Timeless Indian Ingredients For A Healthy Life

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert..

Lately, a lot of Indian ingredients have been misinterpreted. Having said that, it is necessary to emphasize on the concept of bio-individuality and understanding that everybody responds or reacts differently to a particular food depending on their own make up. The focus must be on consuming a balance and variety of different foods in order to achieve a maximum benefit out of your diet.

Let’s take a look at some commonly misunderstood ingredients and understand if they should be avoided?

Milk

Milk is nearly a complete food in itself, providing necessary nutrients in adequate amounts except iron to sustain life. In short, milk is good for health. Milk is a good source of protein, fat, calcium and several other nutrients. Besides calcium, other nutrients present in the milk are sulphur, magnesium, manganese, iodine and zinc to name a few. It is also rich in riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A and K, making milk’s nutritional value healthy for consumption. There are three type of milk depending on the fat composition that include whole milk which is full fat, low fat milk and skimmed milk.

However, it would be interesting to know why you may not want to opt for milk.

  • Skin Sensitivity – High consumption of full-fat dairy, particularly among teens may increase the risk of moderate to severe acne.
  • Digestive Distress – Many milk drinkers are unaware that the habit may be causing digestive issues, one of which being lactose intolerance which often goes undiagnosed.
  • Cancer Concern –Research shows that men who consumed high levels of dairy have a significantly increased risk for developing prostate cancer.
  • Contaminant Challenge – Synthetic hormones like recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are often given to cows to increase dairy production. As a result, these hormones make their way into our milk supply. The same goes for antibiotics administered to animals that develop infections due to milk production manipulation.

If you have any of these sensitivities, it is best to avoid milk. But without these, you can continue consuming milk.

Wheat

Wheat contains a protein called gluten. People who are sensitive to gluten may have an allergic reaction leading to symptoms such as bloating and flatulence compromising digestive health. If you have been diagnosed with this allergic condition, it is best to avoid wheat. Having said that whole wheat is a staple grain, primarily consumed in the form of chapatti, paratha, puri and bread. It is also used to make certain snacks. Wheat is considered to be nutritious and health promoting. It provides significant amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, B vitamins, trace elements and dietary fiber. If you do not have a gluten allergy, you can consume wheat safely.

Rice

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population in Asia. Rice’s nutritional facts depend on the type of rice. White rice is polished to improve its acceptability but during polishing, the B vitamins are lost. Brown rice is richer in several nutrients. Protein quality of rice is good because of the amino acid composition. Polished rice does not contain much iron but rice flakes and puffed rice such as poha contain more iron. Try Tata Sampann Poha which is high in fibre and a source of protein. The 3-Step quality process ensures that there is no powder residue or broken grains. Rice makes an excellent dish in most digestive disorders and holds a good satiety value especially when combined with vegetables and a pulse. Rice is also gluten free and hence a good alternative for individuals sensitive to gluten. But if you are a diabetic, you may want to consume rice in moderation to prevent high blood sugar levels.

So, we can see that these Indian ingredients have great nutritional value, but their consumption largely depends on the concept of bio-individuality. A good way to ensure that you consume what is right for your own biological make up is to consult your doctor or a dietician. These professionals can help you understand your nutrient needs, dietary specification and food sensitives. If they permit, continuing to have these foods can even help you achieve your health goals!

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Poha