Are health foods really healthy

We fervently scan the supermarket shelves to splurge on the latest healthful and nutritious product but are caught off-guard by the complicated yet fascinating cliches leaving us more anxious and perplexed about having made a wise decision in the name of “Health Food”. But are these health food really healthy? Or are they just a faux pas?

Let us attempt to decipher some of these jargons to facilitate informed nutritious choices for the future.

Brown bread- Numerous branded and unbranded brown breads luring the health -conscious consumer! The soft crumbly texture of the brown bread is maintained by using only a small percentage of whole wheat flour (40%) the rest being maida (60%) and sometimes caramel is added. Why not rather eat the chapatti (poor man’s bread) or stuff sprouts and vegetables between those slices to dish out a wholesome fiber packed breakfast instead of eating plain toast.

Watch the ingredient list: Choose breads containing higher % of whole wheat flour marked as whole grain.

Biscuits– Invariably snacking on tea and biscuits to curb the in-between hunger pangs? But we silence the scruples by choosing the high-fiber, low-sugar biscuits. What about the unhealthy fats sitting in there without which we cannot get the desirable crispy and crunchy texture of the biscuits? These fats can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and sudden cardiac death. Skip the biscuits and munch on Khakra or roasted chana for a satisfying mid day meal.

Watch the ingredient list: Avoid biscuits with high total fat and saturated fat content.

Lite butter- Butter substitute should no way indicate that it is a free food, all said and done it is a source of added fats. Though technology enhances quality of the fat present ultimately we need to limit the total quantity we consume to prevent our arteries from getting clogged. Get innovative with home-made bread spreads using hung curds or chutneys using different vegetables to supplement the daily dose of vitamins and minerals.

Watch the ingredient list: Choose butter that is cholesterol free and low in saturated fat

Artificial Sweeteners- Sweeteners to the rescue of all those with a sweet tooth? Well, its time to rescue ourselves from the shackles of ignorance! Most of the artificial sweeteners have not been tested thoroughly for long term effects on humans. Why not rather choose fresh fruits (mango, watermelon, custard apple) and/or dried fruits (dates, figs, raisins) to pacify the sweet-craving.

Watch the ingredient list: Avoid sweeteners containing saccharine,aspartame and cyclamate.

Roasted snacks– Popular roasted snacks meant for guilt free snacking may be crushed in the blotting paper for a shocking first hand proof of the amount of oil present or simply turn the pack to locate the edible oil sitting discreetly amongst the list of nutritious ingredients. While only some products are genuine most of them use refined edible oil to spray seasonings and enhance flavour. Go slow on those 100% fat free snacks which can rather jeopardize both health and wealth!

Watch the ingredient list: Avoid excessive snacking on those containing large amounts of edible oil

Cholesterol free oil- Having diligently picked up the most exclusive oil that claims to be cholesterol free to protect and nurture our hearts, we are tempted to gorge on some deep fried puris, kachoris, samosas and finger chips. Open your hearts and minds to the fact that none of the vegetable oils contain cholesterol which is present only in animal foods and hence we cannot take liberty in the amounts we use.

Watch the ingredient list: Use oils/blends of oils containing rice bran oil, mustard seed oil, soyabean oil, etc in rotation.

The wisest way to salvage our health is to follow the principle of moderation in everything we choose to eat. Let’s not alienate the traditional home-made foods to accommodate processed and fortified ones. Instead of straining the grey cells, gear up to stretch and exercise the muscle cells such that we can truly relish that rare sinful indulgence being rest assured of knowing how to bridle that stubborn flab!

A healthy diet is important for healthy life. Right diet along with proper exercise and regular monitoring can help you reduce susceptibility to chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc. eKincare – Your personal health manager can help you monitor your health parameters on a continuous basis and help you lead a healthier life.

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