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Fad Diets vs Healthy Eating

Fad diets are non-standard diets that promise dramatic weight loss. These highly restrictive and nutritionally unbalanced food choices promise short-term changes with little effort. They gain extreme popularity for a certain period of time.

Often, they are not recommended by health professionals and usually have not undergone any clinical trials or research. They have varied advantages and disadvantages and eventually go on to disappear, much like fad trends in fashion.

Those which persist usually have a devout fan following base, who swear by the specific diet and have results as proof. But the matter of concern regarding these diets lies in the fact that they have the potential to deplete our bodies of many essential nutrients without our knowledge.

The restrictive approach, regardless of whether the diet prescribes eating large amounts of high-fiber vegetables,
no grains, or no solid foods, tend to be nutritionally unsound and can cause serious health problems if followed for prolonged periods. Additionally, the weight which is “lost” is rapidly regained.

At best, fad diets may offer novel and engaging ways to reduce calorie intake, but at worst they may be medically unsuitable to the individual, unsustainable, or even dangerous.

Although fad diets may have a negative connotation for health professionals, some have scientific evidence and therapeutic applications, such as the ketogenic diet for epilepsy or caloric restriction and the Mediterranean diet for obesity and diabetes, and several producing similar benefits to commercial diets or standard care when undertaken with professional guidance.

Fad diets are often ever-changing. Some notable ones include very-low-calorie diets:

  • Food-specific diets, which encourage eating large amounts of a single food, such as the cabbage soup diet
  • High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, which first became popular in the 1970s
  • High-fiber, low-calorie diets, which often prescribe double the normal amount of dietary fiber
  • Liquid diets, such as meal replacement drinks.
  • Fasting

“Juice cleanses” had gained a huge amount of recognition thanks to the fact that each one those who tried it out reported immense success when it came to weight loss. Most juice cleanses cut out fat and protein completely and permit for fewer than 1,000 calories each day, making weight loss inevitable. However, that weight loss will be in the form of water, muscle, and only a small amount of fat – which is what makes it so dangerous.

If you’re truly striving to do right by your body, the best thing you can do is eat a balanced diet of unprocessed, wholesome foods along with a tall glass of fresh fruit juice. Easier said than done, right? Wanting a short cut is ok, but a juice cleanse isn’t the way to achieve that.

Some red flags of such “fad” diets include various far fetched promises like weight loss such as more than 1 kg/week. They might be nutritionally imbalanced, or highly restrictive, forbidding entire food groups or even only allowing one food or food type.

Fad diets usually provide no health warning for those with pre-existing medical illnesses and instead focus on appearance enhancement rather than health benefits.

They could promise a one-size-fits-all ‘magic bullet’ with little to no effort, without including or encouraging physical exercise / long-term whole dietary changes tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

Improving dietary habits is a societal issue that should be considered when preparing national policies, according to the World Health Organization. They propose a set of recommendations for a healthy diet:

  • Achieve an energy balance and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Promote the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and nuts.
  • Limit sweets and sugar.
  • Limit salt from all sources and ensure that it is iodized.
  • Limit total fat consumption and in particular replace saturated fats by unsaturated fats as much as possible
  • Eliminate trans-fatty acids.

To be fit, one needs to keep in mind to follow a lifelong healthy eating pattern and shift the focus to variety, nutrient density and quality. Making healthier food and beverage choices offers a more holistic approach to keeping oneself in a better condition overall.

Bhookha Haathi provides subscription-based, personalized health solutions at an affordable cost to consumers who wish to substitute or replace their dependencies on expensive, strong, processed, and chemical-based products. Its offerings are 100% natural compositions based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains, and honey, among other whole and natural ingredients.

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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8 Vitamins And Minerals That Boost Immunity

The primary function of the immune system in our bodies is to ward off unwanted infections. It has the ability to recognize cells that have the potential to harm our health. B and T lymphocytes are the cells that are responsible for producing responsive actions towards certain microbes based on memory. This is why despite being exposed to several microbes, only a few are able to manifest themselves as diseases. The overall ability of the host to fight pathogens like viruses, toxins, bacteria, etc conferred by the immune system is called immunity. 

One type of immunity is innate immunity. This is a nonspecific immunity type that is imparted by barriers that are present from the time of birth and they include physical (skin, mucous coating), physiological (saliva, tears), and cellular (WBCs and monocytes).

When the immune system is able to recognize pathogens from an infection that occurred earlier in the body, the response is termed as acquired.

Antibodies that are found in the blood give rise to a response which is also called the humoral immune response. This is one of the two types of our “acquired immune response” – antibody-mediated. 

Acquired immunity, unlike innate, is specific to pathogens. It is under the control of the memory. This implies that our body when it encounters a pathogen for the first time, it produces a response called primary response which is usually of low intensity. Subsequent encounter with the same pathogen elicits a highly intensified secondary response.

The second type is called the cell-mediated immune response or cell-mediated immunity (CMI). The T-lymphocytes mediate CMI.

Keeping in mind the importance of regular exercise, a well-maintained diet, and restful sleep, one can also boost and maintain their immunity year-long by having a balanced mix of different vitamins & minerals – whether it be in the form of a supplement (like pills, syrups, etc) or through fruits and vegetables and other nutritious sources like dry-fruits & nuts in which they naturally occur. 

Here are a few nourishing vitamins and minerals that are essential to ensure the unhindered, optimal performance of the immune system.

  1. Vitamin A

Besides promoting vision improvement and having anti-inflammatory properties, this vitamin plays a key role in imparting strength to the development of the immune system. Research reveals that the function of the primary immune response organs requires substantial amounts of this vitamin to function properly. Vitamin A also regulates the function and production of the bone marrow, where the B-lymphocytes are manufactured.

Vitamin A is present abundantly in vegetables such as squash, carrots, collards, etc. It is also present in dairy products, fish, and liver.

  1. Vitamin C

This vitamin is a strong antioxidant that helps scavenge for free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. Additionally,  Vitamin C supports and promotes various functions of the immune system – including the innate and the acquired. It enhances the process of phagocytosis – which is the ability of our WBCs to ingest and digest harmful pathogens. It is also known to help in the proliferation of our fighter B and T lymphocytes.

Vitamin C is present in various citrus fruits like lemons, tangerines, oranges, and kiwis as well as in green leafy vegetables like spinach and bathua.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is well known for its properties that regulate the overall functioning of the immune system. Research shows that Vitamin E supplements can potentially combat the decrease in cellular immunity due to age and that it also helps in the differentiation of T lymphocytes in the thymus. 

Vitamin C can be found in nuts, seeds, eggs, avocadoes, and pulses.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency leads to the autoimmune tendency – in which our body starts to destroy its own cells.  This vitamin plays a significant role in the decrease of various types of infections by producing a large number of macrophages – cells that have the potential to destroy harmful pathogens.

Fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks and of course, sunlight are some common sources of Vitamin D

  1. Folic Acid

Folate or Vitamin B9 has a direct impact on cell-mediated immunity as well as the development of the primary immunity imparting organ – thymus. It also helps increase the number of T lymphocytes.

Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, and grains are known to contain high amounts of folic acid.

  1. Iron

Iron is an essential micronutrient that is required for the elementary development of the immune system. Its deficiency inadvertently leads to a weak immune system, thereby making the host susceptible to many infections. 

Iron is available in large amounts in red meats, fish, poultry, soybeans, lentils, and spinach.

  1. Selenium

Apart from initiating and maintaining immunity, this mineral is also responsible for the regulation of any exaggerated immune response.  The deficiency of Selenium leads to the decreased proliferation and activity of immune cells. 

Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic, are excellent sources of Selenium.

  1. Zinc

Zinc plays a very important role in the function and regulation of cell-mediated immunity. The deficiency of this mineral negatively impacts the growth, proliferation, and activity of both the types of lymphocytes – B & T.

Seeds, nuts, dairy products, eggs, and whole grains are rich sources of zinc.

Bhookha Haathi’s products are enriched with many micronutrients such as vitamins like A, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals like Calcium, Iodine, Zinc, and Iron.  All of them help maintain and strengthen the ability of the immune system to ward off any unwanted infections and also prevent the onset of many chronic diseases.  

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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Dietary Supplements for Exercise and Athletic Performance

Dietary supplements to enhance exercise and athletic performance are available in a variety of forms. They may be found in the form of pills, powders, or liquids. These products contain various ingredients in different combinations. Some common ingredients include protein, arginine, creatine, glutamine, and ribose.

These dietary supplements usually aim to aid in the process of building good health and physique for better performance and do not serve as a replacement to whole meals and a well-balanced diet. 

Some athletes perform in certain extreme conditions such as high altitudes or temperatures. High-temperature results in the rapid loss of electrolytes through fluid and high altitudes lead to lower haemoglobin-oxygen binding. These situations, among others, require the usage of dietary supplements. These supplements could provide carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, iron, and protein, among other nutrients. 

Despite the proper intake of nutritious meals and such dietary supplements, the result varies widely depending upon each individual’s specific metabolism, the nature, duration, and intensity of the training they undertake and environmental factors. 

Some surveys revealed the amount of dietary supplements taken up by bodybuilders and by athletes who want to perform better. Evidence suggested that elite athletes (e.g., professional athletes and those who compete on a national or international level) use dietary supplements more often than their non-elite counterparts.

Some surveys conducted internationally showed that around 75% of adult elite track and field athletes that participate in championships held globally took at least one dietary supplement containing aforementioned ingredients. The usage of supplements was seen to be in increased amounts with an increase in age as well as among participants that were women. 

The supplements used by male and female athletes are similar, except that a larger proportion of women use iron and a larger proportion of men take vitamin E, protein, and creatine

Here are some ingredients commonly found in supplements and their uses.

AntioxidantsMinimizes free radical damage to skeletal muscle
CaffeineReduces perceived pain and exertion
IronIncreases oxygen uptake, reduces heart rate and decreases lactate concentrations during exercise
ProteinBuilds, maintains and repairs muscle
Soda BicarbonateEnhances disposal of hydrogen ions generated from intense muscle activity, thereby reducing metabolic acidosis and resulting fatigue

Similar to all kinds of supplements, those which enhance performance have the potential to create certain side effects. Some ingredients in these supplements may react with those present in over the counter or prescription medicines. 

For example, ginseng reduces the blood-thinning effects of warfarin. Cimetidine can cause a decrease in the speed of removal of caffeine from the body, thus resulting in its accumulation.

If you take dietary supplements and medications on a regular basis, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

The Food and Drug Administration marks some substances in certain supplements as inappropriate, unlabeled, or unlawful. They might be stimulants, steroids, hormone-like ingredients, controlled substances, prescription medications, or unapproved drugs. Using these tainted products can cause health problems and disqualify athletes from competitions.

If you are a competitive or recreational athlete, you will perform at your best and recover most quickly when you eat a nutritionally adequate and supplemented diet, drink enough fluids, are physically fit, and are properly trained. 

Dry fruits are a great source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber and Bhookha Haathi’s proprietary range of dry fruit and nut-based health booster powders are a great alternative to unnatural protein powders commonly available in the market. Enriched with Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes, Anti-Oxidants & Phyto-Nutrients to boost energy, Bhookha Haathi’s Natural Dry Fruit Health Booster is ideal for sports, gym & fitness enthusiasts. 

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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Indian Women’s Health Supplements – Everything you need to know about

Women go through constant changes in their bodies throughout their lifetime. Their physiology is under the influence of various hormones that control body processes such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. All of these stages necessitate different nutritional strategies.

Hormones regulate most of the processed in our body and are themselves are influenced by a variety of factors such as nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins.

Often, these nutrients that are essential to our body do not get adequately absorbed into our bodies or need to be increased in their amounts at times for specific reasons. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a daily recommended intake (DRI) – a stipulated amount of nutrients to be taken every day that meets the requirements of a healthy body.

During pregnancy, a mother requires some vitamins and minerals in increased amounts and these can be administered in the form of prenatal vitamins. She also requires 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods or supplements.

Also, due to age and approaching menopause, a condition arises in females which is known as osteoporosis. This condition is of two types, women often suffer from the one that arises due to calcium dissolution from their bones as their estrogen levels drop. This causes the bones to lose mass and strength. 

Those who follow a strict vegetarian diet require additional Vitamin B12, and vegans or those who are lactose intolerant, who do not consume any dairy products might risk being deficient of Vitamin A, B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). 

Older women who may avoid sunlight can be deficient in Vitamin D.

Some indicators of deficiencies include fatigue, muscle pains, spasms or cramps, weakness, dizziness, poor night vision, headaches, etc.

To combat such deficiencies and prevent the eventual onset of unwanted conditions that typically arise from them, women need to obtain these nutrients in the form of supplements. 

It is always recommended to confer with a professional before starting the consumption of any dietary supplements. It is also important to keep in mind that supplements are not intended to replace or substitute whole foods.

Be sure to ask about possible side effects and interactions with any such supplements. 

Sometimes, combining prescription pills and supplements may yield an undesirable outcome. 

Taking more than the DRI may cause toxicity and increase the risk of side effects. 

Those who consume foods through a well-balanced diet that comprises of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fish, nuts and seeds usually don’t require supplements. 

Calcium typically constitutes around 1% of a woman’s body weight. Calcium ions facilitate muscle contraction and are essential for regular cell functioning. The mineral can be found in dairy products and fortified foods. Women are four times more prone to osteoporosis than men, which is why premenopausal women must continue to obtain their required intake through supplements. 
Dosage: Can vary anywhere from between 500-1,000 milligrams, depending upon factors such as age.

Fish Oil:
Fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon, are a rich source of omega-3s, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Due to reasons such as fear of heavy metal toxicity, a lot of women refrain from consuming seafood. This results in nutrient deficiency. Omega-3 fatty acids help in maintaining heart and blood vessel health along with the reduction of circulation of triglycerides which cause heart diseases. 
Dosage: One gram each of EPA and DHA daily is an adequate amount for women. Those who have elevated triglyceride levels can consider taking 2-3 grams, under a physician’s guidance. Pregnant women often take 1 gram of DHA for the development of their baby’s brain. 

B Vitamins:
Primary B Vitamins comprise B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin). These are water-soluble vitamins that get flushed out of the body with urine and thus need to be replaced daily. All adult women who exercise and burn calories have a higher requirement of these vitamins. Women older than 50 need these vitamins in the form of supplements as their bodies find it hard to directly absorb them from food.
Dosage: A multivitamin supplement, besides a well-balanced diet comprising of lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, should be enough to provide around 50 – 100% of the daily value of these B Vitamins. 

Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, whose goodness is best derived when consumed with healthy fats. The vitamin helps us absorb calcium and plays a role in the development and maintenance of strong and healthy bones. A lot of women are not exposed adequately to sunlight for various reasons such as rashes, sunburn and skin tan. Vitamin D supplements containing calcitriol are recommended in such cases.
Dosage: Pre-menopausal women should take around 12.5 micrograms of this vitamin every day and post-menopausal and elderly women should increase their dosage to around 25 micrograms per day. 

Bhookha Haathi products are naturally fortified with many of these vitamins and minerals. Bhookha Haathi’s Natural Dry Fruit Booster contains many vitamins such as A, E, C and additionally, aids in the absorption of the vitamin B complex. It is rich in dietary fiber, gluten-free and lowers bad cholesterol. It provides high amounts of energy and can be substituted for regular store-bought protein powders. Moreover, all the ingredients are locally sourced, organic and contain no harmful additives, preservatives or artificial colouring. 

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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12 Indian foods that Boost the Immune System

immunity booster food in india

India is well known for its preparations made with natural, nutrient-rich and immunity-boosting substances. 

Our grandmothers and even their grandmothers have passed down the value and importance of the food we consume to all the generations after them.

To boost our immunity, we need to look no further than our own kitchen – in a battle where disease wages its war upon us, we only need strong immunity as our ammunition! 

Here are a few of the many foods that we can consume to boost our health as a precaution to combat such adverse conditions.

  1. Haldi (Turmeric) 

Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-enhancing properties. It contains an aromatic compound called curcumin, which imparts said properties to it. Turmeric is often used as a colouring agent in many Indian dishes such as curries and daal. It is also believed to prevent the flu and some diseases of the heart. 

The best way to consume it is by combining some ground turmeric, pepper, and honey into some warm water and drinking it all at once. Apart from soothing the throat, this also acts as a “flu shot” of sorts.

  1. Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Considered as nature’s best antibiotic by Ayurveda, the tulsi plant has an added benefit of being able to easily grow in household pots. Its antiviral and antibiotic properties provide relief to cold, cough, headaches and fevers. You can chew down on these leaves (after washing them, of course) or soak them in some warm water and sip that.

  1. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Amla contains large amounts of Vitamin C and helps increase the body’s natural foreign substance fighting agents – white blood cells. It also helps prevent viral infections like the flu and increases the amount of Calcium in our bodies, eases the throat from cough and balances the secretions of acid in the stomach. Have this fruit dried, powdered, and sprinkled into your morning smoothies or just chopped up with some salt.

  1. Dalcheeni (Cinnamon)

An important component of the widely used garam masala, cinnamon is filled with antioxidants and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It is a strong immunity booster due to the antifungal and antibacterial substances it contains. Thus, consuming it regularly reduces the risk of infections and diseases. Cinnamon can be added to enhance the flavour of many sweet dishes, into your bowl of oats or cup of tea.

  1. Neem (Azadirachta Indica)

Neem has been continually used by our ancestors for the many properties it possesses – antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, immune upregulation, and anti-snake venom activities. Apart from keeping infections at bay, it also purifies the blood and rids it of all its toxins.

It can be consumed crushed in a glass of water.

  1. Jamun (Black Plum)

Although this fruit has an unexpectedly bold flavour that is not appreciated by many, it contains blood pressure and blood sugar regulators. It also reduces the occurrence of cough, cold and fever. Combine the pulp of this fruit with some honey, and stir this mixture into a glass full of water.

  1. Citrus fruits 

Many different varieties of citrus fruits such as Nagpur oranges, Mausambi, Kinnow, etc. are available during different times of the year throughout India. These citrus fruits are a stronghold of Vitamin C, which increases the white blood cell count in our body, thereby strengthening the immunity. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is not stored in our body, but instead, gets washed out with urine. To keep the Vitamin C levels in our body constant, we should incorporate a little bit of these citrus fruits into our diets regularly.

  1. Lehsun (Garlic)

Garlic is an important aromatic component added to dishes of almost every cuisine worldwide. Its immunity-boosting properties come from “allicin”, which is a sulfur-containing compound. Other than commonly being found in its cooked form, the benefits of garlic can also be derived from garlic capsules or pills.

  1. Palak (Spinach)

Apart from Vitamin C, spinach leaves are considered a superfood because they also contain antioxidants and beta-carotene. All of these substances increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. It is healthiest when eaten raw (to preserve all its components from breaking down) or lightly tossed in some olive oil.

  1. Dahi (Yoghurt)

Most variants of yoghurt contain live and active bacterial cultures that help improve the immune system’s ability to fight diseases. Some yoghurts can also be fortified with Vitamin D, which also boosts the body’s natural defence mechanism. When opting to buy yoghurt, look for plain ones and avoid those loaded with artificial sweeteners.

  1. Adrak (Ginger)

A lot of people turn to ginger to relieve the unwanted symptoms of cold, such as a sore throat. Apart from boosting our immunity, it also contains properties to decrease inflammation in our bodies. Grate it, combine the juice with some honey and take a spoonful of it to relieve congestion and irritation from cough and cold.

  1. Badam (Almonds)

       Almonds contain Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is also the key to a strong immune system. They are packed with antioxidants and healthy fats. Almonds   

can be had soaked in some water, peeled or with some honey                         

Bhookha Haathi’s 100% natural products based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey are a great source of immunity-boosting substances that our regular diets otherwise are deficient of. Sourced directly from farmers & producers Bhookha Haathi Replace range of proprietary health food products celebrate pure, powerful, healing and health-promoting ingredients that are without any preservatives, added colours or artificial flavours. 

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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Building Immunity in our Community

It is often during times of widespread panic and global scare caused by a particularly infectious virus, that we are reminded of the absolute importance of practising and maintaining good hygiene and building our immunity. Pathogens such as viruses can rarely ever be defeated with a simple “cure” as they keep modifying their genetic material in accordance with their hosts. So, until a viable precautionary vaccine is invented, strengthening our immunity remains to be our safest bet.

The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is that the former is a disease or an outbreak that spreads uncontrollably and when there is a sudden increase in the number of infected cases. A pandemic affects a wider geographical area and infects a large number of people. Often, the virus is allowed to spread quickly because humans have little or no immunity to combat it. 

Amid such circumstances, there are various steps that we, as a community, can take.

We should make sure that those who are more susceptible to the threats of a virus (those with weak immunity) are kept indoors as frequently as possible – the elderly, expectant mothers and the infants. 

We can additionally make home-cooked meals, try our best to ensure that the working populace works from home, give a few days of paid leave to our domestic help as they are more exposed to such viruses because of their daily travel and usage of crowded public transport. We should regulate and monitor the entry and exit of those responsible for making deliveries.

We should ensure to keep ourselves and our surroundings sanitized, avoid touching our hands and face, and remember to similarly keep our pets and their paws clean. We should limit going outside and gathering in groups and only step out for daily essentials.

Our innate immunity is imparted to us from the B&T lymphocytes in our bodies. Their manufacture is co-dependent on the physiological processes that are being undertaken in our bodies. For example, if our stress levels are higher than usual, our immunity invariably takes a toll therefore, keeping a positive outlook helps.

In today’s day and age, where social media plays a big role in news dissemination, we should make sure that we do not believe each and every story we get through these media and get into panic mode. We should rely on information provided by relevant authorities in this regard and follow their guidelines.

We should aim to get enough amount of quality sleep to regulate our hormones and strengthen our immunity by encouraging the thymus to release more pathogen-fighting lymphocytes. 

India is a country that is massively wealthy in terms of the natural resources it owns, like plants that have the potential to enhance and strengthen our immunity. Various plants, herbs and spices like neem, tulsi, saffron, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and garlic contain highly effective phytochemicals and antioxidants that are used by the plants themselves to prevent microbial action. These natural ways to boost immunity are highly beneficial and help prevent many bacterial and viral infections.

Vitamin D from sunlight, enriched foods or as a supplement is essential to build immunity as it helps produce antimicrobial proteins in our bodies. We can also include foods rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits and kiwis and zinc-rich foods such as dry-fruits, seeds & nuts that are needed for the body’s immune system to work properly. Honey is another great source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that is highly beneficial for our immune system.

Bhookha Haathi’s 100% natural products based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey are great supplements to boost the immune system that our regular diets otherwise are deficient of. Sourced directly from farmers & producers Bhookha Haathi Replace range of proprietary health food products celebrate pure, powerful, healing and health-promoting ingredients that are without any preservatives, added colours or artificial flavours.

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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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.