Tag Archives: dairy

Preventing Osteoporosis

Lately women in the early 30′s are suffering from osteoporosis. The earlier average age was from 50 years, around the same time menopause would set in. The reason is with menopause the body experiences a dramatic drops in estrogen production that results in bone loss. This was labeled  as  a growing old diseases since the two big reasons for developing osteoporosis are when the body fails to form enough new bone or when the old bones are reabsorbed by the body, but not anymore.

Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. Mineral intake during adolescence and early adulthood lays the foundation of healthy bones for the coming years.  Not getting enough calcium and body not being able to absorb enough calcium from the diet adversely affects the bone production and bone tissues.

Bone is a dynamic living tissue that becomes strong when exercised or used and becomes fragile when unused. Mostly we are advised to eat foods rich in calcium for bone development but equally excluding foods that lead to loss of bone mineral in the body like sugar, sodas, table salt, coffee and alcohol. But are you forgetting nutrients which directly or indirectly benefit the bone health like vitamin D for better absorption of calcium, vitamin K which activates osteocalcin which is a bone protein which bonds calcium, vitamin C which improves bone absorption and other bone minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, boron etc.

Though dairy is the most popular source of calcium, many other nutrients required for prevention and better bone health can be consumed from plant based sources like vegetables and fruits which are rich in various nutrients. Optimum levels of the following nutrients in your diet will improve your bone health as well as overall fitness.

Women are more prone to developing osteoporosis than men due to two reasons first they are genetically born with a lower bone mass than men and secondly estrogen levels. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy, in both men and women. Changing levels of estrogen especially in women make them more vulnerable to this disorder.

Foods bad for bone health

Salt: Over consumption of salt than the daily requirement could make you lose calcium. You require 2400 milligram of sodium in a day. Not only you consume sodium through salt in foods but foods naturally contain salt which could create an excess. Eat salt in moderation to avoid loss of calcium.

Soda: Sweetened soft-drink and aerated drinks cause loss of calcium in the body and has been observed while excreted in urine. The phosphoric acid which is the fizziness in soda drinks could lead to faster loss of calcium.

Caffeine: Caffeine in excess of 100 milligram can cause loss of some calcium in the body. Caffeine is not consumed by the body just through coffee but some iced teas, energy drinks and other drinks contain them.

Alcohol: Alcohol blocks calcium absorption in the body and restricts bone building minerals to be absorbed properly. Bones become weak faster and can cause trouble while healing of bones due to alcohol consumption during fracture.

Some vegetables which immensely improve bone health and maintain them and avoid loss of bone minerals in the body are green peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, oats, parsley, lemons, milk and dairy etc. Though milk and dairy are the best sources but these vegetables have various nutrients to support good bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Exercising, the often most forgotten factor, is critical to bone health as it helps in improvement of bone density and better absorption of nutrients.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Eating Disorder

A harmless remark by an educated parent on the physical attribute of their growing teenage girls resulted in a shocking “anorexia pact” by the duo at the age of 11. Now at the age of 33 and being doctors they don’t lead a normal life. Here are some news clippings of thetwins story.  Eating disorders might start at a very early , if not identified and treated can stay with you for life.

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common eating disorder that is associated with abnormally low weight achieved by extreme dieting, fasting and followed by compulsive exercising.  Mostly young girls are afflicted from this disorder especially in the absence of early parental care and support to inculcate healthy eating habits. Eating disorders have been around forever but finally society is accepting the seriousness of this ailment  and encouraging parents, friends to come together and support the person suffering from it.  There is a higher success rate of controlling and reversing it through family and social support .

Eating disorders mostly start from home and parents play an extremely critical role in stimulating and curbing them.  Children very closely watch and imitate their parents. If the parents fuss too much about their looks and being thin the kids will imitate them. Similarly if the parents eat a lot of unhealthy food the kids would be inclined towards junk food even when they grow up. Therefore it is mostly parent’s responsibility to inculcate healthy eating habits amongst children.

Eating disorder can have serious repercussions on health like weakness, fatigue,  anaemia, heart & kidney problems, osteoporosis, infertility, disruption of sugar levels  and even death. Nature and nurture is equally responsible for this condition. Therefore it is imperative to apply a three pronged approach to dealing with it.First restore the healthy weight of an individual, second to treat the psychological factors that may have caused this situation and lastly ensure there is total support and care to prevent relapse. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Say Hello to Food Plate and Bye to the Pyramid

Food plate replaced food pyramid. Instead of stacking food groups in a pyramid (in the order of consumption), food groups are now being laid out on a plate. Instead of pyramid suggesting portions of various food groups striped in rainbow color there will be a new circular chart depicting recommended meals.

Food Plate

More interesting than the design change are the category modifications but missing few items. Let’s compare pyramid with plate and how implementing it will help make our diet healthy.

-         Fruits and vegetables have taken a centre stage, comprising largely half of the plate. Suggesting half of your meal should be vegetables-cooked plus raw (salad) and fruit. Both these food groups contribute to provide essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants guarding our body from any infection. Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups- dark green leafy, red& orange vegetables, beans & peas,starchy and other vegetables, based on their nutrient content.

-          Former “Meats and Beans” group from pyramid is now simply “Proteins,” The plate further states that at least 50% of the proteins should be lean proteins- pulses, chicken, egg white or lean fish as against meat, ham or organ meat. With an increase in cardiovascular problems and obesity, these guidelines extend a helping hand for consumers to diligently select what they are consuming.

-          One more food group from food pyramid “Milk” is also changed now to “Dairy.” The new guidelines indicate a switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk from full cream milk.

-          Grains which were earlier given a major bottom slab at the bottom now form 65% of a main meal. The new icon nutrition plate states that at least half of the grains consumed should be whole grain ensuring that you get enough fibre in your diet.

-          Close attention to the new MyPlate image shows that there is no representation and guidance for Fats/Oils. Fats/Oil are often linked to many health issues, including risk of heart disease.

Besides some specific advice on food groups, new plate recommends:
-          Enjoy your food, but eat less
-          Avoid oversized portions
-          Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers
-          Drink water instead of sugary drinks
The real aim for new plate undoubtedly is too make healthy eating more easier to understand and implement. Since we use plates at our meals, it’s easy to translate what a well-rounded, nutritional healthy meal should look like.

 

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Build Muscles

Muscular man

If building muscle is what you want then here is some basic information on muscles and how to exercise them effectively to get the size or definition you are looking for.

What is the most basic function of muscle. Muscle apart from physical appearance is important for movement, to maintain posture and is known as the source of power in the body.

They take care of everything from walking to keeping the blood flowing. The best part about muscles are that they are  long-lasting, they are self-healing and are able to grow stronger with exercise.

There are three types of muscles in the body. Cardiac muscles in the heart take care of the pumping and functioning of heart, second type are the smooth muscles that are found in the walls of the arteries and intestines and lastly the skeletal muscles which cover our outer body, and are often exercised strength and physical shape.

The skeletal muscle is what we want to develop and not the other two smooth and cardiac muscles. Here are tips to build stronger muscle. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Control In-between Meal Snacking

We ensure that most of our meals are healthy. The problem comes when we crave food in between meals. If you feel hungry so often then you certainly need to watch out as eating more  food whether healthy or junk leads to weight gain.

Untimely Meal (Cr/freedigital)

The biggest trouble with in between snacking is that one craves something that is satisfying and ready to eat. Unfortunately we dont find having salads or fruits as snacks satisfying enough. While junk food or fattening foods manage to hit the spot, instantly satisfying the hunger pang. Gradually these small food breaks stop having the same satiating effect. After sometime the portion size increases  giving way to more food cravings and constant need to eat something Most of the times this snacking is psychological, as in we condition ourselves to feeling hungry even after having proper meals. Here are some reasons and tips to keep the hunger pangs in control, making you eat less.

Untimely Meals: Not having meals on time is a big factor in making you feel hungry at odd times . The body follows no patterns and gets used to giving a call at random times which pushes us to eat more than a usual meal. Time your meals and eat food with high fiber and protein to keep you feeling fuller.

Breakfast: People who don’t have a balanced and satisfying breakfast often find themselves bingeing on odd time. The unsatisfaction of the previous meal  makes the mind want for more and eating unhealthy. Have a good nutritious breakfast with satisfying food. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Ice Cream Unhealthy

Ice Cream, the classic dessert, get a bad rap for being unhealthy since its loaded with fat and calories. But fat and calories should not be the only factors to test healthiness of food. There are plenty of other factors like nutrients like carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, protein and last but not the least Glycemic Index that affect the health value of food.

Photo- Ice Cream not unhealthy

Ice cream for example uses milk as one of its ingredients. Studies have shown that three daily servings of dairy can reduce belly fat. Since ice cream contains a high amount of fat, it slows absorption into the digestive system. As a result of this, it is more satiating than other desserts and keeps you satisfied for longer. Also, as a result of high fat content, it has a relatively low Glycemic Index for desserts- Due to this lower GI, it does not spike your blood sugar. High GI foods can promote fat storage in the body.

As we stated in the first line, ice cream is high on fat and calories, so watch your portions. Our suggestion is to go for low fat ice cream, not fat free, since fat free ice cream will have a high GI. As for the toppings, skip the sugar, saucy stuff. If you must, add a few nuts or fruits, since they’re loaded with goodness.

Since ice cream is not as unhealthy and is loaded with calories, it is used on many weight gain diets!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Fruity Yoghurt is calorie loaded

Do you eat those yoghurt and fruit cups assuming that they’re healthy? Well then, you need to watch out.

The fruit and yoghurt cups sold in the stores are loaded with sugar- almost as much sugar as a soft drink. Sugar has a high glycemic index and promotes fat storage in your body. Yogurt has many health benefits, and we all know about fruits being healthy. They’re also loaded with antioxidants.

Photo-Yoghurt and Fruit- Healthy Snack (lazykangaroo@flickr)

Yoghurt and fruit is a great snack for anytime, whether you want to start your day with it, or as a post workout snack. So, make yourself some by mixing a cup of low fat plain yoghurt with half a cup of berries, or any other fruit that you like. It makes for a delicious snack, without all the hidden sugar and calories.

Check out these two simple recipes (Strawberry Smoothie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie) for some delicious, healthy and simple snacks

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is soy food healthy?

A few months back, we had written an article questioning the ‘healthfulness’ of soy product- Side effects of  Soy health food?.  There are so many soy products in the market – Soy Milk, Soy Cheese, Soy Chicken (yes, its true), Soy Cream, Soy Dogs (soy based hot dogs), Soy Ice-cream, Soy Flour, Soy Chips, Soy Cookies, Soy Nuts, Soy Burgers… this list just goes on. I just saw a recipe for Soy Kheer!

Even as the market is getting loaded with options on Soy Products – The research jury is still out on if soy is good for you.

Soy – yuri nervegi@flickr

We’re waiting for the day of complete soy nirvana. Soy has already taken over the food world. What next? … soy based clothing fiber, carpets, curtains. We’ll just be completely surrounded by Soy.

We know many lactose intolerant people love soy products because their bodies cannot deal with milk, but for the others- why do you eat soy?

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Breakfast Recipe

Everyone’s heard that breakfast is good for you, but here’s a breakfast that really is. It is lip smackingly delicious and healthy.

Take 1/2 cup of low fat milk, 2 tbsp of chocolate syrup, 2 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 frozen ripe banana and 1 cup low fat yoghurt. Place it all in a blender and process until smooth. To make it better, you can use vanilla flavoured yoghurt. To increase the protein content and reduce carbohydrate count, substitute the chocolate syrup with chocolate whey protein powder.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie- magerleagues @ flickr

This breakfast is loaded with protein, fiber to keep you satiated for longer. So you won’t get to the office and dig into all that junk food. Potassium from the banana will help you keep the blood pressure down on the morning drive :) The calcium from the dairy is good for your bones, and a recent study showed that dairy promotes belly fat loss. Also, this smoothie gives you good carbohydrates which will fuel your body through the morning.

This is a great breakfast smoothie recipe. Or even a pre workout smoothie. For a post workout smoothie, we recommend using only 1 tbsp of peanut butter.

To make it a weight gain smoothie, swap the yoghurt with vanilla ice cream and enjoy :)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Tips to Stay Fit in The Festive Season

With the Navratras, the festive season kicks off- Eid, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, the list goes on. With all the celebrations, comes a truck load of fried food and sweets. With all the extra calories, it’s not surprising that this is when people put on the most weight. With the festive season any diet caution goes for a toss. Add to this the social gatherings, all the alcohol, the late night snacking, etc.

So, here’s a list of things to do this festive season to enjoy it and still not derail your health and gain all that unwanted weight:

1.    Be picky- Don’t eat because you’re being offered. Friends and family will try to force feed you, but be firm with them. If you must for courtesy, then eat a small portion.

2.    Indulge in the healthy sweets- We have a guide to the healthiest Indian sweets. Sandesh is a healthy option – since it is dairy based and is steamed. There are many low sugar desserts also available. We don’t suggest desserts with artificial sweeteners since there long term use might be associated with side effects.

3.    Portion Control- Part of the celebration is to enjoy all the sweets and the fried food. So, indulge but control the portions. Also, try to balance it with eating fruits and other lower calorie foods. Even with healthy sweets, the calories can add up. One large cup of Kheer can range from 300-500 calories. Halwa/Laddoos are even more calorie loaded for the same serving size, since they have higher fat content.

4.    Make time for exercise- Celebration shouldn’t mean not getting exercise. Take out at least 30 minutes for your exercise- go for a run, hit the gym, play a sport, do some yoga or just squeeze out a bunch of push-ups and squats at home.

5.    Drink lots of water- Often our body mistakes thirst for hunger. When you’re craving a snack and you shouldn’t be, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. If you’re still hungry, go ahead and feed yourself sensibly.

6.    Take it easy on the alcohol- Besides being loaded with calories, it promotes fat storage in the body. So, its double damage- you’re consuming more calories and storing more fat.

7.    Eat your green vegetables- Your mom was right! Green vegetables loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and fiber, which helps to keep you full for longer.

8.    Be Active- If you like Dandiya, dance away the night. Dancing burns a lot of calories. Vigorous dancing can burn up to 350 calories per hour, so burn that belly fat and have fun while you’re at it.

Use this festive season fitness guide and enjoy the festive season!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo