As Indians, we ensure that spices form the base of any dish. We are not satisfied with a dash of salt and a squeeze of sour lime, we need spices. If spices are consumed in moderation you can derive health benefits, but an overdose of any spice can lead to indigestion or even ulcers. Media portals are flooded with the health benefits of turmeric or haldi, but today we list out other Indian spices that are healthy and are kept under wraps. Let’s have a quick overview of Indian spices, their uses and benefits.
Chilli (Lal Mirch) :
It is the main component of Indian spices and is used for adding hot flavour to the food. The antioxidants present in chilli help to cope with cholesterol. It also helps b burning calories
Garlic (Lassan) :
It is used for cooking as well as for the medicinal purpose. It is useful for coping with cough and cold. It also has antibiotic properties.
Ginger (Adrak) :
It is used for giving a specific flavour to food and has many medicinal uses. Helps to avoid digestive problems. It is beneficial for coping with cough and cold.
Clove (Laung) :
It is used as a cooking ingredient mainly for seasoning or preparing Masalas. Clove oil is beneficial for coping with tooth ache and sore gums. It is also beneficial remedy for chest pains, fever, digestive problems, cough and cold.
Turmeric (Haldi) :
It is used in cooking and skin care products. It has wide range medicinal uses. It helps deal with skin problems. Turmeric powder can be used for healing cuts and wounds. It also makes coping with diabetes easier.
Cinnamon (Dalchini) :
It is used mainly for seasoning food and preparing masalas. It has medicinal uses too. It supports natural production of insulin and reduces blood cholesterol.
Coriander (Dhaniya) :
Coriander leaves as well as coriander seeds are used in cooking. It also has some medicinal uses. It can be used externally on aching joints and rheumatism. It is also good for coping with sore throat, allergies, digestion problems, hay fever etc.
Cardamom (Elaichi) :
It is used in most of the Indian and other sweet dishes to give a good flavor and fragrance. It is also used widely in pharmaceutical sector. Helps to control bad breath and digestive disorder. A whole cardamom chewed is good for coping with diabetes.
Cumin (Zeera) :
It is used for cooking and it also possesses medicinal properties. It is a good source of iron and keeps immune system healthy. Water boiled with cumin seeds is good for coping with dysentery.
Mustard (Rye) :
It is used for seasoning. The use of mustard oil is extensive in India. Mustard oil is good for body massage and even for getting good hair. It consists of omega-3 fatty acids. It is an excellent source of iron, zinc, manganese, calcium, protein etc.
Fenugreek (Methi) :
It is mainly used as a green leafy vegetable and seeds are used for seasoning and preparing Masalas. It also has medicinal uses. Fenugreek seed tea or sweet fudge is good for increasing breast milk. It also helpful for treating diabetes and lowering cholesterol.
Pepper (Kaali Mirch) :
It is extensively used in cooking, especially for garnishing. It is has many medicinal uses too. It helps coping with cold, cough, infections etc. It helps to deal with muscle pains and digestive problems.
Bay leaf (Tez Patta) :
It is used in cooking to add a specific flavour to food. It also has some medicinal properties. Bay leaf oil possesses antifungal and anti bacterial.
Saffron (Zaffran/Kesar) :
It is one of the highly expensive Indian Spices. It is used for cooking as well as in beauty products. It is mainly used in sweet dishes. It has good medicinal properties. It helps to cope with skin diseases. It is a good remedy for cough, cold and asthma.
You need tons of energy to cope with your hectic lifestyle. A well balanced diet rich in nutrient dense foods, helps build up body stamina and increase energy levels, especially if you’re interested in sports and athletics. Good stamina is a result of good energy levels, and we get our energy from food. So the degree of stamina we have is largely just a reflection on what we eat.
Following is our list of foods for stamina development, to keep you active throughout the day with enough energy levels -
Bananas: Bananas are best eaten a few hours before you intend to exert yourself. Being a great source of carbs, they are so effective because they trigger the release of dopamine. Bananas are among top foods for stamina improvement. This is known to increase our concentration and drive and is one of the reasons that caffeine makes us so alert.
Green leafy vegetables: Packed with micronutrients, it is essential for building stamina and also to improve your RBC count. Green leafy veggies are rich in fiber and digest slowly while maintaining your blood-glucose levels.
Peanut butter: Peanuts are said to contain Omega 3 fatty acids that helps in reducing pain, boost heart health and develop your brain. Peanut butter is also an excellent food among foods for stamina building. It is high in calories and digests slowly. Consume peanut butter in combination with complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread or as a dressing on green salad .
Beans: Beans are a powerful food for stamina building due to their high iron content. Iron is used by your body to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to working muscles. Beans are also high in protein, which slows the digestion of carbohydrates and provides a sustained energy release. A traditional combination like beans and rice provides lots of sustained energy.
Beetroot juice: Consuming a glass of beetroot juice before exercising will make your body work for long hours without feeling exhausted. Beetroot is rich in vitamin A and C —making it the best food for stamina building and reducing fatigue.
Oatmeal: One of the best foods for stamina development. Oatmeal is an unprocessed carbs, which gets digested slowly and hence keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time. A power-packed cereal, oatmeal provides sustained energy for hours. Due to high content of complex carbs, it breaks down slowly in your body and keeps the blood sugar at optimum level.”
Coffee: Coffee is known to be an instant energy provider. It is known to help fight against fatigue, as it triggers the central nervous system. Coffee keeps you energized and active throughout the day. Caffeine is almost always completely absorbed and used by the body once ingested. It also affects every organ of the body, increasing mental alertness and energy. Caffeine has a glycogen-sparing effect on the body. Glycogen is glucose that is stored in the muscles for long-term energy.
Foods for stamina building provide calories which serve as energy your body needs to function properly. These Foods also furnishe your body with nutrients and vitamins which help sustain energy. For improved stamina, the right choice of foods can keep you going all day long. So, pick from these power packed foods and experience the change in your energy levels!
Have your doctor told that you have high cholesterol? Then you know you need to change your lifestyle and diet to include cholesterol lowering foods to lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart diseases. Our body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function properly. LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries, leading to heart diseases. HDL Or “good” cholesterol, on the other hand, helps clear bad cholesterol from blood. You want to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Eating low cholesterol foods and doing regular cardiovascular activity does exactly the same, i.e. lower LDL levels and increase HDL levels.
Here are some cholesterol lowering foods that can lower the cholesterol levels and help in protecting heart -
Oatmeal: Oatmeal contains soluble fiber & cholesterol lowering components which reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. Soluble fiber can reduces the absorption of cholesterol into bloodstream. Use oats, oat bran or oat flour when you cook and bake.
Beans: Beans are also one of the effective cholesterol lowering foods. Same as oats, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and kidney beans are high in soluble fiber, prevents cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. Soluble fiber forms a gel in water that helps bind acids and cholesterol in the intestinal tract, preventing their re-absorption into the body. This is why soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels (and decreases the risk of heart disease). Include such low cholesterol foods in your diet and reduce your risk of coronary heart diseases.
Fish: Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of it’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden death. You should eat Fish as cholesterol lowering foods by baking or grilling the fish & avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don’t like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flax-seed or canola oil. Ground flax-seed or canola oil are also low cholesterol foods.
Nuts: Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. These cholesterol lowering foods are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. Eating about a handful a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachio and walnuts, may reduce the risk of heart diseases. People who eat nuts regularly have less heart disease and other illnesses than people who don’t eat them. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats they contain are also better for body joints than the polyunsaturated fats found in corn and safflower oils.
Olive Oil: One among the best cholesterol lowering foods, Olive oil is a nutritional superstar. Olive oil which is high in monounsaturated fat seems to help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels without affecting good HDL cholesterol. Diets rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are associated with lower risks of heart disease and stroke. Olive oil is also rich in healthy vitamin E, an antioxidant. Other healthy oils include canola and flax-seed.
Apples: Apple pectin is a soluble fiber that helps draw cholesterol out of the system. The flavonoids (Quercetin) in apple act as a powerful anti-oxidant that seems to short-circuit the process that leads “bad” LDL cholesterol to accumulate in the bloodstream. This cholesterol lowering food will help you to keep your heart safe.
Spinach: Green vegetables are also a great source of vitamin and minerals and spinach is one of the best green vegetables. This low cholesterol food contains around 13 flavonoids compounds which keep us away from cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis. 1/2 cup of this lutein-rich food daily guards us against heart attacks.
To reduce bad cholesterol & lower your risks of heart disease choose from a wide variety of cholesterol lowering foods, and follow a healthy route towards a healthy heart.
There are wide varieties of healthy lifestyle foods to fight infection, boost energy and maintain healthy heart plus many more. Including such foods in regular diet combined with exercise may add years to your life span. So, stock up your kitchen with healthy foods and add them in your diet for rich nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber etc. that delivers more than just the taste. The following is the list of healthy lifestyle foods that must be included in your daily diet to boost your overall health and well-being:
Garlic: It has antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties. Garlic also works within the body’s vital systems, such as the circulatory, digestive, and immunological, to promote detoxification, cleansing, lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system and healing. All in all, garlic helps promote good health.
Oats: Nothing starts the day off better than a big bowl of warm oatmeal. Oats has many benefits, particularly for the heart, that makes it a smart choice among healthy lifestyle foods. Oatmeal contains a special strand of fiber called beta-glucan which reduces levels of bad cholesterol and protect your heart. Oats also boost the immune system. Because oatmeal is rich in fiber, eating it in the morning will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Beans: The unique combination of fibers, carbohydrates and vital nutrients make beans a premium source of nutrition and healthy lifestyle foods. Beans are high in soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol. The lean protein in beans helps maintain and promote muscle while complex carbohydrates provide a sustained energy source. Beans are naturally low in fat which is helpful in weight loss.
Yogurt: It has power-boosting protein and bone-building calcium. Yogurt is a great source of bone-building calcium, but its real strength lies in live beneficial bacteria, known as pro-biotic, that keeps down the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut. Eating yogurt could help with inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcers, and urinary tract infections, which makes it popular among various healthy lifestyle foods.
Olive Oil: Include two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in your diet each day. Olive oil is beneficial to your health and well being. Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease and blood pressure. Olive oil is also packed with antioxidants called phenols, which may protect artery walls from cholesterol build-up.
Sprouts: They have always been very popular as healthy lifestyle foods. Sprouts are excellent sources of protein and contain a wide range of different nutrients that can help maintain good health. Beside the nutrients, they are also abundant in enzymes, which can keep our bodies remain healthy and fit. Another thing you will love about sprouts is how easy it is to digest this healthy food. Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging.
Fat has an important role to play in the smooth functioning of body just like how protein is important for muscle building, carbohydrates for energy and vitamins and minerals for other nutrition. The minimum requirement of essential fat for men is 2-5% and women is 10-12%, anything below which physical and psychological health would be effected. When one consumes fat more than the daily requirement it then it gets stored in the belly, thighs and all over the body. Fat helps in healthy cell function and keeps the skin healthy and stores energy in the body and provides 9 calories per 1 gm of fat.
Essential fat is required for brain functioning, bone marrows, central nervous system muscles and healthy functioning of the body
It provides cushion to internal organs of the chest and abdomen. These essential fats are often confused with the bad fats that increase the LDL bad Cholesterol. Essential fats actually increase the HDL good cholesterol levels improving heart health and improves the flow of blood in the arteries.
Here is a list of Fatty foods for good health
Studies have correlated strong connection between food and stress. As we get busy and stressed, we tend to make poor nutritional choices which puts your body under further stress. Stress increases cellular activity and reduces the effectiveness of the digestive system leading to nutritional deficiencies and therefore a diet of nutrient dense foods needs to be followed.
So, a balanced diet is not only essential for maintaining overall good health, but can also affect your capacity to cope up stress. The key nutrients for combating stress are those that aid the adrenal glands, such as Read more…..
You’ve heard about how deep fried foods aren’t good for health because of the high calorie content, and not being heart healthy! Turns out, they are actually worse for your health, than you thought they were! See the 6 reasons
We told you if which chaat is healthiest. Most popular street foods are fried at some point: aloo tikki – kachori- aloo filled samosas- chole bhature – pav bhaji. Most of these are fried (which facilitates quick preparation), high in fat and sodium, and low in fiber, vitamins & minerals. Let’s show you how these foods are unhealthier than you thought:
Trans: These food are deep fried in oil which is used repeatedly for frying, often over a period of days. There are 2 problems with this. First, its fried in oil which naturally has high saturated fat, since its cheaper. Then, the oil is heated for days (as mentioned earlier). This process of heating oil for a long really increases the trans-fatty acid content in the food. In countries like the US, foods with trans fatty acids are banned, because these trans fatty acids basically enter your blood stream. Since the body cannot process them, they clog your arteries, which can even lead to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and many chronic diseases.
Calorie Density: You already know this, but just to make a point, the Nutrition and Food Science Journal reported that Indian snacks are very energy-dense (148-603kcal/100g) and trans-fat varies from 0.1 to 19.8g/100g.
Cancer: These street foods are fried at high temperatures, for quick frying, to produce large quantities. Repeated use of oil for deep frying, makes it go past their smoke points, which contain a large quantity of free radicals which contributing to risk of cancer.
Glucose spiking: Almost all the street foods have their main ingredient as maida. It has a high glycemic index, so it spikes your blood sugar, and promotes fat storage, besides increasing your risk of diabetes & heart disease.
Sodium Load: To increase shelf life, and flavour, street foods loaded with salt (one chicken burger or one small french fries pack can contain more than 1000 milligrams of sodium). This high consumption of salt can lead to hypertension and even predispose to water retention.
Microbial Count: Last but not the least, the unhygienic handling of street foods , use of unsafe water and exposure to street pollution, are just few of the things that increases the number of bacteria in the plate.
So, be aware the next time you dig into street food!
Most Indians believe that Indian food is among the healthiest cuisines in the world. No doubt, that it can be healthy, but is all Indian food healthy? To see what is healthy in Indian cuisine, and what is not, read on..
- Indian food by its nature incorporates a lot of Read more…..
Low-carb diets have been popular for years as a way to lose weight quickly. Aside from quick weight loss, the benefits of a low-carb diet include: increased energy, reduced sweet cravings, reduced mood swings and studies are showing a reduction on cholesterol, triglycerides level in the blood. Basically meaning a healthier heart! Read more about the study below.
Read below why Indians (and South Asians) specifically, should take more care of their heart health. And that the key, is keeping it low carb, not no carb! …
Indians should pay heed, as Indians are Read more…..
High cholesterol levels are a very common health problem in India. The good news is that you can reduce cholesterol easily through a few changes in your life. Once you understand how to manage your cholesterol, it’s much easier to lower your cholesterol levels without drugs – as in lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is needed for cell membranes and the production of hormones. So, it is produced by your body. The body makes what cholesterol it needs; the more cholesterol that comes from food, the less the body makes. An unhealthy diet may overload the body beyond its ability to regulate its cholesterol levels. High-density lipoproteins (HDL or good cholesterol) sweep the blood of excess fat and cholesterol while low-density lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) are the bad guys, because they can contribute to the build-up of plaque in arteries, and in turn clog your arteries. Similar to our body,
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) recommends Read more…..
Coconut is commonly used in many Indian cuisines. Did you know that coconut contains more saturated fat than butter itself (by weight comparison). 1 cup of coconut contains 27 gm of fat of which 24 gm are saturated fat. Each cup accounts for almost 300 calories. In fact one cup of coconut contains more saturated fat that your daily recommendation. Considering the amount of fat that it contains and the resulting calories, you would think its unhealthy, and will clog your arteries.
But is it really. We don’t think so. Read on to find out.
Even though coconut is packed with saturated fat, it appears to have Read more…..
There’s plenty of research to suggest the cardiovascular exercise, like running, or any other cardio activity, improves your heart health, help you manage your blood pressure and lots of other health benefits. But in the past few years, research has taken benefits of cardio exercise to the next level. It suggests that performing cardiovascular exercise might actually make you smarter.
Read on to know more .. Read more…..
A new study from Tel Aviv University showed what happens in your body when you eat high-carbohydrate foods. And the results show that eating too much bread might be bad for your heart…
Researchers fed healthy volunteers one of four meals: cornflakes with milk, a pure sugar mixture, bran flakes, or a placebo (water). (We’ve told you before, that cornflakes are not good for you. Clearly sugar is unhealthy) Then they monitored what was happening to the patients’ arteries in real time.
The result: People who ate high-sugar foods (cornflakes and pure sugar mixture) showed a sudden thickening of their artery walls for several hours—which can worsen the effects of heart disease by stressing your blood supply. In extreme cases, it could even loosen a clot, potentially causing a stroke or heart attack.
So, not only do foods with high carbohydrate content like cornflakes and sugar result in potential heart attacks, but are also foods that make you fat! See the list of unhealthy high carbohydrate foods, that you should avoid.
Avoid the carb-overload foods that put stress on your arteries: among the worst offenders are cornflakes, white bread, French fries, and sugar-sweetened drinks, even orange juices. See this list of healthy snacks. Carbohydrates aren’t the only enemy. Watch your consumption of these high sodium content foods.
We’ve told you how fitter people have better sex, but an unhealthy diet can affect your sex life too in more ways than one! And not in ways that thrill your partner.
A fatty diet can lead to cholesterol build up in your arteries, reducing blood flow to all parts of your body including your privates, and thus reducing arousal. Every 1 point increase in your total cholesterol correlates to an 1.5 times greater risk of erection problems.
If you are on an unhealthy diet, then you probably have more fat deposits in your body. This is more bad news for men, since higher fat deposits in the male body is correlated to lower testosterone production- the male sex hormone. A substantial increase in fat deposits can affect the hormonal balance and can increase estrogen in the male body. Increase of estrogen production in the male body is related to growth of male breasts and other feminine features.
Did you know that drinking alcohol also lowers testosterone? And it promotes the production of estrogen, the female hormone in the male body.
In our next article, we will tell about what you can do to get fit to improve your sex life. Till then, start watching your diet and alcohol intake.
Samosas are the ultimate moral war in the unhealthy world of Indian snacks. They are irresistible, but so unhealthy. If only there could be healthy samosas, life for many would be easy.
Well, we have some good news- a recipe for you to make healthy samosas. We still haven’t found a place where you can get healthy samosas, but we can tell you how to make them healthier.
The maida (refined flour) used for the crust acts inside your body the same way sugar would. It has a high glycemic index, so it spikes your blood sugar, and promotes fat storage. Read here for details. So, you know, even samosas are not sweet, they’re not good for diabetics.
Then, the samosa is deep fried, so the outer crust absorbs all the oil and gets loaded with calories. To further drop its health quotient, the unhealthy samosa is stuffed with potatoes that are cooked in oil and fat!
But worry not, Fitho is here to your rescue. Make the following three swaps in the samosa recipe, and your samosas will be much healthier.
- In the dough, instead of using only maida (refined flour), mix in equal amounts of atta (whole wheat flour). So, the samosa will still retain its flaky and crisp crust, but will have more fiber, protein and vitamins.
- Instead of deep frying them, bake them in an oven. This saves all the calories and your heart from all that saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Instead of the same potato stuffing, use other veggies like peas, carrot, cauliflower. You can even stuff them with any kind of cooked meat, and turn up their protein content.
So, make these swaps in your samosa recipe, and load up on these samosas! Get more healthy recipes here.