You probably already know that fresh fruit is a much healthier choice than a sugar-filled choice of say, a slice of chocolate cake or a piece of kuih.
That much is common sense, and for some people, making healthy choices like not choosing high sugar choices is enough to keep them on track with maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.
However, some of us need reminders every once in a while and even, getting to know the best ways to prepare certain foods is key to maximizing their nutritional benefits. For some foods, it’s fine to cook them – be it boiling, baking, grilling, steaming, broiling, roasting, frying, etc, but there are some foods which are best taken raw.
Did you know that cooking some foods does the opposite? Meaning that cooking these foods make it harder for your body to absorb the nutrients compared to eating them in its raw state? Yes, true. Some vegetables might be tastier after they’ve been cooked, especially if they’ve had seasoning on it, but you could very well be sacrificing nutrition for taste without even realising it.
The list of foods below state which foods are better eaten raw and why.
Here are the Best 7 Foods Best Eaten Raw:
The red beetroot is a vegetable that actually has a higher sugar content compared to other vegetables, but its nutritional properties completely make up for it. Beetroots are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and the B vitamin folate, all of which benefit you a great deal. It can boost your immune system, fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and even prevent cancer.
When you cook beetroot, they can lose as much as 25 percent of their folate. It may take some getting used to when eating beetroot in its natural state but try having them grated in salads or in juices or smoothies. Combining them with other fruits and vegetables will make it easier to eat beetroot raw, and it will also taste better this way.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that should always be in your grocery list each time you go shopping. This vegetable is not only packed with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, but it’s also one of the vegetables with the most protein. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane which helps to fight cancer cells, lowers high blood pressure and has antioxidants that help with anti-aging and immunity.
Yes, broccoli is great eaten cooked but according to a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it’s best eaten raw because you’ll be able to absorb sulforaphane more quickly compared to eating it cooked.
Onions eaten raw is best for you because this little bulb is packed full of nutrients that can help curb hunger, prevent cancer, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce high blood pressure.
Don’t just eat one kind of onion. Combine them, meaning include both red and yellow onions for your helping of quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid that has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties to help you fight off all sorts of viruses, including the flu and colds.
4. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers should be right there with those citrus fruits when it comes to its Vitamin C content because this vegetable is full of it! In fact, according to abcnews.go.com, red bell peppers have nearly three times the vitamin C intake you need for the day. It also is full of powerful antioxidants and is a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, and magnesium.
You may be able to get away with cooking your red bell peppers for a short time over low heat which will still maintain their sweetness. However, take note that if you cook them for longer, especially if you cook them over 190 degrees Celcius, it will cause their vitamin C properties to break down. Hence why it’s best eaten raw to get the full nutritional benefits of the red bell pepper.
Berries is another that is best eaten raw. If you eat them dried, you can unknowingly consume more sugar in the berries as very often, people put sugar to dry them out. Dried fruit is also not so healthy because dehydrating them causes them to lose the water-soluble vitamins and minerals. This is why it is best to eat berries raw.
Raw berries are low in calories and are super high in nutritional value. They are also great for brain health, keeping your brain sharp and help slow down cognitive decline.
The coconut is one fruit that has multiple uses. Even the tree and leaves are all usable! Drinking raw coconut water can replenish fluids, especially if you’ve had a bout of food poisoning as coconut water is full of nutrients and minerals to help you replace the lost fluids. Even coconut oil that comes from the coconut meat contains healthy fats that strengthen both the brain and heart.
Skip the coconut-flavored processed stuff because anything processed is really not good for you. Eat it in its raw form to get the full nutritional benefits.
Garlic is one of those types of foods that’s almost always consumed cooked, especially in our Asian cooking where we use garlic in practically every thing. Garlic, like onions, contain the phytonutrient allicin, which can be consumed in higher amounts by eaten raw.
A study revealed that eating cooked garlic reduces its anti-inflammatory effects. So, garlic is best eaten raw to get its full benefits. It is also recommended to consume raw garlic two or more times a week to reduce the risk for developing lung cancer. So, amp up the raw garlic in your meals. It’ll do you a wonder of good!
What if we tell you that you can slash the calories, fat and all the unhealthy stuff away from your meals?
It’s possible to cut away the unhealthy stats of your favorite food without the need of forfeiting taste and enjoyment — all you need to do is to make simple ingredient substitutions!
Here are 7 simple ingredient switches you can make to give your recipes a healthy boost, without sacrificing any of the flavor.
Switch 1: Sour Cream With Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Not only will non-fat Greek Yogurt still give you that much-loved zest, it is also low in calorie, filled with protein and contains heaps of active yogurt cultures that will aid in digestion.
Switch 2: White Rice With Quinoa
Although brown rice is a great and healthy alternative, try switching to quinoa as it is packed with even more protein, nutrients and fibre. You would also be glad to know that it carries 40 calories less per serving (when compared to white rice).
Switch 3: White Sugar With Honey (Or Agave Nectar)
Keeping an eye on your sugar intake is made easier with natural sources like honey and agave nectar. As these items are sweeter than manufactured white sugar, you need less of it to reach the desired sweetness in your food or drinks.
Switch 4: Condiments With Herb Spices
Instead of barbeque or chili sauces, go for spices. Apart from successfully adding flavor to any dish, spices are a zero-calorie, unprocessed way that also provide antioxidants that improve overall health.
Switch 5: Tortillas For Lettuce Leaves
When making sandwiches, wraps or tacos, opt for fresh lettuce leaves to hold your fillings. These green alternatives are low in calories (a 2oz serving caries only 10 calories!) and are a great ways of getting vegetables and vitamins into your diet.
Switch 6: Mayonnaise For Mashed Avocado
When compared to mayo, avocados are high in fibre, potassium, and has fewer calories, cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium – making them a great alternative ingredient for when you’re maing sandwiches, salads, dips and other dishes!
Switch 7: Butter Or Margarine With Unsweetened Applesauce
When baking, the applesauce gives the right consistency and a hint of sweetness without all the fat of oil or butter. This works well with any sweet bread and in muffins.
Notice how you’re all pump up over the weekend but when weekday comes, you’re all slump down? Well, what you eat could have something to do with it.
To help you fight the sleepiness in meetings and sluggish feeling around the office, let’s look at your diet and food intake. It might be worth trying some of these foods and drinks to get your body running smoother, these produce have been proven to naturally increase brainpower and heighten one’s mood.
You can find energy-boosting benefits with eggs. They contain phenylalanine which is a molecule your body used to produce the mood-enhancing chemical dopamine. This helps make you feel more alert and enthusiastic for the workday ahead.
Eat: Scrambled, fried, hard/soft-boiled, omelette – wake up slightly earlier to cook eggs for breakfast before work.
There’s a fatty substance called myelin which helps to insulate the nerve fibres that send messages between brain cells. Essentially oily fish contains fatty acids such as omega-3, which help build-up this compound.
Eat: A can of tuna for lunch or take fish oil supplements such as cod liver oil daily.
All you need is just a handful each day for the recommended daily level of zinc to help increase concentration. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eat: Go for the naturally roasted, non-salted variety.
An antioxidant called lycopene can be found in tomatoes. It functions to prevent free radicals from damaging brain cells. By avoiding cell damage, your attention span, memory and problem-solving skills are preserved and enhanced.
Eat: Add tomatoes to your meals anytime you can find them.
This veg has high potassium levels which help increase the speed of signals sent between neurons, hence making your brain more responsive.
Eat: Add raw leaves to your salad or consume boiled spinach with your scrambled eggs at breakfast.
You can find many benefits with these berries. With its high levels of polyphenols, antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, the berries are good for the nervous system and brain function, it helps combat memory loss and boost your mood.
Eat: Buy a punnet or two of berries to snack on weekly.
Skip the coffee and drink up on green tea instead. The tea has less caffeine content but can still act as a mild stimulant to provide your body with antioxidants and flavonoids. Pro tip – green tea can also help offset the effects of alcohol by repairing liver damage, thus it is a great hangover remedy.
Eat: Brew a cup for the morning and afternoon, and sip on it regularly.
Just a few walnuts in your salad or yoghurt can help improve your inferential reasoning skills, thanks to the neuroprotective compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants.
Eat: Grab a handful and snack on the nuts or add them to your oats in the morning.
Just like potassium, the magnesium content in these pulses act to speed up the message transmission between brain cells and relaxes blood vessels. This in turn helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Eat: Make your own hummus with a blend of chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Take this to work with some celery or carrot sticks to munch on.
Rich in antioxidants and carotenoids including beta-carotene, these berries have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to help cure fatigue. It also has vitamin A that is known for its ability to prevent energy deficiency in the body.
Eat: For an effective snack in between meetings, swap chocolate bar for a handful of dried goji berries. You can even add them to your cup of tea.
Source: Express UK
Presenting possibly the word’s tastiest detox – the ice cream cleanse.
Days and days of eating absolutely nothing but ice cream… and all for positive health purposes? What sorcery is this! As shared by this article in Gizmodo, the magical detox is offered by an ice cream parlor at California named Kippy’s!
Heavily intrigued by the cleanse, Gizmodo writer Brent Rose decided that he and his girlfriend should try out the tasty ordeal.
Before you happily venture out to buy tubs of ice creams from grocery stores, do note that the ice cream involved in this cleanse isn’t any ordinary ice cream. Kippy’s! specializes in non-dairy ice cream that’s entirely raw, organic, and coconut-based. The frozen treat is basically organic coconut cream that’s sweetened with honey, and other raw, natural flavors (e.g. orange and vanilla).
In terms of the cleanse, Kippy’s! explains this: “Raw saturated fat from the meat of organic coconuts pressed in-house is the main ingredient of Kippy’s! Ice Cream, and the magic behind our first ever Ice Cream Cleanse. Raw saturated fat is nothing short of a miracle worker in the human body. It helps us digest, repairs the gut, feeds the brain, boosts the metabolism and is a powerful agent of detoxification.”
Going into further details, the cleanse promises you to lose weight and feel good by feeding your body raw saturated fat from the coconuts, as well as living nutrients from the ingredients present in the ice cream. Your body, in the course of the cleanse will also release heavy metals, plastics and other toxins, and the raw saturated fat will increase your metabolism and help you to actually burn fat.
The four-day long ordeal requires you to have five ice cream meals per day – one pint per meal. The five ingenious Kippy’s creations that are supposed to keep you full are:
- Morning – Coconut Yogurt
- Mid-Morning – Orange Crème
- Lunch – Dark Chocolate With Himalayan Fire Salt
- Late Afternoon – Master Cleanse (Lemon and Cayenne combo)
- Dinner – Superfood Ice Cream (Bee Pollen, Cinnamon, Raw Honey)
Sounds tasty right! But the main question is, does it work? According to the Gizmodo writer’s diary – yes it does!
After the cleanse, the writer claimed that both of them lost approximately 6 pounds! In addition to that, they felt much more energized, satisfied, admitted that the cleanse is more manageable that other detox plans. Plus, according to his girlfriend, her skin looked and felt great! To read the whole ordeal of the cleanse, click here.
However, as gnarly as the cleanse sound like, do note there are negative setbacks. Even if the ice cream is made from raw, organic coconut fat, you’d be taking in 820% of your recommended daily saturated fat – which is not exactly good for your body. The writer also notes that you’d be taking in 360grams of sugar per day, and that he and his girlfriend suffered from digestive problems.
But hey, we won’t deny that this is one cleanse we’d still eagerly want to try! Calling all ice cream makers and health enthusiasts in Malaysia – we think some time at the lab and drawing board is due!
Detox your body any day of the week with these foods.
You know the deal with detox as a way to get rid of toxins and waste product from your body? You can do that everyday by eating more naturally purifying foods to help support and keep your body clean. Focus on vitamin and mineral rich fruits and vegetables like these superfoods below that have many detoxifying properties:
As one of the most beneficial food in the world, garlic contains natural antiviral and antibiotic properties. It helps to cleanse the blood and can lower blood pressure. When sliced and cooked, garlic produces a detoxifying enzyme called allicin.
This bright yellow spice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties in addition to high levels of antioxidants. It can reduce fats, purify the blood and aid in digestion. Turmeric has also been found to help increase the liver’s detoxification enzymes.
This vegetable has a generous content of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as the minerals calcium and iron. Also the fact is all leafy greens such as watercress, spinach and kale are full of chlorophyll, which functions to rid the body of harmful environmental toxins from haze, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides and cleaning products.
This humble veggie contains numerous anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. Cabbage helps the liver break down excess hormone, cleanses the digestive tract and soothes the stomach. Cabbage is classified as cruciferous vegetables, which have powerful detoxification activity, including neutralising the damaging compounds found in cigarette smoke.
When eaten regularly, avocados can improve liver health and flush out toxins. It is rich in heart health omega 3 fatty acids which also aid the liver. Avocados work to assist the body in producing glutathione that is an antioxidant and natural detoxifier (it can be found in asparagus and spinach too). Your body is deplete of glutathione when under severe stress, poor diet, pollution and medications.
You get fibre, vitamins, minerals and many beneficial phytochemicals like D-Glucarate, flavonoids and terpenoids from eating apples. These substances are useful in the detox process. Apples are also a good source of soluble fibre pectin, which aids in detoxing metals and food additives from the body. Go for the organic kind though to limit pesticide residues.
Ahh, the wonderful fruit is a great liver detoxifier! Lemon can stimulate the release of enzymes and convert toxins into water-soluble form so you can easily excrete it from the body. Fresh lemon juice has more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and its alkaline properties help balance out the body’s pH levels.
P/S: Don’t forget your water! If you are not properly hydrated, your cleansing efforts won’t mean much. Every system in the body relies on water to flush out toxins and carry nutrients to cells. You lose about 12 cups of water daily through urine, sweat, breathing and bowel movements. So regulate water consumption to support your body!
Avoid unnecessary weight gain with good everyday eating habits.
There are times when it’s easy to overeat and thus pack on pounds; especially during the festive seasons, parties or even when you’re out on a date! Fret not though, because carrying out healthy and daily eating habits can help you maintain your weight and figure.
Read on below for some simple tips and tricks to help you keep in shape, without skipping your favourite slice of cake as a dessert treat.
Do Not Skip Meals
Do not ever, ever skip meals; especially breakfasts! Instead of fasting, fuel yourself up on foods that have a lot of water, fibre, or both — such as fruit and veggies. If you’re constantly pressed for time, a glass of juice, smoothie or yoghurt is better than nothing.
If you have a desk job, chances are that you’d often eat out. If that’s the case, try skipping lunches once in awhile and opt to bring your own homemade salad. Not only will this help keep your lifestyle greener, you’d also be saving yourself some cash.
In case you’re looking for some quick and yummy salad dressing, click here for some suggestion.
Sip On Ginger Tea
Not only is ginger good for one’s digestive health, it is also advantageous for weight loss because it is a fat burner that burns excess fat, sans affecting the general weight. This is why it helps to drink it throughout your day.
Stock Up On Superfoods
Did you know that certain superfoods can actually help you lose weight, as well as reduce your risk of diseases? Examples are:
- Sweet potatoes. These spuds contain lots of fibre, which makes you feel fuller for longer
- Apples. The antioxidants of these superstars help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape”
- Oats. These grains have up to 5 grams of fibre per serving, making them one of the most filling food choices
Have More Soups and Liquid Meals
Smoothies, juice meals and soups make for good alternative meal choices. This is because these are pre-digested meals that will keep you feeling full and hydrated until your next solid meal.
You can also consider doing liquid meals on the days when there are no big dinner plans.
Don’t let rushing through lunch hour be the reason why you’re just gobbling down your food. It’s really not a good habit!
We get it; weekdays are mad days! Some days you’re lucky if you can actually find the time to grab a bite to eat, let alone to chew and savour your food before going back to the office.
Now, the simple act of chewing your food properly is key to enjoying the tastes you’re consuming. It helps to break down the food before going into your tummy. Chewing is crucial simply because it:
Aids in digestion
The first step for digestion is chewing. When you make a conscious effort to chew your food thoroughly, you’re allowing your body to mechanically break it down into smaller and smaller particles. This makes it easier on your digestion.
Encourages saliva production
As you chew, you secrete saliva, which contains enzymes that can help break down fats and starches. When you’re not chewing enough, these enzymes can’t break down starches well to provide you with energy or digest fats, leaving them partially under processed. Thus, you’ll feel more sluggish as a result.
Preps digestive tract
Chewing signals your body to begin the digestion process. It sends signals to the tummy to produce stomach acid and the pancreas to secrete its content into the small intestinal tract. Meanwhile saliva works to help relax your stomach muscles and allow pieces of food to pass along the tract. Without enough saliva, you may experience cramp and can feel a little bloated after.
Promotes repair in body
Generally, food is complex and contains a lot of beneficial components for our body including protein. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are essential for our wellbeing as we cannot create or store amino acids in our body. The lack of chewing creates a barrier to the digestion of proteins and this affects amino acids that we need for growth and repair.
Helps nutrient absorption
Even though the food you put into your mouth gets digested by the stomach, it doesn’t mean our bodies are able to extract all they could. Each piece of food that you eat should be chewed well so that it will allow your body to extract all it can to work positively for you.
Chewing is seen as the fundamental building blocks for disease prevention. When you chew your food properly, you are supporting your body in the process of digestion and nutrient absorption. This in turn helps to increase energy, improve sleep and increase focus. All in all, a better you!
Helps lose weight
Chewing longer may help you to shed the pounds, according to a study by Harbin Medical University, China. The theory is that chewing for longer curbs overeating because your brain has time to receive signals from the tummy that it is full. How many times should you chew then? It was found participants who chewed 40 times ate 12 per cent less food than those who chewed just 15 times.
Feeling stressed, cranky or PMS? Here are some foods to counter the negative feeling of every mood you’re in.
Logic: Life’s answer to most of our problems and rightly so! Chocolate especially of the dark variety, can help to reduce the stress hormones. The components of chocolate have the power to lower cortisol and catecholamines in the body, which aids in reducing your anxiety.
Logic: Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that can help calm your anxiety. Regular consumption of omega-3s is said to be able to prevent and treat clinical depression, it can also reduce anger and irritability. Other sources of omega-3 are sardines, mackerel and herring.
Mood: Sluggish/Can’t Focus
Logic: Ideally you should skip the coffee and have some spinach, perhaps in a salad? Spinach has folic acid that can help your body to process and lower homocysteine levels – which is associated with damage to the blood vessels, interrupted blood flow and nutrients to the brain. Other folate-rich foods include leafy greens, potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.
Remedy: An apple with peanut butter
Logic: Generally irritability is a sign that your body is lacking fuel to burn. Eat a combination of carbs and some protein or fat like apple (healthy complex carbs) and peanut butter (healthy fat). Carbs are a great source of energy that quickly burns out so adding some protein/fat helps slow down the digestion process and help your sugar and energy levels to remain stable for a longer period.
Remedy: Green tea
Logic: Calm down over a cup of green tea, which contains theanine, a component that helps soothe you to maintain clear concentration. The low levels of caffeine in green tea is gentler on your body too.
Remedy: Eat whole grain cereal with low-fat milk
Logic: There’s a possibility your body is lacking Vitamin D, which is essential for the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. When you’re low on Vitamin D, it may affect your body’s ability to stabilise mood and reduce feelings of depression. Boost your intake of Vitamin D with low-fat fortified milk, fortified cereal or mushroom.
Remedy: Egg salad or sandwich
Logic: Right before your period, it’s normal to crave for carbs because it helps boost serotonin levels, which in turn helps improve your mood. Avoid high-sugar, high-fat carbs like chips because it can leave you feeling sluggish/grumpy due to the sudden spike and drop of blood sugar. Go for whole grains like whole wheat bread and add eggs, sunflower seeds or turkey for the perfect carb-typtophan combo.
Source: Women’s Day
Whether we like it or not, there will always be food that’s good and bad for us.
Stomach-aches, gastric and unfavourable bowels; we all know those unfortunate stomach woes that’ll come to haunt us when we eat something wrong. Thankfully, all that can be prevented with one simple act – pick your food wisely.
Below are some of the major foods that might help make digestive processes easier, and vice versa.
Yoghurt contains ‘friendly’ bacteria (probiotics) that help our digestive system function properly. As explained by Gastroenterology expert Dr. McCashland: “Yoghurt has bacteria, which replenishes the normal flora within the gastrointestinal tract so it’s healthy.” However, keep in mind that not all yogurts contain probiotics, so do remember to check for the “live and active culture” on the label.
2. Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains
Fruits and vegetables contain high content of fibre and a wide range of nutrients, which is the key to maintaining a good digestive health. Examples of great greens include:
- Bananas — Great because they don’t irritate the stomach.
- Avocados — These wonder fruits are high in Phytosterols, which is able to block cholesterol consumption during digestion.
- Carrots — Carrots have the ability to increase saliva production and supply essential minerals, vitamins and enzymes, thus aiding in digestion.
Holding the similar concept, whole grains such as brown rice, wheat bread and oats also contain a high amount of fibre.
If you’re looking for an all-natural way of settling an upset stomach, spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric and peppermint are miracle workers. Ideas for consumption would be to drink ginger or peppermint tea, or to suck on lozenges.
1. Chillies and Spicy Food
While certain spices and herbs are beneficial to our stomach, do note that spicy food yield the opposite effects. Spicy foods are bad for digestion because they trigger acid reflux symptoms for some people, especially those with weaker stomachs.
Being high in fibre, corn is supposedly good for you. However, it also contains cellulose, which is a type of fibre that us humans can’t break down easily. This is why if you don’t properly chew corn, it will pass down your intestinal system undigested and result in gas and abdominal pain.
3. Coffee, Tea and Carbonated Drinks
Caffeinated and acidic beverages are one of the main culprits that trigger acid reflux. This is because they over-relax the esophageal sphincter, which keeps stomach acid confined to the stomach.
In addition to that, these also act as diuretics, which can potentially lead to diarrhoea and cramping.
Dieting doesn’t have to be difficult, all you need to do is have a change of mindset – but what can we do to avoid regretting the food choices we make?
The good news is, eating healthy is easier than we think if we plan ahead. Naturally, cutting down on food and drinks with high levels of sugar, cholesterol and calories are crucial but there are also some nifty tricks that you can use to achieve a healthy diet without too much hassle. Try following the smart tips below and you may be surprised with the outcome!
1. Make Veggies Easy to Eat
Sneak veggies into your kids’ diet by blending them into their favourite foods using a food processor. Another interesting point, it’s a great way to make a quick meal too. You could make vegetable soup in 105 seconds or less!
2. Swap Chips For a Banana
As far as snacks go, you can’t go wrong with a banana. It regulates blood sugar and prevents cramps. A medium-sized banana is worth about 105 calories and that’s far healthier than getting your calories from salt and fat-laden snacks like chips.
3. Choose the Right Colours
Some scientists believe colours can affect the appetite. Red stimulates hunger, while blue is thought to suppress it. Do try out this theory and you just might find yourself able to control your cravings.
4. Avoid Eating While Watching TV
This is one simple practice that everyone tends to forget. While you’re engrossed watching the actors hugging and crying together or the hero saving the heroine, you might easily lose track of how much you’ve gobbled down. So, eat before you catch up on your favourite TV shows!
5. Ask yourself, “How Hungry Am I?”
Many of us tend to just take the food that we want to eat rather than the food that we need. Asking yourself this question before taking that first bite could stop you from binge eating.
If you’re keen to learn more about staying fit, Great Eastern Life has put together 105 tips altogether, in conjunction with its 105th anniversary this year. Great starts small, with a single step!