The 21-Day Early to Bed Early to Rise Challenge

Welcome to the Fabulous Body 21 Day Early to Bed Early to Rise Challenge

What is the Early to Bed Early to Rise Challenge all about?

Participants have to build a Sleep/Wake-Up Schedule with at least 7 Hours of Sleep.

In addition, they are required to create their Evening & Morning Rituals that’ll help them to Sleep Deep and Seize their day respectively.

Why 21 Days?

Habits take time to build. Research has proven that it takes approximately 21 days to imbibe a habit.

What is the Aim of this Challenge?

The aim of this challenge is three-fold:

1) Help people set-up a Sleep Schedule- Sleep Early & Wake Up Early.

2) Help people ‘Sleep Deep’ with the help of an Evening Ritual.

3) Help people Build a Morning Ritual so that they can Seize the Day!

Note: We’ll help you build/create your rituals according to your lifestyle:)

What will you Gain out of this Challenge?

By sleeping early and waking up on time you’ll achieve the following:

-Optimize your health

-You’ll be able to wake up fresh after sleeping deep for 7-9 hours

-You’ll have more time to pursue your passions and hobbies

-Your mood will improve, with reduced anxiety and overall stress!

and much more..

How can I be a part of this Early to Bed Early to Rise Challenge?

Hosting a challenge requires a platform that can handle the complexities of managing a large group.

Therefore we have zeroed down on hosting this free challenge on our Facebook Group.

You can send us an invite here. It’s Free!

Hope to see you on the inside and take control of your health & life!

By the way we had great success with our previous three challenges that we had conducted in the past few months.

Our 1st Challenge: The 21-Day No Sugar Challenge; Download the Free Guide.

Our 2nd Challenge: The 21-Day Stand & Walk Challenge; Download the Free Guide

Our 3rd Challenge: tHE 21-Day Healthy Beverage Challenge; Download the Free Guide

Join our Facebook Group to be part of this challenge and many more to come!

The Stand & Walk Challenge: 03rd Jan-23rd Jan 2022

Hi Guys, I am back with details of the next challenge. I have decided to call it the 21-Day ‘Stand & Walk’ challenge. 

By the way, if you did not take part in the last challenge, this No-Sugar guide will give you the complete highlights of the 21 No-Sugar Challenge that was conducted in our Fabulous Body Facebook Group a few weeks back!

The Rationale Behind The 21-Day ‘Stand & Walk’ Challenge

Most of us are chronic sitters. We sit for almost 8-10 hours daily. 

Our bodies were meant to move; movement is in our DNA. 

However, our health suffers due to technological advancements, as most of us are glued to our computers in a hunched-over position!

A study labeled chronic sitting as the new smoking. I wrote an article with the same title more than a decade back. 

Yes, I have been educating people about the detrimental effects of sitting on our bodies.  

Besides sitting, we also lead an overall sedentary lifestyle. Another study concluded that the average step count for most people is around 2500 steps, significantly less. 

The ‘Stand & Walk’ challenge has a two-fold aim: 

First, it’ll help you inculcate walking as a habit in your daily routine. 

For this, you would be required to buy a fitness band if you don’t own one. 

Phone app won’t do as we don’t carry our phones everywhere, plus they underestimate our steps.

There are many cheap options on Amazon that you can check out. 

Another study concluded that your step count increases by 27% if you own a fitness band. I can surely vouch for this as I have owned one for more than ten years. 

The second aim of this challenge is to teach & educate on how you can alternate between sitting and standing. Ideally, build a habit of not sitting for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. 

If you want to participate in this challenge, send us an invite to join our Facebook Group

It’s Free to Join, and so is the Stand & Walk Challenge:

Hope to see you on the inside:)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYOejogsbo_/

The 21 Day No Sugar Challenge: Summary & Results

An article in New York states that 90% of people who lose weight gain it back within a year, sometimes more than they have originally lost! 

Being in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years, I know this fact to be true! 

But why is that? 

The most important reason is that we take losing weight as an event. 

“Oh, I am getting married in 3 months; I should lose 20 lbs.”

“I have a beach vacation next month; let’s get those abs.” 

To achieve our unrealistic goals, we restrict food, go on a starvation diet, do excess cardio, and in the process, we manage to lose a decent amount of weight.

What happens after the ‘event’ is over? 

Of course, we celebrate. 

We binge-eat, and as a result, our bodies gain all the weight back. 

The cravings and hunger become too intense, and we ultimately revert to our old eating patterns and, therefore, our original weight!

If you want to lose weight and keep it off permanently, you need to build habits. 

Not just one habit, but about a dozen key health & fitness habits which, when mastered, will help anyone achieve their health & fitness goals and maintain them possibly for life. 

It’s a good idea to isolate these habits and tackle them one by one. 

Twenty-one days is a good enough time to build a habit (however, it’s not enough and often requires a maintenance phase.

Related:

The 21 Day No Sugar Challenge- All Details

Group Member’s Contributions:

Meal Pictures Posted by our Fabulous Group Members

Testimonials given by our Group Members:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXGnG54PFXV/

Final Thoughts

Habits can make or break us!

Fabulous Body’s mission is to help people get fit & healthy, and what better way to support and guide them to build about a dozen key health & fitness habits. 

I strongly believe that isolating a habit and strengthening it for 21 days and then solidifying it with a maintenance phase can significantly increase the probability of maintaining a given habit for a very long time, potentially for life!

Therefore, our aim with the Fabulous Body Group – our Inner Circle is to conduct 21-Day (or 3-day or 11-day, etc.) challenges and help members solidify these habits. 

The next habit we are going to tackle will be movement-related. 

The name of the challenge is Stand & Walk Challenge (it’s a working title). 

Brief: Chronic sitting has become the new smoking. Most of us sit for more than 8+ hours daily. This creates muscle imbalances, distorts our posture, causes joint pain, and may lead to chronic medical problems when not addressed. 

Therefore, the key idea with this challenge is to increase our step count (be more active overall) and take frequent breaks by not sitting too long (Pomodoro techniques can work wonders here)

I have a lot of ideas that I want to share with Fabulous Body Inner Circle. 

Send us an invite if you want to be part of this group:) It’s free to join:)

The 21 Day No-Sugar Challenge

Welcome to the Fabulous Body 21 Day No-Sugar Challenge!

What is the No-Sugar Challenge all about?

You have to refrain from eating calories from sugar. 

Foods that have added sugars in them are restricted. We’ll provide you with a list of foods items that you can and cannot include in your diet for these 21 days. 

Why 21 Days?

Habits take time to build. Research has proven that it takes approximately 21 days to imbibe a habit.

Why eliminate (or minimize sugar)?

Sugar comes in many disguised forms.

Consider this chart:

Added sugar is present in ~75% of processed foods and beverages in the United States. 

Sugar is added to pastries, biscuits, ketchup, cured meats, candy, bread, soups, cereals, salad dressings, pasta sauces, flavored yogurts, and so forth.

A large percentage of calories from added sugar comes from soda, juices, and other sugary drinks.

Numerous studies support a strong association of SSBs consumption with an increased link to obesity. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862465/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836186/>))

Scores of scientific literature indicate that the consumption of SSBs causes insulin resistance. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5819237/>))

When mixed with saliva and bacteria, sugar can dissolve teeth enamel, ultimately leading to cavities! ((<http://www.actiononsugar.org/sugar-and-health/sugars-and-tooth-decay/>))

The more sugar your teeth are exposed to, the higher the risk of developing cavities.

Lastly, added sugar can increase the risk of various chronic diseases. ((<https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1819573>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22412070/>))

Sugar is addictive. It is a mighty enemy! ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/>))

What are the Sugary foods that I cannot eat on this challenge?

What are the foods that I can eat on this challenge?

What will you gain out of this challenge?

Eliminating sugar from your diet can help you achieve the following:

-Help you lose weight.

-Help you optimize your health.

-Improve your gut health and therefore improve digestion.

-Reduce gas, bloating, and chronic inflammation.

-Normalize your blood glucose levels.

-Improve mood, reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Bottom line, even if you lose (don’t win any prize), you’ll still win:) 

How can I be a part of this 21 Day No-Sugar Challenge?

Hosting a challenge requires a platform that can handle the complexities of managing a large group. 

Therefore we have zeroed down on hosting this challenge on our newly created Facebook Group. You can send us a request here

What Is The Keto Diet? Benefits Of Keto Diet

Anyone trying to lose weight these days who is active on the internet has heard about the keto diet. In this article, we will try to learn a few things about the keto diet, namely:

  1. What Is the Keto Diet?
  2. How Does the Keto Diet Work?
  3. Benefits of A Keto Diet
  4. What to Eat On A Keto Diet
  5. Keto Diet Side Effects

What Is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is a nightmare for those who enjoy rotis, bread, pasta, rice and noodles, although it’s not so bad as it sounds. 🙂 

 A standard ketogenic diet is a diet with close to 70% of calories from fats, 20 – 25% from protein and less than 5% (somewhere between 20 – 50g/day) from carbohydrates.

In simpler words, fats become the primary source of energy or calories on a keto diet. Proteins keep their place as the secondary source, and carbohydrates are severely restricted. 

To give you an example, a single cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta has approximately 42 g of carbohydrates. That is almost the entire quota of carbohydrates for the day. For some, it is more than the total allowance. 

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

Now that we know what the keto diet is, let’s talk about how it works to clarify why it became such a popular diet for those looking to lose weight.

Glucose is not the only fuel source for the brain and our bodies. Besides glucose, the body can burn its fat stores for energy through the process of ketosis. Our genetics were formed millions of years ago and programmed to use both sources of energy. 

Ketosis is the natural metabolic state of human beings. Without food for days, with no glucose or glycogen reserves left in the liver or muscle, the body breaks down body fat reserves in the liver.

The by-product of this fat metabolism produces energy molecules called ketones that can act as an alternative energy source for the brain and body.

This leads to ketogenesis and eventually provides us with energy from fats rather than from glucose that comes from carbohydrates. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29630231/>))

Benefits Of the Keto Diet

There must be some fantastic benefits for something to become as popular as the keto diet, right? Let’s find out what makes it so popular.

Rapid and Sustained Weight loss

A keto diet alters and optimizes the hormonal profile by lowering insulin levels, which triggers the mobilization of fat stores in the body. The result is a good measure of fat loss, as fat is utilized for energy.

There are many studies on the long-term effects of the keto diet. The results of these studies consistently show that among various groups of subjects, with one group on a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and the other on a high fat diet, those who ate more fats lost much more fat mass than the other groups.

They also had decreased levels of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose and increased levels of HDL cholesterol. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23651522/))

Appetite Suppression

Losing weight with a crazy craving for sugar is a very tough job. Consuming food high in fats helps with that. Fats are slower to digest and hence remain in our system for longer. They do not flood the system with sudden bursts of glucose that dies down as suddenly as it began.

The time needed to digest fats gives us a chance to realize we are full and do not need to eat more, which often doesn’t happen when we eat a lot of carbs, including most breads, rice, pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods.

When we manage to suppress hunger, we can control our caloric intake better, leading to a reduction in fat gain.

Increased Energy Levels and Mental Clarity

Metabolic changes happen when we go into ketosis, especially when it relates to the brain.

Ketones, as we discussed, are an alternative fuel for the brain and body. When there is no glucose available, fatty acids break down into ketone bodies in the liver. These ketones then act as an alternative fuel source for our energy-sucking brains.

With an alternative fuel source, we don’t run out of energy quickly. The brain is 60% fat, and since fats are crucial in determining the brain’s ability to perform well, a brain fed enough healthy fats does not have mood swings. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20329590/>))

May Help Reduce Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. 

Alzheimer’s worsens over time. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. 

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Although there are very few studies of whether a ketogenic diet can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the studies that have been done show promising results.  ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19664276/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26766547/>))

May Help Reduce Epileptic Seizures 

The journey of keto started in 1921 with Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Wilder created a low-carbohydrate diet for children suffering from epilepsy. And it worked! Approximately half of the children who ate a low-carb diet had half as many seizures, and 15% became seizure free. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515147>))

May Help Improve Symptoms of Type-2 Diabetes

A person with type-2 diabetes suffers from insulin resistance. A primary feature of insulin resistance is an impaired ability of muscle cells to take up circulating glucose. A person with insulin resistance will divert a more significant proportion of dietary carbohydrate to the liver, where much of it is converted to fat, as opposed to being oxidized for energy in skeletal muscle.

A 16-week 2005 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism concluded that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) may improve glycemia and reduce the need for medications in patients with type 2 diabetes.  ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1325029/>))

May Improve Heart Health 

A ketogenic diet is also known to balance cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and triglycerides. 

Various studies suggest that optimizing different types of fats in the diet can positively affect issues caused by refined carbs in today’s general dietary practices. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16424116/>)), ((<https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00518.x>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12088525/>))

What To Eat On a Keto Diet

With so many benefits offered and studies to back them up, one wonders what to eat and not eat when following a keto diet.

When on the keto diet, completely avoid refined flour as pasta, noodles, or white bread. Avoid refined sugar, packaged fruit juices with fructose, cakes, pastries and even brown rice, beans, lentils, tubers, yams, whole grain bread and unhealthy trans fats from deep-fried foods.

Eat good amounts of vegetables and fruits like avocado, broccoli, and others, but be sure they rank low on the glycemic index. Also eat poultry, meat, fish, eggs, butter, cream, nuts, and seeds.

You can consume anything naturally sourced that has fat in it. 

However, remember your TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Eating excessive calories can still lead to weight gain and all kinds of health issues that come with obesity.

Here is an article on the importance of maintaining caloric intake:

https://fabulousbody.com/calories-in-calories-out-cico-does-it-matter/

Keto Diet Side Effects

There aren’t many side effects of the keto diet in the long term unless you fail to plan it smartly. However, when you begin a keto diet, you may suffer from a condition called the keto flu.

Most of us are so used to eating carbs as the largest contributor to our daily diet that changing our primary energy source causes symptoms, including:

Headache

Brain fog

Dizziness

Nausea

Carb cravings (obviously)

Irritability

Muscle cramps

Constipation

Diarrhea

General weakness

Lack of focus

Difficulty sleeping

However, if you optimize your water intake, sleep properly and include all healthy fats, the keto flu may pass sooner than you expect. 🙂

Conclusion

A keto diet is a fantastic way to lose fat and tap into a huge energy source, as fats have more calories per gram than other macronutrients. It also helps stabilize hormones, cholesterol and blood pressure levels but is very hard for vegetarians, especially Indian vegetarians. 

Since there are restrictions on almost all the usual sources of carbs, including legumes, it’s very hard for a vegetarian to get enough protein on a keto diet.

As with everything else, it’s best to be careful when starting something new and plan ahead before embarking on the journey. Also, if you have any medical conditions, consult your physician before beginning a new diet.

Let me know what you think about this or ask any questions in the comments below!

What Is Bone Broth And What Are Its Benefits?

“Bone broth isn’t just broth. And it isn’t just soup. It’s concentrated healing.” ~ Kellyann Petrucci

My father loved serving us a big bowl of bone broth in Delhi winters. I used to wonder why and hated it when he gave it to us. It was almost like medicine at that point.

But “shorba” (that’s what he called it in Hindi) was to make us strong and build our immunity against the cold winters, he told me years later.

Little did I know at that age the logic and nutrition behind it.

Many vegetarians might not know the benefits of bone broth; let me widen your horizons with the information in this article about bone broth.

1. What is Bone Broth?

2. Bone Broth Nutrition Facts

3. Bone Broth and Gut Health

4. Benefits Of Bone Broth

5. How To Make Bone Broth

6. Precautions

7. My Recommendation

What is Bone Broth?

Meat water and stock are two other terms for bone broth, but in the culinary world, bone broth is not stock but the flavorful juices obtained from simmering bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, and vegetables with herbs and spices for a few hours to overnight.

Stock is made by simmering bones and leftover meats with a mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) in water, usually unseasoned, and is cooked for a shorter duration than broth.

The long cooking process for bone broth allows nutrients like proteins from collagen, tissues, and gelatin to ooze into the water, creating a flavorful, nutritious, thick broth rich in protein. There has been a curiosity for differences in animal protein and plant protein.

To know more about Protein:

https://fabulousbody.com/plant-protein-vs-animal-protein-which-is-better/

Bone broth has been a part of traditional diets in many communities globally for thousands of years. It has recently gained popularity and recognition as a flavorful, nutritious broth base for many dishes and dietary supplements.

Bone broth is generally made using bones from pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, venison, chicken, or fish. Leftover bones, marrow, and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards, or fins can also create a broth.

Bone Broth Nutrition Facts

The nutritional content of bone broth varies based on the quality of meat, bones, ingredients, and cooking time.

The USDA Nutrient Database states that 1 cup of homemade chicken or beef stock has 31- 86 calories, 0.2- 2.9 g fat, 4.7- 6 g protein, and a varying amount of calcium, iron, potassium, and other minerals. ((<https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/recipe/2768812/2>))

Animal bones are rich in many trace minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Bone marrow is generally rich in nutrients like iron, vitamins A and K, fatty acids, selenium, zinc, manganese, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Fishbones contain iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function and metabolism.

Connective tissue provides glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage known to support bone and joint health.

The bones of animals and fish also contain the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yields several essential amino acids. ((<https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/collagen>))

Benefits of Bone Broth 

Bone Broth and Gut Health

Researchers and scientists have begun to identify a correlation between gut health and rising cases of some chronic health conditions.

These discoveries have laid the groundwork for balancing gut health and developing therapeutic strategies that might modify gut microbiota. Diet may contribute to the health of the intestinal tract. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983973/>))

Two diets that emphasize bone broth for better gut health are the GAPS diet and the paleo diet.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride designed the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet. She focuses on improving gut health, which in turn, she says, will improve symptoms of many diseases, including ADHD, dyslexia, schizophrenia, and autism.

In her diet plan, “it is recommended to consume a cup of bone broth or meat stock with every meal. Many patients have difficulty digesting fats at the initial phase of the diet but might tolerate a few tablespoons of bone broth while the body is healing.” ((<http://www.gapsdiet.com/gaps-full-diet.html>))

People living in the Paleolithic period, or “cave people,” ate whatever their surroundings afforded them. In its purest form, the paleo diet allows you to eat only foods that humans ate when they first roamed the planet millions of years ago. The diet emphasizes eating fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts and skipping dairy, grains, and legumes. Bone broth is a legitimate fit for this diet.

Bone broth is also a realistic option to drink in intermittent fasting diets and fits well with macronutrient requirements in the keto diet.

The benefits of bone broth are so popular that an entire diet, “The Bone Broth Diet,” has been created around it.

Bone broths contain gelatin, which is said to be a digestive aid and may bind to water in the digestive tract, helping foods move through the gut more quickly.

Glutamine, an amino acid in gelatin, may help maintain the intestinal wall’s function, preventing and healing a health condition called “leaky gut.”

Leaky gut-a weakened stomach and bloodstream barrier, is associated with many chronic diseases.

Drinking bone broth may be a simple way to get anti-inflammatory amino acids, benefiting patients with leaky gut and irritable bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27749689/ >)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622680/>))

Bone Broth and Bone Health

Collagen is a significant component of bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, skin, and even blood vessels.

A study linked consuming collagen from chickens with reduced knee joint symptoms like pain, stiffness, and physical function in people with osteoarthritis. ((<https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8 >)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24852756/>))

Connective tissue provides glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds in cartilage that may decrease joint pain and reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15846645/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25589511/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12860572/>))

Bone Broth May Be Anti-Inflammatory

Chicken soup has been a remedy for symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections for many years across cultures. Laboratory tests suggest that chicken soup inhibits neutrophils’ activity, white blood cells that are the “first responders” to inflammation. ((<https://www.unmc.edu/strategic-communications/media/press-kits/chicken-soup/chickensouppublishedstudy2000.pdf>))

The long cooking time for bone broth may break down cartilage and tendons, releasing anti-inflammatory compounds. The amino acids available in bone broth, including glycine and arginine, may have potent anti-inflammatory effects.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12589194/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21996294/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4899898/>))

There are more health benefits of drinking bone broth, but more scientific evidence is essential to support many of these claims.

How To Make Bone Broth

Making bone broth at home is very easy.

A simple way to make it is to save bones from other meals or buy meat and bones from the butcher and roast them in a large pot or Dutch oven with a little desi ghee or olive oil.

Then add any vegetables you like, but generally, onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and fresh herbs go well.

Once roasted, top it up with filtered water until generously covered(about 10- 12 cups).

Next, add salt and spices to taste.

Then add 1- 2 Tbsp(15- 30 ml) of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. The acidity breaks down the collagen and makes it more available in the broth.

Bring to a boil, then let the broth simmer for at least 10- 12 hours or until reduced by 1/3 or 1/2 to yield about 5- 7 cups of thick bone broth.

The longer it simmers and reduces, the more intense the flavor becomes, and the more collagen is extracted.

Some people also prefer soaking the meat or bones in vinegar for a couple of hours before extracting more nutrients upfront.

One can drink the bone broth by itself or use it as a base for sauces, soups, gravies, and more.

Precautions

There are toxicological issues and health risks associated with ingesting toxic metals such as lead that can accompany bone minerals.

Lead concentrations may be lower in animals raised in optimal environments.

My Recommendation

The best part and most remarkable benefit of traditional cooking is that the young generation returns to their kitchens to prepare homemade healthy meals from scratch.

Bone broths with the addition of vegetables can be comforting, warming, and nourishing. A low fat, low sodium, vegetable-rich bone broth can be a part of a healthy meal.

I recommend making bone broth at home from organic, pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish, which will minimize toxins and maximize nutrients and minerals.

What do you think of this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Why Water Is Important for Health? | Optimal Water Intake Per Day

Water is essential for life. Approximately 65% of the adult body is water. This percentage is more in infants and less in the elderly. 

Water is indeed an essential nutrient, and every organ and system in the human body counts on the water to function optimally. 

In this article, I’ll discuss the following:

  1. Is Water a Compound or an Element?
  2. Why Water is Important for Health
  3. 3 Steps to High-Quality Drinking Water
  4. Optimal Water Intake Per Day
  5. Final Thoughts

Is Water a Compound or an Element?

A compound is formed when two or more atoms combine through chemicals bond with each other. 

Water’s chemical composition is H2O. This means that two atoms of oxygen are chemically bonded with one atom of hydrogen.

Water is everywhere on planet earth. Just like our bodies are ~70% water, planet earth is also 70% water. Oceans consists of ~97% of all the water found on earth. 

Most people confuse water with an element. Before the discovery of atoms and molecules, water was indeed called an element. 

But scientifically speaking, an element is a substance with only one type of atom but water consists of two types i.e. oxygen and hydrogen. 

Therefore water is not an element. 

Why Water is Important for Health

Water’s importance is established because most of us can survive without food for several weeks, but when it comes to water, the time is limited to only a few days!

It is a vital nutrient that is required in optimal quantity on a daily basis. 

Before I discuss how much water one should consume daily, let’s understand the key role in the human body. 

Water and Brain

According to BrainMD.Com:

“Your brain is 80% water, your muscles (including your heart) are 75% water, your blood is 83% water, your lungs are 90% water, your skin is 64% water, and even your bones are 30% water.”

Optimal water intake helps with maintaining memory function, improving concentration and cognition. 

Mild dehydration, which is 1-3% bodyweight loss of water, can brain function. 

Cognitive functions such as concentration, alertness, and short term memory are altered during mild dehydration. 

Water and Weight Loss

Whenever I put my clients on a calorie deficit diet, they complain of increased hunger. 

I tell them it is not hunger. It’s just cravings. 

To curb their cravings, I suggest they zero-calorie beverages that include water as the first thing they should reach for. 

Other zero-calorie beverages also include black coffee, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, green tea. 

It’s important to note that these beverages are 99% water and is a very effective strategy to curb cravings and act as appetite suppressants. 

A long-term randomized controlled trial done on 173 premenopausal overweight women concluded that increased water intake resulted in significant loss of body weight and fat over 12 months.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787524/>))

A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinal Metabolism concluded that drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 minutes and reached a maximum after 30-40 min.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/>))

Various other studies support the same results that water intake results in an increased metabolic rate.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24179891/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25097411/>))

Water and Skin Health

As we have learned, that skin is 64% water, and increasing your water intake will positively affect your skin health. 

Optimal intake of water helps in getting rid of skin toxins resulting in radiant skin. 

Enough water intake also reduces water retention. Water retention occurs due to less water intake as the body tries to retain more water to prevent dehydration. 

However, when you drink enough water, there is no reason for the body to retain water!

This reduces the ‘puffy’ look and makes you look toned.

Helps Lowers the Risk of Chronic Diseases

A study((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10228189/>)) published in the New England, Journal examined 47,909 participants over ten years. It concluded that a high fluid intake is associated with a decreased risk of bladder cancer in men. 

A similar correlation was identified in another study for colorectal cancer.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8827352/>))

Another study((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11978586/>)) analyzes the association between water intake and coronary heart disease in 12,017 women and 8,280 men. 

In this six-year follow-up, they found out that men and women who drank more than five glasses or more water per day reduced their coronary heart disease risk by 54% and 41%, respectively. 

Regulates Body Temperature

Water helps regulates body temperature. For example, when you exercise, you start to sweat. Sweat production is linked with the intensity of your workouts and the environmental condition. 

During these times, it’s important to increase water intake to avoid dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. 

Adequate re-hydration during exercise has been of considerable interest and of particular interest to athletes as a hydrated body 

3 Steps to High-Quality Drinking Water

Step 1: RO System

I am sure most of you already have a branded RO system installed in your house. 

Reverse Osmosis (RO) removes contaminants from unfiltered water that comes into your house through the main water supply system. 

There is no need for a RO system in most developed countries as the tap water is safe to drink. 

However, in countries like India, a RO system is almost necessary as the tap water has many contaminants that can be removed with the reverse osmosis system. 

There are many stages in how a reverse osmosis system works where unfiltered water passes through a sediment filter, a carbon filter, and a semi-permeable membrane. 

You can easily find the complete process explained here.(https://www.freshwatersystems.com/blogs/blog/what-is-reverse-osmosis)

Step 2: Store the water in a Copper Vessel 

Ayurveda recommends the use of copper for storing water. 

Copper is an essential trace mineral and vital to the body’s health from fetal development to old age.

Copper is known to have antimicrobial, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant properties. 

The body uses copper to carry out many vital functions, including making energy and maintaining the nervous and immune system.

Your body also needs copper for brain development and iron absorption.

According to this study((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312355/>)), the copper surface destroys most bacteria, fungi, and other germs that can cause ill-health. 

More studies also support the fact that copper indeed kills all pathogens and makes water edible for drinking.((<https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1419/0850/files/Copper_Water_Vessel_Study_2.pdf?11079965153100211770>)) ((<https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1419/0850/files/Copper_Water_Vessel_Study_3.pdf?11079965153100211770>))

Step 3: Store the drinking water for many hours and ideally expose it to the Sun

Once the filtered water is filled up in a glass bottle, store around 5 liters of water in the copper pot. I do this every alternate evening. 

Please note it’s important to store the filtered water for at least 8 hours in a copper vessel to gain the benefits discussed above.

I drink around 750ml of copper-infused first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I strongly recommend that you do so. This is because your body is dehydrated overnight, and re-hydrating first thing in the morning with copper-infused water is the best thing you can do to kickstart your day!

Once the Sun is up, I keep the copper vessel out in direct sunlight for the water to become energized. 

Although there is no scientific evidence supporting the fact that the sun rays do have a positive effect on drinking water, I like to believe that the Sun rays further help kill any pathogens left and infuse the water with vital energy. 

A few more suggestions:

There is no risk of toxicity from drinking water stored in a copper vessel even for several days. According to WHO((<https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutwaterrequir.pdf>)), 2mg/liter is the upper limit for the consumption of copper in water. 

Based on the studies linked above, copper levels in the water were around 0.177mg/L, which is significantly lower than the upper limit. 

However, my suggestion is to re-fill your copper vessel every alternate day to keep things fresh!

Another suggestion is to clean your copper vessel periodically. You can learn more about how to clean your copper vessels here. 

Optimal Intake of Water Per Day

Now that we have learned the best ways to drink high-quality energized water for good health, let’s understand how much water you should drink every day for optimal cognitive, mental, and overall health. 

Just like one’s protein intake is intrinsically linked with their activity levels, the same way your water intake will vary based on where you live and how active you are. 

If you live in a country where it’s hot and humid most of the time, your water intake will be higher because you will lose more water in sweat. 

Similarly, if you indulge in moderate-to-high intensity workouts, your water intake will be more than people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. 

In 1945, the National Academy of Sciences advice 1 milliliter of water for every calorie you eat. 

For example, if you eat a 2,000 calorie diet, you should drink 2 liters of water per day. 

When you average the intake touted by most health authorities, it comes to roughly ~2 liters per day. 

This is roughly eight glasses (8 ounces) of water. 

In-fact 8×8 is a popular water unofficial recommendation that most people abide by and has been quite popular in the press for decades.((<http://www.dining.ucla.edu/housing_site/dining/SNAC_pdf/DrinkToYourHealth.pdf>)) ((<https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/water-water-everywhere/article18409340.ece>))

However, this recommendation does not take into account one’s gender, age, activity levels, the kind of climate they live in, and, most importantly, how much water they are ingesting through foods and beverages. 

The reality is that most people do consume approximately 20% of their water via foods. 

Most fruits and vegetables are 75-99% water. Meats, poultry are 50-65% water. 

Many low-calorie beverages like black coffee, tea, green tea, coconut water, lemon juice, vegetable juices are all 99% water and add significantly to your water intake. 

The Bottomline on Optimal Water Intake

There is no official figure from any health authority on the optimal water intake. However, they recommend that the water intake varies for each individual and can vary depending on their lifestyle and where they live. 

The best way to ensure optimal water intake is to let your body be your guide. 

For starters, ensure that your urine color is always light yellow in color or colorless. 

A dark-yellow or orange color indicates dehydration.

Also, please do note that the moment you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. So it’s a good idea to drink water throughout the day. 

To ensure this, it’s important to keep a ~1-liter bottle of water on your work desk or in your office where it is clearly visible. 

Final Thoughts

Water is an essential nutrient to the human body, without which we cannot survive for more than a few days. 

Every cell in your body depends on water for nourishment, elimination, insulation, and regulating body temperature. 

It’s part of almost all vital functions and chemical processes that happen in our bodies. Therefore, optimizing your water intake is a critical habit that one should strive to build. 

Water quality also matters. Besides using a branded RO system, it does help infuse your drinking water in a copper-vessel ideally overnight for added benefits, as discussed in this article. 

Before I end this article, an important note about hyponatremia, which is a life-threatening situation. It happens mostly in athletes who drink too much water to prevent dehydration before and during long and intense exercise sessions. 

When you drink too much water, your kidneys can’t get rid of the excess water, and the sodium content in your blood gets diluted and may prove fatal. 

However, hyponatremia is extremely rare, and you don’t need to worry about it! I just wanted to point out that too much of a good thing can also be bad!

What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Phytonutrients Definition |Phytonutrients Foods and Chart

Phytonutrients are chemicals plants produce to protect themselves from insects, fungi, bugs, and UV rays. 

These powerful compounds give the plants their color, flavors, aromas, and disease-fighting capabilities. 

‘Phyto’ is a Greek word that means plants. Another name for phytonutrients is phytochemicals. 

Unlike vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients aren’t essential for keeping us alive. However, they play a super important role in optimizing our health. 

Therefore, eating a variety of plant-based foods is imperative to ensure a steady supply of phytonutrients. 

Phytonutrients are highly diverse with more than 25,000 varieties currently identified. 

Let’s discuss the following two major classes of phytonutrients in detail:

Carotenoids and Flavonoids.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a class of phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables yellow, orange, and bright red colors. 

There are more than 600 types of carotenoids, but the most common are carotenes and xanthophylls. 

Carotenes contain hydrocarbons and no oxygen and help produce the orange color. 

Alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are some of the well-known carotenes, also collectively known as provitamin A. 

Lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene are some of the known xanthophylls. 

Let’s first discuss carotenes in detail. 

Carotenes (Provitamin A)

Beta-carotene is the most widely studied provitamin, which readily converts into retinal and retinoic acid—the active form of vitamin A that can be used by the body. 

There are many health benefits of foods rich in beta-carotene, like reduction in cancer risk((<https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet>)) and heart disease risk((<https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0753332299801206?via%3Dihub>))

Beta-carotene can also act as an antioxidant, thereby reducing the damage done by free radicals. 

The most common foods high in beta carotene are red-orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, papaya, mango, sweet potatoes, squash, and cantaloupe. 

Green vegetables like kale and spinach are also loaded with beta carotene. 

There are also some promising studies showing that alpha-carotene, lesser-known provitamin A carotenoids, may help increase longevity.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21098341/>))

More studies indicate that high blood levels of alpha-carotene is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, and heart disease.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16837766/>))

The foods rich in alpha-carotene are also rich in beta-carotene. 

Xanthophylls

Beta-cryptoxanthin is also a provitamin but is called a xanthophyll as it contains the oxygen molecule. 

It is also a source of vitamin A, but the conversion rate is very poor at roughly 24:1.

Yellow fruits and vegetables like yellow bell peppers and mangoes are very high in beta-cryptoxanthin. 

It is also found in egg yolks and butter. 

Beta-cryptoxanthin is associated with lowered cancer risk, particularly preventing lung cancer.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14744731/>))

Lutein and Zeaxanthin 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the eye.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26541886/>))

The retina of the eye is composed of macular pigment (MP) which is located at the back of the eye. MP protects the eye from blue light (both natural and artificial) and helps improve overall vision. 

The main components of macular pigment are lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Many studies have been done on the role that lutein and zeaxanthin play in slowing down or preventing the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25515572/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25637656/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25709776/>))

AMD is a leading cause of blindness in older people.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22559899/>))

Food sources rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, peas, and lettuce. 

Lycopene

The last of the well-known xanthophylls is lycopene. It is a plant pigment that gives red and pink color to fruits and vegetables. 

Lycopene is an antioxidant and is part of the carotenoid family. Studies show it is beneficial for heart health.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22965217/>)) and may lower the risk of prostate cancer.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26817504/>))

The biggest sources of lycopene are tomato products such as tomato puree, ketchup and sun-dried tomatoes. This is because processing of tomatoes in sauces and purees increase the bioavailability of lycopene. 

Other fruits that have a good concentration of lycopene are guava, papaya, pink grapefruit and watermelon. 

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients and are a subcategory of polyphenols. 

There are more than 6000 types of flavonoids, which are subclassified into 12 categories. 

Of the 12 subclasses, only six flavonoids are of dietary significance. 

The six subcategories of flavonoids along with examples and top food sources are shown below:

Flavan-3-ols: Catechins | Bananas, Apples, Blueberries, Peaches, Pears, Green Tea. 

Flavonols: Quercetin, Kaempferol, Myricetin, Fisetin | Onions, Kale, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Apples, Grapes, Berries, Tea, Wine

Flavones: Luteolin, Apigenin, Tangeretin | Celery, Parsley, Red Peppers, Chamomile, Mint, Ginkgo Biloba

Flavanones: Hesperetin, Naringenin, Eriodictyol | Oranges, Lemons,  Grapes

Isoflavones: Genistein, Daidzein | Soybeans

Anthocyanidins: Cyanidin, Delphinidin, Malvidin, Pelargonidin, Peonidin | Cranberries, Black Currants, Red Grapes, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Bilberries, Blackberries 

Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory as they block the messaging molecules that promote inflammation. They can also act as antioxidants and protect us from free radical damage. 

These groups of natural substances promote good cardiovascular and nervous system health. Studies also suggest flavonoids can protect us from certain types of cancer((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19351659/>))although more studies are required to confirm this. 

Let’s talk about the health benefits of flavonoids in some detail. 

Health Benefits of Flavonoids 

#1 Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Disease

Some of the established biomarkers of CVD are inflammation, oxidative stress, hypertension, and blood lipid profile. 

Let’s look at some studies that have investigated the effects of flavonoids on these biomarkers. 

A study of 100 healthy adults concluded a 20 – 30% reduced 10-year risk of CVD and CVD-related mortality.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26348767/>))

A 2014 systematic review concluded that dietary intake of all six sub-classes of flavonoids (as discussed above) significantly decreases the risk of CVD.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23953879/>)) 

A meta-analysis of 8 studies with 5228 stroke cases among 280,174 participants concluded a 14% reduction in developing stroke with higher consumption (20 mg/d) of flavonol-rich foods.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24342529/>))

In 2015, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a higher intake of anthocyanin and flavonol was anti-inflammatory in the US adult population.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26016863/>))

Many other studies also came to the same conclusion that participants who ate berries rich in anthocyanins showed reduced levels of inflammatory markers, decreased LDL cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20797478/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16549461/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24334868/>))

A Cochrane review by Karin Ried et al. concluded that flavanol-rich cocoa products have a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure, decreasing it by 2 – 3 mm Hg in the short-term. 

This Cochrane review is a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving 856 health participants.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22895979/>))

Another meta-analysis found reductions in diastolic blood pressure by 1.6 mm Hg with an intake of cocoa or dark chocolates.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22301923/>))

In summary, flavonoids can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Flavonoids are abundantly available in fruits and vegetables, therefore it’s important to include at least 5 servings of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet every day. 

Green tea, dark chocolate, and even red wine can be enjoyed in moderation to get a supplementary dose of flavonoids. 

Conclusion and My Recommendation 

There is overwhelming evidence that eating a variety of plant-based foods not only provides essential vitamins and minerals but also phytonutrients that play a very important role in optimizing one’s health. 

Three key takeaways from this article that will ensure you get maximum phytonutrient benefits in your diet:

Eat ~4 units of fruits and ~5 units of vegetables on a daily basis.

One unit can be equated to one medium piece of fruit, like one banana or one apple. If it is a large fruit like a watermelon, then one large slice will suffice. 

For practical purposes, it’s best to weigh your fruits and vegetables. You can consider 100g of any fruit or vegetable as 1 unit. 

Try to make sure these are fresh, local, and seasonal. 

Try to eat a rainbow diet!

As we have learned in this article, different colors come from different phytochemicals that provide unique benefits for your health. 

Here are five charts showing different colour groups of phytonutrients and their foods sources:

The ‘Yellow/Orange’ Group:

The ‘Green’ Group:

The ‘White/Green’ Group:

The ‘Red’ Group:

The ‘Red/Purple’ Group:

What do you think about article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Probiotics Health Benefits | 9 Probiotics Rich Foods

Scientists have started to call our gut “the second brain”((<https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/>))

According to Michael Gershon, author of the book “The Second
Brain,” this is because our gut has about 100 million neurons, more
than the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.

Your brain and gut are connected by a visceral nerve called the vagus
nerve.

It is a one-way information highway where information only flows from
your gut to the brain and not vice-versa.((<https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29593576>))

Roughly 70% of our immune system is located within the gut in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue [GALT]((<https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/>))

Literally there are more immune cells in your gut than anywhere in your body.

Another amazing fact is that more than 90% of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin is produced in your gut.

The right balance of serotonin is important to regulate mood, appetite
and overall well-being.((<https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495>))

A collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses are housed in your gut. Of
these microbes, bacteria are the most studied, outnumbering other
microbes two to three times. 

Now, whenever the word bacteria is used, it means germs and
diseases, right?

Not really! 

That’s just part of the story. 

Quite simply, bacteria in your gut is divided into good and bad
bacteria, just like there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.

Bad bacteria are the kind that multiply and mean harm. Some
examples are e-coli and salmonella.

Good bacteria, famously known as “probiotics,” exist to protect their
host body—us! They play various important roles.

In this article, we’ll discuss the following:

  1. What are Probiotics?
  2. Health Benefits of Probiotics: Evidence-Based
  3. 9 Foods High in Probiotics
  4. Conclusion and My Recommendations

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are simply the good bacteria in your gut, including some
yeast that can act as probiotics.

The Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] of the United Nations
and the World Health Organization [WHO] provide a more scientific
definition:

Live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host

There are different types and strains of probiotics offering unique health benefits.

The most common variety of bacteria in our gut are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

#Helps us digest and absorb our food

Most good bacteria are found in your large intestine with varying levels
in other parts and organs of your body.

These good bacteria help digest whatever food particles your stomach
and small intestine are not able to digest.

They also help in synthesis of Vitamin K2((<https:// www.dropbox.com/s/ygyr0jsdsdpxdmx/ Screenshot%202019-04-30%2007.15.10.png?dl=0>)), folate((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257725/>))short chain fatty acids like butyrate (SCFA)((<https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ip6a9p68y9w77s/ Screenshot%202019-04-30%2007.16.21.png?dl=0>)) and some B vitamins((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9406136/>)) 

# Stimulates the Immune System

About 70 percent of the immune system is located in our gut. 

This makes a lot of sense since the foods we eat and drink are loaded
with pathogens, viruses and bacteria.

Having our immune system in the gut allows it to fight off these unwanted invaders more effectively.

# Modulates the neurotransmitters responsible for one’s appetite and mood

There is also enough evidence to suggest that gut microbiota
modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and even
dopamine.((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/25078296>)) ((<https://bodyecology.com/articles/your-gut- can-influence-how-you-feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin>))

The gut is the largest site for serotonin as gut microbes and gut cells
produce it.((<https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/ 10.1096/fj.14-259598>))

Literally, 90% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut.((<https://bodyecology.com/articles/your-gut-can-influence-how-you- feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin>))

# Lowers the oxidative stress and inflammation

Our gut microbiome plays a key role in controlling oxidative stress and
inflammatory responses as well as improving metabolism and energy
expenditure during intense exercise according to this systematic
review.((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC5908316/>))

#Fend off bad bacteria

Probiotics help fend off bad bacteria that try to harm you.
Similar to how the ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be 1:2,
the ideal ratio of good to bad bacteria should be 85:15.

If this ratio is disrupted due to changes in diet and lifestyle like less
sleep, more stress, high intake of alcohol, smoking, antibiotic use,
consumption of fast and junk food, consumption of conventional dairy,
etc., then symptoms like headaches, mood swings, weight gain, acne,
gas, bloating, and stomach pain start to crop up.

Over time these symptoms, which are a sign there is something wrong
in your body, may become full-blown diseases like IBS, Crohn’s
disease, autism, cancer, and so forth.

# Helps you lose weight

A condition called gut dysbiosis can occur when bad bacteria in your gut greatly outnumber good bacteria.

This condition can disrupt normal metabolic functioning and can cause insulin resistance.

All this can ultimately result in unwanted weight gain.((<https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26912499>))

Remember the ratio between good vs bad bacteria? Yes, 85:15. 

9 Most Powerful Probiotic Foods on the Planet

Let’s list some of the most powerful probiotic foods on the planet.

Buttermilk [Lassi]

Lassi or Buttermilk is also a good source of high-quality protein, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus.

It helps people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.((<https://ijsrm.in/index.php/ijsrm/article/view/892>))

You can have buttermilk either with your Indian meal or as a
standalone snack.

Just ensure it is made at home from raw milk because pasteurization
destroys beneficial bacteria!

You can find a lot of YouTube videos on how to make your own
buttermilk or yogurt (the next probiotic food) at home.

Please note that even if you are lactose intolerant, you can still have
this drink. 

I have two lactose intolerant family members, my dad, and my sister,
but they do well with yogurt and lassi as lactose (the sugar in milk) is
fermented by the bacteria.

Yogurt

Another powerful probiotic food is yogurt.

The same logic applies here.

It should be made from fresh raw milk, because most
commercially available yogurts are loaded with added sugar and
made from pasteurized milk, which as mentioned, destroys the good
bacteria.

Some studies of yogurt showed promising health benefits for certain
gastrointestinal conditions, including lactose intolerance, constipation,
diarrheal diseases, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.((<https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/ 80/2/245/4690304>))

Some prominent bacteria cultures that ferment milk to form yogurt
are streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus.

Just like buttermilk, yogurt is loaded with protein (good for muscle
growth), calcium (excellent for bone health), magnesium, and vitamin
B12.

Sauerkraut

In most households in India, an ancient tradition helps increase the
the shelf life of seasonal vegetables. 

One such vegetable is cabbage. When you ferment cabbage by salting it and putting it in a steel/glass container, the cabbage starts to release its own brine. 

Over time, cabbage immersed in brine, starts to ferment into a
crunchy sour thing called sauerkraut.

This can be used with meals and extends the cabbage’s shelf life for months.

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C, promotes digestive health, can help
prevent colon cancer and even promotes bone health.

Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish. In fact, it is Korea’s national
dish. 

Just like sauerkraut, kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables like
Napa cabbage, radish, cucumber, red chili, and garlic. 

The benefits of any probiotic food is to strengthen one’s immune
system, help strengthen the gut lining, and provide antioxidants.

Probiotic dishes like kimchi and sauerkraut with cabbage as its main
ingredients are generally consumed as a side dish or an appetizer but
can also be consumed as a standalone snack.

Miso

Miso is a Japanese food made by fermenting soybeans. It is often
consumed in the form of miso soup.

Most soybeans available worldwide are genetically modified, so it’s
best to opt for organic soy. Miso is a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin K, and protein. 

One thing to be careful about is that miso is high in salt. If you have a
a medical condition that can be worsened by high salt intake, it’s best to
avoid miso.

Tempeh 

Tempeh is a soy-based product from Indonesia.

It’s fermented and loaded with a variety of nutrients too! The nutrients include potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Tempeh is more compact than tofu and therefore has more protein per
gram. It’s ideal for vegetarians who need more protein for muscle
building.

Studies support the notion that tempeh may help lower cholesterol, boost bone health because of its calcium content, and provide cancer-fighting properties.

Kanji 

Kanji is often called the Indian kombucha! It’s a traditional North Indianwinter drink made with carrots. 

One can also add beetroot to kanji for variety and added nutrients. 
You can also add mustard seed to kickstart the fermenting process.

One pro tip is not peeling the carrots as there is yeast in the peel that
can help the fermentation process.

The other ingredients in kanji are 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 3 –
4 cups of water. 

Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar, cover it with a muslin cloth and
keep it out in the sun for a week or so. Make sure to stir it once or
twice. 

Kanji is loaded with iron, calcium, and manganese. It’s great for your
eyes, aids in digestion, provides antioxidants and relieves symptoms
of IBS.

Natto

Natto, another fermented soy superfood, originated in Japan.

It is usually consumed with rice and miso soup. It has a bitter and
nutty flavor. Even though I have never tried it, I have heard people
either love it or hate it!

Natto has an impressive list of nutrients including iron, vitamin C,
vitamin K1, calcium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and some
protein. 

Any food like natto, which is rich in probiotics, is excellent for
digestion, strengthening your immune system, strengthening your gut
lining, providing antioxidants, and mitigating free radical damage. 

In addition, because it contains calcium, natto helps with bone health.

Kombucha 

Kombucha is an ancient Chinese beverage that is made from black tea and sugar. The fermentation process is started by SCOBY. 

SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. 

The bacteria and yeasts convert sugar into ethanol and acetic acid.

The acetic acid is what gives kombucha its distinctive sour taste.

Kombucha boasts a long list of nutrients which include folic acid,
vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and vitamin B12.

Because of its probiotic content, it helps with gut healing and
strengthening. It helps improve cholesterol, is antibacterial and
antimicrobial, and helps with diabetes.

Conclusion and My Recommendations

You are as healthy as your gut. 

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said,

“All diseases begin in the gut.”

The gut is also touted as the second brain. If you want to stay healthy,
optimal gut health should be your prime focus. 

Your gut microbiome is heavily affected by your lifestyle, including
your eating habits. 

If a large portion of your calories come from junk and fast foods, your
gut will likely be impaired. 

As a result, you may start to experience frequent bloating, gas and
abdominal pain. 

If you keep ignoring these gastrointestinal symptoms, they will soon
start to manifest as full-blown diseases such as IBS and others. 

If you are suffering from these symptoms now, it’s best to connect with
a functional medicine doctor or perhaps a holistic nutritionist to help
you with your gut related issues. 

I strongly urge you to include at least a few foods listed above in your
diet every day. 

Most of the foods high in probiotics are snacks or sides which can
easily be part of your main meal.

What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me
know in the comments below!

What is Fiber? Health Benefits, Food Sources and Daily Requirements

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our body cannot digest or absorb. It is referred to as bulk or roughage

Because our bodies cannot digest fiber it passes through our stomach, small intestines, colon and out of our bodies relatively intact. 

Fiber (also termed as dietary fiber) can help you with regular bowel movements. It also assists with weight loss. 

Studies have shown that optimal fiber intake can help lower heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It may help with certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer.

In this article, I’ll discuss the following:

  1. Types of Fiber
  2. 5 Benefits of Eating a High Fiber Diet
  3. How Much Fiber Do You Really Need?
  4. Food Sources High in Fiber
  5. 7 Tips On How Fulfil Your Daily Fiber Requirements
  6. Final Thoughts

Types of Fiber

Soluble Fiber 

Soluble fiber can dissolve in water and forms a gel-like substance. 

Some examples of soluble fiber are gum, pectin and mucilage. 

Food sources rich in soluble fiber are peas, oats, apples, beans, carrots and barley. 

The main benefits of soluble fiber are that it helps to reduce blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels. 

Another interesting fact about soluble fiber is that it is food to the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. 

Did you know that bacteria in your large intestine outnumber human cells by 10:1?

I discuss more about good bacteria in my probiotic article (coming soon), for now know this:

Most of the food that we eat is digested and absorbed from the small intestine and hardly reaches your large intestine. This leaves very little for the bacteria in your gut to feed on. 

However soluble fiber passes through the small intestine relatively intact and this makes it a delicious snack for the good bacteria to feast on!

This is the reason soluble fiber is also termed as prebiotic

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber as the name suggests cannot dissolve in water. Examples include cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose. 

Food sources rich in insoluble fiber are whole bran, whole-wheat like roti, potatoes and beans. 

The main benefits of insoluble fiber is that it helps you keep regular by speeding up the passage of foods from the intestines.

Let’s discuss the most important benefits of fiber (soluble and insoluble) in some detail. 

Health Benefits of Including Fiber in your Diet

# Benefit No 1: Helps you stay regular

As discussed, insoluble fiber helps add bulk to the stool which makes it easier to pass thus decreasing the chance of constipation. 

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal issues that people experience around the world!

#Benefit No 2: Helps you lose weight

The most important thing when it comes to weight loss is to deal with hunger and cravings. This is because in order to lose weight, its important to follow a calorie deficit diet. 

When on a caloric deficit diet, almost everyone has to deal with cravings and hunger. 

A high fiber diet is more filling as it helps stabilize your blood sugar levels which significantly reduces your cravings and hunger. 

Another important aspect of a high fiber diet is that almost every high fiber foods are nutrient-dense meaning they are high in vitamin minerals which further helps reduce cravings. 

This is because cravings are simply a cry from your body to ingest more micronutrients that it needs to deal with billions of chemical reactions happening in your body at any given point in time. 

#Benefit No 3: Lower heart disease risk

High fiber intake is strongly linked to a reduction in heart disease. An umbrella review was conducted by Marc P. McRae which was published in 2017.((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731843/>))

This umbrella review included all meta-analysis or systematic reviews.

A total of 31 meta-analyses were included in this umbrella review and ALL of these high-quality studies reported that eating a high fiber diet results in a significant reduction in the relative risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease. 

The clear reason was that fiber acts on low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and reduces it thus lowering the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. 

#Benefit No 4: Lowers risk of certain types of cancer

A study led by Maryam F. Farvid et al. led a large scale study of women participants concluded that females who ate a high fiber diet especially during their adolescent years and early adulthood reduced their breast cancer risk.((<https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/01/28/peds.2015-1226>))

However, there is not enough evidence which supports that high fiber intake can lower the risk of colon cancer.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9895396/>))

#Benefit No 5: Lowers risk of diabetes

Eating high-fiber foods such as oats, whole grains, and whole bran slows down the digestion process which helps stabilize the sudden rise of blood glucose levels. This helps lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. 

Research also supports that a high fiber diet lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12197996/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15277155/>))

How Much Fiber Do You Really Need Everyday?

Optimal Fiber intake is dependent on one’s age and gender. Check out the table below to find out your fiber intake:

Foods High in Fiber

It’s important to eat a variety of high fiber foods to ensure that you get both types of fiber i.e. soluble and insoluble. 

You don’t need to be particular about getting a fixed amount of a specific type of fiber as almost all fiber foods contain varying amounts of fiber types in them. 

Just focus on including the following foods almost on a daily basis. This will ensure that you reach the optimal fiber intake according to your age and gender.

Fiber in Fruits

Fiber intake in most fruits is 2-3g for every 100 grams. 

Avocado is one fruit which is super high in fiber providing 7g of fiber per 100g. 

Berries like blackberries and raspberries contain between 5-7g per 100g. 

Pomegranate has 4g/100g. 

Fiber in Vegetables 

Fiber in most vegetables is also between 2-3g/100g. However, lima beans, peas, squash, artichoke are loaded with fiber at 6g/100g!

Your regular veggies like broccoli, spinach, carrots, brussels sprouts, okra (bhindi), sweet potatoes, etc contain between 2-3g/100g as mentioned above.

Fiber in Oats, Whole Grains etc

Oats, barely, ragi, brown rice, roti are all high fiber foods. 

Just make sure that you source the ingredients from a health store as most commercially available grains and oats are highly processed leaving very little fiber in them!

7 Tips On How To Reach Your Recommended Fiber Intake On A Daily Basis

-Replace white bread, rice with whole wheat bread and brown rice respectively. 

-Completely give up sugar-laden cereals and focus on only eating oats or quinoa. 

-If you eat meat almost daily, starting including lentils and beans in your diet a few times a week. This is because meats have zero fiber in them and lentils and beans have a lot in them!

-Include a variety of vegetables in both raw and cooked form. 

-Completely avoid fruit juices, even the freshly squeezed ones. This is when you juice a fruit, you are leaving all the fiber behind.

-Strive to get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables at any cost!

-Supplement your diet with psyllium husk if you are not able to fulfil your daily quote of fiber intake. 

Final Thoughts

Fiber is super-important for us. Research clearly shows that a high fiber diet can help you stay regular by preventing constipation.

It makes losing weight easy. 

It also helps lower the risk of breast cancer, type-2 diabetes and significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Unfortunately, most people’s diets are deficient in fiber intake and their average is no more than 15g a day, which is very less than the recommended intake. 

My suggestion is to gradually increase your fiber intake to give your gastrointestinal system time to adapt. At the same time, it’s also essential to increase your water intake when trying to increase fiber in your diet. 

I strongly recommend that you include a variety of foods as listed above and follow the tips and suggestions provided to ensure that you are fulfilling your daily quote of fiber intake. 

What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!