A–Z Food Guide
Dr Viral Shah gives you 26 must-haves in your diet. Make sure you follow every letter to the T or better yet, Z
Avocados may be fatty, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad for your health. In fact, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse providing numerous potential health benefits. It helps reduce blood sugars and cholesterol levels. It also helps lower blood pressure.
It helps boost immunity and favours wound healing. It has also been found to lower the risk of cancer.
Due to their antioxidant properties they help prevent the damage caused by free radicals thereby reducing the risk of cancer. Also, the vitamin content helps in the absorption of iron and calcium, increasing the haemoglobin levels and helping to prevent bone and joint inflammation. They help keep blood sugars in control owing to their fibre content.
Dalchini traditionally used in many Indian recipes has been found to have excellent antioxidant properties. It helps reduce the oxidative damage to the body due to free radical production at times of stress. It is recommended to have dalchini powder in a cup of water first thing in the morning followed by breakfast 30 minutes later.
Eggs are an excellent source of good quality i.e. easily digestible and absorbable protein. Whole eggs are vital in the supply of choline used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing ‘signalling molecules’ in the brain. Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that have major benefits for eye health.
Flax seeds are a very good source of these omega- 3 fatty acids. They are extremely important to protect the body against oxidative damage. They also help in lowering the risk of heart diseases caused due to long-standing diabetes or hypertension..
Garlic has been used as a cholesterol lowering agent. Additionally, it also lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients. The active ingredient in garlic is a powerful antioxidant and helps fight cancer.
Honey is well known for its antimicrobial properties. Some recent researches have also shown honey to have strong antioxidant properties which help fight cancer. It also helps to heal wounds faster.
Jerusalem Artichoke (ginger):
It is a natural root which helps cure digestive disorders.
Ginger has been shown to boost liver functions.
The fibre, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in kale, all support heart health. Kale contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress in patients with diabetes. Adequate intake of vitamin C, which kale can provide, is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Indian Jujubee (ber):
Being rich in vitamin C and A, and potassium, jujube helps in fortifying the human immune system.
Along with promoting digestion, dry jujubes act as gentle laxatives.
Being a good source of antioxidants, it shields you against cancer.
Loaded with vitamin C, lemon juice is a strong antioxidant. Its anti carcinogenic properties are also
It promotes the absorption of calcium and iron, thereby helping in conditions like osteoarthritis, anaemia, etc.
It helps in preventing the onset of heart disease due to diabetes.
Not only is milk a source of good quality proteins but also of bioavailable calcium which helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis or any other bone disorders. Many researches have also shown that the intake of milk is negatively co-related with the risk of colon cancer. Also milk is a good source of many B complex vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin A and phosphorus.
It is a protein seed now made available in India.
It is considered to be a boon especially among vegetarians because of its amino acid content. It contains all the nine essential amino acids proving its superiority among other sources of plant proteins. It is especially rich in lysine which helps in tissue repair. It also contains substantial amounts of magnesium which relaxes the blood vessels lowering blood pressure and reducing headaches.
It has been used as a healing herb for many centuries. It can help lower blood pressure and soothe a stomach ache as well as stop diarrhoea and helps to detoxify the body.
Usually rice when harvested undergoes a lot of processes like milling, polishing, etc. Due to this a lot of micronutrients in rice are lost. Thiamine i.e. vitamin B1 is one of the micronutrients to be completely lost here. However parboiling is one procedure which helps preserve this vitamin which otherwise is deficient in vegetarian diets.
Oats are very rich in soluble fibre. The health benefits of oats are plenty: the soluble fibre content in oats helps greatly in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It has also been shown to reduce central adiposity. It helps to keep the intestinal environment healthy.
Soy proteins have a specific amino acid composition which greatly helps in reducing the risk of developing heart diseases. Also due to the flavanoid content in them it helps fight cancer and eases the postmenopausal symptoms. It has been shown to have a cholesterol lowering and anti-cancer effect in many studies. Soy proteins are tolerated greatly by renal (kidney) patients.
These are very high in phosphorus, zinc and vitamin A. They help in dispelling the intestinal parasites, thereby keeping the small and large intestine healthy. They provide a substrate for beneficial micro flora, further enhancing the intestinal health.
They are very high in lycopene, a phytochemical which has been long shown to have powerful antioxidant and anti- carcinogenic properties.
Complimentary to their shape, walnuts enhance mental functioning keeping the grey cells healthy. Due to their omega-3 fatty acid content they help in lowering LDL cholesterol and thus reduce heart disease risk.
These are nothing but carrots. Carrots are very high in beta carotene – a form of vitamin A which helps keep or restore
This herb used in many preparations is a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin. It helps keep bones healthy and also in wound-healing.
Vegetables are a very good source of soluble as well as insoluble fibre. This helps greatly in keeping sugars as well as blood pressure under control. Not only this, it gives a feeling of satiety thereby helping to prevent overeating and thus control weight. Also they are very rich in vitamins and minerals essential for the healthy functioning of the body.
Cultured yogurts greatly improve the intestinal health by promoting the growth of beneficial microbes. It even helps fight cancer and keeps cholesterol under control.
This offers a well-rounded cardiovascular protection. Also it has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, as proven in many researches today.