Friday, April 11, 2014

Lotus Seeds or Makhanas - Anti aging and diarrhoea home remedy

                                                        As Calming as the Lotus Flower!

While I was a shopping at a grocery store, my little one came across these cute looking lotus seeds (fresh ones). He was taken by their appearance and wished to savour them then and there. Well, I did not know how to use the fresh lotus seeds, but little that I knew was that they might need to be cooked. Also, I had always tried the dry or the puffed version, the makhanas.
Fresh lotus seeds have been extensively used by Chinese, in their foods like soups, desserts for its health benefits as well as the appealing taste. Whereas, Indians use more of the puffed lotus seeds known to us as Makhanas, as a quick snack, curries and desserts.
Here are some of its health benefits :-
It is high in fiber, so it helps to maintain good gut health.
It is digestive for age groups and due to its astringent property, Chinese use it to treat diarrhea and in improving appetite.
Its anti - inflammatory properties helps prevent many degenerative diseases like diabetes mellitus, heart problems and even cancers.
As Makhana are powerful antioxidants they also known as anti aging foods. Aging is also a result of adverse effects of free radicals in the body.
Makhana acts as an aphrodisiac. It increases quality and quantity of semen, prevents premature ejaculation, increases libido and helps in female infertility.
Regulates blood pressure as they are low in sodium and high in potassium. Hence, a very beneficial food for the hypertensive people.
It can also treat insomnia, palpitations and irritability.
It strengthens the heart.
It strengthens the body and reduces burning sensation and quenches thirst.
According to the Chinese medicine, fox nut or Makhana is used to strengthen spleen and kidneys.
Herbalists foind it helpful in preventing early discharge of semen and restores sexual vigor in older men.
It is also recommended for the women during pregnancy and post natal weaknesses.
They are low in calories, fat and high in fiber and proteins. Hence, can be a good food for diabetics as well as for weight watchers.
A small but logical tip :-
Because they help maintain the moisture levels of our body cells, and due to their highly beneficial nutrition profile, one can just roast a bag of makhanas, or popped lotus seeds and slightly season it with salt and spices and can use it as a travel food. That's what I do when I am out on a sunny day.
If you are running short of time, you can simply munch on them without roasting to suit yourself.
( Left - Fresh Lotus seeds, Right - Seasoned Puffed Lotus seeds / Makhanas)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Parboiled (Converted) Rice.. a nutritious, yet tasty option!

I have been extensively studying researches about parboiled rice. And to my amazement, its nutrition profile matches 80% to that of brown rice. The only thing it scores lower than brown rice is its fibre content, and antioxidants which impart brown rice its respective colour.

What is Parboiled Rice
Rice produced by the process of parboiling or partially boiling. During this process, the harvested paddy (rice with husk) is hydrated and then steamed, before drying. Once dried completely, the husk is removed. 

Advantage of parboiled rice
The process of steaming or heating the hydrated paddy, forces the nutrients (especially, vitamin B1) in the husk to get absorbed into the grains, making the rice nutritious.
While parboiling, the cracked kernels inside the husk may get glued together, thereby reducing the number of broken grains.
Parboiling process also helps in the sterilization of harvested rice, which may contain impurities and insect eggs.

Ease of Cooking
When compared to white rice, parboiled version takes longer to cook and is not sticky. Once cooked, the rice will be firmer and retains its shape too. But, it takes lesser time for parboiled rice to get cooked, if you compare it with brown rice. Parboiled type is easily digestible and delicious.

Nutrition profile
This rice is rich in B vitamins, folate, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and selenium. In fact, parboiled rice contains more folate and B vitamins, as compared to brown rice. It is also very low in fat, as 100 grams of this rice contain only 0.4 gram of fat. Compared to white rice, both parboiled and brown rice have low GI (glycemic index).

So those who want to control their sugar levels, and find it difficult to change from white rice to brown, opting for parboiled rice can be a better option.

For those, who do not want to compromise on the fibre content and want to reap the benefits of both types, can look for Parboiled Brown Rice or simply soak the brown rice in advance and then cook it alongwith parboiled white rice which does not take much time to cook.

In the picture along, you see parboiled rice on the top, brown rice on the bottom left corner and white rice on the bottom right.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Increase Iron levels in Vegetarians

Are you low on Iron, and blame it on your Vegetarianism? Think twice next time ! 

Probably the best known nutrition fact about iron is that meats—particularly red meats—are rich in iron. While this is true, it is also true that a number of plant foods are also rich in iron. 
It may come as a surprise that researchers have found that people eating plant-based diets eat as much or more iron as people who regularly rely on animal foods. And, you'll see that our list of excellent iron sources is largely dominated by plant foods.