#Discover the #magic of #mushrooms

Mushrooms not only taste good but also a great source of healthy food.

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Remember those stories of mushrooms making somebody big or playing shields against the dreaded monsters. So, if diseases are considered as monsters then you know how to deal with them. The answer is simple: Enjoy your share of mushrooms. Mushrooms are full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, anti-biotic and anti-oxidants. From pizzas, pastas to omelettes, mushrooms can really add taste to a dish.

The health benefits of mushroom include the following:

B Vitamins are vital for turning food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body burns to produce energy. They also help the body metabolize fats and protein. Mushrooms contain loads of vitamin B2 and vitamin B3.

Mushrooms have zero cholesterol, fats and very low carbohydrates. The fiber and certain enzymes in them also help lower cholesterol level. The high lean protein content in mushrooms helps burn cholesterol when they are digested.

Mushrooms can be an ideal low energy diet for diabetics. They have no fats, no cholesterol, very low carbohydrates, high proteins, vitamins and minerals, a lot of water and fiber. Moreover, they contain natural insulin and enzymes which help breaking down of sugar or starch of the food.

Ergothioneine, a powerful anti oxidant present in mushrooms is very effective in giving protection from free radicals as well as boosting up immunity. Mushrooms contain natural antibiotics (similar to penicillin, which itself is extracted from mushrooms) which check microbial and other fungal infections.

Mushrooms are the only vegetable and the second known source (after cod liver oil) to contain vitamin-D in edible form. They are rich in calcium (good for bones), iron (cures anemia), potassium ( good for lowering blood pressure) and selenium. The best source of selenium is animal proteins. So, mushrooms can be the best choice for vegetarians to obtain selenium.

#Health #benefits of #spring #onions

Spring onions add great nutritive and taste value to a dish and can be used in different ways.

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Spring onions were grown in Chinese gardens 5000 years ago! Do you know the onion bulb was worshipped as the symbol of the universe by ancient Egyptians? Nutritionally, green onions have a combination of the benefits of onions and greens. They are an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a very good source of vitamin A too.

Spring onions can be added to dal and make it a much tastier dish. Similarly, you can add it to vegetables like cauliflower and potatoes and it will make an excellent dish. Mushrooms go very well with spring onions and interestingly spring onions can be added to soy nuggets while making a Chinese dish. Spring onions are used in salads as the flavor tends to be milder than other onions. It is used widely in oriental food both as an ingredient and as a garnish.

Spring onion is a nutritious plant, and therefore it provides a host of health benefits to us. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals which aids in curing the various ailments. It is seen to have helped in reducing the harmful impacts of various diseases.

Some of the health benefits of spring onions are as follows:
– Spring onion lowers the blood sugar level.
– It is a support against gastrointestinal problems.
– It is often used as a medicine for common cold.
– It is used as an appetizer as it helps digestion.
– It speeds up the level of blood circulation in the body.

#Benefiting from whole #grains

If the new buzz word in health corridors is to be believed, then ‘brown’ is the new ‘healthy’. By brown, we mean whole grains.

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Health experts recommend whole grains while advising us to stay away from eating white (read: White bread, white pasta, white grits, white couscous, and white rice). But, why whole grains? What is so magical about them? To answer all this and more, today we have with us Dr. Amitabh Pandit, Orthomolecular nutrition expert and author of BJAIN book – Super Foods – Make Your Child a Genius. He gives us his expert insight on how and why one must benefit from whole grains.

Different kinds of whole grains and how they are beneficial.Grains are essential part of a healthy diet. Grains and whole grains come in different shape and sizes. They are good sources of carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are unrefined grains, without bran, whose germs are removed by milling. The refined grains are milled, in which a fine texture is given to extend their shelf life. White rice, white flour, white bread are a few examples. Enriched grains are those grains, which are enriched by vitamins and minerals.

Understanding the concept of refined grains. As refined grains are treated during processing, they lose their nutrients and vitamins. Therefore, whole grains are recommended instead of refined grains, as refined grains have many sub standards like excessive starchiness, use of chemicals to bleach, use of colours for colouring and majorly imbalanced nutritive values.

Is my 100% whole wheat bread whole grain? This purely depends on the manufacturing process of the bread maker. In some countries, definitely yes, it is available and in same cases in India too.

Note that while white whole wheat bread might look and taste like white bread, it has most probably the same nutritional ingredients as in a regular whole grain or whole wheat bread. White whole wheat bread includes albino which is a variety of wheat with a much sweeter and milder flavour. Make sure that when you are buying regular whole wheat bread its label mentions red wheat which is a dark in colour wheat and a slightly sour taste.

How do I know if a product is made with whole grains? First, check the label on the package. Products mentioned as Organic or Multigrain cannot be whole grain. Be aware of what types of whole grains are available in the market. Some whole grains are made of barley while others are made of buckwheat, whole wheat, oatmeal, millet and barley.

Do make sure that you read labels before buying any of the whole grain products.Ideally, whole grain products should have multi grain, rye, whole wheat, pumpernickel. Never believe the fake marketing gimmicks of whole grain products when they say ‘made with whole wheat’ as these products are often refined. As mentioned above, check for the ingredients and also keep an eye on the percentage of the whole grain in the product.

Top strategies to get whole grain in your daily diet. Switch to brown bread and rice from white bread and rice. Include popcorn, oat meal in your diet. Have whole wheat pasta & pizzas instead of regular ones. No Indian meal is complete without having one or two chappatis. Try and incorporate whole grains in your chappatis. Prepare them from whole wheat, bajra, jowar, and Ragi for maximum health benefits instead of flour.

Explaining the calorie-controlled benefits of whole grains. Whole grains are very useful in losing weight, as the foods that are high in carbohydrates are lower in calories. The fiber and protein in whole grains helps to regulate blood sugar, which increase satiety and delay the return of hunger. You won’t need to worry about calories in your diet, when consuming whole grains, as whole grain products are always efficient in calorie control. All health experts suggest brown rice, brown bread and other whole grain products for controlling weight.

Why comfort #foods feel so #good

Forget gourmet delights or opulent spreads, it is the eternal favourites that brings a smile on one’s face!

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There’s nothing like appeasing one’s gastronomic cravings. The contentment that a foodie gets after eating that scrumptious food is a high like none other. Even though we are all particular about what we eat and make a fuss about how bad the paneer or chicken was cooked, there are still a good number of things we would love to eat no matter how they are cooked. This is especially true when one is in a foreign land.

Says Lakshmi S, a homemaker living in Canberra, “I love idly sambar and can eat it any time of the day. I am a South Indian, who can eat the same for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Idly and bread were once considered as foods for sick people. However, of late, the health benefits of idly came to be understood. The steamed preparation is not filling, but also a safe option if you are not sure of the hotel. Nitin Mukesh, a software professional, says, “I am bachelor staying away from home. I can’t cook and hate to venture out for food after a hard day’s work. Hence, the best option for me is to order for home delivery.”

These are what one calls comfort foods — that which you can have any time and any number of times — most importantly it gives you a sense of satisfaction. Heard of food therapy? Various studies have found that you can beat the blues with good food. And the options are aplenty. Hasn’t a bar of chocolate lifted your spirit?

Debabrata Ghosh, a software consultant says, “When I feel low, I simply order a pizza. It’s not just yum, but also a great mood booster.”

All said and done, sometimes we can live on these comfort foods for days without getting bored.

All time favourite comfort food:
Idly, vada, sambar:
No matter which part of the world you belong to, the idly-vada-sambar is an irresistible breakfast combo. Hot idlis dipped in sambar with a dash of ghee is sure to make you crave for more.

Alu paratha: This Punjabi staple is popular across the globe. Nothing is more appetizing than to see a hot paratha cooked on tawa with a blob of butter melting away.

Instant noodles: Call it unhealthy or sacrilege, but most of us Indians still like our instant noodles best and still find it a satisfying meal.

Pizza: The oven-baked round bread is perhaps one of the most filling and delightful meals that one can ever have.

Burger: Cheesy, greasy and yet so irresistible, it’s available across all corners of the globe, making it an all-time favourite.

Corn: The latest craze to hit India in the recent past is the American sweet corn, with an Indian makeover. The variants include — chat masala, pepper, chilli corn, butter corn.

Sandwiches: No we’re not talking subs or the Yankee ones. We’re talking the traditional style. Walk into any bakery or a small joint and the sandwich is simply not to miss.