Power Your Brain

Controlling the risk factors of chronic disease, like heart disease and diabetes with healthy food and regular physical activity will help us keep our brain active and healthy. Physical activity along with healthy foods will strengthen the brain cells, especially the memory and learning.

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Higher the amount of trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, higher the risk of ischemic stroke.  Besides that, excess salt intake increases the blood pressure and stroke risk.

Free radicals in the bloodstream will strike and sabotage our cells. Prolonged exposure of free radicals will reduce the flexibility and harden the arteries  that eventually elevates blood pressure. Furthermore these free radicals will damage the brain cells and impede the message transmission. It is cut-clear that free radicals will fast forward our aging process and if we don’t grapple this, we are likely to experience age-related memory loss, skin wrinkles, stiff joints and hardening of arteries.

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Fortunately we have plenty of foods loaded with powerful antioxidants, available in the market. These strong antioxidants will interact with free radicals and prevent the cell damage.  Polyphenols, named anthocyanins, found in berries and dark pigmented fruits and vegetables help slow cognitive decline through their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

People who enjoy food rich in fruits & vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fatty oils are less likely to have ischemic stroke and depression than those who consume high meat and dairy foods.

Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients will protect our brain cells from oxidation and free radical damage.

Complex carbohydrates, in starchy foods like wholegrain breads, pasta and rice releases energy slowly that helps brain to function in a stable way. For better concentration and mental performance whole grains are better than refined foods.

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Vegetables

Spinach, mustard greens, parsley, avocado, olives and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E. Spinach and broccoli are also rich in folate and Swiss chard is high in Vitamin E and also Vitamin C, a powerful anti oxidant. Beet is an excellent root vegetable rich in nitrates that increases blood flow to the brain.

 Fruits

Papaya is a good source of Vitamin A one of the powerful antioxidants. Citrus fruits, Kiwi, Mango and Strawberries  are rich in Vitamin C.  In addition strawberries are rich in folate and mango is loaded with Vitamin A. Pineapple is another fruit rich in vitamin C and in addition it contains bromelain, an enzyme that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

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 Fiber

Fiber just keeps our brain function at its best. We all know that our brain operates on sugar. But the sugar must be delivered in a very stready stream  and in the right amount. Flooding the blood with sugar, our brain gets overwhelmed. Fibrous food will help release the sugar in our blood gradually.

Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, peas & beans are rich in fiber and in addition they are good sources of magnesium that protects from age-related memory loss.

 Fish

Our human brain is 60% fat. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Omega 3 that promotes healthy heart also helps our brain. DHA, one of the omega fatty aids, is the primary structural fatty acid of the brain that promotes communication between cells and message transmission. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring, tuna sardines, can help fend off numerous brain diseases. Trans fat is bad for the brain because it will interrupt the functions of the essential fatty acids. Processed foods and commercial chocolates, margarines, shortening, baked goods are high in trans-fat.

Look through the labels before purchasing the products.

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Tryptophan & Tyrosine

Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry brain signals. Tryptophan and tyrosine are few among the components of neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an anxiety calmer and sleep promoter and Tyrosine is a metabolism booster and anti-depressant.  Seafood, lean meat, eggs, soy, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and dairy products are good sources nuerotransmitter-building foods. Grass-feed lean red meat are also is rich in vitamin B-12 that is vital for the brain function and iron that help transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.

 Hydration

Be sure to drink water at regular intervals. Our mental energy is decreased even if we are slightly dehydrated . Dehydration causes fatigue and impairs memory. Drinking water, at least 2 litres every day, will keep our body and brain hydrated.  Drinking tea with low-calories will improve your arteries. The polyphenols in tea exhibits antioxidant properties. Consider sipping different types of teas like-English tea, Green tea, Peppermint tea, for both black and green provide different beneficial compounds.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate, as  we all know is associated with a positive influence on mood. In addition the dark chocolate help scavenge free radicals through catechin a group of plant polyhphenols.

Antioxidant-rich foods

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Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cranberries), Dragon fruit, Dark green vegetables, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bell peppers.

Vitamin A

Carrot, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Peaches, Mangoes, Papaya, Apricots, Cantaloupe

Vitamin E

Nuts, Seeds, Wheat germ, Whole grains, Vegetable oil, Fish, Green leafy vegetables

Selenium

Eggs, Chicken, Red meat, Shell fish, Whole grains, Mushroom

Lycopene

Tomatoes, Guava, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Guava

Regular physical activity and healthy food  help reduce inflammation, oxidative stressadn other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure all of which have a role in increasing the risk for brain and heart diseases.

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References

http://www.diabetes.org

http://www.neurological.org.nz

http://www.eatright.org

http://www.mayoclinic.org

http://www.webmd.com

 

Prevent: Diabetes complications

Prevention of Diabetes complications.

Get your blood glucose checked for pre-diabetes if you are:

45yrs or older and overweight/not overweight

Under 45yrs, but overweight are at increased risk for diabetes.

Checking for prediabetes is more important because the symptoms are not obvious and you may not know that you have them and often, it goes untreated.

If you have pre-diabetes it means you might get type 2 diabetes soon or later in future and you are at high risk to get heart disease or stroke.

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Delay or prevent type 2 diabetes

Do you know that 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity along with a 5-10% weight loss produced a 58% reduction in diabetes!

If you weigh: Losing 5-10% is
150 pounds (68 kg) 8-15 pounds (3.5 kg- 7kg)
175 pounds (79 kg) 9-18 pounds  (4 kg- 8 kg )
200 pounds (91 kg) 10-20 pounds ( 4.5kg – 9kg)
225 pounds (102 kg) 11-23 pounds ( 5 kg – 10.5kg)
250 pounds (113 kg) 13-25 pounds  (6 kg – 11 kg)
300 pounds (136 kg) 15-30 pounds  (7kg -14 kg)

 

You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with nutritious eating, regular physical activity, and moderate weight loss and balancing them is the cornerstone of prevention.

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Nutritious eating is limiting saturated fats (butter, cheese, fatty meats), cutting back on total amount of fat (less oils, salad dressing, fried foods), eating more fiber, eating fruits and vegetables along with each meal.

Regular, moderate physical activity, 30 mins a day, will help you to reduce weight gradually. Brisk walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day), bicycling, jogging, dancing every day will keep your sugar level under control.

Regular physical activity will help lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It strengthens your heart, lung, and circulatory systems, strengthens bones, increases muscle tone and stamina and improves your sleep, decreases stress, improves blood flow to your brain and keeps you happy.

Reducing calories and increasing physical activity must go hand-in-hand. Weight loss happens when your energy output (activity) is greater than energy input (calories).

You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound (0.45kg)! A combination of meal planning and physical activity is most successful.

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Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating

  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Choose non-fat or low-fat dairy products
  • Choose lean meats
  • Remove the visible fat from meat
  • Enjoy leafy vegetables along with whole grains and lean meat or beans
  • Snack in between meals

Tips to increase your activity

  • Be active every day
  • Take stairs instead of elevator
  • Take 5-10 minute walk after each meal
  • Go dancing, cycling with family or friends

Monitor your success

  • Keep a diary of your eating and physical activity
  • Track your weight loss
  • Be patient and don’t give up

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Baked apples

Baked apples with cherries and almonds

SERVES 6

Ingredients
1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped almonds
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 small Golden Delicious apples, about 1 3/4 pounds total weight
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dark honey
2 teaspoons walnut oil or canola oil

Baked apples with cherries and almonds

Dietitian’s Tip:

Any good baking apple, such as Golden Delicious, Rome, or Granny Smith will hold its shape beautifully for this dish. Serve it as a light dessert, or alongside roasted pork or pork tenderloin.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, toss together the cherries, almonds, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.

The apples can be left unpeeled, if you like. To peel the apples in a decorative fashion, with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, remove the peel from each apple in a circular motion, skipping every other row so that rows of peel alternate with rows of apple flesh. Working from the stem end, core each apple, stopping 3/4 inch from the bottom.

Divide the cherry mixture evenly among the apples, pressing the mixture gently into each cavity. Arrange the apples upright in a heavy ovenproof frying pan or small baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the apple juice and water into the pan. Drizzle the honey and oil evenly over the apples, and cover the pan snugly with aluminum foil. Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the apples to individual plates and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving)

Calories 179

Protein 2 g

Carbohydrate 37 g

Total fat 4 g

Saturated fat 0 g

Monounsaturated fat 2 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 5 mg

Dietary fiber 5 g

Source: MayoClinic.org

Big Vs small

egg big small 1

Whether big or small, an egg is always loaded with vital nutrients. Egg is one among the complete protein foods (red-meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, soybean, buckwheat, quinoa), for it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for the human body.

An egg white, to a large extent, contains protein, magnesium, potassium and sodium when compared to the egg yolk that contains fats, protein (lesser amount), calcium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin A, B6, B12 and cholesterol. The yellow of the egg is because of xanthophyll pigment, a type of chlorophyll present in the plant they feed on.

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Iron in egg is considered non-heme iron that requires Vitamin C to get absorbed by the body.  Iron is a major component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. So, it is more important see that the nutrients consumed are efficiently absorbed by the body.

Toast with egg and grapes or kiwi, a delicious meal to start your day with.

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There are different types of whole eggs, like chicken, quail, duck, goose, and turkey.

Cute little quail eggs are just 1/5th size of a chicken egg. It takes much lesser time to cook the quail eggs than a chicken eggs.

Brown eggs and white eggs makes no difference in their nutritional package. It is the size of the egg that determines the amount of the nutrients, not the color. Also, there is’nt much difference in energy, protein and fat between caged and cage-free chicken. The cage-free chickens are free to move and get good exposure of sunlight. So, cage-free chicken’s eggs slightly higher in vitamin D when compared to caged chicken!

 

Nutrients Chicken 50g Quail 9g Duck70g Turkey 79g Goose 144g
50g 100g 9g 100g 70g 100g 79g 100g 144g 100g
Protein 6g 13g 1g 13g 9g 13g 11g 14g 20g 14g
Fat 5g 10g 1g 11g 10g 14g 9g 12g 19g 13g
Cholesterol 186

mg

372

mg

76

mg

844

mg

619 mg 884

mg

737

mg

933

mg

1227

mg

852

mg

Enjoy the egg along with whole grains, fruits and vegetables!

Regular exercise and variety of foods keeps you fit!

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

http://www.webmd.com/

 

 

A blend of spice and culture!

Malay food is known for its vibrant, diverse flavors and rich spices like kaffir lime, lemon grass, ginger, black peeper, coriander and turmeric.

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The moment you think of Malay food, series of dishes like laksa, nasi lemak, rendang, mee goreng, nasi goreng, mee rebus, gulai tumis, asam pedas, ayam paprik, satay, ikan bakar, and rojak that hits your brain and the list too, goes on. Roti canai, a bread served with curry sauce is a common food enjoyed for breakfast.

Malay dishes are rich in spices and coconut that gives richness and a hint of sweet aroma. For example, Beef rendang unfold in layers with an opening flavors of lemon grass and ginger, followed by a strong chili, beef and creamy coconut milk.

We all accept that coconut milk is high in saturated fats and therefore we tend to control the intake of coconut based foods to avoid the risk of getting heart diseases.

Dishes, made with less coconut and more vegetables are really delicious. For example, Nasi kerabu is a wonderful, delicious mixed rice with grilled and flaked mackerel (ikan kembung), roasted grated coconut, vegetables and herbs. This dish can be easily prepared at home and can limit the amount of coconut as well.

There are also many delicious Malay dishes, with no coconut milk added!

Popiah, a type of fresh spring roll, filled with shredded vegetables, is a popular street food in Malaysia. Otak-otak another street and party food is a mixture of fish and spice paste, wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued. It is an easy and simple dish to be made at home with less salt.

Homemade mee-goreng is a real zest with a flavor of garlic, tomato, fresh bean sprouts, dried bean curd, potato, chili, shallots and scallions with a dash of sugar and salt, stirred with yellow noodles!

Penang Assam laksa is another delicacy! It is a hot and sour noodle dish with mackerel fish in tamarind soup base, garnished with cucumber, mint leaves, Vietnamese mint leaves, ginger flower, lettuce, chili and pineapple.

Laksa (with coconut milk ) Vs Penang Laksa (no coconut milk)

Laksa (with coconut milk ) Vs Penang Laksa (no coconut milk)

 

Gulai tumis, a sour & hot tamarind fish curry over the rice is so delicious that everything on the plate would be gone in a minute. The garnish of ginger flower (bunga kantan in Malay) adds grassy and citrus aroma to the dish.

Ayam paprik, spicy chicken stir-fry is a colorful delicious dish with chicken, onion, green beans, bell pepper, carrot and cauliflower. It is an easy recipe to prepare at home. Just heat oil and stir-in garlic, chili paste, chicken breast pieces, green beans, carrot, red and green bell pepper, pounded chilies and a dash of salt.  This dish goes well with a bowl of steamed rice for lunch or dinner. Ayam goreng kunyit (turmeric fried chicken), is another chicken stir-fry dish with turmeric, long beans, onion, garlic, and chili.

Sambal eggplant is made with eggplant, sambal and dried shrimps. The sambal, a stir-fried chili paste made with chilies (both dried and fresh), shallots and garlic, adds color and flavor to the dish. Steamed rice and sambal eggplant, a colorful combination!

Malay food is a mixture of Chinese, Thai, and Indian with herbs, spices and rich in flavor. Enjoy the blend of spice & culture and the regular physical activities, as well!

Dairy:Good

 

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If you are looking for milk there are plenty of milk staked on supermarket shelves like-cow’s milk, goat’s milk, milk alternatives like-soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oats milk and this is not the end of the list.

You can find cow’s milk with different labels homogenised,  pasteurised, long-life, organic and so on. There are more than 70 different kinds of milk available!  Among them the most dominant milk products are full cream- 3.2% fat, light/low-fat- less than 1.5% fat and skim milk-less than 0.15% fat.

Some find goat’s milk easier to digest when compared to cow’s milk. The fat globules in the goat’s milk are much smaller and don’t cluster. This is the reason that goat’s milk is much easier to digest than cow’s milk.  The cow’s milk is homogenised to reduce the size of the fats that enhances an easy digestion.

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Cheese is a delicious and nutritious food. There are varieties of cheese, like American, Blue, Cheddar, Feta,  Mozzarella, Parmesan and the list goes on. Cheese contains calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and B12. But they are also high in fat per ounce – American 8.9g, Cheddar 9.4 g, Swiss-7.9g, Mozzarella 4.5g, Parmesan 1.4 g. To reduce the fat, grate or sprinkle harder cheeses over your dishes.

Lactose is the major sugar in the milk. The body breaks down lactose with the help of enzyme lactase. If you are lactose-intolerant, you may experience stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea once you drink milk, because you may be in lack of  the enzyme lactase. Lactose-free milk,  lactose removed from the milk might help you!

Lactose-intolerants can easily tolerate yogurt. Yogurt is a fermented product of milk. During the process of fermentation, the bacterial culture added to milk, will utilize lactose to multiply in the colon. So, the sugar in the milk is naturally reduced.

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Some are allergic to milk protein like-casein or whey or both.  A person at any age can have milk allergy, but it is more common among infants. Most kids, allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to goat’s, sheep’s and buffalo’s milk. Usually the allergy goes away once the child is 3 or 4 years. Some children never overgrow it. So, should seek doctor’s advice about the alternatives to milk-based formulas and foods.

Milk is an easy source of calcium, the bone mineral. A glass of low-fat milk 250ml will provide 300mg of calcium per day. The energy loaded in a glass of milk is roughly around 115kcal, and you get 8.3g of protein, 2.5 g of saturated fat, 25mg of cholesterol, and 13 g of carbohydrate (sugar) from the same.

It is true that full-cream milk/dairy products may be more satiating but the American Heart Association recommends low-fat or fat-free milk/dairy products as part of a healthy diet to reduce the calories and lose/maintain weight.

yogurt

References:

http://www.webmd.com/

http://www.heart.org/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

 

 

 

Right food and Perfect Workout to Gain Weight

Being lean sounds great, but being underweight because of poor nutrition doesn’t sound healthy at all. Being underweight, you are more likely to pick up infections. Dearth of vitamins and minerals will hinder your growth if you are still in the growing stage and not consuming enough calcium will definitely affect your bones. With insufficient weight, you are highly vulnerable to develop osteoporosis, too. Anemia, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body, is the most frequently encountered blood disorder by underweight individuals.

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No worries, for there is always a healthy meal plan for a safe and effective weight gain just like a healthy weight loss plan.

Start small

An additional 200 calories a day will help your body respond well and support a gradual weight gain. Drinking mixed juices for additional calories will help improve your weight. For example, banana with peach, apple with berries, papaya with orange or lime or mango. They are rich in natural sugar and at the same time contain a combination of  vitamins & minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Consume food with additional calories (from whole grains), vitamins & minerals, but not from high fat or sugar rich food.

Embrace the complex carbohydrate

Simple carbs like white bread and white rice will cause an insulin spike, whereas the complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly in the body. Whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, whole grain chappatis, brown rice, brown rice noodles, quinoa, oats, barley, corn, sweet potatoes, parsnips, peas and lentils, and soy beans are good sources of complex carbohydrates. Okra, carrots, yams, snow peas, radish, beans, apples, pears, cucumbers and prunes are also rich in complex carbohydrates.

Kick start your day with quinoa pan cakes or chicken barley vegetable soup. It sounds balanced with protein, calories, fibres, vitamins and minerals.

Why don’t you try brown rice with beef or chicken, black beans and bell pepper or grilled fish with whole grain pasta and beans for lunch?

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Enjoy fat in moderation

Treat yourself twice a week with baked salmon or mackerel accompanied by mango salsa or Swiss chard that is colorful and rich in flavor. This dish is loaded with healthy omega fats and vitamins. Fatty fish at least twice a week will help improve the health of your heart.

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Some underweight people have the feeling that they have a lower risk of diabetes and blood cholesterol. It is not true. A slim person can have high levels of visceral fat that plays a key role in developing diabetes. Slim person should also have their cholesterol checked regularly, for the liver naturally makes cholesterol and circulates in the blood. Higher the intake of saturated fats, higher the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver.

Stir fried, lean beef with red bell pepper, baby corn, bean sprouts, scallions served with rice or noodles is another option that sounds delicious for lunch. This meal is packed with protein, iron, vitamins and minerals that help body to gradually gain weight. Vegetarians could try cooked spinach and mixed dhal. Churning the mixture gives you a gravy texture that goes well with both bread and rice. Top up your salads with avocado, nuts, and olives to reap the benefits of omega fats.

Mackerel fish curry with okra and egg plant is rich in protein, fibre and vitamins and is perfect for dinner. Egg plants are rich in Vitamin K and bioflavonoids which strengthen the capillaries.

Snack between meals

Nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, jicama, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green salads with egg, healthy milk shakes are good t’ween meals. Fruits with low-fat milk shake topped with nuts for mid-morning will give you adequate nutrients for muscle building. Quinoa with kidney beans and an egg salad is ample for a tea break.

Snacking on banana and milk before bedtime is awesome for serotonin formation which also aids good sleep.

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Exercise

Strength training exercises help gain weight by building up muscles.  You just need to lift or push weights.  Weights and resistance bands together will help achieve the strength. You don’t have to go out and buy weights for strength exercises. You just need to find something you can hold on to, easily. For example, you can hold a 500 ml water bottle in each arm and raise both the arms to your shoulder height for 5 secs and repeat 10-15 times. You can also hold a tennis ball or rubber ball and slowly squeeze as hard as you can and hold it for 3-5 secs, then squeeze slowly and repeat 10 times. That’s it.

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Enjoy colorful meals with regular exercise, every day. You will gain weight, gradually!

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References:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

http://www.webmd.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/