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Naini Setalvad March 01 , 2015
One does not realise that small things added daily in our food improves our healthy tremendously. Let’s look at certain foods available in India that would be highly beneficial to our well being.

A recent study from the American College of Cardiology has suggested that in the Indian population of heart patients, almost every second patient has high blood pressure, every fourth has diabetes and every fifth had plaque deposits in his/ her arteries.

Omega 3 plays a vital role in improving these health issues. Good sources of  omega 3 are walnuts, oily fish but that’s difficult to do. In your day to day routine , flax seeds and chia  seed to are good sources but add calories and  cannot  replace a snack.  

One of  the  easiest  and  simple  way  to obtain  omega 3  is  to  eat  food  high  in  omega 3  one  can  simply  do  this  in  by eating a handful  walnuts  daily. But  the reason  I  recommend  walnuts they  are  easy  to  carry  and  can  replace  your  evening  snack  unlike  flax seeds  and  chia  seeds  Believe  me  when  I  say  about  a small  handful will keep  you  full for a couple  of  hours cut down  hunger  pangs  prevent  binging  and is  sustainable.

Walnuts - Incorporating walnuts into meals and snacks is a simple, tasty and convenient way to help ensure adequate protein intake, especially among vegetarians. Consuming a diet consisting of plant-based foods can be a healthy way of eating , even for  non  vegetarians it  would  be  great  to  eat  walnuts  as  a  omega 3  source.

One ounce of walnuts provides four gram of protein, as well as two grams of fibre. Found solely in plant foods, fiber helps make you feel full and can control overeating, eating a handful of walnuts tastes great, and is a heart-healthy addition to your diet. More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of all major diseases like cardiovascular, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, asthma and arthritis.

Walnuts differ from other nuts as they are predominantly rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3 fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are a nutrient – rich ‘Super food’ and add value that consumers will recognize and appreciate. Walnuts are one of the few whole foods that contribute many beneficial nutrients to diet. They are a rich source of energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

Choose California walnuts. They are light in colour and have a sweet mild taste that makes savoury sweet and sweet savoury, are  creamier to  taste,   well  priced , which  are  excellent  for breads and also utilised by the hotel industry for baking goods, soups, salads and so on. The mild flavour and soft texture of walnuts makes them a versatile ingredient for flavour profiles in recipes.  They can be very easily be used as a topping in a salad, or as an ingredient in a sauce or in an oatmeal cookie California walnuts raise the customer’s perception of value without substantially raising food costs.

Flax seeds -   Mahatma Gandhi once observed, "Wherever flax seed becomes a regular food item among people, there will be better health." It is a tiny seed but yet so powerful when it comes to health. Flax may be relatively new as a health food but its history is very old. According to archeologists, flax was already being cultivated in Babylon around 5000 BC. A 15th century abbess used flax meal in hot compresses to treat both external and internal ailments. Ten years ago almost every western nutrition book I read, talked about one thing – flax seeds or linseeds (it has two names) and their vital importance for healthy heart functioning. I went all over town trying to find this miraculous seed but in vain. I had to eventually ask a cousin to send it to me from America. My domestic help, fondly called mausi inspected it carefully and wondered why I was being so protective about ‘alsi’. I was as elated as I found this and read more about it that I just love talking about flax seeds. It is unbelievable that it is commonly available

Flax is famously rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, preventing inflammation, thus protecting heart health, Flax seeds are strong antioxidants, thus detoxifying your body, cleansing you The property of omega 3 fatty acid works in flax to act as a powerful anti-ageing agent and prevents degenerative diseases.

It is a wonderful way to lower cholesterol due to its amazing anti-oxidant properties as well as omega 3. Sprinkle it on your salad is what I would recommend to all who came to me to lower their cholesterol. love it as an after dinner mouth freshener mixed with their fennel (saunf).

Oily fish – Adding oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines  in your diet can boost your health tremendously from reducing pain of arthritis, lowering blood pressure since it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish contain 2 types of omega 3 fatty acids:

a. EPA- eicosapentaenoic acid
b. DHA – This is the main component of the human retina, sperm and the brain.

Salmon, either pan fried or grilled and Tuna , in the form of  a spread   can be served for breakfast in hotels.  

Benefits of Omega 3
  1. Improves blood cholesterol, decreases triglyceride.
  2. Prevents heart disease, reduces irregular heartbeat.
  3. Prevents atherosclerosis.
  4. Improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthiritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis Eat Omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods that reduce inflammation.
  5. Reduces depression , can boost memory.
  6. Reduces risk of breast cancer and prostrate cancer
  7. Protection against dementia and alzheimers
  8. Prevents against osteoporosis.
  9. Reduces inflammation , essential to brain.
In fact, not getting enough omega-3 fats is known to change the levels and functioning of both serotonin and dopamine (which plays a role in feelings of pleasure), as well as compromise the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from unwanted matter gaining access.

Those who regularly consume Omega 3 rich foods tend to experience less depressive symptoms. So mix a few spoons of flax seeds in your salads, morning porridge or afternoon cup of curd.  Munch on 5-6 walnuts in between meals to feel a little better.
  • Reduces inflammation in your body
  • Keeps your cells healthy
  • Reduces chances of heart disease
  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Helps manage body’s response to insulin and consequently helps diabetes
  • Helps regulate hunger and consequently obesity
  • Protects you against cancer
  • Helps brain development and functioning
Bernard Shaw  rightly  said that if  one  does  not  have  good  quality  fat  then  one  is  not  capable  of achieving  great  heights  in  life.

(The author is Obesity and Lifestyle Disease Consultant. After journeying from 160 kilos to 60 kilos, Naini counsels for diets online and at Mumbai. She can be contacted at healthforyou@vsnl.net /
healthforyou@nainisetalvad.com)

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