Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

The human body is designed to process foods with the help of fiber. The benefits of fibers are being recognized widely, and people are being advised to increase the fiber content in their food. On an average, our body requires 25 to 30gm of fiber per day.

The body requires two types of fibers, soluble and insoluble. The soluble ones absorb water during digestion, contribute to stool bulk, and are believed to reduce cholesterol levels. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, oats and barley are good sources of soluble fibers.

The insoluble ones are required for good movement of food through the intestines. These are also found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains like wheat, rice, barley, oats, etc. It takes a little planning to ensure your food is fibrous, but the benefits are a lot and long-lasting.

Follow some of the simple steps and you will see them for yourself:

-Vegetables: On a lighter note, make sure each meal of yours is as colorful as possible. Include good amount of carrots, radish, greens, legumes, tomatoes, cabbage and any other vegetable that you like in each meal. This ensures that you get all the fiber and nutrients that you want in a meal. Baked, boiled, raw choose any form, that you like.

-Fruits: It is advisable to eat a raw fruit as compared to having its juice. The fiber content gets reduced when you convert it to a juice. Try not to discard the peel, unless it is not edible at all, pineapple or jackfruit for example. Fruits, along with vegetables, form the most natural and best source of fiber. About 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day will get you all the fiber you need for a day that is 25 to 30gm per day. Berries, pears, prunes, figs, apples, oranges, apples, pears, mangoes, pineapples - take your pick.

-Whole grains: Whether you are picking up bread, noodles, cookies, or a packet of pasta, make sure they are made of whole grains and not refined flour. Include one cereal in your breakfast. Oats, barley, wheat germpowder, flax seeds can all be good sources of fiber. Replace white rice with brown rice to get more fiber.

-Legumes: Incorporate fiber rich legumes in your daily meal, such as beans, lentils, peas or puree them for interesting dips. Adding legumes help you with the required amount of fiber intake for your body along with regular and smooth bowel movements.

-Water: Though not a direct contributor to fiber, increasing the water intake makes the fiber from the above mentioned foods more effective. It promotes better food passage through the intestines and contributes to better stool. It also reduces the bloated feeling that you get with increased fiber.

Try to gradually make these small changes to your diet and you will see the benefits almost immediately. Try including more fibrous foods to also prolong your hunger pangs, breakfast being the best way to start.

If your child comes out of bathroom and cries that while he or she poops it hurts, it's time that you start doing something for his or her constipation. This is a problem that is found among many children and most of the times, if left unnoticed, it can prove to be dangerous. There are many signs that will let you know that your child is suffering from constipation. For instance, if you find your child complaining about stomach pain, or bloating, there are chances that he or she is suffering from constipation.

In such a situation, your child needs your help, and you can do so by:

-Take a peek: It is something your child may not love you to do, but you must see his poop. The consistency of the poop must be of peanut butter. If it seems hard or is sticking to the walls, then your child is suffering. Take action soon.

-Give him more fiber: This is something that most children hate in their diet. Give him or her whole grains or food that is rich in fiber like carrots, brown rice, nuts, beans, lentils, banana, pasta and bread. Foods rich in fiber helpsin preventing constipation, and thus it may be of great help to your child too.

-Increase water in take: Children seldom drink water! They drink only when they are very thirsty. Do not promote this habit; instead ask them to drink more water. With the help of water your child can push through the food that they have eaten.

-A little juice may also help: Fruit juice is good for constipation, especially prune juice that acts as a laxative. Too much fruit juice is not good for them, but depending on their age, four to five ounces of fruit juice can be given as that helps in relieving constipation.

-Stimulate the rectum of your baby: Although it may seem a bit odd, yet it can be tried to help your baby get rid of constipation. Sometimes rectal stimulation helps the movement of bowel.

-Switch formula: If you are breastfeeding you baby, then there are very less chances that your baby will suffer from constipation. But if they are on instant food, the formula you are using may be a reason. Thus, you can switch formula and see if it helps.

One of the first changes a woman makes when she learns about her pregnancy is almost always diet related. Expecting mothers are surrounded by many relatives and friends who all offer so many different perspectives on what a pregnant woman should and should not eat that it can be very confusing for the mother-to-be. While our loved ones mean well, mothers-to-be should not follow any advice blindly when it comes to their diet.There are several myths and misconceptions about the kind of food expecting moms should consume and avoid. Here are five common pregnancy diet related myths that are usually spread through word of mouth and often have no scientific rationale:

Myth #1: A Pregnant Mother Should be Eating for Two

It is very common for family members, friends and colleagues to tell a new mother-to-be that she now needs to eat for two because of which pregnant women tend to vastly increase their appetites. This misconception is one of the leading causes of excess weight gain during pregnancy, combined with an inactive or sedentary lifestyle.

As per the recommended requirements, pregnant women only need 300 extra calories a day, which is equivalent to a banana milkshake, a dry fruit milkshake or a two-slice multigrain vegetable paneer sandwich a day. This is definitely not the same as eating for two. The quality of food choices is more important than the quantity of food consumed during pregnancy.

Myth #2: Pregnant Women Should Avoid Fish

Most mothers-to-be avoid consumption of fish due to concerns about toxin build-up, excess heat, skin reactions, etc. However, fish is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 and other important nutrients, which are vital for brain and eye development of the foetus. Pregnant women should avoid fish with a high mercury content such as shark, tuna and mackerel. However, sardines [mathi], anchovies [nethili/natholi], salmon and river fish like rohu and catla can be consumed in moderate amounts to meet dietary needs. If you are a fish lover, consult your nutritionist to see how the right amount of fish can be incorporated into your diet.

Myth #3: Saffron Will Make the Baby's Complexion Fairer

This is one of the most common beliefs and quite an expensive one at that! There are a lot of families that believe that if a pregnant woman has saffron with milk, her baby will have a fair complexion. The truth is that no food can influence the baby's complexion, as the skin colour is entirely determined by the genes of the parents.

Myth #4: Papaya and Pineapple Can Cause Abortions or Miscarriages

These two fruits are completely forbidden in a pregnant woman's diet due to the belief that they can cause abortions and miscarriages. The assumed scientific basis of this myth is that both these fruits in their raw form contain certain enzymes, which if consumed in large quantities, can cause uterine contractions.

However, consumption of well-ripened papaya or pineapple does not cause any adverse reaction, if taken in moderate amounts in a well-balanced diet. However, many gynaecologists refrain from freely recommending it for two reasons - first, moderation is a widely misunderstood term and second, most fruits nowadays are artificially ripened, which can alter the amount of enzymes in the fruits and what is left behind is often unclear.

When pregnant, always check with your nutritionist before consuming papaya or pineapples.

Myth #5: Pregnant Women Can Catch a Flu with Cold and Sour Food Items

Mothers-to-be are often told to avoid citrus fruits, juices, limes, lemons, curd, buttermilk, etc. due to an age-old belief that these foods will cause them to develop cold and cough that will affect the baby too.

But the fact is these foods are loaded with nutritional benefits for the mother and the growing baby. For instance, the entire range of citrus fruits provides Vitamin-C, a very important vitamin for iron-absorption in the mother and skin development of the growing baby.

Curd and buttermilk provide probiotics, which keep the mother's gut healthy and also helps in digestion along with providing gut immunity. Both Vitamin-C and probiotics are two core immunity-boosting nutrients which are required in a pregnant mother's diet, so inclusion of these foods is important.

Vitamins are essential micronutrients which the body requires, though in small amounts, for optimal health. These chemicals play a crucial role in keeping our body healthy and disease free.One such vitamin is vitamin K, which is essential for optimal blood clotting process, and also has multiple other benefits. More details about the functions, benefits and sources are listed below.

Functions/Benefits:

Vitamin K is actually a group of vitamins and has K1, K2, and K3. The functions and benefits accordingly will depend on the actual chemical being referred to.

These are fat soluble vitamins and therefore absorption is better when something fatty is eaten along with it

Vitamin K1 or phyloquilline reaches the liver and is essential for blood clotting. Reduced levels of vitamin K can lead to uncontrolled bleeding, but this is very rare in adults. Newborns can have this problem, and therefore, it is common to give them a one shot of vitamin K injection.

Vitamin K2 is produced by gut bacteria and reaches blood vessel walls and bones. It prevents hardening and calcification of arteries, which is the main cause of heart disease.

It helps in improving calcium and other mineral concentration in the bones and makes the matrix strong. It can be used in osteoporosis to reverse and control bone loss. It can also be used to heal fractured bones.

It slows the growth of cancer cells and can be used to stabilise cancer. It has been shown to improve multiple forms including hepatocellular, prostate, colon, and oral cancer.

It is beneficial in controlling Alzheimer’s disease and improves memory loss in ageing people

It improves insulin action and therefore prolongs onset of type 2 diabetes

It has been shown to have antioxidant properties (as most other vitamins) and also helps in reducing toxin buildup

It is good for skin health and can help control bruising and dermatitis

Sources:

Vitamin K is found naturally in many foods and the daily dose required for an adult is about 120 to 150 mcg/day. Therefore supplementation is usually not required.

Leafy green vegetables including spinach, okra, cabbage, beans broccoli, and asparagus

Fermented foods like yoghurt

Soybean in all forms including medium cooked as well and Japanese diet uses boiled, fermented soybean called natto, which contains tremendous amount of vitamin K

Nuts, such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, are a good source

Strawberries, grapes, prunes, and apples

Seafood such as salmon and shrimp contain good amount to control heart attack and stroke.

Meat (duck, beef, chicken, and lamb)
Supplements are to be avoided, especially in pregnant and/or nursing mothers and people with a history of stroke, heart disease, heart attack and blood clotting problems.

These days, store shelves are seen all stocked with snacks. But, when it comes to finding a healthy option, it is difficult to navigate. You need something that provides a natural burst of energy, protein, and fiber. In such a situation Go "nuts". Nuts like almonds and walnuts are the ultimate health food. Low in simple carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats, high in protein, these nuts stimulate your body to shed those extra pounds.

Although, there is no doubt on the fact that both are highly regarded for nutrition value. But then, which nut is better of the two?

Walnuts and Almonds - The Better Bet!

Energy content: Almonds contain 14 grams of fat and 164 calories whereas walnuts contain approximately 18 grams of fat but give 185 calories. Thus, we find that walnuts contain a slightly higher amount of fat than almonds, but provide more energy in the form of calories.

Protein content: Almonds and walnuts are both protein powerhouses - containing 13% and 9% of protein content respectively. Thus, both these nuts are great sources of protein.

Mineral content: Both almonds and walnuts are rich in various kinds of minerals. When it comes to Iron, which is essential for muscle health and blood formation, both nuts contain very similar amounts (approx 5%). Almonds pack 19% magnesium - essential for strong bones, compared to the 11% in walnuts.

Walnuts, however, have very high amounts of copper (50%) and manganese (54%) which prove to be useful in reducing symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) as compared to almonds.

Fibre content: Fiber, which plays a vital role in completing the process of digestion, is another component that these nuts pack healthy amounts of. Almonds contain 16% fiber whereas walnuts have 8%.

Vitamin content: While walnuts contain 12% vitamin B6, compared to the 3% in almonds, the real point of difference between these two highly healthy nuts is in their content of vitamin E - essential for healthy skin and eyes. Almonds contain almost 48% of it, whereas walnuts contain only about 2% of the same.

Thus, we get a fair idea about the high nutritional content for both these nuts. They both are essential for maintaining good health if taken in appropriate amounts.

Dr. Akash Grampurohit
Dr. Akash Grampurohit
MS - Allopathy, ENT Specialist, Dharwad
Dr. Shweta Muley
Dr. Shweta Muley
BHMS, Homeopath, 6 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sohan Narkhede
Dr. Sohan Narkhede
MBBS, Ophthalmologist, Pune
Dr. Hitesh Karnavat
Dr. Hitesh Karnavat
BAMS, Ayurveda Infertility Specialist, 12 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mahesh Zagade
Dr. Mahesh Zagade
BHMS, Homeopath General Physician, 3 yrs, Pune
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