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5 Often Ignored Ingredients That Are A Must In Every Woman's Diet

Kavita Devgan

Kavita Devgan
29 April 2020

This article is authored by Kavita Devgan. Kavita is an acclaimed nutritionist with 20 plus years of experience as a weight loss and holistic health consultant.

While the rules of healthy eating are quite similar almost everywhere across the globe - eat healthy, move more, avoid stress and sleep better - there are some specific foods that can define a healthy diet for women. Taking the concept of Women’s Nutrition beyond just Women’s Day, listed below are five ingredients - all part of the Indian kitchen, but often ignored -that must find its way into every women’s diet.

1) Turmeric: Sniff the difference with Spices

Radish

Spices are rich in natural oils that help body in building immunity, digestion and cleansing. Often spices are extracted of these very natural oils and in-turn lose their health benefits. How do you know your spices are healthy and loaded with natural oil? Simple…just sniff it! The stronger the smell, the more replete it is with natural oils, the healthier it is for your body. Researchers have been studying the low Alzheimer’s disease incidence in India and high consumption of turmeric, and are becoming confident of a connection there.

Curcumin, a component of turmeric is the protective agent here. It supports better memory, focus and cognition by increasing growth of new neurons and fighting various degenerative processes in the brain. With women being multitaskers in their everyday life, it is important to consume turmeric which has at least three percent curcumin for a healthier mind and body.

How much: Just a pinch a day in your tadkas (tempering) or as haldi milk every night.

2) Coriander powder: The anti-carcinogenic spice

Coriander seeds (dhania) help control blood sugar, cholesterol and the production of free radicals in our body. They also help decrease levels of bad cholesterol, while boosting levels of good cholesterol. More importantly, they are known to be anti-carcinogenic. Ladies, coriander is known to prevent hair fall and contain natural stimulants that stimulate the endocrine glands to maintain proper hormonal balance in the body thus alleviating mensural pain and irregularities.

How much: Add a pinch to all tadkas every day, and avail of the many dhania powder benefits.

3) Iodised salt: Keeping the nervous system and thyroid levels healthy

Many women are unknowingly deficient in iodine, especially, if they are a vegetarian as Iodine is found mostly in seaweed, dairy, tuna, shrimp and eggs. This deficiency affects affect thyroid hormones negatively and results in Intellectual disability. The common symptoms of iodine deficiency are fatigue and weakness, hair loss, dry, flaky skin, feeling colder than usual and trouble learning and remembering. To ensure that everyone has a sufficient intake of iodine, WHO and UNICEF recommend universal iodization of salt.

How much: About 5 gm of branded vacuum evaporated iodised salt per day.

4) Besan: The great Indian flour

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Besan (gram flour) delivers fibre, helping keep constipation at bay. A collagen formation booster, besan has anti-inflammatory properties that helps prevent fatigue and iron deficiency in the body. The besan nutrition value is quite high. Being a rich source of B vitamin thiamine, include besan in your diet to feel energetic and rejuvenated.

How much: Two to three times a week

5) Lentils: Protein power

Well, the three solid pillars of good health are: enough nutrients, good quality protein, and fibre for gut health - and lentils (dals) deliver all three in abundance. Plus they are a very cost effective source of good quality dal protein - a boon for vegetarians particularly as they often don’t score enough of this macro nutrient. Lentils deliver the hard to find nutrient - folic acid that is essential for health. Enough folic acid helps prevent birth defects in pregnant women, making it an essential component of the pregnant women’s diet.

How much: Two servings of (any) dal every day

Wholesome diets often result in wholesome lifestyles. Always work towards following a food pattern stacked with the essential nutrients.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

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Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

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For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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