Blood pressure is simply defined as the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. There are two components in blood pressure - systolic BP and diastolic BP. The systolic BP is the top number and it represents the pressure the heart generates when it pumps blood to the body, while diastolic BP is the lower number, which represents the pressure in blood vessels between heartbeats. High blood pressure is a condition when both the systolic and diastolic BP is raised above acceptable limits and high blood pressure is called hypertension. The condition often has no symptoms, but if left untreated, it may lead to serious health implications, including heart diseases and even stroke. Diet is essential to controlling or regulating hypertension.
Hypertension Diet: The Role Of Whole Grains
Typically, a low sodium diet is recommended for people suffering from hypertension. People with high blood pressure are also advised to switch from refined flours to whole grain flours, as well as include more fruits and vegetables in the diet. Whole grains may actually work wonders when included in a high blood pressure diet. A 2010 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that following a diet rich in whole grains is as effective as anti-hypertensive medication, as these may reduce blood pressure and in extension, reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, heart failure etc.
Here are some whole-grain flours that can be included in the hypertension diet:
1. Whole Wheat Flour
One of the most commonly used flours in India is the whole wheat flour, which is supplied by a number of chakkis. Wheat is ground in fresh and used to prepare rotis and chapatis - whole wheat flatbreads are eaten with vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. Whole wheat flour contains good amounts of fibre and proteins.
2. Whole Oats Flour
Whole oats can be turned into flour that can be used to prepare a number of dishes- both sweet and savoury. Rolled oats are one of the best varieties of whole-grain oats that you can lay your hands on. All you have to do then is to blitz the oats in a grinder to a fine powder-like consistency and use it instead of refined flour for making breads, pancakes, etc.
3. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat is another whole grain that is extremely rich in dietary fibre and proteins. It is also gluten-free and can be consumed by those who have an allergy. The flour can be used to prepare anything, from noodles to breads and snacks like chips and crisps.
4. Barley Flour
Barley, or jau, was one of the first cultivated grains on Earth and this ancient grain has made a comeback. Barley belongs to the grass family, but is widely cultivated as a food grain that is a healthy alternative to refined grains. A 100-gram serving of hulled barley contains a whopping 17 grams of dietary fibre and 12 grams of proteins (as per data by the USDA).
Some people have been known to have allergic reactions to some specific flours. Although these allergic symptoms may rarely show up (if ever), it is better to ensure that these grains are safe for you to eat, before including them in your diet.
With the rise in number of people suffering from obesity, the importance of following weight loss diets is gaining momentum. There are a lot of fad diets in today's time that claim to cut down weight quickly. But these diets follow a restrictive pattern and eliminate one or more class of foods, which are otherwise essential for our nutritional needs. For instance, the hugely popular keto diet lets you eat only high-fat, high-protein foods but disregards carbohydrates completely. And, there are some diets that rely on carbohydrates and fibres, but shun away fatty foods. Following any of these diet means that you'll have to shun some kind of foods that you had been consuming regularly till now.
Going on such diets may help you lose weight faster but might backfire later. Feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration may crawl in, which will eventually make you eat more to beat the stress. Moreover, all kind of foods are important for normal functioning of the body. You need carbs as much as you need fats. So now, the health experts have come to a conclusion that the most beneficial and sustainable way of maintaining weight is to eat to your heart's content.
What Is Satiating Diet?
A new version of diet - satiating diet - is making news these days for its positive approach towards weight loss. It proposes eating nutrition-rich foods that fill the stomach and satiate the appetite to the hilt. A satiating diet consists of foods that are high in fibre (like breads), protein (like eggs), healthy fats (like avocados), dairy products (like yogurt) and fruits and vegetables. All these foods have their own individual nutritional properties that contribute in bringing health and wellness to us.
Some foods are good for heart health, some are good for digestion and some protect the body from harmful free radicals. Is satiating diet the best diet for weight control? Will it be successful in the long run, negating the effects of other factors like irregular sleeping, long working hours etc.? We are not sure. However, we do believe in following a balanced diet and fulfilling all our nutritional requirements.
Nuts are highly nutritious and are replete with countless health-benefiting properties. They are rich in healthy fats and fibre and are a powerhouse of energy. Having a handful of nuts everyday can boost bodily health in a number of ways. Walnuts, for their nutrient-rich profile, could be beneficial for you, especially if you are looking to lose some weight. But how can walnuts, which contain fats in large quantities, be helpful in shedding fat? You may ask. The fats present in walnuts are good fats that aid in weight loss rather than wrecking it.
Apart from various other benefits, walnuts are advised to be eaten if you are watching your waistline. Let's see how walnuts can help in shedding off excessive kilos.
Why Walnuts Are Good For Weight Loss?
1. Unlike other nuts with monounsaturated fats, walnuts contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which are healthy fats that keep cholesterol in check and promote overall wellness of the body.
2. Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA (a form of omega-3 fatty acids) present in walnuts are known to promote heart health and prompts the body to burn fat quickly.
3. It is believed that walnuts stimulate the right insula - a region in the brain - that regulates appetite and controls food cravings.
4. A study published in the journal Nutrients claims that people can manage their weight in a better way if they eat around 300 calories of walnuts regularly.
5. The same study suggests that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) lowers down the level of a hormone called ghrelin, which signals the body to feel hungry.
6. Eating walnuts gives rise to the quantity of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone that increases satiety and makes the stomach feel full for a longer time.
7. An antioxidant compound called ellagic acid reduces inflammation and keeps the gut healthy and running smoothly. This leads to improved metabolism rate, which in turn, eliminates extra calories and fat faster.
The combination of powerful nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, proteins, antioxidants, plant sterols, manganese and copper, found in walnuts, fuels the body with sufficient nourishment and keeps hunger pangs away. All in all, walnut is an all-encompassing food and consuming a bunch of walnuts every day may help you meet your weight loss goals.
Diabetes is emerging to be one of the most prevalent health conditions around the world. According to a study, around 98 million Indians are at risk of developing diabetes by the year 2030. Diabetics need to be very cautious with what they include in their diet. While we know that junk food, processed food, and sugary goods can cause immense blood sugar fluctuations, but did you know that some of the healthiest fruits too could take your blood sugar levels for a toss. You must have heard of starchy and non-starchy foods. If you are a diabetic, you must know about the carb content of the fruits that you're eating. Here are some tips you should know about if you are planning to include different types of fruits in your diabetes diet.
1. Go for fruits with low glycemic index: The glycemic index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Eating high glycemic index foods tend to spike your blood glucose levels. On the other hand, consuming foods that have low GI index enables slow release of sugar in the bloodstream. Fruits like guavas, apples, pears, and grapefruit are all low glycemic fruits you can have in moderation.
2. Do not go for overripe fruits: Overripe fruits tend to be much denser in sugar than the raw or perfectly ripe ones. Therefore, it is best to avoid them if you are a diabetic.
3. Some healthy fruits can also prove to be risky: Fruits are indeed a healthy addition to any diet, but sometimes even the healthiest of fruits could cause an upsurge in blood sugar levels. Fruits like melons, watermelons, mangoes and chikoo are packed with healthful nutrients and antioxidants, but diabetics need to be very careful with these fruits as they also have high natural sugar content. If you like to snack on these fruits, make sure you balance them well with low-carb, low-sugar fruits and nuts too.
4. Do not juice your fruits: It is best to eat your fruits whole. It is a good way to ensure that all good fibres are going inside your body. Fibres take the longest time to digest; since they take a while to breakdown and metabolise, fibre tends to prevent sugar spikes. If you juice your fruits, you lose out on a considerable amount of fibres. It is also a wise idea to avoid market-based juices as they are often concentrated with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
5. Try to have fruits with their peel on: Fruit peels contain a significant chunk of fibres; hence, you should try to have fruits with their peel on, whenever and wherever you can. For instance, apples, pears, guava, plums should be consumed without peeling.
6. Diabetics should not have dried fruits like raisins, prunes, dried peaches. According to consultant nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "One should ideally avoid dry fruits as they are concentrated versions of fresh fruits. Naturally then, in these concentrated forms, everything goes up. The sugar levels, the glycemic index."
Take note of these points, and if you happen to see any abnormal fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, consult an expert.
Aloe vera is one of the most well-known and widely used plants that is known for its medicinal and general health benefits. It is not only considered great for health of the body, but is also said to be great for the skin and hair. Also known as ghritkumari in Hindi, aloe vera has found widespread acceptance around the world, due to its many incredible health benefits, as well as relative ease of growing it. Aloe plants can be found in the kitchen gardens and indoor potted plant gardens of numerous houses, because the plant grows easily and quickly. It requires minimal care and the gel from the leaves, which is the main edible part, can also be easily extracted and put to various uses.
A lot of people only use aloe vera and its products to improve the quality of their skin and hair. Aloe vera juices are widely available in grocery stores and online. But aloe vera is said to be at its nutritional best, when consumed raw and unprocessed. This is why it is grown at homes and often used in foods and drinks. It has a mild herbaceous flavour and almost a neutral taste, which is what makes it a healthy ingredient to add to your diet. Let's look at the health benefits of aloe vera, before looking at the various ways that we can add it to our diets.
Aloe Vera Nutrition and Health Benefits
1. Rich in Antioxidants:
Aloe vera is said to have a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, due to the abundance of plant compounds polyphenols in it. Aloe vera, both when applied topically and consumed, can improve your skin and hair quality.
2. Boosts Digestion:
Aloe is said to be great for ensuring smooth functioning of the digestive system. According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House, aloe has laxative properties and is great for improving and balancing intestinal flora. This means that it increases the levels of good bacteria in the gut and expels harmful parasites from the digestive tract.
3. May Help Diabetics:
Some human and animal studies have shown that aloe vera may help people suffering from Type-2 diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity and may help manage blood sugar levels. However, this benefit may need more research before it can be established as a fact.
4. May Promote Weight Loss:
Consuming aloe vera may also help a person manage their weight. The gel is known to have detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also known to boost immunity and digestion, which may indirectly help in weight loss.
How To Consume Aloe Vera
1. Juice it: The easiest way to consume aloe vera is to juice it. Cut your aloe leaf into small sections, remove the upper bright green layer of the leaf and then scoop the gel out. Make sure the thin yellowish latex layer between the leaf and the gel is also removed. Wash the gel and add it to food processor along with coconut water/plain water and a little honey for sweetening, and blend. You can add your favourite juices including apple or cucumber juice to the mix.
2. Add the leaves to salads: Apart from the gel, aloe vera leaves are also generally considered safe for consumption. You can wash and chop fresh aloe vera leaves (make sure you remove the spiky ends, separate the flat green leaves from the latex and the gel and wash it thoroughly) and toss it along with your summer salads. Aloe leaves can add crunchiness to your salads.
3. Add the gel to salad dressings:Aloe vera gel can be added to salad dressings. Due to its slimy texture, it can be mixed with ingredients like olive oil, vinegar easily. Aloe vera can make for a nutritious salad dressing.
4. Freeze it as ice-cubes: Aloe vera is used to soothe burns. The diluted gel can be poured into an ice-cube tray and frozen and then applied to the affected area for immediate relief. These cubes can also be put to use in smoothies. Just add a few of these aloe gel cubes to your blender while making fruit smoothies and blend!
While preparing aloe vera for consumption at home, one must make sure that the latex is completely removed as that's the only part of the plant that may have side-effects. It's not recommended to consume aloe vera daily and it is advisable to speak to a dietitian or a nutrition expert before adding aloe vera to your diet.