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5 foods we think are totally healthy

Desk Report: You may have already made the switch from white bread to brown bread in a conscious bid to eat healthy and save your diet. But have you thought the brown bread you pick up every time from your local general store could well just be a brown colour bread?

Blame our new found consciousness for healthy eating that has led FMCG companies to up the ante by inundating the market with a host of high nutrition foods and then suavely marketing them as essential lifestyle products. From heart-healthy cooking oil, crunchy granola bars, fruit-flavoured yoghurt, to dry fruit-sprinkled muesli, we have begun hoarding everything that screams ‘low calorie’ in a last ditch effort to save our health.

Despite the number of hours at the gym we wonder where we are going wrong. Well, the reason behind this is foods we think are healthy, but are actually not. Delhi-based wellness expert Dr Shikha Sharma helps us identify such foods and their possible substitutes.

Healthy food trap: Brown bread
After it slowly sunk in that white bread is bad for health as it is made of all purpose flour and can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, we made a reluctant transition to brown bread. Now, it turns out the brown bread locally available is no more than regular white bread coloured brown by using chemicals. By having brown coloured bread regularly for breakfast you are doing your body no good, worse still if you are exercising as well.
Break free with: Multi-grain bread or porridge (dalia)
Dr Sharma advises you rather get used to the more coarse multi-grain bread which may not be the most appetising in the first place, and may not make for the perfect toast with your egg or greens. Better still, if you can have a bowl of dalia or porridge everyday by stirring in a few vegetables of your choice. It is wholesome breakfast food.

Healthy food trap: Breakfast cereals

You have been stocking all sorts of breakfast cereals for a while since you discovered parathas are lousy for breakfast. But reconsider a moment. Not all breakfast cereals on the market are low-calorie, or the least bit healthy. When buying breakfast cereals be extremely picky about the ingredients of your pack; check for the sugar content, artificial colouring, salt, fibre and fat content. It is always advisable to steer clear of the sugar-frosted, chocolate-coated varieties as you don’t want your first meal to do anything but pump sugar into your body.
Break free with: Oatmeal or wheat flakes
A bowl of oats in the morning is good for those suffering high cholesterol and diabetes, provided you don’t add extra sugar to it. The high fibre content in oats balances the blood sugar, and relieves people prone to depression. You can even alternate it with wheat porridge which is a nice change from run-of-the-mill breakfast cereals.

Healthy food trap: Flavoured yoghurt/milk
Your local dairy shop will first produce a strawberry-flavoured yoghurt cup when you ask for yoghurt. Such is the hoopla surrounding every food that’s flavoured. Its novel and apparently healthy. But it is only preposterous to think that they contain real fruit pulp and probably as good as plain yoghurt. All your strawberry, blueberry and mango flavoured yoghurts are loaded with sugar and chemicals to get the desired colour and sweetness, for real fruit pulp can never be that sweet. The same goes with flavoured milk.
Break free with: Plain yoghurt or fruits
Plain yoghurt preferably set at home is the ideal and the only way you should have yoghurt if you are truly concerned about healthy living. Fruits are another healthy addition to your diet provided you do not squeeze the pulp out every time.

Healthy food trap: White rice
Devoid of nutrition, white rice is nothing but a refined grain that has been stripped of its vitamins, minerals and fibre. Cooked white rice is all starch that easily converts to glucose in our body and shoots up our blood pressure, or gives a tummy bulge. White rice should especially be avoided by those who are carb sensitive as even a little bit of rice could make them feel full, and even fat. Also, white rice leaves you hungry too soon as your body takes very little time to break it down and digest it.
Break free with: Brown rice
If rice is a must for you, switch over to brown rice as it is healthier and less fattening. Brown rice is not as refined as white rice, and hence retains some of the nutrition. Besides, it takes longer to deliver the glucose into your bloodstream allowing your blood pressure to stay unaffected.

Healthy food trap: Granola bars
Crispy cereal bars are all over the market and are marketed as a healthy snack option, one that satisfies our sugar craving. The truth is granola bars are simply loaded with refined sugar. They of course do a lot of favouring and add muesli among other cereals to it, but ultimately it is a sugar bar packaged with cereals. You can have them once in a while to purge your sugar urge, but don’t get addicted.
Break free with: Dry fruits or sprout salad
Sweet craving can be sated with dates, raisins, and dry apricot among other dry fruits. But if you wish to have something more filling, make a quick sprout salad by taking a bowlful of sprouts, squeezing in half a lemon, small shreds of green chilli and onion, and tossing it together.

Carbohydrates, dairy, sugar and oil are our established dietary villains; we could do better by tweaking our diet routines to include less of these and more of others.




March 2018
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