Healthy Diet Plans

Enrich Your Life With These Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds in Food
Side-Effects of Pumpkin Seeds
Conclusion

The benefits of pumpkin seeds are many but a lot of people are not aware of this. In the current scenario where prices of popular nuts like almonds and cashews are skyrocketing, pumpkin seeds are a fantastic option — low-cost and loaded with so many vital nutrients. Pumpkin seeds, as the name suggests, are the edible seeds of the pumpkin fruit. Pumpkin fruits originated from North America (Mexico and U.S.A) and are now grown all over the world. 

Apart from the seeds, nearly all other parts of pumpkins are also edible; their flowers, leaves, and the flesh inside. When the pumpkin fruits are green and young, people cook them the way they cook zucchini. If you want to know the health benefits of pumpkin seeds and learn how you can add them to your diet, read on.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Here is a list of pumpkin seeds uses and benefits. We have also mentioned the essential pumpkin seeds nutrition facts that make them an ideal addition to your daily diet.

1. Maintaining Bone Health 

Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of magnesium, which helps in bone formation and ensures proper bone density. In older women, a high intake of magnesium prevents osteoporosis after menopause.

2. Prevention of Diabetes 

Because of their high content of magnesium and antioxidants, pumpkin seeds help in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds daily leads to an improvement in insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels. 

3. Keeping the Heart Healthy

The magnesium content of the pumpkin seeds helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The fibre content of the pumpkin seeds helps in lowering blood cholesterol. This translates into a reduced risk of heart disease in future.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids too. They keep blood pressure under control, lower the risks of heart-related problems, and improve circulatory health.

4. Keeping the Liver Healthy

The combination of fibre, antioxidants, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids has a positive effect on the liver.  

5. Maintaining Healthy Digestion and Weight

Being rich in fibre, pumpkin seeds help in keeping your digestive system in good shape. They make you feel full, preventing snacking between meals. So, you eat moderately and your weight remains under control. 

6. Protecting the Immune System

Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of vitamin E, Zinc, and antioxidants, which strengthen the immune system.

7. Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Hair

Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin (amino acid) and vitamin E. Both of them help in boosting hair growth. 

8. Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Men 

Pumpkin seeds have zinc and DHEA (dehydoepiandrosterone), a male sex hormone found in both men and women. Zinc promotes fertility in men and DHEA reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds help in the treatment of overactive bladder too. 

9. Promoting Good Sleep 

Pumpkin seeds contain serotonin, which is a neurochemical and tryptophan, an amino acid that converts serotonin inside the body. Serotonin has a sleep-inducing effect. So, if you have sleep-related problems, having some pumpkin seeds before going to bed will be quite beneficial. 

Using Pumpkin Seeds in Food Items

There are many convenient ways to consume and get the benefits of pumpkin seeds. Let us look at them one by one.

  1. Scoop them out from the pumpkin fruit. Rinse the seeds and roast them. Add salt and spices as per your taste. 
  2. If you want to eat the pumpkin seeds raw, it is better to soak them first for 8-10 hours. This removes the harmful enzymes and aids digestion. 
  3. Purchase the pumpkin seeds from a grocery store. They are easily available these days. Have them raw or grind them for further use in other food items. 
  4. Add pumpkin seeds to smoothies, hummus, yoghurt, etc. 
  5. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads, soups, breakfast cereals, etc.
  6. Use them in making desserts or when baking cakes and biscuits.

Side-Effects of Pumpkin Seeds

It is noteworthy that these side effects are seen only when you over consume pumpkin seeds or are allergic to them. 

Therefore, take only moderate amounts of pumpkin seeds or have them with other foods. Excessive consumption may have harmful side effects and neutralize the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

  1. Pain and cramps in the stomach.
  2. Unsafe for infants. It may cause stomach pain, cramps, and loose motions.
  3. Increased urination. If you are on diuretics, you might urinate far more than normal. This will upset your body’s natural minerals balance.
  4. May cause allergies.
  5. Lowering of blood sugars below normal in case of people with hypoglycemia and those on anti-diabetic medications. 
  6. Pumpkin seeds give you a high amount of calories and fats. So, those who are following weight loss programs need to watch out. 
  7. Lowering of blood pressure below normal. If you are hypotensive or on antihypertensive medications, you need to be careful while taking pumpkin seeds.

Conclusion

Pumpkin seeds are wonderful food items. They are packed with many useful nutrients, such as magnesium, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, antioxidants, etc. Because of their rich nutrients, there are many benefits of pumpkin seeds. However, take proper care while consuming pumpkin seeds, as their excessive and improper consumption have adverse side effects.

If you found this article interesting and useful in planning a balanced diet for yourself and your loved ones, do share your comments. We look forward to reading them.

Brown Rice Recipes That Are Worth Trying

Brown Rice Benefits
Brown Rice Recipes
Conclusion

Rice is a staple carbohydrate consumed in many countries around the world and for centuries. Most ancient civilizations cultivated rice and traces of the crop have been discovered from the archaeological sites. As of today, there are more than 40,000 varieties grown globally. In a country like India, a meal is incomplete without rice and or roti. However, the white rice that we often partake of at home is refined and is not as healthy as its unrefined counterpart. As per many studies, brown rice is higher in nutritional content. And if you have tasted some brown rice recipes, you might as well agree that it is also quite tastier, owing to its distinct nutty flavour. 

How is Brown Rice Healthier?

Brown rice gets its name from the point of processing wherein aside from the husk which is removed in both kinds of the rice, the bran and the germ part of it remain. These two layers are removed in the case of white rice, leading to considerable loss of nutritional content. When you consume brown rice dishes, you are likely to reap the following benefits: 

1. Diabetes Management 

Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index. This means you will experience reduced insulin spikes and your blood sugar levels will remain regulated. Brown rice is an ideal staple option for diabetic patients. 

2. Digestion Control 

Brown rice is a better substitute if you are facing issues with digestion and bowel regulation. The higher fibre content in brown rice helps to keep you feeling full for longer and bulks up stool, thus tackling conditions such as colitis and constipation.  

3. Heart Health 

Germinated or sprouted Brown rice is a source of magnesium and proanthocyanidin, a polyphenol that reduces cardiovascular complications and lowers your risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases. Consuming brown rice protects you against coronary heart diseases.

4. Cholesterol Balance

Brown rice contains hypocholesterolemic qualities, thus regulating cholesterol catabolism. It also contains nutrients that help in the function of glucose and lipid metabolism. These characteristics make brown rice a great agent in lowering cholesterol. 

5. Bone Health 

Brown rice is enriched with magnesium and calcium – two minerals essential for bone development. The presence of magnesium ensures that your bones can cope with demineralization. This makes it easy to cope with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. 

Healthy Brown Rice Recipes

Brown rice is slowly becoming a hit with health-conscious people as well as fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Here are some easy brown rice dishes that you can whip up for lunch or dinner:

1. Brown Rice Salad

Quick and super easy to make, this makes for a wonderful healthy brown rice recipe that even fitness enthusiasts will enjoy. Add in tomatoes, onions, corn, bell peppers, spring onions, and shredded chicken. Drizzle olive oil and garlic dressing with a squeeze of lemon and your brown rice salad is ready. 

2. Brown Rice Pilaf 

If you are looking to make something that is delicious and comforting, then brown rice pilaf is your answer. Made with onion, butter, and chicken broth, this dish is sticky in texture and extremely flavourful. Brown rice pilaf is best paired with roasted chicken/fish or kebabs.

3. Brown Rice Khichdi

Khichdi is the ultimate Indian comfort rice dish; it also makes for one of the most healthy vegetarian brown rice recipes. Made with lots of veggies and lentils, this is the go-to recipe for anyone who is in the mood for something wholesome, nutritious, and filling. 

Conclusion

Consuming brown rice is an acquired taste, similar to whole wheat pasta or buckwheat noodles. But brown rice is extremely nutritious, filling, and uniquely flavorful. When brown rice recipes are prepared correctly, they can elevate the taste of any dish by degrees. 

National Pollution Control Day: Foods That Combat The Effects Of Air Pollution

Foods to Reduce Air Pollution Effects
Conclusion

With winters approaching, the air pollution levels in Delhi and other northern cities of India are rising. Delhi and NCR are at a geographical and meteorological disadvantage as far as air quality is concerned. Stubble burning and crackers this time only add to the woes. Air pollution carries harmful pollutants which are responsible for several serious health issues, including respiratory diseases, skin problems, anxiety, obesity, mental health issues, and others. 

Though it is quite difficult to eradicate pollution completely, wearing masks, having healthy habits, and adding healthy foods to your diet can reduce the impact to an extent. 

Foods to Reduce Air Pollution Effects

There are various foods that aid your body against the effects of pollution. Listed below are some of the food options that are great for your lungs as well:

1. Vitamin D and Calcium-Rich Foods 

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients to make the body function properly. It is mainly stored in the bones. Vitamin D is quite important for absorption of this mineral. It has been reported that air pollution is linked with deficiency of Vitamin D, most likely due to insufficient skin absorption of UVB. With a right level of vitamin D, the body would be able to fight against air pollution induced health issues. Here are some vitamin D and calcium rich foods:

  • Kale, spinach, and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Fish like tuna, catfish, and salmon
  • Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk
  • Poultry like eggs and chicken

2. Antioxidant-Rich Foods 

Antioxidants are the molecules that can neutralize the unstable molecules in the body. Also known as free radicals, these unstable molecules which are increased in the body due to pollution are responsible for harming cells. Vitamin A, C, and E are some potent antioxidants that are available in the best food for lungs. To avoid the effects of pollution, antioxidant-rich foods are quite helpful. Here are some of them:

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Goji Berries
  • Raspberries
  • Kale
  • Red Cabbage
  • Beans
  • Citrus fruits

3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods have the potential to decrease the risk of depression, cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease,  and other diseases that can be induced due to poor air quality. Consume the below foods which have anti-inflammatory properties that are the best food for lungs

  • Fatty fish
  • Berries like Blueberries, Blackberries
  • Turmeric
  • Pepper
  • Green tea and coffee
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes
  • Tomato
  • Cherries

4. Foods Rich in Fatty Acids 

To protect the body against the detrimental effects of air pollution, we can use foods rich in beneficial fatty acids. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the most popular and healthy fatty acids our body needs. These are very helpful in offering health benefits to the brain and body. Good eye vision, stress reduction, boosting memory, and others are some of them.

Here are some foods rich in fatty acids and healthy lungs food, you must consider: 

  • Fish like salmon, tuna, merckel, herring. and others
  • Seeds like pumpkin, chia, flax
  • Oils such as mustard and canola
  • Nuts like walnuts, avocado, and others
  • Soybean
  • Eggs and caviar

5. Beta Carotene Rich Foods 

Beta Carotene is one of the carotenoids that consists of a group of orange, yellow, and red pigments. It is used to promote healthy vision, prevent osteoarthritis; eye issues such as cataracts or macular degeneration; heart issues; cancers; asthma; depression, age-related issues like loose skin; and others. All these diseases can be worsened due to poor quality of air. 

It is found in fruits and vegetables which consist of intense colors like yellow, orange, green, etc. So, incorporate beta carotene rich foods, which are healthy lungs food as well: 

  • Carrots
  • Apple
  • Winter squash
  • Beetroots
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

6. Ayurvedic Herbs 

Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are great for fighting against pollutants. But Ayurvedic herbs too are quite helpful to strengthen the immune system and fight against ill effects of air pollution to a good extent. Though these ayurvedic solutions are available as supplements, using them in natural and raw form is quite effective. Along with other nutrients, these herbs are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, building a strong shield against pollutants. 

Some of the options in Ayurvedic herbs are:

  • Ghee with turmeric
  • Neem juice
  • Pippali
  • Triphala
  • Tulsi
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Galangal
  • Ginger
  • Spices

Conclusion

We are not safe for a long time if a stringent step is not taken on an emergency basis. Reminding everyone of the horrific Bhopal Gas Tragedy that happened on December 2, 1984, India observes National Pollution Control Day. In this light, the entire nation has to come together to stand in solidarity against the causes of air pollution and work towards building solutions. Till then, stay immune by incorporating these foods and healthy habits in your lifestyle.

Vegetarian Diet: How To Get The Best Nutrition

A vegetarian diet is most commonly in India and many have found it to be associated with several health benefits. These include a reduced risk of developing chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, or heart attacks.

However, a lot of people mistake this opportunity to skimp out on healthy foods and go straight to the unprocessed junk that is full of compounds like sodium, sugar and fats. Essentially they are missing out on important nutrients like calcium, protein-rich vegetarian food, and whole grains, which form the essence of a vegetarian diet.

If planned out properly, following a vegetarian-based diet and nutrition could potentially fulfil the recommended daily allowance of several nutrients for your body, keeping you fit and healthy throughout the year.

Let us understand how we can get the best nutrition for ourselves by following a vegetarian diet. 

Planning Out The Intake 

indian  Diet

A good place to start while you are planning out a proper nutritional intake would be to go for a wide range of vegetarian-friendly food like fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, and whole grains such as barley and wheat  It is important that you dial down on the sugary drinks, refined grains, and processed fat. You can also consult your medical health practitioner to help you identify the foods that you should be cutting out.

There are certain vitamins and minerals that you must make sure are a part of your healthy diet plan in order to promote the optimal functioning of your body. This is especially important while following a restrictive diet such as vegetarianism. 

These nutrients include:

Calcium

leafy Vegetarian Diet

About 99% of the human body is made up of calcium. It is primarily found within the teeth and bones. Usually, dairy products such as cheese, milk, and curds are the go-to sources for calcium. Alternatively, you can also opt for coloured leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli which are also notable sources of calcium. This makes sure that you get your calcium without going overboard on the carbs and fats. 

Vitamin D

indian Diet plan

Vitamins D also has a lot to do with maintaining the proper bone and tooth health. A good way to get in the recommended daily allowance of this nutrient would be to consume fortified foods. Additionally, it is also recommended that you increase your exposure to the sun. This prevents the development of diseases like rickets, especially among children.

Protein

Vegetarian Diet for all

Protein in veg food is without question one of the most essential nutrients required to promote the optimal functioning of our body. There is a common misconception that you can only get the recommended amount of protein by consuming meat. The fact is that there are several high protein vegetarian foods such as dairy, pulses and legumes that one can consume throughout the day to meet their requirements.

One of the more common sources of protein for vegetarians includes soy-based products such as tofu and soya chunks which not only provide a lot of protein for your body but also mimic the texture of meat. This can be a useful substitute if you are someone who is transitioning from a non-vegetarian diet. Soy-based products are also an excellent source of protein-filled vegan foods if you would like to explore veganism as well. 

Iron 

iron rich  Diet

Iron is one of the primary components of the blood and is required to ensure the proper flow of blood through the body. However, most of the plant-based iron that we consume is not absorbed as quickly from the body. Iron is mostly found in protein-rich plant-based sources as well. This is why it is recommended that we double our consumption of veg food with high protein such as dried beans, lentils, and whole-grain products.

A good way to boost your body’s iron absorption would be to up your Vitamin C intake by consuming foods like lemons, tomatoes, and broccoli. This will help your body synthesize the iron better, while getting you a healthy dose of Vitamin C at the same time. 

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3  Diet

Omega 3 are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are required to promote the essential functioning of our body. However, they are primarily found in non-vegetarian diets and are hard to come by in plant-based sources. You can always include sources like canola oil,  soy oil, flaxseed powder, or walnuts in your daily intake to meet the minimum requirement.


However, it can be a bit difficult for you to keep up with all these essential nutrients and record your daily food intake to see if you are getting enough of them. Alternatively, you consider supplementing a balanced diet full of protein sources vegan with multivitamins that fulfil your recommended daily allowance in one go. 

Visit www.healthkart.com to discover a wide range of nutritional supplements that will help you stay fit and healthy.