What to eat & not to eat on your periods

Menstrual cycle/ Periods are natural, normal body process which purifies or cleanses body through releasing the tissues that are not needed in the form of blood. It involves hormonal changes that cause development of eggs, ovulation and periods in which the lining of uterus is shed out. Periods make women physically strong and mature.  You can feel mood swings, period cramps, pelvic pain during your periods. It’s natural to have pain but it also depends on what you serve your body?

All you need to do in your periods is just serve healthy food to yourself. Period’s drain a lot of energy in you which needs to be stored largely again, all you need is getting essential nutrients in these 5 days.  Women should eat healthy especially when they are on their periods.  For this, consulting a women health consultants is essential, consult and decide your healthy diet on your periods with the dietitians.   

To have something essential, you should first know what to avoid which makes easy to sort the essential nutrients.

Don’ts:

1) Do not eat processed and preserved food which include junk food, frozen food, bacon, canned soups, papads and pickles etc. that are gone through a process to preserve and use it for a long.

2) Avoid dairy products like paneer, cream and cheese, they are high in arachidonic acid which can cause menstrual cramps.

3) Avoid coffee it increases blood pressure and heart rates and worsens PMS symptoms. 

4) Do not consume fatty food like burgers, pizzas, meat, cream based desserts which my worsen more and cause dehydration and dryness.

4) Avoid refined grains or processed cereals which may cause constipation and bloating.

5) Also avoid high salt content like chips, bakery products with baking soda, canned products, canned soups,etc  which causes water retention.

Do’s:

1) Eat fruits like bananas and watermelons which contain high levels of potassium and vitamins that help to reduce tiredness and weakness and watermelons also help to reducing the bloating of the stomach.

2) Whole grains can be a good choice during your periods.

3) Consume Yoghurt that acts like a probiotic and comes with power-packed nutrients.

4) Can also have almonds and pulses and legumes.

5) Fresh fishes containing omega 3 fatty acids helps in relaxing the muscles which help you to reduce cramps.

6) And your favourite is in the list! Chocolates? Yes Chocolates but Dark! Dark chocolate is full of magnesium which helps you to balance your mood swings!

Healthy diet and exercise is essential not only during periods but also before and after periods that is through-out the month for optimum health and minimum of period symptoms. Do the do’s and avoid the don’ts. Have a happy period!

Siddhi Takalkar-founder of NutriWorks is a Registered Dietitian in Pune with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a vast experience in advising diets for various health conditions and is the best Dietitian and Nutritionist in Pune for all your Nutritional needs.

Increase Haemoglobin Naturally

Low haemoglobin called anemia is a most common condition in majority of population especially in females. Recently I volunteered a blood donation camp in which I observed many healthy people who were eager to donate blood were unfit for blood donation just because of a low haemoglobin count. Low haemoglobin levels without any underlying conditions like in pregnancy, liver or kidney diseases, absorptive disorders, thalassemia, cancers, bleeding wounds etc. can be usually due to improper eating habits, low nutritional content of foods, inadequate nutrient intake or improper cooking methods which can lead to deficiency of nutrients like iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C and proteins together responsible for low levels of haemoglobin.

When you have blood haemoglobin levels below 12.5g% it is termed as anemia. Adequate haemoglobin is required for transport of oxygen to your body cells. It also transports carbon-dioxide to lungs to be exhaled. Our body uses dynamic mechanism to maintain its haemoglobin. It tries to maintain normal haemoglobin by using these stores of nutrients like iron. Once the stores are depleted, slowly the haemoglobin levels start decreasing below normal showing various symptoms. Low haemoglobin gives you general fatigue, paleness, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold extremities (hand and feet), tingling sensation in legs, fast or irregular heartbeat, cravings to items that are not foods (mud, clay, chalk etc.), brittle nails, headaches, etc.

Donating blood for a social cause is a good initiative for which we should keep ourselves fit not only from health point of view but also to maintain your haemoglobin count. To maintain haemoglobin throughout the year we need to have a balanced diet rich in various nutrients. Haemoglobin is made up of heme and globin which requires iron, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12 and proteins. To improve your haemoglobin, you need all these nutrients in your diet in correct amount. Iron deficiency anemia is most common and is seen in majority of females than males.

Improve your iron intake by increasing following iron rich foods in your diet:

  • Non – veg : Meat and fish
  • Eggs
  • Pulses and Beans, peas and lentils.
  • Nuts – Walnuts, Roasted almonds, peanuts
  • Seeds – Garden cress (Aliv seeds), Pumpkin, Sesame and flax seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Most dark green leafy vegetables – Spinach, Shepu, Cauliflower leaves, Broccoli, Rajgeera.
  • Iron fortified breakfast cereals and breads

Usually the vegetarian varieties contain non-heme iron and require vitamin C rich foods consumed along with iron rich foods for better absorption. These foods include:

  • Amla and Guava
  • Sweet lime, orange
  • Fermented products
  • Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, peas
  • Green leafy vegetables

Diet should contain a considerable amount of good quality protein to improve your hemoglobin levels. They include:

  • Egg
  • Lean Chicken
  • Meat and Fish
  • Milk and milk products
  • Pulses
  • Legumes

If you have a anemia due to folic acid and vitamin b12 deficiency, you need to incorporate following foods in your diet.

  • Egg yolk
  • Curd
  • Spinach
  • Gingelly seeds
  • Sorrel (Ambat Chuka), Ladies finger, Cluster beans (Gavar), Tomatoes
  • Whole Wheat

Some Important Tips to improve your haemoglobin:

  • Avoid intake of tea and coffee along with meals to improve iron absorption.
  • Cook at least 1 to 2 dishes in cast iron pan to provide two to three times more iron content than the one cooked in any other pan.
  • Consume foods rich in vitamin C and iron together to improve absorption of iron.
  • Soak, Sprout and ferment foods to improve bioavailability of iron. It reduces amount of phytates and improves iron absorption.
  • Consume minimum of processed foods which lack iron. Consume plenty of natural foods to improve overall intake of nutrients.

Improve your haemoglobin levels… Maintain it all the time…

Take a balanced diet…

Maintain your nutrition and be fit for blood donation…

As one of the few Registered Dietitians in Pune, I feel that everyone should focus on staying healthy, instead of later finding ways to fight off the diseases. I have been working as a diet consultant in Pune and I find that even common illnesses take weeks and months to get better. That’s why, “prevention is better than cure!” If you are looking for a nutritionist in Pune for such preventive diets, Nutriworks is the right place for you.

Improve brainpower of your kids with these diet tips

The kind of stress and competition that our kids face is increasing and getting tougher day after day. It is important that we prepare our kids and make them strong and capable enough to face it.

One way to do that is helping them to focus, concentrate and excel at what they do by boosting their brain power. A proper diet and adequate nutrients are extremely essential in brain health. Here are some tips to make sure that your kids eat healthy-

  • Include whole grains

Like everything else in our body, the brain requires energy (glucose) to function well. Your child can concentrate and focus better when there is a steady and adequate supply of energy. Whole grains like wheat, brown rice, jowar, bajra, etc. help to release glucose slowly in the body, thereby ensuring a sustained supply.

  • Don’t forget the Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of our body. They are essential for the formation of neurotransmitters which send messages across the brain and nervous system. According to research, the healthiest sources of proteins include lean meats, fish, poultry, dairy and plant based sources such as nuts and legumes.

Animal sources of protein are also rich in B complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, B6, B12 and folic acid and choline. These vitamins, especially choline has been linked with boosting memory. If you are vegetarian or vegan, look for fortified foods or opt for supplements.

  • Fats are good

Did you know that almost 70% of our brain is made of fat? It is but natural then that it requires fat for adequate functioning. However, the type and quantity are important. Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA, are essential components for learning and memory. They are found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Plant sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, etc.

Saturated fat such as ghee, coconut oil, full fat dairy products are also essential.

However, it is important to remember that trans-fat, hydrogenated fat, found in deep fried, bakery and processed foods are harmful, since they cause oxidation and damage to the cells.

  • Include fruits and veggies

Most Indian parents complain that their kids don’t like vegetables or they hate eating fruits. However, apart from being high in fibre, this food group contains loads of antioxidants which are beneficial for preventing oxidative stress, thereby preventing fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, etc.

Make interesting recipes and get them interested in what they are eating.

  • Ensure that they are hydrated well

Dehydration can cause a decrease in brain function by affecting the concentration, causing irritability and a generalised lethargy. Avoid this by making sure that they have enough fluids throughout the day. Water, smoothies, milkshakes, soups will provide adequate hydration. Of course, avoid sugary, packaged, caffeinated beverages, since they do more harm than good.

  • Make them go out to play

Exercise in any form helps to boost the brain function by releasing substances that boost memory, cognitive function and help to process information effectively. It also increases the heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain.

So let them run, skip, hop, jump, play cricket, football-whatever they wish!

A balanced diet with ample play time and less of screen time is beneficial in improving your child’s cognitive development. ‘Practice what you preach’! Incorporating healthy habits yourself will provide a good example to your children and make the implementation easier. Happy eating!

Siddhi Takalkar is a child nutrition specialist in Pune. She is also the founder of NutriWorks and is a Registered Dietitian in Kothrud, Pune with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a vast experience in advising diets for various age groups. She is the best diet consultant for all your Nutritional needs.

Super foods for sankrant

Makar sankranti is a festival dedicated to the Sun God. It falls in January and is the beginning of the Sun’s journey into the Makar (Capricorn) sign. It is celebrated all over India and is known by various names such as lohri, bihu, pongal, etc. It celebrates the harvest season and as is the case with all celebrations, food forms a central part of it!

The beauty of this festival is that it is celebrated with food that has various benefits in the winter season. Some of these super foods include-

  1. Til-also known as gingelly seeds. These are basically oil seeds which provide 563 kilocalories, 18.3 gm protein, 43.3 gm fat per 100 gm of seeds. They are rich in various B complex vitamins and minerals such as copper, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Various studies have shown that til seeds provide relief in Rheumatoid arthritis, help in respiratory disorders, promote bone health, improve hair and skin and are a great stress buster.
  • Jaggery-you might think of the humble jaggery as just a sweetener, but it is a lot more than that. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals like selenium and zinc, which help in scavenging the free radicals in the body. It aids in digestion by activating the various digestive enzymes in the stomach. It can help alleviate the symptoms of PMS in women.
  • Groundnuts-are also oil seeds. They provide 567 kilocalories, 25.3 gm of protein and 40.1 gm of fat per 100 gm of seeds. They also contain magnesium, niacin, copper, oleic acid, and antioxidants such as resveratrol. Eating peanuts in optimum quantities can help in weight loss, healthy heart and prevention of gallstones.
  • Ghee-ghee is a powerhouse of nutrients. It provides energy and contains various minerals and fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps in keeping the heart healthy and also helps to flush out toxins from the body.
  • Seasonal vegetables-contain more nutrients, antioxidants and nutrients which are essential for the body. Seasonal vegetables are allowed to develop fully on the plant itself, thereby enhancing their nutrient value.
  • Leafy vegetables-these are grown abundantly in winters and have various health benefits. They are a great source of antioxidants, minerals and fibre. They help to improve the metabolism, relieve constipation, and have cancer-preventing agents like lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Bajra-it comes from the family of millets. It contains 361 kilocalories, 12 gm protein and 5 gm fat per 100 gm of the millet. Additionally, it contains complex carbohydrates, resistant starch, magnesium, polyphenols like flavonoids and omega 3 fatty acids. It is beneficial for gut health, diabetes, healthy heart and helps protect against ageing, cancer and metabolic disorders.

Indian festival foods are often those which are grown in abundance during that time and Sankrant foods are no exception. Enjoy these foods, but be aware of the quantity and portion sizes, because ultimately, moderation is the key!

Siddhi Takalkar-founder of NutriWorks is a Registered Dietitian in Pune with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a vast experience in advising diets for various health conditions and is the best Dietitian and Nutritionist in Pune for all your Nutritional needs.

TOP 10 THINGS U NEED TO FOCUS ON THIS WINTER

The cold season is here! Season change generally has ill effects on your immunity, skin, and overall health. Follow these tips to stay fit this season.

  1. Stay hydrated- During winters, it is easy to miss out on drinking water because of the cold. However, ensure that you have at least 2.5-3 litres of water consciously, everyday.
  2. Include warming spices- Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic, pepper, etc. are known for warming up the body from inside. Include these in your food preparations to beat the cold.
  3. Avoid too much tea/coffee– Although it is extremely comforting to sip hot beverages during cold days, excess of caffeinated once can cause dehydration. Instead, opt for soups, broths, thin porridges, which are equally soothing.
  4. Limit your alcohol intake- There are a lot of parties happening in this season, where you might be tempted to go out of your ‘comfort zone’. However, like caffeine, too much alcohol can also cause dehydration.
  5. Include root vegetables- Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes are a great source of energy and help you remain full for long. Include these vegetables in proportion for a hearty meal. However, don’t over-indulge.
  6. Include vitamin C rich foods- A change in temperature is sure to wreak havoc in the body, leading to lowered immunity. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables will help to greatly improve the immunity and help you withstand the long winter. These include lemon, oranges, sweet lime, berries, capsicum, green chillies etc.
  7. Increase the intake of anti oxidants- Apart from Vitamin C, antioxidants will also help to build a strong immunity and fight the free radical damage caused as a result of normal body processes and also due to pollution. Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Selenium are all potent antioxidants. Including spinach and other leafy vegetables, carrots, berries like strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, nuts like almonds, walnuts, etc, will ensure a good intake of these nutrients.
  8. Have healthy snacking options ready- Winter can be quite gloomy, making you crave for sugary comfort foods to lift your mood. For such times, keep healthier options easily accessible, which can include sprouts, dry fruits like dates, figs, raisins. At times, even a small piece of dark chocolate can instantly cheer you up!
  9. Don’t skip your exercise- As the temperature drops, so does your BMR, leading to a slow and sluggish metabolism. This means that you are more prone to putting on extra kilos during winter. Minimum 30-40 minutes of daily exercise will ensure that your weight remains in check.
  10. Include healthy fats- Dry and cold weather can adversely affect the skin and hair, making it dry and rough. Including healthy fats such as ghee, unsalted butter, nuts, avocado etc. helps in maintaining a healthy skin. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds etc. are rich in Vitamin E, which is also a great antioxidant.

As one of the few Registered Dietitians in Pune, I feel that everyone should focus on staying healthy, instead of later finding ways to fight off the diseases. I have been working as a diet consultant in Pune and I find that even common illnesses take weeks and months to get better. That’s why, “prevention is better than cure!” If you are looking for a nutritionist in Pune for such preventive diets, Nutriworks is the right place for you.

Contact us for an appointment-Don’t get cold on a cold day! Stay warm, stay healthy!

Why does one need a Personal Dietitian?

Why does one need a Personal Dietitian?

Why does one need a Personal Dietitian?

We eat and we eat and we eat. But are we eating the right components? We eat what are grandparents, parents and friends eat do you think that is the ideal situation? Our body gains nutrition from what we consume daily and the necessity of nutrients varies from person to person. A common man is not well informed about the various nutrients his body needs and tends to overlook the situation and does not understand the importance of consumption of the right nutrients.

And this is exactly why Nutritionists exist. A Nutritionist is trained personnel who are capable to understand every unique body and allot the necessary nutrients accordingly. Nutritionist curate personalized nutrition plans for the clients depending upon their age, gender, height, weight, lifestyle, allergies and other aspects. Customization is essential to gain the optimum health and weight status.

The diet plan made by the diet consultant is made by keeping in mind factors such as culture, religion, staple food. Clients have different physiological conditions. For.eg. a pregnant lady requires different nutrients than a lady who is not pregnant.

Other factors such as personal physical health, frequency of exercise and fitness matters while deciding the personal nutrition plan. The diet consultant puts together many factors and then decides the amount and type of nutrient that each client requires. For.eg the diet for a sportsman is completely different than that of an ordinary human. The nutritionist will make sure that the meals are filled with energy and protein giving ingredients.

Factors like money, time also play major role in the level of nutrients we consume via our meals. If the income band is low, people usually settle to eat what fits in their budget and nutritious food takes a back seat. If an individual is always running late and has no time to cook proper meals, he or she ends up eating something quick and unhealthy. For.eg Many youngsters consume maggi as a meal when they are late or are extremely exhausted and don’t want to cook.

This when done once in a blue moon is acceptable but when becomes a routine is threatening to the body in the long term.

Some individuals have higher or lower tendency to absorb certain nutrients. Such people require the guidance of a nutritionist to incorporate similar equivalent nutrient giving via other ingredients which the client is adaptable too. For.eg. for those who are lactose or gluten intolerant the dietician has to be very careful while making meal plans.

The Nutritionist has to make sure that the following points are considered and covered while making a personalized diet plan:

  • The meals must satisfy the daily nutrients demand of the body.
  • Consider economic status of the client.
  • Understand the daily habits of the client.
  • Personal likes and dislikes.
  • Food availability

A generic Diet chart is not suitable for everybody. As each individual is different so is his need of nutrients. If you work towards nutrition today it will work for you tomorrow.  

10 tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle

In today’s fast paced world, in spite of increased awareness Health and Nutrition has taken a backseat. Even kids today, suffer from obesity and high cholesterol due to increase in junk food and lack of physical activity.

Here are some of the ways to achieve a Healthier Lifestyle:-

  • Water: – Begin your day with water (warm/hot optional). On an average we should drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. To be specific, you can simply take a minimum of 40 ml per kg of your body weight to ensure enough hydration throughout the day.
  • Weigh Yourself: – Keeping a check on your weight leads to better and disciplined weight management. You should always weigh yourself on an empty stomach early morning. Weighing at same time can help to guide us better to be on track.
  • Breakfast: – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you start the day right, you tend to eat better overall. Skipping breakfast is one of the major reasons for obesity. It is very essential to break the overnight fast with a sumptuous meal containing majority of nutrients.
  • Walk: – Walking can do wonders to the immune system and helps you in getting rid of a number a diseases and pains. It can range from a 20 minute outdoor walk to an hour of yoga, swimming or any other fitness activity. A minimum of 30 minutes activity minimum 5 to 6 days a week is recommended for best results.
  • Consume Fresh and Whole fruits and foods: – Vegetables contain Potassium, Folate, Vitamins A & C and other micronutrients which keeps us healthy and helps fight infections. Fruits contain fiber which helps in protecting against strokes and heart diseases and also lowers cholesterol. 
  • Sleep: – A solid, continuous 7 or 8 hours of night sleep is a marker of good heart health. Sleep aids in weight loss. Depression, heart diseases, stress etc can be cured and curbed by qualitative sleep.
  • Healthy Habits: – People who tend to live by strict habits/routines tend to be more physically and mentally fit than their counterparts who follow an ill lifestyle. Going to bed, waking up at the same time each day, following a particular diet etc keeps your body in steady equilibrium.
  • Taking up a Hobby/Activity: – Doing something you love boosts your immunity and releases feel good hormones. Be it reading, painting, writing, sketching, volunteering etc, anything that we have a flair for and makes us feel good about ourselves and hones our talent and potential.
  • Reduce Salt and Saturated/Transfat: – Salt and saturated transfat are freely available in processed or prepared foods served in hotels or in packets. They increase risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acidity etc which increase risk for heart disease and stroke. Home cooked meals are the best solution for the same.
  • Cut down Smoking and Drinking: – Smoking (even passive smoking) is one of the leading causes of deaths. Heavy drinking is one of the worst risk factors for many diseases. Smoking as well as drinking alcohol in excess leads to addiction and it increases your risk of disease.

Healthy living isn’t impossible, or even difficult. It’s just a Habit/commitment which we need to gift ourselves for a long, fit and blessed life.

This article is sourced from Dt. Siddhi Takalkar Deshpande, a dietitian, clinical nutritionist and lifestyle consultant, one amongst the best in Pune, Maharashtra.