Featured Post

Nutrition and Hormonal Balance

  Good Morning,  Nutrition and Hormonal Balance As an acupuncturist in the area of fertility, I realize tha...

Subscribe Updates via email

Subscribe Updates via email

Enter your email address:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Immunity Tips: 5 Zinc-Rich Recipes That Are Perfect For Winters

Did you know that theres another mineral you need to load up on to ensure your immunity is in good shape?! The mineral is zinc, and you can find it in a host of foods too

  • Zinc could help boost immunity
  • Immunity can be bolstered with natural foods
  • Some zinc-rich foods are pumpkin seeds, almonds, chickpeas etc

Enjoying the nip in the air? That makes two of us. The chilly weather calls for indulgence, and aren't we glad for all those loose sweatshirts and sweaters that have helped us hide that winter belly all those years? Winter is one of our most favourite seasons of all times but we also cannot ignore the risk of seasonal infections it brings along. Instances of cold, cough and flu are becoming all the more common now and we need to tweak our diet a bit to combat the same. Cold- and phlegm-inducing foods need to be replaced with warm, and energy-boosting foods. We have heard about the co-relation of vitamin C and immunity, but did you know that there's another mineral you need to load up on to ensure your immunity is in good shape?! The mineral is zinc, and you can find it in a host of foods too, along with the supplements of course.

Here are 5 of our favourite winter recipes that are packed with zinc:

1. Sesame Ladoos

Sesame or til ladoos are very common in Indian household, especially during winter and winter festivals like Sankranti. They are very easy to make and helps keep your body warm and fortified. Click here for the recipe. 

Sesame is also known as til in Hindi

2. Roasted Pumpkin seeds

Don't toss away those seeds, they are a treasure of nutrients you do not want to part with. In addition to protein and fibre, pumpkin seeds are also packed with zinc. You can roast pumpkin seeds in butter with a hint of red chilli powder, and it will make for a great snack. 

3. 3-Bean Chat

This chaat comes with the goodness of not one or two, but three beans, and a whole lot of spices, tomatoes, onions. This is one eclectic fare that is actually great for all seasons

4. Spinach and chickpea soup

As discussed before, legumes are a potent source of zinc. They are also loaded with antioxidants that help fight dangerous, disease-causing free radical activity. Chickpea is one legume that is a blend of both health and flavour, combine it with another zinc-rich veggie like spinach and you have a winner

5. Almond milkshake

Almond and milk together make for a powerful zinc-rich combo. Additionally, this lush milkshake also packs the goodness of saffron and other aromatic spices like cardamom. Serve at room temperature

Monday, November 23, 2020

5 Amazing Benefits of Having Gur or Jaggery This Winter

What many don’t realise is that jaggery, more popularly known as gur, has immense health benefits to impart as well.

5 Amazing Benefits of Having Gur or Jaggery This Winter
Representation purpose only.
It is made with sugarcane in North India; date, coconut or other palm trees in East, West and South India. Jaggery, no matter which part of India you hail from, is an integral part of our food culture. What many don’t realise is that jaggery, more popularly known as gur, has immense health benefits to impart as well.

Reaping benefits of jaggery since ancient times

In fact, as a study published in Ayurpharm - International Journal of Ayurveda and Allied Sciences in 2016 points out, Ayurveda endorses the use of jaggery for therapeutic and pharmaceutical purposes - and has done so since ancient times. This is not just because jaggery is a natural and healthy sweetener when compared to white sugar but also because its mineral content is considered to be much higher.

Jaggery is packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus and even has trace amounts of zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Studies suggest that jaggery has B vitamins, some amounts of plant proteins and loads of phytochemicals and antioxidants. No wonder then that eating jaggery, especially during the winter season, has many potential benefits. The following are some health benefits you can garner by including more jaggery into your diet.

1. Cleanses the whole body

According to a 2009 study in Food Chemistry, the antioxidants and minerals in jaggery give it a cytoprotective quality, meaning that not only can it clear the mucus off the lungs but also cleans the respiratory and digestive tracts from the inside out. In fact, eating jaggery at least once daily can help detox your entire body.

2. Improves digestion 

There’s a reason why jaggery is usually consumed after meals as a dessert. It stimulates the bowels and aids the release of digestive enzymes. It is also believed that jaggery is great for people who suffer from constipation and other digestive issues.

3. Prevents anemia

As mentioned before, jaggery is packed with minerals like iron and phosphorus, which aid in the production of hemoglobin in the body. For people with low-iron in their diet or at risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia, consuming jaggery is an effective preventive measure.

4. Improves immune function

Any food that’s packed with nutrients and helps detox the body is great for your immune system and so, jaggery is believed to be one of the best immune-boosting foods available to humankind. This is also the reason why jaggery is consumed more during winter when your body needs that extra immunity boost to help keep cold, flu and other diseases at bay.

5. Aids glucose control and weight loss

Jaggery is a great alternative to white sugar, which is known to increase your blood glucose levels and the risk of weight gain and obesity. Opting for jaggery as a sweetener can not only keep your blood sugar levels in check but also help you control your weight better. What’s more, jaggery can keep you feeling full for longer, which can also help you control your cravings when you’re trying to lose weight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Simple and effective ways to cut down on sugar

Pay close attention to your sugar consumption with these easy tips

One of the simplest and easiest ways to switch to a healthier lifestyle is to pay close attention to one’s sugar consumption. With medical practitioners always recommending the need to cut down on sugar as much as possible, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently listed down some ways in which sugar consumption can be reduced.

“Did you know you end up consuming a lot more sugar drinking carbonated beverages than you realise. Make the healthy swap today!” it said in a tweet.

Why does sugar consumption need a check?

Lifestyle conditions like diabetes and blood sugar have seen an increase owing to excessive sugar consumption. Which is why it is advised to avoid foods with high amounts of added and free sugars, and instead opt for foods with natural or inherent sugars, as it is considered acceptable as long as they are not overly consumed.

FSSAI recommends these dietary changes

Avoid sneaky sugars

Swap your carbonated sweetened beverages with coconut water, buttermilk and fruit smoothies or fruit juices.

Add dates, raisins and figs or even yoghurt to your breakfast porridge instead of adding sugars or sweeteners.

Pick chutney over sauce

Replace bottled sauces and ketchup with fresh homemade chutneys

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Coronavirus FAQs: Should I Purell My Nostrils? Can Lysol Disinfect The Air?

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Keeping your hands clean is always important to reduce infection but especially so now to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Malaka Gharib/NPR

When I get in my car, I always use a squirt of hand sanitizer for my hands. With the tips of my forefinger and thumb, I then rub some of the sanitizer just inside my nostrils. Does this have any helpful or detrimental effect?

Wait, what? Well, good for you for remembering the hand sanitizer for your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says keeping your hands clean is always important to reduce infection but especially so now to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But ... not in your nose, says Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University who previously was Baltimore's health commissioner. "Putting hand sanitizer on your nostrils isn't a barrier to breathing in the virus."

If your hands come in contact with the virus — say by touching a steering wheel that someone with COVID-19 sneezed on, "then using hand sanitizer can kill the virus from your hands and keep it from entering your body if you touch the mucus membranes in your nose, eyes or mouth," Wen says. "But hand sanitizer on, or in, your nose, won't keep you from inhaling in virus particles which can attach to mucus membranes deep inside your nose and throat. "

Your best bet is the whole combination of protective measures: frequent washing or hand sanitizing your hands, especially if you come in contact with an item or surface that someone else might have touched, physical distancing and wearing a mask.

With so many people using hand sanitizer, some popular brands can be hard to find. But don't just settle for any brand: The Food and Drug Administration has found that some hand sanitizers contain hazardous ingredients such as methanol or wood alcohol, which "can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested." Check this FDA website to see if the brand you have or are planning to buy is on its list of hand sanitizers to avoid.

And as long as we're talking about hand sanitizer, here are some refresher tips you might have forgotten since the beginning of the pandemic, courtesy of the CDC and University of Pennsylvania:

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, a recommended percentage for wiping out viral particles.
  • Squeeze out enough sanitizer to cover all surfaces on your hands.
  • After applying sanitizer, rub your hands together until they feel dry — about 20 seconds.
  • Don't rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it's dry or it may not work well against germs.
  • Hand sanitizer does have a shelf life, so get a new bottle when this one reaches its expiration date.
  • Consider storing that sanitizer in the purse or any carrying case you typically bring with you when you get in the car. Sanitizer can evaporate from heat if left in the car, and you may find yourself with none to use when you need it.

We want to plan a birthday party for 13 people. We are all committed to wearing masks and social distancing. Would it help to spray Lysol in the rooms every 30 to 60 minutes to help with disinfecting the air?

The only time we wouldn't have on a mask is to eat.

We hate to be a literal party pooper, but, in a word, no, says Steve Bennett, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Household & Commercial Products Association, the trade association for cleaning products such as Lysol.

"A disinfectant spray is actually designed for surface use, so spraying it in the air will not be effective in protecting indoor guests from COVID-19," Bennett says. He adds that there are no sprayable household products currently registered with the Environmental Protection Agency that can be used to disinfect the air. (And as we reported in an earlier FAQ: "Portable air cleaners can limit the spread of the virus via long-range airborne particles by capturing most of those particles in a HEPA filter and cleaning the air at a rate of up to six times per hour.")

It would be nice to think we could spray away the virus, but the problem with disinfecting spray is that "it only lasts in the air for a few seconds and then falls to the ground, or evaporates, ending any protection," says James Malley, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. So even if you sprayed the air with disinfectant, it wouldn't linger long enough to be effective in the next moment if anyone who's contagious (and not showing symptoms) has resumed talking or breathing in the indoor space.

Like Bennett, Malley says disinfectant sprays are really meant for cleaning surfaces such as kitchen countertops or doorknobs — though he prefers disinfecting wipes. With wipes, you can be sure you've disinfected the entire surface because "you can visually see what has gotten wet and what hasn't," he says. With spray disinfectant, it can be harder to distribute the product across a surface and harder to tell where you've already sprayed. If you do choose to use wipes, Malley has a tip: To ensure a surface is fully disinfected, wait for the surface to dry before touching it.

To learn more about how COVID-19 spreads through the air and how to protect yourself, watch this video from NPR correspondent Pien Huang.

Thursday, November 5, 2020


Curries seem to be the go-to comfort food during the pandemic. One survey showed orders for Indian takeaways doubled after Covid-19 hit the UK. And the good news is that when chosen wisely, curry can be a hot tonic for your body. Experts say spicy ingredients can help lower your risk of everything, from cancer to heart disease. So how do you reap the benefits without piling on the pounds? Here are hot tips on how to cut the calories when it comes to fiery cuisine.
Deep-fried samosas and onion bhajis, which are like sponges for oil, are high in fat and calories. Opt for a starter such as chicken tikka or simply move straight to the main event.

Cracking idea

There’s nothing like a few dips to kick off your meal. Try to stick to one or two deep-fried papadums, at 60-100 calories a time, and go for lower-calorie cucumber dip raita or hot lime pickle, rather than sugary mango chutney.

Saucy advice

When it comes to main dishes, try to avoid curries that are creamy, such as masala and pasanda, which are packed with calories and fat. Choose tomato-based dishes, such as rogan josh, or drier dishes, such as bhuna. Simply swapping a korma for a jalfrezi could halve the calories. A chicken tikka masala can come in at more than 1,000 calories. Go for ovenbaked chicken tandoori instead.

Did you know spicy food is good for you?

Get tricksy

If you do opt for a creamy dish, try to stick to eating the meat, spooning it onto your plate and leaving some of the sauce behind in the container. Choosing fish, such as prawns or cod, and white meat, such as chicken, will tend to be healthier than fattier red meat curries — beef, pork and lamb.

Spice things up

If your taste buds can handle it, order a hotter curry, such as a madras or a vindaloo. These are so spicy you’ll eat more slowly and tend to eat less. Likewise, if you are making a curry at home, add plenty of chilli flakes. Research has shown that they contain a hot substance called capsaicin, which can boost your metabolism to help you burn more fat.

Rice idea

Pilau rice, cooked in extra oil can be 600 calories per portion. Swap it for boiled rice and save 300 calories – that’s an hour’s walking – plus around 30g of fat. Ordering a biryani, which includes rice as part of the meal, can also cut calorie and fat levels. At home, why not try some fibre-rich brown rice with your curry for a change?
Naan better

That naan bread might seem like a good idea, but each one can contain more than 400 calories and 12g of fat, especially if stuffed with cheese or sultanas. Shave off 50 calories by choosing a plain one, or ordering a chapati, which has only about 115 calories and as little as 1g of fat.

Veg out

Do order some veggie side dishes. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals, but something like dal has lots of protein and fibre to help fill you up. Making a veggie curry at home is a great way to use up leftovers – simply add lots of spices for flavour. Homemade curries can also help you slash salt levels — which is great for your blood pressure.