Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee may wake you up and keep you focused, but don't overdo it on the caffeine — it may trigger migraines or IBS in people who are sensitive.

Caffeine is a natural chemical that activates the central nervous system, which means that it revs up nerves and thought processes. Regular caffeine consumption, from coffee and/or tea, has been shown to increase short-term focus and alertness, as well as long-term memory. Although most people enjoy caffeine’s “revved up” effect, some people are caffeine-sensitive and are left feeling jittery or ill after ingesting a dose. If you fall into the second group, you’ll want to eliminate caffeinated beverages or adjust your intake to match your personal tolerance. Those with sleeping problems or insomnia may need to stop drinking caffeinated beverages up to eight hours before bedtime (or omit entirely).

Additionally, caffeinated beverages can sometimes trigger migraine headaches in people who are sensitive. And IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS become symptomatic after ingesting caffeinated coffee or tea.

Caffeine may also have some adverse effects on women just before their menstrual cycles. Some research suggests that the effects of caffeine become magnified for women when they are premenstrual. Caffeine may exacerbate PMS symptoms and cause greater breast tenderness, nervousness, and irritability. If this is true for you, switch to herbal teas or decaffeinated beverages at this time in your cycle.

Joy Bauer

Friday, 13 November 2015

Myths and facts about diabetes and diet

MYTH: You must avoid sugar at all costs.
 The good news is that you can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly and limit those hidden sugars in many packaged foods. Dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan or combined with exercise.

MYTH: A high-protein diet is best.
Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.

MYTH: You have to cut way down on carbs.
Again, the key is to eat a balanced diet. The serving size and the type of carbohydrates you eat are especially important. Focus on whole grain carbs since they are a good source of fiber and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.

MYTH: You’ll no longer be able to eat normally. You need special diabetic meals.
Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the same—whether or not you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit. You can easily eat with your family and friends if you eat in moderation.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Watermelon-Grape Kebabs

These kebabs are sweet, scrumptious and perfect for adults and kids. Plus, they take a while to eat so you can savor the flavor.


- 1 cup watermelon cubes
- 1 cup grapes


Skewer watermelon cubes and grapes, alternating between the two. Place in freezer for about an hour, then enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


It is important to keep in mind that an avocado can contain as many as 400 calories, whilst a Mars bar has 230 calories. Obviously an avocado has far more health benefits and it includes monosaturated fatty acids that are more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat. Yet if you are on a calorie-controlled diet, you must be sure to eat certain super foods, like an avocado, in moderation. It is best to limit yourself to one-quarter to one-half an avocado per day. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Prepare Heart-Healthy Foods for Your Family

The keys to heart health are eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, replacing solid fats with healthy oils and including more foods high in fiber. Eating a well-balanced diet includes a combination of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.

Saturated fats and trans fats are found in fatty meat, full-fat dairy products, baked goods and many processed foods. Both types of fat raise you LDL — or "bad" — cholesterol level. Instead, eat more plant proteins such as beans and peas, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy foods. Start cooking with oils which are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

To add more fiber to your meals, switch refined grains, such as white rice or bread, with whole-grain options such as brown rice and whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta.
Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up some of these heart-healthy items:
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned without added salt or sugar)
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta, brown rice, barley
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts

Move It

Another way to reduce your risk of heart disease is to be active. Regular, moderate physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Be physically active in your own way, and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week. Encourage your family to take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.

For more heart-healthy cooking tips and information on reducing your risk for heart disease, consult a registered dietitian.

Source: eatright

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Recipe for Stir Fried Beans & Minced Meat in Coconut Cream By IQFoodPlatter

1 cup boiled brown Beans
2 cups Minced Meat
1/2 cup sweet Corn
1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
1/4 cup green Peas
1 cup Coconut cream
1 medium size Onion, chopped
1 clove minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced Ginger
Yellow Cameroun pepper or Scotch Bonnet Pepper to taste
2 cooking spoons Vegetable Oil
Seasoning cube to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 cup fried ripe plantain

  1. Boil the beans till soft but not mushy and set aside.
  2. Season minced meat with seasoning cube, garlic, ginger, pepper and salt and allow to marinade for about 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil fry the onion, add the minced meat and stir fry ensuring that you separate the meat chunks whilst frying. Reduce heat add a little water cover the pan and cook meat till water dry pies up.
  4. When meat is cooked, add the beans, peas, sweet corn and peppers and stir fry. Taste and correct seasoning and hot peppers.
  5. Add the coconut milk and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Lastly, add the fried plantain stir into the dish. There you have your Stir Fried Beans & Minced Meat in Coconut cream.
Stir Fried Beans Minced Meat (1)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Shrimp Filled Oat Dumpling in Coconut Curry Sauce By IQFoodPlatter

1 cup Oat flour
2 pieces Shrimp
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon tomato purée
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Ginger strips
1/2 teaspoon Curry powder
2 large Carrots, chopped
1/4 cup green Peas
1/2 Onion
Scotch Bonnet Pepper to taste
Chicken seasoning cubes to taste

  1. Heat a frying pan and dry roast the oat flour for about 6 minutes until you start to smell roasted cereal. To get your oat flour simply blend breakfast oat in the dry ingredient part of the blender or buy the regular oat meal flour.
  2. Let the flour cool.
  3. In the meantime dress shrimps and chop into small pieces.
  4. Fry the onion, garlic and a little pepper tomato puree and salt for about 3 minutes stirring through. Add a little water and cook the sauce till almost dry. Add the shrimps, lower the heat and cook till shrimps are cooked through. Take off the heat and set aside to cool
  5. Add a little salt to flour and mix water with the flour to form a firm dough
  6. Place the dough in a zip lock bag or and clean cellophane bag and roll out with a rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes. Place some quantity of shrimp sauce on the oat dough, cover with same shape of dough and seal edges by pressing with a fork or your hands.
  7. Place coconut milk on fire. See how to make coconut milk in an earlier post. Add onion, ginger strips, pepper and chicken seasoning cube and salt to taste. Bring the milk to boil for about 3 minutes, add the curry powder, stir and drop the Oat parcels in the coconut milk. To cook on low heat for about 5mins. Add the carrots and peas half way through the cooking of the oats.
  8. Serve the Oat dumpling warm.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Best source of vitamins? Your plate, not your medicine cabinet

Vitamin and mineral supplements from a bottle simply can't match all the biologically active compounds teeming in a well-stocked pantry.
By focusing on the big picture, it's easy to get plenty of the vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients you need to keep you healthy and prevent disease. Here are some tips.
Fiber. It's the part of plant foods that we can't digest. Eating foods high in fiber helps reduce total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and prevent constipation. High-fiber foods also help with weight loss by making you feel full.
There are lots of high-fiber foods to choose from:
  • brown rice
  • bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • barley
  • oats
  • nuts
  • beans and lentils
  • apples
  • blueberries
  • carrots
Vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are organic substances found in plants and animals. Minerals are inorganic elements from the earth (soil and water). Both are essential for normal growth and optimal health.
Here's a list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for good health, plus the best food sources of each:
  • iron — meat, poultry, fish, and beans
  • vitamin A — carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale
  • vitamin B12 — meat, poultry, fish
  • vitamin E — nuts, seeds, vegetable oils
Phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemicals made by plants. They are not essential to life, but they do have a positive effect on health. Diets rich in phytochemicals have been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. They are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.
The following is a list of key phytochemicals, plus the best food sources of each.
  • flavonoids — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
  • carotenoids — orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash
  • lycopene — tomatoes
  • isoflavones — soy foods, such as soybeans (or edamame)
  • resveratrol — red grapes
  • catechins — teas
Be creative
Adding finely grated carrots or zucchini to pasta sauce, meat loaf, chili, or a stew is one way to get an extra serving of vegetables. Dip vegetables into hummus or another bean spread, some spiced yogurt, or even a bit of ranch dressing. Slather peanut butter on a banana or slices of apple. Try mashed avocado as a dip with diced tomatoes and onions, or as a sandwich spread, topped with spinach leaves, tomatoes, and a slice of cheese.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Ginger is most definitely the underdog of all spices! It is highly regarded for its therapeutic medicinal properties in healing nausea symptoms, digestive issues and gastrointestinal distress. It naturally contains anti-inflammatory compounds, and can also inhibit the growth of particular cancer cells. It is a staple flavor for a number of cuisines, it's a great addition to vegetable juices and most importantly, it is impossible to make a good chai recipe without it!

To see how awesome Ginger truly is try our simple yet powerful Anti-inflammatory Ginger Smoothie:


  • 1 frozen banana, 
  • 1 inch ginger, grated 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 cup coconut milk
What To Do:
  1. Blend all ingredients together
  2. Serve

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

5 Weight-Loss Secrets from the Mayo Clinic Diet

Quit yo-yo dieting for good with these foolproof tips from the experts at the Mayo Clinic.

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You commit to losing weight, start a diet, drop some pounds — and then regain them as soon as you go off the program. If you’re stuck in a cycle of losing and regaining the same 10 (or 15 or 30!) pounds, you’re not alone. Many people fall into this pattern because, let’s face it, it’s impossible to stay on a “diet” forever. That’s why the health experts at Mayo Clinic designed the Mayo Clinic Diet, which is less of a traditional “diet” and more of a healthy lifestyle change. The aim of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to help you lose weight and find a “diet” (as in way of life) that you can enjoy forever. The program was created to arm you with the healthy habits you need to reach your weight-loss goals. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, try these five tips backed by Mayo Clinic experts.

1. Never Eat While You Watch TV

You get home from work, make dinner, and watch a few episodes of Game of Thrones while you enjoy your meal. Sounds harmless enough, but according to Mayo Clinic experts, this could cause you to gain weight. One reason: Since you aren’t moving, there’s a good chance you’re sipping or nibbling on something without thinking about how much you’re eating. That’s why they recommend establishing a rule of no TV or “screen time” (that includes smartphones, tablets and computers!) while eating. You’ll focus on your food more and be less likely to overeat. Another rule they recommend: Only spend as much time watching TV as you do exercising. In other words, if you go for a 30-minute walk, you can have half an hour of TV time. This will help get you off the couch and moving more.

2. Eat “Real Food” Most of the Time

Chances are, you’ve heard the buzz surrounding the movement to eat more whole foods. And Mayo Clinic experts agree: Eating “real food” (or food that’s closest to its natural state) is healthier for you and your family. “Real food,” which includes fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, is packed with nutrients. Processed foods, on the other hand, have fewer healthy nutrients and can be loaded with added fat, sugar, calories, and salt. Processed foods include many boxed, frozen and fast foods. Mayo Clinic experts recommend limiting processed foods and filling your diet with as many fresh foods as possible. “I was very pleasantly surprised to learn how to cook healthy foods and realize that adding spices to flavor healthier foods helps them satisfy me more than the sugar- and carb-loaded diet I used to crave,” says Jan, a 55-year-old who lost 81 pounds on the Mayo Clinic Diet. If you do use prepared food products, choose items with the fewest number of ingredients and check the Nutrition Facts label to make sure the product isn’t loaded with excess sugar, salt, fat, and calories.

3. Set Realistic Goals You Can Commit to Right Now

When most people start a weight-loss program, they set what Mayo Clinic experts call “outcome goals”: those that focus on an end result like “I want to weigh 125 pounds” or “I want to lose 30 pounds.” While these kinds of goals can be helpful, they’re not as effective as “performance goals," or those that focus on a process or action such as “I will walk 30 minutes each day” or “I will eat four servings of vegetables each day.” When it comes to weight loss, performance goals are crucial because they provide the steps necessary to achieve your outcome goal. As you set your weight-loss goal (say, dropping 10 pounds), think about what actions will get you there and write them down in a notebook. Whether it’s “eat breakfast every morning” or “take the stairs instead of the elevator,” performance goals like these will help set you up for diet success. “As you learn more about what works for you, and as you start seeing progress, you’ll have even more motivation to set goals that both challenge you and fit realistically with your unique life,” notes Kristin Vickers Douglas, PhD, a professor and clinical health psychologist at the Mayo Clinic.

4. Stop Dining Out So Much

Eating out is convenient (and delicious!), but it’s also associated with weight gain. The sights and smells at a restaurant, deli counter, bakery, or food court may entice you to purchase high-calorie menu items (sometimes when you’re not even hungry!). That’s why Mayo Clinic experts suggest that you avoid dining at restaurants while you’re trying to lose weight. It may sound daunting at first, but with some smart planning, you really can eat more meals from home. An easy way to get started is to plan all your meals for the week (including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks) on Sunday or whatever day works best for you. Strategizing your meals by week (rather than day by day) is more efficient and will help keep you on track.

“Your ability to control portions and plan meals will make or break your weight-loss efforts,” says Sara Wolf, RD, manager of clinical dietetics at Mayo Clinic. Cook recipes that yield more than one portion so you’ll have leftovers to eat for lunch, and prep healthy snacks in advance — slice fruits and veggies and parcel out portions of nuts, popcorn, and other healthy bites. That way, you’ll have something healthy to reach for the next time a snack attack hits. When you do eat out, make healthier choices: Pick broth-based or tomato-based soups instead of creamed soups and chowders, choose entrees that feature vegetables or fish, and try to skip dessert (if you just can’t resist, choose a fruit-based treat).

5. Engage in More Activity, More Often

You already know that exercise is crucial when it comes to losing weight. But what kind of workout is best for you? According to Mayo Clinic experts, the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do — and it doesn’t have to involve long hours at the gym. Any activity is good activity: Walking to the store, weeding the garden, and cleaning the house all count. “I started doing squats while waiting for my dogs to eat and taking the stairs instead of the elevator,” says Hilary, a 40-year-old who lost 77 pounds. In fact, some activities you already love may burn more calories than you think. For example, just one hour of leisurely biking burns 292 calories and one hour of dancing burns 219 calories (both are based on a 160-pound person). Make it your mission to do whatever you can to simply get moving daily — it truly does add up!

Source: EverydayHealth

Friday, 9 October 2015

Foods that fight inflammation

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator.
Your immune system attacks anything in your body that it recognizes as foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. The process is called inflammation. Intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health.

However, sometimes inflammation persists, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Choose the right foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.

Foods that inflame

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

Inflammation-promoting foods

Not surprisingly, the same foods that contribute to inflammation are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.
Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation,” Dr. Hu says. “It’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”

Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. Yet in several studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the link between foods and inflammation remained, which suggests weight gain isn’t the sole driver. “Some of the food components or ingredients may have independent effects on inflammation over and above increased caloric intake,” Dr. Hu says.

Foods that combat inflammation

Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

Anti-inflammation foods

On the flip side are foods and beverages that have been found to reduce the risk of inflammation, and with it, chronic disease, says Dr. Hu. He notes in particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
Studies have also associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well.

Anti-inflammatory eating

To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. “A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr. Hu says.      

Source: HealthHarvard

Friday, 2 October 2015

5 ways exercise improves your quality of life

Exercise not only helps you live longer — it helps you live better. In addition to making your heart and muscles stronger and fending off a host of diseases, it can also improve your mental and emotional functioning and even bolster your productivity and close relationships. Read on for five ways in which exercise can improve your quality of life.

1. Wards off depression: While a few laps around the block can't solve serious emotional difficulties, researchers know there is a strong link between regular exercise and improved mood. Aerobic exercise prompts the release of mood-lifting hormones, which relieve stress and promote a sense of well-being. In addition, the rhythmic muscle contractions that take place in almost all types of exercise can increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which combats negative feelings.

 What can improve your mood, boost your ability to fend off infection, and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer? The answer is regular exercise. It may seem too good to be true, but it's not. Hundreds of studies demonstrate that exercise helps you feel better and live longer. This report answers many important questions about physical activity. It will also help guide you through starting and maintaining an exercise program that suits your abilities and lifestyle.

2. Enhances sex life: Both libido and performance benefit from moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise. The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that men who exercised 30 minutes a day were 41% less likely than sedentary men to experience erectile dysfunction. Exercise helps women, too: in one study, 20 minutes of cycling boosted women's sexual arousal by 169 percent.

3. Sharpens wits: Physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain, which may help maintain brain function. It also promotes good lung function, a characteristic of people whose memories and mental acuity remain strong as they age. While all types of physical activity help keep your mind sharp, many studies have shown that aerobic exercise, in particular, successfully improves cognitive function.

4. Improves sleep: Regular aerobic exercise provides three important sleep benefits: it helps you fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep, and awaken less during the night. In fact, exercise is the only known way for healthy adults to boost the amount of deep sleep they get — and deep sleep is essential for your body to renew and repair itself.

5. Protects mobility and vitality: Regular exercise can slow the natural decline in physical performance that occurs as you age. By staying active, older adults can actually keep their cardiovascular fitness, metabolism, and muscle function in line with those of much younger people. And many studies have shown that people who were more active at midlife were able to preserve their mobility — and therefore, their independence — as they aged.

To attain all the effects listed above, aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week.