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

The fat around the tummy is the easiest to gain and sadly, the toughest to shed. It is known as the visceral fat, and some amount of it is required to provide cushioning to the organs, but too much of it can pose a major risk to your health. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta shares, “There is a strong co-relation between belly fat and cardiovascular diseases. We have heard of apple and pear-shaped bodies. Those who are apple shaped have a considerable amount of body weight around the abdominal area and are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases." There are a couple of factors that contribute towards belly fat and you need a combination of a good diet and regular exercise to get rid of the extra pounds. In some cases, the hidden reason for a bulging belly may be an unrelated factor like stress or sleep deprivation. Here are six secrets to losing belly fat that you may not have known.

1. Ditch Foods That Have A High Glycaemic Index

Simply cutting down on your carb intake may not be sufficient. You also need to look out for the Glycemic Index. Glycemic Index (GI) measures the impact of different food items on our blood sugar levels. Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr.Anju Sood explains the consequences of having foods with a high glycemic index, “It is a matter of how you mobilize the fat you consume which will affect the visceral fat accumulation. The moment you load up on high glycaemic index foods, your blood sugar levels spike up suddenly. This excess sugar would eventually be stored as fat, and result in a bigger belly. Low glycemic foods do not cause sudden sugar spikes, they delay your digestion and are also rich in fiber.” So, load up on nuts, legumes and vegetables without starch and steer clear of potatoes, white rice, white bread and sugary canned juices as much as possible.

2. Switch To Fiber-Rich Foods and Whole Grains

Fibre takes a long time to digest, hence it gives you the feeling of fullness and prevents you from binging on other high-carb foods. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta suggests, “You must include high fibre foods such as leafy vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Whole grains have a positive impact in maintaining satiety. Eat a lot of beans, brown or whole grain rice, nuts and dry fruits to maximise on your fibre.

3. Load Up On Proteins

Most of our Indian meals are high on carbohydrates which may make you lose out on the adequate protein intake, but proteins are essential. There is a good reason why all nutritionists and fitness experts always stress on increasing your protein intake. It boosts metabolism, reduces your appetite and controls several weight-regulating hormones. High protein intake increases thelevels of satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones such as GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing the levels of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Proteins take the longest to digest, which aids weight loss. Eggs, oats, broccoli, poultry, fish almonds and milk are great sources of protein.

Eat Your Fats

Yes, you heard us. Shunning fats completely may not be the best idea as fats make up the majority of your cell walls andare instrumental in balancing hormones. Not all fats are bad, one must know the difference. Consuming healthy unsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut, fish and nuts and seeds, not only keeps you satisfied but also stimulates the fat-burning process in your body. Dr. Sood recommends, “Around 15 to 20 percent of your calorie intake has to be fat, out of which 50 percent should be from visible origins (ghee, butter, and oil) and the remaining half from invisible origins which are already present in the food you eat. Recent studies have noted that you need to have 3 parts of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and 1 part of saturated fats for optimum health."

5. Sleep

When you are sleep deprived and low on energy you automatically inch towards comfort foods that are high on sodium and carbs. Lack of sleep also slows down the metabolic activity. The two hormones working in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin . On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin in your body. Increased amounts of ghrelin, and less leptin may lead to weight gain. Dr. Rupali says, “ You need eight hours of good quality sleep daily. People might argue that it is not essential, but sleep deprivation along with damaging your health, may also induce weight gain.”

6.Stress Management

Tried all possible exercises to lose belly fat but no desired results? You probably need to calm down. Stress induced weight gain is becoming a popular phenomenon these days, and a certain hormone called cortisol may be tagged as the culprit here. Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, explains, “When you are tensed, the body releases cortisol as a result of which there is a rise in the insulin levels in the body. This results in a drop in the blood sugar level and that's why you crave high carbohydrate and sugary foods.” The body releases chemicals in response to the food you eat, which might have a calming effect, and this is how you may end up gaining those few extra and unwanted pounds around your belly in an attempt to beat stress.

Shilpa adds, “High cortisol production can confuse the entire endocrine system and increase your appetite. Stress also leads to the over production of ghrelin - your hunger hormone.” The concentration of the hormone is controlled by an enzyme found mostly in the abdominal region. Hence, there is greater storage of fat in the tissues of the abdomen region when you are stressed. Learn to delegate your work, breathe, relax, and plan. Make sure you have enough vitamin C. It is known to boost the adrenal gland, which regulates the secretion of cortisol. Try and take out at least 30 minutes to engage in anything that de-stresses you such as dancing, listening to music or reading. Yoga or regular exercise also helps in reducing stress.

So, what are you waiting for? Take note of these tips and set out on shedding those excess pounds already.

Our skin requires discipline, and by that I don't mean hours and hours of using beauty products and strict skin care regimes, but balanced and clean eating habits can do well to our skin and keep it radiant and glowing. Don't just eat anything greasy and spicy, after all its either going to reflect on your waistline or your skin. So, what are the foods that will help keep your skin young and glowing as well as soft and supple? You will be surprised to know that by adding these foods to your regular diet, you cannot only lose weight but can also have a flawless skin.

Green Vegetables
I always recommend adding more greens to your diet and with greens I mean all green veggies - be it spinach, broccoli, kale and green beans. These superfoods will give your skin the nutrition it wants. Rich in vitamin K and zinc, spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients that helps improve blood circulation and coagulation, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent acne breakouts. Not only they improve metabolism and digestion but also reduce the chances of having constipation. All of this in turn makes our skin happy and glowing.

Tomatoes are one of my favourite fruits, not because of their versatility when it comes to cooking up some amazing recipes but because of their anti-ageing properties. Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, and lycopene is an anti-ageing antioxidant. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin k, A, B1, B7 and C, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, iron, folate, and magnesium. So, be it soups or pastas or exotic curry, tomatoes in any form, preferably cooked, will do wonders to your skin.

Almonds are the best source of natural vitamin, Eyou. One must have at least 10-15 almonds a day. Many people debate on how to eat almonds - soaked or as is. The answer is to just eat them regularly - it doesn't really matter how to eat them. Eating almonds every day will keep your skin problems like dryness, wrinkles and ageing at bay, and make sure you eat gulbandi or marmara almonds as they have higher amount of vitamin E. This nutritious nut supports the production of collagen and is packed with calcium, making it an excellent superfood for hair, teeth, nails and skin.

A highly potent superfood, these tiny granule like seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids and help in building healthy skin cell function as well as support the production of new collagen. All of this in turn helps keep our skin healthy and wrinkle-free. You can toss flaxseeds in your porridges, salads, poha or upma to reap its maximum benefits. The alpha linolic acids found in flaxseeds help reduce dryness, itchiness and flakiness, and the vitamin B content of flaxseeds help improve acne conditions like rocacea and eczema.

Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart health and for people with blood pressure problems. These fatty acids help in production of collagen as well as protein that help keep our skin healthy and wrinkle free. Moreover, salmon contains selenium, which helps protect our skin from harmful rays of sun as well as keep our skin moisturised, soft and supple. This superfood also has high contents of vitamin D, is responsible for the absorption of crucial minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphate, and other biological effects.

Oranges are packed with vitamin c and act an excellent cleaning agent for our skin, giving us a glowing and radiant skin. Oranges also help improve texture of our skin and restore collagen, keeping our skin well-toned and wrinkle-free. I recommend everyone to eat at least two oranges daily.

Avocados are quite popular all over the world for all the good reasons. They are packed with healthy oils and vitamin E that helps build healthy skin function as well as hydrate the skin. Eating avocado prevents the risk of psoriasis, plus deeply moisturises our skin, making it well hydrated and radiant. Avocado also prevent sun damage and help treat and cure acne conditions. Due to its hydrating properties, avocadoes help keep your skin looking younger and supple and wrinkle free. Avocados are a high source of oleic and palmitic fatty acids as well as rich in vitamin K, C, A, E and B6, carotenoids, and folate. Moreover, the fruit is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and dietary fibre. All of these nutrients help improve collagen production, reduce inflammation and keep skin healthy and young.

Dark Chocolate
Strange as it may sound but dark chocolate can have magical effects on the skin! Flavonoids and phytonutrients found in dark chocolate have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All of these nutrients improve our skin condition, and help reduce photo damage and collagen breakdown. So, if you are cringing when eating chocolate, then don't, as it could help improve your skin health, giving us a smoother, hydrated and healthy skin. Make sure you eat two small cubes of dark chocolate three times a week for healthy and glowing skin.

Now, that you know that these superfoods are amazing for your skin, include them in your diet and see the results yourself. Not only will you be able to treat some common skin problems, but also slow down the ageing clock and reverse a fair amount of oncoming wrinkles.

Nowadays Indians are experimenting with the non-dairy alternatives and understanding how they can be healthier and nutritious than dairy. Ranging from almond milk to rice milk, cashew milk and soy milk, all of these are said to be amazing for your overall health and many health experts vouch for them. Turns out, there is another entrant in the healthy non-dairy alternative-list. Oat milk is the next healthy alternative that is getting a lot of attention from nutritionists and foodies around the world. So what is oat milk really? It is nothing but the liquid form of oats that a health enthusiast may prefer for breakfast. This non-dairy product is said to be great for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan or just watching their weight. Let's look at how this new trend makes for an excellent food.

Oat milk: New non-dairy milk that's making way for you
Oats are one of the best fibre- and protein- rich breakfast meals. A bowlful of oats is the key to a healthy gut; in fact, it contains a specific type of fibre called beta-glucan that can help maintain good cholesterol. The fibre in oats helps keep off hunger by keeping you fuller for long. As a whole-grain, oats provide a range of micronutrients like B-group vitamins, iron, antioxidants and various other vitamins and minerals. The oat milk that's made from oats may turn out to be slightly different.

Oat milk consists of steel-cut oats or whole groats, which are soaked in water, blended, and strained with a cheese-cloth. This creamy textured milk is gluten-free in nature, which can give you the following nutrition:

About a cup of oat milk may have 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, negligible saturated fats, two grams fibre, four grams protein, about 35 percent of recommended daily allowance for calcium, and 25 percent for vitamin D.

Benefits of oat milk

1. Loaded with vitamins and minerals

Oat milk comes loaded with essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron, and calcium. It is said to contain 10 percent of the RDA for vitamin A, which is twice as much as cow's milk. So a glassful of oat milk may just provide you with the important nutrients you'd need.

2. Cholesterol-free

This one's a boon for people with cholesterol. Oats make for a great option for people with cholesterol problems. It has much lesser cholesterol as compared to whole milk from cows, which is known to contain 24 milligram of cholesterol per serving.

3. It is a low-fat product

If you are watching your weight, it is best to switch to oat milk as it has negligible fat with lots of nutrients. Low in calories, oat milk is surely a healthier non-dairy alternative that you can go for.

4. Calcium-rich

Surprisingly, oat milk consists of more calcium than cow milk. It is said that it contains about 35 percent of the RDA for calcium, while one serving of whole milk contains 28 percent. So, even if you are lactose intolerant, chances are you will still be able to get enough calcium for the day. Also, oat milk might just be cheaper. In fact, you could make oat milk at home too.

5. It has more fibre content than cow milk

Another surprising fact is that oat milk contains more fibre than any other milk. So it keeps you fuller for longer, preventing you from cravings and hunger pangs.

How to make oat milk at home?
You can make oat milk in the comforts of your kitchen. Here's how you can make it at home:


- Organic oats
- Purified water
- Sea salt


1. Soak oats in purified water for at least 30 minutes. You could soak it up for longer. Longer soaking time helps soften the oats and helps remove the phytic acid that inhibits proper digestion.

2. After soaking, drain and rinse the oats well. Make sure you have rinsed it thoroughly.

3. Now put the soaked and rinsed oats in a blender and add three cups of water, and sea salt in it. Blend it for about one to two minutes.

4. You can add more water as oats tend to absorb lots of water. So see the consistency you'd want for your oat milk.

5. Strain the pulp in the cheese-cloth. Don't discard the pulp as it can be used to make smoothies or even snack-bars.

6. Store the oat milk in the refrigerator and use within three to five days. Also, shake well before drinking it.

7. For people who like it sweet; you can add raw honey while you blend oats and water together.

You could definitely use oat milk as an alternative to dairy and other non-dairy products; however, it is best to keep switching to avail benefits from these healthy and wholesome foods.

Ice-cream is a universal favourite and when it comes to dessert, you can hardly ever go wrong with the cold treats. While we all have preferences when it comes to ice-cream flavours, there is one Indian restaurant that is changing the ice-cream game, forcing people to take notice of its uniquely refreshing flavours and supreme quality. While the world goes gaga over Ayurvedic spice turmeric that has a number of health benefits, Pondicheri in NYC is getting people acquainted with other lesser known heroes of Ayurveda, like sesame, poppy, moringa, etc. The cafe and restaurant, which is a hot favourite among New York's Indian food lovers, has a range of very interesting handmade ice-creams served in specialty cones, which contain edible flowers, poppy seeds, pink peppercorns etc. Pondicheri's range of ice-creams is creating a stir among NYC's dessert-loving populace due to the presence of Ayurvedic superfoods in them.

Some of the most popular flavours of ice-creams include papaya orange rolled in pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, moringa mint avocado rolled in crushed pistachios, chocolate chilli cookie dough and golden or turmeric ice-cream. The ice-cream scoops are served as is, or in a range of whimsical cones, which are also made by cone and contain ingredients such as turmeric powder, poppy seeds, chilli powder and some edible flowers like hibiscus and rose.

You can mix and match any two flavours or enjoy the unique taste of any one flavour, but whatever you opt for, these ice-creams at Pondicheri are sure to leave your palate satiated and delighted.

These ice-creams don't just look pretty, but have been appreciated for their unique taste as well. What's more? They're also available in dairy-free options! Pondicheri's unique ice-creams have been featured in a number of local and international food publications. The restaurant, which is owned by Anita Jaisinghani and Ajna Jai, is known for its amazing range of India-inspired dishes, including coconut jaggery pancakes, mushroom and cheese samosa with tomato kasundi, crab curry stuffed in squid ink pooris, gulab jamun donuts and much more! Another popular sweet attraction includes the Bournvita ice-cream sandwiches with Parle-G biscuits.

So, the next time you're in New York and find yourself yearning for something fresh and homely, you know that Pondicheri is probably the best place to head to!

Milks derived from animals are facing a tough competition from a growing range of dairy-free alternatives. The growth in the number of vegans has ensured that food manufacturers have started looking at tapping into this market by selling plant-based milks. Some of the most common dairy-free milks include soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk. All these milk alternatives are good for those suffering from lactose intolerance, as well as those who frequently complain about digestive troubles after consuming dairy. Lately, even seeds have started being turned into milk-like drinks, to help them with healthier alternatives and one of these milks is flaxseed milk.

Flaxseed Milk Nutrition
Flaxseed milk or flax milk is a low-calorie low-fat alternative for dairy milks and it may be suited for people who are looking to ditch dairy products for any reason. Flaxseeds are tiny, brownish shiny seeds that can be consumed raw or roasted and consumed in combination with other seeds and nuts. Flaxseeds can be added to trail mixes, desserts and drinks, and can also be turned into flours to create gluten-free goodies. Now even non-dairy milk derived from flaxseeds has also gained popularity. Although your nearest supermarket may also have a stock of this unique non-dairy milk, you can even make it at home very easily.

The accurate nutrition facts of flax milk may vary with brand, but in general this non-dairy milk is fortified with healthy fats and carbs, a range of vitamins and essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

How Flaxseed Milk Is Made | How To Flax Milk At Home
Flax milk may be prepared by mixing cold-pressed flaxseed oil with filtered water or blending flaxseeds with water on high speed for several minutes. Blending flaxseeds with water on high speed helps integrate the powdered flaxseeds with water well and acquire a milky look and feel. The mixture is blended on high speed in several two or three-minute long intervals. It is important to allow the mixture to rest in between blending. The liquid is then allowed to pass through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove the fibrous residue. This is why flax milk will have less fibre as compared to the seeds, but then that may be true for all nut and seed milks.

A lot of people nowadays may believe that switching over from dairy to non-dairy milk alternatives is a 'healthy practice'. This may be a misconception and it is recommended that you contact a certified nutritionist or a dietitian to get your facts in order. Generally, non-dairy milks like flax milk are preferred by people who suffer from dairy milk allergies or lactose intolerance, or by those who have been advised to switch to a vegan diet to deal with certain specific health issues.

Dr. Snehal  Charhate
Dr. Snehal Charhate
BAMS, Ayurveda, 19 yrs, Pune
Dr. Kedar Wani
Dr. Kedar Wani
MDS, Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dentist Dental Surgeon, 2 yrs, Pune
Dr. Smita  Patil
Dr. Smita Patil
BHMS, Homeopath, 15 yrs, Pune
Dr. Pradnya Bafna
Dr. Pradnya Bafna
BDS, Dentist Root canal Specialist, 20 yrs, Pune
Dr. Hitendra Ahirrao
Dr. Hitendra Ahirrao
BAMS, Family Physician General Physician, Pune