5 foods to help you stay healthy

A dietitian from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has suggested adding five foods to your grocery cart to make 2013 healthier – Bulgur (daliya), Chickpeas, Kale, Spaghetti squash and Sunflower seeds.

1. Daliya or bulgur:


In Indian cuisine, bulgur or daliya in hindi is used as a cereal with milk and sugar. The fiber and protein in whole-wheat products like daliya help keep us feeling full throughout the day. Daliya has a fairly low glycemic index, so it does not dramatically raise blood sugar like refined flour products like white potatoes or white rice.

2. Chickpeas:


Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, or chhola or chana in hindi, are healthy, versatile and inexpensive legumes that are very easy to prepare. They can even be consumed right out of the can.

One cup of chickpeas has 13 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein and three grams of healthy fat. They also have antioxidant properties and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They can be found in the canned foods section or with the dried beans. One should eat legumes like these three to four times per week.

Most of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble fiber, which is great for digestive health. Individuals who eat them typically have better blood sugar regulation since chickpeas are so high in fiber and protein.

3. Kale:


Kale is coarse curly-leafed cabbage. In hindi Kale is karamasag – ek prakar ki bandagobhi.

Kale – a leafy green vegetable – loaded with antioxidant vitamins A, C and K, is also a good source of essential minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. A cup of this vegetable, which can be found in the produce department, is only about 40 calories.

The vitamins in kale are associated with anti-cancer health benefits, and the fiber in kale helps bind cholesterol in the body, which improves heart health. Individuals should include cruciferous vegetables like kale in their diet at least four to five times per week.

4. Sunflower seeds:


Sunflower seeds are generally less expensive than other nuts, and they offer many of the same health benefits as popular choices like almonds and walnuts.

A quarter cup of sunflower seeds has three grams of fiber and six grams of protein. Unsalted sunflower seeds contain healthy fats. Sunflower seeds are a good source of copper, vitamin E, selenium and manganese. Sunflower seeds can be added to salads or yogurt, or eaten plain.

The vitamin E in sunflower seeds offers significant anti-inflammatory effects; and it is an antioxidant, so it also plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

5. Spaghetti squash or squash plant or pumpkin:


Spaghetti squash or squash plant or pumpkin or varieties of kaddu or lauki in hindi is the low-carbohydrate alternative. A one-cup serving of lauki has 10 grams of carbohydrates as compared to about 45 grams in one cup of pasta or rice. One cup has only 42 calories and offers important health benefits.

Like all vegetables, kaddu lauki provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B vitamins and manganese.

Enjoy your best health.

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Dr. Anil Singhal MD (Homeo)