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WINTER VEGETABLES IN INDIA

Best vegetables are grown during winter. These vegetables should be included in our daily diet to get the maximum nutritional benefit out of it. All the vegetables contain micro nutrients, that is, vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are required by our body at the right amounts. Hence choosing the seasonal vegetables in the right quantity is the best option. All these vegetables have health benefits if consumed regularly. Some of which are discussed below :
1. Cauliflower : It is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.
2. Bell Pepper : Red, Orange, and Yellow Bell Peppers are full of great health benefits—they’re packed with vitamins and low in calories! They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Bell Peppers also contain a healthy dose of fiber, folate, and iron.
3. Spinach : Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron and manganese. Eating this leafy green veggie may benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress and reduce blood pressure levels among other health functions.
4. Fenugreek : Fenugreek has benefits for lowering blood sugar levels, boosting testosterone, and increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Fenugreek may also reduce cholesterol levels, lower inflammation, and help with appetite control, but more research is needed in these areas.
5. Green Peas : Green peas contain a decent amount of heart-healthy minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. Diets high in these nutrients may be helpful for preventing high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
6. Carrot : Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health
Let’s make use of all these fresh and healthy winter vegetables and make winter special dish “Undhiyu”. It is a Gujarati mixed vegetable dish that is a regional speciality of Surat. Traditionally it is cooked in earthern pot. It has immense health benefits and a great source of micro nutrients.

OBESITY AND OVERWEIGHT

Obese man’s waist

What are obesity and overweight?
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
Adults
For adults, WHO defines overweight and obesity as follows:
• overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and
• obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
Over weight/ Obesity may increase the risk of many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. If you are pregnant, excess weight may lead to short- and long-term health problems for you and your child.
Indian Kitchen has powerful and effective ingredients to help you lose weight. These powerful ingredients are :
Curcumin/Raw Turmeric
Curcumin is the amazing active compound that is found within the turmeric root. It has long been used as treatment in traditional Ayurvedic medicines. It’s both antioxidant-rich and a fantastic daily supplement for promoting a healthy inflammation response in the body. To get the full benefits of curcumin however, it must come with the right support ingredients. It boosts digestion, provides relief from stomach problems.

Ginger
Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects ( 1 ). Bottom Line: Ginger is a popular spice. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Treats chronic indigestion, reduces menstrual pain, lowers cholesterol, improves brain function.
Black Pepper
An excellent source of manganese and vitamin K, a very good source of copper and dietary fiber, and a good source of iron, chromium and calcium. Piperine is the primary ingredient that distinguishes black pepper and other related peppers (like white pepper). High in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, benefit your brain, improves blood sugar control, lowers cholesterol levels, may have cancer-fighting properties and a versatile spice.
Jaggery
Jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is rich in iron and thus is highly recommended for anaemic people. It also contains many minerals such as Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Selenium, Manganese and Zinc. It is obtained by boiling raw, concentrated sugar cane juice till it solidifies. Although jaggery is also made from the sap of coconut and date palm, the one made from sugar cane is the one that’s used most widely. It prevents constipation by aiding digestion. Jaggery is alkaline in nature and acts as detox, cleanse the liver, loaded with antioxidants and minerals.
Lemon
Lemon contains high amount of Vitamin C, aids in weight loss and reduce risk of heart disease, anaemia and kidney stones.

QUALITIES OF MILK

When we are tired or depleted, ingestion of milk rejuvenates and allows us to become active again. When the digestion is poor, various organs are unable to receive their proper supply of nutrients and thus start ageing quickly. The main cause of premature ageing stems from the deposits of food materials in the intestinal walls. This condition paralyzes the process of assimilation-the main job of intestines. If the waste materials that stick to the intestinal walls are expelled properly, all the organs will receive proper food supply and the problem of premature ageing will be removed or will not arise.

Milk cleanses the digestive tract. It removes toxins and waste products from the stomach and intestines and supplies the body with a nutritious material that is readily digestible and esily convertible into blood. Since milk proteins contain many amino acids, it aids the stomach during digestion. In fact, it helps all stages of digestion, that is, in the mouth, stomach and small intestine.

Milk fasts may also cure nervous disorders – insomnia, neurosis, headaches, irritability and dullness. These fasts are also said to cure the diseases of the stomach – peptic ulcers, intestinal ulcers and acidity. It can be concluded, many diseases can be cured by milk fasts.

COMEBACK OF FOX NUTS


hool Makhanas or Lotus seeds, also known as Fox Nuts finds its significance in in India, especially during Navratri. Makhanas can be roasted or fried in little ghee. They pop up and resembl
e popcorn. The beauty of these seeds are in their versatility. They can be tossed with black salt as healthy snack option or can be used to make delicious kheer. Paste of makhanas is even used as a key ingredient in many Japanese and Chinese dessserts.
Fox Nuts come with great health benefits :
1. They are ideal snack as they are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium.
2. Due to its high magnesium and low sodium content they are beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure.
3. They are good for diabetics too due to their low glycemic index.
4. Astringent properties of fox nuts benefits kidneys. It helps to strengthen spleen and kidneys.
5. They are glute-free and protein rich. This is why they make such an important part of fasting food. A handful of makhanas provide energy to last the entire day.
6. They have an abundance of anti-oxidants and hence a great anti-ageing food.
7. Fox nuts aids in flushing out the toxins from the body.
8. Fox nuts also have anti-bacterial properties.
This power packed makhanas can be included in our diet in any from right from healthy snack to main course and dessert as well.

GHAR KA KHANA = ENDLESS POSSIBLITIES OF GOOD HEALTH

Human body needs foods that yield energy, that fuel our systems, that provides us with proteins, fats & carbohydrates. To build up the body, repair the worn out parts and regulate the bodily processes, we need proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Right food is the only key to good health. Most of the diseases are the result of wrong eating habits. By understanding the properties of food and if food is cooked properly and is taken in the season and in the right quantities, the likelihood of falling ill is minimal.

Adolescents are much inclined towards eating fast food and junk food which is a major cause of over weight and obesity. By guiding them properly and providing them with interesting home made food will reduce these health issues to a larger extent. A very easy home made wheat bread with sugar free apple jam tastes yummy which can be an excellent & nutirtious breakfast for the growing kids. Mothers need not buy the bread from the market everytime. Rather try this simple yeast free bread at home accompanied by sugar free apple jam.

IMPORTANCE OF INDIAN TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN DIET

Diet plays very important role in our physical and mental health status. Many common health problems can be prevented or treated by consumption of a good diet.
Traditional Indian vegetarian diet mainly consists of legumes, vegetables, milk, curd/yoghurt & clarified butter (ghee). Apart from the ingredients used in cooking the different masalas used aids in digestion. Moreover the utensils used in cooking also plays a very important role which in turn has immense health benefits. In ancient times, people cooked in earthern pots which is still practised in temples in India. The porosity and natural insulating properties of clay helps heat and moisture to circulate throughout the clay pots. This causes the moisture and nutrient loss while cooking in clay pots to be much lower compared to cooking in metal or enamel lined utensils.

ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS USED IN FOOD :

1. Clarified Butter (Ghee) : Ghee can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. It is considered as purifier that absorbs and expels toxins from the body. It is far superior in properties & digestibility than any vegetable oil.

2. Dals (Pulses) : The main source of protein is dal in Indian diet. Therefore they accompany meals. There are many ways to prepare dal which varies from state to state. The diversity in cooking style is due to the difference in climatic conditions. The most popular and simple way to make dal in India is by simply boiling it in water adding salt and turmeric powder.

3. Flour : These are the cheapest source of calories. It contributes as much as 70 to 80 percent of the calories in the Indian diet. Flours are also good binding material and enhance the flavour. But refined flour should not be used in the diet as it sticks to the intestine and causes constipation.

4. Nuts & Seeds : Nuts & seeds are popularly used in Indian sweets and drinks. Nuts are excellent source of protein, fat & certain carbohydrates; they contain vitamins A,B,C and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. The protein in nuts of high quality are even higher than that in milk, meat and eggs. This protein in easily digestible by the system as milk.

Spices : Spices makes dals easy to digest and removes the gas producing quality. Masala means any number of spice combinations. Cumin, black peppercorn, cardamom (black or green) are the frequently used spices. Garam masala means “spicy mixture”. It is used with other spices or in recipes which are oily and heavy.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE : WHEN TO EAT AND HOW MUCH TO EAT ?

This is the most common question for which most of the people are looking for the right answer. The concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken from the west. Though it is important to consume 3 meals a day to maintain good health, but the question of the quantity to eaten remains unanswered. As per Ayurveda, the Jatharagni (digestive fire) is at its peak after sunrise and continues till 3 hours. So the best time to eat the first meal is before 9:30 am. One can eat as much as he wants including all his favourite food items because the food eaten before 9:30 am will be digested very easily, no matter how much quantity you have consumed. Also the properly digested and assimilated food will supply all the required nutrients to each cell of the body. The second meal should be taken between 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm and the quantity should be less compared to what was consumed in the morning. This is the time when the “Jatharagni” is slow and the digestion power is weak. Hence one should not over eat and burden the digestion process. The undigested food will start turning into toxins thereby giving rise to different health problems. Hence the afternoon food should be lesser than the morning food. Again the “Jatharagni” is at its peak during sunset. So it is advisable to eat dinner before sunset or maximum half an hour after sunset. Before going to bed one glass of milk should be taken.

If this principle of eating food is followed along with some physical exercise and breathing exercise then one can maintain a good health.

Remember “Health is an Investment” . So “Let’s Make Life Healthier And Happier”.

ARE YOU BOTHERED ABOUT YOUR KIDS NUTRITION?

Mothers are always bothered about their child’s health, nutrition & food. Most of the children are fussy when it comes to eating. Also as mothers we need to take care by providing them with all the micro & macro nutrients. Children need foods that yield energy, that fuel their systems, that provide them with proteins, fats and carbohydrates. To build up the body, repair the worn out parts and regulate the body processes they need all the nutrients. Diet plays a crucial role in the child’s development.

Apart from the diet follow the simple rules/things with your kids for healthy eating:

1. Environment: Your child should be eating food in a relaxed state. Give him/her fresh home cooked food.

2. Focus on Food: Do not give gadgets or phone or allow the child to watch television while eating. Rather tell him stories so that he enjoys food. Let the child concentrate on food rather than phone.

3. Use Your Kitchen Rather than Apps: Our own kitchen can create magic. Do not regularly use apps to order food. Instead create your own recipies for your kids. That’s what our previous generations used to do.

4. Going Back To Roots: Let the child go out and play and do some exercise. This will help him to build strength and will remain fit.

COCONUT : THE HOLY FOOD

Coconut is very popular in India and is considered as a holy food. It is also sent as a token of good luck in Indian marriages. Coconut is oily & smooth in nature and used in lot of food preparations especially in Southern parts of India. Protein found in coconut is regarded as high quality because it contains all the amino acids necessary for the body. It is also a good source of B vitamins and several minerals. When it is cold pressed, the oil is easily digestible. Coconut, green or ripe and coconut milk neutralizes or reduces stomach acids. Coconut milk is a refreshing drink because of its alkaline nature. Dried coconut (khopra) is good for the intestines because of its particular chemical content, the digestive residue serves as a brush to clean intestines. Coconut oil is excellent for hair growth, is cooling when used in sunburned skin, great for healing wounds, also moisturises the skin and is widely used in cosmetics & shampoos. There are many more amazing benefits of coconut. So start using coconut in your diet to lead a healthy life.

FASTING

FASTING
Fasting is defined as “complete voluntary abstinence from taking any kind of food for particular time, in order to give rest to the digestive system”. Fasting in a way is helpful to get rid of excess flesh tainted with toxic filth. This can be considered as one of the most hygienic practices that gives rest to the digestive system and can also help in curing diseases. It is also one of the cheapest and important mode of treatment.
Fasting can be classified into 3 different categories :
1. Short Duration : 2-5 days (with water and fruits)
2. Intermittent : 1-2 days (mainly with satvik diet)
3. Long Duration : More than 10 days
Fasting also depends on different methods :
1. Dry fasting : without drinking water
2. Water fasting : for acute diseases
3. Juice fasting : Acidic – for obesity & respiratory disease
Alkaline – for kidney disorders and diabetes
4. Fruit fasting : for weak person
5. Mono diet fasting : Only one type of diet in meal
Fasting (vrat/upwas) is a very old concept in Indian tradition. But in present day it has become a trendy fitness and lifestyle practice. In Hindu religion Ekadashi is said to be one of the most important day to observe fasting falls on the eleventh day of the fortnight. Apart from religious and spiritual significance fasting on Ekadashi also act as a preventive medicine. Maximum fasting is done during this period for the weather will aid in indigestion and also the quality of food is degenerative. Hence fasting is not only a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline too.
Method of Fasting
Fasting is considered not from the last meal, but after the meal has been digested. One should drink water when ever he feels hungry. Daily from sunrise the faster should be without food for 6 hours or more, until natural hunger is experienced and then take a light meal with positive food. 2 meals per day is ideal. Chronically ill patients are not fit for fasting.
Preparation for Fasting
It is safe to prepare system for the fast through low protein diet, rich in positive minerals or raw food diet. For prolonged fast supplement in the form of dilute acid, acid fruit juices which have neutralizing effect on toxins and elimination effect. They are splendid tonics, antiseptics and life elements.

Breaking the Fast
Small quantity of light food, which can be digested easily like dilute fruit juices, tender coconut water, vegetable soups and thin butter milk should be taken. Later when digestive power increases, heavy foods can be consumed. After recovery always consume positive food (sprouts, salads, fruits, fresh juice) in the required quantity.
Try out this nutritious ragi porridge to break the fast. Its super yummy and super healthy.

NAVRATRI : KNOW THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PRASAD OFFERED

A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, usually with a religious focus. It helps us to keep connected to our roots, our culture, our values, our origin and to preserve it. It helps people come together and celebrate. Navratri is a post-monsoon festival which is dedicated to 9 forms of Durga. Navratri signifies a battle and victory of good over evil. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to different Avtaars of Goddess Durga. Devotees consider the fasts and festivals incomplete without offering Bhog. A distinct food and colour is attached to each day of Navratri. The different Prasad/bhog offered to the Goddess has different significance and health benefits as well. Most of us are not aware the benefits these Prasad. The Nine forms of Durga which is worshipped are Shailapurti, Brahmacharini, Chandarghanta, Kushmanda, Skand Mata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.
Colour Blue is associated with Goddess Shailaputri. Devotees wear blue colour sabudana khichdi or rajgira laddoo is made for Prasad. Sabudana (sago) is a type of starch extracted from tropical palms like Metroxylon sagu. Sago contains antioxidants and resistant starch and has been linked to many benefits, including improving risk factors for heart disease and enhancing exercise performance. They are rich in carbs, an important source of energy for your body. It can be purchased in two main forms — flour or pearls. While the flour is pure starch, the pearls are small balls of sago that are made by mixing the starch with water and partially heating them. Naturally gluten-free, sago is a good substitute for wheat-based flour and grains in baking and cooking for those on restricted diets.
Amaranth (Rajgira) is high in protein and has an abundance of nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. This is the only grain to have vitamin C. It also has lysine, an amino acid, that helps to absorb calcium. Since it contains more calcium than milk, can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Colour Yellow is associated with Goddess Brahmacharini and Prasad offered is singhara ata halwa or raw banana burfi. Singhara atta is gluten free and high on fibre. It gives you the feeling of being full, thereby, preventing you to binge on other high-fattening foods. Raw bananas are rich in vitamins. They comprise most essential vitamins and minerals, great for diabetics, are rich in fibre, prevents stomach problems and also helps in weight loss.
Colour green is associated with Goddess Chandraghanta, the Goddess of Peace & Serenity. Prasad offered is makhana kheer. Makhana are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. They are beneficial to those suffering from high blood pressure, heart diseases and obesity due to their high magnesium and low sodium content.
Colour grey is offered to Goddess Kushmanda, worshipped to get rid of pain and diseases. Buckwheat atta malpua is offered in the form of bhog. It is great for heart health , promotes weight loss, and helps to manage diabetes. Buckwheat is a good source of protein, fiber, and energy and also improves digestion. It is considered as super food and is becoming popular among the gluten free crowd.
Colour orange is associated with Goddess Skandmata. Ripe banana is offered as Prasad.
Banana is heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. It is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy.
Due to the high iron content in bananas, they are good for those suffering from anaemia.
Colour White is associated with Goddess Katyayani and honey is offered as Prasad. We are now very well aware of the benefits of honey. To add some more to it they are rich in antioxidants and helps in weight management. It is excellent for skin which helps in reducing wrinkles and fine lines on face. It helps to lower blood pressure and helps to improve cholesterol.
Colour red is associated with Goddess Kaalratri and jaggery is offered as Prasad. Generates heat inside the body, boosts immunity within the body. It also prevents constipation and enhances the production of digestive enzymes. Helps in preventing joint pain and detoxifies the body. Jaggery eases menstrual cramp pain and as it is rich in iron content, prevents anemia.
Sky blue is associated with Mahagauri and coconut is offered as Prasad. Coconut contains vitamin B6, iron, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. About half of the saturated fat in coconut comes from lauric acid, which can help raise levels of heart-protective HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Colour Pink is associated with Goddess Siddhidatri. Dishes like halwa, puri and chana are offered as bhog as devotees break their nine day fast and worship all nine form of Goddess Durga.
It is important to go back to our roots and understand our culture, tradition, festivals, food associated to those festivals and the health benefits of every Prasad offered. In olden days people did not know what about calories or carbohydrates or nutritive values of food. Yet they lead a healthy, happy and disease free life. Today we are moving away from our culture and from roots, especially our traditional food. So this Navratri, let’s promise to go back to our roots and make our lives healthier and happier.