COVID-19 – Vitamin D and Immunity

Dhanalakshmi MSc,Mphil, Founder, Care Through Nutrition

Nowadays we see lot of articles and studies related to vitamin D and Immunity. But any article without evidence is not worth. Here in this article I will be giving few research evidences on how vitamin D is related to immunity. In these evidences we could see people with low vitamin D have low immunity. They are susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections. We get abandon vitamin D from sun rather than from food. Also one more fact is that, more darker the skin, the more slower you produce vitamin D.

PRODUCTION OF VITAMIN D IN THE BODY

To say it in a simple way how Vitamin D is produced in our body, look at the following flowchart ,

This explains that the UV rays from the sunlight is absorbed by the skin and the dermis layer produces inactive form of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) which then goes to the liver and kidneys to produce active Vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3). This active form then circulates into blood to perform its various functions like calcium absorbtion etc.

One other important function of Vitamin D is to improve immunity. For this we need to know what happens when the lungs get infected by a pathogen.

When the lung cells deduct an antigen, the immune cells respond to that by producing pro-inflammatory cytokins, which produces more fluids inside the alveoli. This fluid accumulation inside the lungs caused difficulty in gases exchange and hence make breathing difficult. This condition is called ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). This happens with all lung infections including pneumonia, influenza, covid etc.,

RESEARCH EVIDENCE

More than a century ago (1849), a British physician C.J.B. Williams disribed the use of cod liver oil in treatment of tuberculosis, as cod liver oil contains rice amount of vitamin D. He showed that among his tuberculosis patients, 206 out of 234 showed a marked improvement after treatment with cod liver oil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2543222/

Another study “Evidence that vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of Influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths” says that vitamin D can induce cathelicidin and defensins that can lower viral replication thereby reducing pro-inflammatory cytokins production, there by reduce inflammation. It also says that the COVID-19 outbreak occurred during winter, a time of low sunlight, hence people having low vitamin D levels. Also they say mortality rate in COVID increases with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which is associated with vitamin D deficiency. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32252338/

ABOUT INDIA

If we see in India above 70% of the population are vitamin D deficit. Vitamin D is widely got from sunlight. In food, it is present in animal source like fish, cod liver oil and very little amount in milk. In India, very rarely the milk is fortified with vitamin D. For vegetarians, its difficult to get vitamin D from food source. It would be great if the Government takes steps to fortify some of our staple foods like wheat, milk, curd, ghee ect with vitamin D.

VITAMIN DOSES

Different studies show different recommended doses. The RDA valve for vitamin D is 600 IU for younger adults and 800 IU for older adults above 70 years.

Normal serum vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml is considered deficit. 50-70 ng/ml is considered optimal.

So check your vitamin D levels and consult a physician for the correct dose if you are vitamin D deficit.

NOTE: Self medication is dangerous. Consult a physician before taking vitamin D supplementation.

Intermittent Fasting

Dhanalakshmi MSc, MPhil

Founder, Care Through Nutrition

Facts about Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating style where you eat within a specific time period, and fast the rest of the time.Fasting isn’t a new concept. For centuries, people have temporarily restricted their food intake for religious reasons. Every religion in India has its own form of intermittent fasting, be it Ramadan for Muslims, Paryushana for Jains or Ekadasi every month and Navratri for Hindus.Time and tradition has proved the multiple benefits of fasting, be it , weight loss, detoxification or enhancing vital organ function and many more. It is not a diet plan but a complete lifestyle change.

Starting from 16 hours of fast intermittent fasting last more than 36 hours too.

It is not necessary to follow a particular method of fasting. Listen to your body, eat when you are hungry and don’t eat when you are not. That  sounds so simple right? Yes and it’s that simple but the benefits are many.

HOW IT WORKS:

Glucose and fat are the body’s main sources of energy. Glucose is the most easily accessible fuel source for the body. However, if glucose is not available, the body can adjust by switching to fat metabolism, without any detrimental health effects.

Types of intermittent fasting:

1.16/ 8 method:

The 16/8 Method involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours, and restricting your daily eating window to 8-10 hours.Within the eating window, you can fit in 2 or 3 meals.Preferably have a low carb meal. It was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.

If you finish your last meal at 8 pm and then don’t eat until 12 noon the next day, then you are actually fasting for 16 hours between meals. You can drink water, black or green tea without sugar, but care should be taken with people who’s acidic levels are on the higher side and such people can avoid having caffeinated drinks on empty stomach.

2. The 5:2 method:

This involves eating normally 5 days of the week, while restricting calories to 500-600 on the rest of the two days. It was popularized by British journalist and doctor Michael Mosley.

3. Eat-Stop-Eat:

Eat-Stop-Eat involves a 24-hour fast, either once or twice per week.

For example, if you finish dinner on Monday at 7 pm, and don’t eat until dinner the next day at 7 pm, then you’ve just done a full 24-hour fast.You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast, or lunch to lunch. The end result is the same.

4. Alternate day fasting:

Alternate-Day fasting means fasting every other day and having few hundred calories not more than 500 on the day of fasting.A full fast every other day seems rather extreme, so I do not recommend this for beginners.With this method, you will be going to bed very hungry several times per week, which is not very pleasant and probably unsustainable in the long-term.

5. The warrior diet:

Basically you fast for the whole day and feast at the night within a four hour eating window. It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day.

6. Spontaneous meal skipping:

Another more natural way to do intermittent fasting is to simply skip 1 or 2 meals when you don’t feel hungry that’s just like listening to your body.

There are a lot of people getting great results with some of these methods.

BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING:

  1. CHANGES IN THE HORMONES
  • Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
  • Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and other benefits.
  • Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.

2. HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND BELLY FAT

Intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in).Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

3. REDUCE INSULIN RESISTANCE AND LOWERS THE RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels .In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%  1).

4. REDUCES OXIDATIVE STRESS AND INFLAMMATION IN THE BODY

Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress (2). Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of all sorts of common diseases (3).

5. BENEFICIAL FOR HEART HEALTH

Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels ( 4,  5).

6. INDUCES CELLULAR REPAIR PROCESS

When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

7. REDUCES THE RISK OF CANCER

Fasting has been shown to have several beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to reduced risk of cancer.

Although human studies are needed, evidence from animal studies indicates that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer (6).

There is also some evidence on human cancer patients, showing that fasting reduced various side effects of chemotherapy

Who should NOT fast?

You should not do intermittent fasting if you are:

  • Underweight (BMI < 18.5) or have an eating disorder like anorexia.
  • Pregnant – you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • Breastfeeding – you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • A child under 18 – you need extra nutrients to grow.

You can probably fast, but may need medical supervision, under these conditions:

  • If you have diabetes mellitus – type 1 or type 2
  • If you take prescription medication.
  • If you have gout or high uric acid.
  • If you have any serious medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or heart disease.

Dinner facts to keep you healthy and light

12 3065 soft copyBy Dhanalakshmi

Diet consultant| Founder Care Through Nutrition


Dinner_MenuImage

When it comes to healthy body, it is not the time of day that makes the difference — it’s what you are consuming. And most people tend to veg out on high-calorie foods while unwinding in front of the TV after a long, stressful day.

“Typically, people who are eating heavy at night have probably had a stressful day, and end up eating whatever available mostly high calorie foods. “And most of the time this eating is associated with other activity like watching TV and playing on the computer, which leads to mindless eating and, typically, over consumption.”

Our metabolism is a complex process. You might think that your metabolism slows down drastically at the end of the day and, therefore, your body does not burn off the calories you consume at night. But in fact, even though your metabolism is slower at night when you are stationary than when you are active, your metabolism never stops working, even when you are sleeping. Calories consumed at night won’t change your metabolism or count more than calories consumed during the day.

Weight gain and weight loss comes down to a simple math equation, “Too many calories taken in versus not enough expended on any given day, regardless of the time, will lead to weight gain.”

Care Through Nutrition  recommends you to eat dinner at least three to four hours before going to bed to give your body time to digest the meal. And dinner should be your smallest meal of the day.

“Most people typically have the biggest meal in the evening and the smallest meal for breakfast — I recommend the opposite,”  Usually people who eat a larger breakfast and lunch full of protein, fruit, vegetables and whole grains will not be as tempted to indulge in a high-fat, high-calorie dinner.

Instead of eating three larger meals, eating four or five smaller meals during the day can help you maintain a healthy weight. Other healthy tips and considerations include:

  • Don’t go hungry – Waiting too long to eat could lead to consuming larger portion sizesMake sure to have healthy snacks prepared for the day.
  • Dodge the quick fixes – After a long day of work, a fast food burger is tempting. Have a quick, healthy meal ready to go such as steamed vegetables and broiled fish or chicken.
  • Stay focused on health – Consistent periods of going without food followed by a large meal can make you susceptible to Type 2 diabetes. Focus on staying healthy, rather than being skinny.

Checkout what you should have on your dinner plate.

High protein dinner – Low carb but high protein for people who workout a lot and want to add more muscle mass.
Massor dhal soup, beans or sprout salad and tofu or chicken curry with 2 whole grain rotis with a glass of buttermilk or low fat milk.

Jeera_aloo_served_with_sprouts_and_dalbuttermilk-625_625x350_51442899881

Weight watchers dinner – When you want to keep a check on your weight
Mushroom soup and mixed vegetable salad with a glass of buttermilk.

best-ever-mushroom-soup-pin-5-628x1024

High fiber dinner- When you want meals with high satiety
Cucumber, onion, carrot salad with brown rice or multigrain rotis with vegetable sabzi.

roti salad

Late night dinner – When work hours are beyond normal bed time. 
Cheese and lettuce sandwiches and fruit smoothies.

Healthy vegetarian Breakfast. Sandwich grain bread tofu cheese, detox smoothie, pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes, natural flowers, blue background, notebook. Lunch box with soup for lunch

 Healthy – Grills
Barbequed -Grilled veggies, grilled Tofu or grilled chicken/ fish with lettuce carrot salad.

grills

Quick dinner When a person is tired and wants an easy meal to prepare in less time.
Millets upma with cucumber salad.

millet upma

Happy Family Dinner

A full course meal with soup or salad, roti with veg curry, dal or fish or chicken curry with curd. and before bed with a cup of cut fruits to make a complete balanced meal.

family meal

Healthy meal on the go

whole wheat roll- Chicken tikka or mix veg tikka roll

roll

Dinner – Vegan style 
Millet upma with vegetable soup

Keto Dinner

Keto poha- Grated cauliflower in place of poha, seasoned with mustard, peanuts and other vegetables as needed.

keto poha

For more recipes and dinner ideas contact me and follow Care Through Nutrition website and  facebook

Celebrate A Healthy Diwali

For people who are conscious about their diet and working too very hard to maintain weight or lose weight are the ones who will feel most guilty this DIWALI week. So Eat healthy this Diwali. How? I will tell you.

Diwali is festival of celebration. There are sweets, snacks drinks all around you. So if you are a dieter then it is very difficult for you to control yourself when people from all rounds are pressuring you to taste their special dishes and enjoy the festival feast.

But do you think that you should be really guilty about it? I don’t think so you should be. If you are not at any end stage of disease where your diet will decide your life or death you should not be afraid of any celebrations.

when you know that your ultimate calorie intake of the day is going high so it becomes very important that also you increase your activity levels to burn of those extra calories. Then this will help you to balance your fitness.

So enjoy festival with mindful eating. Do not eat anything and everything being served to you. Choose foods which you like the most and eat consciously with measured amount.

Here are ways which  keep you guilt free eating this Diwali festival.

  1. Keep a habit of chewing a gum when you feel there is too much food around you and you really don’t want to eat.
  2. Keep habit of drinking water before your feel or crave to eat anything junky.
  3. If you at someone’s home and you are forced to eat, try and select some snacks rather than sweets. So you have to choose less bad food from bad ones. Refined Carbs (sugar) is more harmful than eating some fried food. But ultimately both are unhealthy. Eat very small portion and do not fill up your stomach with Diwali snacks and sweets as I know they are very tempting and appearance and taste. So as thumb rule just have some
  4. If you have already had heavy meal or snacks be very careful of what you are eating in next meal and try to walk up a little more than usually. Keep your rest meals very light
  5. Try to eat fruits in meals when you feel that you are going to snack unhealthy.
  6. If you eat and you are guilty then only one thing you can do is burn that off. Go for exercise, run, swimming, gym etc. Come over your laziness and do your workout.
  7. Avoid sweets with silver coating. They are poisonous. They are unhygienic and toxic
  8. Even when you gift sweets to others, prefer giving chocolates, laddus, dry fruits rather than giving away milk based ones like barfi and pedha. They cause the maximum number of food poisoning cases due to bacterial overgrowth.
  9. Eat some ultra-healthy foods to combat from the unhealthy ones. Choose to eat oats, quinoa, milltes, whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, no oil salads.
  10. Going on no sugar diet may be for a day and no fat diet on the other day. Also you can go for fruit duet for a day to detox yourself.
  11. There are many cases of diarrhea and abdominal cramps and vomiting. As there is mass production of food items. Preventive care is the best. If you face any such problem try to rehydrate yourself with plenty of water, ORS, coconut water or lemon water. This will definitely work. If in case its very sever visit your physician
  12. Also sleep well. Do not compromise on sleep as that will further create more stress to your body which can be harmful
  13. No Alcohol. As this will be a add on poison.

So festivals are definitely to enjoy but when it is bothering your fitness, you have to be extremely careful of how to balance it.

Black Rice- Lets Bring Back the Nutrition Packed Old Treasure

Black rice (also known as purple rice) is a range of rice types of the species Oryza sativa L., They are rare and a very old variety of rice which has been grown in India for centuries. It is mainly grown in the North east and the southern parts of India.

Other names

Varieties include,

  • Indonesian black rice
  • Thai jasmine black rice
  • Chak-haoin Manipur
  • Karupu kavuni in Tamil nadu. Even today, there is no royal family Chettinad wedding without a dessert with Kavuni Arisi.
  • The forbidden rice by Chinese

This black rice or so-called ‘the forbidden rice’ by Chinese is one such ancient variety that became a part of cuisine in olden days.

Olden day usage of the rice

Black Rice was once served only for royal family in china. General public was denied access to this rice, probably merchants were always friends with royal families that’s how they got their hand with this rice varities. During the days of the Ching and Ming dynasties Forbidden Rice was exclusively reserved for the Chinese Emperors to ensure their longevity and good health. Eventually, common people were allowed to eat the rice. Since then, it has become a nourishing staple that is reputed to promote long life and good health.

 

In ancient days, when a girl attends puberty, they used to make black rice pudding (called as puttu also known as Rangoon puttu). This is because this will help her stabilizes her body and increase the iron in blood and stops accumulating fat in back and hip region, a place women add more fat. Over a period of time, we forgot the black rice and we only followed the ritual and pudding part. Even today, in some part of villages, when a girl is getting ready to be married, they used to give black rice based food to rebuild her into proper shape.

Nutrition value

Black rice has 18 amino acids, zinc that counts for immunity, iron that counts for carrying oxygen and the list goes like, copper, carotene, anthocyanin and several important vitamins.

A one-half cup serving of cooked black rice, or about ¼ cup uncooked, contains approximately (in daily recommended values):

  • 160 calories
  • 1.5 grams of fat
  • 34 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 4% DV for iron

Wondering how black rice compares to other rice varieties? Here’s how the different types of rice differ in terms of nutrient content when we compare an 100gm serving of each kind:

  • Polished white rice – contains 6.8 protein, 1.2 iron, 0.6 fiber.
  • Brown rice: 7.9 protein, 2.2 iron, and 2.8 fiber.
  • Red rice: 7.0 protein, 5.5 iron, and 2.0 fiber.
  • Black rice: 8.5 protein, 3.5 iron, 4.9 fiber, and the highest amount of antioxidants of any rice variety.

You can see that black rice contains the highest amount of antioxidants, protein and dietary fiber of all rices varieties; plus black rice is also a good source of iron which can be hard to get for plant based eaters who rely on grains and legumes for protein.

Rich In Antioxidants.

 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY (ACS) SAYS, ONE SPOONFUL OF BLACK RICE CONTAINS MORE ANTHOCYANIN ANTIOXIDANTS THAN A SPOONFUL OF BLUEBERRIES.

Black rice is a source of iron, vitamin E and antioxidants (more than in blueberries). The bran hull (outermost layer) of black rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanin found in food. The grain has a similar amount of fiber to brown rice and, like brown rice, has a mild, nutty taste.

The Anthocyanin content found in black rice is way more than most grains and this is what makes this grain stand out in comparison to other super foods like quinoa, red rice, etc. Studies have shown that the Anthocyanin antioxidants in grains helps the body to protect against heart diseases, cancer and many more.

Rich In Fiber

Black rice is loaded with fiber and minerals. A typical bowl of 100gms of black rice serving has over 4.9 grams of fiber. This is double the amount of fiber available in brown rice.

So, if you are looking to include something fiber rich in your diet then it is better to start consuming Black Rice than any other varieties of rice.

 Anti-inflammatory Properties

Black rice is a naturally healing food. Research has shown Black rice to reduce inflammatory compounds in your body and increase the anti-inflammatory compounds.

This increase in the anti-inflammatory compounds help in reducing inflammation in various diseases like cancer, arthritis and allergies.

A Natural Detoxifying Agent For Your Body

Black rice a rich and natural detoxifying agent. Studies have shown that the phyto-nutrients in black rice help detoxify your body and remove harmful toxins from your liver. The rice is good for live function as it helps remove toxins from the liver and detoxifies it.

A Gluten Free Grain

Black rice is a gluten-free grain. For those with gluten allergies and Celiac disease, it is a good alternative.

Helps Fight Diabetes

The Black Rice bran contains fiber, which in turn helps glucose to be absorbed by your body over a longer period of time.

Research has proven that eating whole grains like Black Rice helps your body lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and also keeps your weight in check in addition to boosting your energy levels.

So if you are diabetic then you should consider substituting Black Rice to white rice in your daily diet as it way better and helps fight diabetes.

Your Weight Loss Partner

Because of its rich fiber content, black rice satiates the appetite and makes you feel fuller for a longer time. When considered with other rice varieties, consuming just one-third of black rice gets you the necessary nutrients and fills the hunger cravings. Thus, it aids weight-loss as well. . In addition researchers have found out that whole grains like Black Rice help prevent insulin resistance in your body which leads to and is related to risk of becoming over-weight/obese.

Promotes Healthy Heart

A healing food like Black Rice has been shown to reduce the atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arteries which is the main reason for a heart attack and stroke.

In addition to this Black Rice also helps to reduce the 2 common factors in heart disease, namely LDL, triacylglycerol and total cholesterol.

In ancient days, when a girl attends puberty, they used to make black rice pudding (called as puttu also known as Rangoon puttu). This is because this will help her stabilizes her body and increase the iron in blood and stops accumulating fat in back and hip region, a place women add more fat. Over a period of time, we forgot the black rice and we only followed the ritual and pudding part. Even today, in some part of villages, when a girl is getting ready to be married, they used to give black rice based food to rebuild her into proper shape.

Cooking tips for Black rice

Black rice has a deep black color and usually turns deep purple when cooked. Its dark purple color is primarily due to its anthocyanin content, which is higher by weight than that of other colored grains. It is suitable for making porridge, dessert, traditional Chinese black rice cake, bread, and noodles.

Because it is unrefined and denser than white rice, black rice takes longer to cook. The best results can be achieved by first soaking your black rice for at least one hour before cooking it, but preferably for several hours.

It makes a delicious side dish all on its own with some salt and pepper, but can also be added to stir fries, soups and stews, or sprinkled on top of a salad. Add cooked black rice to homemade veggie burgers, in burritos instead of white rice, or served with fresh roasted vegetables and your favorite source of protein.

Some people even chose to grind the dry rice kernels in a coffee grinder or food processor and then use the ground rice to bake with, coat fish with, or just to sprinkle over other foods for an extra antioxidant boost.

Black rice has been used in traditional Chinese desserts and snacks to make a dessert porridge, black rice cakes or breads, noodles, and more. So as you can see, there are plenty of options for adding some to your diet.

Another interesting application for black rice is to use it as a natural food coloring agent. Currently some small manufacturers add black rice either ground or in extract form to beverages and foods in order to avoid using artificial dyes and ingredients which can be harmful in numerous ways.

Here are some links which would help you for black rice recipes

http://elvisalakshi.blogspot.in/2013/03/kavuni-arisi.html
http://kitchenrhapsody.blogspot.in/2012/03/kavuni-arisiblack-sticky-rice-and.html
http://ranistreat.blogspot.in/2013/08/kavuni-arisi-sweet-pongal-black-rice.html
http://www.cheftamil.com/inippu-kavuni-arisi-in-tamil-sweet-wild-rice-recipe-tips-to-cook-wild-rice_3b7a9be40.html
http://chettinadrecipesblog.blogspot.in/2013/07/kavuni-arisi-chettinad-special-sweet.html
http://delightsofcooking.blogspot.in/2008/09/kavuni-arisi-payasam.html

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MILLETS

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MILLETSImage result for millets crop

Millets are a group of small seed grasses grown in semi-dry areas of Asia and Africa. Millets have been widely cultivated as cereal crops or as fodder for animals. Because millets have short growing season, can withstand dry and high-temperature conditions yet yield well, they are popularly grown in the developing nations. In the developed nations, millets have been relegated to be used as bird feed.

However, millets in India are enjoying rising popularity due to a variety of health benefits of millets. They are gluten free grains and hence it can be consumed by everyone. 

Types of Millets in India

Millets in India enjoy prime importance that is because India is one of the biggest producers clocking 8 million tonnes every year followed by Africa and China.

1.Sorghum (Jowar)

Compared to rice and wheat, jowar has a high proportion of calcium. It also packs in a neat iron, protein, and fiber punch. Researchers have found that a typical sorghum wax is rich in policosanols which helps in reducing the levels of cholesterol. Being a gluten-free grain, it is also much preferred by those who can’t tolerate wheat-based products.

2.Foxtail millet

Image result for foxtail millet imagesImage result for foxtail millet images

Foxtail millets are available in the form of rice, semolina (like rava) or as flour. As with other millets, foxtail millet is rich in smart carbohydrates, the kind which doesn’t increase the blood sugar levels immediately. It is rich in dietary fibre, and minerals like iron and copper. Due to this, it helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and keeps the immune system strong.

3.Finger millet (ragi)

Ragi is a powerhouse of health benefiting nutrients that help in reducing weight and also acts as a treatment for multiple diseases like Brittle Bones, Osteoporosis, Anaemia and Diabetes. It is a natural relaxant that helps in relieving stress and anxiety. It is one such rare cereal that doesn’t need to be polished and, therefore, can be consumed in its purest form with all its goodness intact. A special amino acid, Tryptophan present in Ragi helps in curbing appetite. The high amount of dietary fiber combines with water and keeps the stomach fuller for a longer period of time. It is low in unsaturated fats that make it the ideal cereal for those looking to lose weight.

It is loaded with calcium and vitamin D that makes it a vital component for increasing bone strength. It helps development of bones in children, maintains bone health and prevents bone erosion in adults. It also works as an effective food to avert Osteoporosis.

The important amino acids present in Ragi are Valine, Threonine, Isoleucine, Methionine and Tryptophan that help in muscle functioning, maintaining metabolism, blood formation, fighting anxiety and depression and also promotes the release of growth hormones.

Ragi sprouts is one of the healthiest sprouts to eat to load up on Iron that helps in increasing blood formation in persons suffering from anaemia or low haemoglobin levels. Sprouted Ragi contains vitamin C that makes the iron present in it easily absorbable by the body.

4.Pearl millet (Bajra)

Pearl millet or bajra is said to be a miracle millet with iron content 8 times higher than that present in rice. Other facts about pearl millet nutrition are that it is also rich in protein, fibre, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Consumption of pearl millet will help ease constipation issues and any problems with the digestion as well. Because of the nutritional line-up, it can also make for a good lactagogue.

5.Barnyard millet

Image result for barnyard millet images

The fibre will help maintain satiety. Apart from this, millet is rich sources of bone-building minerals calcium and phosphorus. The good antioxidant profile makes it an ideal replacement to rice in dosa/idli/dhokla batters.

6.Kodo millet

Image result for kodo millet imagesImage result for kodo millet images

If you are looking for a millet that closely resembles rice, then it is the Kodo millet. It is easy to digest and is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, all of which helps prevent the occurrence of major lifestyle diseases. Weight loss enthusiasts, this is the millet you have to watch out for. Cook it like rice once in a while but without the guilt accompanied by it. Kodo millet has shown to reduce knee and joint pain, helps regularise menstruation in women among others.

  1. Little Millet

Image result for little milletImage result for little millet

The little millet may be called little but in no means its nutritional content is little. It is a rich source of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium among others. It also provides essential fats to the body, the kind that helps in weight loss. Its high fibre content is yet another positive making it an ideal part of pongal or even kheer instead of rice.

  1. Proso Millet

Image result for proso milletImage result for proso millet

Like it’s millet cousins, proso millet is rich in protein and low glycemic index carbs. The developed world cultivates this millet to use it as bird feed. It is yet to be consumed as a mainstream millet.

GLOSSARY- NAMES OF MILLETS IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

Source:Google & Wikipedia

ENGLISH HINDI TAMIL KANNADA TELUGU MALAYALAM
Finger millet Nachani /mundua Kezhvaragu Ragi Ragula Panji pullu
Kodo millet Koden/Kodra Varagu Harka Arikelu Koovaragu
Foxtail millet Kangni/Rala Thinai Navane Korra Thina
Little millet Kutki Saamai Saame Sama Chama
Barnyard millet Jhangora Kuthiravali Oodalu Odalu Kavadapullu
Pearl millet Bajra Kambu Sajje Sajjalu Kambam
      Sorghum         Jowar      Cholam      Jola       Jonna          Cholam

Millet is generally available in its hulled and whole-grain form. Whether purchasing millet in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.
Store millet in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place, where it will keep for several months.
Millet is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.

Nutrition and Cancer

Image result for cancer nutritionThe side effects of cancer and cancer treatment that can affect eating include:

  • Anorexia (loss of appitite).
  • Mouth sores.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Pain.
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Cancer and cancer treatments may affect taste, smell, appetite, and the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food. This can cause malnutrition (a condition caused by a lack of key nutrients). Malnutrition can cause the patient to be weak, tired, and unable to fight infections or get through cancer treatment. Malnutrition may be made worse if the cancer grows or spreads. Eating too little protein and calories is a very common problem for cancer patients. Having enough protein and calories is important for healing, fighting infection, and having enough energy.
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It is important to treat weight loss caused by cancer and its treatment.

It is important that cancer symptoms and side effects that affect eating and cause weight loss are treated early. Both nutrition therapy and medicine can help the patient stay at a healthy weight. Medicine may be used for the following:

  • To help increase appetite.
  • To help digest food.
  • To help the muscles of the stomach and intestines contract (to keep food moving along).
  • To prevent or treat nausea and vomiting.
  • To prevent or treat diarrhea.
  • To prevent or treat constipation.
  • To prevent and treat mouth problems (such as dry mouth, infection, pain, and sores).
  • To prevent and treat pain.

    Surgery and Nutrition

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    Surgery increases the body’s need for nutrients and energy.

    The body needs extra energy and nutrients to heal wounds, fight infection, and recover from surgery. If the patient is malnourished before surgery, it may cause problems during recovery, such as poor healing or infection. For these patients, nutrition care may begin before surgery.

    It is common for patients to have pain, tiredness, and/or loss of appetite after surgery. For a short time, some patients may not be able to eat what they usually do because of these symptoms. Following certain tips about food may help. These include:

    • Increase calories by frying foods and using gravies, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Supplements high in calories and protein can also be used.
    • Choose high-protein and high-calorie foods to increase energy and help wounds heal. Good choices include:
      • Eggs.
      • Cheese.
      • Whole milk.
      • Ice cream.
      • Nuts.
      • Peanut butter.
      • Meat.
      • Poultry.
      • Fish.
    • If constipation is a problem, increase fiber by small amounts and drink lots of water. Good sources of fiber include:
      • Whole-grain cereals (such as oatmeal and bran).
      • Beans.
      • Vegetables.
      • Fruit.
      • Whole-grain breads.

    Stay away from carbonated drinks (such as sodas) and foods that cause gas, such as:

    • Beans.
    • Peas.
    • Broccoli.
    • Cabbage.
    • Brussels sprouts.
    • Green peppers.
    • Radishes.
    • Cucumbers.

      Nutrition therapy is very important for patients who have a stem cell transplant.

      Transplant patients have a very high risk of infection. High doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy decrease the number of white blood cells, which fight infection. It is especially important that transplant patients avoid getting infections.

      Patients who have a transplant need plenty of protein and calories to get through and recover from the treatment, prevent weight loss, fight infection, and maintain general health. It is also important to avoid infection from bacteria in food. Nutrition therapy during transplant treatment may include the following:

      • A diet of cooked and processed foods only, because raw vegetables and fresh fruit may carry harmful bacteria.
      • Guidelines on safe food handling.
      • A specific diet based on the type of transplant and the part of the body affected by cancer.
      • Parenteral nutrition (feeding through the bloodstream) during the first few weeks after the transplant, to give the patient the calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fluids they need to recover.

Anorexia

Anorexia (the loss of appetite or desire to eat) is one of the most common problems for cancer patients. Eating in a calm, comfortable place and getting regular exercise may improve appetite. The following may help cancer patients who have a loss of appetite:

  • Eat small high-protein and high-calorie meals every 1-2 hours instead of three large meals. The following are high-calorie, high-protein food choices:

    Cheese and crackers.
    Muffins.
    Puddings.
    Nutritional supplements
    Milkshakes.
    Yogurt.
    Ice cream.
    Powdered milk added to foods such as pudding, milkshakes, or any recipe using milk.
    Finger foods (handy for snacking) such as deviled eggs, deviled ham on crackers, or cream cheese or peanut butter on crackers or celery.
    Chocolate.

  • Add extra calories and protein to food by using butter, skim milk powder, honey, or brown sugar.
  • Drink liquid supplements (special drinks that have nutrients), soups, milk, juices, shakes, and smoothies, if eating solid food is a problem.
  • Eat breakfasts that have one third of the calories and protein needed for the day.
  • Eat snacks that have plenty of calories and protein.
  • Eat foods that smell good. Strong odors can be avoided in the following ways:
    • Use boiling bags or microwave steaming bags.
    • Cook outdoors on the grill.
    • Use a kitchen fan when cooking.
    • Serve cold food instead of hot (since odors are in the rising steam).
    • Take off any food covers to release the odors before going into a patient’s room.
    • Use a small fan to blow food odors away from patients.
    • Order take-out food.
  • Try new foods and new recipes, flavorings, spices, and foods with a different texture or thickness. Food likes and dislikes may change from day to day.
  • Plan menus ahead of time and get help preparing meals.
  • Make and store small amounts of favorite foods so they are ready to eat when hungry.

Taste Changes

Changes in how foods taste may be caused by radiation treatment, dental problems, mouth sores and infections, or some medicines. Many cancer patients who receive chemotherapy notice a bitter taste or other changes in their sense of taste. A sudden dislike for certain foods may occur. This can cause a loss of appetite, weight loss, and a decreased quality of life. Some or all of a normal sense of taste may return, but it may take up to a year after treatment ends. The following may help cancer patients who have taste changes:

  • Eat small meals and healthy snacks several times a day.
  • Eat meals when hungry rather than at set mealtimes.
  • Eat favorite foods and try new foods when feeling best.
  • Eat poultry, fish, eggs, and cheese instead of red meat.
  • Eat citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit) unless mouth sores are present.
  • Add spices and sauces to foods.
  • Eat meat with something sweet, such as cranberry sauce, jelly, or applesauce.
  • Find non meat, high-protein recipes in a vegetarian or Chinese cookbook.
  • Use sugar-free lemon drops, gum, or mints if there is a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth.
  • Rinse mouth with water before eating.
  • Eat with family and friends.
  • Have others prepare the meal.
  • Use plastic utensils if foods have a metal taste.

Dry Mouth

The main treatment for dry mouth is drinking plenty of liquids. Other ways to help relieve dry mouth include the following:

  • Keep water handy at all times to moisten the mouth.
  • Eat moist foods with extra sauces, gravies, butter, or margarine.
  • Eat foods and drinks that are very sweet or tart (to increase saliva).
  • Eat ice chips or frozen desserts (such as frozen grapes and ice pops).
  • Drink fruit nectar instead of juice.
  • Suck on hard candy or chew gum.
  • Use a straw to drink liquids.
  • Clean teeth (including dentures) and rinse mouth at least four times a day (after eating and at bedtime). Don’t use mouth rinses that contain alcohol.

Mouth Sores and Infections

  • Eat soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as the following:
    • Soft fruits, including bananas, applesauce, and watermelon.
    • Peach, pear, and apricot nectars.
    • Cottage cheese.
    • Mashed potatoes.
    • Macaroni and cheese.
    • Custards and puddings.
    • Gelatin.
    • Milkshakes.
    • Scrambled eggs.
    • Oatmeal or other cooked cereals.
  • Stay away from the following:
    • Citrus fruits and juices, (such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and grapefruit).
    • Spicy or salty foods.
    • Rough, coarse, or dry foods, including raw vegetables, granola, toast, and crackers.
  • Use a blender to make vegetables (such as potatoes, peas, and carrots) and meats smooth.
  • Add gravy, broth, or sauces to food.
  • Drink high-calorie, high-protein drinks in addition to meals.
  • Cook foods until soft and tender.
  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature. Hot and warm foods can irritate a tender mouth.
  • Cut foods into small pieces.
  • Use a straw to drink liquids.
  • Numb the mouth with ice chips or flavored ice pops before eating.
  • Clean teeth (including dentures) and rinse mouth at least four times a day (after eating and at bedtime).

    Nausea

    Nausea caused by cancer treatment can affect the amount and kinds of food eaten. The following may help cancer patients control nausea:

    • Eat before cancer treatments.
    • Rinse out the mouth before and after eating.
    • Eat foods that are bland, soft, and easy-to-digest, rather than heavy meals. Eat small meals several times a day.
    • Eat dry foods such as crackers, bread sticks, or toast throughout the day.
    • Slowly sip fluids throughout the day.
    • Suck on hard candies such as peppermints or lemon drops if the mouth has a bad taste.
    • Stay away from foods that are likely to cause nausea. For some patients, this includes spicy foods, greasy foods, and foods that have strong odors.
    • Sit up or lie with the upper body raised for one hour after eating.
    • Don’t eat in a room that has cooking odors or that is very warm. Keep the living space at a comfortable temperature with plenty of fresh air.

      Diarrhea

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      • Eat broth, soups, bananas, and canned fruits to help replace salt and potassium lost by diarrhea. Sports drinks can also help.
      • Drink plenty of fluids during the day. Liquids at room temperature may cause fewer problems than hot or cold liquids.
      • Drink at least one cup of liquid after each loose bowel movement.
      • Stay away from the following:
        • Greasy foods, hot or cold liquids, or caffeine
        • High-fiber foods—especially dried beans and cruciferous vegetables(such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage).
        • Milk and milk products, until the cause of the diarrhea is known.
        • Foods and beverages that cause gas (such as peas, lentils, cruciferous vegetables, chewing gum, and soda).
        • Sugar-free candies or gum made with sorbitol (sugar alcohol).

Low White Blood Cell Counts and Infections

The following may help cancer patients prevent infections when white blood cell counts are low:

Stay away from:

  • Raw eggs or raw fish.
  • Old, moldy, or damaged fruits and vegetables.
  • Food sold in open bins or containers.
  • Salad bars and buffets when eating out.
  • Wash hands often to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator or microwave. Never thaw foods at room temperature. Cook foods immediately after thawing.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Cook all meat, poultry, and fish until well done.
  • Refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours of cooking and eat them within 24 hours.
  • Buy foods packed as single servings, to avoid leftovers.
  • Do not buy or eat food that is out of date.
  • Do not buy or eat food in cans that are swollen, dented, or damaged.

    Dehydration (Lack of Fluid)

    • Drink 8 to 12 cups of liquids a day. This can be water, juice, milk, or foods that have a lot of liquid in them, such as ice pops, flavored ices, and gelatins.
    • Stay away from drinks that have caffeine in them, such as sodas, coffee, and tea (both hot and cold).
    • Take a water bottle whenever leaving home. It is important to drink even if not thirsty.
    • Drink most liquids between meals.
    • Use medicines that help prevent and treat nausea and vomiting.

Constipation

To prevent constipation:

  • Eat more fiber-containing foods. Twenty-five to 35 gms of fiber a day is best. Food labels show the amount of fiber in a serving. (Some sources of fiber are listed below.) Add a little more fiber each day and drink plenty of fluids at the same time to keep the fiber moving through the intestines.
  • Drink 8 to 12 cups of fluid each day. Water, prune juice, warm juices, lemonade, and teas without caffeine can be very helpful.
  • Take walks and exercise regularly. Wear shoes made for exercise.

To treat constipation:

  • Continue to eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids. Try adding wheat bran to the diet; begin with 2 heaping tablespoons each day for 3 days, then increase by 1 tablespoon each day until constipation is relieved. Do not take more than 6 tablespoons a day.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Use over-the-counter constipation treatments, if needed. These include:
    • Bulk-forming products (such as Citrucel, Metamucil, Fiberall, and Fiber-Lax).
    • Stimulants (such as Dulcolax and Senokot).
    • Stool softeners (such as Colace and Surfak).
    • Osmotics (such as milk of magnesia).
  • Cottonseed and aerosol enemas can also help. Do not use lubricants such as mineral oil because they may keep the body from using important nutrients the way it should.

Good food sources of fiber include the following:

  • Legumes (beans and lentils).
  • Vegetables.
  • Cold cereals (whole grain or bran).
  • Hot cereals.
  • Fruit.
  • Whole-grain breads.

Nutrition in Cancer Prevention

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  • Following certain dietary guidelines may help prevent cancer.

    The American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research both have dietary guidelines that may help prevent cancer. Their guidelines are a lot alike and include the following:

    • Eat a plant-based diet with a large variety of fruits and vegetables.
    • Eat foods low in fat.
    • Eat foods low in salt.
    • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
    • Be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
    • Drink few alcoholic drinks or don’t drink at all.
    • Prepare and store food safely.
    • Do not use tobacco in any form.

     

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Flaxseed Health Benefits

flax seed

Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

History

Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Now, thirteen centuries later, some experts say we have preliminary research to back up what Charlemagne suspected.

Flaxseed is found in all kinds of today’s foods from crackers to frozen waffles to oatmeal. The Flax Council estimates close to 300 new flax-based products were launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2010 alone. Not only has consumer demand for flaxseed grown, agricultural use has also increased. Flaxseed is what’s used to feed all those chickens that are laying eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

 

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Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
  • Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and anti oxident qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.Only two foods are significant sources of lignans — flaxseeds and sesame seeds — and flaxseeds have nearly eight times more lignans than sesame seeds. Lignans are called plant phytoestrogens because bacteria in the intestine convert them into enterolignans, which subsequently exert a mild estrogenic effect in your body.
  • Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

 Flaxseed Nutrition Facts

When you look at the nutritional benefits of flax seeds, there are many things that will catch your attention.

A  1 ounce (3 tbsp) serving of flaxseeds contains:

  • Omega-3 (ALA) 6,338mg
  • Fiber 8g
  • Protein 6g
  • Vitamin B1 31% RDA
  • Manganese 35% RDA
  • Magnesium 30% RDA
  • Phosphorus 19% RDA
  • Selenium 10% RDA
  • Also, flaxseeds contain a good amount of vitamin B6, Iron, potassium, copper and zinc. 

The Health Benefits of Flax

Flax Seeds for Cancer

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In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth.

The lignans in flaxseed may provide some protection against cancers that are sensitive to hormones without interfering with the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Lignans may help protect against cancer by blocking enzymes that are involved in hormone metabolism and interfering with the growth and spread of tumor cells.

Weight Loss

Dietary fiber is an important weight-loss nutrient and as little as 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed — containing 2 grams of fiber — may give you enough to make a difference. In a very small study reported in the journal Appetite in 2012, a drink containing 2.5 grams of flaxseed fiber helped suppress appetite and caused subjects to eat less. Dietary fiber adds bulk that fills your stomach. As a result, you feel full sooner and satiety lasts longer, which makes it easier to eat less food. The soluble fiber in flaxseed slows digestion and prevents glucose from spiking blood sugar. Balanced blood sugar helps you lose weight because any excess sugar is stored as fat. High blood sugar has another negative effect on weight loss. It triggers the release of insulin, which tells the body to stop breaking down stored fat. This means you won’t burn excess fat for energy.

The soluble fiber in flaxseed is fermented by bacteria in the colon which increases good bacteria and may help with weight loss. A small study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in April 2015, reported that insulin sensitivity improved in overweight postmenopausal women when they consumed flaxseed. Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition in which the body no longer responds to insulin in a normal fashion. If you’re insulin resistant, improving insulin sensitivity will help you lose weight.

Lower Cholesterol

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Lignans may help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol. They use their antioxidant action to fight inflammation and slow down cancer growth, but more research is needed to verify their effectiveness, according to a report in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2010.

The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder.

The bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to make more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and lowering cholesterol overall.

Flaxseeds are High in Antioxidants (Lignans)

Amongst its other incredible nutrition facts, flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties, therefore consuming flax regularly may help reduce the number or severity of colds and flus.

Healthy Skin and HairImage result for health benefits of flax seeds

If you want healthier skin, hair and nails then consider adding 2 tbsp of flax seeds to your smoothie or 1 tbsp of flax seed oil to your daily routine.

The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. This also applies to eye health as flax can reduce dry eye syndrome.

Digestive Health

Maybe the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.

You can also take 1-3 tbsp of flax seed oil with 8 oz of carrot juice to help naturally relieve constipation.

Menopausal Symptoms

The lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. It can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans do have estrogenic properties.

These properties may also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can even help menstruating women by helping maintain cycle regularity.

Tips for Using Flaxseed

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Many experts believe it’s better to consume flaxseed than flax oil (which contains just part of the seed) so you get all the components.

There are many great ways to add these super seeds into your diet including adding them to homemade muffins, breads and cookies.

One of the most common questions about baking with flax seeds is, does baking have any effect on omega-3 fatty acid?

According to many studies, you can bake flax seeds at 300F for 3 hours and the omega-3’s (ALA) in flax seeds remained stable.

Tips for including flaxseed in your diet include:

  • Add 1-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to a morning smoothie
  • Mix a tablespoon in with yogurt and raw honey
  • Bake ground flaxseeds into muffins, cookies and breads
  • Add to homemade sprouted granola
  • Can be mixed with water and used as an egg substitute

However the very best way to experience flax seed benefits is to consume them in their sprouted form. Soaking flax seeds and then sprouting them eliminates phytic acid and may greatly increase mineral  absorption. Make sure to take them with plenty of water or other fluids.

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Nutrition Tips for Kids

By Dhanalakshmi M.Sc., M.Phil

Consultant Nutritionist

imageDo you want to know the right way and amount of nutrition for your kids? Here is a quick overview of nutrition for kids.

Introduction: Nutrition for kids is based on same principles as nutrition for adults. Everyone needs the same type of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However children needs different amounts of nutrients at different ages.

Checkout these nutrition basics for girls and boys at different ages.

Proteins

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Choose sea foods, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Fruitsimage

Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh and dried fruits rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks juice, make sure it is 100% juice without added sugars. Keep in mind  that half cup of dried fruits counts as one cup equivalent of fresh fruits. When condSumed in excess the dried fruits can contribute extra calories.

Vegetablesimage

Serve a variety of fresh vegetables. Aim to provide a variety of vegetables including dark,green,red & orange, beans & peas, starchy & others each week. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.

Grainsimage

Choose whole grains such as whole wheat, unpolished or brown rice, millets. Limit refined grains.

Dairyimage

Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or Low fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortifed soy beverages.

Aim to limit your child’s calories from,

Added Sugar: Limit added sugars. Fruits and milk are not added sugars. Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetness, corn syrup, honey and others.

For more info on sugars read my post on sugarshttps://carethroughnutrition.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/keep-a-check-on-your-added-sugars-or-sweetenerss/

Saturated and Trans fats: Limit saturated fats- fats that mainly comes from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full fat dairy products. Look for ways to replace saturated fats with vegetable and nut oils, which provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Healthier fats are also naturally present in olives, nuts, avocados and seafood. Limit trans fats by avoiding foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil.

Daily guidelines for kids:

Age 4 to 8 years:

Calories: 1200 – 2000

Proteins: 85gms- 150gms

Fruits: 1-2 cups

Vegetables: 1.5-2.5 cups

Grains: 4-5 ounce

Dairy: 2.5 cups

Age  :    9–   13  yea rs

Calories: 1600-2600

Protien: 5-6.5 ounce

Fruits: 1.5-2 cups

vegetables: 2-3.5 cups

Grains: 5- 9 ounce

Dairy: 3 cups

Age: 14–   18 ,years

Calories: 2000 – 3200

Proteins: 5 – 5.7 ounce

Fruits: 2-2.5 cups

Vegetables: 2.5-4 cups

Grains: 6-10 ounce

Dairy: 3 cups

Some healthy snacks for kids:

snacks which are made of ground nut, sesame, moong dhal, tapioca, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, corn, millers,.

eg: groundnut Chili, moong dhal ladoo, whole grain biscuits, tapioca chips, banana chips, sweet corn salad, whole grain pasta, whole grain noodles, veg salad with cheese etc,.

Foods kids should avoid:

Refined foods like bakery foods, white flour ( maida) noodles, pasta, junk foods like burger, pizza made of white flour, soft drinks, juices with sugar etc,.

 

 

 

 

Must to know and Interesting facts about Added sugars or Sweeteners!!!

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There is a reason why organic, natural foods and unprocessed foods are making a comeback. People want to know what they’re putting in their kids’ bodies as well as their own.

To build a healthy eating style and stay within your calorie needs, choose foods and beverages with less added sugars. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include natural sugars found in milk and fruits.

Most of us eat and drink too many added sugars from the following foods:

  • beverages, such as regular soft drinks, energy or sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea
  • candy
  • cakes
  • cookies and brownies
  • pies and cobblers
  • sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts
  • ice cream and dairy desserts
  • sugars, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings

Today, products that do not claim to have less-sugar that are in fact sweetened with sugar, may also contain artificial sweeteners. And since food manufacturers are not required to notify you on the front of the package when a product contains an artificial sweetener, consumers may need to check the ingredient list carefully. Here is an example of full calorie hot chocolate that contains the same artificial sweetener as its reduced calorie counterpart.

Hot chocolate ingridients

Here are the different types of sweeteners which are classified into Natural ,Artificial sweeteners and Sugar alcohols.

Natural Sweeteners:

These are sugars obtained from natural sources.

White Sugar:

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After the initial boiling of sugar cane juice, it is treated with charcoal (preferably bone charcoal) to absorb unwanted particles and to give a clear, transparent solution. This solution, once it condenses and crystallizes, results in the commonly known form of sugar.Refined white sugar is a simple carbohydrate with lots of calories, no dietary fiber. Being one of the simplest available forms of sucrose, sugar is instantly absorbed in the blood and releases a burst of energy. This may prove harmful for some internal organs such as the kidneys, eyes, and brain, particularly for patients with diabetes.

Jaggery

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In the case of jaggery, there is no treatment with any kind of charcoal, nor there is any kind of crystallization. For jaggery, the mother syrup is boiled and boiled continuously until it is formed into a thick paste, which is then poured into molds to make blocks of jaggery of the desired quantity.

Jaggery is far more complex than sugar, as it is made up of longer chains of sucrose. Hence, it is digested slower than sugar and releases energy slowly and not instantaneously. This provides energy for a longer time and is not harmful for the body. However, this does not certify it as fit for consumption by diabetes, because ultimately, it is still sugar. Jaggery also gathers a considerable amount of ferrous salts (iron) during its preparation, as it is prepared in iron vessels. jaggery also contains of traces of mineral salts which are very beneficial for the body.These salts come from the sugar cane juice where it is absorbed from the soil. Furthermore, jaggery is very good as a cleansing agent. It cleanses the lungs, stomach, intestines, esophagus and respiratory tracts. Those who face dust in their day to day life are highly recommended to take a daily dose of jaggery. This can keep them safe from asthma, cough, cold, and congestion in chest.

Molasses:

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It is a viscous by-product of refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Molasses contains no protein or dietary fiber and close to no fat. Each tablespoon (20 g) contains 58 kcal (240 kJ), 14.95 g of carbohydrates, including 14.94 g of sugar divided between sucrose, glucose and fructose in rough proportions of 2:1:1.

  • Calcium: 400 mg (50% RDA)
  • Iron: 13 mg (95% RDA)
  • Magnesium: 300 mg (38% RDA)

Brown sugar

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Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content (natural brown sugar), or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar (commercial brown sugar). As there is more molasses in natural brown sugar, it contains minor nutritional value and mineral content.

One hundred grams of brown sugar contains 373 calories, as opposed to 396 calories in white sugar.

Sugar cane juice

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Sucanat:  It is essentially pure dried sugar cane juice. The juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated, and cooled, forming small brown grainy crystals. Sucanat retains its molasses content.

Fructose

:

Fructose or Fruit sugar is a simple sugar found in many plants.Fructose is found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries, and most root vegetables.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is also a sweetener and is used to sweeten foods and beverages.  However, HFCS is not the same as fructose.  HFCS is a mixture of fructose and glucose, made by an enzymatic process from glucose syrup from corn.

Unlike table sugar or HFCS, fructose does not cause a rapid rise and subsequent large fall in blood glucose levels, which means it has a low glycemic load or glycemic index (GI).

Honey

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It is similar to table sugar. Pure raw honey (not heated above 100 degrees) contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, flavonoids and antioxidants. Some research suggests that honey helps in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Honey is as rapidly assimilated in the bloodstream as refined sugar, so is not highly recommended.

Date Sugar:

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Date sugar is not really a sugar as it is made from ground, dehydrated dates containing all the vitamins, minerals and fiber found in the fruit. Date sugar is rich in nutrients and is metabolized more slowly than sugar.

Coconut Sugar

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Coconut sugar is made in a natural 2-step process:

  1. A cut is made on the flower of the coconut palm and the liquid sap is collected into containers.
  2. The sap is placed under heat until most of the water has evaporated.

Coconut sugar does retain quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm.Most notable of these are the minerals Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, along with some short chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that may also provide some health benefits.

It contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption and explain why coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar. Coconut sugar is very high in calories (same as regular sugar).

Palm Sugar

coconut-sugar

Since palm sugar is an unrefined sugar, it is known to be rich in vitamins and minerals. As a result, it has become increasingly popular as a substitute to white and brown sugar. Research studies have found that it contains minerals like potassium, phosphorus, zinc,iron, manganese and copper; small amounts of phytonutrients such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin; and antioxident. It is rich in B vitamins, especially inositol (Vit8) which is needed for the formation of healthy cells, as well as thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid and choline. It contains the same 16 amino acids as present in the sap from which it is derived.

Maple syrup:

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Maple syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. Less refined than white sugar, but at roughly 65 percent sucrose, is basically a sugar equivalent. It has a tiny amount of minerals and a very tiny amount of vitamins.

Barley malt syrup:

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Barley malt syrup is made from barley that is sprouted using only the grain’s own enzymes, kiln roasted, and slowly cooked until a thick, dark brown syrup is formed. The sugars in barley malt syrup are complex, thus they are slowly broken down in the body. It has trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein. Barley malt syrup, like rice syrup, will not create a sugar high like the simple sugars do as it releases slowly.

Brown rice syrup:

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Brown rice syrup is made from cooked brown rice, which is fermented by adding enzymes to turn the starches in the rice into sugars. Brown rice syrup is absorbed easily into our system, leaving less for fat accumulation in contrast with regular sugar. It is a complex sugar thus takes longer to digest and does not create the sugar high that the simple sugars do.

Agave Nectar:

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AgaveNectar is a juice extracted from agave (which is the same plant they make tequila from). It is 42 percent sweeter than white sugar but has the same caloric value and a low glycemic index — a measurement of the relative ability of a carbohydrate to raise blood glucose levels. It also has an absorption rate slower than that of white sugar.

Stevia:

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Stevia is a natural sugar alternative that helps to regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure. Stevia is a complex sugar extract from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana, grown originally in South America. It is an herb native to the Paraguayan Indians who used it before the colonization by the Spaniards in the 16th century. The Brazilian Journal of Medicine showed that Stevia Rebaudiana actually “increased glucose tolerance.”

 

Sugar Alcohols

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The sugar alcohols commonly found in foods are sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. Sugar alcohols come from plant products such as fruits and berries. The carbohydrate in these plant products is altered through a chemical process. These sugar substitutes provide somewhat fewer calories than table sugar (sucrose), mainly because they are not well absorbed and may even have a small laxative effect.

Many so-called “dietetic” foods that are labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added” in fact contain sugar alcohols. People with diabetes MISTAKENLY think that foods labeled as “sugar free” or “no sugar added” will have no effect on their blood glucose. Foods containing these sugar alcohols need to have their calorie and carbohydrate contents accounted for in your overall meal plan, as it is carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels. Since many people typically overeat “sugar free” or “no sugar added” foods, their blood glucose may be significantly elevated.

So the next time you pick up a dietetic food labeled “sugar free” be sure to check the label to see if these sugar alcohols are listed. Most importantly, be sure to check what the total carbohydrate content is per serving of any food, and incorporate that carbohydrate in your overall meal plan. If the product contains any total carb grams, it may likely come from sugar alcohols.

Artificial Sweeteners

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Five most common artificial sweeteners:

  • Saccharin  is calorie-free because the body cannot break it down. It was found to increase bladder cancer in diabetics who used saccharin for years.
  • Aspartameis one of the more common artificial sweeteners today. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption (a few examples: hearing impairment, epileptic seizures, migraines, irritability, insomnia, shortness of breath, loss of hair and increased craving for sweets).  It also worsens or mimics conditions such as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Sucralose  is a chlorinated artificial sweetener. There have been no long-term human studies on the safety of Splenda; however, issues have been raised about Splenda in a new study from Duke University showing that it will literally destroy all good bacteria in your gut, while increasing acidity which stimulates the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Research has shown it to cause shrunken thymus glands, enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate, decreased red blood cell count and diarrhea.
    • Neotame has a similar structure to aspartame and appears to be even more toxic than aspartame. According to Dr. Janet Starr Hull, “It’s Just Aspartame Without the Warning.”
    • Acesulfame-K is an unsafe chemical.  There has been very little research done but studies have shown that it can produce lung and breast tumors, leukemia and chronic respiratory disease in rats.

    Artificial sweeteners can also cause weight gain!

    Yes it is true! Researchers at Purdue University found that an artificial sweetener makes your body less able to regulate energy. This explains why, when you are eating so little and exercising so much, you find you are STILL gaining weight.

    Also, the body doesn’t recognize chemical sweeteners as food;  it leaves the body feeling unfilled and seeking nourishment, thus increasing your craving for food. The main reason people consume these is to lose weight. Now do you really want to be consuming artificial sweeteners?  I certainly do not! Since these artificial sweeteners came on the market, we have been seeing eating disorders on the rise among younger people.

    Because of very clever advertising, we are to believe we can eat sugar-free foods without penalty. On the other side of this there is a fear that eating REAL food will cause weight gain.

    So my final recommendation about the sugar intake is to avoid all the refined sugars like white sugar, all the artificial sweetners.

    People who are under weight control program can consider having sugar alcohols but again not in excess.

    For kids and adults seeking for highly nutritious foods can opt for jaggery, palm sugar/jaggery, coconut sugar, honey, date sugar, molasses,stevia.

    So look into the nutrition facts of whatever packed foods you and find out the type of sugar in it that and go a head.

    Get educated about sugars for a hassle free lifestyle..