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Our digestive system is ready to digest a variety of food at the same meal, and that includes our salad, main dish and fruit! Actually, having a piece of fruit after a meal has many benefits; first it acts as a sweet treat for people with a sweet tooth, so rather than having dessert, eating a piece of fruit is a more nutritious option that’s also lower in calories! Second, if you are having an iron-rich vegetarian dish like spinach stew, mloukhieh or lentils, having a vitamin C-rich fruit such as orange, melon or strawberries directly after your meal will help in the absorption of iron from the dish, making it easier for you to meet your needs of this important nutrient that helps prevent iron-deficiency anemia.In case you feel really full after your meal, then keep your fruits as a delicious and healthy afternoon snack. It’s really up to you as long as you have 2-3 servings every day.
It’s easy to link excess sugar intake to developing type 2 diabetes, but having too much sweets is not a direct cause. Being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and having a family history of diabetes are the main causes for developing type 2 diabetes. So in case you have it in your family, you may want to be more careful with your diet and lifestyle.
Comparing teaspoon to teaspoon, it has the same amount of simple sugars and calories!The main difference is the degree of sweetness; honey is sweeter than white sugar so you may need a smaller amount to sweeten your coffee or warm drink.Honey may also be known for its content of antioxidants and some vitamins, which are available in small amounts and will not contribute significantly to your vitamin and mineral needs. As honey contains simple sugars, it should be consumed in small amounts in our diet. Instead to get your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you need to rely on fruits and vegetables.
Frozen vegetables can have the same or sometimes more vitamins than fresh vegetables, so in other words, they don’t lose their vitamins! How? Frozen vegetables are frozen at their freshest, which helps maintain and preserve their vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, fresh vegetables spend more time in transport and on shelf in grocery stores, which exposes them to light and air, all of which leads to vitamin and mineral loss. Conclusion: fresh vegetables are best consumed as soon as possible after harvesting, if you have limited availability for fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables are your best option.
Having breakfast actually helps wake up your body and kick-start your metabolism! Feeling hungry early on in the day depends on the type of breakfast you had. If your breakfast includes a good source of fiber such as whole-grain cereals or whole-wheat bread, then you’ll probably feel fuller for longer. Keep in mind though that it’s normal to feel hungry after 3 to 4 hours from having breakfast and here comes the importance of having a healthy snack to sustain you till lunch time.On the other hand, if you skip breakfast, your body will feel hungry without you knowing it, and by midmorning, you’ll tend to reach for anything near, which will probably be an unhealthy snack. And if you make it till lunch time, you’ll probably over-eat and have a larger portion than you should.The best solution is having a healthy breakfast that helps you feel satiated, such as a glass of low fat milk with whole-grain cereals and a piece of fruit or a glass of low fat milk with a whole-grain cheese sandwich and vegetables.
Put your mind to rest; you can still enjoy your morning cuppa! Recent research supports moderate consumption of caffeine-containing drinks in pregnant women and that’s equivalent to 2 cups of coffee per day. In case you were used to drinking more coffee before your pregnancy, do not exceed 2 cups per day, and if you want more, opt for decaffeinated coffee. For more inquiries and concerns, it is always advisable to consult your doctor.
Yes you can treat yourself to your favorite dessert and indulge in moderation, as long as it’s a small portion and you account for it in your meal plan.Remember that ignoring your craving for desserts may lead to feelings of deprivation which will make you crave more sweets and over-eat, which means more calories, fats and sugars!So eat your sweets in moderation; you can have that small piece of chocolate once in a while. Or better yet look for low fat options of desserts, such as a light sponge cake or low fat yogurt ice-cream or sorbet… and enjoy it!
Some studies have suggested that the red variety of grapefruit helps lower blood cholesterol level, but it’s not a miracle food, and consumed alone is not sufficient to lower cholesterol or protect against heart disease. In fact all colored fruits, which also include citrus fruits, are rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, all of which help protect against heart disease.On another note, if you eat grapefruit and you are taking cholesterol-lowering medication, it’s very important to check with your doctor about the grapefruit’s effect on your drug. Grapefruit may interact with certain medications and can cause levels of medicine to rise in the body and lead to serious side effects.
It’s a popular misconception! Although the amount of calcium in urine increases slightly after drinking coffee, the net effect on calcium levels in the body is negligible. This is because calcium excretion from the body decreases later during the day. Recent evidence has shown that drinking coffee in moderation has no negative effect on bone health! And of course, strong healthy bones are a result of adequate calcium and vitamin D intake as well as regular weight- bearing exercise.
Come to think of it, if preparing your coffee with milk will encourage you to drink your glass of milk, then it actually helps you meet your calcium needs for healthier bones.
As the name indicates, supplements are meant to be a supplement to your diet rather than a replacement for the food. Remember that absorption of vitamins and minerals in your body is higher from foods as compared to tablets. Actually if your diet is balanced and varied, i.e contains adequate amounts of foods from all the food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat and legumes) then you may not need supplements at all. This is excluding any special cases of deficiency or medical indications such as in pregnancy, breastfeeding or certain disease conditions.
Carbohydrates have always been associated with weight gain or prevention of weight loss! This is completely untrue! Carbohydrates are an essential part of each diet! In fact it’s recommended that 50-55% of the total calories consumed each day should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrate sources such as pasta, bread, rice and potatoes provide you with energy for your daily activities. Without enough carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes down and you may start feeling tired and dizzy and having headaches. On the other hand, if you eat more than your body needs, the excess calories will be stored and you’ll gain weight. So moderation is key.Note that carbohydrates are not created equal and it’s the type of carbohydrates which makes a difference in your weight loss diet and your overall health. Choosing whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, burghul, brown pasta and brown rice, is recommended most of the time, because they are rich in fiber which helps you feel fuller for longer, and they are more nutritious than their white counterparts as they are a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Although usually portrayed as the richest source of iron spinach is actually a good source but not the best source. When compared with red meat, it contains almost the same amount: 100g of spinach contains 2.7 mg of iron versus 2.6 mg found in 100g of meat. But the difference is that iron from animal foods is has a higher absorption in the body than the iron from plant/vegetables sources. So spinach contains a good amount of iron however in a form less available for absorption than iron which is present in meat. The good news is that you can enhance iron absorption from spinach and other green leafy vegetables by eating a vitamin-C rich food with you meal, such as oranges, melons, strawberries, tomatoes or bell pepper.
While a lot of people believe coffee to have a diuretic effect because of its caffeine content, all recent scientific studies agree that moderate coffee consumption of 3 to 4 cups per day is actually no more diuretic than water. In fact, it is now increasingly being acknowledged that when coffee is consumed in moderation, it can be an important source of fluid in the diet: 1 cup of coffee that contains approximately 150 ml of water corresponds to 10% of typical recommended daily fluid intake from beverages. The recommendation however remains to drink 8 glasses of pure water daily.
Consuming enough calcium in your diet is the first step to attaining and maintaining healthy bones. But it’s not enough! You need vitamin D, to help your body absorb calcium, in addition to several other nutrients, such as vitamin C, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and proteins, which help deposit calcium into your bones and make them stronger and healthier.How do you manage to get all these bone-building nutrients? A balanced diet that includes 3 servings of milk and dairy, as well as a variety of foods from the other food groups; (grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and legumes and healthy fats). As for vitamin D, you can get it through casual exposure to sunlight for around 15 minutes 3 times per week or by drinking vitamin-D fortified milk.
Low fat dairy contains all the nutrients found in full fat dairy except for the fat! When fat is reduced or completely removed from milk, laban/yogurt, labneh and cheese, the essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, proteins, vitamin A and B-vitamins in these products remains the same, only fat content is affected.In fact it’s beneficial for heart health and overall health to choose low fat or skimmed milk and dairy. Why? Because the type of fat in full fat dairy is saturated fat “unhealthy fat” which can increase LDL “bad” cholesterol in the blood.Not only that, low-fat dairy contains less calories and thus helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Popcorn is made of puffed corn kernels and corn is actually a whole grain which carries all the benefits of whole grains: rich in fiber for a healthy digestive system and a good source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all beneficial to health!Moreover, it’s low in calories; 3 cups of air popped popcorn contain only 80 calories making it a perfect snack for you and your family! Just make sure you air-pop the popcorn or prepare them using only 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable oil for the whole-pack. Make sure you avoid extra calories and fat in buttered popcorn or popcorn coated with cheese or caramel!
Egg yolks are considered high in cholesterol, but the cholesterol from eggs does not automatically raise blood cholesterol! How so? When we eat a high cholesterol-containing food, the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver which also down-regulates its production of cholesterol. Yet, if a person has a risk for heart disease, it is still recommended to limit cholesterol intake and the number of eggs consumed to 2-3 per week.Keep in mind that “Saturated fats” found in animal products like butter, ghee, high fat meats and full fat dairy, have a more significant effect on blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol making it a bigger threat to heart health. So choose the low fat versions of dairy and meat and always cook in vegetables oils instead of butter and ghee.
This depends upon the degree of lactose intolerance: Some children may be able to tolerate 1 glass of milk in addition to dairy products and some others tolerate only dairy and not the milk. So it’s recommended to reduce the amount of lactose in the child’s diet depending upon his level of tolerance, knowing that lactose is mainly found in milk and milk products such as ice cream and pudding and to a lesser extent in cheeses, yogurt/laban and labneh.What is important here is the child getting enough calcium through his diet, since milk is considered the richest source of calcium and contributes significantly to children’s daily calcium needs. So even if the child has a mild degree of lactose intolerance, there are some ways to make milk better tolerated in his diet, such as serving milk with other foods, offering him little amounts throughout the day or encouraging him to drink milk flavored with cocoa powder.
It was always thought: white bread is more fattening than brown bread, toasted bread is lower in calories than white bread! However, they contain the same calories per serving!What makes Brown bread or whole-wheat bread better than white bread is the fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients available in the outer layer of the grain. Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system and a stable blood sugar level leading to a feeling of satiety.As for toasted bread, the process of toasting actually only removes the water from the bread and not the nutrients, so it doesn’t affect the calorie content of the piece of bread before toasting.
Exercise and weight loss are almost synonymous, but exercise carries much more benefits than burning calories and boosting metabolism, which is associated with weight loss.Regular Exercise promotes overall wellbeing and helps prevent disease; it helps strengthen the heart muscle, improves blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers blood pressure and enables the body to normalise blood sugar, thereby increasing the ability to fight diabetes. Regular weight-bearing exercise also helps build and maintain strong and healthy bones, which makes it an important factor in preventing osteoporosis.
Chocolate lovers would be delighted to know that chocolate has health benefits! Studies have shown that dark chocolate plays a beneficial role in heart health, helps to protect against cancer and assists in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. It has also been shown to improve mood by boosting Serotonin levels (known as the “happy” hormone) in the brain. Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants (polyphenols) which can help protect body cells from damage and promote good health. And the more cocoa in the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains, and that’s why dark chocolate has more health benefits than regular milk or white chocolate.This good news doesn’t mean you can have an unlimited amount of chocolate! Dark chocolate is still high in fat and calories and should be considered an occasional treat to be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Scientifically speaking, there is no reason why we should avoid eating fish and dairy together. And you can find many recipes that incorporate both together, like baked fish with a cream-based sauce.Just make sure these foods are handled properly and safely before consumption, i.e the fish is fresh and cooked well, and the milk or dairy is consumed before their expiry date. Only in people who are actually allergic to fish or who are lactose intolerant that these foods will not be tolerated.
Probiotics mean the” friendly” bacteria that are naturally found in our digestive system. And yes, this kind of bacteria helps reduce the growth of harmful bacteria keeping the digestive system healthy. Here’s a list of its benefits:• Improves digestion and digestive health• Helps strengthen the immune system• Helps protect from some types of diarrhea (especially after treatment with antibiotics)• Improves the symptoms related to lactose intolerance• Helps in the treatment of eczema in childrenWhich foods contain probiotics? You can find these healthy live cultures in yogurt/laban/zabadi and other dairy foods that are fermented such as aged cheeses, and milks fortified with probiotics.
A common misconception! The rationale behind this statement is that during the initial stages of a weight loss diet you have the fastest weight loss, and if you start exercising, you start building muscle which will add some body weight and reflects on the number you see on the scale. But, that is not true! Exercise is recommended throughout the stages of weight loss as it helps maintain muscle mass, burn calories, and aids weight loss from fat deposits.What happens if you don’t exercise when dieting? You start losing muscle mass so you lose kilos from the wrong place in your body. In addition to that, your metabolism slows down, making it difficult for you to lose weight effectively!
Yes, instant coffee is made from 100% natural coffee and water, and nothing else! Farmers handpick the finest red, ripe coffee beans that are ready to be dried and hulled. After several sorting stages, the beans become ready to be roasted, ground, brewed and finally the liquid coffee is dried to form soluble coffee powder, with absolutely no additives. It’s the selection of beans and the distinctive roasting process that provides its special aroma.
Safe additives and preservative improve the quality, appearance, consistency and taste of the product, and they aren’t bad if added in the food product at a level that’s approved by internationally recognized agencies. Over and above that, some of the additives are natural such as spices, vinegar, salt and vitamin C! Without food additives, our food supply will be limited. Reliable food companies abide by the approved levels of additives and preservatives that are added in their manufactured food products.Very rarely, a person may have food intolerance to a certain additive such as a sensitivity to sulfites or Yellow No 5 coloring additive, and then it’s advisable that he/she avoids eating a food product containing that additive.
Many women think that if they lift light weights, it can make them look muscular and bulky! This is far from the truth! That’s because women’s hormones (estrogen) are different that men’s (testosterone) and no matter how much weight a woman lifts, her muscles will not get bulky. Only professional women bodybuilders or athletes, will gain big muscles because they take various supplements and male hormones. A typical exercise routine consisting of light weight bearing activities will not produce bulky muscles in women.What strength/weight training does is produce stronger and more toned muscles, and can actually help burn body fat, improve posture and prevent osteoporosis.
A glass of water, when sipped slowly during a meal can actually aid digestion rather than cause any bloating! In contrast, other beverages such as carbonated beverages and juices can cause bloating. These beverages actually fill up your stomach and delay the digestion process. Not only that, but they contain a lot of sugar and if consumed in excess can add up extra calories to the meal. Remember that bloating can be caused by overeating and/or eating quickly, so make sure you eat moderate portions slowly and chew your food well.And when you think about a beverage to accompany your meal without feeling the bloat, water is your best choice! It’s calorie-free, thirst-quenching, refreshing and the best drink that hydrates your body.
Everybody is talking about antioxidants these days! They contribute to good health by helping protect body cells from damage of UV rays, pollution, smoking… BUT that doesn’t mean we get them from pills! Antioxidants are widely available in foods and they are better absorbed from food sources as compared to supplements. Food sources of antioxidants include colored fruits and vegetables, berries, whole-grains, nuts and seeds, turkey, seafood and green tea and coffee. So you’ll get plenty from a varied diet.Only in case a person’s intake is not varied enough, he can ask his doctor or dietitian for the proper supplement.
A common misconception! Eating for 2 doesn’t always mean a healthier and bigger baby but can mean greater weight gain for you! So rather than eating a bigger quantity of food, you need to take care of the quality of the food you eat and choose a variety that’s rich in nutrients and contains a moderate amount of calories.It’s not until your second trimester that your calorie needs increase by 300 calories which is equivalent to a low fat labneh or cheese sandwich made with ½ loaf Arabic bread, or a bowl of low fat milk with 40 g of whole-grain cereals. So the quantity doesn’t increase so much that you’re eating for 2!Always remember: moderate quantities of nutritious foods. This way you can make sure your baby is healthy and your weight gain is in the average range of 11-16 kg during your full pregnancy.
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