Today we live in a ‘jet age’ – fast lives, deadlines, commitments, pressures and time constraints are all an integral part of our professional and personal lives. In such situations we don’t just need to eat to survive, but we need to fuel ourselves to perform too, so that we can excel in our respective spheres of life. And of course, with so much on our mind, we barely have time to think about our food, or preparing the best of the best food for ourselves. Fast food items and grab-a-grub is all we can think of! Also, thanks to the advancement in the food industry, the fancy and taste bud-stimulating foods are always around us, which makes it even more convenient
to opt for them. There are a few ingredients found in fast food, that are considered ‘bad’ for our health, if consumed
in excess quantities:
This is a highly processed form of wheat without fiber and nutrients which can cause constipation, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, etc.
High quantities of sugar may cause a spike and fall in blood sugar levels, causing cravings and weight gain.
Extra consumption of salt may cause water retention in excess, which, by rising sodium levels, can lead to hypertension.
Though these ‘white’ foods are unhealthy when consumed in excess, not all white foods are ‘bad’ and some of them, like the ones below, bring many positive nutritious benefits to us.
Made from milk by fermentation giving it a smooth texture and tangy flavour, yogurt is not only tasty, but also has a host of health benefits which makes it worth including in your daily diet. Being rich in calcium, it acts as a bone-strengthener and prevents the risk of osteoporosis. The intrinsic protein content also makes you feel full for a longer time, reducing unnecessary ‘junking’ in between.
The most useful aspect about yogurt is its probiotic effect. Live bacteria produced during the fermentation process fight against the ‘bad’ ones in your gut to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, thereby preventing deficiencies. They also help build up good immune system, by reducing the chances of infections and colon cancer.
Complete in all its sense, oats are actually used as a therapeutic food for a number of health problems. They contain both, the soluble fiber known as beta-glucan and an insoluble fiber, which acts as a saviour for people suffering from constipation. The fiber in oats has many health implications. It slows down digestion, making you feel fuller for a longer time so that you tend to eat less, promoting weight loss.
Since fiber slows down digestion, it delays the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, reducing the spike in the blood sugar levels. Thus, it almost becomes a compulsory ingredient in a diabetic’s diet to help them control their sugars. The fiber in oats breaks down during digestion, forms a gel and traps the cholesterol-rich substances from food in the digestive tract, preventing it from being absorbed in the blood stream. This helps reduce cholesterol and prevent heart ailments. The fiber in oats binds with cancer-causing carcinogens and reduces the incidence of cancer.
Apart from the fiber, the phytochemicals and antioxidants like avenanthramides in oats reduce the risk of hormone related cancers such as breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.
Not only loved for its characteristic umami (a pleasant meaty, savoury taste distinct from sweet, sour, spicy and bitter), mushrooms also have a host of nutrients important for good health.
They are neither a fruit nor a vegetable, but a fungi, which the non-vegetarians turning into vegetarian are more than happily substituting their meat with. They are a great source of vitamin B and provide energy by breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like selenium and ergothioneine, which protect body cells from damage, prevent heart attacks, boost immunity and help you age gracefully.
The high potassium and low sodium content of mushrooms helps keep blood pressure under check, and allows the nerves and muscles, especially of the heart, to function perfectly.
Mushrooms are quite filling and very low in calories, and thus, a lucrative option for the diet-conscious amongst you. It makes complete sense to replace red meat with it, helping you shed excess weight. The fiber in mushrooms – chitin and beta-glucan help lower bad cholesterol and improve heart health, with its copious amounts of vitamin D promoting good bone-health.
But just a word of caution: be careful while buying mushrooms, as some forms can be highly toxic. Trust none other than a good brand.
Treat your body with respect, nurture it with the right foods and see how it respects you back, making you feel great, energetic and happy. Ultimately what you eat, is what you become!