1. Don't Drink Sugar Calories
Sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body.
This is because liquid sugar calories don't get registered by the brain in the same way as calories from solid foods (1).
For this reason, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories (2, 3).
Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems (4, 5, 6, 7).
Keep in mind that fruit juices are almost as bad as soda in this regard. They contain just as much sugar, and the small amounts of antioxidants do NOT negate the harmful effects of the sugar (8).
2. Eat Nuts
Despite being high in fat, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy.
They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrients (9).
Studies show that nuts can help you lose weight, and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease (10, 11, 12).
Additionally, about 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren't even absorbed into the body, and some evidence suggests that they can boost metabolism (13).
In one study, almonds were shown to increase weight loss by 62% compared to complex carbohydrates (14).
3. Avoid Processed Junk Food (Eat Real Food Instead)
All the processed junk foods in the diet are the biggest reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before.
These foods have been engineered to be "hyper-rewarding," so they trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some people (15).
They are also low in fiber, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains.
4. Don't Fear Coffee
Coffee has been unfairly demonized. The truth is that it's actually very healthy.
Coffee is high in antioxidants, and studies show that coffee drinkers live longer, and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and numerous other diseases (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21).
5. Eat Fatty Fish
Pretty much everyone agrees that fish is healthy.
This is particularly true of fatty fish, like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients (22).
Studies show that people who eat the most fish have a lower risk of all sorts of diseases, including heart disease, dementia and depression (23, 24, 25).
6. Get Enough Sleep
The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated.
It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more.
Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance (26, 27, 28, 29).
What's more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults (30).
7. Take Care of Your Gut Health With Probiotics and Fiber
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are sometimes referred to as the "forgotten organ."
These gut bugs are incredibly important for all sorts of health-related aspects. A disruption in the gut bacteria is linked to some of the world's most serious chronic diseases, including obesity (31, 32).
A good way to improve gut health, is to eat probiotic foods (like live yogurt and sauerkraut), take probiotic supplements, and eat plenty of fiber. Fiber functions as fuel for the gut bacteria (33, 34).
8. Drink Some Water, Especially Before Meals
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits.
One important factor, is that it can help boost the amount of calories you burn.
According to 2 studies, it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 2 liters (67 oz) of water per day (35, 36).
The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. One study showed that half a liter of water, 30 minutes before each meal, increased weight loss by 44% (37).
9. Don't Overcook or Burn Your Meat
Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of the diet. It is very high in protein, and contains various important nutrients.
The problems occur when meat is overcooked and burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise the risk of cancer (38).
So, eat your meat, just don't overcook or burn it.
10. Avoid Bright Lights Before Sleep
When we're exposed to bright lights in the evening, this disrupts production of the sleep hormone melatonin (39, 40).
An interesting "hack" is to use a pair of amber-tinted glasses that block blue light from entering your eyes in the evening.
This allows melatonin to be produced as if it were completely dark, helping you sleep better (41, 42).
Jowar is commonly called by various names across India- jwaarie, jowar, jola, or jondhalaa and is used to make bhakri, jowar roti, or jolada rotti. Its English name Sorghum, comes from the family it belongs to, Sorghum Vulgare. Extensively cultivated in Asia and Africa, jowar is a staple source of nutrition in areas that are arid, and it also does not need special care for growing. There are 30 varieties of Sorghum, only one of which is used for human consumption. It is the 5th most important cereal in the world.
This nutritious staple has got lost somewhere in the milieu of urbanisation, industrialisation and overdependence on refined and packaged foods. It's worth revisiting our traditional eating practices for the nutritional value it adds to daily food.
Health Benefits of Jowar: Why You Should Eat It?
Gluten-Free:Gluten is a protein found in cereal grains like wheat, barley and rye. This is known to be detrimental for health of individuals with celiac disease. Jowar being gluten-free is also found to be beneficial for people with IBS. Replacing wheat with jowar was found to reduce symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue, headaches etc. Even if you do not come into either of the categories, replacing one meal's cereal with jowar or any other millet is a good idea. This is primarily because it ensures that you consume all the goodness from different sources and your digestive tract gets a break from the same food day in and day out, keeping it healthy.
Contains Excellent Fibre Content: The fibre in jowar helps keep the bowels moving, which prevents constipation. It is also associated with lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol, protecting the body against onset of cardiovascular diseases. Eating foods high in fibre helps delay the emptying of the stomach, adding satiety to smaller meals and also slows the release of carbs into the blood stream preventing the "crash" soon after a meal. People who wish to control their weight must include jowar in their meals.
Antioxidant-Rich: Jowar is a good source of various phytochemicals like tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, phytosterols and policosanols. Antioxidants are known to be vital for scavenging free radicals that cause inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been identified as one of the main risk factors for various health problem, which includes the increasing the risk of cancers and CVDs. A study has identified anthocyanins presence in black, brown and red jowar grains and it found the quantity to be 3-4 times higher than those of other whole grains.
Diabetes Control: Low glycemic index of jowar itself is a good reason for diabetics to include this grain more often in their daily diet. Add the high-fibre and good protein content of this grain and you have an excellent diabetic option. Both fibre and protein in food help slow down the release of sugars into the blood preventing spikes and troughs. This not only helps control diabetes but also aids in maintaining a feeling of satiety.
Other than these, this grain is a rich source of B vitamins and folate which are essential nutrients for a healthy body. Jowar comes in ivory, purple, deep red and brown colours. It is available as a whole grain, flour, dalia, and rava form, which can be used in a variety of dishes. While using whole grain, it is a good idea to soak it for a few hours. Like all grains, jowar should be stored in a cool dark place with a tight fitting lid container.
Flax seeds are one of the world’s oldest super foods. They can improve your skin and hair health, keep your heart healthy, fight cancer, lower cholesterol and help you lose weight. Yet, they hardly look impressive. Small and brown with no smell, nobody can guess that they are such reservoirs of nutrients invaluable for our health and well-being.
Flax seeds are the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids in the world!
They are the number one source of lignans in our diets.
They are also storehouse of minerals like manganese, magnesium as well as fibre, protein and vitamin B1.
Health benefits of flax seeds
Heart healthy: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are known as 'good' fats that have been shown to have a number of heart healthy effects. Flax seeds can naturally reduce cholesterol levels. This happens because the high fibre content in flax traps cholesterol in the digestive tract so it doesn’t get absorbed. They also prevent hardening of arteries due to deposition of plaque and treat heart arrhythmias.
Super digestive aids: Fibre in flax seeds helps delay the passage of food through the GI tract. This increases nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Fibre also supports colon detoxification, fat loss and reduces sugar cravings.
Natural hormones: Lignans are very important plant hormones as well as antioxidants. The lignans in flax have estrogenic properties. After menopause, estrogen levels in women drop to abysmal levels. Use of flax seeds can shore–up estrogen levels and provide protection for bones, heart and other organs. These provide benefits like anti-ageing, hormone balancing and health of body cells. Studies also show that flax can reduce hot flashes experienced during menopause by half. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
Flaxseeds are Gluten-free: Most grains we consume are rich in gluten, like wheat. Flax, on the other hand, is low in gluten. This means that flax is anti- inflammatory and reduces inflammation in any part of our body. People suffering from celiac disease and auto-immune diseases can thus include flax in their diet without a problem.
Most Magnesium-rich food in the world: Magnesium helps in keeping our muscles healthy and its deficiency is the biggest reason for sore muscles, fatigue and cramps.
Cancer fighter extraordinaire: As per studies, the plant Omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, has been shown to inhibit tumour incidence and growth. Flax seeds are also very effective against breast cancer.
Flax seeds by no means are a magic bullet against every disease known to man, but it comes close to being one. If you are thinking of reaping its benefits, use flax seeds as much possible and add them to your curries, soups, smoothies or just roast and eat to experience the flax miracle. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.
I remember being fed five to six soaked and peeled almonds every morning by my mother; I ate them because she convinced me that these nuts could help improve my memory. Looks like she was right! Almonds have long been known to improve not just memory skills but also overall brain function. Commonly thought of as nuts, almonds are fruits of the almond tree that have several nutrients that may help keep your brain power in check. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Ageing, researchers explored a connection between almonds and cognitive function. In addition to vitamin E, folate and fibre, these nuts boast phytochemicals that act as antioxidants in the brain to combat inflammation, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that delay age-related brain decline.
So, How Do Almonds Help Improve Memory?
According to Health Practitioner and Certified Macrobiotic Health Coach Shilpa Arora, "almonds elevate the levels of ACh acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps enhance memory and help fight conditions like Alzheimer's disease. You don't need a lot of almonds to help improve memory; about eight to 10 almonds soaked in water overnight and consumed in the day works effectively. We soak almonds for the nutrients to be easily absorbed by the body." Apart from ACh acetylcholine, almonds have other nutrients that help improve memory function and overall brain health.
1. Vitamin B6
Almonds have vitamin B6, which is also known as pyridoxine that helps aid metabolism of proteins, which may further help increase the availability of proteins for brain cell repair. Moreover, this vitamin promotes the production of neurotransmitter chemicals that further improve communication between brain cells.
Zinc is a mineral that is known to boost immune system, which may prevent bacterial and viral infections that can damage the brain cells.
Protein helps repair brain cells, thereby improving cognitive functions including memory. Almonds are moderately rich in lean protein.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is responsible for slowing down ageing of cells such as those in the brain that might impact memory. While large doses of vitamin E have shown to have serious repercussions, a small amount may only benefit; taking about eight almonds every day will not mean you are over-dosing on vitamin E content.
Please note that almonds have a high calorie count; therefore if you are looking to lose weight, then ensure you do not have a lot of these nuts and instead stick to four to five of them. You can add almonds to your daily diet too; here are some recipes you can try using almonds.
Banana and Almond Porridge
Almond Milk Thandai
Almond Saffron Milkshake
Badam ka Halwa
Almond and Mushroom Soup
Almond and Pistachio Shrikhand
If you wish to improve your memory, then look no further! Make almonds your best friends from the kitchen.
If you have been slugging through the day extremely exhausted or just struggling with gut and digestive issues, there is a chance your liver is taking up extra load. Of all the organs in your body, liver is one of the most important organs and is used in a wide range of functions, some of which include removing toxins from the blood, metabolizing alcohol, converting lactate into energy, activating enzymes, regulating fat, protein and carbohydrate in the blood, producing and excreting bile and storing essential vitamins, minerals and glycogen. Basically, without liver our body wouldn't be functional. Thanks to the constant mechanism, liver goes through lots of exertion, which is why it can get damaged easily if not taken proper care of.According to Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, "Liver cleanses itself; the process of which primarily starts at midnight, which is why it is recommended to take your dinner as early as possible so your liver gets some rest. Some of the foods act as stimulators of the detoxification process; include fibre-rich foods like spinach, carrots, et al in your diet." Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta agrees, "Liver is the only organ that cleanses itself. Just that whatever we eat and drink is detoxified by the liver; therefore it is important to feed good food to the body to not exert the liver."
It should go without saying that taking care of your liver is imperative; it is time you give attention to the much neglected yet an important organ of the body and improve its function. While liver tends to cleanse itself, one of the ways to improve your liver's health and cleanse it is through proper diet. The foods that you choose to eat define how your liver will function.
Here are foods that may somewhat help cleanse your liver naturally:
Garlic contains certain sulphur compounds that are essential for supporting the liver and activating liver enzymes, which are responsible for flushing out toxins and waste from the body. It also consists of selenium, which is an important mineral that assists in detoxification.
2. Green leafy vegetables
The greener, the better! Your liver loves bitter and greener leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, et al that contain various cleansing compounds. In fact, they help to stimulate bile flow.
3. Fibre-rich foods
Adding fibre-rich foods like apple, carrots, cauliflower, beetroots, green leafy vegetables, et al hastens the elimination of toxins in the body, while providing support to the digestive tract.
4. Green tea
Green tea has plant-based antioxidants known as catechins, the compounds that are known to assist liver function and eliminate liver fat accumulation. So sip 2-3 cups of green tea every day to ensure a healthy liver.
Turmeric is known to be one of the most powerful spices that helps maintain a healthy liver by protecting against liver damage and regenerate healthy liver cells. It also helps boost production of bile and improves overall functioning of the gall-bladder, another blood-purifying organ.
6. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, oranges, et al are rich in vitamin C content and antioxidants that are known to be powerful liver-cleansers. They also boost the production of liver detoxifying enzymes.
Walnuts are a rich source of amino acid known as arginine that support liver cleansing. They are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids that also support liver detoxification. Ensure that you munch on this important liver-friendly nut.
Go on and help your liver function better with these foods!