Ten ‘can’t-do-without’ diet facts.
You’re always on the go, grabbing whatever you can on the move. Flagging energy levels, heartburn, irritability and too-tight-for-comfort waist bands have become a way of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s never too late to clean up your act and start eating healthier.
And no, that doesn’t mean subsisting on lettuce and cucumbers. Eating nutritious, high energy foods can revive your zest for life and give you the physique of your dreams. But where do your start? Here’s a list of ten high energy foods just bursting with all the nutrients you need to work hard and play even harder.
No, it’s not for sissies. Eating a bowl of rolled oats can spike energy levels and gives your hours of satiety. Plus, it’s choc-a-bloc with stress fighting and immunity-boosting zinc and heart friendly, cholesterol fighters that keep your blood LDL levels under control. Spice things up with a hint of cinnamon, a chopped banana and a sprinkling of almonds.
The lowly dahi has all the benefits of milk plus active ‘good bacteria’ cultures to keep your digestion in good shape. In fact studies show that people who eat yoghurt catch fewer colds than those who don’t. It also has a whopping amount of calcium for healthy bones and makes for a good end-of-meal dessert substitute. Aim for three servings a day, preferably the low-fat variety.
Whole wheat bread
Give white bread, pasta and naans a miss. Not only are they devoid of fiber and protein, they cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels, over-taxing your pancreas. Instead have one to two slices of whole wheat bread or two chapattis with every meal. The complex carbs in whole grains are packed with nutrients, keep you full and give you much needed energy.
If you don’t know about this exotic, multi-faceted whole grain from the Andes Mountains, it’s time to make your acquaintance. The only vegetarian food that is a complete protein, it’s a heaven sent for vegetarians who are typically deficient in vitamin B12. It also packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. Make a pulao with it, substitute it for rice or add it to soups.
Popeye knew what he was doing! Get your fix of this fiber, calcium, vitamin A and iron-rich leafy green for great vision, a healthy immune system and blood count. A versatile veggie, add it to soups, omelets, salad and even stuffed parathas.
Often reserved to as ‘love apples’ tomatoes pack a punch, especially for men because they have the highest levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps men fight off many diseases including prostrate cancer. Strangely, cooked tomatoes have higher levels of absorbable lycopene. Add it to salads, have a bowl of steaming tomato soup or just add it to curries for your daily fix.
Lentil and beans are incredibly high fiber, rich in complex carbs and packed with protein minus the saturated fat. In fact, the perfect food for vegetarians. Eat a bowlful of bean salad—like rajma, channa or chauli—and you won’t be tempted to look at a samosa or cutlet again. Don’t like eating salad? Have it as a bhaji or curry with brown rice for maximum benefit.
Forget barbecued ribs, sausages, fried fish and chicken nuggets. One of the best sources of healthy animal protein is skinless chicken and turkey breast. Rich in B vitamins, selenium, zinc and amino acids, with practically no saturated fat, this should be your meat of choice whenever you want to sink your teeth into something juicy. Have it grilled, roasted, in a tomato based gravy, soup or tossed with vegetables.
If the thought of chicken doesn’t appeal to you, stick with eggs. You can have as many as three egg whites a day. Each egg contains a heavy-hitting four grams of pure muscle-building amino acids along with some of the highest naturally available doses of choline, a memory enhancing vitamin. A versatile food, it can work as the main attraction at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think scrambled eggs or bhurji, boiled egg sandwiches and egg curry.
Rich in protein, fiber and vitamin E, almonds are an excellent snack food that does wonders for your heart, digestive system and skin.
It’s a misnomer that nuts have cholesterol. Sure, they contain fat but it’s the healthy unsaturated variety that actually lowers your ‘bad’ cholesterol and ups your good HDL levels. Studies at the Loma Linda University in California deduced that men who ate nuts on a regular basis to their diets showed no weight gain. Starting today, keep a Ziploc bag with lightly roasted almonds and pistachios in your office drawer to snack on each time you want to reach for a bhajiya.