Sunday, September 2, 2012

Being Indian About Gooseberry-Wonders of Amla!

Indian gooseberry or more popularly called as Amla in India, is one those miracle fruits which have all the good things to give you minus the harmful effects. A nectar for all age groups, amla is a panacea for many a illnesses. It is the richest source of Vitamin C, which has the unique property of being stable even after vigorous processing owing to the presence of tannins. And this is not something that has sprung up out of modern day research, the wonders of Amla are also mentioned in the age old mythological scriptures and vedas.

So what's it all about:
It contains more than 80% of water i.e around 88.8% of Moisture moreover protein, carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and vitamins including calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, Vitamin C, and B complex. It also contains Gallic acid, which is a potent polyphone. The fruit is fibrous in nature. It is the richest natural source of vitamin c.

Ok, What does One benefit from it?
  • Improves digestion—Amla fruit enhances food absorption and balances stomach acids. It helps the body digest food better and absorb minerals like iron. Amla does not heat the body, is low in sugar and has a high fibre content, which makes it an ideal daily fruit for almost anyone. Amla syrup is boon in summers, as it not only quenches the thirst, but also checks common summer ailments such as giddiness, restlessness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. To get rid of intestinal worms, regular intake of one ounce of fresh amla juice for 5-7 days is recommended
  • Strengthens the liver- Regular use of amla helps purify the blood and support the functions of the liver.
  • Nourishes skin and hair- Amla enhances natural beauty. It is excellent for nourishing the skin and delaying wrinkles. Its long-term use imparts luster to the skin. Local application helps too. That's the reason why hair creams and shampoos boost of containing amla in them.
  • Acts as an antioxidant- A rich source of antioxidants, amla stabilizes free radicals and enhances immunity, thus helping to reduce diseases and slow the aging process.
  • Supports cardiovascular system- It nurtures the heart, blood and circulation. Amla juice can be had as a mid meal drink. It lowers cholesterol and strengthens the heart.
  • Enhances fertility- supports the reproductive systems of both men and women and can help overcome difficulty in conceiving.
  • Helps diabetics- Amla juice with honey is excellent for diabetics. It helps regulate sugar level in the blood.
  • Relieves toothache- Amla juice mixed with camphor and applied to the aching teeth, relieves pain within no time.
  • Detoxifies, Detoxifies Detoxifies- cleanses the body, improves blood circulation and removes toxins to give you a great health and a glowing skin.
So next time around skip your regular cola drink and opt for a healthy amla juice. your body will thank you for this.Also for those of us who think amla juice is yuck to have, try to spike it up- mix lemongrass, amla, lemon papaya and a dash of salt. you'll love the combo!

#Word of caution: Amla contains oxalic acid, so patients with history of oxalate stones should not take it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't Wait to Loose Weight! See results in a week!

You know you have done everything possible on this earth to make sure that the weighing scale actually favours you. you have tried all sorts of weird diets GM diet, maple syrup diet, detox diet, all liquids diet; but nothing seems to work out for you. Or worst still, you loose pounds real fast only to realize that you have gained double the weight that you had, before you started your adventure with food! I believe, the best way to ensure you get that fab bod, is to start treating your body as friend and not making it your worst enemy, and yes you will still be able to see results in a week's time. Here are some tips to torture the the fat in your body:

1. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate but only with water:
65-90%of your body is made up of water and there is a reason to that. A fruit smoothie, sports drink, beer, or any other drink can hydrate your body but they also contain 100 or more calories. Moreover these drinks do not satisfy you the way 100 cal of food does, so basically, they are waste. Also these drinks are also high in sodium and carbs which retain water, making you feel puffed out. Water on the other hand is zero in carbs, makes you feel full, hydrate you and detoxify your system. Also water is the most important item in fat mobilization and fat metabolism, i.e without water, fat will not get degraded no matter how much you run on the treadmill! And hey, if water is boring, add a slice of lemon sweet lime or orange.

2. Switch one meal/Snack with fruits:
This can even be your evening tea snacks or your morning breakfast or dinner. Fruits contain more fibre( read fat killers), more water and more vitamins as compared to breads, rice etc. Instead of having that sandwich in the evening have an apple, or instead of having croissant jam and toast in breakfast, have a fruit plate and juice, or instead of having bread, veggies and sizzler at night, have a big bowl full of fruit/ sprouts and salads. The dinner switch is my personal favorite as the lighter you go on your stomach during the later part of the day, the more chances of you losing weight faster and better the chances of you getting up in the morning with a healthy glow! 

3. Drink Coffee 30 minutes before workout:
This is an exception to rule one. Coffee is said to have metabolism inducing power and also help you metabolize fat faster. But this coffee doesn't mean a big cuppa of cappuccino. Preferable that you have black coffee with very little or no sugar. If you must add milk, add skim milk to the tune of 3-4 tablespoon. Coffee also helps you jump-start your body and gives you the additional kick while working out so that you workout better and don't get fatigued soon. Word of caution- Do not go overboard with coffee, it also has dehydrating effects on your body.

4. Make thy Sacrifice:
Make one food sacrifice. Simply by Cutting out one favorite sinful indulgence from your daily list of must haves can create wonders for you. Like stop eating chips  or finger fries or chocolate, whichever is your must haves. Also if you succeed at this the first week, continue with one more food item the next week. This way you'll eliminate all your evils out slowly but surely, and boy will that work wonders!

5. Cardio for just 30 minutes:
 Yes there is no escape to workout, if you want a fit body. Do cardio once in 2 days atleast. Your body will love you if you do this everyday though. Cardio can be in any form- be it running for 20 minutes, brisk walk, jogging, climbing up and down the stairs instead of using the stairs, getting off the bus one stop earlier so that you get the extra mile to walk back home, skipping,  or jumping...anything. But yes make that body work.

And yes here is a special tip- if you want to look slimmer in for the camera, stand in a slightly diagonal angle, chin up and hold your hands slightly away from your body- this should do the trick ;)

Happy slimming!

Monday, July 9, 2012

That Red Hot Thing!

Red is in! As a matter of fact it has always been in! Oh and I am not just talking about Red in your wardrobe. I am talking about the good old apple. Most of us forget, that usually in life, the simplest answers are the best ones. Answers to some of the biggest health problems can be as simple as grabbing an apple next time around you are hungry. Here’s telling you how an apple can do wonders to your health by merely replacing some of your routine food munching with the magic fruit.

1. Replace your morning tea with Apple:
Most of us need to have that morning cup of tea simply to get up from the bed and start afresh. Try replacing your morning shot of caffeine with an apple. In a study published in the journal of Foods and nutrition, it is mentioned that apple in known to be a better stimulant than caffeine and helps you stay awake and alert in a much better way than caffeine. Also caffeine tends to dehydrate your body while apple, due to its fibre content, helps to absorb more water.

2. Whiter Pearlies:
Biting and chewing and apple produces more saliva, which helps you prevent tooth decay by lowering levels of bacteria. Also Apple helps maintain PH balance of the teeth and prevents bad breath. So while an apple can't replace your toothbrush, it sure can whiten your teeth.

3. Bye Bye cholesterol, hello fibre:
Apples are rich in fibre. The soluble fibre in apples helps binds the fat in intestine thereby lowering the cholesterol levels in your body. Also the fibre in the apple help induce satiety i.e. one tends to feel full soon- over eating issue solved!

4. Curb Cancer:
The consumption of flavonol rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by upto 23 percent. compounds like triterpenoids, in apple peel have anti growth properties act against cancer cells in liver, colon and breasts.

5. Detoxify:
Detoxification-The much hyped and most googled word around (makes me feel I should have started the article with this; would have increased the hits...sigh!) We constantly keep on having foods and drinks that tend to over burden our liver. It becomes important that once in a while we go slow and detoxify our systems. While doctors recommend detoxification, they are mostly skeptical of the fad diet way that people adopt to cleanse the system. Having combination of apple and green tea is perhaps the best way to detoxify your liver as apple provides the sufficient fibre and micronutrients, green tea helps regulate metabolism.

6. Why red is Hot! :
Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune systems, especially when you are stressed out.

So go red- its your green signal!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Choice is Always yours!

Do I stay in this blood sucking job or move out? Do I go to this party or catch up on the much needed sleep? Do I meet my friend for drinks or do I go for my jog? These are just one of the million questions that puts you in that tug of war situation every day . But the most important thing is YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE, no matter what the situation is.
Same goes for your food too! you always have a choice to cutting down on some unwanted calories and instead eating something much healthier...the only problem here is do we realise how much of junk are we actually consuming? And what is the better alternative to that. So I did a little research (in my fridge ) and these are some of the foods I found worth the battle.

1. Red Meat V/S lean Meat or chicken
If you are a beef/ mutton/ pork lover, a word of caution-You run the risk of all the fancy diseases in the world like CVD, Diabetes, of and not to mention Obesity of course.The plain reason for this is its high cholesterol and saturated fatty acid content. Switch to lean cuts of meat, cold cuts and chicken. when you go shopping, look for labels like low fat pressed meat (in meat). This simple switch will help you a dratically in your quest to stay fit and glowing.

2.  Wine V/S light beer:
I know most of you answer of choice would be wine coz we all know and have read about wine being oh so healthy (I vouch for that). But the winner here is light beer, i.e if you are trying to drop a few kilos. Most light brews have fewer calories than wine- 103 calories, on an average, per bottle versus 125 calories for a medium glass of wine. Plus light beer contains roughly two and a half times more water than wine does, which will help you feel more hydrated and full and less inclined to go to the snack bar!

3.Pasta with white sauce V/S Pasta with red sauce:
Always go for pasta with red sauce rather than one with white sauce.White sauce pasta has mayonnaise(read FAT) and refined flour. So this time don't stop when you see red!

4. The Breakfast swap
Swap from whole milk to semi-skimmed, 1% fat or even skimmed milk.Swap a sugar-coated breakfast cereal for a wholegrain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded wholegrain wheat cereal, with no added sugar.Swap a sprinkle of sugar on your breakfast cereal for a topping of fresh or dried fruit, which counts towards one of your five a day.

5. Mint Chutney V/S Coconut chutney:
One teaspoon mint chutney- 3 kcal Approx, one teaspoon cocnut chutney- 24 kcal.( the figures are approx) the choice is yours now!

These were just some comparisons which will come handy to you next time you are stuck in food dilemma. Now the choice is yours.
Happy eating! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Teetotaler - Tea Teller

'Is it really jus a fad, or is green tea actually that good for people to boast about?', 'I am screwing my teeth by drinking too much tea', ' Coffee or tea? Which is better over other?' 'This is the last cup of tea I am having for the day no matter how much work pressure I have...I am ruining my health'... These are just some thoughts which come across many health conscious minds as they relish each sip of the blissful drink while secretly feeling guilty about it. So as I put down my 6th cup of tea since morning (yes I am a tea-o-holic), I thought I'd rather clear the air and doubts about tea!
I have always loved tea for the awesome energy booster kick it gives just after that one sip, but like others I too believed that it has negative effects on our health. My myths were demystified during my research work over tea and I actually came to know that tea, when had in the right way, can actually do a lot good to you.

So what’s in it for me?

• Firstly, yes green tea is as good as it sounds.The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

• Tea contains fluorine, which is very helpful in maintaining healthy teeth. Most toothpaste these days also contains fluorine. While excess is bad, moderate amount is actually doing good to your teeth.
• Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that cause dental plaque.
• Having tea without sugar is actually known to have helped in reducing weight and burning fat. So go bitter!

To sum it up, tea is helpful in
• Cancer
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Cardiovascular disease
• Infection
• Impaired immune function
• Keeping skin healthy and glowing
Few Basic things to know about tea:
• There are 4 basic types of tea: black green, oolong and white- these mainly differ in the way they are processed, black being the most processed and white being the least.
• The health benefits decrease with the amount of processing involved. So while white would be the healthiest. Black would be the least. But it is the green tea which is widely known and consumed for the health benefits is because it is the most palatable one. White and oolong tea are rare, difficult to store and unpleasant to consume for most people.
• Regular tea (with milk) is also very healthy to consume condition it is not heated ,re-heated and over boiled.(that means your road side tea does no good to you)
Do not overdo:
While tea has several benefits attached to it, do also keep in mind that its overdose can be harmful to you; Insomnia, dental flourosis, dehydration being some of them. So while its good to know what good the drink is doing to you, it does not give you a license to go be a tea-o-holic like me!

Cheers to a good health!