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Top Tips for Healthy Cooking, Eating and Living

‘Health is wealth’. This is not only the most appropriate quote to start this blog on but also explains the importance of health in the most lucid way.

Healthy cooking, healthy eating and healthy living are all phrases, directing at the topic of good health. In today’s fast life, where a large number of the world’s population is overweight and obese and is at a high risk to a number of related ailments, the urgency to follow a healthy diet and live an active life is all the more. Vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products, whole grains, etc. are all needed for good health. However instead of cutting down on carbohydrates or good fats as suggested by a number of online sites and dieting plans, it is actually wise to eat all of them in moderation and gain required nutrients. This can only be done, if you are assertive, alert and informed about healthy cooking practices and eating habits. To help you with this, I have listed down a few tips that can come in handy in while selecting, cooking or eating food. Implement them and follow a regular exercise plan to live a long, healthy and active life.

Selecting Healthy Foodstuffs:

  • While selecting grains like rice, wheat, etc. look for whole grains. They are more nutritious and healthy.
  • Always read food labels. Pick packaged foods that have clear mention about less fat, good cholesterol, less saturated fat, low or no sodium and low sugar content.
  • Likewise, try and use skimmed milk and yoghurt and non-fat/low-fat dairy products as much as possible.
  • While choosing meat, select lean varieties. While buying poultry get the skin off. This will lower its saturated fat content.

Healthy Cooking:

  • When it comes to cooking, always add less salt than required. Taste your food and then add little salt if needed. This will not only prevent your dish from getting salty but will also help you cut down on sodium content. Also keep your salt shakers away from your dining table to train yourself and your family to eat food containing less salt.
  • Oil is another ingredient that needs to be used less while cooking. To consume less saturated fat, lower the use of oil, butter, cream and cheese during every cooking expedition. Olive oil is the best among all oils.
  • Salads containing vegetables and fruits are quite healthy. Do not make them unhealthy by adding fatty dressings like mayonnaise, sour cream or cheese. Instead add lime juice and/or herbs to enhance its flavour.
  • While cooking, a lot of people use packaged foods like ketchup and sauces of different varieties to make their dish tasty. These processed and packaged products contain high amount of sodium. Instead you can add a dash of lime juice, use tomato sauce prepared at home, sprinkle oregano and herbs, spices, vinegar, tamarind, etc. to pep up the taste of your dish, while making it healthy.
  • If you are buying canned vegetables, pulses or fruits, always rinse them.
  • Overcooking vegetables can rob them off their nutrients. Instead, wash your vegetables, dice them into small pieces and steam them in your steamer basket or microwave. Note the time. This method is better than frying, blanching or even boiling vegetables.
  • Fried food uses a lot of oil, which is really unhealthy. However, if you are really tempted to eat fried stuff, then avoid the pan. Spray oil on the oven (as it uses less oil) and try frying/grilling/baking in the oven.

Healthy Eating:

  • Wash and eat fresh fruits and vegetables regularly.
  • Avoid eating processed and packaged food, fast food like pastries, burgers, pizzas, hot dogs, chips, sweets, etc. as much as possible.
  • Never skip your breakfast. In fact have a filling protein rich breakfast. Include a cup of skimmed milk or yoghurt in your breakfast to add calcium in your diet.
  • If you feel hungry quite often and want to have snacks, then have a fruit, munch some almonds or eat some light crackers. Do not go for a burger or pizza.
  • Drink at least 6 full glass of water daily. This will keep you hydrated, flush out toxins and wastes from your body and avert unnecessary hunger pangs.

10 Best Diabetes-Friendly Fruits

A person with diabetes is always advised to consume diabetes-friendly foods that contain less sugar in them. This is because a diabetic patient already has high blood sugar and the pancreas in the body either does not produce sufficient insulin or the cells in the body do not react to it, to lower the high levels of blood sugar.

With so many kinds and varieties of food available, it becomes difficult for a diabetic patient to know and identify what foods to eat and what not. For a start though, let us talk about naturally available foods like fruits. Fruits are typically packed with good amount of vitamins, minerals, fibres, antioxidants and water content. Unlike vegetables, fruits contain fructose (a type of sugar) that gives them their sweetness. Though there is no such thing called as ‘bad fruit’, higher amount of fructose can have a negative effect on the health of a diabetic patient, as the blood sugar level climbs up as soon as it is eaten.

Hence, to be on the safe side, it is always better to know what fruits can be eaten by a diabetic patient and what should be avoided. To help you with this, just check the below given list. If you are diabetic, then include the below given diabetes friendly fruits (having glycemic level less than 55) in your diet and boost your immune and health. If not, then spread the word and share it with people who are suffering from diabetes to help them live a healthier, safer and longer life.

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1.    Grapefruit

Grapefruit, which can be sour or sweet, is the best fruit for diabetic patients. This is because it contains very low glycemic level, is a wonderful source of Vitamin C and contains natural antioxidants and soluble fibre. If you have a big grapefruit, then consuming half of it is enough or you can eat the whole fruit in one serving.

2.    Berries

Berries like strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries and cranberries are packed with ample anti-oxidants. They are also low in carbs and offer good amount of fibre and vitamins. You can eat them naturally or prepare sugar-less smoothies by blending them in.

3.    Cherries

Sweet tasting red cherries are the perfect answer for sweet tooth diabetic patients. Though cherries are sweet, they have low glycemic levels and are bundled with powerful antioxidants. You can consume nearly a dozen of them, without any worry.

4.    Apples

‘An apple a day keeps a doctor away’. The saying holds true even for diabetes. A perfect diabetic-friendly fruit, apples are rich in fibres and Vitamin C. As a suggestion, eat the whole apple without peeling it, as the skin is known to contain good amount of anti-oxidants.  An apple can be easily consumed as a snack, whenever you are hungry.

5.    Pears

Pears are generally available throughout the year. This high fibre, minerals and potassium containing fruit, is low in carbs and glycemic level. It can be safely eaten anytime, as it is the least allergic amongst other fruits.

6.    Peaches

Juicy and beautiful looking peaches contain low glycemic levels but high amount of Vitamin A and C, fibre and antioxidants. Eat a whole fresh peach in one serving to get its nutrients and avoid the canned ones as much as possible.

7.    Oranges

Another great source of Vitamin C, oranges are low in carbohydrates, have low glycemic level but good amount of potassium.

8.    Guavas

Guavas are again very low in glycemic level and the best source for antioxidants. Rich in Vitamin C, one big guava or two small guavas in a serving is sufficient for a diabetic patient to gain essential nutrients.

9.    Melons

Melons like watermelons and muskmelons have high water content and are low in glycemic level. They are also rich in potassium, lycopene and Vitamin B and C. One or two big slices of these melons are enough to satisfy your snack craving and pack in necessary nutrients.

10.  Apricot

Apricot is another great choice for diabetes. This fruit is low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber and Vitamin A.  One average sized apricot included in your everyday diet is ample to pack in some much needed nutrition.

6 Tips to Kick Ailments and Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

‘Health is Wealth’, a famous phrase says it all. Still, you find a lot of people ignoring this fact and living an unhealthy lifestyle. Be it smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy foods or just living a sedentary lifestyle, all these things only give rise to a number of ailments and push you more towards you an inactive and morbid living. Why live such a life, when you can make the choice?

You can definitely turn the tables, starting today, but only if you are willing to do so. You do not have to make big sacrifices or radical changes. Just make a few small alterations, like having a glass full of water after meals, including more vegetables and fruits in your diet, going for a walk, etc. These small lifestyle changes, including the ones given below can help a great deal in kicking out obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, depression, osteoporosis, stress and many more such diseases, while helping you live a healthy, fit and active life.

1.    Eat Healthy, Eat Well

Another popular saying “You are what you eat”, makes it all very clear. With a whopping 90% health ailments caused by eating unhealthy foods and following unhealthy habits, you can very well understand the importance of eating healthy. But what does healthy eating mean? It means,

  • Never skip your breakfast. On the contrary have a healthy breakfast. Instead of eating greasy food early morning, choose your breakfast items wisely. Include more of cereals, oatmeal, fruits, eggs, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, a glass of skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt in your diet.These are not only healthy choices but will also help jumpstart your day on a positive note.
  • Have light lunch and dinner but still make it nourishing. This can be done by including whole grains, brown rice, vegetables, beans, lentils, tofu, healthy fats, lean meat, eggs and fish in your diet. Eat all these foods in small amounts, to avoid eating till you are full.  Keep off from the very tempting dessert and remember to finish your meal with a glass of water.
  •  Add more vegetables (salads, lightly sautéed or boiled) and fruits in your diet. Fruits are great snack items. They are not only nourishing and filling but will also keep you off from needless snacking.
  • Cut down on unhealthy items like hamburgers, pastas, pizzas and hot dogs that you buy from nearby fast food joints. Also considerably cut down on fried foods, soft  drinks, chocolates, sweets, sugar-based fruit juices and processed foods. Instead prepare fresh vegetable and fruit juices, sandwiches and fruit-based smoothies (without sugar) at home. These along with nuts and crackers can serve as great snack items.

2.    Keep yourself Hydrated

Every dietician and nutritionist would advise you to have 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. This is because water does not have any calories, keeps you hydrated and helps flush out toxins from your body. But, instead of gulping down a lot of water at one go; have one full glass of water after every meal. This will not only fill you but will also prevent frequent hunger pangs.

3.    Get Rid of Unhealthy Habits

Be it eating unhealthy foods, smoking, consuming alcohol or even following a fad diet or strenuous exercise regime, all of these are unhealthy and risky. Take charge of your health now. Discontinue your so-called weight loss program and cut down on smoking and alcohol consumption. Follow healthy eating, but eat in moderation.

4.    Get an Active Lifestyle

You need to start moving a lot, if you want to have a healthy life. This however does not mean that you enrol yourself in the nearest local gym. You can do this easily by lessening your TV viewing time, doing your own household chores, taking the stairs instead of the lift and even walking to the nearest grocery. In addition to this, follow an exercise regime and stick to. You can choose to walk, cycle, jog, swim, run, do yoga or even perform some stretching exercises. Choose any of the exercise forms and follow it every day for half an hour.

5.    Get Enough Sleep

Studies have time and again shown that people having less sleep tend to put on more weight and are more prone to illnesses. Having seven to eight hours of sleep every night is sufficient to keep you agile, awake, focussed and energized throughout the day.

6.    Have Regular Check ups

This is one of the highly neglected tips. Nowadays with increasing cases of hypertension, cancer, depression and stroke detected in even young people, it is imperative to undergo a routine health check-up after every 6 to 8 months. This is particularly vital for people (both men and women) above the age of 40. Also, as a person you can considerably help yourself detect an ailment. Just be alert. If you find something amiss with your body, then immediately point this out to your doctor. Remember, detecting an ailment at its initial stages will not only help you prevent it from aggravating further but will also help you save money, you would have otherwise spent on high medical bills. As they say, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

If you feel there are some other valuable tips that can help lead a healthy lifestyle, then you are free to suggest them. Valuable suggestions will only make this piece more informative and useful for readers.