Sunday, 23 October 2011


Sweets and Festivals go hand in hand. And when it comes to Indian festivals, especially the grand Diwali, sweets are many, along with all kinds of rich dishes.

When you eat that Diwali sweet, do you find yourself thinking: “If I walk for 20 mins, I’ll undo the calories” – and that never happens does it? Because that would mean 20 mins more than your usual workout for each piece you eat.

Here are some tips on adopting healthy ways of eating this Diwali.
Moderation is the mantra to enjoy festive food. Eat fatty foods, sweets and other fried snacks in little amounts.

If you are making sweets yourself, use low fat ingredients- like low fat milk and other dairy products.

 Use natural sweeteners like honey, jiggery, dried figs and dates to make sweets and avoid using refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. They taste just as good.

One can make healthier sweets like kheer, puran poli (sweet rotis with a filling of tuvar dal and jaggery), fruit-salad, fruit pies, custard and shrikhand at home.

A simple date halwa
Take a tablespoon of ghee  add in half kg of dates. Then,  stir it continuously till the dates get softer. Once it reaches a thick paste-like consistency,  add a handful of grated almonds on top, spread it in a dish and cut it into pieces. A healthy, home-made date halwa is ready.”

Squeeze the syrup out of mithai before eating.
Eat sweets in the earlier half of the day rather than at night.
Opt for dark chocolates with higher cocoa content
Before eating snacks, remember to drink water to bring in the feeling of fullness.

 Instead of loading your plate to the brim with sweets, just take a few, may be one or two, items and eat them slowly and gradually.

Even if you indulge, balance it out. For instance, if you eat dessert, then compensate by not having sweetened fruit juice or aerated drinks with your meals.

Be careful of how much food you 'taste' while preparing festival goodies. Often, while cooking we tend to eat more than normal without realising.

Enjoy the company of the people around you, as much as you enjoy your meal. While eating, take small bites and relish your food. Most importantly, eat without guilt!!!!!


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk

Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk

The month of October is NATIONAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. The pink ribbon is an international symbol of  breast cancer awareness. 

Your risk of developing breast cancer is highest if you are post-menopausal and overweight (25% above your ideal weight).  If this is you, now is the time to make some serious changes in your lifestyle pertaining to diet and exercise weight loss.  If you gained weight at around age 30 of 10 pounds, your risk is increased by 23%, 15 pounds – 37% and an increase of 20 pounds – 52%.  This isn’t meant to scare you, just to open your eyes and take a good, honest assessment of your risk.  There are good ways of reducing your breast cancer risk – and feel better all around.

Foods to prevent breast cancer

·      Pumpkins, yellow peppers and cantaloupe melons: 
Orange or yellow coloured fruit and vegetables are a rich source of betacarotene - which is the precursor of vitamin A and a potent antioxidant which helps fight off highly-reactive molecules that can harm our body and lead to severe diseases such as breast cancer. 

Recommended dose: Five portions a day (80 grammes per portion) to help protect against breast cancer. Between seven and ten portions a day if breast cancer has already developed.

·         Oily fish: 
Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, trout and salmon have all been linked to a lower incidence of breast cancer. This is thanks to the presence of omega-3 fats. 
Recent findings have revealed that Omega-3 oils prevent or slow down the growth of cancerous tumours and also boost our immune system
Recommended dose: Three portions of fresh oily fish each week

·         Pulses, wholegrains: 
Fibre contained in pulses and wholemeal foods help excrete oestrogens out of our bodies. Too many oestrogens from our own hormones and hormone-like substances found in plastics and chemicals can trigger cell division in our breast tissue. Evidence shows that too much cell division can lead to breast cancer. 

Fibre can help keep breast cancer at bay because it helps eliminate excess oestrogens from our body and prevents reabsorption of oestrogens in our intenstines. 
A high fibre diet also helps maintain a healthy gut. This is because soluble fibres create 'friendly bacteria' needed to fight off bad bacteria - meaning that your body is less exposed to harmful toxins that could cause cancer. 
Recommended dose: A cupful - or around 7oz - of pulses a day.
·       Cabbage: 
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale - all members of the cabbage family are said to be highly toxic towards cancerous cells. This is because they contain cancer-fighting compounds known as indole-3-carbinol which is thought to deactivate oestrogen, and in turn, help reduce the risk of breast cancer. folic acid has been found to prevent and destroy cancer cells.

The sulphurophanes found in broccoli, which are responsible for its bitter taste, have been shown to improve the performance of enzymes in the liver which help detoxify our body. Levels of this vital enzyme are found to be low in women with breast cancer. Radishes, swede and turnips are also believed to be effective cancer fighting vegetables. 
Recommended dose: Five portions a day (80 grammes per portion) to help protect against breast cancer. Between seven and ten portions a day if breast cancer has already developed.

Eating almonds on a regular basis may have a positive effect in the fight against breast cancer for two reasons. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be healthy. They are also high in flavonoids. Flavonoids are implicated in the natural removal of cancer-causing agents in the body.

Flax seed  
Flax seed – contains the phytoestrogen lignan that shows promise in diminishing 
the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer

Garlic is an herb that is integral to many delicious cuisines throughout the world, especially in Italian food. It gives food a distinctive flavor and also has the benefit of lowering rates of breast cancer. It contains dialyl sultides or allium compounds, which have been shown to enhance the activity of immune cells that fight cancer.

Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with Polyphenol antioxidants like Flavonoids, Bioflavonoids, and Isofavonoids
which have been found to enhance the activity of white blood cells and boost our bodies’ defenses against a broad range of illness, including many types of cancer (including breast cancer).

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Guava is one of the super fruits being rich in dietary fibre, vitamin A and C, folic acid and the dietary minerals, potassium, copper and manganese.

Recently a study by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad has revealed that fruits like guava and apple are rich in antioxidants. The anti-oxidant activity in guava was a highest around 496 mg/100 grams, these findings were an eye-opener for us. We usually believe that expensive fruits are the richest source of nutrition. A single guava is somewhere around Rs 3 to RS 5, I think cheapest n best.

So here goes a few health benefits of guava :

1. Lowering blood pressure. cholesterol and triglycerides level which is due to the high content of a soluble fiber pectin.

2. Vitamin C -The amount of vitamin C in a guava is about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange, which is good news for skin healing because it contributes to generation of collagen, the substance that gives skin its firmness and reduce the impact of aging.
3. Anti cancer properties - One of the amazing things about guava is that it contains Lycopene, antioxidant to fight cancer. Lycopene can keep our body healthy and keep it away from free radicals that can cause all kinds of damage, including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system problems, or even cancer.

4. Constipation:Is beneficial for the treatment of constipation. Guava, along with their seeds, provides roughage to the diet and provides for the normal evacuation of bowels. A medium guava provides you with 36 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber.

5.Provides for healthier gums: The astringents in guava also result in healthier gums. Therefore, after chewing on a guava, your gums feel tighter and fresh.

So now you know some benefits of guava, I recommend you to have it everyday. Buy them whenever you see them on the stores or your local supermarkets. Daily consume is much recommended for you. But do not consume guava juice in the package, the ones that you also find on the stores, as it contains sweetened and the nutrition is not equivalent to the whole fruit itself.
And a little tip from me, pick up the red-fleshed ones as it contains more nutrition and have more antioxidants.
The best part about it is that(as mentioned earlier also), as compared to the other fruits, it is really affordable in most parts of the world. That’s the reason why it is very correctly called as the ‘Poor man’s apple.