Western adaptations have taken us all by surprise in all spheres of life. Besides idli, dosa, roti and sabji people have started eating other healthy options that could benefit our body. My 5-year-old daughter is a crazy fan of flavoured yogurts besides the regular ice creams, chocolates and muffins. The interesting part here is that yogurt is healthy, tasty as well as economical-when the right choice is made. Yogurt, rich in protein, calcium and potassium is also an excellent source of live, active bacteria. Such active bacteria are called as “good bacteria” for the gut as it helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system, promotes the presence of good bacteria and results in a healthy body due to the untiring effort of the gut microbiome. Our gut bacteria holds responsibility for a major portion of health and recent research has unravelled the ravishing effects of them on human body and for more details on gut microbiome and the related health benefits please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Supermarket shelves are arranged with different varieties of yogurt that come in an array of flavours. We have got everything right from Greek and flavoured yogurt to low-fat and fruited. While we adults are confused by with the different flavours available children go into frenzy unable to make the right choice. Every flavour has an attraction and a uniqueness which makes it different from the rest. But how do you choose the right kind of yogurt that’s tasty as well as healthy? Use your discretion and choose based on different criteria such as fat percentage, flavour and more.
Cartons of plain/flavoured yogurts have arrived from the supermarket and your child is bored after a couple of days eating the same yogurt in the same style. Bring in some innovation and inspiration to your yogurt cups by following any of the given ideas below:
Mix yogurt with a handful of colourful berries, some nuts and granola for a yummy and satisfying breakfast meal.
Drink yogurt by making a smoothie using low-fat yogurt with your choice of flavour and some milk. Adjust the consistency (too thin or too thick) by adding some yogurt or milk respectively. This makes your bones stronger and you even find it easier to complete the healthy beverage. You can add fruits such as frozen strawberries, blackberries or mulberry, cinnamon and some vanilla extract along with nut butter, seeds or other nutritious toppings to make the smoothie as enriched with calcium and proteins as possible.
You can make a lip-smacking topping using some low-fat Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of seasoning of your choice such as taco and some lime juice which makes it a perfect replacement for sour cream. There is no harm in replacing sour cream with plain yogurt in your recipes.
Any yogurt has some sugar due to milk but you can enhance sweetness by mixing fresh/frozen fruits of your choice. If you really want some real taste of sugar maybe use some honey (for kids above the age of 1) or sugar substitutes but ensure to never exceed calories from sugar by more than 10% daily.
Yogurt dips are becoming our favourite these days as it is easier to make and healthier to eat. Dip carrot, pear or pineapple sticks in a succulent dip made from low-fat yogurt, cinnamon and some vanilla extract. This is the perfect replacement to your cheese dips that can shoot up calories as much as possible.
Though its interesting and nice to know the different ways in which yogurt can be used in our daily meal sticking to portion sizes is necessary here too. One cup of dairy-based fat-free or low-fat yogurt fulfils 30-45% calcium requirements. Whereas, one cup of frozen yogurt provides 10% of the daily required calcium levels. Boost calcium levels by taking yogurt in recommended portion sizes for good health.
Aluminum is the most plentiful metal found in the Earth’s crust present in our environment in combination with other elements such as oxygen, silicon and fluorine. This makes us exposed to aluminum which is not dangerous but once the levels are higher than normal it becomes extremely hazardous to health. In reality, each of us ingest some amount of aluminum daily in our lives though this might sound crazy. But once you think about the conspicuous presence of aluminum in our daily life-in the form of foods, cosmetics, baking tools and our favourite aluminum foil we begin to realize the dominant presence of this metal in our life.
Natural Presence of Aluminum
It makes us happy when our mom packs our food in glittery aluminum foil rolling the phulkas or covering the sabji but have you ever thought about the fact that using such foils can cause aluminum to seep through into your food and increase your health risk?
We have research showing that aluminum compounds are naturally present in water as a purifying agent, as an additive in processed foods where they could serve as an emulsifying agent or a food colorant, as a natural occurrence in our everyday foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, grains and dairy products and is omnipresent in commercially produced foods as they are dominated by food additives that might contain more aluminum than home-cooked foods. This metal is also found in baking trays and utensils, takeaway containers and foods such as radish, tea, spinach and mushrooms as they absorb a greater quantity of aluminum than other foods. We have research showing that the most common non-dietary intake of aluminum is in the form of deodorants and anti-perspirants and individuals might as well restrict the use of such products containing high aluminum levels and choose ones that have comparatively lower levels.
Simple Tricks to Reduce Aluminum Use
Every food doesn’t contain the same quantity of aluminum as the amount present differs based on various factors such as absorption (how fast the food absorbs aluminum), soil in which the food was grown, packaging (whether aluminum-based packaging material was used) and additives (whether the food contains additives that could contain a dominant share of aluminum). In reality, it might be a difficult task to single out those foods that are rich in aluminum but following a varied diet and using a variety of brands could minimize exposure to the metal.
We have new results from German studies that mankind’s exposure to aluminum levels in foods has been decreasing but still our exposure levels are in unsafe territories. We can make simple modifications from our end to minimize exposure to aluminum-individuals can avoid preparing and storing food, especially acidic and salty ones in uncoated aluminum dishes/pots or aluminum foil. Cooking could be done in non-aluminum utensils such as glass or porcelain; aluminum foil for cooking purpose should be avoided; cook foods as much as possible at lower temperature; aluminum foil is used for wrapping foods such as veggies when grilling them but ensure to avoid using them for acidic foods such as tomatoes and rhubarb. Grilling is touted to be one of the healthiest ways to consume foods but there are also certain disadvantages to it, the list of which can be found at www.firsteatright.com.
We have theories that dietary aluminum exists as a potent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease as there have been high levels of aluminum found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. There are even threats of neurotoxicity and breast cancer risk. To avoid any of the risks of increased aluminum levels it is simply best to eat home-cooked foods and reduce consumption of processed foods.
Nothing brings greater contentment in life than eating a tasty meal. Sorrow, stress and anxiety are a part of life that cannot be avoided but satisfying your taste buds helps us forget about any of it during that time period and sometimes even brings about more energy and a new sense of rejuvenation. Such is the power of food. Isn’t it common to see parents bribing their kids by offering them tasty treats as rewards? Such food rewards can bring upon dangerous health consequences in people and obesity is one of the biggest public health hazards. There are multiple reasons behind the widespread prevalence of obesity rates including haphazard lifestyle practices, inappropriate eating habits and exercise schedules. Though there are numerous causes it is well-known that food consumption habits and decisions play an important role in what to eat and how much to eat.
Taste is a great way of attracting peoples’ attention making them eat more and more food. but not all of us have the same taste-some like it sweet, some like it salty and there are few who like it spicy-depending on the taste buds and the proteins on the taste buds that occupy a definite place in our tongue. Read more about taste and how obesity can affect taste response at www.firsteatright.com. Though there are no differences in taste perceptions between normal and overweight individuals a study has found that obese people have greater initial taste perceptions that was greater than participants who were not obese and this declined at a more gradual rate than participants who were not obese. The sight of cake or burger seems alluring and the first bite seems heavenly but as you keep eating the charm of the food keeps decreasing. You don’t find the satisfaction of the first bite to exist at the same level through the tenth bite as well.
Consumption of more food leads to diminishing marginal taste perceptions and to find whether this differed between individuals based on their weight a group of researchers conducted a trial with 290 adults (161 had normal BMI, 78 were overweight and 51 were obese) each of whom were offered a piece of chocolate one at a time. They could eat as many as they wanted to without any restriction. Each of them consumed anywhere between 2 and 51 chocolates. It was observed that the rating of the chocolate went down with each additional piece of it consumed with no difference in taste perception between normal and overweight participants. Those who were hungrier before the study had greater taste perception and women’s taste perception declined faster than men. It was seen that obese people reported a higher satisfaction level for every additional piece of chocolate consumed compared to nonobese people showing that their taste perception is different from others. Obese individuals need to consume a greater quantity of food to experience a decline in taste perception-for instance, they ate 12.5 pieces of chocolates compared to 10 pieces eaten by normal participants before reaching satiety levels- a difference of almost 70 calories higher. This stands crucial in the case of obese individuals as they are unknowingly adding greater weight to their body. Manipulating taste perceptions is definitely needed to fix obesity problems in them
As kids we love to grow up rapidly as we are awed by the power, control and supremacy adults hold over children. There have been many times during which my 5-year-old daughter had repeatedly questioned me about growing up fast! She has even asked me to come up with a good solution for quickly growing up! Such is the inclination of kids to become adults. But as we grow up, enter college pass out, get into a decent job and start facing real hurdles in life we start revisiting our happier childhood memories and seek to become a child once again. Besides filling our life with boulders, success, failures and mixed emotions growing up/ageing brings upon various other irreversible effects-on our health, appearance and well-being-our quality of life depends on the way we handle them.
Food habits and lifestyle practices hold prominent roles in our path to weight loss and good health but along this tag our body’s metabolism too which gets slower and slower as we grow older. A slow metabolism has always been a hindrance to weight loss and there have been ample debates and suggestions to increase our body’s metabolic rate many of which are discussed at www.firsteatright.com. Ageing leads to plentiful changes happening inside our body, to the organs, to our mental health and our overall health as well. Few people remain healthy and fit even when they reach well into their 60s and 70s. For others it’s a daily struggle in life-to stay within normal weight ranges, to abstain from becoming obese, to remember things or even to do daily chores. Each of us accept the fact that people gain weight as they age. They have also blamed it on a variety of factors including low metabolic rate, decreased activity performed through the day, increased leisure time sitting around and no change in portion sizes despite increased sedentariness. But now a new study in Sweden has found that lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing making it easier to gain weight despite our efforts to not eat more or exercise less than before.
The research team studied the fat cells of more than 50 individuals for more than 10 years during which all of them displayed decrease in lipid turnover in fat tissues (rate at which lipid in fat cells is removed and stored). It was observed that those who did not compensate for this decreased turnover by eating less gained weight by as much as 20% more. The same team studied 41 women who had underwent bariatric surgery probing into the efficiency of these women to keep their weight off 4-7 years after the surgery using lipid turnover rates. Those women who had low turnover rates before surgery were able to increase it after surgery and keep off the weight which led the researchers to believe that such people have greater chances of increasing lipid turnover rates than those who already had high rates before surgery. It is clearly seen that fat tissues play an independent role in our body regulating changes in body weight as we grow old undeterred by other processes.
So, how do we increase lipid turnover rates to burn fat? By exercising and this is what different researches also say. Increased physical activity also helps in promoting the effectiveness of surgeries. This research is extremely useful for ageing people who have been perplexed with their weight gain despite no changes to their diet and exercise. This would also help in tackling obesity and obesity-related diseases that have expanded to become a mammoth problem globally.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.