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  • Mango – a source of happiness

    In Health Tips On 07 May 2015

    Mangoes are the source of happiness. Whether alphanzo, dasheri, langrha, chausa, totapari and delicious, succulent and mango flavour in every bite. Be it a child, adult or elder, men and women; all irrespective of caste and creed all possibly love The “MANGOES”.  “Kaccha ho ya pakka, khatta ho ya meetha, aam to aam hei, bas season aane ki der hai, bottle mein to sare saal milta hein par haat se khane ka maaza kuch aur who Mazza mei kahan” All know it provide nutrition and good for health. It improves vitality & strength of the body. Only weight watchers and diabetics have to be cautious with eating large portion size of mangoes.  This “king of fruit”, mango is exceptionally rich in magnesium (270 mg/100g) which is vital in production of happy hormone, scientifically known as serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for managing the body in good mood and better physiological functions as well as alleviating the stress and anxiety. It is also rich in vitamin B6 which again supports production of serotonin.  Its yellow colour is due to different carotenes, and mangoes contain high amount of Beta carotene, which exhibits vitamin A activity in the body. Hence it is good for eyes, skin and enhancing immunity. Its high potassium content support cardiac health.  Mangoes are eaten in raw and ripened forms and converted into wide ranges of dishes. Aamras, Mango Kulfi, Mango milk shake, Mango ice cream, Mango burfi, aam papad, aam ka achar, aam ka panna are some of the very popular mango dishes of India. Amchur is a dried mango powder used for its sourness and regularly used in many food preparations like curries and dals.

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  • Cucumber – a Coooool Bite

    In Health Tips On 16 April 2015

    High water content and low calories makes cucumber a wonder bite for everyone and enjoyed in salads, sandwiches and raita throughout year. In summer, they are in high demand. Cucumber juice with mint is cool refreshing health drink. Cucumber with ginger is another cocktail option. Crunchy Cucumber is incredible. It is usually eaten raw with or without its peel. With peel it is good source of fiber thus helps in reducing constipation and eliminating toxic compounds from gut. Cucumbers are very low in sodium, mildly diuretic and contains good amount of potassium thus helpful in hypertension cardiac health and obesity. Some people face burpiness and other digestive discomfort with their consumption and bitter variety give more. It is due to the presence of a bitter substance called “cucurbitacin”. Now burpless varieties are less bitter and available. The nutrition-rich water that it contains, when taken into the body, adds lustre to the hair, sparkle to the eye, color to the lips, tone to the skin, and spring to the step.” Silica aids in bone health in two major ways: It’s instrumental in collagen formation. Collagen is a fibrous protein that is responsible for holding us together. Without this connective tissue, we would essentially fall apart in a gooey mess. It facilitates the assimilation of calcium. Without adequate silica, our bodies can’t make use of bone-building calcium, and it can be leeched from the bones. If you’ve heard about silica/silicon, you may be wondering what the difference is. Here’s the scoop. Silicon is one of the most common elements found in the Earth’s crust, but it’s never seen in its raw state. Silicon combines with oxygen to form a silicate ion (SiO4).Silica-rich rocks include obsidian, granite, and sandstone. In the human body, silica is a vital component of collagen and is found in all our connective tissues. For the purposes of this article, I’ll use silica, but don’t be confused the next time you see one or the other. Cucumbers also contain magnesium, which works in synergy with calcium to keep bones healthy. Different varieties of cucumber can be seen on http://www.clovegarden.com/ingred/cucumb.html

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  • Beat the heat with Kharbooja or melons

    In Health Tips On 04 April 2015

    Melons are cooling, refreshing and all time ready to eat fruit to beat the scorching heat of the summer. Musk melons (Kharbooja) are a very good breakfast to vanish apathy, lethargy and nervousness which is common in summer and best suited for hypertensive people and weight watchers. They are effective remedy in conditions like acidity, urinary tract infection and heat stroke. Galia melon, canary melon, honey dew, cantaloupe and other varieties of melons are great sight in summer in India and around the globe. New name is getting in the market for a type of melon i.e. “sarda” which is actually a name for Galia melon from south East Asia; however, we mistakenly call canary melon the “sarda” having bright yellow skin and white firm pulp. Sarda (galia and canary both) has cucumber like flavours while cantaloupe melons have sweet, fruity aroma and leave aftertaste. Honey dew is juicier and sweeter and good for making juice. In spite of varietal differences all melons contain good amount of water and high in some B vitamins (particularly vitamin B1 or thiamin (0.11mg/100g)) and potassium (360mg/100g) and many phenolic compounds due to which they exhibit several pharmacological benefits. On the other hand they are very low in calories (17 kcal), protein and fat. Ripening stage of the fruit determines the nutritional composition as well as antioxidant capacity which lie in the presence of specific antioxidant enzymes and phenolic compounds. Muskmelon seeds which are also known as Magaz are rich in quality protein and unsaturated fatty acids and possess good antioxidant potential. They are good option for plant based protein. Now they are considered for functional foods. In India they are frequently used in making “Thandai” and also consumed roasted. Melon has its own bowl- just scrape the center part having seeds and directly scoop out the pulp with spoon and enjoy. Fruit can be diced, pulped, juiced and the way you can think off. A pinch of sugar, cardamom, ginger can enhance the flavour.

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  • Summer Delight- Watermelon

    In Health Tips On 30 March 2015

    Watermelon is a wonderful sensation. In tropical countries watermelon or Tarbooj is a great relief in scorching heat of summer. Just break little hard and enjoy. Bright red pulp of the fruit is full of water to quench the thirst and loads of phytochemicals for nourishment.  When you cut it, it is beautiful; it produces a “wow” feel in everyone’s eyes. How beautifully Nature has created a colour combination and adorned it with black beads. Nature has meaning in her creation and gives signals to unfold the mystery. Many a times, when we see some scientific aspect, we often remember our grandparent’s expression, e.g. turbooj garmi ki bhari dophari mein khana chayei, sardi mein nahi. to paida nahi hota hai, chooki ye thanda hota hei”.  My Grandmother used to feed it only in daytime and strictly not in night, as it may cause indigestion and it happenes. My mother used to make very tasty dry subji out of thick peel of the fruit after several washings which surprised many. The practice is on and now many dishes are on the list. Watermelon juice has become a major drink for breakfast. It had greatly improved my hemoglobin level, few years back. Why not, it contains 7.9 mg iron per 100g of fruit.  Red colour is due to presence of “Lycopene” a phytonutrient surprisingly watermelon contain more the amount than in tomato, pink grapefruit and guava. Lycopene plays a significant role in scavenging free radicals and thereby prevent cell damage; hence lycopene is a great antioxidant.  The fruit is so low in fat and calories; hence weight watchers can hydrate their bodies during exercise.   One secret ingredient in watermelon is arginine, an amino acid which prevents muscle soreness and helps in building muscle mass. Another secret is “citrulline” which is mainly found in the rind of watermelon (white layer in between green skin and red pulp). Both helps to dilate the blood vessels thus support cardiac health and reduce high blood pressure. They have also been suggested to produce nitric oxide gas which keeps the arteries clear.  Besides pulp and rind, water melon seeds are also very rich in nutrition- high protein (34.1g %) and high fat (52.6 g %). containing more of unsaturated fatty acids. These are frequently used as garnishes, roasted or ground for gravies.  Watermelon is good for diabetics also, as it has very low glycemic load. It is a measure which considers glycemic index and the carbohydrate content  which actually has effect on insulin level.  So many health benefits so lets us relish the wonder food this summer in all forms – the Watermelon

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  • Kuttu – A Navratri delight or a food for Healthy Heart

    In Health Tips On 26 March 2015

        Since antiquity, in cultural and religious traditions of northern India Kootu is tagged with fasts like Navratri, MahaShivratri, Ekadashi, Janmashatmi and is customarily used in the form of kootu ki puri, paratha, pakori and the like. Creativity and innovation in Kootu recipes in vrat ka khanna is frequently observed in community’s pandals and Navratri special in restaurants. Smell of hot kootu puries wafting out of kitchen is very appetising.   During fast we were told not to indulge in feast but avoid cereals, pulses and few other foods in order to remain calm, pious to grow inner strength. We rely on traditional food beliefs and rituals and never question. One day, a young boy asked that why only Kootu ki puri in fast and why not normal puri (of wheat flour).  All were surprised with query of the boy and felt we never thought about this. After a pause, eldest Dadi answered the way she can and the gist is: Navratri usually falls in the season when stock of grains usually goes down or before harvest and there is a need for replacement of the cereal. There are some crops which are not true cereal but the pseudo cereals which include Kootu, Sanwa millet, singhara, amaranth (ramdana or choulii). The potato and sweet potato are also harvested and are in abundance. In ancient time, food patterns were followed in accordance to the agricultural practices and seasons. Hence these pseudo cereals were used as food ingredients. Since their production was limited hence might be reserved for fast period only because people keeping fast were not allowed to eat many other foods. Kootu in English is called “Buckwheat”. There are many varieties grown in different parts of the world and also used in different cuisines. Soba noodles, from Japan, are made using > 75% of buck wheat and rest wheat flour and its crepes are delight in France. Countries like US, Canada use it in making pasta, pancakes, confectionaries etc. In industrialized countries aesthetics, market and moral religious conduct are showcased and nutritional and health issues remain mundane until come out of medical centers. Buck wheat or Kootu is gluten-free hence useful in celiac disease in which people have allergy from wheat. In comparison to wheat, buckwheat contains doubles the amount of vitamin B1, B2 and magnesium and triples the amount of iron. It also contains good amount of zinc and selenium. Energy and protein content is same as wheat but protein quality of buckwheat is very good due to the presence of lysine, an amino acid, which is limiting in other cereals.  Buckwheat is rich in flavonoids namely rutin and quercetin, and other phytochemicals. Hence buckwheat is referred as a natural functional food for a “healthy heart”.  

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  • Fructose – the fruit sugar

    In Health Tips On 21 March 2015

    Fruits are blissful reputation for promotion and protection of good health. Virtues of fruits are expressed through bright colours, taste, aroma and texture of different fruits owing to the presence of wide range of nutrients, fibers, phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants.   Sweetness of fruits is due to the presence of a sugar termed as “Fructose”. Commonly consumed sugar is called sucrose which is made up of glucose and fructose (50:50). Fructose is naturally present in fruits and honey and synthetically in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). There can be 55-90 % of fructose in different grades of HFCS and frequently being used in soft drinks, confectionary, jams and other sweets in several countries. However, its wider use in India is in nascent stage.  Few decades ago high fat consumption was on highway for onset of degenerative diseases. Now scientific evidences have added fructose to escalate pervasiveness of obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome.  Unlike glucose and other sugars, chemically fructose possess different functional group and is also metabolized differently. It is metabolized in the liver and easily gets converted into fat or triglycerides. Hence fructose is a lipogenic molecule. Since   Increased consumption of fructose (free fructose) competes with fructose transporters and uric acid http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7639/309 Advancement in food technology has converted natural whole fruits into fruit juices and many forms of sugar products which have robbed the natural treasure of fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals from fruits.  Fructose is extensively available in free form in the body. Free fructose is sweeter than glucose and when excessively consumed (> 50g per day)

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  • Calcium in Pregnancy

    In Health Tips On 20 March 2015

    Mrs. Natasha Sharma became pregnant at the age of 26 years and was enjoying her pregnancy for last 3 months. No morning sickness etc. One day she came across a book on Nutrition during pregnancy & lactation and was astonished to see the facts. She recalls her mother’s request to drink extra glass of milk in these days, which she used to dislike since her childhood. Her Doctor had also suggested increasing calcium intake preferably from diet.  I read the truth about calcium:  “Calcium is the chief mineral of the body and is always thought to be important only for bone health.  However, besides bones, calcium also facilitates muscle flexion, helps in dilating and contracting blood vessels, expedites nerve transmission and aids in secretion of some hormones. Estrogen is one hormone which is high during pregnancy and low in lactation and also provides protection to bones”.  With this small piece of information I understood the value of calcium in my life and added milk in my diet by any means. My doctor and dietician had told me that I need 1200mg calcium to support skeletal growth of my baby as well as to maintain my bone reserves and if I eat less my baby will withdraw calcium from my bones to build his or her bones but my bone health will be seriously be compromised in later years of my own life. To get required amount of calcium, I had to consume about at least 2-4 cups of milk or similar foods like curd, paneer, cheese, milk powder and some nondairy calcium rich foods.  Buffalo milk contained more calcium than cow’s milk (210 and 120 mg /100 ml). Among nondairy sources ragi (the only cereal high in calcium), Bengal gram leaves, mustard or beet greens, broccoli, beans and tofu contain good amount of calcium. Spices like cumin, ajwain and nuts like poppy seeds, sesame seeds which I heard need to be taken post pregnancy are also rich in calcium but should be taken in small quantity only (5-10g only in a day).  These foods also provided other supportive nutrients. So I added them in my diet and I was very particular about diet in my last trimester of pregnancy onward. I also learnt to cook some tasty calcium rich recipes.   On full term Natasha delivered a baby girl who was looking like an angle and the doctor declared the baby and the mother healthy in all respects. The doctor also asked Natasha to feed her new born the first milk (colostrum) as it is an elixir for the baby.

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  • Diabetes and YOU

    In Health Tips On 10 March 2015

    Diabetes and YOU Diabetes usually sets her tone in mother’s womb through “fetal programming” and grows under favourable environment of indulging in sumptuous meal anywhere anytime, AC culture and physical inactivity. It may outgrow into adulthood. She roams around the world like a vagabond finding a permanent abode. Wherever and wherever she finds rusted form of insulin, she fixes her feet for ever.  She likes to be nurtured with love, care and constant attention; if ignored she declares war and start bullying different vital organs of the body.  She jumps and dance in the company of sweets, cold drinks, tasty popular junk foods and stay calm in presence of low glycemic foods, lots of greens, colourful vegetables, berries, nuts and whole grains.  She has no bar for age, gender, profession and physiological status. You can make choices, who will rule your body and mind; her or you.  She is quite accommodative as she does not interfere with daily regime of the person and also does not like to lie in bed. She is never on holiday but when you forget her in holidays, she puts heavy taxes on you. It is better to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels otherwise she will find ways to make her impact known.   So dear friends whether you love it or not, do not leave her unattended. Cautiously pay attention with right and timely medication, meditation, exercise and most important meticulous diet. Management is the key to win her.

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Anjana Agarwal

Nutritionist / Aromatherapist in Indirapuram, Delhi-NCR, India 

Nutrition is for promotion of health, prevention of disease and speedup the recovery.OrDr. Anjana Agarwal advocates that good nutrition in time not only prevents the onset of diseases but also speedup the recovery of the disease.Dr. Anjana Agarwal is the first author of a book (Text book of Human Nutrition, 2014, pp 696). She had taught nutrition and dietetics subjects to graduate and postgraduate students in different colleges of SNDT women’s university Mumbai and Biomedical College, Dehradun for more than 15 years. In addition she keeps giving dietary counseling to people suffering from various diseases.  She mostly caters diet plans for management of high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, high and low blood pressure, childhood obesity, PCOD issues, osteoporosis, anorexia, low immunity, malnourished or underweight children and women. She would prefer to guide healthy diet plans to people who are at high risk of any disease by any environmental factors.During nutritional counseling, she takes extra care to develop the menu plans and recipes which are well suited to the individual taste buds, family cooking style, job schedules as well as availability, acceptability and affordability of food items. She is also ready to provide the nutritional analysis of the diet plans on demand.She uses another expertise, i.e. Aromatherapy, which is the product of her PhD programme, advanced training, several workshops and dais delivery at many institutional platforms and international seminars.She keeps evolving in the field of health and nutrition and believes that good health and pathogenesis of disease have many dimensions hence best be managed by judicious combinations of therapies in which diet plays a major role.
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