Tag Archives: fiber

Are fruit juices actually as bad as carbonated beverages?

Many people include packaged fruit juices in their diet hoping to get the goodness of the whole fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Do you also prefer to sip packaged fruit juice with your breakfast or as a snack? You might not want to if you know that they could be as harmful as sugary sodas. We’ll explain why.

1. It is loaded with sugar and artificial

Have you ever realized that every time you buy a packed fruit juice it tastes the same, but that’s not the case when you have the whole fruit. The flavor and taste varies a lot. It’s because it contain sugar in high amounts with added fruit juice and flavoring additives. All the ingredients in it are accurately measured to make sure every pack of juice produced tastes the same. This even makes packed fruit juice high in calories. 1 glass of packed orange juice contains approximately 110 Calories whereas a whole orange fruit is not more than 62 Calories. Also, the fruits could be grown under artificial circumstances or with harmful chemical additives to have flavor and size uniformity.

2. Low in nutrition

While packing a fruit juice it is passed through various heat treatments to ensure a higher shelf life. And, because of this, many nutrients get destroyed. For example, Vitamin C is heat sensitive and when we heat any fruit juice vitamin C gets destroyed because of the heat. Many naturally occurring digestive enzymes within the fruit also get damaged because of these treatments. Packed fruit juices also contain preservatives which may have a carcinogenic affect on your body.

3. Low in fiber

Whole fruits are loaded with fiber which provide bulk to your diet and may help you in avoiding digestive problems like constipation. Juice lacks in the healthy fiber which is present in the whole fruit. Along with the fiber, many other nutrients get discarded. Packed fruit juice contains a negligible amount of fiber. This happens because packed fruit juice has to pass various processes to make it a clear juice.

4. Affect your overall health

Fruit juice elevates blood sugar more quickly than any whole fruit, and in most cases, the level of sugar in packed fruit juice is higher than that found in most whole fruits. Because of high sugar content and high calorie content, if any packed juice is consumed in excess, it can lead to weight gain. It can be dangerous for diabetics too.

Always choose whole fruits instead of juice to get the goodness of any fruit. And a good alternative to juice is a homemade smoothie with your favourite fruits. At least you don’t miss out on the essential nutrients and fiber.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Why Popcorn is So Good For You

Popcorn is a type of corn that expands from the kernel and puffs up when heated. But did you know that this whole grain snack has its own health benefits and can be included in a list of snacks below 100 Calories. Let us find out why popcorn is so good for you.

Popcorn is a healthy snack because it contains a large amount of the healthy antioxidant substances called “polyphenols”. It helps in detoxifying cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Polyphenols are found in a more concentrated form in popcorn as compared to fruits and vegetables because polyphenols in fruits and vegetables get diluted in the water content. However, popcorn cannot replace fruits and vegetables in your diet because it lacks in vitamin and minerals, which is important for your overall health.

According to a study done by American Chemical Society (ACS) the amount of polyphenols found in popcorn was up to 300 mg a serving as compared to 160 mg for all fruits per serving. Also, popcorn is low in calories as 1 cup of air-popped popcorn provides approximately 30 Calories and therefore; can be enjoyed every day without worrying about the additional calories.
The hull of the popcorn which is a hard covering over the kernel is rich in fiber content but many people avoid eating it because it has a tendency to get caught in the teeth. But it is the part which is highest in fiber and polyphenol content.

The main concern with popcorn is it’s preparation. The best way to consume popcorn is when it’s air popped with a little added seasoning. Added butter or fat will add calories and saturated fats to your healthy snack. There are many commercially available packed corn kernels found in local markets which just needed to be heated in a microwave. But they are generally high in calories with saturated fat content and are also high in sodium content. There has been some evidence that the Teflon-like coating of some bags used for microwave popcorn can get broken down with heat into unwanted substances, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The chemical, which appears to be potentially carcinogenic in lab animals, is partially released onto the popcorn when the bag is heated up and can then be absorbed, once again in partial amounts, into the blood stream.

Enjoy your popcorn plain and air popped to derive maximum benefit from it, with hardly any additional calories.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is This the Best Breakfast for Losing Weight?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is the first meal after the night’s long fast, and before the start of a new day. The type of food consumed for breakfast varies from place to place. It generally includes Complex Carbohydrate from Cereals or Grains, Proteins from eggs or beans, and vitamins, nutrients and more complex carbohydrates from Fruits. Breakfast should be balanced and include most of the essential nutrients, predominantly Complex Carbohydrates, Protien, Fibre, and Calcium.

There are various breakfast options. For example:
• Fruit Yoghurt
• Cereals(Wheat Flakes, Cracked Wheat, Oats)
• Eggs & Toast
• Chilla
• Poha
• Idli, Dosa
• Baked Beans & Toast
But if you are targeting to lose weight or stay fit, you need to choose the right breakfast.
Oatmeal has been found to be amongst the best breakfast options. We give you the reason why.

Why oat-meal over other breakfast cereals?

In a particular research, participants were asked to eat one of the cereals between oats and another breakfast cereal. The participants who consumed oatmeal felt fuller for longer durations and had lower food cravings through the rest of the day. This lower craving or hunger was due to the high fibre content in oatmeal.But along with high fibre content, oatmeal offers many other health benefits:

Fibre:

Oatmeal in the morning for breakfast can keep your body lean, because it is packed with fiber that keeps your hunger away for longer, metabolism regulated, cholesterol lowered, and blood sugar levels stable. Have your oats with some milk and nuts to increase the protein content, and that creates the perfect food to build muscles.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Oatmeal contains several important nutrients that help keep our immune systems strong to fight off illnesses and infections. Nutrients such as zinc, selenium, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese are found in oats. Without these nutrients our immune system would not function properly and we would be sick all the time.

Mood Boosters:

If you suffer from depression, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, and anger management issues, you should eat oatmeal regularly. Oatmeal contains loads of complex B vitamins that are essential for keeping us calm and stress free.

Antioxidants:

Oatmeal is a good way to start your day is because it helps prevent and fight off cancers such as colon cancer. Oatmeal contains antioxidants which help remove toxins from the digestive system and prevent formation of cancer cells, especially colon cancer cells.

Oatmeal is packed with nutrients to keep you going for the entire day. It is a complete food and works very well for weight loss diets. Not only does it fight fat, it fights diseases and bad cells in the body. Include oatmeal in your regular diet to improve your overall health.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Simple Diet Tips To Keep The Weight Off

Do you want to shed that extra pound but don’t get time to exercise?  Although doing exercises can speed up your weight loss but here are some diet tricks which you can include in your routine, to help keep your weight off. 

1. Include protein in your diet

Protein is an important macro nutrient and plays a major role in various physiological conditions. The requirement of protein depends on the body and other factors such as size, age and gender. When you take sufficient protein in your diet it keeps you full for longer as it require more time to get digest. Your body also needs protein to build and maintain muscles but remember to maintain a balance between your carbohydrate, fat, protein and other nutrients to keep your body healthy as high protein diet can affect you adversely. Major sources of protein are egg, chicken, milk, yoghurt, cheese, soy and beans.

2. Include fiber in your meal

Fiber is that part of the plant food that is not broken down in the intestines by human digestive enzymes. Fiber can be either insoluble or soluble but most fiber-containing foods have both properties. Eating sufficient fiber adds bulk to you meals and therefore delays the time required for emptying the stomach. This keeps you fuller for longer durations and gives you higher satiety. Including enough fiber in your diet also improves your gut health by increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Recommended intake of fiber is 35 to 40 grams per day. The best way to increase fiber in your diet is by making sure you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet with simple tweaks to your recipes — for example, by adding beans to soup, oats to your favorite smoothie, etc.

3. Focus on your meal while eating

Never eats your meal in a hurry. Sit down calmly and focus on what you are eating. Not only will this provide you with greater satisfaction, it will even help your brain regulate your appetite and prevent overeating. Many people have a habit of reading the newspaper while eating their breakfast or watching television. These habits lead to overeating since it reduces appetite control as we are engrossed in the newspaper or television. It can add hundreds of extra calories to your diet. Therefore, if you want to avoid unwanted calories just focus on your meal while eating.

4. Drink enough water

Quite often, people get confused between their thirst and hunger. The brain interprets thirst but you might take it as hunger, resulting in food cravings. So the next time you feel hungry in between your meals or at an odd hour first drink a glass of water. Add a hint of lemon, ginger, mint or cucumber to regular water to give it an interesting flavor.

5. Take enough sleep

Disturbed or insufficient sleep can affect your health adversely in 3 ways. Firstly lack of sleep can lead to disturbed physiology of your body. So, when you do not get enough sleep it may lead to cravings and an over-consumption of calories. Secondly when you do not sleep enough it disturbs your hormonal balance by increasing the level of ghrelin hormone. Ghrelin is a hormone known for its affect on appetite and disturbed level of ghrelin hormone leads to increased appetite. Disturbed hormones level also lead to irritation or frustration feeling without any specific reason. And thirdly when your body is deprived of sleep your metabolism slows down and will not function properly.  It directly affects your weight loss as your body is not working effectively in burning the calories. That slowdown triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone and increases appetite. Your body thinks it needs more energy and that’s why you feel hungry.

Adopting these healthy habits will help keep your weight off and improve your overall health. Make these habits a permanent part of your lifestyle, to benefit from them for the rest of your life.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are You Eating To Improve Your Gut Bacteria

Your gut is a place with millions of bacteria. Out of these millions, some are good and some are bad. Good bacteria improve your digestion and the absorption of different nutrients in the gut. But do you know what you should eat to improve your gut bacteria? Recent research has shown that eating fiber can help improve good bacteria in your gut.

Fiber plays an important role in improving your gut bacteria. Actually, your body does not digest fiber in its original form but it acts as food to the good bacteria present in your gut. Good bacteria utilizes fiber as its source of energy for cell functioning which further leads to breakdown of fiber. Now, after breakdown, soluble fiber gets dissolved in to your system and insoluble fiber passes relatively intact. This delays the emptying of the stomach and keeps you full for longer. Recommended intake of fiber is 35-40 grams per day. So, it is important to have a diet with sufficient fiber because if you don’t include enough fiber in your daily diet it can increase the number of bad bacteria in your gut. This further reduces the number of good bacteria and leads to painful and slow digestion, and various digestive problems.

Foods rich in fiber are lentils, black beans, peas, oats, bran flakes, whole grains, apple, and broccoli. Also, other than consuming fiber, inculcate the following habits to help improve the number of good bacteria in your gut:

- Include probiotic foods in your diet which include fermented products like yoghurt.

- Reduce the consumption of processed or refined foods as they are high in sugar, fat and other chemical substances. Their regular consumption can lead to slow digestion and cause constipation.

- Drink enough water in your day. Recommended amount is 10-12 glasses of water per day. The combination of high-fiber and water will improve your digestion.

- Include a minimum of 30 minutes of workout in your day. Exercise movements help food move through your system and improve your gut bacteria as well.

- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. The chemicals inside cigarettes erase all the benefits of a good diet and hinder in the absorption of nutrients.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Hidden Health Benefits of Fiber

Fiber is also known as Roughage. It is an essential part of a regular balanced diet. There are several health benefits in the consumption of fiber. Daily recommended dietary intake of fibre is 40grams per day.


Some of its top potential benefits include:

• Blood sugar control: Soluble fiber may help to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body, which prevents immediate spiking of blood glucose levels and prevents diabetes.

• Heart health: Research shows that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease. Because a majority of heart diseases are linked with high cholesterol levels and since fiber is beneficial in lowering cholesterol, it even helps control and prevent heart diseases.

• Risk of Stroke reduced: Researchers have found that for every additional seven-grams of fiber consumed on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent. Stroke is caused by theobstruction of blood flow which is caused by plaque formation (due to high cholesterol) in blood vessels.

Weight loss and management: Fiber increases the feeling of fullness and you tend to eat less and not binge on high-calorie foods. It also keeps the digestive system healthy, by improving bowel movement and preventing constipation. Improved digestion prevents fat accumulation.

Skin health: Fiber, particularly husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing it from being excreted through your skin where it could trigger acne or rashes.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fiber may provide some relief from IBS and combat constipation. The undisputed advantage of insoluble fibre is its ability to soften and expand stool volume, speeding up fecal movement and elimination.

Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar. Proper bowel movement prevents any kind of accumulation which can cause stones.

Protects against cancer: It is found to prevent cancer. In the bowel, bacteria converts fibre into short chain fatty acids, which provide energy for the body and may help protect against cancer

Some of the common fiber rich food sources are:

Beans.
• Whole grains.(whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, etc).
• Brown rice. (White rice doesn’t offer much fiber.)
• Popcorn. (It’s a great source of fiber).
• Nuts.( Almonds and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts.)
• Bran cereal.
• Oatmeal.
• Vegetables.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Benefits and Natural Sources Of Insoluble Fiber

Dietary fiber plays an important role in your diet. Including foods rich in dietary fiber in your daily diet keeps you full for longer and provides bulk to your food. But did you know that dietary fiber is of 2 types – soluble and insoluble. Both of them play a major role in keeping your digestive system healthy but insoluble fiber is the only one that is primarily effective at keeping contents in your digestive tract moving.

-Soluble dietary fiber: As the name suggests this type of fiber gets dissolved in water and turns into a gel-like substance which delays the emptying of your stomach. It helps in lowering the levels of cholesterol and regulates blood glucose levels. It also boosts the levels of good bacteria in your intestine. Various food sources include oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, carrots, cucumber, etc.

-Insoluble dietary fiber: As the name suggests it does not get dissolved in water and remains in the form of undigested solids. It has a laxative effect and adds bulk to the diet, which prevents constipation. Since this does not get dissolved in the system, it passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speeds up the passage of food and waste through the gut.

Sources of insoluble fiber:

-Fruits: The Skin of fruits
-Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach
-Beans: Kidney beans, black beans, white beans and red beans
-Wheat Bran
-Nuts and Seeds
-Whole grains

Include these foods in your diet to maximize fiber benefits.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

The Nutrients your Body Needs Every Day

A healthy and balanced diet is the key to a healthy body. But a balanced diet should include a variety of nutrients. Below is a list of nutrients and their sources, and their recommended daily values.

-Calcium: It is a vital nutrient for the body as it helps in providing strength to your bones. Strong bones are less prone to fracture and diseases like osteoporosis. Calcium also plays a role in nerve transmission, maintenance of healthy blood vessels and muscle contraction. The recommended amount of calcium is 1g/day. To meet the daily recommended value add dairy products like milk, curd, paneer and green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc to your diet.

-Fiber: Dietary fiber helps in proper bowel movement and provides bulk to your stool which decreases the chances of constipation. It also helps in regulating blood sugar levels in the body as the presence of fiber in food slows down the absorption of the sugar. Soluble dietary fiber helps in controlling the levels of cholesterol by reducing the levels of “bad” fat from the body. The recommended amount of dietary fiber is 40g/day. Include fruits, vegetable, whole grains and legumes in your daily diet.

-Magnesium: Many studies have shown that magnesium with calcium helps in improving the bone mineral density in the body. Magnesium deficiency can affect calcium metabolism and a fluctuation in the levels of hormones that regulate calcium can result in osteoporosis. It is associated with lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and helps in regulating high blood pressure. It also plays a major role in controlling diabetes, migraines, insomnia, and depression. Recommended amount of magnesium is 410mg/day. Include nuts, whole grains, wheat germ, fish, and green leafy vegetables in your diet to increase magnesium intake.

-Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant which protects your body cells from free radical damage. Free radicals lead to break down of healthy cells and may contribute to heart disease and cancer. It also helps strengthening immunity. The recommended amount of vitamin E is 15mg/day. To get your daily dose of this vitamin include nuts, vegetable oil, eggs and green leafy vegetables in your daily diet.

-Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also a type of antioxidant that protects your body against free radical damage. Apart from this, vitamin C supports collagen production in joints. Collagen is a shock absorbing gel like substance which fills up the space between two bones in a joint. The recommended dose of vitamin C is 75-90mg/day. Rich sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc.

-Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays a major role in maintaining vision, cell growth and promotes healthy tissue and skin. It also participates in physiological activities related to the immune system, inflammatory system, maintenance of epithelial and mucosal tissues, creation of red blood cells, and bone development. The recommended dose of vitamin A is 600-900 µg/day. Rich sources of vitamin A are sweet potato, carrot, spinach, Green leafy vegetables, etc.

-Vitamin D: Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the body and helps in building strong bones. It helps in regulating insulin activity and blood sugar balance in the body and prevents muscle weakness. The recommended amount of vitamin D is 600 IU/day. The food sources of vitamin D include milk, egg, and fatty fishes like salmon, tuna and some variety of mushrooms. To get your daily dose of vitamin D morning sunlight is the best source. There are hormones beneath the skin which produce Vitamin D with help from sunlight.

-Potassium: It is one of the electrolytes and even helps in managing electrolyte levels in the body. A diet high in potassium levels is associated with improved blood pressure control. It also contributes to improved kidney function, reduction in blood clotting, and more efficient opening of blood vessels. The recommended value of potassium is 4.7g/day. Five foods rich in potassium include Swiss chard, lima beans, potatoes, yams, and soybeans.

-Protein: Protein is the building block of tissues. It is required to repair the daily wear and tear of the cells in the body. Protein is an important part of the diet as it helps in building muscles. Recommended value of protein is 46-56g/day. To have recommended amount of protein in your daily diet include milk, curd, paneer, eggs, lean cuts of chicken, soy and beans in your diet.

-Iron: Iron is a part of red blood cells and helps in transportation of oxygen in the body. In case of iron deficiency, or anemia, the body’s efficiency to transport oxygen decreases. As a result you may feel lethargic and fatigued. The recommended amount of iron is 18g/day. Foods rich in iron include, green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and pulses, whole grain, etc.

To have a healthy and balanced diet chooses your foods wisely to maximize the benefits of different nutrients.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Tricks That Make You Healthier

18 Habits That Can Make You Fat

Struggling to lose weight? Or maybe you recently shed pounds only to see them slowly creep back on again? There may be some bad habits undermining your efforts. For example, are you aware that the size of your plate could matter as much as the size of the portion on it? Or that sharing yummy-looking photos of sugary and fattening foods can actually lead you to eat more? Read on, and find out about some habits that could be stopping you from losing those extra pounds -– or even causing you to gain weight.

The Cooking Trick That Makes You Healthier

If boiling an egg is the closest you get to gourmet cooking, congrats: You’re already on a healthy path. New research suggests that how you cook your food is just as important as what is in it.

Do You Eat Enough Fiber?

A study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a fiber-rich diet could protect you from kidney cancer. People on a high-fiber eating plan (about 17 grams per 1,000 calories) had a 19 percent decrease in kidney cancer risk compared with those who took in the least. Fiber may prevent cancer-causing toxins from reaching your kidneys via your intestines, the study reports.

7 Meals That Slash Your Sodium Intake

Cut the salt WITHOUT sacrificing any flavor. Philadelphia’s latest health campaign encourages Chinese restaurants to use low-sodium cooking methods. The goal is to reduce sodium content in food by 10 to 15 percent.

The Workout Gear That Boosts Your Strength and Power

Resistance isn’t futile, at least in the gym: Including a resistance band in your workout can improve your explosive strength, say researchers at the University of Tampa. When basketball players added resistance bands to their squats and bench presses once a week for 5 weeks, they gained more strength and power than teammates who trained without them. 

Your Biggest Gym Distractions

Getting in the door is only half the battle: Gym-goers waste 35 percent of their time not working out, according to a survey of 1,000 members at UK-based Harpers Fitness. (That’s 21 minutes out of an hour.) Whether they’re fiddling with headphones or chatting up a treadmill neighbor, people spend an average of 69 hours a year at the gym doing something other than what they went there to do!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are All Calories The Same?

People often lose weight on very-low-fat and very-low-carbohydrate diets but the vast majority end up gaining the weight back very quickly. This suggests that very-low-fat diets may actually slow a person’s metabolism down to a level where it is not burning calories as effectively as it could. So, instead of ranking your food on its calorie count look for its nutritional quality. Here are some reasons for why all the calories are not same.

Effect on Your Body: Food calories affect the body very differently depending on their source and the overall context in which they are consumed. Many people consider “a calorie is a calorie” thinking that carbohydrate, fat and protein calories are equal in terms of their effect on body weight but the body processes each in a different way, and these differences play a major role in weight management. The main reason behind this is when you cut down the calories by skipping your meals. Your body considers this as unavailability of food and therefore goes in conservation mode. In this situation, your body starts conserving each calorie you eat and effectively increase the value of each calorie by slowing down your metabolism.

Energy Requirement for Metabolism: The major fact behind that ‘all the calories are not same’ is energy requirement to metabolize the calories from different source. Generally, more energy is required to process protein than carbohydrates and more energy is required to process carbohydrates than fat.

Effect on Appetite: Protein generally reduces appetite more per calorie than fat and carbohydrate. Therefore a person who increases his daily protein intake without decreasing the amount of carbohydrates, fat or any other nutrient likely to eat less due to reduced appetite. This also happens because protein provides you a feeling of being full for longer as compared to carbohydrate or fat.

Fiber for Less Calorie Absorption: Fiber is a form of carbohydrate which does not adds up to calories but add bulk to your food. Its keeps you full for longer and therefore contribute to your satiety. Thus, a calorie inside a high-fiber food is not equal to a calorie inside a low-calorie food – yet another reason for ‘a calorie is not a calorie’.

Round the Clock: Thermic effect of food (TEF) is a name for the energy used up as a result of digesting and absorbing a meal. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that TEF is higher in the morning than in the evening which clearly means that we burn more calories in the morning. The effect of calories on body composition is also influenced by the size and frequency of meals. Food calories are more likely to be used immediately for energy used to synthesize muscle protein when they are consumed at times of energy deficit, such as first thing in the morning after the overnight fast. Numerous studies have shown that people build more muscle and gain less body fat when they consume adequate calories within two hours after exercise rather than the consuming same calories throughout the day.

Calories of a food gives you an idea of energy being provided by that food and helps you in managing your weight but before considering all the foods of same calories to be same look for its overall nutritional quality.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo