To lose weight: Go sweet on mangoes!

Mango is a super food. A good snack. It is a versatile fruit that is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, potassium, and copper.IMG_6873

Do you know that mangoes decrease the risk of obesity and diabetes? It is true that ripe mangoes are high in sugars, and have a High GI. But this does not mean that diabetics and weight watchers should be banned from having it. It can, always be combined, with a low GI food to reduce the GI and balance the calories! The total amount of carbohydrates affects blood sugar levels more than does the source of carbohydrate or starch or sugar. 1/2 cup (85 grams) cubed mango contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate (60 calories).

One half of a small mango is a good source of both soluble (1.7g) and insoluble fibers (1.2g). Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol absorption and insoluble fibers help bowel movements and get rid of constipation.

How about having a mango, cucumber salad, for dinner. Cucumber is very low in calorie and GI too! Sounds good….

The antioxidant zeaxanthin, in mangoes, plays a protective role in eye health that ward off damage from macular degeneration.

Mangoes are rich in Beta carotene. β (beta)-carotene, a pro-vitamin A.  According to the study by Harvard School of Public Health, beta-carotene plays major role against preventing the prostate cancer. βcarotene is converted to vitamin A, an essential nutrient. It has antioxidant activity, that helps protect cells from damage. Being an important flavonoid compound, βcarotene has powerful antioxidant functions, helps scavenge free radicals, there by limiting the damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures in the cell. High dietary intake of β-carotene

Sweet potato, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, turnip greens, spinach mustard greens, carrots, butternut squash, collards, swiss chard, lettuce, apricots, guava, papaya, watermelon, basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, pistachios are also good sources of β-carotene.

It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Vitamin C helps scavange harmful free radicals. The vitamin B6 or pyridoxine in mangoes, help control homocystiene in the blood, which is harmful to blood vessels, resulting in stroke. Along with Vitamin C, β-carotene, is found to increase lung capacity and relieve respiratory problems, as well as protect from asthma, bronchitis.

Copper, a co-factor for many vital enzymes, is found in moderate amount in mangoes. Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.

Mango peel is rich in phytonutrients, too!

Mango fruit-Nutrition Value per 100 g

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy 70 Kcal 3.5%
Carbohydrates 17 g 13%
Protein 0.5 g 1%
Total Fat 0.27 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.80 g 4.5%

Vitamins

Folates 14 µg 3.5%
Niacin 0.584 mg 3.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.160 mg 1%
Pyridoxine (Vit B-6) 0.134 mg 10%
Riboflavin 0.057 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.058 mg 5%
Vitamin C 27.7 mg 46%
Vitamin A 765 IU 25.5%
Vitamin E 1.12 mg 7.5%
Vitamin K 4.2 µg 3.5%

Electrolytes

Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 156 mg 3%

Minerals

Calcium 10 mg 1%
Copper 0.110 mg 12%
Iron 0.13 mg 1.5%
Magnesium 9 mg 2%
Manganese 0.027 mg 1%
Zinc 0.04 mg 0%

Phyto-nutrients

Carotene-β 445 µg
Carotene-α 17 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β 11 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg
Lycopene 0 µg

Mango, the king of fruits!

Enjoy this wonderful fruit by adding it to salsa, smoothies and salads. Its sweet flavour make it an excellent ingredients in pies and muffins!  

Moderation is the key. 1/2 cup (85 g) cubed mango – 60 calories. 

 

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Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals that are associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle – related health conditions.

Focus on a balanced diet and regular physical activity to maintain a good health.

References:

www.mayoclinic.com

www.webmd.com

http://www.diabetes.org/

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Understanding Protein

Muscle tissue is often the first bodily structure that strikes your mind when considering protein existence in the body. Indeed, the majority of the body’s protein exists in the form of skeletal, bone, and organ tissues! Proteins are also part of enzymes, antibodies, lipoproteins, hormones, hemoglobin, albumin and are profoundly powerful.

Meat, poultry, seafood, beans & peas, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds are considered best sources of protein foods.

Wonder what makes almonds a high-quality protein and egg & meat considered, a complete protein food?

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Protein in the human body is composed of 20 amino acids. More than half of these (called non-essential amino acids) can be synthesized by the human body. Nine of them (called essential amino acids) should be obtained through the diet, for the body cannot manufacture them!

Animal protein and egg are considered High-quality, high biological value and complete protein foods, for they contain all the essential amino acids.

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Histine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine are the 9 essential amino acids. They have vital role in – regulating your mood & sleep, muscle metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, the production of sulphur, regulating blood sugar, aiding the production of collagen, antibody formation, and regulating the central and peripheral nervous system.

Proteins’ functions are really wonderful and amazing!

For example, Tryptophan helps maintain your body’s serotonin and melatonin, the neurotransmitters levels that plays vital role in the regulation of mood and sleep. Isn’t it obvious that low levels of tryptophan can lead to depression and insomnia? Chocolate, mangoes, dairy products, oats, eggs, fish, chickpeas, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good sources of tryptophan. Drinking milk before bed, makes sense!

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Leucine, another essential amino acid,  increases the muscle mass and helps muscle recovery after exercise. Dairy products, meat, soy protein, nuts & seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin) are listed as good sources of leucine

Beans & peas are good sources of plant protein and are considered vegetable alternatives for meat. In addition, they also provide iron and zinc. Though they are similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution to protein, plant proteins are referred as incomplete protein, for they are difficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Grains tend to be low in lysine and beans are low in methionine and cysteine.

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Of the plant proteins soy, quinoa are considered complete and high-quality protein! Almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins & minerals and need no fortification!

Get a good mix of protein

Vegan should consider the quality of protein while planning their meal. It is important to consume a variety of plant protein foods to get all the essential amino acids over the course of the day. It is very easy to meet the recommendations for protein, through varied diet throughout the day. The key is to consume a variety and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie and nutrient needs. 

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Combining plant proteins, generally referred as “Complementary proteins,” is the best way to achieve all the essential amino acids.

Beans and rice, beans and corn, beans and wheat, white cheddar with whole wheat pasta, yogurt with flax seeds, green salad with nuts & seeds, mango & quinoa salad, whole wheat or rye bread and peanut butter are few of the examples of combined complementary proteins.

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Avocado fruit, widely considered as vegetable, mixed with beans and corn is an excellent combined complementary proteins salad! Avocado contains a generous amount of omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids, too!

Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids and is gluten free!

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Quinoa-mango salad – colourful and highly nutritious!

Tender beans & peas are also considered part of the vegetable groups, for they are good sources of fibers and potassium. Beans and  peas are recommended, for both vegetarian and non-vegetarians because of their high nutrient content.

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You need to pay attention to the package of the protein, too!

For example, in beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains, protein comes in a package with healthful fiber and micronutrients. When you consider meat or whole milk, it is just the contrary! The protein comes packaged with unhealthy fat!

Though animal proteins are considered as, “High – quality, high biological value and complete protein food, they are also high in saturated fats!” Diets high in animal fats will not give a reduced risk of heart disease. So, go lean with protein:

  • Round steaks top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder are the leanest beef cuts.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.

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  • Choose boiling, broiling, grilling, roasting or poaching cooking methods instead of frying. Avoid breading or battering the meat, poultry or fish. Breading adds calories, battering absorbs more oil there by increasing the calories!

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  • Opt for low-fat dairy products.

For recommended daily amounts of protein, click: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/ProteinFoods/food-groups.protein-foods-amount.pdf

Protein supplement is the spot light these days! There are many advertisements too, for protein supplements like whey protein, casein, soy protein, protein-energy bars & cookies, testosterone-fueled protein products. Are they truly necessary for you?  Many nutritional experts say “No…….,” to supplements.  

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and lean meats & sea foods will give you all the essential nutrients your body requires for optimal health.

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There are many articles touting high protein diet. These high-protein diets, are gaining more popularity among those who want to drop pounds and build muscles. A total misguidance. These plans restrict carbs and the major source of protein is the red meat and full-fat dairy products, rich in saturated fats that raises the risk of cardiac disease! So, protein alone, as a tool for weight loss or weight maintenance, should not be encouraged.

Recently, I had a conversation with a taxi driver, a very beautiful lady, on “Health & Nutrition!” She did mention that there was no time for her to concentrate on physical activity and doesn’t like to take fruits. Also said that she is taking supplements especially, the protein and much more interested to go for vitamins & mineral supplements! I am not very comfortable with her, taking a protein supplement, which she really doesn’t need! She was not convinced when I said no to supplements. So, with much caution and care, I did explain that protein supplements are designed for the professional athletes who are involved with intense training and for patients with muscle wasting. I discouraged her, who hardly does exercise, from having these protein supplements. I  encouraged her to do exercise minimum 30mins/day (10-minute increment) and take more fruits and vegetables for vitamins & minerals with whole grains, beans and lean meat! When we reached the destination, with a broad smile, she did agree to take a balanced diet and will try to do physical activities, in future!

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Protein supplements, even for athletes is only upon consultation with doctors and sports dietitian based on their training load, daily energy requirements, and their general dietary intake. Many protein-amino acid supplementation are linked to dehydration, hypercalciuria, weight gain, and stress on liver & kidneys! So, in general, athletes are encouraged to opt for small, frequent servings of high-quality protein rich foods that will not only provide adequate protein but also other nutrients that the body requires!

Why supplements when you can get good amount of protein, vitamins, minerals from the balanced food you eat everyday?

I would like to conclude that, “ A balanced diet rich in vegetables & fruits, dairy products, nuts & seeds, beans, lean meats, and whole grains will give the body adequate calorie, protien, vitamins & minerals required for optimal health.” Well balanced meals with regular physical activities, everyday, help manage your weight easily!

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References