Functional Foods……Ever Heard Of Them???

Hey everyone! Welcome once again to Heal-Thy-Self. Let’s begin our discussion on another interesting, yet quite overlooked topic-Functional Foods. Ever heard of them? Well, many of you must have. For those who don’t know what exactly Functional Foods are, here’s a quick overview…

What Are Functional Foods

Functional Foods are those foods that contain specific components that may reduce the risk of certain diseases. Functional Foods provide certain benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. These components can be naturally occurring in a Functional Food, or they can be added. Foods that fall into this category can be whole or fortified, enriched or enhanced, or all of them!

Recent years have been buzzing with an increasing interest in these Functional Foods. So, what are these exactly? Well, fruits and vegetables are the commonest and simplest examples of Functional Foods. For an instance, carrots and tomatoes may be considered Functional Foods because they are rich in compounds that are linked with reduced risk of various diseases like cancer. There is a hope that these foods can be helpful in prevention and treatment of various health conditions and diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis etc.

Examples Of Functional Foods

An example of a fortified functional food is fortified milk. To prevent vitamin D deficiency and conditions like rickets, milk is fortified with vitamin D. Another example is salt. Salt is fortified with iodine to prevent goiter.

Some food components which are the focus of growing interest in functional foods are omega 3 fatty acids, soy protein, probiotics and prebiotics, lutein, psyllium, oats, stanols and sterols etc.

Are Functional Foods Good For You

Functional Foods are extremely important part of your diet. They help in boosting your immunity and keep you away from many diseases. Several studies conducted in recent years link them with an ability to treat certain medical conditions.

While this can act as a boon in prevention and treatment of various diseases, it is also a curse as food companies try to market these foods as medicines. For example, cereals fortified with psyllium and chips with kava-kava are a regular occurrence on store shelves these days. However, most of these products are not regulated and the buyer has no way of knowing how much quantity of the active ingredient these foods really contain. Some of the herbal supplements or medicines companies try to benefit by claiming to add these components to their products and try to exploit people’s interest in alternative medicine. While not all of them are fake and bad, it is always wise not to follow the trend blindly. Do your homework well before you try out those eye-catching products.

There are many controversies surrounding Functional Foods. Some food companies may claim their products are enriched with these foods while there is little or no evidence to support their claims in many cases. Nonetheless, there is a growing interest in people for these Functional Foods, and this increasing interest will prompt continued research and development in the field of Functional Foods.

Takeaway

What I would like to add as the bottom line is that, when in doubt, stick with nature. Always do remember that nature has provided us with an abundance of these foods by means of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and the likes. Whatever the future of Functional Foods may bring, one can never go wrong sticking with the basics, right?

I hope this post has shed some light on what Functional Foods are and what role do they play in our diet.

If you have something on your mind that you would like me to shine some light upon, I will be happy to do so. Please do mention in the comments below what you want me to write on in my next post. I will see you soon with yet another interesting post. Until then, bbye and take care. Eat healthy, stay healthy!

Here’s Dr Apoorva, signing out for today.

References-

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/functional-foods/faq-20057816

https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/functional-foods

‘Foods That Harm Foods That Heal’ by Reader’s Digest

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15 Best Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep!

Hey everyone. Welcome once again to heal thy self. Are you troubled by a disturbed sleep? Do you feel you are unable to get a good night’s sleep? Are you waking up grumpy, exhausted and irritable in the mornings? Not to mention the headaches immediately after waking up? Then you must be getting an insufficient or a restless sleep in the night. Do you wish to end this now? Read on to know the 15 best tips to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleepless nights have become a common occurrence these days. The reasons vary greatly. Be it the nature of your job, health problems, stress, depression, anxiety or any other mental and physical issue. The sleepless nights that you endure leave you the next morning with a feeling of irritability, exhaustion and confusion. Here are some great tips to get a good night’s sleep hereafter

1.Keeping a track helps

Keep notes of your everyday wake up and bed-time. Also, jot down what might be the reason for your irregular and disturbed sleep for each day. Make a note of times when you take naps, exercise and drink caffeinated beverages. Maintaining a sleep log like this can help identify the behavior or activities that might be the reason for your sleepless nights

2.Rev up

Exercising late in the afternoon may help you fall asleep. However, avoid exercising within 2-3 hours of bedtime, as it might cause further sleeping problems

3.Daytime nap

Do not indulge in a long daytime nap. It may mess with your ability to fall asleep at night

4.Eat it right

Eating a heavy meal nearing bedtime can cause trouble with digestion and may hamper your sleep. Eat at regular intervals during the day and have a light meal before bedtime

5.No-coffee, please!

After you are done with your lunch, try to avoid coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Caffeine interferes with your ability to fall asleep.

6.No-smoking too!

Try to quit smoking. It can cause all possible health hazards that you can think of. Unable to quit smoking? Limit it beyond evening and don’t smoke before bedtime altogether.

7.TV and cell phones??

Well, avoid all mental stimulation when you are nearing bedtime. It includes watching TV or working on your cell phone or even laptops.

8.Create a sleep schedule

Waking and going to sleep around the same time each day can kind of set up your inner clock. Create a routine for each day and follow it to make your body identify its own clock

9.Creating a bedtime ritual

Taking a warm, relaxing bath, a few minutes of reading before bed, listening to soothing music, meditation etc. ca help you unwind completely and fall asleep better. Try out these and see which one works the best for you

10.Keep it hushed…

Keeping your room dark and quiet can help in falling asleep better. Mask the outside noise with some inside noise or white noise like a humming of a fan or a soothing music on tape

11.Its meant for sleeping..

Your bedroom is meant for sleeping. Don’t use it for other activities like watching tv or working

12.Clothing matters too

Wear bedtime clothing that is breathable, loose and comfortable. Anything too tight or clingy or non-breathable can make you too uncomfortable to sleep

13.Don’t worry your pretty head at bedtime

If worries or problems is what is keeping you awake at nights, make place for them at some other time during the day. You can devote half an hour after dinner to write down your worries or problems and their possible solutions on a paper and deal with them during sensible hours. Worrying before bedtime wont solve a thing and will only give you sleepless nights, which, in itself can become a worry later.

14.Get up, you gotta go!

If you feel you are unable to sleep even after trying for 15 minutes, give it a break. Get up and go to another room, read a book, listen to music, until you feel sleepy again. Staying put in the bed and fretting about being unable to sleep will only worsen your troubles

15.A sleep promoter won’t harm

Milk and honey is considered to be a great sleep promoter since ancient times. Have some warm milk with a dash of honey before bedtime. Following this regularly will improve your sleep. Just a thing to remember, never mix honey with something too hot. It destroys I’s beneficial properties and may even cause harm. Make sure the milk is lukewarm or warm.

I am sure these tips will help you improve your sleeping habits and make you fall asleep like a baby! A good night’s sleep is extremely essential when it comes to your overall health and well-being. If you are facing trouble while falling asleep, don’t ignore it for too long. Stop it right in its tracks and wake up to a refreshed morning!

I will see you soon with yet another interesting topic.

If you want me to write on a specific topic, suggestions are all welcome. Until then, bbye, take care! Here is Dr Apoorva, signing out for today…

How I Ended A Long-standing Battle With My Kids About Their Lunch Boxes!

Hey everyone! Glad to see you all once again. As usual, I have been absconding from the scene for quite some time now. And I know, you all must be so tired of forgiving me. However, I would still like to say I am sorry and try to be as regular as I possibly can. That said, let us get to our topic today, which would tell you how I ended a long-standing battle with my kids about their lunch boxes!

I am sure, if you are reading this, you have endured the pain of seeing your kid’s lunch box coming back home- full and untouched. Dearies, I guess this happens to all of us at some or the other point in life. Trust me, I was there too. It was just sssooo annoying to see that box being brought back to home exactly in the same condition as I sent it to school. More than annoyance was the pain of thinking that my kid was almost on no food the whole day, in spite of her box being full! It kept happening for quite some time, until i felt, that was that, and I decided to do something about it.

I sat my kid down one day and asked her, “Why is it that you don’t finish your lunch box? It’s been so many days that you haven’t even touched the food in your box and you seem to be eating fine at home? Is there a problem?” And her reply was so dramatic! She said, “Mom, I was expecting that you would give me this(some other thing than that was given) in box. I opened the box and when I didn’t see that, I was so disappointed!”

There you go. So, it turned out that I was making a big mistake by not asking my child what she would like in her lunch box and giving her food just because I thought she would like it or she should eat it, what with healthy stuff and all! That night, I sat down with both my kids and asked them what all their favorite foods were. Of course, they didn’t remember all the dishes by their names. However, they could relate to most of them when I described the dishes. They could identify some, like banana balls, pancakes etc.

After our list was done, I sorted it into two categories- snacks and lunch. My girls take two boxes to school- a snack box and a lunch box. I divided the dishes accordingly and then made a meal prep chart according to the dishes. I paired some snacks and lunch recipes and noted them on a piece of paper. I stuck this paper on the fridge. Now here comes the tricky part. It’s obvious that my daughters wouldn’t both want the exact same thing. Naturally, there was a war deciding whose choice it would be. It was becoming difficult to get them to make a settlement. So, I decided, for one whole week one of my girls would have her choice for breakfast and the other one would have it for lunch. The next week, we would just rotate it around. That way, they both get to carry their choices to school.

I have this magnetic board, which I attach to the fridge. It helps me a lot in this task. Every night, I or my elder one write down the meal plan for the next day according to their choices. I add in the dinner menu along with that, make the meal prep accordingly and am good to go for the next day!

Many of you must be thinking that I can make the meal prep and planning for the whole week. Then why take the trouble to do it each day separately? Well, that’s because my girls are very small. And though they may seem okay with the meal plan for the whole week while we are writing it, they may not actually want to eat a particular dish three days later as per the plan and the whole point of doing this exercise would be a waste. It’s better that I ask them each night what they would like to have the next day and plan accordingly.

I know, the options that they have chosen may not be entirely healthy ones always, but I have made sure that they are at least partly healthy. Also, I would rather have them eat something that they like than have them stay hungry throughout the day and get cranky by the time they get back. I have ample chances to feed them the healthy stuff at dinner, on weekends and each morning before they leave for school.

So far, this thing is working like a charm. In fact, they are pretty excited to write their choices on the board each night and I am saved the trouble of thinking each morning what to cook for them! Not to mention, the box comes home empty almost everyday!

Oh, and one more thing. In case their choice is a complete junk, I make sure to add some healthy stuff like cut fruits or salad veggies, to balance it out.

I hope this helps you to get some ideas as to how you can plan your kids’ meal times, especially for school days and you are treated to an empty lunch box when your kids come back home!

I will see you soon with yet another interesting topic. Until then, take care, bbye. Here’s Dr. Apoorva, signing out for today!