Low blood Sugar Versus High Blood Sugar

Glucose, is the primary source of energy of our body, and it comes from the food we eat. An elevated sugar level for a sustained period of time is called diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic and metabolic disease that over time may cause serious damage to different organs in our body. WHO estimates that there are about 422 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes, with 1.6 million deaths each year directly attributable to it, making diabetes one of the most pressing health concern of our world today. Today we shall discuss the effects of low blood sugar versus high blood sugar.

Low Blood Sugar Versus High Blood Sugar

Maintaining blood glucose level within the prescribed range is always a challenge for patients suffering from diabetes. Even if one is careful, there might be instances of high blood sugar, or hyperglycaemia, and low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia. We must keep in mind that even though consumption of carbohydrates regulates the amount of glucose levels in our blood, it isn’t the only factor determining it. Emotional stress and effects of certain medications may cause hyperglycaemia. Similarly, a sudden increase in physical activity may cause hypoglycaemia. Both situations can turn dire, and can even prove fatal at times. So, it is extremely important to maintain normal sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association has recommended maintaining the following sugar levels:

Between:

  1. a) 80 and 130 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) before meals
  2. b) Less than 180 mg/dL within two hours after meals

Hyperglycaemia

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Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for allowing glucose in the blood to enter the cells. High sugar levels occur when insulin production in our body becomes insufficient. It also happens that our body becomes resistant to insulin, and cannot properly utilise the insulin available in our body. Since blood cannot transfer the sugar to muscles, organs and tissues due to a lack of insulin, the amount of sugar in the blood builds up, rising above the specified sugar range, causing hyperglycaemia.

Several factors may cause hyperglycaemia to occur including, excessive eating, forgetting taking pills/insulin, lowering physical activities, stress, illness etc. In fact, medications that aren’t directly related to diabetes like steroids, beta blockers, birth control pills may also contribute in elevating sugar levels.

Hyperglycaemia can be extremely dangerous and in severe cases may lead to coma. If someone gets two readings of more than 300 mg/dL in a row then she should inform her doctor. In case of nausea, dizziness, and confusion, she should go for emergency medical treatment.

Signs of High Blood Sugar

The following signs often point to a hyperglycaemic condition:

  • Need for frequent urination
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Extreme hunger and/or thirst
  • Blurring of the vision
  • Dry or itchy skin

Treatment


1. Regular medication– Maintaining correct dosage of pills/insulin at proper time intervals is crucial.

2. Carbohydrate– Taking care of the daily carbohydrate count of the diets of diabetes patients is a must and is highly recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Higher intake might cause hyperglycaemia and lower intake may result in hypoglycaemia and hence measuring Carbohydrate count is essential in the management of blood sugar. Eating complex carbohydrates like whole wheat flour, oats, millets and monitoring calorie intake, as well as keeping an exercise log can be useful.

3. Proteins and healthy fats– Eating healthy fats and protein rich foods help keep sugar in control

4.  Regular exercise– Doing exercise regularly as per doctor’s advice is important in lowering sugar. Regular exercise also helps in enhancing insulin health.

 

Hypoglycaemia

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Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar levels, is the inverse of hyperglycaemia. It occurs when glucose level in the blood decreases and necessary glucose supply to organs, tissues and muscles is hindered. Low sugar levels might occur when someone doesn’t eat enough foods, especially foods that are rich in carbohydrates, while taking  sugar lowering medications. The fall in sugar levels can be both  sudden or gradual.

The consequences of sugar fall might be severe. When the level of sugar falls, the body releases epinephrine, also called adrenaline, that causes an increased heartbeat, along with sweating, anxiety and shaking. Extreme cases may lead to seizures, coma and even death.

Signs:

 

The following signs may signal a fall in sugar levels:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Extreme hunger

Treatment

Following the ’15-15 Rule’– If the blood sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dL, it is advised to consume 15g of carb and wait for 15 minutes. After that the sugar levels need to be checked again. If the number still remains below 70 mg/dL, the process needs to be repeated again.

15g of carbs can be found in:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit
  • Three to four hard candies
  • Glucose tablets
  • Glucose gel

ADA has prescribed taking scheduled snack/meal once the sugar levels reach above 70 mg/dL so that it doesn’t drop again. If one has two readings of  sugar dropping below 70mg/dL within a week, she should look for immediate medical attention.

Hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia can turn out to be extremely dangerous for diabetics and hence we should regularly monitor our  sugar levels.

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Foods for Heart: Diet to keep your heart healthy

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death all across the world. WHO has estimated that a total of 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, that’s a whopping 32% of all deaths that have happened globally in that year. Incidentally, most Cardiovascular Diseases are preventable through lifestyle changes. Behavioral risk factors, such as using tobacco, having unhealthy diets, obesity, physical inactivity all significantly contribute to enhancing the chances of developing CVDs. Today we shall discuss in details how a healthy and a balanced diet can help prevent and manage Cardiovascular Diseases. The article will talk about Foods for Heart: Diet to keep your heart healthy

Principles and Recommendations for curating a heart healthy diet:

Energy or calorie:

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The risk of Cardiovascular Diseases is directly related to our body weight. Being overweight or obese enhances the chances of developing CVDs. Therefore, a balanced diet with a carefully managed total calorie intake is important in keeping the heart healthy. Energy from Complex Carbohydrates and healthy fats are beneficial. These are Foods for Heart: Diet to keep your heart healthy

Controlling the portion size of our food can be helpful in reducing calorie intake. Following tips might be followed in order to reduce the portion size of our meals:

a. Using smaller plates or bowls
b. Eating low-calorie foods that are rich in nutrients, like fruits and vegetables
c. Avoiding high-calorie/high-sodium foods, like processed, refined or fast foods.

 Protein:

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Taking protein that are low in fat is important for maintaining heart health. Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are good sources of protein for maintaining heart health.

Choosing lower fat protein foods is important. For example, skimmed milk should be opted instead of whole milk, or skinless chicken breasts should be preferred over fried chicken patty. Fish is also considered a very good alternative source of protein to high-fat meat. These are great Foods for Heart: Diet to keep your heart healthy

Some of the fish that we eat are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that helps in lowering triglycerides. Salmon, mackerel, herring are some of the cold water fish where you can find a lot of omega-3 fatty acids.

Legumes, like beans, lentils and peas can also be used as low-protein substitutes. These foods are rich in proteins and does not contain cholesterol. Also, balancing animal protein and plant protein is important. Plant proteins are low fat alternatives, but since they also do not contain omega-3 fatty acids, the deficit must be compensated including animal proteins 2-3 times in a week. For vegetarians, who cannot have animal protein, should take grounded and roasted flaxseed one tablespoon every day for omega-3 fatty acids.

Fats:

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By reducing the intake of saturated and trans fats we can reduce blood cholesterol levels in our body. This in turn helps in lowering the chances of getting Coronary Artery Diseases. In the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association has recommended completely avoiding trans-fat and reducing Saturated fat to 10% of the total daily calories.

The three most effective ways of cutting down saturated and trans fats are:

a. Having lean meat instead of red meat

b. Using less butter, margarine and instead using guacamole or tahini dip.

c. Avoiding fast food

We would need to check the nutritional labels carefully in order to avoid hidden fats and sugar. Trans fat is sometimes listed in the nutritional label as partially hydrogenated oil, which we must make an effort to avoid.

While choosing fat, using monosaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil, or polyunsaturated fats that are found in certain types of fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, should be used, instead of saturated fats. Both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats help in lowering cholesterol, however, should only be used in moderation as they too are high in calories.

Salt:

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Having excessive salt during meals can cause high blood pressure which is one of the risk factors for developing CVDs. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults should have no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium in a day (about a teaspoon of salt), ideally less than 1500 mg/day.

Although reducing adding too much salt while cooking or during meal is a very good habit, we must also remember much of the salt we eat comes from processed or canned foods. Hence, eating fresh foods, and preparing our own soups and stews and reducing the salt content ourselves is the best way to go.

Fibre  or Whole Grain:

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Whole grains are extremely good as a resource for fibre in our diet. If we have whole grains instead of refined grains products, our blood pressure would be much well-regulated and our heart’s health would be much better. Whole grains are truly Foods for Heart: Diet to keep your heart healthy

Sugar:

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Sugar is extremely dangerous and can cause harm to our heart like unhealthy fats. Free sugar in our diet increases our cholesterol levels and so we must take special care to remove free sugar from our diet. Instead, natural sweets like raisins or dates can be used.

Best heart friendly foods to eat:

A heart-healthy diet consists of:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Nuts, Beans, and Legumes
  • Fish
  • Whole grains
  • Plant-based oils, such as olive oil
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Eggs

All of the above options are low in empty calories and saturated fats. Best go to strategy would be to make the plate half-full and to ensure that lots of vegetables are included during every meal.

Foods to avoid

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The following is a partial list of foods to limit or avoid, as they are often detrimental to heart health:

  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Boxed food
  • Canned food (veggies and beans are the exceptions, as long as there’s no added salt)
  • Candy
  • Chips
  • Processed frozen meals
  • Cookies and Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Ice-cream
  • Condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, and packaged dressing
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils (these contain trans fats)
  • Deli meat
  • Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs

Healthy Habits and Lifestyle Changes

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Apart from having a healthy diet, some habits and lifestyle changes are key to a healthy heart. Following are some of the recommendations for a healthy heart:

Exercise

Getting regular exercise is very important for a healthy heart. According to the recommendations of The American Heart Association, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity is needed per week. Regular walking, swimming or jogging would help meet the requirements

Weight Loss

Losing weight helps in reducing pressure on heart. For someone who is overweight or obese, and needs to lose weight, he/she should get in touch with a nutritionist to reach weight loss goal.

Stress

Managing stress is important in keeping a healthy heart. Mindfulness techniques, yoga and meditation help in reducing stress.

Smoking

Smoking is extremely detrimental to heart health, and steps should be taken to start on a quitting plan.

Alcohol

It’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages, especially if someone has a heart attack, as alcohol is a blood thinner. If taken, it’s best to consume in moderation.

The importance of taking care of our heart cannot be overstated, and since a large part of the Cardiovascular Diseases is directly related to the choices we make in life, especially about the foods we take; a healthy diet is the surest way to a heathy heart.

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Sweet potato burfi

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Sweet potato burfi

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Sweets
  • Diet: Diabetic

Description

Sweet Potato Barfi is a low calorie tasty and healthy sweet. Since sugar isn’t used in the preparation of sweet potato barfi it is very good for people with diabetes and those who are overweight. Sweet Potato Barfi is prepared using sweet potato, milk powder and nuts, and hence it is a very good option as a low calorie sweet.


Ingredients

  1. Sweet potatoes (1 medium) :100g
  2. Ghee or clarified butter: 1 tbsp.
  3. Green cardamom powder (freshly ground is better): 1/4 th tsp.
  4. Chopped almond: 2 nos.
  5. Skimmed milk powder:25g

Instructions

  1. Boil sweet potatoes along with their skin in a pressure cooker and cool them
  2. When cooled, peel and mash the boiled sweet potatoes. 
  3. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
  4. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed or non-stick pan.
  5. Fry the mashed sweet potatoes, stirring frequently, until ghee begins to separate. The halva tastes better when fried well.
  6. Add milk powder (unsweetened). Cook, stirring continuously, for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat and add 2/3rd of the chopped almonds.
  8. Spread it out on a greased plate and allow it to cool. Then cut them into squares or in diamond shape. 
  9. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with remaining nuts. Serve them warm or cold.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 251Kcal
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 12g

Keywords: Sweet potato burfi

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Chicken Reshmi Kebab

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Chicken Reshmi Kebab

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Snacks
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

Shami Kebabs can be incredibly tasty source of protein that you can snack in during the evening, or use as a side dish during dinner. Shami Kebabs are soft, fluffy, low-oil, high-protein snack that would be your perfect choice if you are looking for a delicious meal that wouldn’t add too many calories to your daily limit.


Ingredients

  • Bone less chicken:300g
  • Curd (Dahi/ yogurt):100g
  • Ginger paste: 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic paste: 1 tbsp.
  • Cashew nuts:5-6 no
  • Almond:5-6 no
  • Lemon juice:1 tsp.(5 ml)
  • Milk: 2 tbsp.
  • Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp.
  • Black peppers: 1/2 tsp.
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves: 2 tbsp.
  • Oil: 1-2 tsp

Instructions

  • Take medium sized chicken pieces and wash them thoroughly in water. In a different pot soak almonds for 20 minutes in water, remove their skin, and put them aside.
  • Take a big bowl. Add curd, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander, salt and spices and mix them thoroughly.
  • Make a paste of water soaked almonds and cashew nuts and add the paste in the curd mixture.
  • Put 1/2 teaspoon oil in the mixture and put the chicken chicken pieces into it. Coat the pieces completely with the mixture and marinate them for at least 1 hour keeping the lid of the bowl covered. The flavour of the mixture would seep into the chicken pieces.
  • Preheat your oven for 5 minutes at a temperature of 350F/175C and put the wooden skewers in hot water.
  • Insert the skewers into the chicken pieces and put them inside the oven. Brush some oil on the chicken chunks
  • Grill the chicken for 20-30 minutes until they become juicy, soft and tender. Take them out of the oven and remove the skewers
  • Serve these delicious chicken reshmi kebabs with coriander chutney and mixed vegetable salad.

 

 



Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 176 Kcal
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Protein: 16g

Keywords: Chicken Shami Kebab

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Chicken Shami Kebabs

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Chicken Shami Kebabs

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Snacks
  • Diet: Diabetic

Description

Shami Kebabs can be incredibly tasty source of protein that you can snack in during the evening, or use as a side dish during dinner. Shami Kebabs are soft, fluffy, low-oil, high-protein snack that would be your perfect choice if you are looking for a delicious meal that wouldn’t add too many calories to your daily limit.


Ingredients

  • Bone less chicken:200g
  • Chana since: 50g
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Cardamom:1
  • Clove:2
  • Black pepper corns:5-6
  • Coriander seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
  • Bay leaf:1
  • Ginger : 1 inch
  • Garlic cloves:4
  • Onion:1 big
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th
  • Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp.
  • Whole red chilli:1
  • Coriander leaves:1-2 tbsp. chopped
  • Egg:1
  • Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt as per taste
  • White oil: 2 tsp.

Instructions

  • Wash and soak chana dal for about 2 to 4 hours.
  • Drain the water and put them into a pressure cooker
  • Add boneless chicken, chopped ginger, garlic pods, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, clove, cardamom, cinnamon stick, half onion sliced, bay leaf, turmeric powder and salt.
  • Add ½ cup water. Cook inside pressure cooker properly (5 whistles should be optimum). Do not add excess water. Make sure the water evaporates completely from the mixture
  • Dry the mixture and cool it down.
  • Remove the whole spices from the mixture
  • Take the other half of the onion and chop it up and toss fry with chilli and add them to the mixture
  • Put this mixture inside a processor or a blender and make paste
  • Put the mixture into a bowl and add egg, garam masala powder and chopped coriander leaves and green chillies (optional).
  • Mix all well and make dough
  • Divided the dough into 5 to 6 equal parts and make balls. Flatten them and make kebab.
  • Put 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Spread the oil all across the pan and heat it well.
  • Put the flame on medium and press the kebab on both sides until the surface turns golden brown.
  • Serve with homemade chutney


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 160 kcal
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Protein: 11g

Keywords: Chicken Shami Kebab

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Rava appam-Healthy and tasty south Indian snack

Rava appam(Paddu)

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Rava appam-Healthy and tasty south Indian snack

Rava appam (Paddu)

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast/Snacks
  • Cuisine: South Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Rava Appam (Paddu) is a healthy and tasty South Indian snack that is often consumed as breakfast, or as an afternoon snack. These are tasty vegetable balls that require very little oil to make.


Ingredients

  1.  Semolina : 1 cup (75 g)
  2. Curd: 1/2 cup
  3. Carrot: 1 (Finely chopped).
  4.   Capsicum: 1 (Finely chopped).
  5. Onion: 1 big (Finely chopped)
  6.   Cabbage: 1 cup(Finely chopped) (Optional)
  7.    Green chilli: 2-3 nos.
  8.    Black mustard seeds: 1/2tsp.
  9. Curry leaves: 6-7 no
  10. Baking powder: 1/2tsp.
  11.   Oil: 2 tsp.
  12.    Salt as per taste

 

 


Instructions

  • To prepare Rava Appam mix 1 cup Semolina (suji) with half cup curd in a bowl. Add half cup water, half tea spoon baking soda and salt, and mix the batter well.
  • Cover the bowl and keep the batter for 30 minutes.
  • Chop carrots, capsicum, onion, chilli, cabbage into tiny pieces.
  • Now put some oil in a pan, along with some mustard seeds and curry leaves and heat the oil.
  • Once the oil has been sufficiently heated, put the vegetables on the pan and fry them.
  • Once the vegetables come to normal temperature put the fried vegetables into the batter and mix them well.
  • Brush a little oil along the surface of the appam maker and put the batter inside.
  • Heat the appam maker pan for 5 minutes. Turn appam upside down and heat for another 2 minutes.
  • Make small balls of delicious appam and serve with coriander chutney.

Notes

Rava Appam will keep you healthy and leave a good taste in your mouth


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 436 kcal
  • Fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Protein: 12g

Keywords: Instant rava appam (Paddu)

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Sarcopenia

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia has become exceedingly common among older people. Almost 10% of adults above 50 are affected by it. Sarcopenia is characterized by muscle loss, that can decrease both the quality of life, as well as life expectancy. However, the good news is that sarcopenia can be prevented and reversed in certain cases. Indeed, sarcopenia is often related to aging of an individual, and therefore is a natural consequence of growing older; some of the causes that lead to sarcopenia can be prevented. A healthy diet and regular exercise regime are germane in reversing sarcopenia, thereby increasing both the lifespan and the quality of life.

Sarcopenia literally means “lack of flesh.” To understand how this occurs we need to delve deep into the life cycle of a cell. Like everything in Nature, growth and decay are inherent to the cells as well. The process by which cell grows is called “anabolism” and the process of teardown of cell is called “catabolism”. Sarcopenia happens when this natural cycle is tilted in favour of catabolism. We have growth hormones in our bodies. These hormones help counteract the effects of injury or stress, and keep muscle steady by healing them. This goes on inside our bodies throughout our lives. However, as we grow older, our bodies become resistant to normal growth signals. This further results in tipping the balance towards catabolism and muscle loss. The degeneration of muscle becomes more common among people above fifty. After middle-age, a person, on an average, loses 3% of their muscle strength in a year. And therefore, as he becomes older, the ability of performing many daily routines decreases, along with decreasing muscle strength.

Causes:

Sarcopenia is mostly caused by a decrease in physical activity. However, although less frequent, some people with a very active physical life may also develop sarcopenia, which points to other probable reasons for this disease.

In addition to decreased physical activity the following might cause sarcopenia:

  • Decline in nerve cells that send signals from the brain to the muscle to move.
  • Reduction in the hormone levels
  • A lowered capacity of our body to convert protein to energy
  • Lack in protein and daily calorie consumption that help maintain muscle mass

Symptoms:

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Symptoms of sarcopenia is not uniform among the people it affects. It depends entirely on how much muscle mass a person has lost. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • a decline in muscle mass
  • loss of endurance
  • weakness
  • decrease in balance
  • trouble climbing stairs

The most debilitating part of developing sarcopenia is the spiral decline it causes. As one develops sarcopenia, his physical movement decreases, which in turn further exacerbates sarcopenia. This cycle continues resulting in weakness, increase the risk of falling, and most importantly limits one’s physical independence. Sarcopenia can adversely affect one’s life quality and therefore, a decline in muscle mass is something we should be extremely mindful about.

Dietary management for sarcopenia 

Diet plays an important role in the management of sarcopenia. If someone takes a calorie deficient diet, or has insufficient quantity of protein and certain other vitamins or minerals, she stands at a higher risk of muscle loss. For those who aren’t nutrient deficient, focus on taking higher proportion of certain types of foods that promote muscle growth can be beneficial.

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Protein:

An increased proportion of protein in the diet directly signals muscles to enhance building and strengthening itself. With age this signal weakens and much higher quantity of protein is needed for muscle growth. The amino acid leucine is enormously helpful in regulating muscle growth. Whey protein, eggs, fish, meat, and soy proteins are good sources of leucine.

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Vitamin D:

Deficiency in Vitamin D is extremely widespread among older people, and this lack supersedes racial and geographical boundaries. As a person gets older the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)] is decreased, which further results in the lowering of muscle strength. Vitamin D levels, therefore, should be regularly monitored and necessary supplementation must be given.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids :

Irrespective of one’s age, studies have found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, through seafood and supplements are enormously beneficial in facilitating muscle growth. The anti-inflammatory nature of omega-3 fatty acid foods might be contributive as well.

Creatine:

Creatine is a protein found in the liver that help in muscle growth. Our bodies make enough creatine; however, studies have found that having creatine through meat or as supplement help in muscle growth. However, creatine should be used in tandem with exercise to make it more beneficial to us.

Exercise regime for preventing and reversing sarcopenia

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Regular exercise might be the single most beneficial way to fight sarcopenia. The more active our muscles are, the lesser are the chances of succumbing to sarcopenia. For optimal results and even for reversing sarcopenia a combination regime of aerobic exercise, resistance training and balance training is needed.

Resistance training:

Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands and other exercise where our bodies muscles need to counteract gravity. The tension produced in muscles fibers during resistance training results in generating growth signal that in turn helps in increasing muscle strength. Resistance exercise also help in producing growth-promoting hormones.

Fitness Training:

Exercise that helps to increase heart-rate, when combined with resistance and flexibility training can control and reverse sarcopenia. A fitness regime would include these combinations to deliver the most productive outcome against sarcopenia.

Walking:

Walking is an exercise that many of us ordinarily do. A more regular walking schedule can be extremely helpful, in addition to other exercise in controlling and reversing sarcopenia.

When we think about muscle loss, especially among older people, we do not take the problem seriously. But very few things can be as detrimental to the quality of life as losing physical independence and sarcopenia does exactly that. Food N Wellness understands how debilitating sarcopenia can be, and hence have carefully designed a geriatric program that aims at preventing and reversing sarcopenia through dedicatedly curated diet and exercise regime.

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Ideas on preparing healthy and tasty school lunchbox

Introduction

We cannot overstate nutrition’s importance in the growth and development of children. Children should get at least one-third of their total calorie requirements from the food that they take in school. Therefore, parents should focus on menu planning for the school lunchbox. Children often indulge in various kinds of unhealthy eating habits during their school lunch hours. They often get addicted to a high dose of junk food during their  school days that continue to create health risk later in life. Therefore, preparing healthy and tasty snacks are important for a child, even in the long run.

Pre-Schoolers and School going Children

We can broadly classify children into two different categories- preschoolers and school children.

Pre-School (3-5 years old):

We cannot overstate the importance of nutrition for preschoolers. Children grow and develop extremely fast during these periods. In addition, they often indulge in lots of physical activities that enhance their nutritional requirement. However, they cannot eat as much as they should. This makes having nutrition rich foods during school hours seminally important.

School Children (6-16 years)

The growth and development rate decreases among school children, which reduces their overall nutritional requirement. However, their taste palate develops in a more comprehensive way. Consequently, this often leads them more towards junk food. Compensating this need for junk food often require a lot of imagination on the part of the parents. They would need to prepare a lunchbox that’s both healthy and tasty every day. While preparing the lunchbox it is important to keep in mind that we restrict the use of salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Also, we need to include important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A and Calcium.

A Balanced Lunchbox Meal

Kids Lunchbox- Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

In order to prepare a wholesome balanced meal, we need the following in the school lunchbox:

  1. We need to pack half of the lunchbox with colorful fruits and vegetables. Two to three different coloured fruits/vegetables would make the lunch box attractive, as well as healthy.
  2. One-quarter of the box needs to be whole grains.
  3. Rest of the lunch box needs to contain healthy proteins.

If you can add some healthy fats into it, you can have a complete and balanced meal.

Let’s address each of the above components separately and the foods that you can include in order to attain your desired objectives:

One fresh Fruit

One fresh fruit from choices like banana, grapes, apple slices/rings, melon chunks, and berries (strawberries/ blueberries/ raspberries)

Two healthy vegetables:

Two healthy vegetables from options like mixed sabji, different kinds of sautéed vegetables and salads.

One healthy protein:

One healthy protein from choices like hard-boiled egg, tofu cubes, sliced chicken, paneer cubes, beans and lentils.

One whole grain:

One whole grain meal from bread, pasta, brown rice, oats, ragi, jowar and quinoa

Fats:

Different types of nuts and dry fruits like almond, cashew nut, raisins, pistachios, hazel nuts, and peanuts.

Making the Lunchbox Attractive

Preparing lunch with your child- Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

All parents would know that preparing a healthy lunch, and convincing children to have it are two completely different things! Therefore, to address this, we need to focus on the presentation part of it. The more colourful and attractive a lunchbox looks, the easier it becomes for children to have the food.

Shapes

In this section I shall describe how foods of different shapes help make the lunchbox look attractive. For example, instead of packing regular sandwiches, you can pack breads cut in the shape of a heart or smiley. Fruits cut with cookie cutters give them different shapes and sizes. It also makes them look attractive. Different kinds of aesthetically pleasing lunchbox sets are also available in the market. These might cater to an individual child’s personal preferences. You can use lunch boxes with multiple partitions to separate different kinds of fruits. Also, boxes should be accompanied by a spoon, a fork and napkins.

Feasibility

We need to keep in mind the feasibility of preparing healthy lunchbox. This is a regular affair and parents need to plan things beforehand in order to ensure availability and consistency in preparing the school lunch. Therefore, we need to keep in mind the following things:

  1. Listing menu for the whole week
  2. Arranging required ingredients
  3. Making children participate in non-fire cooking so that they might be more interested in school lunch
  4. Avoiding giving liquid or excessively dry foods
  5. Providing water bottle that can be refilled
  6. For maintaining hygiene; hand-sanitizer, spoon, and napkins can be provided
  7. Selecting easy to cook menus

Importance of a Healthy School Lunchbox

Academic Benefits- Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

A healthy lunch box would contain foods with high nutritional value. These nutrition rich foods not only positively affects a child’s present, but also her future. Consequently, there are enormous academic and behavioral benefits of a nutritious lunchbox some of which have been enumerated below:

Academic Benefits:

  1. Improvement of Cognitive Functions
  2. Higher test scores
  3. Better attention span

Behavioral Benefits

  1. Better classroom behavior
  2. Fewer absences
  3. Improved mood

Some Ideas for Preparing Healthy and Tasty School Lunchbox

Varied Lunchbox- Photo by Vanessa Loring from Pexels

You can curate meals for your children following the examples given below. That is to say, these menus cater to feasibility of preparing lunch, child’s taste preferences, health, taste and overall aesthetics of the lunch box:

  1. Vegetable/Chicken stuffed Multigrain Sandwich + Sliced apple or grapes (8-10) + Sauteed carrot and bell-pepper sticks (5-6) + Almond (3-4)
  2. Soyabean /Egg Pulao + Sliced banana (1) + coriander chutney
  3. Dal Stuffed chappati + Sauteed vegetables + berries (7-8) + raisins (4-5)
  4. Whole wheat pasta with vegetables and soya granules/sliced chicken+ watermelon cubes (5-6) + Dates (2)
  5. Rice noodles cooked with chopped carrot, bell peppers, onion and sliced chicken or sliced tofu + berries (7-8) + Walnuts (2)
  6. Peanut butter and banana tortilla roll ups + Sautéed carrot and bell peppers
  7.  Mixed vegetables and cheese Quesadilla + Guacamole + Strawberries (2)

You can avail other menu choices as well. In order to do so, you need to access a larger gamut of available options. For this, and for other information regarding your child’s nutritional needs, you can get in touch with the Food N Wellness team. Here, professional dietitians will guide you through this arduous journey, by keeping in mind your child’s unique health and taste preferences.

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All About Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Diarrhoea?

It is a condition during which a person passes loose or watery stool. Generally, it may occur twice to thrice in a year and is considered normal, however, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are more susceptible to develop diarrhoea more often.

Over use of drug causes Diarrhoea-Photo by Myriam Zilles from Pexels

Causes 

It is primarily caused by stomach flu. During stomach flu, virus in our guts attack our gastrointestinal system. There are several other factors that cause diarrhoea, some of which have been listed under:

  1.  Allergy with certain types of foods, for example lactose or galactose intolerance are pretty common.
  2.  Alcohol abuse
  3.  Disease of the intestine (Crohn’s disease)
  4.  Excessive use of laxative
  5. Food poisoning
  6. Improper digestion of foods
  7.  Reaction to medicines, like some antibiotics
  8. Diabetes
  9.  Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  10.  Cancer (Colon Cancer)
  11. Constipation might also lead to diarrhoea later
  12.  Using of excess sugar free (sorbitol and mannitol)

Symptoms

Fever is a common symptom of Diarrhoea-Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

One or more of the following symptoms might be experienced while suffering from it:

  1. Abdominal cramp
  2. Loose or watery stool
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Fever
  5. Blood in stool
  6. Bloating
  7. Nausea
  8. Urgent need to have bowel movements
  9. Mucus in stool.

Complications

It may lead to dehydration that can do severe damage to the body. The loss of water at times can be fatal as well. In addition, some other complications can be seen:

  1. Excessive thirst
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Little or no urination
  4. Weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  5. Fatigue
  6. Dark coloured urine
  7. Drowsiness

Dietary Management of Diarrhoea

Carbohydrate:

Rice based products are more beneficial during diarrhoea. You should also try to avoid wheat-based products, because they might cause inflammation or indigestion. You can eat soft rice, puffed rice, flake rice and some soft vegetables.

Fiber:

You must include dietary fibre in your diet. The fibre should be water-soluble, soft and easily digestible. You can include the following fibre rich foods in your diet- oats, barley, potato, and vegetables from the gourd family.

Potassium:

Potassium is very important mineral, especially for people having loose motion. During diarrhoea the body often loses potassium. Hence, it is important that we replenish potassium in our body. Some of the potassium rich foods include banana, potato, and tender coconut water.

Protein:

You should include easily digestible proteins like thin dal and light fish stew. However, you should avoid proteins from sources like red meat, egg, rajma, and chickpeas.

Fat:

You can take healthy fats in the form of cooking oil. However, you must avoid rich fatty foods and foods with trans fat from your diet.

Sodium:

It causes sodium loss in our bodies. Therefore, you must take care of getting enough sodium through liquids like ORS and unsweetened lemonade. It is very important that we take care of maintaining sufficient sodium balance in our body.

Water:

Drinking sufficient water (8-10 glasses) is extremely important for recovering from diarrhoea. You can also drink water through ORS and other Sherbet.

Triggering Foods

While there can be several other causes that may lead to diarrhoea as has been mentioned before, sometimes it might be triggered by foods. Fried foods, foods rich with sauce/gravy, citrus fruit, artificial sweetener, excessive fibre-rich foods, fatty foods, fructose, peppermint, beans, chickpeas, Bengal gram chana, raw vegetables, and coffee are some of the foods that might trigger diarrhoea.

Treatment

Water is key to manage Diarrhoea-Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Although diarrhoea isn’t uncommon, neglecting it can be extremely dangerous. The following treatments might be undertaken:

ORS:

The first line of treatment is to drink Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in order to mitigate the water imbalance caused by excessive water loss during diarrhoea. ORS contains both salt and glucose that can be easily absorbed by the intestine. During diarrhoea we need to make sure that the patient is fed ORS several times. According to WHO, 90% of diarrhoea can be treated with ORS.

Soft bland diet:

Sometimes people avoid eating while suffering from loose motion which can be further detrimental to health. So, in addition to drinking sufficient water, one needs to take foods rich in potassium, like banana, boiled potato, and soft rice.

Medication:

Medication should be taken as per doctor’s advice

Probiotics:

Probiotics have enormous benefits for people with diarrhoea and should be taken as per doctor’s suggestions.

It can happen for various reasons and therefore it is very important to diagnose the underlying cause. Once ascertained, proper diet and lifestyle modification can play a very important role in providing long term cure from diarrhoea.

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Chana dal dosa

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Chana dal dosa

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: South Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Dosa is a very popular South Indian food. Chana Dal Dosa is a variety of the regular Dosa we eat. It is primarily eaten during breakfast. Chana Dal Dosa is a pure combination of health and taste. It combines cereal protein and pulse protein to improve the overall quality of protein that goes in our body. Chana Dal Dosa can be served with Sambar and Chutney.


Ingredients

  • Rice : 1/2 cup
  • Chana dal: ¼ cup
  • Urad dal: 1 tbsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds: 1/4th
  • Green chilli: 1-2 nos.
  • Salt as per taste

Instructions

  1. Soak rice, urad dal , chana dal and fenugreek seeds in water for 4-5 hours
  2. Then put rice, urad dal, chana dal and fenugreek seeds in a mixer-grinder. Add water and grind to make a smooth paste.
  3. Transfer the batter into a deep bowl and mix well. Cover the lid and keep aside to ferment in a warm place for 10-12 hours.
  4. Once fermented, add 2 tbsp of water and salt. Mix well to make a smooth dosa batter.
  5. Heat a non –stick tava in high flame then sprinkle little water on tava and wipe it off
  6. Pour a ladleful of batter on it and spread it in a circular motion.
  7. Smear a little oil over it and cook on medium flame till the dosa turns golden brown and crisp
  8. Serve with sambhar and chutney


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 126Kcal
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Protein: 6g

Keywords: #healthybreakfast

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