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March 2018

Mango may play the king of fruits, but when it comes to making up the health, banana owns the crown. Banana, is a common fruit and can be seen in almost every part of India. Be it sheera, malpua or payasam (kheer), a sweet and sour twist of banana adds a delicious flavour summing up to its taste. The crispy and salty chips made by slicing down the bananas are famous too. Apart from being one of the tasty fruit, it is also considered as a source of nutrition and a healthy snack.

Banana Health Benefits (you must know)
Contrary to popular belief, bananas actually help you in losing weight. If you are looking out to get healthy and fit, then there are reasons enough for you to include this humble fruit in your daily diet. Here are the 8 beneficial reasons why you must eat a banana-

Improves Digestion

Bananas are rich in and dietary fibre, which are vital elements in removing the toxins from the body. It also contains fructooligosaccharides, which is prebiotic in nature. What this fructooligosaccharides or FOS does is, it feeds the good bacteria within the digestive tract. This helps us to absorb the necessary nutrients systematically.

Bananas provide an ease in digesting food. Even if you’re going through a constipation case, banana comes to the rescue, thereby smoothening the bowel movements. Bananas ultimately aid in minimizing the unhealthy digestive situations keeping your gut fit and light.

Aids in Boosting Energy

Neither an energy bar nor any flavoured energy drink can provide enough of nutrients which a single banana can- it is considered as an energy-boosting snack by health experts. A dose of vitamin and mineral is must to give a power packed performance, and bananas surely come up with what’s required. Professional athletes and other sports personalities make sure to have bananas in their diet plan, which helps them in their strenuous workout.

Serves as a Great source of Potassium

Potassium plays a major role in proper functioning of a heart. It helps in regulating blood pressure and aids in smooth flow of blood throughout the body. Banana, being rich in potassium, benefits you by reducing the risk of high blood pressure. According to research, eating bananas everyday can lower down the risk of stroke by 20%. It is also considered as a superfood (super fruit).

Fights Various Skin Conditions

Being rich in nutrients, banana also has a major role in keeping your skin healthy. A well-mashed banana, when applied on face, helps in moisturizing the skin, making it smooth. It also controls the oil on the skin, when applied along with honey and a bit of lemon juice.

Not just the fruit, but also its peel has its own potential. The fatty acids present in the banana skin makes it good enough for fighting psoriasis, acne and other skin conditions.

Helps Fight Anaemia

Banana can help fight Anaemia, a condition in which there occurs a deficiency in the total number of RBCs or haemoglobin in the blood.

Iron and copper are essential elements which make up the haemoglobin, and bananas are a great source of both, iron and copper. Banana, with its active elements, iron and copper, plays a vital role in enhancing the ability of blood to carry oxygen.

Assists in Strengthening Bones

As you already know, strong bones are essential to staying fit and healthy. Banana is a great source of nutrients: Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are much needed to keep up the strength within your bones. Also as said earlier, the prebiotic component called fructooligosaccharides present in it helps the good bacteria produce the necessary digestive enzymes and vitamins, which ultimately help in bone-strengthening.

Combats Depression

Banana is a natural stress buster, it helps to fight depression. It contains high levels of tryptophan which gets converted by the body into serotonin, which helps to relax and improve your mood. It also contains other elements like dopamine and Vitamin B6 which play a vital role in boosting one’s mood.

Improves Eye-sight

You must have heard people saying carrot and beet-roots can benefit in improving your vision (and surely they do). Meanwhile, according to the new studies, bananas also help in enhancing the eye-sight. Banana has all the necessary contents like antioxidants and carotenoids along with required minerals which keeps your eyes healthy. Even a normal intake of banana can suppress cataracts, glaucoma, and night blindness.

Key Take-away

And you wondered why those minions are so crazy for this simple looking fruit. Now you must have got an idea. An apple a day may surely keep the doctor away, so does the banana. So make sure to add this delicious fruit to your daily diet to stay healthy and fit. Start munching now!

Read related articles on Indian fruits.
10 Reasons to Eat Mangoes in Summer
Enjoy local Tadgolas (Toddy palm) in Summer

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods

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After being quoted as the “new” superfood by health experts in the West, it seems GHEE has started to receive the appreciation that was long due. Get away from misconceptions of Ghee and know some eye-opening and beneficial health facts about Ghee.

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India is one of the top producers of Turmeric within Asia. In ancient Indian tradition, turmeric or haldi is not only one of the essential spices, but also regarded therapeutic and medicinal. It has been used as a medicine for a very long time and it is still used for various health conditions. It is now being hailed as the superfood all across the globe for its antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immunity enhancing properties.

A bioactive compound called curcumin present within it makes it potential to fight against the odds and also aids to keep you fit and healthy. It may well be the newfound trend for the rest of the world but India has been celebrating this ancient spice for centuries.

Let us walk through some of the best uses of turmeric aka haldi to make the most of your health

Turmeric Latte for Immunity

Turmeric Latte, a humble brew gets a trendy spin. Cafes from Sydney to San Francisco serve Turmeric latte, the Haldi doodh from India.  It is a perfect example of how when we ape any food trend superficially, we fail to adopt the collective food wisdom in its entirety – the ingredients come together like pieces of a puzzle but do not fit in to create a beautiful piece of art.

There’s more to India’s golden drink than just mixing haldi with milk. The specific proportion of haldi in milk, the presence of other active compounds and the timing at which you are having it, are all crucial for its therapeutic value.

 When your grandmom added a generous pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of ghee while brewing a cuppa of haldi doodh for you, she probably knew that piperine (main active ingredient in black pepper) enhances absorption of curcumin and the good fat ghee improves its bioavailability in the body all at once. The reason why she insisted you have the Haldi doodh before hitting the bed, is because it helps in overnight recovery, either from illness, injury or post workout. A good post workout recovery is crucial for steady and sustainable weight loss.

Warm Water along with turmeric

You must be aware of the benefits of drinking warm water in the morning to keep yourself fit. As warm water helps to flush out all of the toxins within the body and also add’s in improving metabolism.

Did you know the fact that adding a bit of turmeric to that glass of warm water can simply sum up in boosting your health? Yes, this is true! Having warm water along with turmeric improves your digestion, improves your skin and its complexion, helps in keeping your heart healthy and the list of benefits goes on.

Turmeric soup

If you’re going through a sore throat condition, you can go for the turmeric soup, it is an effective herbal drink which soothes the throat with its antimicrobial properties, fighting the various throat infections. This soup is also a great source of strength for the immune system.

Have a cup of Turmeric Tea

When it comes to Turmeric tea, it has its own distinctive flavour and a bit of pepper powder (which enhances absorption of curcumin) is mostly used in it. It is said to be beneficial in easing arthritis symptoms, helps in cancer prevention and treating uveitis. This is surely for you if you are more of the experimental kinds and would like to get a little innovative with your tea, you can tweak it with a twist of haldi in it. Steep dried and grated turmeric in a pot of hot water, blended with crushed peppercorns, sip on it while it’s hot.

A Fusion of Turmeric and Honey

As you know turmeric is kind of bitter to taste, a teaspoon of honey can be added to half a spoon of haldi before consuming it. This is probably the best to get the most of turmeric while making it taste good. This paste made out of turmeric and honey is beneficial in treating cough. Also, it plays a vital role in relieving arthritic joint pain.

Turmeric Fumes: Inhalation

A small teaspoon of turmeric powder put on a hot pan and its fumes when inhaled helps provide relief from congestion caused due to cough and cold. After breathing the smoke in each of the nostrils, it releases all of the mucous from the sinus cavity. The anti-inflammatory properties of haldi relieves the sinusitis by reducing the swelling. These fumes are also helpful in suppressing hiccups.

Skin Treatment Using Haldi

If you get back into time, you may remember your mom or maybe grandma using a paste of ghee and haldi powder over the bruise which you probably got while playing, well, as said earlier, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which ultimately boosts the healing process. Apart from healing wounds, it also looks after other skin issues like acne and scars by speeding up the healing process.

The next time you get a bruise or cut, fiker not (have no worries). Put a paste of ghee and haldi powder and you are ready to get, set, go.

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods.

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Eating right food before the exams not only helps you to boost your memory but also helps in keeping calm in the stressful times. Ensure you’re at your best on exam day!


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Vishuddha is the chakra located at your throat and neck, and incorporates your thyroid gland. It is one of the seven chakras in your bodies, which are believed to be vital energy centres. The Vishuddha chakra is supposed to be about choice, willpower and the right to speak and be heard.

Since it’s between the head and the heart it works to maintain integrity between what you think and what you feel. When you find it difficult to communicate or express your thoughts and feelings, when you do not believe you have the right to make choices for yourself that empower you or when you feel suppressed by swallowed emotions and feelings, is when the throat chakra is affected that often manifests as thyroid problems in the body.

It is no wonder then that women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems (as per American Thyroid Association, ATA). Of course, there are also huge hormonal events only specific to women like pregnancy and menopause, which exposes more women than men to it but for most of the time, women all over the world fail to listen to their inner voice, much less express it. Self-empowerment is the main lesson of this chakra symbol.

Now, self-empowerment comes from within. For first, it comes from taking ownership of the problem instead of blaming the ever-nurturing thyroid gland for weight gain, hair loss, forgetfulness, irritability etc. and second, from making efforts to deal with the hormonal imbalance by improvising your lifestyle before resorting to taking external thyroid hormones in the form of pills/ medicines.

The three main strategies for a healthy lifestyle that will support your thyroid gland (whether you have hypo or hyper thyroidism) and help you reach your optimum body weight (body composition) are-

1.NUTRITION – Nourish, nurture and support your thyroid gland with ‘real’ food and nutrients so that it can function efficiently. Real food is the food that is grown in a soil near you, not wrapped in fancy packaging and flown from a far away land. Processed, industrialized food is rich in sodium, salts and preservatives which creates havoc to the fine, delicate balance of sodium and potassium in your body cells. Hence, that packet of ‘high fibre’ biscuits, ‘multi-grain’ chips, ‘diet’ bhel, ‘anaaj wala’ breakfast cereal etc. that you open in the hope of losing weight, only puts additional stress to the already ‘overworking’ thyroid gland. That you feel only bloated and puffy (instead of feeling lighter) after consuming them only adds to the big, bad story of packaged, processed foods.

What to eat? Instead of hopping onto the latest diet trend wagon of either “low fat” or “low carb” or “high protein” diet, nourish your thyroid with wholesome food. One that is inclusive of all: fibre-rich carbs, indispensable amino acids (protein), essential fats along with vital vitamins and minerals.

The whole grains (jowar/ bajra/ nachni/ wheat/rice) that you eat in the form of rotis, bhaat, thepla, bhakri are not just fibre and carbs, it is also rich in iodine. Adequate iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, almost like basic building blocks. So the moment you give up on rice and roti to lose weight, your thyroid struggles all the more to function for you.

More and more research has found that deficiency of Vit D is significantly associated with thyroid gland malfunction. Now Vit D is a fat-soluble vitamin. So in order to make up for the low Vit D levels, to support your thyroid and to lose weight, you really cannot afford to be fussy about essential fats like ghee, coconut, white butter, filtered oils etc. Your ‘low fat’ ice-cream; ‘skimmed’, ‘double toned’ milk well, will actually do just the opposite for you!

Since iodine combines with tyrosine (protein) in the body to make thyroid hormones, adequate protein in the diet is important and is crucial to optimise metabolism of the body. Make friends with milk, curd, cheese, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, dal, legumes but remember eating them with your whole grains and essential fats. Wholesomeness is when you eat in combination v/s isolation. So say ‘NO’ to dinner of only ‘grilled fish’ and give a big high five to rice and fish curry. Hope you are getting the story!

2. EXERCISE – Thyroid hormones play an important role in bone mineral homeostasis and bone density. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with reduced BMD (bone mineral density) leading to increased fracture risk, osteoporosis and joint pain.

Consistent strength training will help increase BMD & strengthen your musculoskeletal system. Non-weight bearing cardio exercises (like swimming, cycling) will help burn fat without overstressing your joints. The practise of yoga & asana helps in opening and balancing the vishuddha chakra.

Hence, it is ideal to take a broad base approach in exercises too and do a combination of strength, cardio and yoga (on separate days)

3. SLEEP- Hypothyroidism is most often associated with fatigue, also called ‘adrenal fatigue’. And things that trigger ‘adrenal fatigue’ are stress and poor sleep. Deep, restorative sleep is hence crucial and one should be working towards getting enough sleep during the night and a 20 minutes “catnap” post lunch.

So eat, move, sleep and most important, speak and express yourself- assertively and fearlessly. Let your thyroid blossom and feel beautiful!

Read related articles on nutrition

How to Control High Blood Pressure & Stay Healthy?

Cholesterol and Indian diet: Time to stop worrying

PCOD Problem: Lifestyle transformation for women with PCOD

Diabetes control: Eat, Move, Sleep!

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods.

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When it comes to any discussion on diets for weight loss, carbohydrates (or “carbs”) seem to be everyone’s punching bag, an easy scapegoat for everything that resulted in weight gain. It is quite common to see, hear and read about people proudly swearing by a “low carb” or “no carb” diet as they embark on their weight loss journey.

However, the problem with this approach is that people are often making ‘sacrifices’ with their food that they don’t have to or should not. The real culprit behind weight gain is often not the carbs themselves but a combination of factors such as an imbalanced diet, improper eating habits, lack of exercise and undesirable lifestyle choices. So, let’s dispel some of the common myths about carbs, highlight their importance and make a case for their inclusion in a wholesome diet.

Four good reasons to include carbs in your diet-

1. Fuel for the brain: Carbs provide the glucose that is the fuel for the brain. Without this essential supply of fuel, one will experience what is often referred to as ‘brain fog’ which is characterised by a lack of mental alertness, lethargy and low-energy. For us to be productive at work, the sense of being ‘tuned-in’ mentally and energy running through us are important, and we know the source of that, don’t we?

2. Get better sleep: Advocates of “carbs deprivation” recommend avoiding carbs completely at night. What is often not understood is that without feeding carbs to the body for dinner, one’s sleep is likely to be impacted. This is because carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain; tryptophan gets converted to melatonin – a hormone that induces sleep- in the brain. Lesser the amount of tryptophan available to the brain, lesser is the melatonin produced, and consequently, lesser is the quantity of sleep one will get. As we have emphasised from time to time, sound and restful sleep is necessary to lose weight and also prevent NCDs (non-communicable diseases) or lifestyle ailments like diabetes

3. Essential for fat loss: There is an old maxim that is repeated often in the world of diet, nutrition and weightloss: “Fats burn in the flame of the carbohydrates”. What it implies is that fats are ‘burnt’ and utilised for energy in the presence of carbohydrates. So, if you are looking to lose fat and weight, you do need carbs to help you accomplish that goal!

4. Source of valuable fiber: The non-digestible component of carbohydrate food (plant fibers) like that found in whole grains, rice, banana, wheat, etc – known as prebiotics– stimulate the growth and induce changes to the composition of gut microbial populations. The gut microbiome (probiotics) play a very important role in the overall health of a person—which is why there are benefits of traditional Indian pickles – whether it be in contributing to weight loss or fighting against diseases like cancer or diabetes.

Do’s and Don’ts with consuming carbs

Now that the importance and benefits of carbohydrates in your diet are clarified, let’s note some tips on the type of carbs to take in and the ones to avoid.

1. Do include millets in your diet: Complement your intake of regular sources such as rice and wheat with millets such as jowar, bajra, ragi. These millets are nutritionally superior due to higher levels of protein with a more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron. As importantly, production and consumption of millets can contribute substantially in the fight against targeted hunger and mitigate the effect of climate change in long run. So, not only will you be benefiting yourself by complementing your diet with millets but also benefiting the cause of environmental sustainability! In fact, a proposal has been submitted by the Indian Government to the United Nations to declare 2018 as the International Year of Millets, to create global awareness about the benefits of millets.

2. Don’t consume carbs from refined and processed food items: Avoid packaged food like muffins, breads, biscuits and cakes that are loaded with trans fat, preservatives, emulsifiers, added colours etc. Feel free to enjoy our home-made meals like roti, thepla, bhakri; our traditional Indian breakfast items such as dosa, poha, idli; not only are they good sources of carbs, but also provide fibre, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and other nutrients.

So, the key takeaway that we’d like you to leave with is: when it comes to weight loss, think less of “low carbs” and “no carbs” and be discerning about the good carbs and the right ones!

Read related articles on nutrition

Proteins for vegetarians in Indian diets

Cholesterol and Indian diet: Time to stop worrying

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods.

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