Blog | Category | Functional foods
  • 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      

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  • 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   

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  • 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.    

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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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