As the temperature starts to decline, activity on your social calendar is bound to go up in equal proportions
As the temperature starts to decline, activity on your social calendar is bound to go up in equal proportions. Winter means an onslaught of weddings and associated festivities, balls and parties. And all this socializing is sure to wreak havoc on your diet and your intentions of sticking to a healthy lifestyle. It’s just too much to expect that one will be able to resist the aromatic qormas and the hearty halwas that have become staple wedding fare.
How does one stay healthy without having to give up on the occasional indulgence? One answer is to turn to superfoods, a group of the most nutritionally valuable foods found on the planet. Low in calories, these foods are loaded with anti-oxidants, fibre and other essential nutrients that not only aid weight loss but also reverse the signs of aging and boost immunity. A healthy dose right before you step out to party will fill you up, ensuring that you end up eating less calorie-laden stuff. Incorporating them in your daily diet will not only mean a healthier body but will be the first step towards adopting a better lifestyle. Here’s a look at 5 superfoods you can start off with:
Kale is the new fad on the health block but its more common cousin spinach is just as nutritionally dense and a lot more readily available. Mustard is another great green vegetable that one can enjoy this season. Their benefits: leafy green vegetables are packed with more nutrients than any other food on the planet. Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, leafy greens give your body the ammo needed to fight off potential killers like heart disease and cancer. Toss them into a salad, eat them cooked or whizz them into smoothies, they will add strong doses of vitamins A, C, K, folate, potassium, and calcium to every meal.
Coconut oil is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. But what is less commonly known is that it can also contribute to weight loss. Coconut oil’s saturated fat is of the medium-chain fatty acid variety, and more easily digested by our bodies that other saturated fats such as butter, meat and eggs. While other saturated fats are stored in the body’s cells, the medium-chain fatty acids are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy. Coconut oil will actually speed up metabolism so your body will burn more calories in a day and hence kick start weight loss.
What can be more comforting than cozying up in front of the fireplace with a hot cuppa and a handful of nuts? This season, make sure that the nuts you choose are walnuts. Just a small handful a day will deliver a healthy dose of omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid, melatonin, copper, manganese and the hard-to-find gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E which helps protect your heart. Walnuts on your plate may also protect your brain and help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Not a nut fan? Then try adding chopped walnuts to cereal or fruit, or blend in to fruit smoothies. Either way, you’ll still reap the benefits of the mighty walnut.
For too long, chocolate has been demonized as a calorie-infested sweet but dairy-free chocolate, in moderation, can actually be beneficial forthe body. It can help elevate
mood, improve blood flow and even lower blood pressure. It helps reduce inflammation and LDL "bad cholesterol," and it’s loaded with antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage, degenerative diseases and even cancer - all of which is good news for chocolate lovers. Keep in mind though, chocolate’s numerous health benefits are not a license to set up camp in the candy aisle. You have to manage your "dose", keeping yours to a modest 1 oz. serving, a few times a week. To maximize chocolate’s benefits, look for high-quality, dairy-free dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa.
Quinoa is one of the most nutritious grains available. Adding a cup of cooked quinoa to your diet will allow you to obtain high-quality protein that provides your body with all of the essential amino acids it needs daily to function properly. In addition to being rich in protein, it’s packed with carbohydrates - including lots of fiber - healthy fats, vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, folate, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Plus its gluten-free and hence great for people who suffer from wheat allergies or gl-uten sensitivities. Being a whole grain, quinoa can help lower high blood cholesterol levels, reducing your heart disease risks and can aid in healthy weight management. Quinoa was once hard to obtain in Pakistan but it’s now found its way to the aisles of most big grocery stores such as Agha’s in Karachi and Al-Fatah in Lahore.