Beware of hogging on your favourite delights despite the temptation to do so before the winter sets in.
Izzy Cameron, nutrition and weight management specialist at Diet Chef, an online business that delivers calorie counted meals, gives some tips to ensure a healthy diet.
During autumn, healthy root-vegetables and fruits help keep you fit, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
Apples - The nutrients in apples can prevent spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of many diseases.
Pears - Recent studies show that the skin of pears contain phenolic phytonutrients, essential compound which enhance one's health.
Winter squash - Butternut and Pumpkin are some varieties of winter squash which have rich flavour and are high in nutrients.
Cabbage - Cabbage has cholesterol-lowering benefits, and is also rich in fiber particularly when steamed.
Wild Mushrooms - Mushrooms influence blood lipids, blood glucose, immunity, and weight control. They also offer many essential nutrients and antioxidants which the body needs.
Pomegranates - Apart from being a good source of Vitamin C, pomegranates are a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers.
Root vegetables - Carrots and turnips are a must in autumn and winter.
Fresh produce in the form of fruits and vegetables form an important part of a healthy diet. There are multiple studies and abundant research evidence to prove that eating fruits and vegetables everyday can cut risk of several chronic diseases as well as risk of mortality and make you healthier. From helping regulate weight to maintaining optimum levels of blood pressure and blood sugar, fruits and vegetables have numerous benefits for the human body. Due to the plant compounds present in fruits and vegetables, consuming them regularly can keep inflammation at bay. One of the best ways of making sure you eat your fruits and vegetables is to make a meal out of them.
Indians are lucky to have dishes that automatically add ample amounts of vegetables to their meals. But if you are looking to cut carbohydrates from your diet, then salad bowls make for excellent facilitators. They give you a whole range of nutrients while cutting calories from your diet. There is some debate as to exactly how much fruit and vegetable serving one must consume every day. A 2017 study published in The Lancet said that eating three to four combined servings of fruits and vegetables a day could cut risk of death by 22 per cent. If you are in-fact planning to make a meal out of your salads, you should ideally add sources of lean protein to it as well.
Here are some good sources of protein (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) that you may add to your salad meals:
Going by 2,000 calorie diet, men and women need around 56 and 46 grams of protein per day in their meals and poultry is a good way of meeting this dietary requirement. A 100-gram portion of cooked chicken contains approximately 25 grams of protein (as per United States Department of Agriculture). Boiled or grilled chicken pieces go really well with salad greens. Here's a recipe of chicken salad that you can try.
Turkey is another poultry meat that is one of the healthiest options for non-vegetarians looking to load up on protein. A 100 gram portion of turkey meat delivers a whopping 29 grams of protein (as per USDA data). Diced cooked turkey meat can be mixed with red onions, low-calorie mayonnaise, lemon juice and a range of herbs of your choice to make a delicious protein-rich salad.
3. Egg Whites
Cooked egg whites are an excellent addition to salads. Chicken eggs are one of the cheapest, most widely consumed dietary sources of lean protein. They taste delicious and add a nice and different texture to a bowl of greens. You can simply toss egg whites in dressing of your choice or place a whole poached egg as topping for your salad. One whole boiled egg contains as little as 6 grams of protein, so a better way of using egg in salad is to use good amount of whites, possibly with other forms of non-vegetarian lean protein.
Nuts also go extremely well with salads, be it the warm or the cold kind. Almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, cashew nuts are all great additions to salad meals, as these add a nice crunch, a delicious flavour and of course nutrition to the meals. It's better to throw in a mix of your favourite nuts instead of just sticking to one, provided that the recipe allows for it. However, it is again advised to throw in some other form of lean protein along with the nuts, to make your meal sufficiently rich in protein.
5. Dairy products
Some of the best vegetarian sources of protein come in the form of dairy products, the best among which is cheese. However, cheese also contains good amounts of fats and hence it is advised to have it in moderation. Cottage cheese or paneer is relatively low in fat, a 100 gram portion contains 11 grams of protein (as per USDA data). Yogurt is another relatively good source of vegetarian protein and can be used in the dressing to lend a creamy taste. Here's an example of a low-fat paneer salad recipe that you may try.
6. Chickpeas and Lentils
Chickpeas and lentils are two other vegetarian sources of dietary protein that you may add to your salad bowls, although these may again have to be used in combination with other protein-rich foods. Chickpeas are better than lentils as they are more abundant sources of protein (a 100 gram delivers 19 grams of protein, as per USDA data) and go well with greens. Here's an example of a chickpea salad recipe you may try.
Your daily protein requirement may vary depending upon your daily calorie-intake and your levels of physical activity. It is advisable to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist to better understand your individual protein requirements.
Everything you eat has an impact not only on your inner health, but also on your outer being as well. What you put on your plate is even more important than what you put on your skin. If you've been loading up on junk food lately, then there are high chances of you facing its consequences as well; in the form of acne breakouts, puffy eyes etc. So in order to avoid the same, here are some minor changes you can make in your daily diet:
Acne- Isn't it infuriating when you have a party to attend the next morning but there's that little acne bump on your face the night before? And you think why this acne won't ever leave you alone? Well, your eating habits may have drawn them towards you. Yes, you read that right! Foods that are high in iodine content may trigger acne. If you're having frequent breakouts, evaluate your diet for iodine-rich foods.
Early Signs Of Ageing- Ageing is a natural process. You sure cannot reverse it but can slow it down. The quicker you eat your food, the fewer nutrients your body absorbs. The proper chewing, tasting, and swallowing of food can cause greater nutrient absorption by your digestive system.
Skin ages when it's deprived of essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals. If you're not absorbing enough of these nutrients, your skin is most likely to reflect it all.
Dry Skin- Dry, flaky, and cracked skin can turn out to be quite annoying. If you're experiencing dry, flaky skin on a regular basis, then you probably need to be drinking more water, or at least eating more hydrating foods like cucumber, lettuce and watermelon. Our diet plays a major role in keeping our skin hydrated and radiant.
Puffy Face- When it comes to looking fresh, there's usually one thing that can end up standing in your way - puffiness. A puffy face could possibly mean that your body lacks good fats. Essential fatty acids, such as those from seeds and oils protect against skin inflammation.
Stretch Marks- Stretch marks are formed due to the tearing of the middle layer of the skin called the dermis. The scars happen more often (and more severely) when you have less zinc in your diet. When it comes to repairing and healing of tissues, zinc plays a crucial role.
So make these little changes in your diet and feel rejuvenated.
Our body requires a range of minerals and vitamins in order to function smoothly. Among some of the main essential vitamins that are important for the human body are Vitamins A, B, C and D. All these vitamins perform different functions inside our bodies and the deficiencies of these may result in a number of ailments, both mild and serious. From immunity to eye and skin health and even mental health, the presence (or absence) of these essential vitamins can control some of the most essential functions of the human body. These vitamins are mainly derived from food sources, both animal and plant-based and a diet is only considered healthy and balanced, when it contains adequate amounts of all these vitamins, along with minerals as well as the macro-nutrients- fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
What Is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins required by the body. It is fat-soluble in nature and is usually stored in the liver. The daily requirements for this vitamin can be easily met by consuming a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. There are two different types of Vitamin A- Preformed Vitamin A and Provitamin A. Preformed Vitamin A is also known as retinol and it can be used up directly by the body. Meanwhile, Provitamin A is also known as carotenoids, which, after being consumed, are converted to retinol in the body. Dairy products and poultry like eggs, milk, chicken, are rich in retinol. Meanwhile, carotenoids are present in vegetables and fruits. The Required Dietary or Daily Allowance for Vitamin A varies according to age of the person. Additionally, the RDAs for Vitamin A are especially prescribed for pregnant women, as well as lactating mothers.
Vitamin A Uses and Benefits
Despite being abundantly available in Vitamin A rich foods, one-third of the world's children under the age of five, suffer from its deficiency, according to a 2009 World Health Organisation's global database on Vitamin A Deficiency. This deficiency has also been known to be fatal to kids, and has also been held responsible for causing preventable childhood blindness, particularly in South East Asian and Africa (as per a 2013 report by the National Institutes of Health). Numerous scientific studies have pointed at the health benefits of consuming adequate vitamin A, as part of your daily diet.
Let's look at some of the important roles and benefits of consuming Vitamin A:
1. Eye Health
Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining eye health, as it converts the light entering our eyes into electrical signals that can be then interpreted by the brain. Additionally, Vitamin A is a component of the pigment rhodopsin, which is found in the retina of the eye and is said to be photosensitive.
2. Improved Immunity
A deficiency of Vitamin A can leave you to be vulnerable to a number of diseases and consuming it ensures that your body's defences are active. This vitamin is important for maintenance of the mucous lining in the eyes, gut, genitalia and the lungs, and it is also crucial for development of white blood cells that fight infectious diseases.
3. Fights Acne
Acne is a skin problem that involves severe breakout of pimples that are often painful and most often even leave scars behind. Vitamin A is said to prevent development of acne.
4. Healthy Bones
Vitamin A also supports bone development and health and a deficiency of this vitamin has been linked with poor bone health. Some studies have shown that people with low levels of Vitamin A in blood are susceptible to bone fractures.
5. Reproductive Health
Vitamin A is important for maintaining the reproductive health of both men and women, especially the latter by ensuring the proper growth and development of the embryos during pregnancy. Deficiency of vitamin A in an expectant mother's diet has been linked with birth defects in their kids.
Vitamin A-Rich Foods | Best Dietary Sources Of Vitamin A
Here are the best dietary sources of Vitamin A1 or retinol (Preformed Vitamin A):
1. Cod Liver Oil
One of the best sources of retinol is cod liver oil, which is commonly consumed in the form of supplements, which has 2000 per cent of the Daily Value (DV), as per the data by USDA.
2. Goat Cheese
This low-calorie cheese is also a rich source of Vitamin A. It contains 29 per cent of the DV (as per USDA data).
The livers of mammals like cow, lamb, pig etc. are incredibly rich in retinol and can be consumed as part of a non-vegetarian diet to meet requirements of the vitamin.
4. Blue Cheese
Another healthy cheese- blue cheese- is also rich in Vitamin A1 and contains 15 per cent of the DV (as per USDA data).
Here are the best dietary sources of carotenoids or Provitamin A:
Carrots are popular among health nuts for its nutrient riches, among which Vitamin A is found in 104 per cent of the DV (as per USDA data).
This extremely healthy low-calorie veggie is also rich in Provitamin A or carotenoids containing 52 per cent of beta-carotene (a type of carotenoid) by DV (as per USDA data).
3. Sweet Potato
This favourite food of the health freaks also contains good amounts of carotenoids- 283 per cent of the DV (as per USDA data).
This fruit is important for liver and eye health and contains high amounts of Provitamin. It has 274 micrograms of beta-carotene (as per USDA data).
The king of fruits mango also reigns supreme when it comes to supplying your body with Provitamin A. The delicious fruit contains 21 per cent by DV of Vitamin A (as per USDA data).
Since Vitamin A is fat-soluble, it will be absorbed better by the body when consumed along with healthy fats. Animal-sources of Vitamin A may be more effective in fighting Vitamin A deficiency as they are also naturally rich in fats. For plant-sources of Vitamin A, make sure you add some amounts of healthy oils like olive oil, canola oil etc. to improve Vitamin uptake.