10 Surprising Benefits of Psyllium Husk (Isabgol) that You Are Not Aware of

Benefits of Psyllium Husk (Isabgol)

Benefits of Psyllium Husk (Isabgol)
Last you heard of Psyllium Husk aka Isabgol, it was a simple food laden with lots of fiber to help one cure for constipation. If you are still of the old opinion about Psyllium Husk, it is time to take stock of this new food on the block. Let’s know more about this humble dietary supplement that is making heads turn with its super benefits.

What is Psyllium Husk all About?

  • Firstly, it is a soluble fiber.
  • Native to Indian continent.
  • Extracted from seeds of a herb.
  • The name of the herb is Plantago ovato or ispaghula.
  • Available in powder, granules, husk & capsules.
  • An added ingredient in fortified foods.

Psyllium Husk is basically a fibrous food. All those people who do not consume enough fiber in their daily diet, Psyllium Husk act as a blessing. Hence, it is popularly used to relieve constipation. However, there is much more to it. Psyllium is easily soluble in water. It absorbs water to an extent that it becomes a thick gel. It is better than laxative as it natural and gentle at the same time.

How Does Psyllium Husk Work?

Psyllium Husk is a natural cleanser of the intestines. When consumed, it accumulates in the colon. While exiting through the intestines of the human body, it takes along all the waste with it that had amassed over a period of time. This keeps the digestive system working.

Benefits of Psyllium Husk

Let’s take a look on the benefits of Psyllium Husk and how can it help in our day to day life.

1. The Natural Fiber

If you are looking for a good source of fiber, then Psyllium husk fits the bill. You might have noticed that when people are on high protein diets, they are not able to consume whole cereals and fruits as well. This makes their body low on dietary fiber, one of the important requirements to stay healthy. Psyllium Husk is perfect in such cases. Just a small amount of Psyllium husk is enough to up the amount of dietary fiber in your diet. At times, people are not able to balance their diets and hence, consuming Psyllium husk helps by adding soluble fiber. The caution, however, is to limit the consumption and do not depend on it completely.

2. The Clearance Tool

This is a well-known fact that Psyllium husk doubles up as a laxative. It helps relieve constipation owing to lifestyle diseases and other reasons. Psyllium husk helps in absorbing water and increasing the size of stools. It even escalates the moisture in the stools. Without any doubt, Psyllium husk is better than laxatives as it is natural. It is even better than wheat bran as well when it comes to clearing the intestine. People suffering from chronic constipation have found relief through consumption of Psyllium Husk. Regular consumption even promotes regularity. Choose between different forms of Psyllium husk available or opt for products that have been fortified with Psyllium husk like breakfast cereals or bakery goods.

3. The Controller

This comes as a total surprise. A product that helps cure constipation can also relieve diarrhea is a disbelief for many. However, Psyllium husk has proved its mettle in both the areas. As Psyllium husk has the power to absorb water, it helps in increasing the thickness of the stool. Many people suffer from diarrhea as they are lactose intolerant. Psyllium husk helps such people by reducing the frequency of bowel movements.

4. Weight Loss Assistance

Psyllium Husk is a source of natural fiber. It has the ability to control appetite in people who are trying to reduce their weight. Consuming Psyllium husk before meals make people on diet feeling full for a longer period. This ultimately beats hunger pangs and unhealthy snacking as well. For better results, take it around half an hour before consuming a heavy meal. Pair it up with a glass of water. This helps the Psyllium husk to expand owing to its water absorbing properties. You will eat less during the meal. As a result, it shrinks the size of your tummy. Eventually, you will consume less food. Yet, there is no direct relation between consumption of Psyllium husk and weight loss.

5. Downs Blood Sugar

People who suffer from high levels of sugar in the blood should take the help of Psyllium husk under the guidance of a healthcare expert. This is because people suffering from high blood sugar need to intake a diet that is rich in fiber. They can either do this by consuming whole cereals and fruits or depending on other natural sources like Psyllium husk. Consumption of soluble fibers helps in reducing rising levels of glucose in the blood. While most of the carbohydrates break down into sugar molecules, fiber does not even though being a carbohydrate. Dietary fiber passes through your system and maintains the required blood sugar levels. This helps control the condition of diabetes. What more, it even keeps you satiated for long. People have even found that it helps in reducing insulin as well. It is recommended to consume Psyllium husk with other meals rather in isolation.

6. Slashes Cholesterol

Psyllium Husk helps reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body. When Psyllium Husk excretes fat and bile acids from the body by binding to it, the liver tries to replace the lost bile acids. For this, the liver uses the cholesterol present in the body. Hence, levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body reduce and that of good cholesterol shoots up (HDL).

7. It’s Prebiotic

Prebiotic Foods are quite good for health. They are responsible for the growth of good bacteria present in the large intestine. This helps in strengthening the immune system. And interestingly, Psyllium Husk is known to have the same effect. While prebiotic foods are those that can be fermented, Psyllium husk cannot be fermented easily. When consumed, it ferments gradually to produce the same effect as a prebiotic. The slow fermentation of Psyllium husk even helps in reducing the production of gas and other similar symptoms. Experts maintain that when Psyllium husk is consumed in a combination of probiotic food, it helps treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in patients.

8. A Good Heart

Psyllium Husk is categorized as a functional fiber rather than a dietary one. This is because it is not consumed directly but added to your diet. Being soluble in water, Psyllium husk helps in reducing blood triglycerides. As it even helps manage cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure, Psyllium husk is linked with good heart health. Further, when Psyllium husk is added to the diet of people suffering from heart ailments, it helps strengthen muscles of the heart and even improve lipid levels. This helps in keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay.

9. Removes Toxins

Psyllium Husk is also helpful in flushing out toxins from your body. The ability of Psyllium husk to absorb the toxic fluids present in the digestive system is quite helpful. When it exits the body, the toxins are flushed out automatically. The toxins enter our system through some foods. If left unattended, they are absorbed in your bloodstream and result in ailments. For this, you need to consume Psyllium husk along with a glass of tepid water. When the toxins are flushed out, your skin starts glowing as well.

10. Gluten-free Diet

If you cannot tolerate gluten in your diet, then Psyllium husk can come to your rescue. It can be used to bake goods that are gluten-free. There are many recipes that can be prepared using Psyllium Husk. When used in food, Psyllium turns into a gel on addition of water or any kind of moisture. Goods baked using Psyllium husk do not even become dry, a common problem faced while baking. This is because of its gel-forming properties. Cakes, pancakes, breads and even smoothies can be prepared using Psyllium Husk. While Psyllium husk is itself gluten-free, the supplements available on the shelf can have some amount of gluten. This is because Psyllium is a functional fiber and hence it is available in the form of supplements. To make a supplement effective, manufacturers might add wheat or other ingredients. Hence, it is required to read labels before purchasing Psyllium husk supplements.

A Word of Caution: Side Effects

Psyllium Husk is not suitable for all bodies. People have experienced problems with its consumption.

1. Bloating or even increased flatulence
2. Lead to stomach cramps or cause gas
3. Result in obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract
4. Choke in throat if you have difficulty in swallowing
5. Cause allergies in people who are intolerant

Conclusion

You need to consult your health expert or doctor before consuming Psyllium husk. The dosage and requirement need to be moderated. It is advised that Psyllium husk is consumed with liquid or any form of water for added benefits and prevention of problems.

Do you find this article hellpful? Share your views in the comments.

20 Foods That Are Advertised as Healthy But Are Actually Unhealthy

Foods That Are Advertised as Healthy But Are Actually Unhealthy

“But, Momma, this is healthy, they say so”, exclaimed Neena’s five year old son.

“And who are they?” she asked casually.

“Those people in advertisements”, he retorted.

If you think that your kids are not watching advertisements attentively, then you might be mistaken. While kids are fond of cartoon series, they even like to watch the commercials. Even I find commercials quite interesting. Nowadays, television commercials are designed strategically. Many commercials even say, “Ask your mom to get one for you today” or “Better than fruits” or “Healthier to whole wheat” and the list go on. Kids and even parents are sometimes fooled by this.

With so many health ailments becoming common these days, parents should take this as a wake-up call. Packaged juices, instant noodles, chocolate biscuits are not healthy. Also, whether the healthy ingredients that such products boast of are actually present in the foods is a big question! Here are some of the foods that are advertised as healthy but are actually unhealthy.

1. Healthy Sandwiches

Last time when you went to a restaurant, you ordered a veggie sandwich, thinking that you will skip eating junk food this way. But did you know how much portion of vegetables are actually present in your sandwich? The sandwich that is advertised as healthy and full of nutrition do not have required amount of veggies.

In addition, the veggies that are added are not always fresh. The sandwich also contains unhealthy dressings and sauces to enhance the taste. Next time, before ordering a sandwich, check the ingredients that will be added to your sandwich closely.

2. Fried Vegetables

I did this mistake. I once ordered crispy veggies at a restaurant, thinking that they will be nutritious for my toddler. However, later I came to know that fried veggies are not actually healthy. They pass through a process that strips them of all the nutrition required.

The veggies are dipped in batter that has lots of salt. Further, they are deep fried, which is one of the unhealthy cooking methods. So, if the restaurant menu has listed fried vegetables as healthy options, then you need to understand the difference!

3. Tomato Ketchup / Soy Sauce

Yes, sauces are termed to be healthy. And most importantly, they are advertised to be healthy. But did you know how many tomatoes your ketchup contains or is soy sauce as healthy as it is known to be? The high amount of sugar, salt and sodium in sauces make them unhealthy. Next time, try to prepare tomato ketchup at home to serve a healthy option to your kids.

4. Margarine

The good old butter got a competition recently – margarine. Termed to be healthy and nutrition-packed, margarine is actually not a very healthy option. Ghee or clarified butter is a better option.

Unlike butter, margarine is not a pure dairy product but a synthetic mix of chemicals and sugar with only little amount of dairy in it. On top of that, it is loaded with trans-fat. Choose butter over margarine if you desire to include healthy in your diet. Butter is loaded with Vitamins, minerals and several nutrients but do not overboard with it.

5. Instant Meals

Nowadays, advertisements of many unhealthy and instant meals are targeted towards kids. Take for example instant oats and instant oats noodles. Well, oats is a healthy option. And the beauty about oats is that it does not take much time to prepare.

However, when you select instant oats over regular oats, then you are making a grave mistake. Most of the instant meals are not healthy at all. They are loaded with sugar and salt and even a whole lot of preservatives. Another example is instant soup. Soups are very easy to prepare. However, when you choose instant soups, your body intakes preservatives and dried vegetables that are not healthy as compared to fresh soups loaded with veggies.

6. Green Pastas

The moment they screamed that they now have introduced spinach pastas, you were elated, right? However, those green colored pastas do not have enough spinach in them. They do not fulfill the vegetable requirement of your kids, however much the companies claim. Instead, it is required that you should add spinach and other veggies to regular whole wheat pasta for a healthy meal. This way your requirement of vitamins, minerals, iron and fiber for your body is assured.

7. Trail Mix

Your doctor has advised you to consume almonds, peanuts, puffed rice and such snacks. You thought of mixing them on your own but what’s this – the mix is readily available. Plus, it seems quite tasty, thanks to colorful packaging. Who knew that snacks could be delicious and nutritious at the same time! If you are thinking on these lines too, then you are wrong here.

Trail mix available in super stores is something to make a fool out of you. It is loaded with all the wrong things – salt, sugar, sodium. On top of that, it is quite expensive too. On the contrary, the one that you will prepare at home will have right ingredients and that too, without any preservatives or artificial flavors.

8. Chips

I will divulge a secret here. The chips fooled me too, just like you. As my tot didn’t eat fruits, I thought feeding her with banana chips will be a good option. However, I was so wrong here. No matter what, chips do not have the same nutrition as the actual food or vegetable. While regular vegetables and fruits versions are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and others, their chips version are stripped of all of it, thanks to the frying process.

9. Baked Beans

And whatever is baked is termed as healthy by me. I was again proved wrong over here. Baked beans are not very healthy, as advertised to be. Along with beans, a tin of baked beans also contains sugar, additional salt, syrup, etc. It shoots up your calorie intake instantly.

10. Multi-Grain Bakery Foods

Did you realize that multi-grain does not contain just whole grains? They might or might not contain refined flours, which is exactly why you do not opt for white bread. Instead of relying on the title of the product, please make sure to read the behind of the pack. They might be advertised as seven grain, but the quantity of the seven grains in proportion to the main ingredient – refined wheat flour is questionable.

11. Packaged Juices

Foods That Are Advertised as Healthy But Unhealthy

I used to be a lazy lady. If asked to prepare a glass of juice, even in a food processor, I resorted to lame excuses. This prompted my husband to switch to packaged juices. They are convenient, healthy and do not require any kind of hard work. In addition, they are very delicious.

However, these juices are loaded with sugar. Even regular fresh juices are not as healthy as whole fruits. This is because juicing strips the fruit of fiber and other nutrients present in the skin. Packaged juices are not quite healthy, contain artificial sweeteners at times and are even high in calories in general. Instead, try preparing smoothies at home. They are quite easy to prepare in comparison to juices. Plus, smoothies have complete fruit as smoothies do not require sieving.

12. Fruit-Based Products

Just like readymade fruit juices, ready-to-eat fruit yoghurts and puddings might not contain as much fruit as you think or as the marketers claim. On top of that, these foods might be high in sugar and calories as well. If you really love fruit yoghurts, prepare it at home. This way, you can be assured of ingredients as well.

13. Sports Drinks

First things first – Sports drinks are meant for those who are actually involved in strenuous sports. If you think that by sweating out in sun while waiting for your girlfriend to return from the store requires a sports drink, then you are wrong here. While sports drinks are advertised as elixirs, they are just loaded with sugar with some added nutrients. Yes, they rehydrate sportspersons but not regular people who think that standing under the sun deserves a sports drink.

14. Low Fat Dairy

Dairy products that claim that they are low in fat or have no fat at all are actually not healthy. This is because foods that claim to be low-fat are stripped of all the nutrients. In fact, to compensate the natural flavor of the food, makers add other unhealthy ingredients to such products, which is all the more bad. Low-fat product might be high in calories as well. If you are consuming full-fat products as a meal, then they are more satiating. Such foods even provide you with complete nutrition as well. They might even lead to planned weight loss unlike readily available low fat foods.

15. Diet Sodas

Aha! The word diet makes sure that my ‘dieting’ continues. But, are you aware about how much of diet-friendly these sodas actually are? Diet sodas are advertised as drinks that contain zero-calorie. These sodas actually have artificial sweeteners in them, which are quite harmful for health. It might lead you to obesity instead, according to health studies conducted.

16. Artificial Sweeteners

The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they do not behave like natural sweeteners when they reach your system. Whereas natural sweeteners satiate your sugar cravings, artificial ones do not activate the pathways present in the brain. At times, people actually have increased sugar cravings after consuming artificial sweeteners. So, while you need to cut out on sugary stuff, you also need to cut out on the dependency on artificial sweeteners. I have an idea here. You can replace sugar with honey or maple syrup. But, do not go overboard with these two as well.

17. Soy Protein

Tasting like meat, soy protein became an easy alternative for people who are vegetarian. However much protein they contain, they are not saved from being labeled as unhealthy. This is because not every soy product is healthy. While tofu is a whole soy food, soy protein isolate is not. Further, soy protein foods have phytic acid present in them. This hinders the absorption of minerals by your body. Hence, choose soy protein products wisely.

18. Nutrition Bars

Why are these bars in this list? They are termed to be healthy and actually satiate my hunger. However, not all bars that are labeled as nutrition bars are clean bars – read healthy bars.

They are loaded with sugar, plain chocolate and are even high in calories at times. For some, they are a convenient option as to grabbing a meal while on the go. However, parents should not consider such bars as an alternative to actual nuts. People should make a habit of reading the labels before putting anything in their cart. If you are fond of nutrition bars, prepare one at home by using fresh ingredients.

19. Flavored Soy Milk

Yes, soy milk is definitely healthy. But, here I am throwing some light on flavored soy milk; in fact, even flavored cow milk. You might be handing over ready-to-sip tiny tetra packs of flavored soy milk to your kids, thinking that the nutrition requirement of the day is met.

However, the level of nutrition that you think is not met by such flavored milk. In order to make soy milk taste good, the manufacturers add a variety of essences, flavors and tons of sugar. This ultimately minimizes the nutrition of the soy milk, which was advertised in the first place. Such flavored soy milks are even laden with unnecessary calories. I do not mean that chuck soy milk all together. I just mean that if you are health conscious, then flavor the milk on your own, rather than purchasing the packaged one.

20. Phytosterols

This topic deserves a full-fledged post. Recently, edible oil companies have been claiming the presence of phytosterols. They are said to lessen blood cholesterol in your system. However, the catch here is that phytosterols might lead to cardiovascular ailments instead of preventing them.

I have tons of products to include in this list. But I can very well understand that reading everything at one go and remembering it at the same time is quite tiring, uninteresting and taxing for you. Hence, I put an end to this post here and will add a new one later.

However, please understand the message of this post. Do not be fooled by advertisers, especially, when it comes to health, food and nutrition. Eating fresh and homemade is the best bet. Make sure that you develop healthy habits in your kids as well. Do not develop a habit of giving them whatever they want without researching about the product or reading the labels at the back. You should even teach your kids to do that. Further, also do not get fooled by free gifts available with the products. Enough of sermon now, happy munching folks!

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!

10 Must-Have Foods that Every New Mom Should Have in Her Platter

10 Must-Have Foods that Every New Mom Should Have in Her Platter

There are so many foods that are advised during pregnancy. However, once the baby’s out, new moms think that they should stop eating the nutritious diet and go back to their originals. Now you are a mom, lady, you will have to think like a mom and eat like one too. Once you get pregnant, the entire game gets changed. You cannot skip meals ever in your life and you need to keep a check on your diet as well. And if you are breastfeeding, right nutrition is all the more important. Even after you stop breastfeeding, there will be drastic changes in your lifestyle. And hence, there is no looking back now.

Let me give you a peek into your life two years later. You have a super energetic baby who’s keeping you on your toes all the time. Even at that time, you will need right food and diet to match the energy levels of the baby. And that is the reason I am asking you to do a major overhauling of your taste and preferences when it comes to foods and nutrition.

If you want to teach your baby to eat right foods, you need to set an example by having them too. When your diet is right, the diet of your baby will be good too. I am saying this from my own experiences. I am quite lazy when it comes to fruits. My tot did not learn eating it. I have started gorging on all kinds of fruits consciously so that she gets a habit of the same.

Every food has a different effect on body and mood. Some foods are not only nutritious but also mood boosters. If pregnancy and postpartum has taken a toll on your mood and energy levels, gorging on specific foods will up your mood instantly. Initially, you can prepare a chart on what to eat over the week. After a couple of weeks of following charts, you will get into the habit of eating only good foods. Keep your refrigerator stacked with fruits, sprouts, yogurt and many such things. This will help curb your habit of binging on junk foods.

Eating frequently is the key for stocking on nutrition. You do not need to eat one food all the day to get the most out of it. Instead, you need to eat a variety of foods in limited quantities. Further, you also need to eat frequently and at regular intervals. This will make sure that you are neither overeating nor starving. Whether you want to increase weight or lose some pounds, eating frequently is the key. This even helps to maintain your levels of energy.

1. Bananas

Nothing comes close to bananas for a new mom. Bananas give all the required nutrition to your body and even lights up your mood. Loaded with different vitamins and essential minerals, bananas even help alleviate nausea. It is quite easy to eat a banana and so, keep it handy in your bag. Being a pre-biotic food, bananas help in digestion as well. They are great to treat both constipation and diarrhea in new mothers.

2. Yogurt

This is my favourite. I like yogurt as it is a meal in itself. Both I and my tot can finish off a bowl of yogurt without adding anything to it. The benefit of yogurt is that it has healthy bacteria that are good for the gut. A mom’s body requires energy to get going throughout the day. A bowl of yogurt not only provides sufficient energy but also several essential nutrients along with calcium. Yogurt is also quite healthy for building the immune system. If you are breastfeeding, then what you eat passes on to your baby. If you as a mom stay healthy, your kid will follow suit. What more – yogurt even helps improve the mood instantly!

3. Green Leafy Veggies

Packed with nutrition, green leafy veggies will make your diet complete. Their colour is a signal that they are high on several vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and nutrients required for new mothers. With green leafy vegetables in your diet, you ensure that you get natural folate to maintain your health and baby’s right development.

New moms often complain of digestive problems. By gorging on these veggies, your body gets required fiber that aid digestion. And the best part is that there are several kinds of green leafy veggies available. You can keep on experimenting with recipes without getting bored. Choose between kale, broccoli, arugula, spinach, and others. It is possible to prepare a salad with these veggies or you can even opt for a vegetable smoothie, toss it into stir fry or have it as a side dish. You might not be aware of the fact that these veggies pack a lot of calcium as well. They even help build the immunity and keep you away from postpartum problems.

4. Mushrooms

If you are fond of mushrooms, then it is the best time to gorge on them. Mushrooms are one of the best foods for nursing moms. They are full of nutrition and even help in building immunity of the baby. They are often useful in taking care of colic symptoms in new born babies as well (through nursing). Experts believe that nursing moms who consume mushrooms on a regular basis help prevent colic in babies. This is because mushrooms prevent passing poorly digested food through the digestive tract of babies, which is initially full of holes.

There are different types of mushrooms available. Every mushroom has a specialty. Packed with amino acids, mushrooms are also a good source of proteins. Interestingly, mushrooms even contain vitamin D, if they are exposed to sunlight. Both mom and baby require adequate levels of vitamin D. however, one thing that should be kept in mind is that mushrooms should be cooked properly. Thoroughly cooked mushrooms help the body to absorb all the nutrition present in them.

5. Oats

Relatively new to the block, oats have become quite popular. They are easy to cook and taste quite well. They are versatile as well. You can prepare them in milk or water, depending upon whether you want to have it sweet or savory. Oats or oatmeal is rich in iron. It prevents chances of anemia in new moms. For me, oats had with a bowl of warm milk has always been a comfort food. Plus, oats are packed with calcium and good amount of fiber to aid digestion in new moms. The presence of carbohydrates and protein in oats make them an ideal breakfast. To increase the nutrition in oats, fruits can be added with milk while preparing oats. If preparing savory oats, add fresh veggies. They do not only add nutrition but taste as well.

6. Seeds

Adding seeds to your diet will not only make it tastier, but also healthy. Make sure your diet is rich in carom seeds, fenugreek seeds and sesame seeds. These seeds are said to help nursing moms and the babies in several ways. Carom seeds help in relieving problems like indigestion in new moms. It even boosts milk production and helps contract the uterus. Fenugreek seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, calcium and iron as well. These seeds even promote supply of breast milk. Rich in Vitamin C, fennel seeds too help boost breast milk production and control colic in babies as well.

Cumin Seeds are rich in iron and prevent problems associated with acidity and constipation in new moms. They even help boost breast milk. Packed with calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and copper, black and white sesame seeds help regulate bowel movements. Abundant in protein, chia seeds are quite healthy for nursing moms. Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and quite good for lactating mothers. Though good for health, seeds should be had in moderation as they might result in adverse effects.

7. Nuts

Very popular for new moms, nuts are a rich source of several essential nutrients. Depending on the type, they have their own specialty. For instance, walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids while almonds are a good source of protein and calcium. Munch cashews to get adequate iron and folic acid for your body. Many argue that nuts are loaded with fat. However, the truth is that nuts contain monounsaturated fat that is good for health. Nursing moms can keep some nuts handy and snack on them to satiate frequent hunger pangs.

8. Legumes

If you are a vegetarian mom, then legumes should be your best friend. Packed with essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and folate, legumes like beans, dried split peas and lentils are very healthy for you and your baby. Lentils are also high in fiber, hence quite healthy. You can never get bored of them as you can prepare soups out of them, salads, sprouts, hummus and other dips, etc. Think out of the box and include them in your diet.

9. Finger Millet

Calcium, Iron, unsaturated fats, minerals are some of the essential nutrients that the humble finger millet boasts of. It can be nursing mom’s best friend. One of the highlights of finger millet is Vitamin D that helps in increasing bone strength in mothers, which is very important. It is also rich in calcium that helps reduce the risk of fractures. Finger Millet is also said to improve the production of breast milk in lactating mothers. What more – the breast milk is enhanced with amino acids as well, which is good for the baby. Minerals like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin are present in finger millet. Consuming it regularly helps fight postpartum depression and tackles anxiety issues in new moms. Finger millet even helps in maintain metabolism. Rich in dietary fiber, finger millet diet helps aid digestion as well.

10. Water

One thing that new moms should not miss out on is water. Water helps your body in several ways. While breastfeeding, new moms are prone to dehydration. This is a major cause of constipation too. To avoid such problems, make sure that you have sufficient amount of water at regular intervals. Keep a bottle of water handy to remember drinking it. Water even assists in breast milk production.

Conclusion

While all the foods mentioned above are good for health, make sure that you get your diet checked with your health provider. You might not be aware of certain allergies and it might cause a problem to you or your baby. Along with following a good diet plan, make sure that whatever you eat is fresh and healthy. Eat with gratitude and try staying in a good mood. All this reflects on your baby. And I am sure that you will be a good mother. Wishing you a happy and healthy motherhood!

How to Stay Healthy and Happy This Festive Season

Stay Healthy and Happy This Festive Season

Yipppeee! Finally, I will be out of this cage and fly far away! I am no bird and the cage that I am talking about is not real. Its festival time and I will get a break from the monotonous life.

Like every festive season, we will be travelling to my in-laws place. It’s an annual trip and I have started making preparations already. In fact, I am trying to look slim and fit since past 6 months. I eat mindlessly first and then, when the festive season approaches, I try to lose weight.

During the festive season, I skip healthy eating rules. And post the season, I am on my mission lose-weight again. So, you see, this is a vicious cycle.

However, as I have been busy writing healthy articles this time, I have vowed that I will not give in to unhealthy delicious temptations my mother-in-law throws at me. For the uninitiated, she is the star chef of our family. While my co-sister loves frying food, my mom-in-law prepares sweets in bulk (as if the entire nation is going to visit us for festivities).

How to Stay Healthy In This Festive Season

I have been pondering and strategizing as to how to cheat on diet during family get-togethers. I am planning to return with the same weight as I am going with. For this, these are the things that can be done.

Wake up Early

I have noticed that when I begin my day early, I have a lot more control on my diet. When I am up before anyone else, I get a lot of time to spend on my own self. There is no one to deter me from my exercise or healthy breakfast routine. I do not have to rush to help others in their routine. So, it is just me and my sweet little morning.

Do Not Skip Exercise

Every festive season, I avow to exercise daily. However, the extra workload that comes with festivities bogs me and my body down, in the morning. You will be surprised to know that festivals are quite harmful for the weight if not kept a tap on.

Firstly, you eat a different diet than the usual one. Secondly, you are not able to exercise. A week of festivities is like gathering a month of calories. So, this time, I am not going to do my usual exercise during festive week. I have planned a festive exercise routine, instead. I will skip exercising inside the house. Alternatively, I will take a walk on the street.

The city wears a different look during festivities. While walking, I can see the new look and even shed calories the interesting way. If you are not a morning person, gather up some of the kids in the evening and play a sport with them. The family will be happy that you are taking care of the kids but actually, it will be a secret workout.

Drink Like a Fish

No, I am not talking about alcohol. Being a teetotaler, I do not even recommend this. Here the drink is water. There are many reasons you should be drinking extra water during festive times. Water keeps you hydrated. It even helps you in staying away from mindless eating.

If you are planning to eat out at restaurants, then water satisfies your thirst and keeps you from overeating. As water helps boost metabolism, you automatically and effortlessly burn calories. What more! Even the toxins get evacuated from your body with water. It keeps your skin healthy, prevents breakouts and even ups your energy levels. Please pass me a glass of water.

Sleep Right, Sleep Tight

You have taken a break from work, but not from sleep, right. Even during the festive season, do not miss out on sleep. Catch up on your sleep that you might have missed while overworking for festive break. While the ideal duration for sleep is eight hours, you can adjust the hours according to your needs.

You might be surprised to know that sleep offers many more benefits apart from rest. It helps boost your metabolism to burn calories. Experts opine that people who sleep well make better decisions about food throughout the day. It prevents cravings as well.

Nutrition and Diet

Yes, I very well agree that dieting and festive season do not make good friends. However, you can plan your festive season meals beforehand in a smart way. For instance, if you plan to eat pasta, stuff the dish with veggies. Have some soup and salads before you head out for dinner. Prepare nutritious desserts like fruits and yogurt.

Eating healthy is quite important to maintain weight. Start your day with a hearty breakfast. I have noticed that when I have a filling nutrition rich breakfast, I do not crave for fried food or sweets.

Ingredients and Proportion

This festive season, I even plan to prepare sweets using whole wheat flour instead of refined variety. I am also going to keep peanuts, roasted chickpeas, yogurt and seeds handy. This will prevent me from munching attractive yet unhealthy foods.

Another important thing is proportion. Do not fill yourself up to the brim. Instead, keep checking on satiation while eating. When you feel you are ‘somewhat’ full, stop. Further, do not make the mistake of skipping meals. This would imbalance your diet. Chewing properly is another important factor. While enjoying with friends and family, we often eat mindlessly without chewing. Chewing is the important part of staying healthy.

Do Not Feel Guilty

This is my major mistake. I relish sweet knowingly and then, feel guilty. My husband scolds me for this. He says that either I should not eat or I should not feel guilty. Nowadays, I do cheat on my diet but I fully enjoy that cheat diet. However, I do not overindulge. After eating, I do a little exercise. If possible, I detoxify with a cup of green tea or some warm water with lemon and honey. This helps a lot, physically and psychologically as well.

It is upon you what to choose this festival – taste or extra weight. While the taste is temporary, the weight will make you wait to fit into that little black dress of yours. I will suggest making smart choices when it comes to food to survive the festival without putting pounds. I think this festive season will be both healthy and happy for me, if I stick to these rules.

How to Stay Happy In This Festive Season

While managing weight is somewhat easy, happiness is quite subjective. Whenever the festive season approaches, there is something that bogs me down. Though the ambiance is creative and lovely, there are bouts of sadness at times. The feeling does not last but tears roll down my cheeks at least once. I did some research and got to know some tips on how to stay happy during the festivities.

Get to Know the Reason

The first step is to find the reason of your sadness. At times, people are just sad because they like being sad. You need to get out of this. I feel sad because I am loaded with emotions. I am not able to realize whether to be sad or happy. Some people are sad as they are not able to meet their loved ones during festivities. In the age of internet, it is easy to catch up with them. Dress up, start a video call and there you are, enjoying together with your family and friends.

Do Not Push Yourself

Every family celebrates the festival in their own way. When we watch others doing a different thing, we try to inculcate it in our celebration. However, emulating others and trying to include everything becomes too much during the festival season. Do not push yourself to perfect the festivities. Celebrate it in your own way. Do not judge yourself.

It is okay if you are not able to cook a perfect dish or do not get time to look your best. Festivals are all about celebrating happiness and blessings rather than the things that you do not have or are not able to do. Make sure that you celebrate a simple festival this year. It will help you enjoy it the way it should be.

Take a Break

Although the festive season is a break from the regular monotonous life, yet you need a break from the preparations too. If you go on preparing for the prayers and decorations, you will not get to enjoy the celebrations. This is because you will be tired on the day of the festival. Instead, take a break. Soak in the ambiance of the festival and let the happiness in. Take a walk on the street, watch the decorations and smile while you do this. If you like clicking pictures then take a camera along with you and enjoy the festive environment.

Personal Care

Just looking good is not enough, you should feel good too. Before and during the festivities, take care of your health. Eat well and take ample rest. Make sure you wash your face before hitting the bed. If possible, do light exercises. All this will ensure that you and your skin stay healthy throughout the festive season that you were waiting for since a long time.

Smell Good

Fragrance plays a key role in lighting up your mood. Gather your favourite fragrances and make your home smell good. You, too, should wear your favourite fragrances throughout the day, even if you are at home. You and your family will indeed feel special. It will set in the festival mood even before the celebrations begin.

And Finally…

Time flies. In a matter of few days, the festive season will come to an end. You will not even realize it and it will be gone. Make the most of it by staying in the prime of your health. Make new friends, invite people to your home and celebrate it together. Happy and Healthy festivities to you!

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.

12 Healthy Snacks You’ll Love to Eat at Your Office

12 Healthy Snacks You'll Love to Eat at Your Office

Ayesha has a nine-to-five job. She is concerned about what she eats during office hours. While she is not fat, she would like to take care of her health. Her mother asks her to pack some fruits every day, but she is bored of fruits and craves for snacks instead. Should she resort to salty snacks? What could she pack for munching during office hours?

This is not just the concern of Ayesha, but most of the working professionals. We are so involved in the work that it is difficult to keep a tap on hunger and regular eating. This results in sudden hunger pangs. What I did was eat whatever I could get hold of. Be it chips, canned juice, toffees or anything and everything that my eyes could see. This took a toll on my health. Hence, I have researched on some delicious snacks that I can pack for office munching beforehand. This has helped me a lot. Not only I get my daily intake of protein and other minerals, but also feel satiated and energetic to keep on working. Let’s see what you can eat during office hours.

1. Almonds

This is number one on my list. Unsalted, non-roasted, simple almonds are the best choice I would say. They fulfill my need of protein, Vitamin E, dietary fibers and nine essential nutrients. Are almonds better to other nuts? Yes, definitely, given the highest amount of protein they contain.

2. Dry Cereal

Have you tried dry cereals? I am a fan of them, especially fortified corn flakes. They are brimming with iron and I am assured that I won’t be declared anemic anytime soon. The main cause of mindless office munching is cravings for sugar. When you munch on foods with low glycemic index, they release glucose at a slower rate in the bloodstream. This helps in minimizing blood sugar swings. Try bran flakes for munching. Such foods help in better concentration.

3. Popcorn

I prepare a batch of popcorn while packing lunch in the morning. They are crunchy and fresh and healthy too. However, opt for low calorie popcorn if you are health conscious. Popcorn satisfies cravings for salt and even gives you the daily dose of fiber.

4. Oatmeal

If your office has a microwave, then plain oatmeal is a great option. Add some water to half a bowl of oatmeal. Microwave it. Your steaming hot bowl of snack is ready. If you are craving for something sweet, add a spoon of jaggery. However, if you want a salty snack, add some spices and herbs to it. Isn’t this option a great one!

5. Fruits

Ayesha is bored of fruits. However, fruits help satiate you faster and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They up your performance at office and even gifts you strong immunity. If fresh fruits are not what you like every day, try dried fruits at times. Prepare a batch of dried apricots, raisins, apples and bananas and stack them in your drawer. Munch whenever you wish to. They are high in fiber, potassium and satiate your cravings for sweet. But hey! Avoid too much of this.

6. Cottage Cheese or Paneer

Yep. If you are one of those who crave for cheese post lunch, then make sure you carry some pieces of cottage cheese with you and store it in the office refrigerator. Whenever you feel like munching, opt for this protein-rich food. It even helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and prevents you from dozing off.

7. Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and a host of other seeds have flocked the market to keep you healthy and active throughout the day. They do not require any preparation and are high on essential nutrients. Keep them stacked in your drawer and munch whenever you feel like.

You must also read: Powerful Super Seeds You Should Be Eating and Their Benefits

8. Protein Bar

They taste like chocolate and are easy to carry and awesome to eat. However, make sure that the protein bars or granola bars you choose do not contain more than 200 calories. You can even prepare protein bars ahead of the week on Sunday. It is easy to prepare and does not require special ingredients.

9. Dark Chocolate

This is my favourite. I should have mentioned dark chocolates right on the top. Dark chocolate satiate your craving for chocolate and are quite healthy. Opt for high-quality dark chocolates that contain at least 70% of cacao. Cacao in dark chocolate is full of magnesium – a natural stress buster.

10. Hummus with Veggies

Prepare hummus in advance. Carry it along with diced veggies to the office. When I have hummus as a snack, I look forward to evenings. At times when I am busy, I even skip lunch and just have this light meal in the afternoon. Hummus is rich in protein, calcium, iron, fiber and other essential nutrients. It even ensures my daily dose of carbohydrates.

11. Yogurt

This is one of my favourites. I store it in the office refrigerator. I like to team yogurt up with fruits like pomegranate or banana and gorge it in the evening. On such evenings, I return home with a smile on my face. Yogurt is good for the gut as it has probiotics. It is even rich in protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium and several vitamins.

12. Roasted Chickpeas

If you have an air-fryer, then roast chickpeas beforehand for the office. They are rich in protein and even help satiate cravings for salty snack. You can even opt for Wasabi Peas instead. They are equally healthy and tasty.

And Water

Make sure that you even drink sufficient amount of water during office hours. At times, you are not hungry and just thirsty. So, drink water regularly at intervals. This will ensure that you do not overeat snacks at the office.

Oh My God! There are so many options for the snacks now. These varieties will make your evening time at office healthy and fun. Team up with your office buddies and ask them to carry one of these things or other healthy options that they know. Get together during the evening time and all of you can nibble on an exotic mix of munchies. What say?

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.