Tag Archives: fruits and vegetables

Does a Healthy Diet Reduce The Risk of Depression?

Depression is a mental illness marked by feelings of profound sadness and low interest in positive activities. It is a persistent low mood that interferes with the ability to function and appreciate things in life. It may cause a wide range of symptoms, both physical and emotional. It can last for weeks, months, or years. There could be various causes of depression, but poor diet is one of the reasons revealed by researchers.

A certain study reinforces the hypothesis that a “healthy diet has the potential to not only ward off depression, but also prevent it,” says Ms Anu Ruusunen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of nutritional epidemiology.

Depressed individuals often have a poor diet quality and a decreased intake of nutrient rich food. But this is not yet clear in the case of healthy individuals suffering from depression.

A healthy diet characterized by vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk and low fat dairy products, pulses, fish, meat and poultry is associated with a lower risk of depression.

Increased intake of folate was also associated with a decreased risk of depression because low folic acid levels leads to low SAMe(S-adenosylmethionine), which increases symptoms of depression. By improving folic acid status, SAMe increases, and depressive symptoms drop. Vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, meat and liver are the most important dietary sources of folate.

In addition, coffee and tea also act as anti-depressants to an extent because caffeine promotes the production of dopamine (a neurotransmitter released by the brain) which is responsible for the feeling of well being and happiness. But the amount of caffeine consumed should not be more than 300mg per day as caffeine is an addictive substance.

Omega 3-fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oil, nuts and fish oil, increase the level of serotonin (known as the happy hormone), which reduces the level of depression.
Not only this, essential amino acids like tryptophan play a role in the formation of serotonin. Meat, fish, beans and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids.

Having refined carbohydrate and processed foods increases your blood sugar levels and does not provide any kind of nutrient to the body and brain. It even utilizes the mood enhancing vitamin B. Sugar also diverts the supply of another nutrient involved in mood enhancing, chromium. The best way to lower your sugar level is to have food low on the glycemic index.

Lastly, Vitamin D deficiency may cause depression because vitamin D is responsible for brain development. So consume vitamin D rich foods such as egg, mushrooms, fish etc

Depression is one of the leading health challenges in the world and its effect on public health, economics and quality of life are enormous. Not only the treatment of depression, but even the prevention of depression needs new approaches. Change in dietary and lifestyle factors are one of the possible approaches.

So adopt a healthy eating habit to enhance your mood and stay away from depression naturally.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Is Water Retention Causing Your Weight Gain?

If you are trying to lose weight and not seeing results on the weighing scale, then the reason might be water retention. Water retention causes temporary weight gain and could depend on factors such as what you have eaten a day earlier or how your hormones levels are fluctuating.
Reasons for water retention are:-
1. Sodium intake

Consuming too much sodium from salty and highly processed foods causes water retention. Because to dilute that sodium, the body retains fluid that you see the next morning in the form of puffed face and hands.

2. Sweets and starch intake

If you had a meal comprising mainly of sugar and starchy foods like pasta, white rice etc, it will lead to a quick rise in your blood sugar, which signals your body to release insulin (a hormone that signals the cell to take up the sugar from the bloodstream).High insulin levels can also make your body retain sodium and fluid.

3. Hormonal shift

Other hormones can come into play as well. For women, hormonal shifts that occur with monthly cycles can also lead to water weight gain – often in the range of a kilogram or two that can stick around for a week or more. While you can’t avoid the fluctuations in hormone levels, dietary changes may help.

Tips for reducing temporary water weight gain:-

1. Reduce salt intake

Try to have food in its natural state, since more processed a food, the more sodium it’s likely to have.

2. Cut back on refined starchy foods and sweets

Switch from refined starches to whole grain varieties because whole grains take longer to digest and don’t cause a sudden rise in the blood sugar level. Also, switch from sugary drinks to water or tea.

3. Drink plenty of water

Drink plenty of water because it will help you to eliminate salt and toxin build up. Drink 10-12 glasses of water.

4. Push potassium

Potassium plays a critical role in maintaining fluid balance in the body, and needs to be in proper balance with sodium. Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. Try to have a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Importance of Skin Nutrition

The skin is one of the most powerful indicators of health. Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Dr. Georgiana Donadio, founder of the National Institute of Whole Health.

Wrinkles, dry or oily skin, acne, and inflammation all are signs of poor internal health, often brought on by consuming unhealthful foods and avoiding skin nutrition problems. To treat skin problems, most people turn to mainstream topical cosmetics, including lotions, soaps, scrubs, toners, and creams. However, treating outer blemishes with expensive, chemical-laden beauty products does little to address the root cause of the problem, which is most cases is poor nutrition and exposure to toxins in dietary and personal care products.

A Recent research has shown that the skin reacts particularly well to certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the skin, making it appear youthful and healthy. The following nutrients are among the very best to consume for healthy, young-looking skin and leads to good skin nutrition factor.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, or retinol, is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin. It promotes cell turnover in the skin. It is effective in preventing the formation of comedones that cause the most common forms of acne.

Lack of vitamin A causes the skin to become keratinized and scaly, and mucus secretion is suppressed. Rough, dry skin is a common sign of vitamin A deficiency, which often first appears as rough, raised bumps on the back of the arms. So, in order to get rid of skin problems, one should start including good sources of Vitamin A in his or her diet and even pre-formed vitamin A, which is well absorbed by the body, can be found in a variety of traditional foods. The most vitamin A-rich foods are liver and cod liver oil, and green leafy vegetables, other sources include kidney, cream and butter from pastured cows, and egg yolks from pastured chickens.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been known for decades to play a crucial role in the regulation of the structural protein collagen, which is necessary for the extra cellular stability of the skin. A vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, which is first manifested as rough dry skin and corkscrew hair growth as well as affect over all skin nutrition regime. Inadequate vitamin C is also known to contribute to the development of the common problem of hyperkeratosis pillaris (appearance of small bumps on the skin surface), as the follicles become damaged when collagen formation is impaired. Increasing the amount of vitamin C in the diet can contribute to improved skin health and faster healing. Observational studies have shown that diets high in vitamin C are associated with better skin appearance and less skin wrinkling. Higher intakes of dietary vitamin C have been correlated with a decreased level of dry skin, and also Vitamin C has an important role in wound healing.

Silica:

Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body’s connective tissues – muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone – and is vital for healthy skin. Silica deficiency can result in reduced skin elasticity and can hamper the body’s ability to heal wounds. Food sources of silica include leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb. In its natural form, silica is found in the horsetail herb.

Zinc:

The mineral zinc is an important component of healthy skin, especially for acne sufferers. In fact, acne itself may be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin, and may also help control some of the hormones that create acne. Zinc is also required for proper immune system function, as well as for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell. Zinc consumption is also strongly linked to a reduction of prostate cancer. Foods rich in zinc include fresh oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, and eggs. Zinc can be purchased in supplement form, in both liquid concentrates and tablets.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Dry, inflamed skin or skin that suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads can benefit from supplementing with essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially omega-3s. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet. Excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids are Salmon, Flaxseed, Sardines and Walnuts.

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin. When combined with vitamin A, vitamin E is especially effective at preventing certain skin cancers. Vitamin E also reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and, when applied topically, soothes dry or rough skin as well as proved to be a good skin nutrition source. Food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, safflower and sunflower oils, almonds, spinach, peaches, prunes, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, and avocados.

Tips for Healthy Skin Nutrition:

1. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of plain water daily
2. Include fresh fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C, A & E in your daily diet. For e.g. Oranges, Sweet lime, Amla, Guava, Spinach, Lemon etc.
3. Snack on almonds and walnuts for better skin quality.
4. Avoid regular intake or alcohol or Smoking.
5. Follow a healthy & regular routine of balanced diet and exercise.

6.  Get regular sleep of 6-8 hrs every day.

A very famous saying is “You are what you eat”. What goes inside you, is what the outer skin reflects.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Top Immune Boosting Foods

One of the most important steps you can take to maintain good health is to eat a healthy diet loaded with nutrients that will fortify your immune system. Eating wide range of foods can boost your immune system. Our immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against disease. Adequately feeding your immune system boosts its fighting power. There are a number of key foods we can consume to boost our immune system. Here are the list of Immune boosting foods that you should eat in your daily lifestyle.

Yogurt: Yogurt is considered as an Immune boosting food. Yogurt is a healthy snack that many people include it in their daily diet. It contains bacteria that your body uses to protect itself from infections and harmful bacteria. Eating yogurt rich in pro-biotics increases your white blood count, improving the response by your immune system.

Wheat Germ: Wheat germ is not only immune boosting food but it is also a good source of fiber – a dietary essential that keeps your digestive system on track. It’s also packed with protein and vitamins, including vitamin E, and is a great source of choline and zinc, which also help boost immunity. Add wheat germ to your bread, or sprinkle it over yogurt and fresh fruit or your breakfast cereal.

Mushrooms: If you are thinking about immune boosting food then add mushroom in your list. They’re a major source of the immune system-boosting mineral, zinc. Eating mushrooms will help fight off disease, and can boost your immune system.

Garlic: Known as Immune boosting food. Garlic has a long history of use as an immune system booster because of its antiseptic, anti-fungal and nutritive properties. It is a natural detoxicant protecting against bacterial and viral infections without any of the side-effects associated with antibiotics.

Tea: Green Tea or Black Tea, Both loaded with disease-fighting polyphones and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work equally well.

Broccoli: Not only super food but broccoli also known as immune boosting food. Incorporate into meals, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage. It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione. Add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.

Cauliflower: Cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables, which means they’re not only rich in antioxidant vitamins that give an immune system boost, but they also contain choline, a nutrient essential to a healthy diet. Include this immune boosting food in your diet and fight with illness.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial machine, so it does more than just boost the immune system — it actually fights the pathogens that cause illness. Cinnamon is versatile immune boosting food, making it easy to add to your healthy diet.

Maintaining a strong immune system doesn’t have to be rocket science, just as long as you enjoy a healthy diet, rich in certain nutrients. So include some healthy food items in your diet fight off the illness.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Skipping breakfast doubles your odds of obesity says a research. It is a must for everyone, especially if you’ve got a busy lifestyle. A good nutritious breakfast gives you energy, promotes brain activity and helps you lose weight as you will be craving less for the unhealthy snacks. If you skip breakfast you might not make up for the nutrients missed for the day.

Here are some healthy breakfast ideas and about how it should not be a large meal. ‘Breakfast like a king’ does not mean eat a huge breakfast, as even one very large meal increases your chances of gaining weight.

Basics for a Healthy Breakfast

The breakfast should have a balance of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and some amount of fat in moderation. This will give you maximum health benefits and keep you satisfied and not giving the churns in your stomach.

Here are a few options that you can include in your daily breakfast:

Whole grains: This includes breads and cereals made with 100% whole grain.
Low Fat Protein: Eggs, beans, lean meats, nuts and seeds.
Low Fat Dairy: Low fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, low fat cream.
Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetable juices without any sugar or eat the fruits raw.

Portion Control: Don’t over eat because the extra calories will just get stored as fat.

Benefits of Eating Breakfast

Get the body requirement of nutrients.
You will eat less later through out the day.
Eating healthy breakfast helps lower cholesterol level.
Gives you energy and concentration during work, making you less sluggish.
It helps you in controlling weight.
Keeping cholesterol level down will keep your heart healthy and keep you pumping for longer time.

So, make sure you don’t skip breakfast, and eat it correctly!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo