Is a Vegetarian Diet Better?
A Vegetarian diet basically comprises abstaining from the consumption of red meat, poultry, seafood and meat/flesh of any other animal. There are a lot of proponents of vegetarianism coming up across the world. In fact, many celebrities and public figures have turned vegetarian and support as voluntary ambassadors of the cause. Let’s figure out whether a vegetarian diet is healthier than a non-vegetarian diet. We gain a better understanding by analyzing certain research studies by health scientists. According to one such study and analysis; Vegetarians seem to have lower blood pressure.
The question that arises is whether adopting a vegetarian diet would be a useful strategy for lowering blood pressure. People who are on a vegetarian diet have lower BMI in comparison to people who are omnivorous, because vegetarian diets have higher fiber and lower fat content.Another reason can be that vegetarian diets are lower than omnivorous diets in saturated fatty acids and higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are linked with lower blood pressure. Also, vegetarians usually have lower blood viscosity. This could affect their blood pressure positively.
According to another research from Loma Linda University published in the journal Diabetes Care, vegetarians experience a 36 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndromes than non-vegetarians. Researchers have done their studies on certain subjects by segregating them into non veg eaters and vegetarian eaters and found that a percentage of the participants, who were in basically vegetarians, had a lower risk of metabolic syndromes than non-vegetarians. “This work again shows that diet improves many of the main cardiovascular risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome,” says Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, principal investigator of Adventist Health Study 2. “Trending toward a plant-based diet is a sensible choice.”
However, recent research has also focused on the presence of a variety of specific nutrients in plant foods that have health-promoting qualities.
Fiber: Plant foods such as whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts provide dietary fiber. High intake of dietary fiber may reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, premenstrual syndrome, and colon cancer.
Antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, all of which act as antioxidants, protecting your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals
Phytonutrients: Plant foods contain a variety of unique nutrients such as phytoestrogens, indoles, isothiocyanates, and flavonoids. Emerging research indicates that these nutrients may help in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.
A vegetarian diet may be especially beneficial for overweight individuals, as well as for women with premenstrual syndrome and individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure and/or cardiovascular disease.
How healthy is bulgur or daliya?
Bulgur is a 100% whole wheat food group. It is also known as “dalia” in north region of India Bulgur considered to be whole grain, which means it is healthy, nutritious and high in fiber. It is even a good source of fiber, protein, iron and vitamin B-6. Dalia is a popular breakfast cereal in North India and is made with whole wheat grits or broken wheat. It can be made either sweet, known as dalia ‘kheer’ or as a savoury dalia.
Following are the benefits of eating bulgur (dalia)-:
1. It has a good amount of fibre which not only keeps the digestive system healthy, but even provides satiety for long durations and prevents bingeing on other unhealthy foods. Eating whole-grain foods, including bulgur, may even lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
2. A complex carbohydrate is considered beneficial for diabetics because the rate at which it gets digested is slow, thus releasing glucose at a slow and sustained rate. This makes it an ideal food for people wanting to lose weight or those who have high cholesterol levels.
3. Bulgur contain more fibre in comparison to any other cereal and it also takes very little time to cook. Its ability to fill you up with minimal calories make it a power food for weight-loss.
4. In a clinical study published in the February 2008 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” researchers found that people who consumed higher amounts of betaine, a metabolite found in whole wheat, had lower concentrations of homocysteine, a marker of chronic inflammation that has been linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
5. Bulgur doesn’t lose much from its minimal processing; it remains high in protein and minerals. It is an ideal foundation for meals, allowing you to skip higher-fat protein sources.
6. Half a cup of bulgur wheat contains 76 kcal and 4 gm fiber with less than 1 gram of fat. There are many healthier recipes which can made out of bulgur i.e vegetable dalia, dalia milk porridge, dalia pulao with added seasonal vegetables and spices.
Daliya or Bulgur is a breakfast favourite across India. It is one of the rare common breakfast foods in India that are actually healthy and help you lose weight. Make it a regular part of your diet to benefit from it. The healthiest way to have it would be without sugar. You can cook it in milk. Top it with fruits and add a sprinkling of nuts to make it a wholesome and tasty breakfast food, and it could even be had as a meal or snack at any other time of the day.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Couscous and its health benefits
Couscous is made of semolina flour. Couscous is the staple food of Northern Africa. It is also made of whole wheat flour, which further increases its nutritional value. It is very versatile and its preparation requires little more than hot water and fluffing with a fork. It can be served as a side dish or can also be served with sautéed vegetables, soups and morning breakfast cereal.
Nutritional properties of Couscous:-
1 cup (30g) of couscous contains-
Protein found in Couscous is 12% of the daily dietary requirement. Protein contains amino acids which are essential for body tissue repair and protein even controls appetite and calorie intake. Researchers found that protein causes the brain to receive low levels of appetite stimulating hormones.
The amount of fibre present in Couscous is 9% of the daily dietary requirement. Fibre increases the satiety value of Couscous which keeps you from feeling hungry for longer durations and keeps you away from overeating.
Couscous hardly contains any fat, making it an ideal choice for weight loss diets.
30 grams of Couscous contains 176Kcal which is 9% of the daily dietary requirement. The calorie content is quite low compared to other similar foods.
The amount of selenium found in Couscous is 43mcg which is equal to the daily dietary requirement of our body. Selenium is good for the brain, helps with low thyroid functioning and prevents premature aging.
The amount of potassium found in 30gms of Couscous is 91.1mg, which 39% of 3500mg (daily dietary requirement). Potassium plays an important role in blood pressure regulation and also maintains the body’s fluid balance.
So, couscous is a great addition to your diet with a variety of health benefits.
KALE-The latest power food and it’s benefits
It offers many nutritional benefits including calcium, fibre, vitamins,etc.
Calcium: 1cup (100g) of kale provides 150mg of calcium, which is more than that provided by milk of the same amount. Calcium helps in maintaining bone health. Lactose intolerant people can benefit from kale.
Vitamin-A: 1 cup of kale offers 9990UI, which is more than the amount of vitamin –A provided by same amount of spinach. This aids in eye health.
Vitamin –C: 1 cup of kale offers 120mg of vitamin C which is much higher than that found in the same amount of orange fruit. So it acts as an immunity booster.
Fibre: One serving of kale equals 10% of the daily fibre requirement of body. Thus it helps in digestion and keeps cholesterol and diabetes in check.
So a cup of spinach, orange, and milk can be replaced by a cup of kale for its Vitamin-A, Vitamin-C and calcium benefits.
Here are some suggestions on how can you include kale in your regular diet:
• Salads: As the raw form is little bitter, steamed kale can be consumed in salads.
• Chapatti: Kale can be boiled and pureed and mixed with regular wheat flour into dough and can be rolled into chapattis. This works even better than your multigrain-atta. One chapatti is 50 calories(approx).
• Soup: Boil it along with other vegetables, blend and strain to obtain a clear soup. Unstrained form can also be consumed which is ofcourse a recommended option as it contains the fibre content of the vegetable. One cup of unstrained soup is 20-40 calories (approx).
• Rice Pulao: Kale can be sauted in minimum amount of oil, along with other vegetables of your choice and boiled with rice. The preparation can be enjoyed with low fat yoghurt. One serving of vegetable pulao is 100 calories(approx)
Eat to lose weight
Weight loss and diets arn’t really about not eating and starving yourself to burn fat. You could eat the same quantity and lose weight. Not eating is unhealthy for our body as it effects the immune system and the body’s power to fight infections and slows down the metabolic rate. Would you rather eat healthy and lose weight or not eat and get unfit.
There are certain foods that are low calorie and some foods provide no calories at all. Our bodies require a certain number of calories per day and eating beyond it would store the calories. Usually when we are eating we give less importance to the calorie intake but rather eat till we feel full. So here are food options that will fill you up and keep the calorie intake balanced and low.
Fresh foods: If you want to eat choose natural food options like fruits, vegetables, cereals and pulses etc. The cheese burgers, pizzas, patties, fried foods, heavy snacks, empty calorie food provide less nutrition and are fattening. 1gm of fat provides a lot more calories than whats carbohydrates or protein provide. So changing your habits and eating healthy food will help you consume less calories,keep you full and fat especially which gets difficult to burn.
Fruits and vegetables Salads (more…)— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
How to fuel your workout
If you are doing a moderate workout of 30-50 minutes then fueling your body before workout is not required. The energy required for the workout session is enough from our daily consumption of meals. Fueling before workouts also depends whats your objective is , whether it is losing weight, building muscles, toning up etc. Only if you are working out for a very long period like marathons then extra energy is required. Regular workouts do not require additional energy.
To increase efficieny in the body it is important to keep the fluid levels balanced. Dehydration and less fluid leads to cramping and decreased release of energy for the body slowing down the metabolism. Water is sufficient to keep you hydrated during your regular gym workouts. Energy drinks and bars are required for marathon trainers or bicyclers where they train for hours. Eating high carbohydrate food or drinks before or during the workout only adds to the calories.
Timing the meal is important as if you overload yourself then you would feel sluggish, vomiting, feel heavy to actively move around etc. If you haven’t eaten for much time before a strenous workout then you will feel fatigued and have a heavy head and not feel comfortable and concentrated. Plan your meals atleast two hours before the workout for effective results.
Diet: Choose carbohydrates before a meal as they are more important for providing energy for the workout and maintaing the glycogen levels. Choose complex carbohydrates which quickly breakdown for energy and eat less of fibre before a workout.
Fuel your self rightly and don’t experiment on yourself. Eat protein rich food post workout for muscle recovery and growth of muscles. Push yourself and reach higher fitness levels. Keep the water levels recovering and become all the more resistant.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
7 Muscle Building Foods
We all know what muscles are and what are the basic functions that a muscle perform. Secondly, we also know it that by lifting weights and doing high intensity workouts we can build muscle. But do you know that to build muscles, along with the timing of nutrition, there are some foods that are more effective than others at helping you build muscle.
Below are a list of foods essential to building muscle:
Eggs: Rich source of protein and provides important vitamins and minerals.
Nuts: They are rich in fibre, Omega 3 fatty acid (lowers LDL levels) antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium
Beans: Apart from being a rich source of protein, it is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Yoghurt: Rich in protein and carbohydrates, and good for muscle recovery & growth.
Milk: A rich source of protein , calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and other essential amino acids.
Fish: Contains omega -3 fatty acids and good source of protein.
Water: Water is essential to deliver nutrients to your muscles for growth & repair. So, water is key to building muscle.
Including these ingredients in your diet will recover your muscles and tissues and provide your muscle with nutrients to keep your muscles pumping for longer time.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Increase Body Metabolism to Lose Weight
We often blame our slow metabolism for our inability to lose weight. What does this term stand for and what value does it hold in maintaining life processes? Metabolism basically refers to the number of calories our body at rest uses each day to keep our body functioning.
Is there a way this natural mechanism of body can be manipulated? Turns out, you can increase your body metabolism. Any of the following can help you rev your metabolic rate and burn more calories naturally. (more…)— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo