Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
When you think of the colours on your plate, do you ever think of black? Well, its time you do! As they are the new power food. We all know greens, yellows and reds are loaded with nutrients -- so are the lesser spoken about black ones too!
What are black foods? Foods with the pigments called anthocyanins are known as black foods. Anthocyanins are found in black, blue and purple coloured foods and have hidden nutrients and benefits galore. These pigments have rich anti-oxidant properties which promote health and have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. They play a huge role in immunity. They are fun, healthy, offbeat and make for a nice visual treat too.
Abhilasha V, HOD and Chief Clinical Nutritionist -- Cloudnine group of hospitals, Bengaluru, few interesting ones and their benefits:
Cultivated in South East Asian belt, this rice has a nutty flavour and can be used in many recipes. In China this was known as the Forbidden rice in ancient times as it was reserved for only royalty. Now, some parts of north East India grow black rice too. They are loaded with lutien and zeaxanthin and promote good eye health. They have cancer fighting properties due to their high anti-oxidant and fiber content. They can be used in puddings, stir fries, risotto, porridge, noodles, bread and even makes a great idea for a good kheer!
Cultivated in South East Asian belt, this rice has a nutty flavour and can be used in many recipes. | Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
A closer to home surprise! Indians have used black dal since ages. They are used as gravies and in mixed dal preparations. They are rich in fibre, iron, folate and protein and can be quite delicious too.
A closer to home surprise! Indians have used black dal since ages | Pixabay
With the western influence on our eating habits, it has brought along a long list of good foods. Olives are one of them and they are versatile in their flavour. They can be added to salads, pastas, stir fries and some pickles and drinks too. Olives contain monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, Polyphenols and oleocanthal -- which is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain-killer compound found in olives. This little power-packed food can protect your arteries from clogging, maintain eye health, prevent DNA damage, promote good skin health and also hair health.
Olives can be added to salads, pastas, stir fries and some pickles and drinks too. | Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash
Black sesame seeds
Commonly known as Til, they come with a huge bunch of benefits, loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcim, zinc, copper, selenium and Vitamin E. It also contains sesamin, which helps reduce inflammation and plays a vital role in joint pain. Yes! All of that in a daily allowance of 1-2 teaspoons can do wonders for your health. They can be used in salads as garnish, in laddoos, in breads, smoothies, soups, hummus, dips and even tahini. They can be consumed soaked, sprouted, baked or roasted too.
Commonly known as Til, they come with a huge bunch of benefits, loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcim, zinc, copper, selenium and Vitamin E. | Photo by Lluvia Morales on Unsplash
Known for their sweet taste and popular flavour, black grapes are a favourite for many. This seasonal fruit has a host of benefits to give us. Black grapes contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin which prevents retinal damage and macular degeneration. Resveratrol in grapes are known to have anti-cancer properties and have a huge protective effect on cardiac health by lowering LDL levels too. Proanthocyanidins present in this fruit has great benefits for skin health too. Use these grapes in salads, smoothies, jams, and even good old curd rice!
Black grapes contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin which prevents retinal damage and macular degeneration. | Photo by Tina Vanhove on Unsplash
Yes you heard that right. Well these aren't naturally found, but develop this colour due to a process that turns them black and used widely in Asian cuisine. It is regular white garlic that has been fermented or aged. It possesses a caramelized, savoury richness that adds flavour to stir fries, meat bakes, rice and noodles preparations and soups too. These have properties that prevent cell damage and hence protect us from cancers. Black garlic contains more anti-oxidants [almost 2X] than its white counterpart.So why wait -add them in small doses into your meals and let your health thrive.
Black Garlic possesses a caramelized, savoury richness that adds flavour to stir fries, meat bakes, rice and noodles preparations and soups too. | Wikimedia Commons
* Advantages: As mentioned above they come with a host of benefits such as anti-cancer, anti-ageing, good for eye, heart, skin and hair health too.
* Disadvantages: Nothing in particular. There are no real toxicities associated with these foods that are reported and are considered generally safe, but always do remember, too much of anything is not the rule in nutrition.
* Points to remember: Always ensure you have a balanced diet that contains all food groups, myriad colours, nutrients and varieties -- choose in moderation and build them into your daily meal plan with the help of a nutritionist. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Black, food, nutrition, black pulses, til, grapes, garlic, sesame, olive, rice
Have we ever wondered why humans are the only race who take to fad diets outside of our habitual eating patterns?
Every organism in the animal kingdom is attuned to eating as per its habitat and that order is seldom disturbed, except in human beings who are perpetually pursuant of some magical formula so they can get into a certain shape and form. So this urgency of "shapliness" as defined by the norms of beauty on social media needs to be exchanged for long term and sustainable eating habits. For this one needs to delve into the realm of clean, real and healthy eating.
Now let's elucidate this:
1. Being fit and healthy is not equivalent to being skinny or size zero. The measure of how healthy or fit one is, is actually governed by many many parameters-- your energy levels, sleeping patterns, monthly cyclical patterns in women, hormonal health, propensity to auto immune diseases, dependence or addiction etc. Being healthy and fit is a holistic phenomena which cannot be achieved by a diet alone, let alone a fad diet. This takes a deeper understanding of yourself, awareness of bodily functions and reactivity to stimulus in the form of food or emotions or exertion.This awareness is developed over a period of time and is not overnight, it can become the driver for good health. Fad diets usually are either rich in one thing or short in another, they are heavily skewed to certain macro types or are specific goal driven. For example keto diet is high on good fats and protein and low on carbohydrates so sends the body into ketosis mode for fat burn for energy instead of carbohydrates combustion. This diet was originally devised and designed to fight epilepsy and related epileptic disorders.
So does it seem normal for a regular person to resort to this diet, with the purpose of quick fat loss or even adapting it as a way of life? Our body at a cellular level is endowed with mitochondria organelle which oxidises carbohydrate to produce ATP (adenosine Triphosphate-- our energy currency) for the cell. In keto diet we tend to maintain a low carb infusion. And thus the decreased availability of carbohydrate and increased mitochondrial uncoupling during nutritional ketosis suggest a decline in ATP production, at least until compensatory adaptations occur. It's a complex process and sounds like something which isn't the most natural way of working for the human body. In computing parlance it's like overriding the code. So one should understand the merits and pitfalls of a fad diet over natural habitat driven eating.
Being fit and healthy is not equivalent to being skinny or size zero.Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
2. Movement and good nutritional practices are the best tools to achieve optimum performance and good health but this needs to be followed with consistency and become a way of life. Good and sustainable eating practices create good micro biome in the gut, which makes for a happy and healthy gut, which in turn is closely and minutely related to majority of brain and body functions and hormonal health. When the gut and endocrine system are in order, the chances are rare for one to not feel like a super human. Good health results in performance enhancement, alertness, agility, focus, stillness all at once and even enhances your mental faculties to enable one to think clear and better. This in essence is true good health -- the kinds monks speak of. It is said you are what you eat. The cleaner you start eating, the better your internal functions get and the higher your performance and clarity in life. Imagine the amount of time, energy and resources you can save by not visiting the doctors every now and then, by being productive and healthy purely on simple food and living norms, by not spending on diet plans and expert consulting. One should inculcate the understanding and awareness about good eating habits so a lot of gripes in life are wiped off because self-awareness and self-confidence is enough to make you believe in yourself.
The cleaner you start eating, the better your internal functions get and the higher your performance and clarity in life. Photo by amoon ra on Unsplash
3. Achieving good health, good form, good shape and structure takes time. It's equivalent to chiseling a monolith into shape one blow at a time. The sculptor does it diligently over days and months and years for the finest of statues to emerge. Similarly if someone tells you that a certain kind of form, six packs, eight packs, etc can be achieved in a few days or months, please question the assertion. Find out at what cost? Seek answers akin to buying a policy-- ask yourself what's your monthly EMI or outgoing and what you make in the long term. With fad diets long term prospective health plans are not possible its best to plan and invest diligently. Develop discipline and cultivate healthy habits.
Achieving good health, good form, good shape and structure takes time. Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash
4. Simple habits for good and clean eating which will show results:
* Hydrate a lot-- aim for 4-5 litres a day
* Drop sugar intake or make it minimal
* Eat less, eat when hungry. Don't hoard
* Eating less is different from starving. Eat in proportion to your physical activity and not as per the clock and meal times
* No one ever suffers from eating less. Suffering happens due to eating more or in excess
* Include good fats in your diet-- almonds, walnuts, ghee, cheese, butter etc
* Stop using hydrogenated vegetable oil for cooking or even olive oil for high temperature cooking
* Consume food closest to its natural form e.g. whole chicken over sausages, rice over flour/wheat, fruit over juice and so on
* Don't deprive yourself of anything. Eat in moderation
* Desserts are supposed to be celebratory. Keep them so-- occasions and festivals
* Wake up and drink water to start your day
* Avoid processed and packaged food
* Food is by nature perishable so anything packaged with a higher shelf life has to have chemicals and can't be natural. Avoid
* But local over tetra packs
* Eat fresh and seasonal
* Don't combine fat and carbohydrates-- it causes ill health. For example French fries is a combination of frying and carbohydrates in the form of potatoes; cakes-- combination of flour (processed carbohydrates) and fat and sugar. All these can be avoided to large extent in daily living
There is no substitute for hard work so drop the quest for short cuts and start working hard.Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash
There is no substitute for hard work so drop the quest for short cuts and start working hard.
(Article originally written by: Puja Gupta) (IANS/ MBI)
Ketwords: Health, lifestyle, diet, exercise, work hard, healthy food
Millets need to be promoted more proactively by the government, to boost their demand and consumption to turn it into a profitable crop for the farmers. A positive fallout of the Covid-19 could be described as a change in our eating habits and the foods, which we consume. As everyone is trying to boost their immunity and stay active during in-home stretches, everyone is looking forward to getting a balanced and nutritious diet, which could help them fight off the Covid-19 virus. One such cereal, which has assumed greater attention in these anxieties-filled days, is millet.
Millets have been around for centuries as a food group but somewhere down the line, particularly in India, we seem to have replaced them with polished rice and maida-mixed wheat. Consuming millets was considered to be meant for the poor. Ancient grains like jowar, ragi, foxtail, bajra, and other minor millets are promising cereals that are nutritionally superior to major cereals and serve as a good source of protein, high dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and micronutrients. Millets seem to be in demand again as it is known to be an immunity booster.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Do you know what was the staple grain of India a few decades back? You would be surprised to know it was the humble millets; also currently one-third of the world’s population consumes millets regularly. But the small, humble grains are finally getting their due as superfood and powerhouse of immunity. Millets are now on the verge of becoming superstars of nutrition. Millets are a rich source of a wide variety of micronutrients such as calcium, thiamine, and magnesium. It is the presence of these micronutrients that support the immune system. Millets are a good source of protein, high dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and micronutrients.
What are millets and their advantages?
As per agricultural scientists, Millets are a group of small-grained cereal food crops, which are highly tolerant to drought and other extreme weather conditions and are grown with low chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Most of the millet crops are native to India and are popularly known as Nutri-cereals as they provide most of the nutrients required for the normal functioning of the human body. Millets are classified into Major Millets and Minor Millets based on their grain size.
Millets are gluten-free and non-allergenic. Millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein, thereby preventing cardiovascular diseases. All millets are rich in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has water-absorbing and bulking properties. It increases the transit time of food in the gut, which helps in reducing the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, and acts as a detoxifying agent in the body.
Nutritionists promote millets, as they are gluten-free, highly nutritious, and rich in dietary fiber. They are rich in micronutrients, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, etc. They are low in Glycemic Index (GI) and as such don’t cause a huge spike in blood sugar. Thus, millets should ideally be an integral part of our daily diet.
Many doctors endorse the positive effects of consuming millets, as they are anti-acidic and gluten-free; helps to prevent type 2 diabetes; are effective in reducing blood pressure; reduces the risk of gastrointestinal conditions like gastric ulcers or colon cancer; eliminate problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating and cramping. Millets also act as a prebiotic feeding microflora in our inner ecosystem. Millets hydrate our colon to keep us from being constipated. Millets contain major and minor nutrients in a good amount.
Millets are high in nutrition and dietary fiber. They serve as a good source of protein, micronutrients, and phytochemicals. The millets contain 7-12 percent protein, 2-5 percent fat, 65-75 percent carbohydrates, and 15-20 percent dietary fiber. The essential amino acid profile of the millet protein is better than various cereals such as maize. Millets contain fewer cross-linked prolamins, which may be an additional factor contributing to the higher digestibility of the millet proteins.
Millet promotion by the government
The Government of India marked 2018 as the National Year of Millets to boost production of the nutrient-rich millets and the agro-industries involved in its production. As per Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India needs to work on the Millets revolution in order to ensure a nutritious diet and good health. Under his stewardship, India sponsored a UN resolution to get 2023 declared as International Year of the Millets, aimed at enhancing the production and consumption of millets.
The Indian policymakers have refocused their attention on millet farming systems and enacted policies to create an enabling environment for the farmers. With respect to millets production, some of the existing schemes by the Government of India include Integrated Cereals Development Programmes in Coarse Cereals (ICDP-CC), Macro Management of Agriculture (MMA), Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millet Promotion (INSIMP), a part of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) which is the only comprehensive initiative to support millet production. But the cultivation of millets should be promoted in drylands states and also mountainous regions to generate additional income for the farmers.
However, a lot still needs to be done to give millets their due share in the food chain of the population. The policymakers should try to focus on greater integration of a national mission and sub-missions on Nutri-cereals with the flagship Poshan Abhiyaan. The focus on the revival of millets should be complemented by the revival of consumption by producers. A collective, or cluster marketing approach, may help growers. Various states have been distributing millets through the public distribution system (PDS), the government needs to increase its distribution in other states too. Efforts should also be made to include the nutrient-rich smaller millets in the mid-day meal schemes in government and government-aided schools in the states, to promote their acceptability.
Now a day everyone is concerned about increasing their immunity and pursuing a healthy and fit diet for a healthy body. Millets could help in achieving this at a lesser cost. The government targeting the young and health-conscious to different forms of millets, for a healthy and immunity-boosting diet should launch a publicity campaign promoting millets. As demand would lead the supply, millets can assume once again a prime place in our regular diet, and also bring a larger area in the country under cultivation. (IANS/SP)
Among the zillion other things that this pandemic has changed in our lives, it has changed the way we eat. This means different things for different people. While many of us used the time at home to turn to cooking and baking and completely did away with ordering in and takeaways — thereby eating cleaner and healthier; there were also those who had to juggle Work from home and household chores and didn’t find time to streamline their diets. On the contrary, their lifestyle became more sedentary and eating habits more disorganized. Not to mention the physiological reasons for turning to food when the world has turned upside down.
In short, people are struggling with their eating right now and probably in different ways than they’re used to. An expert on Tata Sky Family Health, Mona Johar, Functional Integrative Nutrition and Co-Founder Mechanism Wellness, lists down ways of mindful eating in the time of Work from home.
Structure your day
Not having the usual comfort zones like socializing, traveling to work, or spending time outdoors in nature, has pushed us towards eating disorders in the last year. And of course, the havoc caused by the absence of a routine. It is important for people to carry on with a schedule, to try to wake up at set times and go to sleep at certain times. This will give them a purpose and do away with ‘pandemic boredom’. Once there is a structure, things like diet, exercise, and sleep will automatically fall into place.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
When life revolves around a table and chair for most parts of the day, thanks to homeschooling and WFH, the obvious conclusion is meals on the desk (read more snacking)! While snacking may help in keeping your energy levels up, in a sedentary environment it also aids your body in storing unnecessary fat. One should have a combination of either low calorie and high protein snacks or low calorie and high fiber snacks. Plan your meals in advance and keep them as fresh and organic as possible.
Mindful and intuitive eating practices are not diets. They are mindsets that require you to trust your natural instincts and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is about rethinking food choices and practices; going back to traditional ways of eating and engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and taste. Work your way up to eating mindfully every day and forgive yourself when you don’t. It can take weeks, months so be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of building a stronger mind-body connection and improving your relationship to food.
Start an intuitive journey
Honor hunger: Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant.
Don’t eat for the wrong reasons: Get in touch with your feelings and don’t let food become an excuse for not dealing with emotions such as anger, anxiety, or loneliness.
Make peace with food: Buy food you feel like eating. Listen to your food cravings, it is alright to indulge every once in a while.
Stop when full: Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full.
Don’t over-exercise: Check in with your body, do not exercise hard when exhausted, opt for a gentler routine. Have a variety of workouts at your disposal and pick and choose based on how your body’s feeling.
Exercise and move for enjoyment: Not expressly for weight loss or calorie burning.
Eat nutrient-dense food: Notice how you feel when you choose healthy, high-quality food. Take stock of your physical, mental, and emotional responses. (IANS/JC)