The power of fiber

Constipation the most common digestive complaint, that makes one feel bloated, irritated and make life miserable. Generally, constipation is defined as infrequent or fewer than three bowel movements per week. Less than one bowel movement per week is considered severe constipation.



Poor bowel habits, lack of fiber intake, high intake of meat and processed products, no physical activity, insufficient water intake are main reasons for constipation. Constipation could also results due to bowel obstructions, rectal cancer, hormonal disorders.

The symptoms are lower abdominal discomfort, straining and rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids, physiological distress and obsession with having bowel movements.

Foods high in fiber helps prevent constipation. Fruits, vegetables, spinach and other greens, beans, lentils, peas, whole grains, nuts, prunes and seeds are good sources of fiber.

Most whole food contains soluble and insoluble fibers. Both types of fiber help promote regular bowel movements.

Soluble fiber absorbs more water, making the waste softer, larger and easier to pass through the intestines.  Oats, nuts, beans, soft parts of fruits, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots  are good sources of soluble fiber

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, adds bulk to the waste material that hastens its passage through the gut and prevents from hard feeling.  Peels of fruits, like apple, berries, grapes, pears, whole grains are good sources of insoluble fibers

Tips for increasing fiber intake:

  1. Consume whole fruits instead of fruit juices
  2. Replace half of white rice with brown
  3. Enjoy whole meal sandwich.
  4. Snack on raw vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot sticks, plain popcorns, vegetable soups.
  5. Substitute beans for meat three times per week
  6. Balance each meal with cereals, meat/beans, nuts, fruits & vegetables.
  7. Stay active and do regular exercise.
  8. Drink enough water. Drinking water is the most important factor in relieving constipation

Controlling holiday binges

Nibbling is common during the holidays  like cookies, chocolates, nuts, dried fruits.  Anxious that those extra bites can add up to few calories? No worries. You can always enjoy a balanced meal that keeps  full for a longer time and you will not be tempted to  nibble the holiday snacks. It is important to maintain a structured eating pattern. Starting your day with a protein rich breakfast will help prevent overeating at holiday gatherings later in the day.

While dining out hang out with the group of friends and chat with them. Prepare yourself to enjoy the occasion. Spend more time with friends laughing and chatting,  enjoying  the music and the decorations.  Play with young kids or dance with your friends.  You will be burning calories but still will be far away from the buffet table. You will be less tempted if you stay far distance from the buffet table. Your urge to grab food will pass in few minutes.

Enjoy colorful veggies  as starters. This will prevent you diving into the first edible food you lay your eyes on.

Try not to overboard on bacon wrap, fruit cake,  fried chicken and fritters. If you can keep your portions in check, you can enjoy  your favorite food without overboard.  Stick with one of each deliciously tempting food.

Don’t go to party hungry. Before leaving to party, relish on yogurt with apple or a banana that help curb your appetite. By having an appealing fruits snack you will be less prone to plow your way through the buffet table, later. The same applies when you plan to travel. A good -for-you snack stash can help you fight the urge to gobble down the tempting, calorie laden food choices when you are traveling during holidays.

If you are inviting your friends at home plan the menu with more fruits and vegetable dish.


  • Colorful salads like jicama with tomato, grape fruit with avocado and nuts, mango with quinoa,
  • Baked potato or roasted sweet potato,
  • Whole meal sandwich, noodles with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms,
  • Chicken or beef kebab with cucumber, pineapple and bell pepper,
  • Cut fruits as dessert.
  • Chilled lemon juice with mint leaves.
  • Eat large portions of salad before moving on to the other foods

Be active

During holidays we are more active in decorating, shopping, card writing, cooking, inviting friends that leaves us over exhausted.  Our body and mind push us to the stage of stress & tired.  Still, you can stick on to your regular exercise and get good sleep.  You just need to act to ward off the stress. While shopping, walk from store to store with brisk pace, take an extra lap to go around the mall and admire the decoration and do some window shopping.

Take a walk after the dinner and enjoy the stars up on the sky. A soothing music will make you enjoy further.


Soy Recall

Soybean good for you

Soy is rich in high-quality protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Replacing some meat meals with soy protein will benefit on heart health and also promote a healthy complexion and hair. It is an excellent plant-based alternative that boost the energy. Studies have shown that people who enjoys greater amount of soy, experiences less age-related mental disorders. Soy bean, like meat, egg and dairy products, it provides all essential amino acids and so it is called as a complete protein. Soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin.

To maximize the potential benefits from soy, consume the soy in natural, minimally processed sources.

Soy bean, like meat, egg and dairy products, it provides all essential amino acids and so it is called as a complete protein. To lower the risk of chronic heart disease, saturated fat should be replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Soy protein, a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acid, decreases the triglyceride levels and LDL, which is viewed as important for reducing chronic heart disease. 85% of the lipids in soybeans are unsaturated. Omega – 6 is the predominant fatty acid in soybeans, 55% and Omega -3 in soybean is around 6%. American Heart Association advocates that consuming soy protein to replace animal foods rich in saturated fats may prove beneficial to heart health.

Soybean contain a mix of slow-digesting carbohydrates that help control the blood sugar.

Tofu, tempeh and edamame are the best sources of soy protein. Tofu, nicknamed as the meat without bone.

Soybeans and products are good sources of isoflavones, a type of compound called phytoestrogens help prevent breast and prostate cancer. Genistein, a predominant isoflavone in soybean, has an antioxidant properties that inhibits the growth of cancer cells.  It also brightens the skin, improves skin tone, boost collagen formation. Isoflavones in soybean also help reduce the bone loss and increase the bone mineral density during menopause.

Soy is gut friendly. The fibre along with the starches promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.

The iron and zinc in soybean are easily absorbed by the body when compared to other vegetarian sources. Zinc is needed for the growth and development.

Edamame, the young soy bean contains protein, calcium, vitamin C, folate, choline iron, and zinc. Like meat and dairy products, it provides all essential amino acids.

Folate and iron in edamame, promote the fertility in pregnant women.  Edamame is also a good source of choline that plays a vital role in muscle functioning, learning, memory and promotes good sleep.

Nutritional Highlights

Edamame can be steamed and taken as snack or can be added to soups and salads.

A cup of edamame, 155g, contains;

190 caloreis,

18g protein,

8 g fat,

8 g fiber

14g of carbohydrate

98 mg calcium

482 g of folate

4g of iron

Soy products:

  • Tofu, the soybean curd is made by curdling the soymilk.. Firm tofu is higher in protein. Soft tofu is used in recipes called for blended tofu, and silken tofu is a good replacement for sour cream in dip recipes. Yuba, a thin layer or sheet, formed above the hot soymilk, is high in protein.
  • Tempeh, is an Indonesian food with a nutty flavor. Whole soy bean fermented with rice or millet to forma chunky soybean cake. It can be marinated and grilled and added to soups and salads.
  • Soy yogurt contains healthful bacterias and is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  • Soy nut butter is made from roasted soybean has a nutty taste and contains less fat than peanut butter.
  • Nondairy frozen desserts are made from soymilk. Soy ice cream and soy pudding tastes good even with mild sweet.
  • Soy cheese made from soymilk, is creamy in texture makes an easy substitute for the most fatty cheeses, sour cream. It comes in various flavours too.
  • Soy bean patty made with soybean, mushroom, onion and carrot is a healthy alternative to meat burgers.
  • Soybean sprouts salad is a common Korean side dish. It tastes light with common ingredients like, salt, sesame seed, sesame oil and scallion. Soy bean sprouts are high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat and sugar.
  • Soy protein bar is a great snack and is a convenient, on-the-go crispy bar with protein and fiber.

A serving equals 1 cup (240ml) of soymilk, edamame 1 cup (155g) or ½ (130g) cup of tofu.

Regular physical activity and a balanced meal every day keeps you fit for longer.


Pear : Good for your gut

Pears are valuable fruit that has been savored widely for its delicious flavor. Pears are one of the lowest calorie fruits. A medium size pear (170g) provides 5-6g of fibre and 100 calories.  Pears are also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.

Easiest way to increase the fibre intake is to increase consumption of fruits & vegetables. Fibre in the pear help prevent constipation and promote a healthier digestive tract. Most of the fibre in pear functions as laxative in the gut that supports regular bowel movement, for the excretion of toxins from the body. The pear fibre binds to cancer causing toxin and chemicals of the colon and help prevent the membrane of the intestine from contact with these harmful chemicals. Also high-fibre foods help lower the risk of developing diabetes and maintain blood sugar levels.

In addition to fibre pears are packed with hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acid that help prevent  cancer.

Pear contains vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins like folate, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and minerals like potassium, iron, and  magnesium. Boron  in pear help bolster the calcium in our bodies and help prevent osteoporosis. These vitamins and minerals are found concentrated underneath the skin. So, pears should be eaten with its skin to get the maximum nutrients benefits.

Pear also contains carotenoids, flavonols, anthocyanin ( the red skinned pears) and these compounds along with vitamin C & A help protect the body from harmful free radicals.

Keep unripe pear in a basket at room temperature for 1-2 days for the fruit to ripe.

Pears also contain fructose (6g/100g). Recommended fructose intake is 15-25g. It is wise to  consume pear,100g, once or twice a week.

Regular exercise and balanced food will help maintain weight and reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease.


Good Gut: Happy Gut

Gut health is important, for the health of the body starts with the gut to help reduce the risk of conditions like bowel cancer, constipation. The food you consume is broken down to fats, proteins, and simple carbohydrates in the gut and it is obvious that gut should always be in good condition to function efficiently to process the food that is consumed.

The problems in the digestive tract could be the one that affects the rest of your body and indirectly contributing to the symptoms like, a feeling of unwell, bloating, wind, pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in appetite.

Dieting, avoiding entire food groups in the name of weight reduction will sabotage your gut health. Human gut often referred to as the “Second Brain.” When your gut is upset, your brain struggles, naturally!

When the gut health is affected, for example when the gut is unable to produce sufficient enzyme, the food will not be digested completely. The undigested food particles will then reach the bloodstream that causes inflammation.  Environmental toxins consumed through food will damage the villi, specialized for the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.

Craving for sweets can mean you have an imbalance of gut bacteria. Overgrowth of yeast in the system results when good bacteria are wiped of the intestine especially after a course or two of antibiotics.

When your gut is healthy, the rest of your organs will come into alignment better. So eating right will make sure that your gut is getting what it needs and function efficiently. It is true that the quality of food you eat affects your quality of life and energy production.

Tips to improve gut health

  • Healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients always begins with a simple act of chewing the food. Chewing is the preliminary process of proper digestion. If food is not chewed properly, the digestion process is going to be much harder, later in the gut.
  • A mix of raw and cooked vegetables will enhance the digestive health. Enzymes in the raw food plays major role in digestion of food and healing & detoxing of the intestine as well. Balanced food along with physical activity will help eliminate toxins from the body.
  • Drink enough water, which is essential for a normal bowel function. Think twice before grabbing fizzy drink or juice. Soda and too much coffee too, will lead to dehydration and sap out your energy, as well.
  • Fiber-rich foods keeps you full for longer and also help in digestion. Soluble fiber slows digestion and help absorb the nutrients efficiently. Cereal fibers resist digestion and retain water which act as highly effective laxative.
  • Gut microbiota contains trillion of microorganisms, both good and bad. Consuming foods with probiotic strains (lactobacillus and bifidobacteria) will help maintain a healthy gut.

Can you believe that gut imbalance of the microbiota triggers depressive symptom! You should always see that your gut eco system is in a balanced state because the harmful bacteria in the intestine will produce toxic by-products that lowers serotonin levels, causing depression. Serotonin, an important chemical neurotransmitter is produced in the brain and gut. About 80-90% of the serotonin is produced in the gut and it is the chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance.  The friendly bacteria will block the harmful microbes from setting up camp in the gut.

Gut- friendly bacteria regulates digestion and metabolism. They extract and produce vitamins and other nutrients through the food we eat, every day.  When you take probiotic, the amount of friendly bacteria increases in the intestine that help in boosting the body’s immune system. 

To balance the good and bad bacteria in the intestine it is crucial that you consume probiotic rich food every day. Fermented food like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, naturally contain probiotics that help maintain a healthy gut.

Pistachios, bananas, plantain, onions, garlic, oats, quinoa, millet and chia seeds are prebiotic foods that help increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut.

Swap out refined foods for whole grains, plants, fruits, seeds and nuts for a good gut health.


Prunes are Plums

Prune is the dried version of any type of plum.   There are many types of plums. The dried version of the European plum (Prunus domestica), is the one that is commonly found in stores. There are other versions of plums like Prunus Americana and Prunus Salicina.

Prunes are concentrated source of:



Vitamin A, B, K









There is 7g of fiber per 100 of fruit.  A serving is 3-4 fruits that gives roughly 3g of fiber which is about 12% of daily value.  Dried plums retain both soluble and insoluble fiber and sorbitol. Soluble fiber helps slow down the absorption of glucose that stabilizes blood glucose level.  80% of the fiber in prunes is soluble fiber. Prunes have about 15% sorbitol when other fruits contains less than 5% of the same. The sorbitol, like fiber, absorbs more water and also increases the intestinal microorganisms that improves the guts’ health.

Prunes are rich sources of Glucose, fructose, sorbitol and sucrose. But prunes do not spike blood sugar because it is compact with natural fibers. So, consumption of prunes should be not more than 3-4 prunes.

Fresh plums are filled with water and so packed with water soluble vitamin C, too.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that help prevent the formation of free radicals in the body. But we should also keep in mind that plum fruits, during the process of drying will lose its water and vitamin C and ends as a source of concentrated sugar with other nutrients and fiber.  It is the high sugar content that helps dry this fruit without fermentation.  So, 3-4 prunes can be taken, twice or thrice a week but not every day.

It also sounds good that prunes have lower GI when compared to other common dry fruits like raisins, figs and dates.  This low GI number is because of the fiber it is packed with. Fiber keeps you full for longer and helps relieve constipation, too!

Prunes are rich in antioxidants (polyphenols), lutein, cryptoxanthin, chlorogenic acid, coumaric acid that prevents cell mutation and reduce cancer cell formation.

Potassium, an essential mineral found in prunes helps maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

Vitamin A promotes strong vision and prevents macular degeneration and cataracts.

Small children’s digestive system in not fully developed and their requirements are much lesser than adults. Seek doctor’s advice before adding prunes to your child’s favorite food because excess amount will show the symptoms of diarrhea.

It is easy to incorporate prunes to our daily meal. Prunes can be added to oats cereal, porridge that requires no extra added sugar. Prunes are very sweet and can be taken alone or with mixed nuts or salads. Oats porridge with prunes, a delicious and colorful breakfast!

Regular exercise and right portion of meals, every day, will help maintain your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol.



Super food


Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world and fresh bananas are available year-round. Adding sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal sounds great for breakfast. Bananas are packed with flavonoids, beta carotene a powerful antioxidant that gobbles free radical. In addition, it is a good source of potassium important for controlling the heart rate and blood pressure. Vitamin B6 in banana, help prevent anemia.

Increase happiness

Bananas help to overcome depression by releasing mood regulating substance called tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the brain that elevates mood and makes you happier!


Bananas, a pack of energy punch, good supplier of carbohydrate necessary to replace the muscle glycogen after your heavy work out. Before a strenuous workout, it help sustain your blood sugar. Blend a banana with a cup of soy milk and a teaspoon of honey and refrigerate. Enjoy a chill smoothie after workout!

Bowel health

Bananas are high in soluble fiber that acts as prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel that helps relieve constipation and restore regular bowel function.


Bananas are high in potassium that helps lower blood pressure and protect against heart diseases and help the body’s circulatory system, deliver oxygen to the brain. Potassium help transport more oxygen to your brain, that keeps your brain do its job better. If you are taking beta-blockers, prescribed for heart disease, consult with your doctor if potassium level become a concern, for this medication have the potential to increase in the potassium levels.


Bananas are rich in iron that help individuals with anemia. It help stimulation of production of hemoglobin that aids in oxygen transport.


Bananas are rich in pectin, aiding digestion and detoxification process in the body. It soothes the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea. Banana Smoothie, a wonderful energy punch.

A sliced banana mixed with sliced strawberries, mandarin orange and a teaspoon of honey and chopped mint leaves, makes a great dessert.  Enjoy with your family!