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  • Managing PCOS with a Healthy Diet

    In Uncategorized On 19 April 2018

    Managing PCOS with a Healthy Diet     Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal abnormalities in women of reproductive age. Women who suffer from PCOS produce higher levels of male hormones, leading to a hormonal imbalance in the body. This imbalance of hormones causes them to skip their menstrual cycles and also makes it hard for them to become pregnant. Many women who suffer from PCOS also have hair growth on the face and body, or it can also lead to baldness. Apart from these, if PCOS is not treated on time, then it may also contribute to long-term lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.   Women suffering from PCOS grow small cysts on their ovaries, thus the name polycystic ovary syndrome. While the cysts themselves are usually not harmful, they lead to the hormone imbalance.     What happens in PCOS?   There are many different hormones that are present in our body, and each has their own function. Hormones are, simply put, chemical messengers that are responsible for triggering many of the different processes in the body such as growth and energy production.   In the case of PCOS, the hormones become out of balance. The change in one hormone triggers to a change in another hormone. For example, in PCOS the sex hormones become out of balance. While normally the ovaries produce a tiny amount of the male sex hormones (androgens), in PCOS the ovaries start producing a bit more of androgens compared to what the body actually needs. This makes women stop ovulating, get acne, and also grow extra facial and body hair.   Due to the imbalance of hormones, the body may also start having a problem using insulin effectively. This condition is known as insulin resistance. When the body does not utilize insulin properly, the blood sugar levels shoot up. Over a period of time, this increases your risk of getting diabetes.   It’s not necessary that every women suffering from PCOS get insulin resistance and develops a higher risk for diabetes.   Causes of PCOS   The exact cause of PCOS is not understood completely, though most doctors believe that genetics is a likely factor. PCOS tends to run in families, so your chances of getting it become significantly higher if there are other women in the family suffering from PCOS or even diabetes.   PCOS and Weight Loss   Many women suffering from PCOS struggle with obesity. Obesity or weight gain is known to further complicate the symptoms of PCOS. PCOS also have an effect on the endocrine and metabolic systems, making it difficult for women to lose weight. It is important to maintain an ideal weight if you suffer from PCOS because it decreases inflammation and increases the sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, most gynecologists are of the opinion that it is important to maintain a healthy weight if you are suffering from PCOS.   As it becomes difficult to lose weight in PCOS, most doctors advise their patients to seek the help of a dietician who can prescribe an ideal PCOS diet for you to follow.   Diet Dos and Don’ts in PCOS   Modifying your lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, and indulging in regular exercising improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, lowers your blood sugar, and also helps in normalizing hormone levels. Even if you lose just ten percent of your body weight, it will help you regulate your menstrual cycle. Let us take a look at what a PCOS diet should include and some general PCOS diet tips. High-fiber foods can help you fight insulin resistance. These foods slow down the digestion process and also lower the impact of sugar on the blood. Some good options for high fiber foods include:   Green leafy vegetables Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli Beans and lentils Green and red peppers Pumpkins Sweet potatoes Berries and other fresh fruits ( exclude high carbohydraye fruits )   Lean proteins sources such as chicken, tofu, egg whites, low fat paneer, yogurt and fish are also a healthy option for women suffering from PCOS.   A PCOS diet should also include foods that help reduce inflammation. These include:   ·         Almonds and walnuts ·         Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables  ·         Tomatoes ·         Olive oil  ·         strawberries , blueberries, cherries etc  ·         Fatty fish that are high in omega-3 acids such as sardines and salmon   Coming to foods that you need to avoid if you have PCOS, refined carbs are known to increase inflammation, aggravate insulin resistance, and thus need to be avoided. Highly processed foods that you should avoid include:   Muffins, Biscuits, cookies White potatoes Anything made with white flour ( maida)  White bread Breakfast pastries Sugary desserts Pasta noodles made from semolina or  refined wheat flour Margarine French Fries Red or processed meats   As sugar is a carbohydrate, you should try to avoid it as much as possible. Make sure that you also look for the various names of sugar on food labels, such as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and also dextrose. Avoiding jaggery, honey and brown sugar is also advised. Soda and juices are also sources of hidden sugar.   Coping with the symptoms of PCOS may no doubt leave you feeling frustrated many times. However, taking the proactive steps to improve your health can give a boost to your mood and also reduce your symptoms. Create a good food/bad food list and follow it. Consult your dietitian to increase the number of food items you can have. Keep in mind that it is always best to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle.                                                                                                                                    .........................................Dr.Shalini Singhal & Team  


    In Uncategorized On 18 December 2012

      EASY TIPS FOR EASY WEIGHT LOSS Here are 10 easy to follow diet tips for easy, sustainable and healthy weight loss. There may be 100s of diets( majorly being Fad diets) and 100 other ways promising quick fix solutions to weight loss but if you go by scientific research and my long experience in the field, these tips are going to come very handy……       1. Reduce your portions by using smaller plates, asking for a small ice cream cone, beverage or sandwich instead of a large, splitting main dish at a restaurant with a friend or ordering a lunch-size portion even at dinner. It’s better to take a fixed portion on to the plate and not eat directly from the serving bowl. Do you know just 2 cookies or small biscuits more than your requirement in a day will make you put on 5 Kgs in a year and 25 Kgs in 5 years? So we need to take care of our serving sizes. 2. Increase the volume. Choose low-fat, high-fiber foods which fill you up with minimal calories. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are high-volume foods that not only help trim your waistline but also provide nutrients essential for health. 3. Add fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Add one fruit or vegetable to every meal, and you'll be on your way to lower blood pressure and improved health. Try apples for breakfast, raw cucumber or carrots with lunch and fruit salad with dinner. 4. Hydrate yourself. Get a water bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. You'll find yourself drinking water while you're driving, at your desk, during meetings and watching TV. Drinking water instead of coffee, soda, fruit punch or other sweetened beverages saves calories as it keeps your body functioning optimally. Drinking lukewarm water is even better. 5. Go Vegan majorly. Eat meatless meals for at least 5 days per week or more. Choose a paneer/mushroom curry instead of chicken or mutton curry, vegetable sandwich in place of a chicken sandwich, veggie burger instead of hamburger. You'll consume less fat and saturated fat, plus increase your fiber intake! 6. Enhance your Breakfast  Studies show people who start the day with breakfast cereal have higher intakes of vitamins and fiber and lower intakes of fat and saturated fat. For the healthiest cereal, choose one with at least five grams of fiber and no more than eight grams sugar per serving. Pour on skim milk for a double bonus! 7. Don’t eat before the tube Stop eating meals while watching TV or snacking during your favorite show. Research plus common sense tells us we eat more when we're watching the tube. 8. Not 3 but 5. Have at least 5 small meals a day in place of 3 big ones to keep your metabolic rate high which in turn helps in weight loss. A good day’s diet should have small and frequent meals i.e.5 meals in the day rather than 3 big meals. We need to learn to have the Best Breakfast, Nutritious Midmorning snack, Good Lunch, Light Evening snack with beverage and an Early Dinner every day. 9. Pack your meals. Instead of buying lunch every day, or worse yet, skipping lunch altogether, pack your lunch as far as possible. Make a sandwich with whole grain bread, a chapatti roll with lots of veggies, salad like sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and grated carrots. Add a piece of fresh fruit. Satisfy your sweet tooth with yogurt or fat-free pudding and your need for crunch with soya sticks, murmura ,almonds ,or may be just a little ‘saunf’( fennel seeds). You'll save money and eat less fat, salt and sugar. 10. Do not fast, do not feast. Neither skip meals nor have everything in one meal. We need to learn to eat when we are hungry & stop when sufficiently full. We need to learn to self-regulate.                                                                                   Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                                    17.12.12        

  • What to look for in a Healthy Weight Loss Diet Program - 8 Tips

    In Uncategorized On 29 December 2017

      People spend a lot of money each year on weight loss programs and products, and yet obesity rates continue to increase. People are being fooled in the name of weight loss with slimming powders, herbs,supplements, decoctions and the web is full of these. With so many options available, how can you choose the right weight loss program that will help you lose weight safely and keep it off ? To make it simpler, we’ve put together a list of key program elements to look for. 8 questions you need to ask yourself before seeking advice of a dietitian / nutritionist / health coach for WEIGHT LOSS  Will I lose weight healthily?  Wouldn’t it be better to seek help for weight loss / obesity related disorders  which is based on wholesome diets with interesting food options rather than a pill as breakfast, a drink with some powder for lunch and a decoction for dinner after a boring Soup.   Hope I won’t develop any deficiencies ?  Do you trust a diet program for weight loss or health  betterment which needs to put you on multivitamin tablets or injections so that after following the so called 'DIET' , you do not develop any deficiencies? Beware of counsellors who plan diets which are low in ‘protein’ or ‘essential fats or extremely low carbohydrate diets trying to justify that foods rich in them do not ‘suit’ you. You should look for a dietitian who counsels you towards a genuinely healthy diet regime so that you need not have to put yourself on mulitvitamins during the program.   Will I improve on my stamina and have a toned body alongwith weight loss ? Would you like to take up a weight loss diet program with any DIET EXPERT who asks you NOT to exercise/ Gym else weight will get stuck  ? This is bizarre ? Good and regular exercise are an essential part of a wellness program. It helps improve metabolism, stamina and makes you gain lean body mass and shed fat. You should aim fat loss and not a reduction on muscle mass   Will a Quick Fix Solution or  Short Cut help ? Would you like to join a 'Dietician' or health expert who claims to make you lose 10 kgs in just 1 MONTH ( this weight took you 2-3 years atleast to pile up ) ? You would find videos or health articles on the internet and social media  which claim to make you lose 10 kilos in a month and 5 kilos in a week. Should you trust them ? Absolutely not. Weight loss varies from person to person and such claims have no basis and are probably using very short term measures which aren’t scientifically proven.   How sustainable will be the diet program ? Would you like to seek counselling from a Nutritionist who claims that your weight will never come back after completion of the diet program ? Is this real?  No, it can only happen if you continue to follow a healthy regime and do not go back to your faulty eating habits. If weight loss is being done with a good, healthy diet regime clubbed with exercise and behaviour modification, weight loss would be sustainable   How enjoyable would be my weight loss journey ? Will it be too heavy on my pocket ? Would you enjoy following diet plans which make you order some fancy health food online or keep running to expensive food stores ? Would you not enjoy a diet planned on the basis of your staple food ? Whats the point having quinoa when you have very nutritious home grown millets in our country ? Whats the need to have  ‘lettuce ‘ when you have methi, bathua, mustard greens in plenty in the local market. Why buy expensive ‘avocadoes’ when you get all benefits from local seeds and seed oils. Just to shed few kilos quickly ,should I go in for a Crash ,Crappy Junk Food Diet ? Would you also wish to take a program which makes you shed 8 to 10 kgs in a month because you only had 1 Apple, 1 Burger ( Junk)  , 1 -2 cup green tea and chewing gums to curb hunger the whole day ? How healthy is this ? Seriously , do you think you can risk your own inner health for few kilos of weight loss ?   Do I actually need weight loss ? And what if you are mislead to believe that you need to be 50 kilos weight without even bothering to ask what your height is. To calculate ideal body weight - age, height, physiological status,etc all need to be considered. Also there is no benefit in shedding Lean Body mass / muscle mass to lose weight. What you lose should only be ‘fat’ and ‘excess water’   Would you like to be driven away by FALSE PROMISES , QUICK FIX Solutions which are not going to help you in the long run. Please click on the link below to enrol in a  SCIENTIFIC, TRIED , TESTED , TAILORED DIET PLANS FOR WEIGHT LOSS & HEALTH  BETTERMENT . Do look into the credentials , qualifications , experience and the general feedback of the Expert Dietician/ Dietitian/ Nutritionist you are consulting.   BELIEVE IN REALISTIC, NATURAL, SUSTAINABLE, SENSIBLE & INTELLIGENT EATING PLANS WHICH DO NOT DEPRIVE YOU OF OVERALL GOOD HEALTH, GLOWING SKIN & LUSTROUS HAIR .......................................................................................................Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                                                                            29/12/2017        


    In Uncategorized On 27 November 2012

    NEED NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF THE FOODS YOU LOVE AND THE JOY OF HAVING FOOD OUT WITH  LOVED ONES........ 6 TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE EATING-OUT…………………                                                                                                                                                 Dining out in restaurants while on a weight loss regime may seem a daunting task. The information here will show you that restaurant dining is not only doable but delicious. It will make your dining experiences pleasurable as well as give you strategies and workable solutions for making healthier choices. Enjoy reading these tips…..   1.      Have  a small  meal at home before  moving out for a dining out experience Hunger will sabotage any good intentions, so eat something before you go to avoid having to fight both temptation and hunger. You could have things like fruits, sandwiches, veg rolls, roasted grams, steamed corn etc . Or you could have them in the car on the way. This would make you avoid unnecessary eating and overindulgence in food outside. Also keep a bottle of water with lemon juice to keep you hydrated on your way. If you could not manage to eat anything before, order something healthy as soon as you are seated, such as a salad, a soup without cream, or some fruit.   2.     Always Ask and Tell Talk to the staff, manager or chef of restaurants you visit to get their help in identifying items on their menu that are the best options for your dietary needs and preferences. Also tell the staff about your choices- ask them to serve your salad without dressing, soup and dal without cream or butter, your main dish with lesser salt,etc. Good restaurants and hotels value their customers; they would certainly listen to your requests. It would be wise to choose a restaurant which is known to you and where you are a valued customer. If the restaurant is unknown to you, phone ahead to determine if you can get a healthful meal. And take a note that restaurant business is based on consumer demand. Only when we stop ordering unhealthy food will restaurants stop serving them and start providing healthier stuff .   3.     Virtually all restaurants offer or can be made to offer healthy menu items If you know what to look for and opt to customize your meal, you can have a nutritious meal whenever, wherever. You just need to be aware, observant and inquisitive. You should avoid going to restaurants at the peak hour if you want yourself to be heard and the chef to be accommodating.   4.     Stop eating when you are sufficiently full Listen to the cues your body gives you. Always eat when hungry and stop when sufficiently full. Don’t starve, don’t stuff. You should wait for 10 minutes after eating your portion and then ask yourself whether you still need to eat more or you are done. This will stop you from overeating.   5.     Limit alcohol consumption Inhibitions decrease as alcohol intake increases. Try ordering a bottle of mineral water when you order a drink. Sometimes we drink alcohol unconsciously when involved in conversation over dinner. Having some mineral water available will give you a nonalcoholic alternative.   6.     Menu selection when eating out- ·        Always start your meal with a green salad. Ensure that it is without dressing and there should be no extra salt on salad. Order salad dressings and other sauces on the side. And when choosing a dressing, opt for vinaigrette rather than a cream-based dressing. When ordering soups opt for clear soups instead of cream based soups. They serve as great appetizers for meals. Most of the soups are low calorie and will fill you up. ·        Look for items on the menu that are baked, grilled, dry-sautéed, broiled, poached, or steamed. These cooking techniques use less fat in the food preparation and are generally lower in calories. ·        When ordering for the bread baskets always opt for tandoori roti, missi roti instead of naan. Always ask the waiters to serve the chapatti in cut pieces so that you can control your portions. ·        Order dhal instead of rich curries. Ask the waiters to serve you dhal without butter or cream. If you are ordering rich gravies then wait for sometime for the gravy to settle down then remove the top layer of oil from it. ·        If you’re in the mood for pasta, look for tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces. Tomato-based sauces are much lower in fat and calories. In addition, the tomato sauce can count as a vegetable! ·        When ordering raitas, ask the waiters to make it salt-free and avoid boondi raita. Instead opt for vegetable raita. ·        Fish and seafood dishes are great choices for the diet-conscious diner, but keep in mind to order them baked, broiled, sautéed, poached, steamed or grilled rather than fried. When ordering grilled fish or vegetables, ask that the food be grilled without butter and oil. Most of the time grilled fish and vegetables may be marinated in oil and/or butter before grilling. For meat dishes, look for leaner cuts, such as skinless chicken breasts, tandoori chicken. ·        Share an appetizer or a dessert with a friend. Half the dish equals half the calories. If you have a craving dessert, opt for something lower in calories and fat, like fresh fruit, fresh fruit topped with just 1 spoon of ice cream or with thin custard or a non- fat frozen dessert. In fact your non- fat frozen dessert can be had at an ice cream parlour outside where you can walk down. That’ll mean some exercise too!                 Remember; don't deprive yourself of the foods you love. All foods can fit into a weight loss diet. Just you need to PLAN AHEAD.                                                                                                                                              ……………………Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                                                                                                                                 26.11.12          

  • Improve Your Nutrition & Wellness Quotient

    In Uncategorized On 17 January 2013

    Improve Your Nutrition & Wellness Quotient                       Answers to 8 simple yet mind boggling questions. This test would not only enhance your knowledge but also correct your facts on Nutrition and Wellness……..   1) In High Blood Pressure, one should avoid - Iodized salt Rock and sea salt Black salt All of the above Ans. All of the above All above mentioned salts irrespective of their color, texture,source and extraction method are mainly Sodium Chloride (chemically) and are to be restricted in Hypertension or High Blood Pressure. Various spices and condiments  like garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, freshly ground black pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and mustard seeds used intelligently can give that salty taste to your food. 2)  Which food item among the following provides you with maximum calories? 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1 tsp water Ans. Olive oil. Each gram of fats/oils provide 9 Kcal , each gram of sugar provides 4 Kcal , salt and water does not contribute to any. So we need to be cautious about the quantity while using good quality oils as well.  Water assists in burning calories and may induce thermogenesis, a heat response that elevates metabolism. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated supports your metabolism, alertness and energy levels for daily activities and exercise. Salt does not cause your body to gain or lose fat. In fact, salt has no calories. High consumption of salt only results in temporary weight gain as it causes your body to retain water. Conversely, low consumption of salt can result in temporary weight loss as it causes your body to expel water.      3) The best quality protein among the following is in Walnuts Egg yolk Kidney Beans Egg White Ans. Egg White Protein quality refers, in a general sense, to how well or poorly the body will use a given protein.   More technically, protein quality refers to how well the essential amino acid profile of a protein matches the requirements of the body; the digestibility of the protein and bioavailability of the amino acids also play a role. Egg whites are considered to the best proteins in quality among above mentioned foods. Milk protein (Casein) is another excellent source. Among vegetarian sources, soya bean is the only complete protein which is comparable to animal protein sources. 4) If your child is overweight you should make him avoid     Butter & Ghee Sugar Processed cheese All of the above Ans. All of the above Once the body’s energy requirement for the day is met, all excess fats (oil, ghee, butter, etc), proteins (cheese is rich in proteins and fat) and carbohydrates (sugars) convert and get stored in the body as fat making you overweight. To avoid weight gain we need to check our complete intake of calories be it from any food source. 5 )   What does exercise do for your body? Strengthens the heart, bones and muscles Stresses you Makes you tired and depressed Wastes your time Ans. Strengthens the heart, bones and muscles Exercise is a miracle cure. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a General Practitioner to get some.  If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant. 6) You develop a healthy heart when you Laugh very often Get angry and depressed very often Work slowly Work very fast      Ans. Laugh very often Today\'s fast-paced life and workplace pressures escalate stress levels, taking a toll on one\'s heart. We must realise that the healing power of the body decreases when under stress, leading to many complications like hypertension and poor immunity.  Laughter is the best therapy. Laughter anytime will work wonders for you. It is an instant way to unleash the pressure and it makes you feel light. 7 )  Which of the following has dietary cholesterol Butter Olive Oil Groundnut Oil Coconut Oil Ans. Butter  Most of the cholesterol that you need is made in your liver from the macro nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) that you consume in your diet. But you also get cholesterol from food of animal origin: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Although some plant foods, such as coconuts and cocoa beans, are high in saturated fats, no plants actually have cholesterol.  Plant foods don’t contain cholesterol- No grains. No fruits. No veggies. No nuts and seeds. But you can juice plant food up with cholesterol by using : Butter on the bread, cheese on the macaroni, Ghee on your dals, whipped cream on fruits, and so on!  8) Trans- fatty acids are present in: Groundnut oil Olive Oil Paneer or Cottage cheese Vanaspati Ghee/Hydrogenated Oil Ans. Vanaspati Ghee or Hydrogenated oil                                                                                               Small amounts of trans-fats occur naturally in beef, lamb, and full-fat dairy products. But most come from processing liquid vegetable oil to become a solid fat by the process called hydrogenation. Like saturated fats, trans-fats raise LDL \"bad\" cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. But unlike saturated fats, trans-fats lower HDL \"good\" cholesterol and may do more damage. Get in the habit of reading nutrition labels, the ones headed \"Nutrition Facts.” If the label lists Trans Fat as 0 g, look at the Ingredients List for the words \"partially hydrogenated.\" Any oil that is partially hydrogenated is a trans-fat.  Even if you\'re a conscientious shopper, it\'s easy to ingest a significant amount of trans fats without knowing it. A bowl of \"trans-fat-free\" cereal (that actually contains half a gram) plus a slice of birthday cake or ‘Dalda made Laddoo’ at the office and some microwave popcorns in the evening add up quickly.                                                                                                                                                                  Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                                           17.1.13

  • 10 Tips to Lose Weight and Eat Healthy while fasting during Navratri

    In Uncategorized On 04 October 2013

      The Hindu festival of Navratra celebrated with full devotion and happiness for nine days purifies the whole environment. It is celebrated with gusto in different regions of the country. On the festive occasion of Navratra, fast is observed by people for seven or eight days. Fasting has various advantages for our body.       Few people also plan to lose weight during Navratras while being religiously inclined.   Here I bring for you a few tips which would make your Navratra Fasts healthier and also would make you shed a few kilos :   Avoid all fried foods like chips, deep fried cutlets, pooris,etc  even if you are taking one meal a day. Keep yourself hydrated with lots of water, carrot-tomato juice, nimbu paani, green tea, tea,buttermilk , skim milk,coconut water , etc Keep eating small portions of fruits or other permitted food items to keep your metabolism alive. Do not under-eat or keep hungry for long. Also do not over-eat  in a single meal. Avoid sugar laden sweets and desserts. Instead prepare fruit smoothies in curd, fruit chaat, etc for that sweet taste. You can include Bananas,Boiled potatoes, saboodana ( Sago ),samak ke chawal ( sanwa millet ),kuttoo ( buckwheat ),singhade ka atta ( water chestnut flour ), etc in your meals which would not only provide the necessary energy but also many micronutrients. Keep doing your normal physical activity and don’t just lie down thinking that you are ‘fasting’ and need to avoid physical  activity. Avoid over indulgence in heavy meals and fried foods after late night “Garbas or ‘Dandiya’. Have a mini meal before leaving home to attend Garba or Dandiya Parties . ‘Sendha Namak’ is also Sodium Chloride chemically as is your Common Salt, so its use also has to be limited if you have been advised so. Extra precautions must be taken by people prone to health risks while observing fasts. These include people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, anaemia, and those who have recently underwent some kind of surgery. Individuals with chronic health problems related to kidneys, heart, liver or lungs must observe fasting only after consent from their doctors. Pregnant and lactating women must also be precautious.                                  WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NAVRATRA…………Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                                   


    In Uncategorized On 09 February 2013

      Will bananas and potatoes make you fat? Should you replace white sugar with honey or brown sugar if you are on a weight loss diet? If you think that the answer to both the questions is 'true,' you ought to read this .There are several myths your friends will tell you, but are they scientifically true?   Here's the truth about 10 common food myths related to weight loss   MYTH # 1. BANANA IS A NO-NO IF YOU ARE TRYING WEIGHT LOSS FACT     Ripe banana is full of nutrients providing sustained and substantial energy and takes care of food cravings. It is a rich source of potassium yet low in sodium. It is a perfect food to help relieve water retention. It also helps restore normal bowel movements without restoring to laxatives.     MYTH  # 2. POTATOES ARE FATTENING  FACT   Potatoes have a very high satiety index (323%) and provide you   with   a feeling of fullness much more than many of the foods( For e.g., White bread 100%,White rice 138%,Whole grain bread 154%,and Brown Pasta 188%,Oats- 209% ).High in complex carbohydrates, potatoes fill you up long before they make you fat. It is only when you add fat to them in the form of butter,oil, ghee, cheese, cream that they become fattening. Healthy potatoes can become unhealthy by the manner in which they are cooked or processed. Boiled/ Baked potatoes are better than saut?ed ones ( in oil ) , saut?ed better than fried and potato chips the worst ( devoid of water, full of oil and salt).     MYTH # 3. LOW FAT OR NO- FAT MEANS NO CALORIES FACT    A low fat or no-fat food is often lower in calories than the same portion of a full-fat product. But many processed low fat or non-fat foods have just as many calories as the full fat version of the same food or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour or starch thickeners to improve the texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories. Read the Nutrition Facts Label on the back of foods to find out the calories each serving is providing. Also be cautious about the serving size mentioned as it might be less than what you generally consume.   MYTH # 4.  CONSUME LESS WATER IF YOU HAVE  WATER RETENTION FACT   In fact it is the other way round. You need to consume more water (and less salt) if you have water retention or Oedema. Water reduces build up of Sodium in the body and reduces water retention. It is when your body does not get enough water that it starts retaining fluids. Water retention is caused due to the following factors: (a)Salt Intake ( Restrict consumption of sodium in your diet.) (b)Hormonal Imbalance (c) Pre Menstrual Retention- This can be minimised by drinking plenty of water, restricting salt intake and maintaining an active lifestyle     MYTH # 5.  JUICES CUT CALORIE INTAKE AND HELP REDUCE WEIGHT FACT   Juices are concentrated source of energy and have added sugars most of the time. Even if you are consuming fresh fruit juice without added sugar still you are eliminating the beneficial fibre, consuming more calories and having less satiety. It is easy to have 2 glasses of fresh orange juice but difficult to consume 5-6 oranges at one time.     MYTH # 6. HONEY IS GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS.SUGAR CAN BE REPLACED BY HONEY /JAGGERY/ BROWN SUGAR FACT   Honey consists of 75% sugar (Glucose & Fructose), 25% water and provides 3.2 Kcal /gm of honey. It contributes to your calorie intake and raises blood sugar. In addition, there is a common misconception that Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar. The molasses have not been removed entirely from brown sugar while in white sugar they have been removed. It is true that molasses contains nutrients such as iron and magnesium, but they are present in amounts too small to provide health benefits. Calorie wise, a teaspoon of white sugar contains 16 calories, whereas one teaspoon of brown sugar has 17 calories. Jaggery is an unrefined whole cane sugar. It is a concentrated product of cane juice or date juice without separation of the molasses. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, up to 20% moisture, and the remainder made up of other insoluble matter. Calorie wise each gram of jaggery provides around 3.5 to 3.8 kcal/gm.   MYTH # 7.     HEALTHY FOOD MEANS BLAND FOOD FACT   This is not true. Traditional Spices provide the necessary taste and flavour to the food and are rich in micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre. There is no reason why a person on weight loss should avoid spices unless they are not tolerated and have been creating some gastro intestinal tract problems. The only restrictive feature of a healthy diet is its low salt, low sugar and low fat content.       MYTH # 8.  FAT CONTENT OF MILK CAN BE REDUCED BY ADDING WATER & SKIM MILK IS DEVOID OF ALL NUTRIENTS FACT   Adding water would dilute all other nutrients in milk. Skimming is the best way to reduce fat from milk. All other nutrients Protein, Calcium, Riboflavin are retained in skimmed milk, only fat is eliminated.     MYTH # 9.  LOW CALORIE FOOD CAN BE EATEN IN UNLIMITED AMOUNT. FACT  Even low calorie foods have calories which add up and must be burnt off regardless of what food you eat. It is always good to develop a habit of self regulation- Eat when hungry and Stop when sufficiently full.         MYTH # 10.  ALL SALADS AND SOUPS ARE GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS FACT   Majority of people believe that all Salads and Soups irrespective of their ingredients are Healthy and are good if you are on a weight loss regime. But many salads and soups are laden with high salt or fat content.It is all too common to see dieters ordering salads or other healthy choices from fast food joints %but what they usually dont realize is that the salads can be as bad as the regular food. What makes many of these salads so high in calories, fat and sodium are the toppings on salads, like high-fat salad dressings (cream, oils ,mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, tortilla shells,etc) and the Ingredients in Soups which again include lot of butter, cream, etc. Stick to a salad without FAT rich dressings or add-ons for a healthier option. Hung skim milk curd, lemon juice, low sodium vinegar, balsamic vinegar,hummus, etc. can be good salad dressings. Prepare and order soups without added cream/butter and less salt. Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, oregano, parsley, mint, peppers can give an excellent flavour to your soups.            

  • 10 Lifestyle Tips To Keep Your Heart Healthy

    In Uncategorized On 10 January 2018

          10 Lifestyle Modifications which can keep your HEART HEALTHY KEEPING THE MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS in control AND ADOPTING A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO CARDIAC DISEASES. READ ON TO KNOW THE 10 STEPS TOWARDS A HEALTHY HEART                                Lifestyle changes characterised by rising incomes, sedentary jobs, and high levels of stress are some of the factors that have contributed to the high incidence of cardio-vascular disease. In India, cardio vascular diseases are responsible for one-third of all deaths. Controlling the risk factors and adopting a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference when it comes to this disease.   1.)EAT SENSIBLY: Avoid saturated fats and trans-fats as they raise the bad cholesterol level (LDL). Check the labels of food items before consuming them and avoid anything that is “partially hydrogenated” as this is a clear indicator that it contains trans-fat. Cut out red meat from your diet and add fresh fruits and vegetables instead. However, not all fats are bad for the body, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats this include Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential for good health and help protect against risk of heart attacks and strokes. Food items that contain good fats include almond, walnut, avocado, fish, flax seeds, chia, sunflower seeds etc.   2).CHOOSE THE RIGHT OIL: Cooking oil needs to be chosen carefully to maintain heart health and optimum levels of cholesterol in the body.I advise using oils or fats which are least processed and are indigenous like desi ghee,mustard oil, coconut oil alongwith Olive oil ( if you dislike the strong taste of other locally produced oils). But whichever fat medium you use, the quantity needs to be controlled. Also, take care that Olive oil should not be the Extra virgin variant as it should not be heated at high temperatures  ( as is usually the case with Indian Style Cooking ) . Do not reuse your cooking oil as this can result in the creation of trans-fat.   3.)SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY No.1: Avoid dietary sugar and simple carbohydrates as far as possible. This includes white and brown sugar, jaggery, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, sugar laden beverages, fruit juices, refined flour, white rice, white bread, etc.   4.)EAT MORE FIBRE : A high Fibre Diet is heart protective .Include more of whole cereal grains( ragi, oats,millets,bajra,jowar,barley,whole wheat,whole pulses, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables). Avoid peeling skin wherever possible but do take care that the skin is washed properly.     5.)WALK / EXERCISE : Exercise helps protect against heart disease and other associated problems. But besides regular exercise every extra step you take during the day helps prevent disease. Try doing at least 40 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as walking) in your daily life. Exercise burns the excess fats in the body and helps control the blood cholesterol. It will also reduce stress and normalise the pulse rate.   6.)KEEP BODY WEIGHT IN CONTROL: Studies have shown that exercise programs and healthy eating lead to improved health parameters, even in the absence of weight loss. But maintaining proper weight for height always helps. Body weight is directly related to eating behaviours and the type of food being consumed. Depending on your height and age, it’s advisable to figure out your ideal weight and then make an effort to achieve or maintain that. Its advisable to lose weight under proper professional guidance so that you do not subject your body to an improper dietary regime which is detrimental to your heart and other organs. You can consult here for a heart healthy weightloss program   7.)DESTRESS / RELAX : Stress has several negative effects on our body, and should be kept under control. Take up a hobby that helps you relax. It could be something as simple as cooking or gardening but make sure you take some time out for yourself. Yoga & Meditation certainly help relax. Regular walk ,listening to music, praying, meeting people, etc also are stress busters.   8.)KEEP Blood Pressure NORMAL: Blood pressure is an important measure for prevention of heart attacks. Your heart has to work harder to push blood through your body when your blood pressure is high. This causes your heart to enlarge and can speed up atherosclerosis (deposition of fats inside the arteries). In case you suffer from this condition, make sure you take your medications on time and regularly without a miss. Do not stop or reduce medication abruptly without consulting your physician Avoiding excessive consumption of sodium can also help reduce high blood pressure.   9.)Keep Blood Sugar under Control- If you have diabetes, keep the blood sugar under ‘tight control’. Remember, physical activity is the best way to burn off excess sugar in the blood. Those with diabetes are more prone to heart disease. You can seek help here for maintaining blood glucose levels alongwith maintaining good heart health.   Post menopausal women need to be particularly careful and can take guidance with tailored diet plans   10.)ABSTAIN FROM SMOKING: A smoker’s risk of having a heart attack is more than twice that of a non-smoker. Smoking speed up the development of plaque in the arteries. It also reduces the level of the good cholesterol (known as HDL cholesterol )   Register for a customized Heart Health Diet program    So you see its just not an apple which keeps the doctor away but many other factors which are imperative for heart health.                                                        ................Dr.Shalini Singhal                                                                           10th Jan 2018

  • 6 Nutritionally Healthy Seeds which should be a part of your Daily Diet

    In Functional Foods On 05 May 2017

    I remember my Granny washing, drying, peeling melon seeds in summers and storing them to be added to desserts or had simply as a snack. I wondered why do they take so much pain and invest so much time into this. Now I realize that was an investment in health. Tiny little seeds are nutrition power houses. Not only are they packed with proteins and dietary fibre but are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and the much talked about omega- 3 fatty acids. Read here to know the Nutritional Benefits and the Dietary Significance of few seeds which should form a part of your daily diet. Read to know why SEEDS are in high demand and why are they one of the Nutritionists favourite HEALTH FOOD these days -   FLAXSEEDS ( Alsi ke Beej in Hindi )                  Flax seeds are a great source of omega -3 fatty acids and soluble fibre . They help lower cholesterol and triglycerides Make you feel fuller longer thus helping in weight loss   Aid in stabilizing blood glucose levels. Being rich in omega-3 fatty acid,they are beneficial to eye and brain health Can help lower blood pressure Help reduce inflammation that leads to conditions like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a kind of omega-3 that is found in flaxseeds that helps promote bone health. These seeds are also high in lignans which may help prevent certain cancers. How to have Flaxseeds Flax seed should be ideally had cold pressed. Their shells are hard, so it is important to grind the seeds in a blender or grinder or press them before eating. If you do not, the seeds can pass through your body undigested, hindering the absorption of the seeds valuable omega-3 content. Ground flax seed should be kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator.  Coarse or finely ground flax seeds can be added to smoothies, shakes, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, salads, etc.   CHIA SEEDS ( Chia Beej or Sabjaa in Hindi )               Chia seeds are tiny black seeds which have only recently gained in popularity and are now being consumed by health- conscious people worldwide.Chia seeds are Tiny Nutrition Wonders. These are high in iron, folate,zinc ,which are essential for a healthy body. Calcium and magnesium promote bone health, the Omega-3 fatty acids help your heart by lowering triglycerides.An easy solution for vegeterians who do not consume sea food is to have omega 3 fatty acids through chia seeds (and flaxseeds), which are a good source of this nutrient. They are also tightly packed with protein and fibre. Soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol, stabilizes sugar levels in blood and provides feeling of satiety. Chia seeds reduce the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome and like flaxseeds may help reduce blood pressure.  How to take Chia Seeds- Simply add them to a smoothie, yogurt, cereal, muffin recipes or sprinkle on a salad.   PUMPKIN SEEDS  ( Kaddoo ke beej )                   Pumpkin seeds are high in carotenoids which have antioxidant properties and enhance immune activity and disease fighting capacities. These seeds are also high in heart protective omega 3 fatty acids and phytosterols which aid in keeping cholesterol levels stable and enhance immune response. Pumpkin seeds are tasty and good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium,manganese,phosphorus,copper,zinc, vitamin K, vitamin E and protein. The protein in pumpkin seeds is highly concentrated in an amino acid called Tryptophan, which helps lower anxiety levels and promotes healthy sleeping patterns. For this reason, they have been used to treat some anxiety disorders. .According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, and significantly reduce inflammation. In addition,they are the most alkaline-forming seed. How to have them-  Raw or lightly roasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack, or you can use them in variety of baked dishes, vegetable preparations, salad toppings and as a soup garnish.   SUNFLOWER SEEDS ( soorajmukhi ke beej )               Sunflower seeds are rich in B vitamins including folate, which helps to support healthy pregnancy and promotes a healthy immune system. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin E which exhibits antioxidant properties, has anti-inflammatory effects, helps maintain healthy hair and skin. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of selenium and help to prevent cancer. These healthy, compact seeds are also rich in protein and heart-healthy fats. These phytochemical-rich seeds help to lose weight, as they promote healthy digestion and increase fibre intake. Sunflower seeds are one of the foods that help naturally detox and cleanse the body. How to have them- Sunflower seeds can be eaten by themselves, or in cookie or muffin recipes. Add them to salads, stir-fries and various other preparations.Avoid buying salted ones as excessive sodium may lower the seeds%u2019 nutritional value.   SESAME SEEDS ( Til ke beej in Hindi )                     Since ages Sesame seeds have been promoted for their health benefits. Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, vitamin B1 and phosphorus. Possessing important cholesterol-fighting  lignans, studies show that these seeds can lower blood pressure, and are liver protective. Sesame seeds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that may help lower blood pressure, promote bone health, and improve PMS symptoms. Antioxidants in these seeds fight free radicals, promoting youthfulness and strengthening the immune system. How to Have- Sesame seeds are often added to breads and crackers and sprinkled on a variety of Asian dishes. Til laddoos, gajak, revdi are popular sweet preparations made from sesame seeds and jaggery in India in winter season.   MUSK MELON SEEDS ( Kharbooje ke Beej in Hindi )               With the summer at its peak, muskmelons are at their best. After eating this juicy and pulpy fruit ,the seeds that you conveniently toss away in the trash,have numerous health benefits. They are good protein sources for vegeterians. They are also great source of vitamins and minerals being extremely rich in antioxidant Vitamins A, C, and E. The seeds are also a great source of minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, thus helping regulate your blood pressure. Consuming muskmelon seeds will also improve bone density and decrease the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Muskmelon seeds are also used in treating migraines, insomnia, and depression. The omega-3 fatty acids found in the muskmelon seeds takecare of your cardiovascular health. Moreover, these seeds can flush out excess phlegm from the body and provide relief from congestion. Muskmelon seeds are a great source of fiber and thus, they help you in losing weight.  HOW TO HAVE You can eat your muskmelon seeds raw or you can add it to your salads and fruit servings. Not only will they increase the health value of the food, but will also add that extra crunchiness and enhance the taste, too. Muskmelon seeds can also be sprinkled in breads and buns or added to sandwiches. These seeds are also great for thickening soups, stews, and gravies.   To summarize, seeds are nutrient dense foods loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein and minerals. Enhance your diet nutritionally by snacking on these seeds and sprinkling them into your dishes.                                                                                                      Dr.Shalini Singhal      

  • 7 things that reduce Metabolism (Basal Metabolic Rate )

    In Uncategorized On 15 September 2017

      Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. BMR is also known as your body's metabolism. You use energy no matter what you're doing, even when sleeping. If you've noticed that every year, it becomes harder to eat whatever you want and stay slim, you've also learnt that your BMR decreases as you age.  You would find many advices on how to raise metabolism which include- exercise, gain muscle mass & lose fat,have tea/ green tea,etc. Here we would talk about the mistakes people do that slows down their metabolism. Listed below are 7 things that reduces metabolic rate or BMR   1.) Irregular meal timings and eating in bulk in one go. Its important to have small and frequent meals with nearly similar timings everyday to keep metabolic rate high. People who work in shifts and with shifts varying frequently have a slow metabolism generally. Researches suggest that eating at the same times every day trains the body to burn more calories between meals   2.) Eating less protein and more simple carbohydrates also slows down metabolism. Proteins increase lean body mass which in turn increases your metabolic rate   3.) Lack of physical activity and Irregular exercise regime.Regularity in whichever physical activity you do is essential to keep your metabolic rate right. Lack of exercise reduces muscle mass and makes you put on fat which inturn reduces BMR. I suggest doing regular exercise ( walk/ yoga/ swimming/ dancing/ aerobics,etc) and even spreading out the activity during the day. One hour walk can be split into 30-30 mins brisk walk twice daily to improve metabolism. Sitting for long even for more than 20 mins, reduces metabolism.   4.) Not getting enough sleep. Erratic sleep pattern and lack of sound sleep makes your body sluggish due to reduction in resting metabolic rate. Sleep deprivation actually reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest.Stay away from heavy foodstuff like fatty foods, tea, coffee,chocolate, alcohol,etc  at least 2 hours before bedtime.   5.) Eating too less or little. At times to lose weight,people tend to starve themselves or eat too little. This does not help them as their BMR slows down and body starts saving or conserving energy in whatever activity they do.   6.) Not having enough fluids in the diet slows BMR. Proper water intake and intake of fresh foods like salads, fruits spread throughout the day helps. Water is essential for proper cell functioning hence lack of it reduces the metabolic rate   7.) Skipping Breakfast . People who skip breakfast have a slower metabolism and conserve energy at the time when maximum calories should be burnt. Proper protein filled breakfast and accompanied with fresh fruit will help. Besides skipping the first early meal of the day will make you overeat in the next.                                                                                                                                        Dr.Shalini Singhal    

  • Is Almond Milk Really Beneficial For You ?

    In Functional Foods On 07 January 2017

    ALMOND MILK - How Healthy ? ALMOND MILK is a MILK SUBSTITUTE made by finely grinding almonds together with water. Almond milk is indisputably nutritious with little to no saturated fat, unlike cow's milk, and no lactose, making it the right choice for Lactose intolerant people. Almond milk can be prepared at home and is also available at supermarkets. It makes an excellent substitution for milk products in many recipes. However, recipes that require a high fat content milk or half-and-half may not produce the same results with almond milk.   Nutrition Facts Almond milk like soy milk is not milk in the literal sense. It is a drink made from ground almonds and water. Almond milk nutrition facts as well as its health benefits make it a suitable replacement for cow's milk. Almonds are Protein rich, Full of vitamin E, Rich in minerals like magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus and calcium Good amount of fibre Full of heart healthy flavonoids   HEALTH BENEFITS -Almond milk helps lower LDL cholesterol and protect the heart. -High levels of vitamin E, ensure powerful antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants inhibit the growth of free radicals that are known to cause cancer. -Almond milk contains many vital nutrients, hence unlike other milk, they don't need to be fortified with vitamins and minerals. -Low in calories and no cholesterol and saturated fats makes this nut milk beverage very healthy and good for those trying to lose weight. -Power packed with nutrients, almond milk health benefits will keep you stay fit and fine.   Recommendations Almond milk is being basically used instead of cow's milk by people who are not too fond of cow's milk, as it tastes better than cow's milk. Children who fuss about drinking cow's milk can be given almond milk. They prefer almond milk's taste as compared to soy or rice milk. This non-dairy alternative is also used by those who show lactose intolerance symptoms. Since almond milk is extracted from almonds, it is lactose-free and can be easily consumed by lactose intolerant people.    Word of Caution However, a word of caution on use of Almond Milk %u2013 Almond milk cannot be substituted for breast milk. Although the health benefits of almonds are many, it does not have the necessary adequate nourishment required for infant growth. For lactose intolerant babies, it's best to consult a doctor on what would be best for the child. Nuts like almonds also include goitrogens; this substance is known to suppress thyroid gland functioning by interfering with iodine uptake. The use of bitter almonds has also been cautioned against, as bitter almonds, when blended with water, release cyanide; a poisonous chemical.    Almond Milk Recipe     Ingredients Raw almonds, 1? cups Filtered water, 4 cups Method  Soak almonds in water for minimum six to eight hours. Drain the water, and blend the almond with 4 cups of water, until it reaches a milk like consistency. Strain it to remove almond skin and granules. One can store almond milk in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for four to five days. If you want it to be sweeter, then blend in a few soaked dates as well. Almond milk, in any flavor, can also be added to coffee or tea, just like normal milk or cream. Use almond milk in smoothies.   My article in Hindi published in a leading Hindi News Daily   

  • The Very Useful Beta Carotene

    In Uncategorized On 27 November 2016

      THE VERY USEFUL -  BETA CAROTENE    Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables and it is this pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors. The human body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A (retinol) - Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need Vitamin A for healthy skin and mucous membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. Beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is.   Beta-carotene from food is a safe source of vitamin A In the body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A (retinol. Taking big doses of vitamin A can be toxic, but your body only converts as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs. That means beta-carotene is considered a safe source of vitamin A. However, too much beta-carotene can be dangerous for people who smoke. (Getting high amounts of either vitamin A or beta-carotene from food, not from supplements, is safe.)   Beta-carotene is an antioxidant Beta-carotene, like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules; it protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through oxidation. Eventually, the damage caused by free radicals can cause several chronic illnesses. Several studies have shown that antioxidants through diet help people's immune systems, protect against free radicals, and lower the risk of developing cancer and  heart diseases. Some studies have suggested that those who consume at least four daily servings of beta-carotene rich fruits and/or vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease.   Which foods are rich in beta-carotene? Dietary Sources The richest sources of beta-carotene are yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables (such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash, plums, kale, asparagus, apricots, pumpkin, etc ). In general, the more intense the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it has. If you follow a healthy diet rich in beta-carotene you do not need supplements. As mentioned above, supplements can lead to undesirable excesses in beta-carotene levels - this cannot occur if your source is from the food you eat.                                         Dosage / Recommended Intake There is no Recommended Daily Allowance of beta-carotene. Some doctors may prescribe between 10,000 IU per day up to 83,000 IU. Try to get most of your daily dose from the foods you eat. Eating more fruits and vegetables will ensure you get enough beta-carotene, and will also give you the added benefits of other nutrients and antioxidants. Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get about 3 to 6 mg of beta-carotene.   Therapeutic use of Beta carotene Studies that look at big groups of people suggest that those who eat 4 or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene may reduce their risk of developing heart disease or cancer. Other preliminary studies suggest that eating foods rich in beta-carotene reduces the risk of Sporadic ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease). However, a few studies have found that people who take beta-carotene supplements may have a higher risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Researchers think that may be because the total of all the nutrients you eat in a healthy, balanced diet gives more protection than just beta-carotene supplements alone.   Precautions   So far, studies have not confirmed that beta-carotene supplements by themselves help prevent cancer. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene, along with other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, seems to protect against some kinds of cancer. However, beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer in people who smoke or drink heavily. Those people should not take beta-carotene, except under a doctor's supervision. Beta-carotene reduces sun sensitivity for people with certain skin problems, but it does not protect against sunburn   My article in Hindi in a Hindi news daily ( Hindustan) Delhi edition on Beta Carotene                                                                                   Dr.Shalini Singhal    

  • Coconut Water- Nature's own Soft Drink

    In Uncategorized On 01 April 2016

    COCONUT WATER - The Nature's Own Soft Drink      For more than 4,000 years, coconut water has been revered as a natural source of nutrition, wellness, beauty and hydration. Low in calories, naturally fat and cholesterol free, high in potassium, and super hydrating - these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to latest health craze: coconut water. Also named as "Mother Nature%u2019s sports drink, Coconut water not only hydrates the body but is also claimed to help with a whole host of conditions, from hangovers to cancer and kidney stones.   What Is Coconut Water? Coconut water is the fluid that%u2019s found in the cavity of the coconut when you crack it open. It contains no fat and is very low in calories, about 50 calories for one cup, most of them from natural sugars. In addition to water and sugar, coconut water also contains some electrolytes and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit%u2019s centre that is tapped from young, green coconuts. Coconut Water as a Sports Drink Coconut water has less sugar than many sports drinks and much less sugar than sodas and some fruit juices. Plain coconut water could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. But don%u2019t overdo it as  if you drink several in one day, the calories can add up quickly. Some Athletes Swear by  the benefits of coconut water as a Sports Drink. Professional tennis player John Isner says that coconut water  is super hydrating and prevents him cramping his feet even in severe hot and humid weather conditions. Coconut water may be better at replacing lost fluids than a sports drink or water -- as long as you enjoy the taste.Some are of the view that coconut water won%u2019t rehydrate the body unless you can drink plenty of it. Also,neither coconut water nor sports drinks contain enough sodium or carbs for the heavy perspirer. Supplement with a quick source of energy like a banana or some dry fruits provide nutrients to replenish your stores. Health Benefits It has few calories, less sodium, and good potassium than sports drinks. Ounce per ounce ( around 30 gms), most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium Listed below are the amazing benefits of coconut water. Its said to help with: Muscle performance Energy Weight-loss Heart health Stress reduction Skin, hair & nail health Mental acuity Kidney cleansing Natural hang-over cure   Prevents dehydration  Coconut Water Hydrates the Body. Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body. Coconut Water controls vomiting & diarrhoea. Because of its high potassium and good sodium content, it restores electrolyte balance in the body. It is simply great in typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea and other gut related ailments. Wherever this is freely available at an affordable cost, it should be consumed.  Promotes heart health.  Being rich in potassium, coconut water, may help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.  Promotes kidney health. Diets high in potassium, magnesium, and fluids are thought to reduce the risk of kidney stones, so its not surprising that coconut water is reported to help prevent or resolve kidney stones. It  may help relieve Urinary Problems too. Fights aging Coconut water also contains compounds that seem to protect cells against aging and cancer. Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water found to have significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic (anti-clot formation) effects. Coconut Water Kills Intestinal Worms   Coconut water is also though to kill intestinal worms. More research on this is required though. It is a good between meal beverage. Fills you up with very few calories .It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish. Its considered good for pregnant ladies as well. It is an Antibacterial in nature too   How to have coconut water  Enjoy the coconut drink without any additions.  Iced coconut water can be a refreshing drink.  Fresh water can be made special drink adding lemon slices, mint leaves, orange zest, etc.    Its gel-like meat (kernel) inside the young tender coconuts is very sweet and delicious.   Safety profile Coconut water is universally appealing drink. There are no known reactions of any sort notified so far drinking it. It is not only cherished in healthy but considered safe in pregnancy, infants as well as in many diseased conditions.    

  • In a Sunlit country,why should we be Vitamin D deficient ?

    In Uncategorized On 19 March 2015

      Vitamin D, the fat soluble vitamin important for Bone Health, Calcium & Phosphorus absorption is effective against multiple disorders. Deficiency of this vitamin leads to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults and hence it is important to meet the daily requirement of this vitamin. As per a latest study Low vitamin D can make young women depressed    Why the deficiency Irony is that in a country lit with bright sunlight right through the year, Vitamin D deficiency is being reported to be rapidly increasing both in Indian males & females. It might be due to- (1) lack of exposure to sun (being indoors and in ACs through the day ), (2) pollution in the air, (3) weather conditions for eg . cloud cover, (4) excess pigments in our body which hinder its absorption or other factors affecting absorption. Ponder how often we step out in the sun and even if we do,how much Sunscreen we apply to protect our skin from the tan !!   How can you meet your daily requirement Interestingly this is the only vitamin that can be synthesized by the body on exposure to sunlight , so it is often called the SUNSHINE VITAMIN. The good news is that most people can get enough Vitamin D.However, if you don't spend enough time in the sun or if your body has trouble absorbing the vitamin, you may not get enough. Sunlight spurs the body to make vitamin D and a small amount of sun exposure without sunscreen can do the trick. About 20-25 minutes of exposure is helpful.The sun is less likely to provide your daily needs at higher latitudes, in the winter, or if you're older or dark skinned (skin pigment blocks light and the process is less efficient with age). And very importantly Light through a glass window pane would not be effective. Sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D and its not very easy to get from the dietary sources   Among foods,Fatty fish like salmon,tuna,mackerel,Cod,herring,sardines are good sources. Egg yolks also have vitamin D ,and its important to have whole eggs for it. Among meats, chicken breasts,pork  n beef liver are also considered good sources. You may also find many cereals,oils,butter, milk n milk products,orange juice,etc which have been fortified with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is present in good amounts in some varieties of mushrooms such as white button, wild edible and chanterelle. Besides,Vitamin D or Cholecalciferol supplements are required often to meet the requirement. Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose.Too much vitamin D can be toxic,so talk to your doctor before choosing a dosage.

  • Staying Healthy & Losing Weight during Ramadan - 10 Tips

    In Uncategorized On 04 June 2016

    The Holy month of Ramadan has begun. Fasting during Ramadan may improve your health, but only if done in the proper manner. If you are not careful, food eaten during the pre-dawn ( Suhoor) and dusk meals ( Iftar)  can cause some weight gain instead of weight loss and probably problems like dehydration, headache, dizziness, bloating, acidity, constipation etc. You also need to be very careful if you suffer from Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart ailments & Kidney disorders. Feasting during the non-fasting hours can be unhealthy. Its recommended to approach the fast with discipline,to lose few kilos and keep fit & healthy. The underlying message behind Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control. This should not fall apart at the end of the day. TEN  TIPS For Staying Healthy & Losing Weight during Ramadan    1.With the long fasting hours,  hydration is the key for a healthy Ramadan. Dehydration leads to headaches, irritability, and fatigue. Besides plenty of water,coconut water,lassi, chaas,herbal teas,etc  pack your morning and evening meals with  fruits and veggies for extra hydration.   2.It is very important to watch your sodium intake at this time as high sodium can cause greater dehydration.  Avoid eating and drinking that makes you more thirsty like salty foods like soups, sauces, condiments, canned meats, sodas, coffee and tea.        3. Breaking the fast  (Iftar) with whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains which can stabilize your blood sugar , kill hunger and prevent overeating . Filling up on heavy fried foods, fatty meats, and sweets may contribute to excessive fatigue and weight gain during Ramadan.   4.Always modify portion sizes during Ramadan meals . Instead of putting out a large plate, opt for a smaller plate and  cut back the amount of meat that you use, and replace it with vegetables.   5.Avoid  fried foods,fast foods and heavy oil items which can cause heartburn and other problems for you all day. Its wise to eat natural than processed.      6.Make sure during the day you do very light activities like walking, house cleaning , light yoga etc.   Go for high intensity workouts only at night since you can drink all the water you need at that time   7.Start the Day Right!  Suhoor is expected to provide you with the energy you need for the entire day. Eating protein keeps you full for hours.   Complex carbohydrates provide fibre and are a great energy source to sustain you throughout the day until Iftar. They are filling, easily digestible, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. So combine  lean protein , complex carbohydrates with a healthy fat for a balanced meal.To keep hydrated during the day it is imperative to have fluids at this time too.   8.To get the most benefit from your foods, it is important to make sure you cook them in a healthy way. Avoiding cooking methods that require lots of added fat is a great way to decrease the number of calories and improve the overall quality of your diet.    Try  baking , grilling or shallow pan frying instead of deep frying .   9. If you suffer from Diabetes,Hypertension,Kidney disorders,heart ailments,liver diseases, etc do consult a doctor before commencement of the fast. Also, your medication would have to be prescribed accordingly.       10. A change in routine during Ramadan, could lead to constipation. To avoid this, enrich your diet with fibre by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Drink plenty of water during non fasting hours and try to be active whenever possible.                                                                                                                ...........Dr.Shalini Singhal

  • 8 Simple DIET Tips to Keep Healthy this Monsoon

    In Expert Diet Tips On 13 July 2017

    Monsoon showers  come as a relief from the gruelling heat but also bring with them health irritants like allergies, infections and indigestion. The rain water makes it easy for mosquitoes to breed ,hence increases the risk of mosquito transmitted infections, such as  malaria,chikungunya & dengue. In addition, the high humidity can contribute to numerous skin diseases and fungal infections. People must be aware of these and should take preventive measures during this season. Here are 8 DIET TIPS to keep Healthy this Monsoon Avoid Oily Food Humidity levels are high during the monsoon because of which the capability of the body to digest is at its lowest.   Therefore, avoid heavy and oily food like samosa,pakoras, kachoris etc during this season as they could cause gastronomical complications like bloating and stomach upset.If temped to have, restrict yourself to a small portion and cook at home preferably Wash all fruits & vegetables properly  Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption to avoid bacterial infection . Considering the risk of infection, it is always better to avoid leafy green vegetables during monsoon. The grime and dampness present in them makes them highly susceptible to germs. So avoid vegetables like spinach, cabbage and cauliflower instead, go for vegetables like bitter gourd( karela), bottle gourd (ghiya),ridge gourd( tori ),round gourd(tinda ),etc. Make sure all vegetables are thoroughly washed and cooked well. Hydrate Yourself You may not feel too thirsty but you should keep hydrating the body, otherwise it may lead to a drop in the immunity and make you lethargic. Ensure you drink plenty of boiled water or purified water. You can also squeeze some lemon in it. Even if you are not a fan,do prepare herbal tea adding herbs and spices like  tulsi, mint,  cinnamon, ginger, cardamom etc and consume daily during monsoon season.  Barley water is also good during monsoon since it helps in preventing water retention in the body Eat Cut Fruits/ Salads with Caution Any fresh food items that have had a long exposure to the monsoon air should be avoided. Even at home, make sure you do not leave cut fruits out for very long. Any prolonged exposure to the air can cause contamination. This is the reason why we should avoid street food during rainy season since the  vendors have the fruits and vegetables cut up well in advance, which could have come in contact with contaminated air. Keep Away form Street Food Also stay away from items like gol gappa, papdi chat,fruit chaats,dahi bhallas etc where unpurified water can be used, which is a carrier of waterborne diseases. Also these food items not being heated / boiled can be a fertile ground for microbial growth. Can prepare these at home and consume fresh Ones with Allergies Beware People who are prone to skin allergies during monsoon should not eat spicy food because spicy food stimulates the circulation and raises body temperature, which leads to skin irritation, allergies and diseases Improve on your Immunity Even moderate zinc deficiency can suppress the immune system. So include foods high in zinc like egg, seafoods, lean meats, oils seeds, nuts etc  Garlic and ginger can be added to soups and curries , which helps in building the body's immunity. Curd is more suitable than milk during the season, since curd  has some live bacteria. It is a fact that two live bacteria named lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are present in curd which are effective in preventing stomach problems Walk / Exercise Moderate physical activity is known to help in boosting  immunity. Yoga is found to have beneficial effects on general health and fitness especially during monsoon when outdoor activities get  restricted to home.                                                                                          ...............Dr.Shalini Singhal &Team

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Shalini Singhal

Chief Nutritionist in Delhi NCR, India 

Dr. Shalini Singhal (Dietician & Nutritionist in Dwarka, Delhi NCR, India) is a Doctorate and PG Gold Medalist in Nutrition, an eminent healthcare professional with over 20 years experience in Nutrition Solutions Industry. Dr. Shalini Singhal brings in expertise from the world's best,scientifically proven and WHO endorsed wellness programs from USA, Pritikin Longevity Centre and also from other reknowned slimming & fitness companies like VLCC Health Care Ltd. She has headed Pritikin India and VLCC Nutri Diet Clinic and other Wellness Projects and spearheaded R&D initiatives in the field for several years. She has extensive experience of handling people who desire to lose weight and who have other associated problems. Her endeavors are focussed towards providing the most advanced and scientifically proven diet therapy for weight & disease management. Dr. Shalini Singhal (Dietician & Nutritionist  in Dwarka, Delhi NCR, India) has been an Educator and Trainer for dieticians and nutritionists pan India. She has written and published several original and review articles in various national and international journals on health, diet & nutrition. She has been participating in various conferences and is the Panelist of Nutrition & Wellness Club of various public schools in New Delhi NCR, India. Dr. Shalini Singhal has been promoting lifestyle modification programs for health and wellness at various events in schools in Dwarka & Gurgaon, colleges, clubs and corporate houses.
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