Power Up with superfoods

Power Up with superfoods

For all the multitasking women do, they need to fuel themselves with the nutritional benefits of superfoods, suggests Sheryl Salis

Often multitasking and juggling their personal and professional lives, women tend to ignore their health. With International Women’s Day on March 8, that celebrates the power of women by recognising their achievements in various fields of work around the corner; it is important to focus on eating the right food and maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet.
Awareness on eating healthy has ensured that women eat nutrient-rich food in required quantities thus, opting for a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one which includes food from typically five groups that fulfill the body’s nutritional needs. The five food groups that make up a balanced diet include  vegetables, fruits, protein, dairy and grains. Science, as well as research, claims that nutrient-dense foods not only make one feel great, but, may even reduce the risk of certain chronic health conditions while providing multiple health benefits.

To maintain good health, it is good to incorporate superfoods which are considered a nutrient powerhouse as they provide large quantities of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are foods that have bioactive compounds with immense health benefits. India has always been a superpower when it comes to superfoods; some examples are soya, berries, kefir, coconut oil, quinoa etc. 

Consider including some of these superfoods in your diet:



Virgin coconut oil

Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO) is recommended for its myriad health benefits today. It is obtained from fresh and matured kernel of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, cold-pressed and non-refined.

Many studies have shown a positive association between virgin coconut oil consumption and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Research points to the fact that regular consumption of virgin coconut oil can reduce food cravings, boost energy levels, and help trim abdominal fat. Coconut oil benefits even breast-feeding mothers as the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in the oil are similar to the fats found in breast milk and have a similar nutraceutical effect.

Yeast infections are a big issue for a lot of women and diet plays an important role in the candida (yeast) problem. It is recommended that women deal with this problem in a more natural way by consuming foods that are likely to reduce the intensity of these infections. Studies show that MCTs in coconut oil can kill the nasty bacteria that cause yeast infections.  It is recommended to include two spoons of virgin coconut oil in the diet every day to maintain a healthy and holistic lifestyle.

Berries

Berries like strawberry, acai and blueberries are excellent sources of antioxidants and polyphenols. Berries are loaded with important nutrients that help in combatting common deficiencies as well. Acai berries can tame arthritis, aid weight loss and keep high cholesterol levels under check. Blueberries are sweet and flavourful with high levels of antioxidants that help boost the immune system, improve eyesight and ward off urinary tract infections. Strawberries contain vitamins C, K, manganese, potassium and
magnesium. They help improve the immune system and support healthy eyes and bones. A berry smoothie laced with virgin coconut oil is the perfect morning drink for a healthy and energised day.



Soybean

Soybean is a boon to vegetarians as it is a rich source of protein (20 gm soybean has 7 gm of protein). It is also a good source of calcium, iron, phytoestrogens and the heart-friendly omega – 3 fatty acids. Soybean scores over animal products and milk as it is cholesterol and lactose-free and can be given to people with lactose intolerance. It can also be given to people with gluten intolerance. The beneficial effects of soy in regulating blood glucose levels are attributed to isoflavones which are present in soy beans. Isoflavones help to increase insulin secretion, thereby improving blood glucose control. Soybean helps to lower not only glucose levels in the blood but is also beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol levels.



Walnuts

Walnuts score over other nuts for its antioxidant property and Omega-3 fat (ALA) content. Regular consumption of walnuts protects against heart disease, inflammation and cancer. A new study has shown that walnuts can lower the risk of breast cancer. Walnuts help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost brain power and improve sleep quality. They are a good source of Vitamin E which makes the skin flawless. Walnuts are also known to reduce cravings and help cope with stress and reduce depression. Walnuts also contain fibre, which helps in keeping the weight under check.

(The author is a nutritionist)

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