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Indian Foodies – 21 Healthy Alternatives to Your Unhealthy Food Habits!

In our daily lives, we keep encountering opportunities to better take care of ourselves through our health – but more often than not, due to various reasons such as shortage of time, we end up compromising on our diets. 

This results in the unwanted feeling of bloating and the gain of empty calories; we eat something but do not feel full for long amounts of time.

If we become vigilant and actively monitor what we eat, not only will it benefit us immensely in the long run, but it will also help us be in shape, and lead active and healthy lifestyles. 

Here are a few alternatives that we can swap for regular calorie & sodium-laden food items.

  1. Frozen Yogurt instead of Ice Cream
    The usage of yoghurt instead of full-fat milk in frozen desserts is usually preferred by those who wish to cut back on their fat intake. Frozen yoghurt contains only 40% of the fat that regular ice cream contains.
  2. Olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
    Olive oil contains a very less amount of saturated fat when compared to other oils, such as coconut. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  3. Home-made yoghurt aioli instead of salad dressings
    Store-bought salad dressings are usually very high in sodium content and contain unnecessary amounts of fat. Combine some low-fat yoghurt, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic for a healthy and flavourful replacement!
  4. Masala lotus seeds or fox nuts instead of buttered popcorn
    Makhana, as they are popularly referred to in India, contains low amounts of sodium and cholesterol. This makes them the preferred choice of snacks to satisfy cravings.
  5. Dried berries instead of candies
    They contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory response generating agents. Berries also contain high amounts of fiber and lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
  6. Crispy kale instead of fried potato chips
    Kale is a well-known superfood, and lightly sauteing it in some olive oil and having it as a substitute for fried potato snacks is a great way of incorporating vitamins, minerals, calcium, and fiber into your diet.
  7. Hummus instead of cheese dips
    Hummus is a popular dip in the middle east and Greece and is usually made out of ground-up chickpeas, which are high in protein quantity. They can also be made out of squash or pumpkin.
  8. Freshly squeezed juices instead of store-bought and packaged fruit drinks
    Store-bought juices are packed with artificial colourings and preservatives to increase their shelf lives. Freshly squeezed juices not only do away with those but also contain healthy amounts of natural fruit sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.
  9. Vegetable pasta instead of maize flour pasta
    A special tool can be employed to make spaghetti shaped strands from various vegetables like zucchini or squash. This highly benefits all those who want to incorporate gluten-free items into their diet and also derive the additional nutrition provided by these vegetables.
  10. Grated cauliflower instead of white rice
    White rice has a very high starch content. A good alternative option is a grated cauliflower, which is also good for those who are on a gluten-free diet. Throw some into a rice bowl and you will barely be able to tell the difference!
  11. Lettuce wraps instead of flour wraps
    Using lettuce to hold together the ingredients of your wrap (such as meats, veggies, dressings) instead of a wrap covering which is often made out of refined flour is a great gluten-free alternative. Lettuce also contains calcium, potassium and Vitamin C!
  12. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
    Dark chocolate is well known for its cramp-easing properties and energy-boosting properties. It is a great source of antioxidants and has even been proven to reduce the risk of skin cancer!
  13. Sparkling water with fruit instead of fizzy beverages
    Sparkling (or carbonated) water aids digestion, prevents constipation and acidity. Coupled with some slices of citrus fruit, it makes a great detoxing beverage!
  14. Mashed avocados instead of butter
    Avocados on toast are the recently popularized alternative spread on toast. The fruit is loaded with MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) that are good for the heart, along with high amounts of potassium and fiber.
  15. Nut flour instead of refined flour
    Besides being a gluten-free alternative, nut-based flours such as almond flour and coconut flour are high in protein, manganese and Vitamin E content, which can be swapped for regular use food items.
  16. Homemade peanut butter instead of regular spreads
    Peanuts look after the ease of your bowel movements and are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, contrary to the sugar-laden chocolate spreads available in the market these days. Make your own peanut butter at home by grinding together peanuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, and peanut oil.
  17. Black coffee instead of regular coffee
    Black coffee is a storehouse of antioxidants and also contains three types of Vitamin B. It reduces the risk of heart diseases and organ damage, and is best consumed without artificial sweeteners/dairy enhancers. 
  18. Bhookha Haathi’s Herbs infused honey teas instead of regular tea
    Regular tea contains high amounts of caffeine which can be addictive. You can opt to mix a variant of Bhookha Haathi’s infused honey, such as saffron or fennel into green/chamomile tea for a flavourful and healthier alternative!
  19. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit refresher instead of artificial mouth fresheners
    Artificial mouth fresheners contain high amounts of preservatives and additives which are harmful to health. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit refresher contains all the benefits of dry fruits such as being good for the heart, reducing the risk of cancer, among others. It is flavoured using refreshing fennel (saunf), which is a great alternative to artificially flavoured chewables.
  20. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit booster instead of protein powders
    Store-bought protein powders often contain synthetic additives that are harmful to our health in the long run. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit booster is a gluten-free, vegan option containing high amounts of Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes, Antioxidants & Phyto-Nutrients to boost and supply energy to fitness enthusiasts.
  21. Bhookha Haathi’s White Honey instead of sugar
    For daily use, we sweeten a variety of food items with unhealthy refined sugar. We can opt to switch to Bhookha Haathi’s White Honey which does not impart any unwanted flavour or colour, but is a healthy, antioxidant-rich alternative that enhances the sweetness of food items!

Bhookha Haathi’s primary goal is to provide nutritious, wholesome and tasty alternatives to regular nutrient-deficient food habits. Apart from the changes that we can consciously incorporate into our daily lifestyles and diet, we can opt for 100% natural products from Bhookha Haathi Replace range to promote our health and well-being.

Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.

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Health & Dietary Supplements – Are They Good or Bad?

Health & dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. It is an umbrella term that includes everything from Vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate or cure diseases. The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and medicines, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Medicines must be approved by the FDA before they can be sold or marketed. Supplements do not require this approval. Supplement companies are responsible for having evidence that their products are safe, and the label claims are truthful and not misleading.

Health supplements: A significant role in high-risk groups

Supplements can play an important role for some high-risk groups. For instance, adults diagnosed with osteoporosis may require extra Vitamin D and calcium beyond what they get from their regular diet. Supplements also can help people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, conditions that make it difficult to absorb certain nutrients. People with Vitamin B12 deficiency almost always need a supplement. Supplements prescribed by a doctor are helpful for people with certain medical conditions. Otherwise, it’s best to get your Vitamins and minerals from food and not a pill or any other chemical based supplement. A healthy body only absorbs the required amount of nutrients from natural food sources and rest is excreted, therefore, there is no risk of toxicity unless the food is contaminated.

Possible health risks of Vitamin supplements:

  • High doses of beta carotene have been linked to a greater risk of lung cancer in smokers.
  • Extra calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C may increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • High doses of Vitamin E may lead to stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
  • Vitamin K can interfere with the anti-clotting effects of blood thinners.
  • Taking high amounts of Vitamin B6 for a year or longer has been associated with nerve damage that can impair body movements and the symptoms often go away after the supplements are stopped.
  • High doses of any health supplement in pill/chemical form can also cause toxicity in the body and can lead to various side effects. They can also interfere with many other health conditions already present in the body and make them even worse. For example high doses of Vitamin A can lead to even lower bone density in osteoporosis patients.

Which Vitamin supplements are worth taking?

Vitamin D: We cannot get our daily requirement of Vitamin D from plant or food sources as they don’t contain enough amount for optimum health. There are only two ways to get the required amount: 1) From the Sun 2) from Supplements. If we get 15-30 minutes daily exposure to sun, then we may not need it from any other supplement. Vitamin D is essential for Calcium absorption in our body and deficiency can lead to weaker bones or a condition called osteoporosis.

Vitamin B12: The only other Vitamin that is not produced from plant sources is Vitamin B 12. In fact, it is not made by animal sources either. Vitamin B12 is made by microbes or bacteria that blanket the earth and these bacteria also grow in the guts of some of the animals people eat. Those eating plant-based diet, don’t get enough B 12 to fulfil their daily requirements, therefore, need to be supplemented with B12.  Vitamin B 12 deficiency can lead to cognitive decline or depression.

How good or bad are protein powders?

Protein powders are dietary supplements in powdered forms of protein that come from plants like soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, hemp, eggs or milk (casein or whey protein). These powders may include other ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavouring, thickeners, Vitamins and minerals.

We may think adding protein powder to a glass of milk or a smoothie is a simple way to boost our health, building & maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions; but be aware of the health risks involved.

Milk based protein powders may cause digestive distress and gastrointestinal discomfort in people with dairy allergies. They may be high in added sugars and calories and wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories resulting in weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.

According to a report released by a non-profit group called the Clean Label Project, about toxins in protein powders, researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, bisphenol-A (BPA), pesticides or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. One protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA which is quite alarming. The manufacturing processes and the presence of toxins in soil were found to be major causes of contamination.

How does Bhookha Haathi fit in?

Dry fruits are a great source of proteins, Vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber and our popular range of proprietary dry fruit and nut-based health boosters are a great alternative to unnatural protein, Vitamin and other supplements commonly available in the market. So, if you are looking to supplement your diet, you can go for Bhookha Haathi’s 100% Natural Dry-Fruit Health Booster- Starter Pack which is enriched with Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes and Phyto-Nutrients to boost energy. Alternatively, you can opt for a subscription-based personalised nutraceutical plan that is crafted specially for you to fulfil all your individual nutrition needs.

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Dry-Fruits and Nuts in Sports Nutrition

It is very essential to eat healthy to stay fit. For this, it is a must to eat a handful of dry fruits every day to add to the nutritional value of intake every day and also get required energy. Since dry fruits are rich sources of vitamins, proteins, minerals as well as fats, they keep one healthy and strong. According to health experts, one should have a combination of certain nuts every day to meet daily nutritional requirement of the body.

Just as it is important for everyone to eat nuts, it is more required for sportsmen and athletes to have a combination of certain nuts daily to get energy. Popularly called as a natural source of energy, nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, dates, peanuts as well as pistachios contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for health and not fattening.

There are several reasons why sportsmen must have dry fruits every day. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Dry fruits help in improving haemoglobin level, and so they are recommended to every athlete. Almonds help in formation of red blood cells thereby increasing one’s haemoglobin level.
  2. Vitamins, minerals, phosphorous, fibre and other nutrients present in dry fruits and nuts help in keeping one’s energy levels high. This is one of the main reasons why dry fruits and nuts are good for athletes as they provide energy to them to play the sport.
  3. Dry fruits also provide flexibility to muscles.
  4. Among all dry fruits, cashew nuts have zero-cholesterol level, and they help reducing one’s body’s cholesterol level. They also help in blood circulation.
  5. Eating almonds and cashews daily can help one prevent cancer.
  6. Rich in iron content, raisins are considered significant for bone formation. Moreover, having oxidant properties and containing Vitamin A, these dry fruits help in preventing weakening of vision.

How Does Bhookha Haathi Fit In?

Dry fruits are a great source of proteins, Vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber and our popular range of proprietary dry fruit and nut-based health boosters are a great alternative to unnatural protein, Vitamin and other supplements commonly available in the market. So, if you are looking to supplement your diet, you can go for Bhookha Haathi’s 100% Natural Dry-Fruit Health Booster- Starter Pack which is enriched with Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes and Phyto-Nutrients to boost energy. Our Pro Packs (to be launched soon) will also address the need of nutrition in specific sport like, Running, Bicycling, Gym, Yoga and other active sports. Alternatively, you can opt for a subscription-based personalised nutrition plan that is crafted specially for you to fulfil all your individual nutrition needs.

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Role of Nutraceuticals in Cancer Prevention

Nutraceuticals can be defined as foods, food ingredients or health supplements that demonstrate specific bodily or medical benefits including the prevention and treatment of disease beyond basic nutritional functions. They can include nuts, fruits, seeds or products infused with herbal items.

Evidence is growing about the many ways in which eating dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes can improve your health. These foods have earlier been associated with healthier hearts and a lower risk of diabetes, but now studies show they may also largely reduce the risk of getting cancer!

Nuts are described as “nutritionally precious,” which may explain some of the mechanisms by which nut components induce cancer cell death and inhibit cancer growth. Eating large amounts of peanuts, walnuts, almonds can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, according to a 2015 study. Another study examined the possible link between ovarian cancer and foods high in phytoestrogens and/or fiber, including nuts, beans, and soy. They found that these foods seemed to help prevent “borderline ovarian cancer”—slow-growing tumors that are less dangerous and more likely to affect younger women.

Extracts from dried fruits such as currants and raisins have shown potential to stop cancer cells from growing – even killing them off – and to suppress inflammation. A small study gave freeze-dried black raspberries to patients with oral cancer and showed that it decreased levels of certain markers associated with cancer progression, and based on these findings, including a serving or two of berries in your diet each day may help inhibit the development of cancer.

 Allyl-Sulfur compounds derived from garlic have significant anti-proliferating activity against human cancers. Diallyl-sulfide and diallyl disulfide, -also compounds found in onion and garlic- induce apoptosis (the inhibition of uncontrolled division of cancer cells) in lung, prostate, breast cancer cells. Many cancer chemotherapeutics drugs are derived from plants including alkaloids of Vinca species.

In addition, Nutraceuticals may also be helpful in reducing toxicity associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy which thus leads to better living conditions by reducing cancer cachexia – which is the weakness and wasting of the body due to severe chronic illness.

Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.

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Nutraceuticals vs Pharmaceuticals

Nutraceuticals have shown significant promise in the promotion of human health and disease prevention. This is achieved through the natural means of nutraceuticals and plant-based phytochemicals that serve as alternatives to artificially synthesized medicine. While nutraceuticals can be used long-term for disease prevention, the same cannot hold true for pharmaceuticals due to their inherent nature of being chemically composed.

In essence, nutraceuticals aim at preventive care; by strengthening the innate physiological processes of our system to perform better and fight off unwanted foreign substances with greater resilience. They serve as an alternative to relying on pharmaceuticals which quite often employ symptomatic treatments, only curing the macroscopic, unwanted conditions superficially – leaving the underlying cause hidden – which may further lead to serious consequences later in life. Nutraceuticals provide the opportunity to maintain healthy lifestyles and incorporate essential nutrients into our diet which makes us self-sufficient.

One of the many disadvantages of pharmaceuticals includes the fact that they come coupled with unwanted side effects, by default. This is because the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals are artificial and the body must adjust to their presence. That can initiate an immune response which exhibits as a side effect. 

Pharmaceuticals are human-made or imitations of natural substances that the body needs to manufacture or utilize to maintain health or fight diseases. Drugs are manufactured in laboratories and as soon as they begin to lose their natural essence, complications begin. The severity of this increases just as they react and crossbreed with other chemicals, ultimately posing a threat to our health. Yet, some medical breakthroughs have helped us fight diseases when a natural cure is not available or in times of an emergency.

Nutraceuticals possess an edge over pharmaceutical drugs as they are sourced from natural, plant-based products, and this fact enables nutraceuticals to serve as health beneficiaries without unwanted side effects. They are an epitome of the discoveries in health sciences – nutrients brought together with the efficacy of modern technology. They offer a protective shield against a vast multitude of diseases and fortify your body with nutrients while simultaneously enhancing your body’s immunity. The human body uses these nutrients to create the chemicals it needs to function. If our body does not receive them through dietary intake, then diseases can take over our susceptible bodies.

Pharmaceuticals almost always need a prescription from a doctor along with medical supervision for administering required dosages while nutraceuticals do not. With pharmaceuticals, consumers expect that these drugs will simply treat the disease or health issue, not prevent it. Nutraceuticals help address health issues before the disease is manifested, thus providing people with the opportunity to be proactive about their health. Nutraceuticals are much more affordable and, because they do not require a prescription, they are available to more consumers and often at a lower price than pharmaceuticals.

Does a person need a pharmaceutical to cure those diseases or a nutraceutical to correct a lifestyle choice? The answer for many consumers is that they need both. They need the pharmaceutical cure a disease in times of urgency and the nutraceutical to prevent and help the body to recover from a disease.

Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.

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What are nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals are products, which other than a nutritive supplement, can also double as medicine. They may be defined as food substances that can be used to improve health, modulate immunity, delay the aging process, prevent chronic diseases, increase life expectancy, or support the structure, function and physiology of our body. They are skillfully crafted and fortified with all the nutrients that one requires on a day to day basis. Our regular diet fails to provide us with so many of them, and nutraceuticals are fast becoming the go-to alternative to regular chemical-based health supplements that are found in the market these days. 

About 2000 years ago, Hippocrates correctly said: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. In the present review, the emphasis has been made to present herbal, dry fruit and seed enriched nutraceuticals as effective curative disorders related to oxidative stress including allergy, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, eye, immune, inflammatory and Parkinson’s diseases as well as obesity. Thus, the field of nutraceutical can be envisioned as one of the missing blocks in the health benefit of an individual.

People can optimize the health-promoting capabilities of their diet by consuming foods that have been formulated or fortified to include health-promoting factors. The constituents of nutraceuticals generally include nuts, fruits, seeds and herbal products, which are known for their high nutrient content. They contain various beneficial compounds that possess biological activities and can be used as replacement pharmaceutical – or nutraceutical products. 

In today’s fast-paced world which produces even faster moving packaged consumable goods, there is no check or balance on the amount of chemical substance that goes inside our systems. Nutraceuticals are great for those who wish to opt for an all-natural alternative to their existing health supplements, sans additives and preservatives.

At Bhookha Haathi, we are constantly thinking of our consumers and looking for innovative ways to help them make healthier food choices through our alternative food products that are a nutritious, wholesome and delicious replacement to the nutrient-deficient ingredients in their daily diet. It isn’t too late to make informed choices and begin this year by switching to the loving care of nature with Bhookha Haathi’s carefully crafted nutraceuticals to nurture your body and soul.

Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.