Is #chocolate #good for you?

If you love chocolate, you will love this too.

Is chocolate good for you?

There has always been some or the other debate going on about the benefits of chocolates and whether it is good for you or not. But that hasn’t stopped chocolate enthusiasts in indulging in the sinful act of indulging themselves in chocolate.

But latest researches have shown that chocolate, if eaten in reasonable amounts, can be actually good for you. Chocolate helps you make emotionally better and improves the working of body’s endorphins, which is also good for your heart.

That chocolate is good for stress has been no secrets, but researches have confirmed that chocolates contain certain acids that are help in relaxation of the mind, plus the sugar contains in the chocolate helps in reducing stress.

And the best thing is, chocolate doesn’t make you put on weight. Blaming any one kind of food for weight gain is wrong. Until you eat more calories than you can manage to burn, you will not put on weight.

Source: TOI

#Nutritional #Benefits of #Eating #Rice

Rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates and is rich in several other essential nutrients. Though rice has earned a bad name when it comes to weight gain, most of us ignore its health benefits.  We give you a lowdown on the nutritional benefits of eating rice here. 

Rice is a good source of energy as the complex carbohydrates present in rice take time to break down. Also, diabetics can safely consume it as the starch present has very low carbohydrate content if compared to other foods rich in starch.  Radikal basmati rice is also rich in iron which is one of the most important nutrients for our body. 

Eating rice daily in moderation helps the body to fight several diseases. Brown rice which is rich in fibre prevents the formation of cancerous cells in the body. With its low sodium content, rice also helps controlling blood pressure. Radikal basmati rice has eight essential amino acids, folic acid that reduces the risk of cardiovascular conditions.

Most of the foods that we consume on a daily basis come with additives and preservatives. Rice is probably one of the most commonly consumed foods that don’t have preservatives. It also contains resistant starch that goes to the bowel without getting digested. This process encourages the growth of healthy bacteria keeping the bowel regular. 

Wheat, rye, barley and most other cereal products are rich in a protein called gluten. People who find it difficult to digest or are sensitive to it turn to rice as it is considered gluten-free. Both brown and white rice if consumed steamed and not cooked with veggies or meat is free of gluten. Prepare your meals with Radikal basmati rice as it is remarkably low in sodium, fat and gluten.

Source: iDiva Health News

5 #health benefits of #tomatoes

Do you cringe every time you are asked to have tomato soup? Well, tomatoes are filled with nutrients and antioxidants that help combat several diseases as well as keep your health in good shape.

Improves vision: Vitamin A, present in tomatoes, helps to improve your eyesight as well as prevent night-blindness and macular degeneration.

Helps fight cancer: According to studies, tomatoes contain large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, that is effective in lowering the risk of cancer, especially lung, stomach and prostrate cancers.

Maintaining blood health: Research suggests that a single tomato can provide about 40% of the daily vitamin C requirement and also contains vitamin A, potassium, and iron that is essential for maintaining normal blood health. Vitamin K, which is controls bleeding and blood clotting, tomatoes help in blood circulation.

Reduces risk of heart disease: The lycopene in tomatoes can protect you against cardiovascular diseases. Consuming tomatoes regularly helps decrease the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood, reducing the deposition of fats in the blood vessels.

Good for digestion: Eating tomatoes daily can keep your digestive system healthy as it prevents both, constipation and diarrhoea. It also prevents jaundice and effectively removes toxins from the body.

4 must #eat white #vegetables

If white coloured clothes have a soothing effect on people, eating white vegetables is beneficial too and you should include more of cauliflower and garlic in your diet.

4 must eat white vegetables

4 must eat white vegetables

Here’s a list of healthy white vegetables that you should consume more, reportshuffingtonpost.com:

Cauliflower: It contains sulfur compounds that are associated with fighting cancer, strengthening bone tissue and maintaining healthy blood vessels.

Mushroom: Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, with barely any sodium, and yet they carry a wealth of selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin D. Mushrooms are also filling, so they can help you control your weight.

Garlic: It is believed to help in growing hair, cause acne to disappear and keep colds and flu at bay. Its antioxidant properties can help boost your immune system.

Potatoes: The white potato provides as much fiber as and more potassium than other commonly consumed vegetables or fruit. A medium skin-on baked potato weighs in at just 163 calories, a whopping 941 milligrams of potassium and 3.6 grams of fiber. Potatoes also provide vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium in addition to small amounts of high quality protein.

8 Foods that Boost Immunity

Adequately feeding your immune system boosts its fighting power. Immune boosters work in many ways. They increase the number of white cells in the immune system army, train them to fight better, and help them form an overall better battle plan. Boosters also help to eliminate the deadwood in the army, substances that drag the body down. Here are the top eight nutrients to add to your family’s diet to cut down on days missed from work and school because of illness.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for many reasons. There has been more research about the immune-boosting effects of Vitamin C than perhaps any other nutrient. Vitamin C supplements are inexpensive to produce, and it’s available naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Also, you can buy a vitamin-C-fortified version of just about anything. Here’s what the research shows about how this mighty vitamin protects your body.

Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Vitamin C reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering blood pressure and interfering with the process by which fat is converted to plaque in the arteries. As an added perk, persons whose diets are higher in vitamin C have lower rates of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

You don’t have to take in massive amounts of vitamin C to boost your immune system. Around 200 milligrams a day seems to be a generally agreed-upon amount and one that can be automatically obtained by eating at least six servings of fruits and vegetables a day. See Top Seven Vitamin C-Containing Fruits. If you take vitamin C supplements, it’s best to space them throughout the day rather than take one large dose, most of which may end up being excreted in the urine.

Vitamin E. This important antioxidant and immune booster doesn’t get as much press as vitamin C, yet it’s important to a healthy immune system.

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E supplementation may also reverse some of the decline in immune response commonly seen in aging. Vitamin E has been implicated in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. In the Harvard School of Public Health study of 87,000 nurses, Vitamin E supplementation was shown to cut the risk of heart attacks by fifty percent.

It’s not difficult to get 30 to 60 milligrams every day of Vitamin E from a diet rich in seeds, vegetable oils, and grains, but it’s difficult for most people to consume more than 60 milligrams a day consistently through diet alone. Supplements may be necessary to get enough vitamin E to boost your immune system.

You need 100-400 milligrams per day, depending on your general lifestyle. People who don’t exercise, who smoke, and who consume high amounts of alcoholic beverages will need the higher dosage. Those with a more moderate lifestyle can get by with lower levels of supplementation.

  1. Carotenoids. Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate aging. Like the other “big three” antioxidants, vitamins C and E, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by interfering with how the fats and cholesterol in the bloodstream oxidize to form arterial plaques. Studies have shown that beta carotene can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially strokes and heart attacks, giving scientific credence to the belief that a carrot a day can keep the heart surgeon away. Beta carotene also protects against cancer by stimulating the immune cells called macrophages to produce tumor necrosis factor, which kills cancer cells. It has also been shown that beta carotene supplements can increase the production of T-cell lymphocytes and natural killer cells and can enhance the ability of the natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.

    Beta carotene is the most familiar carotenoid, but it is only one member of a large family. Researchers believe that it is not just beta carotene that produces all these good effects, but all the carotenoids working together. This is why getting carotenoids in food may be more cancer-protective than taking beta carotene supplements.

    The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, which itself has anticancer properties and immune-boosting functions. But too much vitamin A can be toxic to the body, so it’s better to get extra beta carotene from foods and let the body naturally regulate how much of this precursor is converted to the immune-fighting vitamin A. It’s highly unlikely that a person could take in enough beta carotene to produce a toxic amount of vitamin A, because when the body has enough vitamin A, it stops making it.

  2. Bioflavenoids. A group of phytonutrients called bioflavenoids aids the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants. Bioflavenoids protect the cell membranes against the pollutants trying to attach to them. Along the membrane of each cell there are microscopic parking spaces, called receptor sites. Pollutants, toxins, or germs can park here and gradually eat their way into the membrane of the cell, but when bioflavenoids fill up these parking spots there is no room for toxins to park. Bioflavenoids also reduce the cholesterol’s ability to form plaques in arteries and lessen the formation of microscopic clots inside arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that people who eat the most bioflavenoids have less cardiovascular disease.A diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, at least six servings per day, will help you get the bioflavenoids needed to help your immune system work in top form.
  3. Zinc. This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer and helps white cells release more antibodies. Zinc supplements have been shown to slow the growth of cancer.

    Zinc increases the number of infection-fighting T-cells, especially in elderly people who are often deficient in zinc, and whose immune system often weakens with age. The anti-infection hype around zinc is controversial. While some studies claim that zinc supplements in the form of lozenges can lower the incidence and severity of infections, other studies have failed to show this correlation. A word of caution: too much zinc in the form of supplements (more than 75 milligrams a day) can inhibit immune function. It’s safest to stick to getting zinc from your diet and aim for 15 to 25 milligrams a day.

    For infants and children, there is some evidence that dietary zinc supplements may reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections, but this is controversial. The best source of zinc for infants and young children is zinc-fortified cereals.

    RICH SOURCES OF ZINC
    Food Source of Zinc Serving Size Zinc (in milligrams)
    Oysters 6 medium 76
    Zinc-fortified cereals 1 ounce 0-15
    Crab 3 ounces 7
    Beef 3 ounces 6
    Turkey, dark meat 3 ounces 3.8
    Beans 1/2 cup 1.2-1.8

  4. Garlic. This flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. Garlic can also act as an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the bloodstream. Garlic may protect against cancer, though the evidence is controversial. Cultures with a garlic-rich diet have a lower incidence of intestinal cancer. Garlic may also play a part in getting rid of potential carcinogens and other toxic substances. It is also a heart-friendly food since it keeps platelets from sticking together and clogging tiny blood vessels.
  5. Selenium. This mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. Best food sources of selenium are tuna, red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, vegetables (depending on the selenium content of the soil they’re grown in), brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts, and lamb chops.
  6. Omega-3 fatty acids. A study found that children taking a half teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. (Perhaps this is why grandmothers used to insist on a daily dose of unpalatable cod liver oil.) Essential fatty acids also protect the body against damage from over-reactions to infection. When taking essential fatty acid supplements, such as flax or fish oils, take additional vitamin E, which acts together with essential fatty acids to boost the immune system. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

Looking for a good tasting multivitamin for your child? Dr. Sears has a delicious fruit based multivitamin that contains all the nutrients your growing child’s needs

NUTRITIP

Hot Foods for Colds

Hot foods such as chili peppers, hot mustard, radishes, pepper, onions, and garlic contain substances called “mucolytics” (similar to over-the-counter expectorant cough syrups) that liquefy thick mucus that accumulates in the sinuses and breathing passages.

5 Low-calorie Options for Evening Snacks

Mid-meal cravings are the biggest culprits of weight gain. No matter how healthy your meal has been, these cravings always shoot up your calorie count.

Especially, during the evenings (when these cravings are at their peak), you tend to binge on unhealthy snacks. Potato chips, French fries, burgers and pastries are just a few of them. Well, we bring to you some great snack options, which are not only tasty, but low on calories as well.

Banana and strawberry smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries (1/2 cup)
  • Banana (1)
  • Low-fat yoghurt or skimmed milk (1/2 cup)

Blend the ingredients in a blender till the time it is frothy. It is an excellent low-calorie snack and a great way of eating two fruits rich in potassium, which helps in lowering blood pressure. Milk in the smoothie is a storehouse of calcium. So, do not skip the benefits you can churn out of this tummy-filling yummy smoothie.

Cheese and grapes:

Ingredients:

  • Grapes (10-12)
  • Low-fat cheese (2-3 tablespoons)

Grapes are rich in resveratrol (an antioxidant) that help in preventing cancer and heart diseases. And, cheese adds protien. So, eating grapes with low-fat cheese is a great option. “Adding protein makes a snack more filling than eating fruit alone,” suggests Hillary Wright, MEd, RD. All you have to do is mix and eat them. You can also place cheese cubes and grapes in skewers and serve them as starters.

Baked sweet potato:

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (2-3)
  • Cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon)

Take medium-sized sweet potatoes and use a fork to poke holes on them. Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Bake them for 40-45 minutes. Now, cut them vertically into two parts or in the form of fries. Now, sprinkle some cinnamon powder on them. Because of its higher fibre and water content, this is quite a filling snack. It can satisfy your mid-meal cravings, thus preventing you from piling on calories. It is a great substitute to high-calorie potato wedges.

Nutty yoghurt:

Ingredients:

  • Yoghurt (1 cup)
  • Berries (4-5)
  • Walnuts (4-5)
  • Almonds (4-5)
  • Honey (1-2 tablespoon)

Try eating nuts with a twist. Add them in bowl of yoghurt, and throw in a few berries too. Remember, a handful of nuts are a storehouse of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, yoghurt being a milk product is rich in calcium and is certainly good for bones. To sweeten the yoghurt, you can add honey (instead of sugar) in your nutty yoghurt preparation.


Peanut butter on a banana:

Ingredients:

  • Banana ( 2)
  • Peanut butter (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Yoghurt (1-2 tablespoons)

Here is a perfect way of making the most out of those overripe bananas. Peel a banana and mash it in a bowl with peanut butter and low-fat yoghurt. Now, cut a banana into round slices. Now, spread this mixture between two banana slices and freeze them for some time. Substitute this snack with ice-cream.

Image courtesy: Fitsugar.com