Figs can be eaten either fresh or dry and has a sweet taste and variety of health benefits that it provides. Though in India fresh Figs are not easily available but can be found in the form of dry fruits popularly known as Anjeer. The high amount of calcium, iron and potassium present in it along with the high amount of fiber and low fat makes it a healthy food to include in your diet which can be eaten alone or mixed in yogurt, salad and toppings on cereals and oatmeal.
Figs are nutritious but do they help in weight loss ? Should one eat figs regularly if you are trying to lose weight. Lately figs are fast becoming popular with nutritionists that are recommending it as a part of weight loss diets. Let us help you understand why it might not be the healthiest weight loss food option.
Lets start with understanding the calorie and nutrition content of figs. Figs are rich in Vitamins A, B1 and B2, manganese and potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. The high levels of potassium and low sodium helps people with hypertension. High calcium levels present in figs promote bone health. High mucilage content in figs, helps to heal and protect sore throats. Figs also contain beta-carotene as well as benzaldehyde (anti-cancer compound), flavonoids and a digestive enzyme called ficin.
Dried figs provide higher amount of calories than fresh figs and around 100gms provide 220 calories approx. Though it is recommended to be eaten in moderations but its sweet taste and pulp makes it addictive making you eat more than actually required. Other than the calories figs are sweet and have a medium glycemic index of 61 and a glycemic load of 16 which is high.
The high glycemic load (GL) of figs makes the blood sugar levels rise as dried figs quickly release high level of sugar in the body which may not be helpful for people on weight loss and people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The high amount of fiber and high glycemic load makes the body feel satisfied. The GL provides energy and makes you feel fuller longer making you crave less food. This might make you miss out on a balanced diet which is essential to regulate the metabolism in the body.
Besides it high glycemic load figs have other benefits also. The high fiber content improves digestion and benefits people with constipation. The fiber helps in throwing away the toxins out of the body. They have anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants present in them fights diseases and cancer in the body. They help regulate blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol in the body.
Foods that are sweet and provide quick energy should be eaten early in the day so that the energy released by them can be burnt in the day itself. Also figs are recommended to people who have iron deficiency. Every diet especially available online is very generic and might not be applicable to you. You need a diet plan that is customized to your lifestyle, eating habits and medical conditions. Its important to get professional consultancy from a qualified fitness expert before you start any diet plan.
Vegetables offer low calories, no fat (when eaten raw) and add lots of vitamins and minerals to the diet. Through out the year we see different vegetables in the departmental store or being sold by our local vendors. We encourage consumption of seasonal vegetables for two reasons, first they are cheaper and secondly they are fresher than those not in season. Most of the vegetables available in summer have high water content as they keep the body cool and replenish the lost nutrition caused due to sweating and general heat. Vegetables are also high in fiber content which keeps us fuller with a healthy digestive system.
Vegetables are not always tasteless and boring. If prepared well they can be better tasting than most of the processed food available. Besides they build immunity and improve the metabolic functions in the body. People especially watching their weight or suffering from any therapeutic condition or even just living healthy should include portions of vegetables in their diet either as salads or stir fried. You could eat vegetables raw, cooked, individually or in a combination with other vegetables, legumes, cereals, etc. Here are some seasonal vegetables that you can eat this season for good health.
Some summer vegetables and their benefits in keeping us healthy
Lady Finger/Okra/Bhindi: This vegetable is low in calories and it adds just 30 calories per 100 grams. It contains vitamins A, C, K and B vitamins along with flavnoids. It is rich in anti-oxidation properties and helps in vision. It contains important minerals as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. Healthy for people on weight loss as it makes you fell full and adds lots of nutrition too.
Tori/Ridge Gourd: It is beneficial for the stomach and helps reduce blood sugar levels. 100 gms of Ridge Gourd adds just 20 calories to the body. It is rich in nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin c, riboflavin, thiamin, iron and magnesium. The high fiber and low fat content make it effective for weight loss.
Pumpkin: A bowl of pumpkin will add just 30 calories to your diet besides supplying a lot of vitamins and minerals to the body. It is rich in vitamin A, C and E along with iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin and dietary fiber for better digestion. It contains carotenoids which improve the immune system. It has anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory properties.
Bottle Gourd/Lauki/: Bottle gourd adds just 12 calories per 100 grams. It is 96% water and contains vitamin c and B vitamins. Sodium, iron, potassium are presnt in the vegetable and contains high amount of dietary fiber. It is extremely effective in weight loss, reduces constipation, improves complexion and has a cooling effect on the body.
Gavarfali/ Cluster Beans: Gavarfali (cluster beans) are rich in iron, folic acid, calcium and are an excellent source of fibre. They are best eaten with lentil dals. It only contains 25 calories every 100 gms. High in dietary fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. Also recommended for weight loss as it improves metabolism.
The tiny seeds add not much of calories to the body and are low in carbohydrates but are full of vitamins, minerals, essential omega fatty acids and antioxidants that keep many health problems away keeping you healthy.
You could include flax seed in your diet on cereals and salads and include it in yogurt and shakes. You could eat it directly or eat in combination.
Flaxseeds contain health fighting properties and is beneficial for weight loss. Below are health benefits of flaxseed.
- Cardio-protective: Due to presence of high content of alpha linolenic acids (ALA) a type of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, flax seed is known to have cardio-protective benefits Flax seeds aid in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol levels and may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
- Controls Blood Glucose Levels: Fiber present in flax seed helps stabilize blood sugar. A recent study demonstrated Lowering of blood sugar levels by 28% an hour after eating flax seed.
- Cancer Fighting: Flaxseeds are high in lignans, (a phytoestrogen) and in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which are found to be promising as a cancer fighting agent. Flax seed’s high fiber aspect is also beneficial in the fighting against colon cancer. Lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer Lignans are known to promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer.
- Prevents Constipation: Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed promotes regular bowel movements and helps to absorb water, thereby softening the stool and allowing it to pass through the colon quickly.
- Boost Immunity: A study in Nutrition Journal stated that eating flax daily favorably affects immunity, the body’s ability to defend itself successfully against micro-organisms. Lignans and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), affect immune cells and compounds that control immune reaction.
- Mood-Enhancer: Flaxseed has a mood boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is essential for the proper function of brain cells. Flax seed decreases risk of Alzheimer’s due to presence of Omege-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of the Half Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana):
The Ardha-matsyendrasana helps in cultivating flexibility and strength in the spine. Its a great “cool down” pose that also smoothes stiff necks and upper back and tension caused by stress, poor posture, or prolonged periods of sitting in one position.
The alternating compression and release of the abdominal region flushes this area with blood and give massage the internal organs. Muscles of the stomach and hips are also toned from repeated practice of this asana.
How to perform the Half Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana):
- Sit comfortable in a cross-legged position.
- Straighten both legs out in front. While bending your right knee, bring the heel of the right foot close to the left hip. Read more
All of us eat vegetables in some form or the other. Maybe in salads, mixed veggies etc. Do you know about the benefits of the vegetables that you eat. Some of them are as common as cabbage, that are loaded with nutrition.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of yoga, but have you wondered how you can start. As we always suggest, start with the easy stuff. So, here are some simple yoga asanas and poses that can get you started.
Child Pose or Balasana: This pose is ideal for beginners where a person surrenders to Read more