Tag: white oats

Tips to choose a healthy breakfast cereal

Tips to choose a healthy breakfast cereal


My usual weekly trip to the supermarket made me realize the wide choice of breakfast cereals displayed on aisles.

It is such a wonderful, attractive display and innumerable choices of flavours, tastes, combinations etc to choose from. How can we forget the “claims” such as lose weight in two weeks, reduce cholesterol, get smarter with more iron and an array of flavours such as honey, banana, mango, strawberry etc. It is so tempting to pick up at least one box before leaving the supermarket.

Clients too ask me which one do I recommend and is healthy. There was a case where two friends of mine took up the ‘K challenge’ and they lost weight, but lost interest eating the same cereal four times a day. Yuck!!

But lets get smarter to choose the right and healthy breakfast cereal with the following pointers-

  • Watch out for sugar content. The label says carbohydrates and sugar separate. If the numbers of these are almost close, this indicates that the cereals have large amount of sugar. Avoid those that have refined flours such wheat flour or maida, corn etc. Look for whole grains as they are high in fiber. The sugar content should not be more than 3-5 grams per serving. So frosties, honey coated ones are out. Avoid those that have sugars such as corn syrup, invert syrup etc.
  • Added fruits, dried fruits etc just add up to the sugar content. It is advisable to add fresh fruit or fresh dried fruit such as raisins etc.
  • It is absolutely great to have a fiber rich breakfast. Most of the breakfast cereals are low on fiber. Hence choose those that have more than 5 grams of fiber per 30-40g of cereal serving, not for the whole pack. Also look for cereals which say ‘all bran’ with whole wheat, oat bran on the cover. This helps to lose weight and reduces the glycemic index of the food.
  • The protein content too should be between 3-5 grams per serving and with 200 ml skimmed milk should provide 10-12 g of protein for that meal.
  • Avoid cereals which have colour added, artificial flavours etc. Opt for organic cereals which have least number of ingredients.
  • Opt for cereals that have less than 400mg of sodium.
  • Most of the cereals are low in fat. Hence do not fall for the weight loss claims. They are just sales gimmicks. You think Lara Dutta survives on such cereals! You will end up looking like the pruned cereals. Avoid those that have saturated or trans fats.

You can make your Breakfast cereal healthier by

  • Using skimmed milk or soy milk with the cereal.
  • Adding nuts, fresh cut fruits, wheat germ, flaxseed for the extra benefits
  • Mix your healthy cereal with a little of the frosties or chocos. Adds taste and keeps kids happy.

My personal favourites are Kelloggs All bran wheat flakes, Pristine beginnings which has organic whole wheat, millets etc.
Have a happy and healthy breakfast.

Are you suffering from hemorrhoids or piles?

Are you suffering from hemorrhoids or piles?

hemorrhoidsAre you severely constipated and experience pain and burning sensation while passing stools? Do you see blood on the toilet paper.
Hemorrhoids refer to a condition where the veins around the rectum and anus get swollen. Many factors contribute to this condition such as pregnancy, aging, chronic constipation or diarrhea, chronic cough, eating disorders etc.

The main dietary factors are diet poor in fiber, eating very less fiber, eating junk food as most of the junk food are high in salt and low on fiber, being inactive or not exercising, eating a lot of refined food, eating too much of animal food, drinking alcohol which dehydrates the body and foods such as ice cream, fried foods etc

Other factors may include sitting all the time on a chair, straining for a long time on the toilet seat etc.

The solution for this condition is to follow a high fiber diet which would prevent constipation and help to maintain regular bowel movement. Fiber from food provide the much needed bulk to the body and water helps to form a gel like substance which softens the stool and facilitates easy passage of stool.

A High fiber diet includes a diet rich in whole grain cereals such as brown rice, wheat, ragi, bajra, white oats, wheat bran etc and pulses and legumes such as green gram, bengal gram, green peas etc. Eating enough of fruits and vegetables per day helps to provide the much needed fiber. Taking non habit forming supplements such as isabgol or psyllium husks or any other fiber substitute can help to regularize bowel movements.

Drinking about 2 liters of water per day will help to moisten the stool. Fiber and water together add bulk to the stool and help in eased evacuation of stool. So guzzle enough of water to keep your system clean.

Exercising daily helps to maintain regular bowel movements. Waking up early too helps in bowel evacuation. Eating on regular times and having a good sleep-wake routine can help you maintain normal bowel movements.

If the condition aggravates, then you will need to get treated by a gastroenterologist, who specializes in disorders related to the gastrointestinal system.

White oats for dessert….

White oats for dessert….

Oats has become a well known cholesterol buster and also controls your blood sugars. It is commonly eaten at breakfast but you can have white oats as dessert too. You can team it with dry fruits and nuts and yogurt. Cut fruits too can be added as a fruit salad and the yogurt can replace the ice cream. Pudding with rice and other refined grains can be replaced with oats with lots of fiber which is ideal for those who want to lose or maintain their weight and also those who want to maintain their blood sugars.

Beat Anemia with Date syrup

Beat Anemia with Date syrup

date_syrupMany struggle to bring up their haemoglobin levels to an optimum levels especially women. Anemia is a condition where the red blood cells of our body decrease in number due to lack of iron in the body and the oxygen intake of the body is reduced. Tiredness, breathlessness, higher frequencies of infections, paleness. If not treated, it can be fatal. Nutrition provides a lot of remedies for anemia and dates is one such fruit which can increase the iron levels in the body.Dates contain organic iron which is useful to increase the RBC count. Hence a daily intake of dates can reduce your chances of anemia.

If you do not have the time to eat dates, you can add a teaspoon of dates syrup in a warm glass of milk and drink it up before going to bed. The syrup can be added in white oats porridge and also on pancakes.

Oats porridge a day, keeps all illnesses away

Oats porridge a day, keeps all illnesses away

Dietitians always have to answer various question related to health foods and the common query is about oats. I had written about its health benefits in my article http://nutrihealth.in/2008/06/what-is-white-oats
Now I feel I should take it from a dietitian’s perspective too where I have discovered many other uses of this wonderful grain. Although we know it helps us to lower our bad cholesterol and high sugar levels in diabetes, I call it a super food for various more reasons.

  • It is one such food which can be tolerated by many people who have a wheat allergy. Though it has traces of wheat protein or gluten, it can be still used in minimal quantities but is recommended for adults.
  • Not only does it taste good, it can be eaten at any time during the day. It need not be restricted only as breakfast cereal. It can be had as a midmorning snack. If you have been advised to have 6 small meals, you have a ready made meal quick and easy to make.
  • You are stressed but you do not want to eat a whole meal, you can compensate with a bowl of oatmeal as it is very soothing for your mood and is a relaxant.
  • Oats are low in fat and salt hence can be a part of low sodium diets and they also provide iron too.
  • You have eaten heavily through out the day, so you can compensate for it by eating a bowl of oats porridge.
  • To increase your protein intake, oats with its adequate protein content can be combined with low fat milk or curd to increase the protein in it. Add dash of pepper to the porridge with yogurt. It gives a very nice flavour.
  • Oats is a wonderful food for convalescents(those who are recovering from various illnesses)as it is easy to swallow and digest and hence does not add additional stress for digestion.
  • Oats can be used as food for children above the 6 months. It is commonly used in many of the baby foods. Do not add it below 6 months as it has some gluten(wheat protein) which may not be digestible.
  • As it is contains purines which can increase your uric acid levels, if the intake is very very high along with other purine foods, it can give rise to gout problems or kidney stones. Hence if you have been diagnosed with these problems, limit the intake. But yes the risk of getting a gout problem is lesser if the purines are coming from vegetarian sources.
  • Oat bran can be added to various dishes instead white flour or maida for making muffins, cakes and also as a thickening agent for soups and gravies rather than cornflour and coconut.

Eat it as rolled oats in breakfast cereals and white oats in porridges and as oat bran or flour in various preparations, you will have continued benefits of one of the healthiest foods around. A bowl of oats porridge a day, keeps all illnesses away.