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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

Eat Breakfast

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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Pregnancy’s effect on blood pressure and how a healthy diet helps

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.

It is no mean feat to grow another human being inside oneself. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnancy has several profound impacts on the body.

Plasma volume increases progressively through pregnancy. Cardiac output increases by 20%. The mother’s body requires more iron to produce foetal haemoglobin and certain other enzymes, as well as folate and B12. Her glucose metabolism undergoes changes to provide the foetus with sufficient glucose and energy and fuel its development. And the growing uterus causes mechanical changes to the digestive tract, pushing the stomach upwards and increasing gastric pressure.

Pregnancy and blood pressure

Eat Breakfast

Among these many changes, one significant shift that women should watch out for is a change in blood pressure. The pregnancy causes blood pressure to decrease in the first and second trimester but increase in the third. This increase in blood pressure can have a significant effect on the foetus if care is not taken.

It can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen the baby receives. This can, in turn, lead to intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, or premature birth. High blood pressure can also cause the placenta to be separated from the uterine wall, causing severe bleeding.

There are several factors that contribute to increases in blood pressure during pregnancy. The risk increases if women are overweight or obese, over 35 years of age, not getting enough physical activity, carrying more than one child or have a family history of hypertension.

How a healthy diet can help

Skin Care

Pregnant woman must also look into their iodine intake, as deficiency of iodine in the mother can lead to congenital abnormalities and decreased intelligence. Supplementation of iodine in severely deficient mothers is likely to increase the IQ of the infant. In severe cases of deficiency cretinism could precipitate. Iodine deficiency also leads to hypothyroid issues in the mother and infant. The easiest and best way to ensure that the required iodine reaches the mother is through iodised salt.

However, one of the main contributors to high blood pressure is dietary sodium. Sodium levels in the diet increase from added salt as well as from processed or ready-to-eat foods. Hence, pregnant women should highly restrict the consumption of foods high in sodiumsuch as pickles, papads, and preserved food. Store-bought sauces are also another prominent contributor of sodium and should be avoided as far as possible.

One good way to do this is to replace salty tastes with tangy or citrus tastes. For instance, pregnant women require a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to ensure adequate micronutrients. A good way to achieve this without adding more salt to the diet is through fresh salads seasoned with lime juice or coriander.

Another clear contributor to high blood pressure is bad cholesterol. When the arteries get clogged due to cholesterol, this forces the heart to pump harder, which increases blood pressure. Thus, women should also stay away from unhealthy cooking such as fried foods and dishes containing trans fats. What’s more, fried foods also often contain high levels of sodium, which increases sodium intake.

Sweets and desserts, particularly those prepared outside the home, can also be red flag. Such preparations often contain unhealthy fats, which again contribute to bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

While it might seem like that cravingsareundeniable, all our cravings are learnt and we do get used to a variety of tastes over time. So, when eating while pregnant, it’s time to cut down on sodium-richand fatty foods, and experiment with more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a range of other spices and herbs. This will ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.



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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