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
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
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.
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