Now you don’t need to hesitate before adding that dollop of ghee to your paratha or before picking a handful of nuts. Swati Kulkarni, nutritionist at Gold’s Gym India, clarifies myths about food we love to gorge on.
GHEE: Swati points out that the right amount of ghee helps, “It acts as a lubricant for connective tissues in the body and is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting the good one (HDL). It also helps to normalise blood sugar.
So, a restricted intake of two-three tsp per day per person can really be helpful.”
BUTTER: This animal fat has an adverse impact due to its high content of saturated fat. “So, restrict butter completely or use it over margarine.
One spoon can be used during day time when calories are used up the most. But, make sure you are restricting other fat sources to adjust the extra calories.”
JAGGERY: This sweet delight is a great source of magnesium. “It does contain iron and if mixed with water helps to relax muscles. With proper balance of potassium and sodium, it helps in acid balance.
It relieves water retention and controls blood pressure. Though five gm of sugar and jaggery give 45 kcal, one may replace sugar with honey and can have five-10gm per day/per person.”
STICKY RICE: Known to lower cholesterol levels it improves blood circulation Sticky or black rice also has less sugar, more fibre and vitamin E — fights heart disease, cancer, and other major diseases.
“With less carbohydrate sugar but high carbohydrate fibre, black rice is a potential energy source for people with diabetes. One can include one serving of rice for lunch with one roti and salad.”
POTATO (INCLUDING SWEET POTATO): Swati admits, “They are not exactly good for you when dropped into a deep fryer, but potatoes are packed with powerful nutrients and antioxidants. Both help to fight cancer and control your diabetes. It maintains blood pressure due to high potassium content.”
PEANUTS: With 85 per cent unsaturated fat and 50 per cent monounsaturated fat, peanuts benefit in cleansing BAD cholesterol (LDL) and reduce heart disease.
“The potassium in it helps regulate the body’s water levels and the normal metabolism of food, to prevent cramping. Incorporate peanuts with other nuts and sprinkle on salads or in any recipe.”
DRY FRUITS: Almonds, cashew and pistas have protein, fibre, certain flavanols, and minerals. Almonds and pistas reduce heart attack risk and protects arterial walls from damage; it is good for the bone and teeth because of its high phosphorus and magnesium content.
“It lowers the rise in blood sugar and insulin after meals. Cashew is rich in copper which is essential for skin and hair. It contains proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols proven to be essential for cancer prevention.”
CHEESE: Though it has protein, calcium and other nutrients, minimising whole milk cheese would be great to avoid calories. “Incorporate cheese two times in a week and can be spread over whole wheat bread/chapattis with vegetables like greens, mushroom, baby corns, and broccoli.”
MITHAIS: This rich in simple sugar food is known to raise blood sugar level. “It is helpful when one needs to store required energy. One small piece can make a lot of difference.”
THE GOLDEN PATH
Swati says, “If you are trying to improve your diet and nutrition and stay healthy as you age, include a good breakfast. Include complex carbs and protein in the form of whole wheat bread sandwiches with sprouts and vegetables, whole wheat or multigrain and multi-pulse veg parathas, theplas, muesli with nuts and skimmed milk.”
A long break between meals is not a good idea. “This will lead to low storage of essential nutrients and lowers the metabolism. You must fill the gap by incorporating veg soups, fruit platters, mixed sprouts salad with vegetables, fruits or diet khakras or coconut water."
Make your food nutritionally rich and tasty by tossing low yogurt or curd in the chopped veggies or sprouts and sprinkled with black pepper and dhania powder.
“Also, if you take spicy, low fibrous food and high fat diet, it adds up calories and leads to constipation and irritable bowel movements. Avoid mid night snacks, it converts excess calories into fat by slowing down metabolism. If you are late for dinner, then opt for veg salads/ chicken and veg clear soups/ veg dals.
Have evening meals at 6-7 pm to avoid high consumption in the night, it will help suppress you hunger and indirectly late night snacking will reduce.”