Tag Archives: healthy foods

Foods You Can Overeat, Occasionally!

Do you restrict yourself from eating food to avoid calories? Then here is a list of foods you can include in your diet. 

1. Garlic: Many people use garlic in their food because this pungent bulb enhances the flavor of your food. But beside this, it has many health benefits. Allicin is a compound found in garlic that has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. According to the National Institutes of Health, Allicin can lower blood pressure, fight off hardening of the arteries, and reduce the risk of cancer. Also, it has antioxidant properties which help your body fight against free radicals by producing an acid that rapidly reacts with free radicals.

2. Green tea: Green tea is a good source of antioxidants. Polyphenols present in green tea have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. Unsweetened brewed green tea is a zero calorie beverage and contains much less caffeine than tea/coffee. It is also known to have different health benefits such as preventing stress, chronic fatigue, treating skin conditions and improving arthritis by reducing inflammation.

3. Cocoa Powder: Many people think cocoa powder and chocolate as same thing, but they are not. Cocoa is an ingredient of chocolate (chocolate includes milk products, sugar, etc). Pure and unadulterated cocoa powder is a non-fat component of cocoa liquor, made by grinding cocoa beans. It helps in decreasing the levels of cortisol hormones, which induce stress in your body and can hinder your weight loss. One of the best ways to consume cocoa powder is to mix 1 spoon of cocoa powder in a glass of skimmed milk and have it without any added sugar.

4. Coleslaw: You can make your own healthy coleslaw salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage, carrots and other crunchy vegetables. Instead of mayonnaise or cheese dressings, add some pepper and vinegar dressing. One cup of this salad will set you back by just 17 calories and will provide 42 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Also, it’s loaded with sulforaphane, which is a chemical that enhances the production of enzymes in your body that fight oxidative damage.

5. Salsa: Make your own fresh salsa dip with chopped onions, tomato, pepper, lime and garlic. All these vegetables are low in calories and provide you with vitamin C, folate and fiber. Care should be taken while storing the salsa since it consists of raw vegetables which can act as a growth medium for potentially dangerous bacteria, especially when unrefrigerated.

6. Herbs and spices: Herbs and spices not only add taste and aroma to your food but also reduce the effect of unhealthy fats on your body. Most dried herbs and spices are low in calories, providing about 4 to 7 calories per teaspoon. Some spices are good sources of nutrients such as paprika, which is an excellent source of vitamin A. Parsley is rich in vitamin C, cumin is a source of iron, and caraway seeds even contribute a little calcium to your diet. Other spices with health benefits include cloves, coriander, fennel leaves, mint, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, and sage – all of which are sources of antioxidants.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Best Foods to Fight Depression

Depression is a disorder associated with major symptoms such as increased sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite, depressed mood, and a loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Lots of things play a role in getting a person depressed. Most often, it’s situational – a loss, a death, a big change in life, social environment, life events, etc. But when it lasts for a very long time, it becomes something more that needs help where the brain doesn’t work quite right. Low serotonin levels (the neurotransmitter) are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.

People who are depressed find it difficult to function on a daily basis, they have feelings of worthlessness, and they often lack motivation and are prone to insomnia, in many cases. The benefits of medication and therapy are well known, but there’s another important area to consider, your diet. Important nutrients needed to fight with depression are well described below -

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These essential fatty acids are needed to build the brain’s neural connections as well as the receptor sites for neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Research has shown people with depression appear to have lower levels of omega-3.

Eat more – Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Flax-seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also good sources.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are important for nervous system function and the production of energy from food and are considered “anti-stress” nutrients. They help to relieve anxiety and treat depression. Niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9) all work with the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter.

Eat more – Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, green leafy veggies, eggs, chicken, red meat and milk.

Eat less – Refined grains and processed foods.


Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible to fight depression, is manufactured in the body using the amino acid tryptophan, which must be supplied through the diet. Tryptophan is also needed to produce melatonin, which is vital for getting enough sleep.

Eat more – Lean chicken, turkey, beef, brown rice, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, bananas, peas, pumpkin, potato, corn and spinach.

Trace minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium, etc. along with antioxidant-rich foods too play an important role in the development of brain and helps keep depression at bay.

At last I would like to introduce you with the following 5 foods to fight with Depression -

1) Nuts & Seeds: They are a good source of protein and magnesium, which help in the production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical.

2) Green Tea: Despite the caffeine, the L-theanine (an amino acid) found in green tea seems to be profoundly relaxing and have a calming effect, up to eight hours.

3) Raw Garlic: Garlic’s anti-oxidant properties play an important role in fighting fatigue-causing free radicals. Garlic contains the highest amount of selenium among foods.

4) Avocados: Aside from being the highest source of tryptophan, avocados are also one of the richest sources of protein, folate, and the heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.

5) Fatty-Fish: There’s a reason why fish is known as “brain food”. Fatty fish such as wild salmon contain the omega-3 fatty acid – DHA, which has been shown to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of gray matter in the brain.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are Almonds Good for Weight Loss?

Fiction: Almonds are not good for weight loss.

Fact: Nuts in general acquire a bad name because they have high fat content. There are two kind of fat – saturated fat (bad) and unsaturated fat (good). Almonds are high in unsaturated fats, the same type of healthy fats found in olive oil. They are packed with monosaturated fats that are great for your heart health. Besides this they pack a punch of protein. Protein takes longer to digest, so it keeps you satisfied for longer. It thus reduces hunger pangs and helps you build muscle and get fitter. They also contain calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and anti-oxidants.

Answered by Prachi Agarwal, first appeared in HT City (Hindustan Times), Get Healthy Delhi! campaign, where she is a Fitness Expert on the panel of health experts.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Banana Fattening?

Fiction: Banana is fattening.

Fact: Only because the fibre keeps you full for long and they tend to be on the sweeter side usually, many of us believe that bananas are fattening. But, note that a banana contains about 25 gms of carbohydrates, 3 gms fiber and almost zero fat. The carbohydrates in banana are healthy, so they do not spike your blood sugar, and also give you sustained energy for a long time. As a combination, the healthy carbs and fibre keep you from getting hungry for longer. So, not only bananas provide you with healthy nutrition, they are almost fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol free too!

Answered by Prachi Agarwal, first appeared in HT City (Hindustan Times), Get Healthy Delhi! campaign, where she is a Fitness Expert on the panel of health experts.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Healthy South Indian Snack Foods

South Indian cuisine is known for its wide variety of spicy food preparations. Meals are mostly centered around rice and lentil preparations, coconut based curries and a perfect blend of different spices. Cooking methods used in south Indian food preparations are mostly healthy as it includes steaming, sautéing, stewing, pan-grilling etc. But the addition of coconut in the form of oil, milk or grated plain coconut, adding ghee, peanuts or using deep-fried preparation methods can increase the fat content and overall calories.

Let’s look at some of the healthy south Indian snack foods and analyze their nutritional facts.

Idli: These are steamed cakes made from seasoned rice-lentil batter. As these are steamed, and the overall use of oil is minimal, they are low on calories and high on nutrition. It packs a good blend of carbohydrates and proteins. Adding sprouts or vegetables to batter can increase the nutritional value. Avoid coconut chutney; instead have mint or tomato chutney. These are perfect for breakfast with sambar or as an evening snack with chutney.

- 1 medium Idli has 39 calories, 2 gm protein, 8 gm fiber, zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol.

Upma: It is one of the common and staple breakfast options. It is made by dry roasting semolina and cooking with sautéed vegetables. It is light on the bowel and filling as well. Semolina is a refined grain but adding vegetables adds fiber and makes it a wholesome meal.

- 1 cup home-made vegetable upma contains about 280 calories, 11 gm protein, 59 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, and zero cholesterol.

Adai: This is a popular south Indian snack. Batter is made with rice and a mix of 2-3 whole pulses with vegetables, curry leaves and spices. This mixture is then cooked on non-stick like pancakes. Nutritionally it serves as a balanced source of carbohydrates, proteins and fiber.

- 1 medium Adai pancake gives 165 calories, 2.5 gm fat, 15 gm carbohydrates and 1 gm protein.

Rasam: It is a light, moderately spicy soup prepared by making a base of tomato, tamarind pulp, black pepper, spices and adding steamed vegetables and lentils as per choice. It is best for winters and monsoons and is also beneficial in cold, cough and fever. It is good for bowel health and aids in digestion. This can also be consumed with steamed rice as a spicy curry.

- 1 cup of Rasam can contain 45-60 calories, 2-3gms fat, 4-6gms carbohydrates, and 1-2 gms protein depending upon the vegetables or lentils added.

Sundal: This is an easy to prepare, healthy and nutritious snack. The dish is prepared by lightly sautéing pre-boiled legumes with green chilies, mustard seeds, and coriander in 1 tsp oil. Grated coconut is also a part of this preparation, which is high in calories, so, it is advisable to skip the same to keep the calorific value to a healthy range. Sundal is a good source of soluble fiber and lean protein. It is a filling snack and can be included as a mid-afternoon or evening meal.

- 1 cup of chickpea sundal contains 280 calories with 4gms fat, 49gms carbohydrates and 15gms protein.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Broccoli Helps to Prevent Arthritis

Do you have joint pains or suffer from Arthritis? According to a recent study, eating broccoli can help you manage your pain better. The study was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. It stated that broccoli can help in getting relief from inflammation in osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease in which cartilages that normally protect joints start to wear away under the influence of inflammatory factors.

Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, B, K, C and nutrients such as potassium, zinc and fiber. It is found that consumption of sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli can lead to less cartilage damage. This sulfur-based compound is found effective in blocking enzymes that contribute to inflammation in cartilages.

Other factors that can help you in osteoarthritis are eating healthy and including some activity in your daily routine. It’s a common myth that exercises can harm your joints, if you suffering from arthritis. In fact, doing joint friendly exercises and water based activities can increase muscle strength and bone structure. Strengthening exercises with low impact cardio like walking are swimming are preferable options.

You need to watch your diet and stick to healthy and balanced meals. Minimize sugar and fat intake in your diet. You can opt for seasonal vegetables, fruitswhole grains, lentils, low fat dairy products and avoid packaged and processed foods.

Eating broccoli can protect your joints from damage. However, consuming broccoli cannot reverse or cure osteoarthritis, but is a way to prevent it.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

7 Best Foods for Your Brain

Brain is one of the most important organs of human body and it also require energy and nutrition for its proper functioning just like the heart and other organs do. Here are 7 best foods for your brain that can help you in keeping your brain healthy and fit.

Nuts: Vitamin E is one of the major nutrients required by brain as it protects your brain from free radical damage which is associated with memory loss with old age and can delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts are not only good sources of vitamin E they also contain high content of magnesium which delay age-related memory loss.

Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids are major nutrients that manage the oxidative stress in older people with mild cognitive decline. Fish and fish oil are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acid.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetable: These vegetables are filled with magnesium and folate. Getting adequate folate makes you more alert and it also improves your memory and focus. It helps in lowering blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine that is known to damage brain cells. Also, Magnesium delays age-related memory loss.

Berries: Research suggests that flavonoids in berries may cut your risk for Parkinson’s disease because of their anti-inflammatory powers. Berries also help in protecting the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Whole Grains: Whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice are rich sources of dietary fiber which reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure – all of which might affect the brain.

Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is rich in powerful antioxidant properties. It also contains several natural stimulants including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration and stimulates the production of endorphins which helps in improving mood. However, beside these benefits it is also high in calories so always keep a check on the amount you consuming.

Oils: Olive oil, nuts oils, fish oils, flaxseed oil, etc. contain heart-healthy mono-unsaturated omega-3 and omega-9 fats. These fatty acids and polyphenols help to reduce inflammation in your joints and cells. Oils are also a rich source of vitamin E which protects neurons or nerve cells.

Include these foods in your diet to make your brain younger, capable of fighting against different diseases and helps you in getting better focus and concentration.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

10 Foods That Are Hard To Digest

We eat variety of foods everyday. For some foods we agree with while for others we might not agree with. Even natural foods can be hard on our digestion and lead to bloating, flatulence, acid re-flux or general discomfort. We have put together a list of foods that are not digestion friendly and what goes on inside our body when they are consumed.

BeansBeans are rich in fiber and protein. Along with that beans contain sugar name Oligosaccharide which is difficult to digest so when this sugar reaches the intestine then the problem of flatulence can take place so the studies have shown that soaking beans dramatically reduces flatulence for consumers without affecting the nutritional content.

Spicy Foods: Adding spices to the dish can put a taste to the meal but excess consumption of it can lead to heart burn and can also trigger the stomach problems, which directly affects the digestive system.

Raw Onions: Onions are packed with phyto nutrient compounds, many of which are good for heart health. However, some of these compounds irritate the stomach. So, cooked forms of onions are more easily digestible than the raw onions.

Fried Foods: Fried foods in general are difficult for your digestive system to process. They’re greasy and high in fat, both of which can lead to stomach issues. Try to avoid fried foods and stick to the mode of healthy cooking e.g. steaming, baking, roasting and grilling.

Cruciferous Veggies: Nutrient-and fiber-rich cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli offer plenty of healthy benefits for your system, but they contain a complex sugar called raffinose that’s known to cause gas buildup and bloat.

Mashed Potatoes: Most mashed potatoes recipes are loaded with milk or cream that is why it can create a problem for lactose intolerance people.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and it also contains fat so this combination does not support healthy digestion for people who have gastrointestinal issues.

Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing gums contain sorbitol, kind of sugar which can cause a build-up of gas, but even the act of chewing gum can cause your belly to swell.

Coffee, Tea and Soft Drinks: They are also considered drinks which are hard to digest because they are high in caffeine and produce more gastric acids.

Alcohol: Regular consumption of alcohol can weaken the oesophagus valve so ultimately it can lead to digestive issues.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

10 Foods for Great Skin

Skin is the largest organ of the human body. If you’re healthy on the inside, you will look healthy on the outside as well. Here are some foods that can help you in making your skin flawless, soft and smooth.

Almonds: Almonds are rich source of vitamin E which acts as a sun blocker. Studies have shown that if you consume 14 milligrams of this vitamin per day that is similar to about 20 almonds and then were exposed to UV light there are less sunburned than those who took none. “Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals”, explains Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.

FlaxseedsFlaxseeds are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which erase spots and helps in reducing fine lines. The benefit of flaxseeds for skin is especially noticeable in those who have skin sensitivities or are prone to dry skin. They also help in reducing skin irritation, tissue inflammation and redness because of high omega-3 content.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich source of lycopene and phytochemical that make tomatoes red and also help in eliminating skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. The content of citric acid in tomatoes are very useful to remove dirt and reduce oil production. That’s why tomatoes are very useful to lighten the skin and overcome blackheads.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes are good source of vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by promoting collagen formation and the more collagen you have, the less creased your skin looks. They are also good source of natural, health-promoting compounds known as beta-carotene and anthocyanin. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in our body and it has anti-oxidant properties that help in fighting against damage caused by free radical. Anthocyanin fights pigmentation and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.

Spinach: Spinach is rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and lutein. Vitamin A is important for the beauty of skin tone. Vitamin C plays significant role in the repair as well as the growth of skin cells. Lutein is a type of a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage.

Apples: Apples are rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and copper. Copper is an essential mineral that contributes to healthy skin. It promotes the formation of melanin, the brown-black pigment that colors your skin. Melanin in your skin protects you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and therefore acts as natural sun protection.

Walnuts: Walnuts are rich source of Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants which are essential to skin regeneration and elasticity. Walnuts also include chemicals that help boost circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. Just 4 walnuts a day will provide you with all their skin-protecting benefits.

Turmeric: Turmeric is an excellent exfoliating agent and can help you defeat the signs of ageing. Curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound is the principal pigment that imparts deep orange color to the turmeric. In vitro and animal studies have suggested that curcumin have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be used to make different face packs which will provide you the maximum benefits and keep your skin flawless.

Ginger: Ginger aids in digestion which speeds up the removal of toxins as well as promotes your blood circulation which in turn helps you in reducing spots and aging process. Ginger is also rich in Vitamin C which helps you in fighting against wrinkles. Apart from this, ginger has great anti-inflammatory properties due to presence of gingerols which promote evened skin tone and skin smoothness.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is beneficial for oily or combination skin types. It helps to tighten skin pores and makes your face clear and smooth. It can also help rid your face or back of acne by both drying out the skin and bringing blood and oxygen to the skin surface.

Include above food in your diet to not only have a healthy body but also a healthy skin with much smoother and flawless look.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

4 Foods to Fight Belly Fat

Most people are not overweight but have a slight belly. While some work hard to get rid of it the others get comfortable with it and accept it as a part of their appearance. Before you get too comfortable you should know belly fat is the worst kind of fat and it puts you at increased risk for many health problems – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

There are easy ways to get rid of your belly fat. One of which is eating the right food. Here are 4 simple foods to fight your belly fat -

Yogurt: Latest research shows that yogurt can even help you lose weight. The calcium in yogurt not only helps to make your bone stronger, a study at University of Tennessee found that participants who consumed 3 daily servings of fat free yogurt on a 12 week basis gained less fat around their mid-section than those who didn’t consumed dairy products containing less calcium. The mineral appears to help curb production of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat.

Cheese: Its a good source of calcium, protein, phosphorus and fat. Having a moderate amount of cheese will not add up to your calories as it only takes a little cheese to make you feel full. A 30-gram serving of Cheddar cheese contains approx 7 grams of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium. Cheese not only keeps you full for longer but also supplies your body with essential nutrients.

Nuts: They are little powerhouse of nutrition and provide a good variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to the diet. Nuts contain high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids that are considered to be good fat for the body and helps in managing the level of cholesterol and even help in fighting the bad fat in your body. Add nuts to your daily diet for better health & weight loss.

Fish: Eat fish to fight belly fat. Fish contain a fatty acid known as omega-3 that may also help reduce fat storage by lowering cortisol levels. Fish is also good for building muscles – and the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn.

Besides food one must exercise to fight belly fat. Doing at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week can help trim the waist line and also slow down the accumulation of fat around the waistline. Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and reduce stress to naturally manage your healthy and keep belly fat under check.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo