Posts Tagged ‘minerals’

Cereal Grains:A NUTRITIONAL COMPROMISE

Since the time that mankind is present on this earth, the natural diet of humans has been food that could be hunted, fished, gathered or plucked. As my main topic today is “GRAINS” I would only be focussing on talking about them as foods that were plucked – “seasonal fruits and veggies” is another topic altogether to discuss which is beyond the limit of this discussion. I will save my next post for that.

So, coming to GRAINS (The so called “Good Carbs”)

Man rarely ever consumed cereal grains up until about 10,000 years ago. With the increase in population the supply of the natural resources became more limited, thus it became necessary to provide supplementary means of nourishment and thus agriculture was born 10,000 years ago.

The eight cereal grains (wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye and millet) provide 56% of the calories and 50% of the protein consumed on this planet.

On one hand we would not have cities, civilisations and industrialisation without cereal grains, on the other hand cereal grains are a nutritional compromise. Today if we take away rice, wheat and corn almost 1/2 the people on this planet will not eat. The decreasing supplies of our ancestral natural diet of wild animals and wild plants, along with huge increase in the planet’s population has made agriculture a necessity for survival.

Cereal grains are not nearly as healthy , nor as nutritionally complete, nor as perfectly suited to our ancient digestive wiring as the foods that these grains have replaced. Ex. milk and cereals in place of bacon and eggs for breakfast.

The health complications and implications of eating a diet high in cereal grains, way different from the diet that we were designed to eat are recently beginning to be understood.

As Dr.Loren Cordain points out, humans have had little time since inception of agricultural revolution 10,000 yrs ago to adapt to the new food type.

Whole grains are not really any better.
Grains have a host of nutritional shortcomings. It’s finally coming to light that the refined grains which constitute most of our cereals, pastas, and breads – are absolutely useless nutritionally.

The researchers are not 100% sure that the so-called “whole” grains are any better. No grain can be eaten in a completely unrefined state. No one plucks wheat from ground and starts eating.All grains need to be milled and ground to some degree, one reason being that in their natural state they contain many “anti nutrients” called “Phytates” that interfere with the absorption and assimilation of nutrients in the grains, especially the absorption of essential minerals. As compared to the refined grains whole grains have been less processed and milled therefore they contain more of bran the outer coating of the grains providing fibre for the diet.

Most of the “whole grains”  on the cereal packages are fibre lightweights. Its rare to find a cereal with 5g of fibre per serving–most have 1or 2 g fibre per serving ,making it a pretty bad nutritional bargain.

Now comes something crucial “Gluten Issue”. Gluten is a primary component of grains such as barley, rye, oats, and especially wheat. One of the seven top allergens in the diet is wheat. Amongst doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths who practice integrative and functional medicines, their one of the first dietary orders for patients who have multiple complaints is to take them off wheat, dairy and sugar. Dr. Jonny calls Grains the Starch “juggernauts”as almost all of them raise the blood sugar and insulin quickly.

In my personal experience with my clients suffering from high, uncontrolled sugar, allergy issue, fat loss issues etc, putting them off wheat,dairy and sugar allowing only limited gluten free varieties of carb sources , high protein, high fat diet show excellent results within 3 months.

Make a choice out of millets ragi, bajra and jowar. Oats can also be a better choice as they are least processed.😀It is advisable to choose the less processed variety, such as Steel-cut oats or old fashioned rolled oats, to get full health benefits .

Stay tuned, stay updated, stay fit😀

 

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

 

Reference:-

Bowden,J, Ph.D.,C.N.S(2007). The 150 Healthiest foods on earth. Pp:74-75 Beverly,M. A: Fair Winds Press.

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Diabetes- know it better

“Hey dude don’t be sooo sweet, you will give me DIABETES.” , “I just found out I have DIABETES. I am not surprised. I knew i would get it sooner or later since my dad and his side of the family has it.” , “I don’t understand how I got DIABETES? No one in my maternal or paternal family has it.” – These are common questions and statements I hear daily either through my clients or through friends and family.

If you notice, the 1st statement relates diabetes to “Sweet”= food/taste and the 2nd and 3rd to “genetics” and lack of correct “knowledge”.

Since November is the National Diabetes month, I decided to write about Diabetes but with a “DIFFERENCE”.  I am going to stick to the preventive care measures “Nutrition” and “Exercise” to avoid or delay the onset of Diabetes (if heredity turns out stronger here ;)) but these changes will also help those who are already suffering from Diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. Here, our cells are basically starving for the nutrients they need to perform at optimum level. The lack of insulin (secreted by our pancreas) create abnormalities in the metabolism process of the macro nutrients, carbs, protein and fat.

2 types of Diabetes:

Type 1: Autoimmune. Genetic. Present from Childhood.

Type 2: This is the type that comes as a result of  ageing, lifestyle and of course our eating habits.

I am going to talk about type 2 (adult on-set) diabetes.

The main causes of type 2 diabetes, as described by some “biological doctors”  are overeating  and consequent obesity. Excess intake of not just sugar and carbohydrates, but also protein and fat, which convert into sugar if taken in excess, is harmful to the pancreas as it puts too much load on our pancreas and eventually paralyses its activity (the recommended protein intake for a person with sedentary lifestyle is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight). The other cause is too much worry, anxiety, stress and grief. These have deep influence on the metabolism process thus causing sugar to appear in urine. Heredity also plays a role in the development of diabetes.It has been said that “Heredity is like a cannon and obesity pulls the trigger” (Bakhru, H.K. 2007,pp 346).

Just because your father, mother, aunt or uncle had diabetes does not mean you will get it or you have to get it. In fact, if you know that you have a family history of diabetes, this is a heads up for you to start taking preventive measures by making few positive changes in your lifestyle and eating habits (by the way-same goes for those with hypothyroid and PCOD) .  Stress, another rising cause of young people becoming victims of over eating/abnormal eating which leads to weight gain and obesity, which ultimately leads to diabetes and other such health dis-eases.  In today’s time of competition, everyone wants to be at the top, want to make more money, want to touch different heights (of course after all, Sky is the limit 😉 ) but, all this they do at the cost of health. In achieving these things, people are putting their health in the last bogey (not even in the back seat). I regularly see clients who wake up with a “get your act straight” alarm after being diagnosed with diabetes or any other heredity and lifestyle oriented disease and run to the gym and dietitian/nutritionist for help.

It is very important for all to understand that, to avoid getting diabetes or to say “good-bye” to this “invited” guest (yup, not bin bulaye at all) from our house (our body), we should look at the actual cause of the disease and focus at building the whole health.  1st importance should be given to changing the diet as it plays a vital role in diabetes.

1st things 1st- STOP getting scared of carbs. Just chose  the wholesome ones like whole wheat, whole grain, rice, jowar,bajri, nachni (raagi) , wheat, instead of the processed and the fiber enriched variety.  Yes, include some wholesome carbs for dinner as well.  Include foods rich in micro minerals like Selenium, chromium and zinc in your diet as  it’s shown that they  help your insulin respond better. (Go to the link mentioned at the end of this article). Adequate protein and fat is also required for the insulin to function properly. It is best to have well-balanced meals with all the three macro nutrients carbs, protein and fats. Avoid foods that have “added fiber”, “fiber fortified” as too much fiber comes in the way of absorbing the important mineral Zinc. Also, “added” fiber is shown to reduce the “good” bacteria present in our intestines. lack of good bacteria results in poor digestion of food which then results in high fat percentage. Ideal is to eat 3 wholesome meals and 2-3 small (healthy) snacks.

Get up and going ( Exercise): If you are not doing any type of exercising yet then start today. You don’t have to be diagnosed with any health problem to get up and get going. Exercise helps stabilize blood sugar (in this case and has lots of other health benefits).  Even though walking is a good form of exercise, just walking daily is not sufficient to bring about change in insulin response. Aerobic exercises as well as Weight-training is proven to be really effective for all including those who already suffer from diabetes.When we do weight training, the main fuel that is used is the glucose which is stored in the muscles in the form of glycogen. If less insulin is present or insulin is not functioning properly then extra glucose enters the blood stream thus increasing blood glucose levels. Weight training helps us increase muscle size, this provides larger storage area for glucose and these two factors, 1) regular flushing of glycogen and 2) increased muscle size, helps improve body’s glucose processing which is very important in preventing and managing diabetes (type 2). It is advised though that you keep a personal trainer for weight-training exercises as correct posture and medical condition are the main concerns here or you can end up injuring/harming yourself.

Sleep: Proper rest- a good night’s sleep plays an important role in preventing and managing diabetes. It is very important to give your body that proper, undisturbed rest it needs after the workout and after daily chores, for the body to recover properly. If you don’t rest well than all your diet and exercise efforts are futile.

It is still not too late, especially for those who are not diagnosed with such “self-induced” health conditions. Spend money on pharmaceutical drugs, Doctors and hospitals later or spend money on preventive care today. The choice is your’s to make.

Stay healthy, Stay happy

Check this link to know about the micro minerals- http://www.freefitnesstips.co.uk/the-17-microminerals-explained.html

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

References: 

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Diwekar, R (2010). Women and the weight loss tamasha. Delhi, IndiaWestland Ltd.


“Herbs for health”

Role of kitchen spice while cooking food:

Different cultures use slightly different types of kitchen spices in their cooking. In India, Turmeric, coriander and cumin are widely used in curries. Culinary herbs have considerable medicinal value along with the flavor adding quality. Coriander is added to spicy stimulating foods to impart a balanced coolness. It also has carminative properties. Cumin is known as one of the best spices to prevent and relieve gas. Turmeric is a good digestive aid. It dissolves the undesirable fats in the body. It also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Most of the kitchen spices are carminative (prevent and relieve gas), stimulants and aids to digestion. Many kitchen spices are also known to relieve nervousness, spasms and coldness during first acute stage of disease. Some of these herbs and spices provide essential vitamins and minerals ex. garlic, parsley and oregano. These spices can also be used to treat problems like headache, bleeding, diarrhea, heart attacks and acute infections. Thus, our kitchen spice rack can be considered a safe and natural alternative to the synthetic, side effect causing medicines.

List of appropriate herbs to aid and support the digestive system

Ø Basil: Sweet basil is considered good for indigestion when taken as tea.

Ø Bay: Bay leaves when added to food, are known to help prevent gas and indigestion

Ø Caraway: It is considered excellent aid to digestion. It is useful for indigestion, gas and colic

Ø Cardamom: It has carminative and stimulant properties.

Ø Cayenne pepper: Stimulant, carminative and astringent properties.
Includes red and green chillies, cayenne, paprika and bell peppers.

Ø Cinnamon: It acts as carminative. It is also a strong stimulator of insulin activity and thus useful in Diabetes.

Ø Cloves: These are known to improve digestion and treat flatulence, vomiting and nausea.

Ø Cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric and rosemary are also valuable for our digestive system.

* Fenugreek Seeds/ methi dana: The seeds are highly mucus solvents and soothing agents.

WESTERN HERBS:

Ø Alfalfa: This herb is known for improving digestion and assimilation. In the form of herb tea, it is known to provide alkaline benefit for hyper acidic stomach. It is also know to prevent gas formation (bakhru, 2000).

Ø Angelica: Carminative used for digestive weakness and gas.

Ø Asafotida: Also known as “Hing”(Bakhru, 2000) in India and is widely used in Indian cooking. It is ideal for many stomach disorders. According to Dr H.K. Bakhru, “it is one of the best remedies for expelling wind from stomach” (Bakhru, 2000, p.137).

Ø Calamus: Helpful during hyperacidity associated with stomach and intestine.

Ø Camomile: Widely used in the form of tea for various digestive disorders.

Ø Elecampane: Used for digestive weakness.

Ø Beleric myrobalan or bhibitaki: Known to be useful in regulating bowel and digestion.

Ø Noni or Indian Mulberry: It is effective for digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and gastric ulcers.

Ø Papaya: This is a digestive fruit.

Ø Citrus Peel: This is a Chinese herb useful in indigestion, diarrhea and abdominal swelling.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

References:-

Tierra, M. (1998). The way of herbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Haas, E., & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts.
Sharma, H., Mishra, R.K., & Meade, J.G. (2002). The Answer To Cancer. New York: Select books, Inc.
Mabey, R., McIntyre, M., Michael, P., Duff, G., & Stevens, J. (1988). The New Age Herbalist. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

Cabbage- A baggage of health benefits

 

Apart from being my personal favourite, “Cabbage” is a delicious vegetable belonging to the “Brassica family” of the plant kingdom. The cabbage family is one of the most important vegetable family known for its nutritional benefits and cancer fighting ability.

Cabbage is known to be an excellent cleanser and is highly valued for its alkaline salts as well as mineral and vitamin contents. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and little of the eye healthy carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Cabbage also provides good amount of fiber. One cup of cooked cabbage give almost 4 g of fiber(Bowden, 2007). So many nutritional things packed in such a low-calorie food. Now, that’s why i call it “The baggage of health benefits.”

 Cabbage is also shown to possess antibacterial powers thus putting it in the class of antibiotic foods. In several different test tube studies cabbage is shown to destroy a variety of bacteria including H.Pylori bacteria, which is considered to be a cause of stomach ulcers. According to the naturopathic professionals, raw cabbage juice is used in such condition. The juice of cabbage is also known to be used beneficially in other health conditions like bladder infection and obstructive jaundice (Bakhru,2007).

Cabbage was valued in ancient Rome as a cancer cure. According to an author and researcher Laurie Deutsh Mozian, M.S., R.D., researchers came to know about cabbage’s quality of keeping breast cancer at bay after observing the diets of women living in Eastern European countries. They observed that these women were much less likely to develop breast cancer compared to the American women and the analysis of  the East European women diet revealed a high intake of cabbage and the analysis of cabbage showed that the candidate for this positive effect were the phytochemicals present in cabbage known as “indoles” (Bowden,2007,pp28, Bakhru, 2007). Years of research now show that these indoles alter the metabolism of estrogen in a favourable way, one that is likely to reduce the risk of cancer (Bowden,2007).

The cancer fighting ability of cabbage does not stop at indoles. Cabbage contains numerous other phytochemicals, anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. All these compounds are shown by several researches to speed up the metabolism of Oestrogen which is shown to help prevent breast cancer and suppress the growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. According to several studies, eating cabbage more then once a week has shown to cut men’s colon cancer odds by up to 66 % and eating as little as 2 tablespoons of cooked cabbage daily is said to protect against stomach cancer (Bakhru,2007,pp 79,80).

The red or purple variety of cabbage is a good source of anthocyanins, the pigment molecules that give blueberries the blue color and red cabbage the red color. Apart from providing beautiful colors to our fruits and vegetables, these guys act as powerful antioxidants. In one study these anthocyanins were found to protect animals against the damage produced by a known toxin. The antioxidant ability of anthocyanins to fight against free radicals is shown to make them powerful weapons against cardiovascular diseases. Anthocyanins are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects (Bowden,2007).

Although there are so many benefits found in cabbage, there are certain things to keep in mind. Cabbage is shown to rapidly lose its value through the process of cooking, even when done conservatively. Cooking is also shown to destroy some antioxidants, anti-cancer and estrogenic compounds, particularly indoles. For this reason, experts recommend including cabbage in vegetable salads, rarely cooking it and throughly chewing the raw or cooked cabbage (Bakhru, 2007).

WORD OF CAUTION:

Members of the cabbage family contain “goitrogens“. These are naturally occurring substances that may interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. Experts recommend people with hypothyroidism to consume this family of vegetables in moderation. In the absence of thyroid problems, there is no research indicating that intake of goitrogenic foods will have any negative impact on health (Bowden,2007, pp 29)

 

 ** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.** 

References: 

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.