it up without a fuss, also introduce other foods that she does not eat. For instance, if today you have given some cookies in the box, tomorrow team up the cookies with some fruits. When your kid returns from school, you can tell him that you had cookies and fruits for lunch. He will be happy that both of you had the same meal. What you eat as a mother reflects on the baby as well. When you eat a healthy meal, your baby is inspired to do so. If you focus more on junk food, your baby will be automatically directed towards it.

Pre-Teens and Teens

Your little kid has all grown up. She might have made friends belonging to other cultures and backgrounds in school. The food habits of different cultures vary. Hence, your teen is introduced to such foods through her friends. Together with this, your teen also gets introduced to junk food, which you might have kept her away from.

If you ask your teen to stay away from such foods strictly, then she might revolt or hide the fact that she had the food with her friends. Instead of this, try to make her understand the differences between the nutrition present in the junk food and healthy food. Not all junk food is unhealthy. Ask her to make informed choices.

You can go out together and make her learn how to choose what in certain situations. This way, your teen will learn what food is healthy and what is not. If you like cooking, you can learn what her friends’ mothers are preparing. This way, your kid will not get bored of the same type of food and taste. Many families make the same food but add different spices. This changes the taste of the food to a great extent. You can even learn to prepare junk food but by adding nutrition to it. You can add lots of veggies in the noodles or prepare whole wheat pasta at times. Your teen will be happy to eat such stuff at home.

Final Words

If you are not able to do a whole lot of stuff for your babies, then just make sure that you eat good and healthy meals. You are a living inspiration for your baby, right from day one. What you eat and do will reflect on your baby. Make sure you set a good example. Everything else will just follow.

Why Chewing Food is Important for Good Health?

Why chewing food is important for good health

“Chew your food, baby”, I instructed my toddler.

When I introduced solids to my baby, I made sure that she is chewing the food. However, at times, she used to gulp down the food without chewing. Such days would be troublesome for me as she used to puke the swallowed food. Chewing food is quite important.

We have been blessed with as many as 32 teeth. I used the word, ‘as many as’ because not many have the advantage of keeping those 32 intact. I got 4 of my teeth removed, so they didn’t have to fight for space and get crooked in anger. Jokes apart, in the bid to teach my toddler how to chew food properly, I forgot how to chew it myself. This is because life had become so busy that I had less of time on hand. Eventually, I had to face many problems. But, I have promised myself that now onward I will make sure that I am chewing the food properly – to inspire my tot to do the same.

Why Chew?

This seems to be an interesting question. Why chew when we can swallow it? Why chew when our stomach is capable to digest it? The answer is that chewing has several health benefits. In fact, if you do not chew food properly, you might end up suffering from health problems. You might end up with excess of stomach acid or even digestion related ailments or other difficulties. On the other hand, there are so many benefits of chewing food properly, ranging from nutrient absorption to weight loss.

How Many Times Should You Chew?

There is no fixed number on the number of times one should chew. It all depends on the type of food you are eating. However, experts maintain that softer foods should be chewed for around five to ten times while the solid ones should at least be chewed for thirty times. The more you chew, the better it is for your health.

How to Get into the Habit of Chewing?

  • Do not eat in a distracted environment while eating meals. This means that there should be no television, email checking or talking to someone during meals.
  • Sit down properly while eating.
  • Before you begin eating, remind yourself that you need to chew the food properly.
  • Take smaller bites so that it is easy to chew. If your meal has bigger chunks, try to cut them down before you sit for your meal.
  • Make a conscious effort of chewing the food properly.

It might seem difficult in the beginning. However, once you get into the groove, it is much easier to eat food this way. Plus, you will not suffer from problems related to digestion if you follow these steps.

Beverages During Meals

Do not drink beverages or water until and unless you have chewed the food properly. However, it is advised to avoid drinking any kind of beverages while eating. This is because presence of more than adequate amount of liquid in the stomach reduces the speed of digestion. Have you seen a semi-automatic machine working? If you fill up the tank with more than adequate water, the process of cleaning is slowed down. Even the clothes are not cleaned properly if the water is high. Get into a habit of drinking water twenty to thirty minutes prior to having a heavy meal. Make sure that you drink water after thirty minutes post a heavy meal.

Aids Weight Loss

At times, we are not able to ascertain the exact reason for weight gain. And in spite of exercising, the weighing scale does not buzz from the previous number. One of the reasons for this could be improper chewing of food or lack of it completely. Chewing food in the right manner helps shed extra pounds. Many people, especially the employed ones, have the habit of eating for specified number of minutes. At times, they utilize the spare time that they have in eating more.

For instance, Raven takes 10 minutes to finish off the lunch. However, when he has spare 5 minutes before the lunch break ends, he uses it to munch a nutri bar. He does not realize whether he is hungry or not. He just thinks that if the food has finished off in just 5 minutes, I must be hungry as I usually take 10 minutes. I should munch something to avoid getting hungry in the middle of the working hours. Does this happen to you? When you chew food properly, smaller morsels travel to the stomach. In this situation, you eat the same amount of nutrition but in smaller bites. This prevents stretching of tummy beyond a certain limit. If you do not chew properly, your tummy gradually stretches and you eat more to fill the more space created. This means that if you chew more, you can prevent chances of gaining unnecessary weight.

Controls Portion Size

Your brain is not able to signal immediately that your stomach is full while you eat meals. It takes some time, as many as twenty minutes, for your brain to make you realize that you are not hungry anymore. At times, you utilize this time to eat more food. If you eat slowly, then you have spare time to realize that you are finally full and do not want more. This helps you feeling full and therefore, avoids over stuffing your tummy. This even prevents consuming unrequired calories.

Helps in Digestion

Have you noticed that when you dice fruits or vegetables in smaller chunks, then it is easier to juice them and in lesser time? The same happens with our body. If we chew the food properly, then our system does not need to undergo the time-consuming process of breaking it down and digesting it. This even helps save energy, which can be used in accomplishing other tasks.

Prevents Ailments

Experts maintain that when the food is not chewed properly, it can result in heartburn or acidity. Further, it prevents problems related to digestion. Even I observed that when I eat food in a hurry, I feel heavy and bloated. People who do not chew food properly often complain of acid reflux. Not chewing food also results in a bad mood. This is because non-chewed food means incomplete digestion process and this result in gastric issues and reportedly, a bad mood.

Boosts Nutrient Absorption

When the food is not broken completely, the task of nutrient absorption slows down. If you do not chew food properly, the stomach first breaks it down and then extracts required nutrition. While completing the task of breaking the food, your stomach is not able to accomplish the task of nutrient absorption in a better way. Food that goes to your body in bigger chunks is not absorbed by the blood stream, but rather goes to the system directly. In this way, your body is not able to get as many nutrients as it should have acquired. Smaller chunks of food and properly chewed food are easier for your body as well. It can absorb all the nutrients present in the food in the best manner possible. The more you chew your food, the better are the chances of nutrient absorption by your body.

Promotes Teeth Exercise

My mother advises me to churn some raw salt in the mixer grinder once in a while in order to sharpen the blades. This means that tougher the task, the better it is for the machine. In the same manner, our teeth are the machines. They need some tough exercises on a daily basis to maintain their sharpness. By chewing the food, your teeth get adequate amount of exercise. Continual exercise even prevents building up of plaque on teeth as the bacteria are removed regularly. Ultimately, you can stay away from tooth decay and other ailments.

Contact with Saliva

Did you know that the food you eat needs to get sufficient amount of saliva to make its journey in the body easier? This is because saliva present in your mouth has several digestive enzymes present in it. When you chew your food, these enzymes come in contact with your saliva. This contact helps in better digestion. If you do not chew your food properly, the food does not get required time with saliva. Such food when passes through the stomach and intestines, it is harder to digest by the organs. The enzymes help in nutrient absorption, digestion and even breaking down the fats present in the food along with other assistance.

And in the End

The best benefit of chewing the food is that you get to enjoy it in the way it should be. If possible, close your eyes while eating a morsel. When all the other senses are put to rest, the sense of taste is heightened. If you might have noticed that when you eat something tasty, your eyes are closed automatically. This is because you want to enjoy it, bite by bite. If you do this regularly, you will enjoy the food all the more. Food that is enjoyed also leads to better health. Happy chewing folks!

Super Tips on How to Cheat Your Diet Gracefully

cheat on your diet

It had been a month that I was dieting. In order to reduce weight, I even chucked eating out or going out with friends. Then, I failed to understand what happened to me, one fine evening. I took out a tub of ice-cream from the refrigerator and finished it off in one serving. Till date, I feel guilty of doing so. I even felt that the hard work of an entire month had gone for a toss for a tub of ice-cream. I visited my friend, who also happens to be a dietitian. She assured me that there was nothing wrong in it. She even advised me on how to cheat on a diet and why we should actually plan to cheat. I followed her advice and even managed to lose some inches. Here are some things that I kept in mind.

Yes, You Can Definitely Cheat

You read it right. It’s okay to cheat in diets. In fact, you should plan to cheat on your weight-loss diet, every once in a while. There are different ways in which you can cheat on your diet. For instance, you prepare a cheat-diet yourself or cheat when you are invited to a party or you cheat when you feel depressed. While the last one should be avoided at all counts, the first two ways are not something to worry about.

Have a Plan in Place

Whenever you want to cheat on your diet, have a plan in place. Behave like a strategist. Decide on the place you will cheat and also the timing. Decide upon the food that you are cheating on. Pre-plan the meals before and after the cheating meal. This way, you can avoid emotional eating while cheating. Also, decide upon the portion for cheating meal. It is okay to eat cheat meals, but do not go overboard with portions ever. Whenever I am going to cheat, I make sure that I get my favourite food from the favourite place. This is because earlier it used to happen that in spite of cheating I did not enjoy the food at all. It made it worse for me because of guilt.

Balance Nice and Naughty

When you diet, you can be naughty only if you have been nice throughout. This means that you are allowed to splurge on cheating only when you have been honestly dieting all this time. This is because when you eat a calorie-laden cheat meal between strict dieting, it will do no harm to your body. In fact, it would benefit it. The reason being cheat meals are known to trick your mind into making it believe that there is food to use for burning. It helps in boosting your metabolism and even the leptin hormone in the body.

Do Not Go Overboard

At times, in order to cheat on a diet, people go overboard by not consuming calories for several days prior to the cheat meal. However, this creates major imbalance. If you deprive yourself of calories and then opt for a cheat meal, then you are most likely to go overboard by stuffing yourself with calories. Eat well and then go for a cheat meal. This way, you will be able to control the portion. Further, do not opt for a cheat day. You are not allowed to cheat for an entire day or a week while dieting. You should just opt for a cheat meal. Cheating frequently will wash away all the hard work you did.

Eat Well Before Cheating

As I wrote earlier, do not starve yourself before the cheat meal. Eat high-protein meal that is low on calories for lunch, if you are opting for a cheat meal at dinner. Even before you go for the meal, eat some fresh salads. This way, you will not be tempted to eat mindlessly. When you are satiated before a meal, you are the most likely to eat healthy.

Work Out Before You Eat Out

When you work out, you burn sugar present in your system. This way, when you gorge on some calorie-laden creamy pasta, it will not end up at the wrong places. You can do some high intensity exercise before showing up for dinner. The duration does not matter – even 15-20 of exercise will help. You can even take a pre-workout supplement like black coffee to further boost your training.

Limit Your Options

When I opt out for a meal, I decide beforehand what I shall be eating. I make sure that my mind is not tempted to give in to the cravings for all type of food. Nowadays, menus of the restaurant are available online. I check it out, decide on the order and then head out for dinner. When I decide on the order in the comfort of my home, without any pressure, I order judiciously.

Don’t Give In

It is very easy to give in to the temptations. Just eat one cheat meal with a single serving. Do not opt for multiple meals. If possible, you should order salads with the cheat meal that you are opting for. Make sure that even the cheat meal is nutritious. If you opt for pasta, then go for pasta with veggies or spinach puree. This way, you ensure that there is fiber in your food.

Don’t Eat While Watching

Whenever I watch television, I am tempted to munch on something, even if immediately after dinner. While watching television, we are not able to judge our portions and meals. We are likely to go overboard with calories.

Stay Hydrated

Drink sufficient amount of water throughout on the day when you are going out for cheat meal. Even before the order arrives, stay hydrated. Meals prepared at restaurant are high on sodium. This requires to be digested with the help of water. The meal, at time, is even toxic. So, make sure that you slurp some fresh lemon juice, with no sugar, to flush out the toxins out of the body.

While You Are Cheating

It is very important to not to feel guilty while you are cheating. Enjoy every morsel of your cheat diet. Immerse yourself in the taste and savor the food that you missed out on for several days. This will even help you realize when your tummy is full and prevent you from going overboard.

Get Out of the Cheat Meals

It is difficult to get out of the cheat meals. Once you cheat on your diet, you feel so good that you give in to the temptations. Even if you have cheated on two meals in one day, you need to get out of this. It is okay to cheat on just two meals, rather than for several together. If you do not stop now, you will be stuffing on calories continuously.

Cheating on a diet can make you feel guilty. Instead of feeling guilty, plan ahead for a cheat diet. This way, you will be sure of how many calories you are consuming. Do not feel bad about cheating. Even cheating is good at times. It prevents you from going overboard suddenly.

How to Instill Healthy Eating Habits in Your Family

How to Instill Healthy Eating Habits in Your Family

What you as a parent will eat, your kids will follow the suit. If you want to make your kids do something, the first rule is to do it yourself. When you eat healthy, your kids will be inspired to eat the same. With so many unhealthy foods available at superstores, it is quite difficult to keep yourself and your family away from it. For instance, there are ready-to-drink juices (which are full of sugar) and ready-to-eat meals (which are loaded with preservatives) available just a call away. On top of that, you are tempted to dine out with family on weekends. In this hullaballoo, how is it possible to instill healthy eating habits in your family?

I have been trying this for a month or so. We as a family are not dining out at all. We go out, have fun, return and cook something together on weekends. This way, we are not only eating healthy, but also have come close as a family. While my husband chops veggies, my toddler hands over the works to prepare food. It is lovely to prepare something together and relish it too. Here are some ideas that will help you to make sure that you as a family are eating healthy and nutritious food.

How to Instill Healthy Eating Habits in Your Family

Team Up Unhealthy with Healthy

You can’t ask your family to start eating healthy all of a sudden. Hence, you should first begin with teaming their favourite unhealthy foods with healthy ones. Suppose, if its burger for dinner, make sure to prepare only half the number. Now, first serve the soup and then, the burger. And make some rice dishes together with it to make a complete meal. I have been doing the same with my toddler. She likes noodles but didn’t chew them. So, I make her eat rice or chapatis first before serving noodles to the entire family. Her temptation to eat noodles was marred down eventually.

Eating Whole Wheat

I am one mommy that wants to keep my kid away from refined flour. While I do not prefer it for weighty issues, I do not give it to my family for nutrition reasons. I began with bread first. I do not bake breads at home as our family is not a fan of bread. However, whenever we buy it, we make sure that it is either whole wheat bread or a multi-grain one. I have even been preparing béchamel sauce or white sauce using whole wheat flour rather than refined one. Also, cupcakes and cookies turned out good with whole wheat flour.

My little one is a fan of pasta and noodles. I bring the whole wheat brown pasta and wheat or rice noodles from the store. It tastes quite good. Just check the ingredients at the back of the pack, to make sure that it is whole wheat and not refined flour.

Stocking the Refrigerator

I personally believe in eating fresh. Refrigerator is a bane at times. I have seen many families preparing food in bulk and then, consuming it for a couple of days from refrigerator. My rule is to prepare only small batches of food that can be consumed by the family in one sitting. However, I use refrigerator to store sauces because I am not able to prepare them instantly.

When we shifted to a new apartment, sourcing fruits and veggies became quite difficult. So, nowadays, even these can be seen peeping out of my refrigerator. I make a point that there are no soft drinks, ready-to-drink juices or chocolates in the refrigerator. This is to prevent my toddler to eat this stuff. Whenever I am hungry and open the fridge, I find only milk to drink and fruits to munch, and that ways, I am cured of eating unhealthy during hunger pangs.

Drink More Water

The first rule of healthy diet is drinking more water throughout the day, in any form you wish. While we know that water is necessary, we either don’t remember to drink it or do not want to. The first rule is keep water accessible. Fill a jug and place one on the dining table, one near your workstation and even near the shoe rack. Further, get creative with water. In summers, I add fresh fruits like lemon, orange, kiwi, apple or mint in a glass jug. My family is excited to drink this detox drink.

No Short-order Cooking

This was my weakness, earlier. I didn’t use to plan meals in advance and when the time arrived, I prepared anything that was easy to cook and clean. This made me a lazy and unhealthy cook. Hence, my meals are now planned a day or two in advance. I source the ingredients and make preparations in advance. Even when we as a family are going for an outing, I prepare the veggies, knead the dough and prepare some rice in advance. This way, on return, I just need to make chapatis.

Let your Family Decide

Often, we are brought up with the mindset of eating only particular foods for breakfast and others for dinner. For instance, poha is for breakfast and parathas are for dinner. My point is that if the food is healthy, then why should we restrict our family to pin down foods for meals? If my husband asks me to make parathas for Sunday brunch and poha for a light dinner, then I agree it. When my toddler desires to eat pasta for breakfast, I add some veggies in the sauce to make her a hearty breakfast that she will love. When I give in to their demands, they are not tempted to eat the unhealthy stuff.

Keep Innovating

Healthy eating does not mean that you need to eat regular dal-chawal daily. Adding new ingredients to the regular meal can work wonders to keep your family glued to the healthy stuff. For instance, if it is just paneer today, after a few days, I prepare paneer with colorful bell peppers. Colour is my mantra to make food interesting. The more colorful the food, the better it is. I even change the method of preparing meals. If I am sautéing potatoes today, I bake them next time. This way, my toddler does not get bored of potatoes.

Substitute

When you start eating healthy, the key is to substitute ingredients, methods and food. For instance, sauteing instead of frying, brown sugar or jaggery instead of white, oil or clarified butter instead of butter. If tea is what you are hooked on to, substitute it with a cup of warm milk or even warm water. If you love eating desserts, substitute it with fruits and honey.

Educate

Just regulating unhealthy meals does not work. Educate your family about what healthy food is and the reason you are asking them to eat it. Inform them about different types of flours and benefits of eating them. When you are preparing meals, involve your family in the process. Tell them why you are not frying and sautéing instead. This way, they will not only be informed but also try to eat healthy foods even in your absence.

Finally…

Healthy eating should not be forced. If you are forcing someone to do something, the person will not be doing it in your absence. Make healthy eating a way of your lifestyle. Inspire your kids by choosing healthy foods over the unhealthy ones. Eat fruits, fresh veggies and foods that you think that your family should eat. Do not fill your basket mindlessly at superstores. Do not stock unhealthy meals. When unhealthy ready-to-eat foods will not be present in your kitchen, your family will be able to eat it too, including yourself. Remember, charity and healthy eating begins at home! Here’s to Healthy and happy eating!

If you find this article helpful, consider it to share with the people you care.

6 Delicious Foods to Lose Weight in Indian Style

6 Delicious Foods to Lose Weight with Indian Style

Meenakshi loves her daily dose of “Maakehaathkakhana”. When she decided to lose some weight for her upcoming dance competition, she scouted for some diet plans online. Many of these plans were designed by people in the west. The foods mentioned were either unavailable or not tasty enough to survive. She chose not to diet and started hunting for some other options.

So, what is actually diet food? Is it not possible to lose weight by making changes here and there in the regular diet? Do you ask such questions? I used to. Especially being a hard-core Indian, I cannot just imagine a dal-free meal. This made me hunt for foods that are readily available in Indian kitchen and will also help in reducing some kilos here and there.

Moong Dal

While some say, “That cup of coffee made my day,” I prefer saying, “That bowl of moong dal made my day. It is so delicious and filling that I cannot just skip gorging on it. My dietician says, “Moong Dal is brimming with essential nutrients like proteins, fiber, Vitamin A, B, C and E. It is even rich in potassium, iron, calcium and minerals. If you are fond of fatty foods, just have a bowl of moong dal prior to it. You will notice a difference in your temptation. This dal aids in weight loss as well as strengthens the immune system. Team up moong dal with ghee-free chapatis for a hearty meal. Alternatively sprout whole moong and relish them with freshly diced tomatoes and cucumber for weight loss.

Dhokla

Yes, Dhokla it is. You cannot survive without Dhokla and if you hail from Gujarat, it will be quite difficult for you to leave this yummy food out of your diet. So, here is an announcement. Prepare dhokla the healthy way and you will never miss them in your weight loss diet. Dhokla is essentially a steamed dish and hence, it is healthy as opposed to some fried snacks. Further, dhoklais prepared out of gram. This makes it a filling snack. However, make sure that you do not add sugar or extra salt in it. Do not fry the steamed dhoklas and relish them just out of the steamer, without adding oil.

Jowarki Roti

Whenever I visited my grandma at town, she used to feed me big, round, jowarrotis. As they used to be tasty, I thought that it would add a few kilos to my already high weight. (P.S. I always think that favourite foods increase weight). With the advent of internet, I did some research and even got in touch with some dieticians. They were of the opinion that jowarrotis actually aid in weight loss. They are full of fiber and aids digestion. Plus, they boost the immune system. JowarRotis are quite filling and keep you satiated for longer.

Besan Ka Cheela

What are you saying? Am I actually reading a list of weight-loss foods? If this is true then can I gorge on besan ka cheela without any guilt? Yes. This is because besan ka cheela is prepared out of gram flour. And hence, it is full of carbohydrates. It keeps you filling full for long. Further, you need to make sure that the method of preparing cheela is healthy. Use a non-stick pan for preparing it. This means no use of oil. Add some vegetables, carom seeds and only a little salt to the batter, which will add to the health. To make it all the more filling, team it up with curd.

Chhola

My earliest memory of food is dipping small bites of steaming hot puris into chhola. With every bite, a piece of heaven reached my tummy. However, seeing my weight, my mother banned this dish from my diet. Poor Me!!! Thanks to internet, I found out that chhola or chickpeas are actually quite healthy. Once again, the method of preparing it matters. While I like Hummus, I will even want to eat chickpeas Indian style with some freshly baked whole-wheat bread or chapatis. I boil chickpeas and add diced tomatoes and onion to it. Garnish it with squeezed lemon and coriander sprigs. Yummy it sounds, isn’t it!! Go on my friends; prepare them my style as the recipe is finally out.

Paneer

Now picture this. You are on a diet but are invited by a friend to dinner at a fine dine restaurant, saying that you will get diet food over there too. The moment you check out the menu, you find that there are over 10 meals that have paneer in it. Your heart cries out loud and you order something from the salads. If not with you, this is a regular fare with me, at least. It is difficult to separate paneer and me. Wait! Do not ask me to replace paneer with tofu. Because, I asked my dietitian and she recommended eating paneer. She told me that paneer is a filling food. It is rich in protein and calcium. Hold yourself! Do not fry paneer, just add some chunks to your salad.

The Most Important Food

The title is just to fool you so that you read it. I know that you have a habit of just reading the titles as you are pressed for time. But, if you really want to reduce some kilos, read the matter too as it is important in this particular post.

Being an Indian, I am one of those who are bent to have ‘the yum factor’ in the food or eating is useless. Even the foods for fasting are made very delicious to survive the entire day. I seriously hope that this list gives you some food for thought and eating too!

7 Healthy Foods in Your Kitchen that You Think are Unhealthy But Are Not

healthy-food-kitchen

My friend is a self-proclaimed health activist. She keeps on asking me to avoid eating many things in my daily routine as well. While on Monday, she asked me to avoid butter on my bread, on Thursday, she was adamant on making me skip sugar altogether.

Yesterday, she annoyed me very much by snatching a bowl of baked potatoes from my hand. She was like, “Potatoes?? Do you even know how unhealthy they are?” This was the last straw. I met a dietitian and verified my regular diet. The dietitian opined that eating foods in moderation is the key. Rather than, avoiding something altogether, you should have it in moderation. Thank God for this! I am sharing here some foods that you regularly stock in your kitchen and generally think that they are unhealthy but in reality, they are healthy.

1. Potatoes

When your friend asked you to skip eating potatoes, did you avoided them altogether? Not again. Potatoes are good for health, if had in moderation. How healthy the humble potato is depends on the method of cooking it. For instance, while fried potatoes are not good, baked potatoes will do much good to your body. The presence of calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, choline, folate, starch, carbohydrates and other nutrients make potato quite healthy. Potatoes are good for your bones, heart, skin and overall health. They even help in weight management, prevent cancer and due to fiber content, aids in digestion as well.

2. Sugar

Yes, sugar is good for you. However, if you think that now you can go ahead and eat cookies, pastries and indulge in sugar-loaded drinks, then you are wrong here. You can have sugar but in small quantities. I would not advise processed sugar here, though. For instance, you can have sugar in your tea or coffee. But, not by any means, avoid natural sugar that is present in fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and vegetables are a good source of both antioxidants and fiber.

3. Chocolate

Are you avoiding chocolate because it causes pimples, increases weight and is not good for your overall health? Here’s a way out. Next time, when you crave for chocolate, grab the dark version of it. Dark chocolate, contrary to the plain one, offers many health benefits. It is full of antioxidants and even a host of nutrients. Have some dark chocolate to optimize your blood sugar. Chocolates with at least 70% cocoa are good for your heart and skin too.

Also Read: Learn How to Use Hula Hoops to Burn Fat

4. Whole Milk

Nowadays, many health conscious people are avoiding whole milk and opting for low fat milk or skim milk instead. However, contrary to the popular belief, whole milk is very good for health. Further, are you aware that reduced-fat milk might be high in sugar? In fact, kids should be given whole milk to build up their health. Make sure that dairy products like milk and yogurt should be whole rather than skim. If you are on a diet, then consuming whole yogurt satiates you faster and prevents you from reaching those fries. Once again, portion is the key.

5. Popcorn

You are in love for popcorn but the recent diets have kept you away from it for long. However, here’s some good news. Popcorn is very good for your health, just the catch here is that you should have plain popcorn and not the ones loaded with caramel or high amount of salt and butter. In fact, popcorn boosts your energy and strength. It keeps you full for a longer period.

6. Nut Butter

I am very fond of nut butters; especially I can have that slice of bread with peanut butter, even as a dessert. However, when my friend asked me not to eat peanut butter at all, I was so disheartened that I skipped eating bread as well. Another friend came to my rescue one day. She told me that nut butters are actually healthy if had in moderation. They are loaded with protein and other nutrients and will even keep you full for a longer period. The catch is to avoid eating highly processed nut butters that are loaded with sugar and salt. You can even prepare nut butter in your kitchen. It’s easy!

7. Coffee

Nothing can keep me away from my mug of coffee. I was relieved to know that those who drink coffee are protected from the risks of Parkinson’s disease, dementia, certain cancers, strokes and many other ailments. The only problem is too much of coffee. Over-consumption of coffee can result in stress too.

The Secret of Enjoying Your Favourite Foods

You can eat anything and everything that you like. However, the only key is ‘portion control’. Even if you are on a weight-loss diet, you can indulge in some pizza, now and then. However, do not go aboard eating to your mind’s content. Your mind might trick you to eat more. But, don’t give in to the temptation. So, what say? Will you have a piece of freshly baked chocolate cake.

Top 10 Soy Products Which is Good for Your Health and Its Benefits

Soy Products Good for Your Health and Its Benefits

If you just know Tofu as a healthy soy product, then this post is meant for you. While we all know that soy and soy products are good for health, we are not aware about the long list of products that contain soy and are easily available. Several food alternatives that contain soy have become quite popular these days. Here are some of soy products that you can include in your diet for good health.

1. Soy Milk

One of the most common soy products that tastes as good as milk is Soy milk. To prepare soy milk, soybeans are soaked first. Then, they are grounded finely and finally strained to prepare soybean milk or soy milk. Experts recommend unfortified soy milk to people who are lactose intolerant for its excellent source of protein as well as B Vitamins. Many brands even offer fortified soy milk for added benefits. Soy milk does not require refrigeration till it is opened. It stays good for 12 months without refrigeration. However, the only drawback is that plain soy milk does not offer the goodness of calcium and vitamin D.

2. Soy Sauce

If your weekend dinner is incomplete without soy sauce, then you are in for a healthy surprise. Soy sauce is prepared from fermented soybeans using salt and water. There are several varieties of soy sauce available these days which include light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, tamari and many others.

The variety depends upon the type of ingredients and method used to prepare the sauce as well as the region where it is being prepared. For instance, Tamari comes from Japan and is sans any grain, giving a unique flavor. While soy sauce is high in sodium, it is also a rich source of protein, antioxidants as well as isoflavones and small quantity of fiber.

3. Textured Soy Protein

You might not be aware of textured soy protein, but you very well know about soya chunks, soya granules, soya slices, soya flakes, bits or even crumbles. Well, all these are varieties of textured soya protein. If you are looking for protein-rich foods, then textured soy protein will be apt for you as it is at least fifty percent protein.

It is a rich source of not only soy protein but also dietary fiber and isoflavones as well. It even contains essential amino acids that are required for growth.

Textured soy protein does not contain any fat or cholesterol and is low on sodium. It is recommended for its benefits like prevention of heart ailments.

4. Miso

If you are fond of some particular soups and are not aware of the reason why they taste better, then hunt for the ingredients. They might contain Miso. Miso is a flavorful sweet paste that is prepared through fermented soybeans. It is used to enrich soups, marinades, dressings and even dips.

They are available in several flavors, colours and aromas. It is a rich source of beneficial enzymes, phytochemicals and even bacteria that aid digestion and keep the gut healthy. There are three main types of miso available viz. barley miso, straight soybean miso and rice miso. The different colours of miso are white miso, yellow miso, red miso and hatcho miso.

5. Soy Flour

Full of protein, dietary fibers, isoflavones, bio-active components along with iron, potassium as well as B vitamins, Soy Flour is considered to be quite healthy. Soy flour comes from ground soybeans. If you fond of baked goods, then add soy flour for extra moisture. Soy flour even helps in reducing the fat that is absorbed in many fried foods. In addition, this flour is gluten-free.

6. Soy Dairy Free Products

There are a range of dairy free products prepared from soy. They are dairy alternatives like cheese alternatives, soy sour cream, soy yogurt, soy cream cheese as well as frozen soy milk desserts. The highlight of these products is that they are free of lactose and even milk protein. The good news is that these products are rich in essential fatty acids. With no cholesterol, they also offer protein, potassium, dietary fiber, B vitamins, iron, and isoflavones. These dairy alternatives are prepared from soymilk or tofu or a combination, depending upon the product.

7. Soy Nut Butter

If you are fond of peanut butter, but are worried about fat present in it, try soy nut butter. Prepared from fresh roasted whole soybeans, soy nut butter is very close to peanut butter, both in taste and texture. However, unlike peanut butter, soy nut butter is less on fat and free of cholesterol. This nut butter is high in soy protein and offers all the essential amino acids.

8. Tempeh

To prepare tempeh, whole soybeans are first thoroughly cleaned. They are then boiled and dehulled. After several processed, they are fermented for tempeh. Tempeh is essentially a tender white cake that is prepared of cooked soybeans. At times, even legumes, seeds and grains are added along with soybeans to give a different flavor and texture. In taste, it is chewy and tender.

Tempeh can be cooked easily and quickly and can be used to prepare a variety of dishes using different methods. Tempeh is high on soy protein and dietary fibers. Along with this, it is a rich source of potassium, iron, isoflavones, saponins, and folic acid as well.

9. Tofu

Soybean curd or tofu is a widely popular soybean product. Tofu is available in superstores as smoked, crumbled, baked or marinated. There are several ways to use tofu in meals. It is an excellent addition to several cuisines. To prepare tofu, soybeans are first washed, soaked and then grinded in water. The slurry is then filtered to give soymilk which is then further processed using coagulants to give tofu. This soy product is high on iron and protein. Several brands fortify tofu to make it healthier.

10. Whole Soybeans

Whole soybeans are used in stews, soups as well as sauces. They can be used in several ways. Whole soybeans are available in several varieties like dried yellow soybeans, dry soybeans, edamame, black soybeans and roasted soybeans. They all taste different and are widely popular. If you happen to use fresh soybeans, you need to soak them before cooking. They are a rich source of soy protein, dietary fiber, folic acid, isoflavones, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.

If you happen to be a vegan or a vegetarian, then stock on soy products for a healthy intake of protein. They are easily available, easy to prepare and benefits your health as well. I am heading to superstore, should I get you some soy products for your dinner?

Do you like to have Soy and Soy products in your daily routine? Share your views in the comments section.

Powerful Super Seeds You Should Be Eating and Their Benefits

Powerful Super Seeds You Should Be Eating and Their Benefits

When I was spreading some seeds in the huge bird feeder at the backyard, my kid came running to me. Her curiosity often makes me question my lifestyle.

“What is that you are feeding to the birds?” she questions.

“These are the seeds that birds eat.” I replied.

“Can I taste them?” (This question made me realize that now there is no stopping her. I will have to be ready with answers.)

“No baby, they are meant for the birds.” I replied again.

“Will this make the birds stronger?”

“Indeed.” I reassured her.

“I want to be strong like the birds. So I want to taste them.” She opens her mouth and gestured me to put some inside.

I had to, without any choice.

While she made awful faces after tasting the raw seeds, this made me remember my childhood when we actually munched on seeds in the evening. They were spread on a sheet under the sun. We used to steal them from the sheet before they were completely dried. We relished them for their taste and not the health benefits that our grandma used to mention. Now, I am too lazy to dry the seeds just like my elders did. So, on my next visit to superstore, I hunted for some ready-to-eat seeds for my little one to munch. To my pleasant surprise, there was a beautiful range of seeds available from across the borders as well. I picked a couple of packets and happily headed to the billing counter.

Seeds have made a comeback.

People are munching them for several health benefits they offer. They are a healthy snack full of essential nutrients. If had in right quantity, it aids in weight loss too. Here are some of the popular healthy seeds easily available at nearby stores or online.

Flax Seeds

If you are a diabetic, then flax seeds can be your good friend. These seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and other essential nutrients that help in maintaining health while preventing cardiovascular ailments and arthritis as well. Make the most of flax seeds by eating them in the grounded form.

Chia Seeds

Vegetarians should stock up on these seeds to get their share of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with the essential fats, chia seeds are a good source of protein, iron, calcium and fiber as well. Chia seeds, unlike flax seeds, do not need to be grounded. They can be added to preparations directly. There are several recipes that not only look better but also taste better with chia seeds, especially desserts. So, next time, when you prepare smoothies or bake cookies, add chia seeds for nutrition.

Poppy Seeds

This oil seed is quite infamous, thanks to its source. However, poppy seeds are brimming with nutrition and taste. Include them in your diet for improved health. Poppy seeds contain calcium, iron, protein, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B-6 as well. If consumed on a regular basis, it maintains the bone due to high content of calcium. It also helps in preventing heart ailments, constipation and sleep disorders. It even assists in production of red blood cells.

Sunflower Seeds

Brimming with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Thiamine, Phosphorous, copper, selenium and other nutrients, sunflower seeds are a good source of fatty acids. They even provide fiber, proteins and amino acids the body. Although being fat, sunflower seeds are quite healthy. Their consumption helps maintain body weight and keeps cardiovascular diseases away. If you are on a weight-loss diet, sunflower seeds allow your body in balancing hormones. They keep you feeling full for a longer duration.

Pumpkin Seeds

While pumpkin seeds are not as tasty as salty snacks that you like to munch on, you would definitely enjoy munching them during your tea breaks. These super seeds contain magnesium, potassium, healthy fats and protein as well. If you happen to get the roasted variety, do not miss them. Make your kids eat them instead of potato chips. My grandma used to clean the seeds after we had relished the pumpkin soup she prepared. She used to sun-dry them on a sheet for a couple of days. Nowadays, you can make use of oven instead of sun. Spread them on a baking sheet and coat them with some olive oil and spices. In a matter of 30 minutes and a few stirs in between, the seeds would be ready to relish.

Sesame Seeds

If you are looking for seeds that will help you up your intake of calcium and even reduce cholesterol levels, then sesame seeds are a perfect fit for you. Full of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and healthy fats, sesame seeds even help burn fat and boost the absorption of nutrients. Due to high levels of zinc present in sesame seeds, they are known for maintain good hair and skin. The presence of sesamol protects DNA from damaging effects of radiation.

Hemp Seeds

Loved for their content of iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and even protein, hemp seeds are known to help in cases of hypertension. They are rich in Gamma-Linolenic Acid that helps control body temperature and even inflammation. Women suffering from PMS symptoms should consume hemp seeds as they help in maintaining hormonal health. They aid in weight loss too.

Finally..

Do not underestimate the power of seeds. Birds have them for good reasons and you can relish them too. Just a handful of super seeds are good for preventing several ailments and keeping you in good shape too.