Tag Archives: nutrition

Why fruits, light meal are ideal for Ramadan fast

Why fruits, light meal are ideal for Ramadan fast

By Oyeyemi Okunlade
The Holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from food and drink, is here again! When observing your fast it is essential to maintain a healthy body, in order to avoid health challenges such as dehydration, fatigue, headaches and the like. It is best for you to feed on fruits and light meals which contain all classes of food thereby supplying energy needed throughout the day (between dawn and dusk. Your fruits could be in form of fruit salad or as juice. Here are some foods you can eat in the morning and evening.

Essential foods to break your fast

The major food groups are:

Fruits and vegetables

Bread, cereals, and potatoes

Meat, fish and chicken

Dairy products such as milk and cheese

Foods containing fat and sugar

Pre-dawn meal

The food you should take at this time of the day must be meals that will supply long-lasting energy throughout the day. Foods that provide long-lasting energy are complex carbohydrates and high-fibre foods. Examples are rice, beans, whole wheat, oats, vegetables, raw and unpeeled fruits.

Water and fresh fruit juices should be taken instead of caffeinated drinks such as cold canned drinks, tea and coffee. . The fruits will give you vitamins.

Post-dusk meal

When you want to break your fast in the evening, water is the best thing to take first as it rehydrates the body while fruits can follow. Dry dates (fruit) are also very good to break your fast. It’s also a good source of energy, sugar, and fibre. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and so on help restore sugar and salt levels in the body. The benefits of dates are:

Easy to digest
Decrease the feeling of hunger, preventing one from overeating
Prepare the stomach to receive food after many hours of fasting
Rich in sugar and energy, restoring nutrients in the body
Prevent constipation as a result of altered meal times


Health benefits of watermelon Seeds

Health benefits of watermelon Seeds

By David Lawal with Agency Report 

Watermelon is an extremely popular fruit. While we all enjoy eating this sweet refreshing fruit, we usually discard the tiny seeds scattered in it without realising or rather knowing of their health benefits. These seeds are loaded with nutrients including fatty acids, essential proteins and lots of minerals. These seeds are rich in vitamin B like thiamine, niacin, folate and minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus and copper. Besides, they are a great source of calories with 100 grammes of watermelon seeds providing around 600 grammes of calories.

Watermelon seeds, also called as ‘tarbooj ke beej‘ in Hindi are used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Roasted watermelon seeds are served as a snack or used to garnish salads. In Nigeria, they are used in certain soups. Watermelon seed oil is extracted from these seeds which are beneficial for your hair and skin. To say the least, watermelon seeds are edible and can be a healthy option.

As stated earlier, watermelon seeds are a rich source of nutrients and minerals and therefore, should not be discarded. These seeds have a hard outer covering so they should be chewed before swallowing to get their nutritional content. Some of the health benefits of watermelon seeds are given below.

Your body requires amino acids but there are some essential amino acids such as arginine and lysine which the body cannot produce on its own and these have to be provided from food sources. Watermelon seeds contain some of these essential amino acids such as tryptophan and glutamic acids. Lysine helps in calcium absorption to facilitate the formation of collagen and connective tissues in the body whereas arginine improves the body’s metabolism, cardiovascular system and sexual health.
Watermelon seeds are good sources of magnesium with 100 grammes of seeds providing 139 percent of the recommended daily requirement. Magnesium is vital for normal heart functioning, maintenance of normal blood pressure, supporting metabolic process and protein synthesis. It is also beneficial in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension besides controlling blood pressure and diabetes.
Watermelon seeds contain lycopene which is good for your face and also helps in improving male fertility.
These seeds are excellent sources of multivitamin B and can replace some of the supplements. Vitamin B present in watermelon seeds comprises of niacin, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. B vitamins are vital for maintaining healthy blood, nervous system and effective immune response.
These seeds can be used for treating diabetes. Boil a handful of watermelon seeds in 1 litre water for 45 minutes, keeping the pot covered. This concoction should be taken every day like tea.
Watermelon seeds are effective in recovering health after illness and sharpening your memory.
Almost half of the watermelon seed contains oil which comprises of 20 percent saturated fat and the rest monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat including omega-6 fatty acids. One cup of dried watermelon seeds contains around 50 grammes of fat which constitutes about 80 percent of the daily recommended value. Thus, watermelon seeds are an important source of calories and energy.

Health benefits of pawpaw

Health benefits of pawpaw

Pawpaw, known botanically as carica papaya, is often called a wonder fruit for all its great properties. It is a nutritional storehouse and has effective digestive enzymes. Often nutritionists ask you to increase your fruit intake and papaya is often on that list. Papaya contains numerous minerals and chemicals, flavonoids as well as carotenoids. This fruit is believed to also promote improved cardiovascular health and protection from colon cancer.

This fruit is considered so full of health benefits that it promotes digestion, builds the immune system, prevents constipation, lowers inflammation, reduces pain from burns, especially if the skin of the papaya is used, can prevent heart disease, complications from diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Papaya is also a good source of fibre, which helps bring down cholesterol.

There is no perfect time to enjoy a fruit, but it is best eaten before a meal as after a meal the body converts the fruit into sugar while before a meal you absorb all nutrition.

Everybody wants to maintain smooth, healthy, youthful and glowing skin. In most cases, unhealthy or dull skin is a result of poor eating habits and a weakened digestive system.Poor nutrition and the accumulation of harmful toxins in the body are the main reasons for dull skin. One common solution for all these disorders is papaya. In order to make use of papaya for skin, care, you can also apply the papaya pulp on your skin in addition to eating it regularly.

A unique enzyme in papaya, referred to as papain, has a considerably positive effect on the digestive system. Its regular consumption, it performs all the functions necessary for maintaining a healthy skin: it eliminates the toxins from the body, treats constipation, and greatly helps in proper digestion. Most beauty care professionals recommend papaya for skin care. In addition to using papaya for glowing skin, you can use papaya for skin whitening as well, if you feel that your skin is turning dark due to over exposure to sun or pigmentation.

In order to make best use of papaya for skin care, mix one teaspoon of honey with about 100 gm of papaya pulp, and apply it to your face. Keep this mask for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash with cold water. This is one of the best home remedies for skin care, and it will solve all your skin related problems including acne and black heads.

Papaya fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamins B and C, carotenes, flavonoids, and minerals including potassium and magnesium, and fiber. As such, papaya imparts numerous health benefits. One of the health benefits of papaya is that it helps in the management of diabetes. It is recommended by doctors on account of its ability to lower blood sugar levels.

Diabetes mellitus is caused by decreased production of insulin hormone or body resistance to the hormone, leading to accumulation of sugar in the blood. In diabetes, patients are forbidden to consume most of fruits on account of their carbohydrate content. However, benefits of papaya for diabetic patients could be attributed to its low sugar content and high content of minerals and fiber. You can also use papaya leaves for diabetes. You can soak papaya leaves in water, strain the extract, and consume it three times a day to reduce blood sugar levels.


Source: www.diethealthclub.com

Eating fish makes kids smarter’

‘ Eating fish makes kids smarter’

Myth has it that fish is brain food — but it just might be more than myth, a new study suggests. Kids who are used to eating fish at least once a week had intelligence quotients, or IQs, that were nearly 5 points higher than the IQs for kids who ate less fish or none at all, the study found. Fish eaters also slept better.

Though the study was done among Chinese children, American kids are just as likely to benefit from fish, according to lead researcher Jianghong Liu, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

“We need to modify the American diet for the betterment of our children,” she said.

“If parents want their children to be healthy and higher-performing, they should put fish on the table once a week,” Liu said. “That is not too much to ask.”

Although the study cannot prove that eating fish accounted for the higher IQs and better sleep, they do seem to be associated, she said.

According to the researchers, the benefit in IQ can be pinned to the better sleep afforded by omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish.

To find out if fish was linked to benefits in children’s health, Liu and her colleagues studied the eating habits of more than 500 boys and girls in China, 9 to 11 years old. The children completed a questionnaire about how often they’d eaten fish in the past month, with options that ranged from never to at least once a week.

The kids also took the Chinese version of an IQ test that rates verbal and nonverbal skills, called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-


In addition, the children’s parents answered questions about their child’s sleep quality. The information collected included how long kids slept, how often they woke during the night and whether they were sleepy during the day.

Liu’s team also took into account other factors that could influence the findings, such as the parents’ education, occupation and marital status and the number of children in the home.

The team found that children who ate fish at least once a week scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ tests than those who seldom or never ate fish. Kids whose meals sometimes included fish scored slightly more than 3 points higher.

Moreover, eating more fish was linked with better sleep.

One U.S. nutritionist, however, says that advice to eat fish should be taken with a grain of salt.

“It’s not that eating fish is unhealthy per se, but there are issues that need to be considered before parents go overboard feeding fish to their kids to make them smarter and sleep better,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City. She was not involved with the study.

Fish is a good source of lean protein and is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, she said. These acids are highly concentrated in the brain and play important roles in neurological function. They are essential for brain, eye and neurological development in fetuses. They are also necessary for eye, heart and brain health in adults and may reduce systemic inflammation, Heller said.

“The concern with eating fish is not only the overfishing of our seas, but the amount of mercury — a neurotoxin — found in fish,” she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends only one to two 2-ounce servings of low-mercury fish a week for children ages 4 to 7; 3 ounces for children 8 to 10; and 4 ounces for children 11 and older, Heller said.

Five commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish, according to the FDA.

“A healthy, balanced diet, plenty of exercise and limited computer and screen time can all help kids sleep better and do better in school,” Heller said.

The study was published online Dec. 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

Five Creative Ways To Eat Raw Garlic

Five Creative Ways To Eat Raw Garlic


Garlic is one of the most common and effective ways to deal with minor health issues and infections that tend to affect everyday life. It also happens to be one of the food items that people run away from the most primarily because of the way it smells.
Here are some interesting ways to consume garlic that could help make the experience a little more bearable.

1. Honey Shot

Simply take a spoonful of honey, sprinkle some shredded garlic on the top and swallow it all at once. The honey will help with smell and taste while making it easier to ingest and swallow.

2. Toast

Mix some shredded cloves of garlic with some butter and spread it on your bread toast. You would hardly notice it when you take a bite.

3. Sandwich

This applies almost the same principle as the toast but instead, you shred the garlic as a part of whatever the content of your sandwich is. The garlic will blend in nicely with all the other flavours and will be almost non-existent when you taste it.

4. Dip-In-Sauce

Similar to the honey shot, simply take a piece of the shredded garlic clove and dip it in mayonnaise or tomato ketchup. It will help mask the taste and smell of the garlic for easier consumption.

5. Bottoms Up

This is perhaps the crudest method on the list but it’s still quite effective. Simply swallow shredded pieces of a garlic like a pill and help it down with a cup of water.

Health benefits of oily fish

Health benefits of oily fish

Oily fish is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Both white and oily fish are good sources of lean protein. White fish contains fatty acids, but only in the liver, and in smaller quantities.

Cardiovascular disease

Consuming oily fish can help protect against cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA. A study published by the American Physiological Society suggests that fatty fish oils can also protect the heart during times of mental stress.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal linked an average daily intake of at least 0.21 grams (or 210 milligrams) a day of omega-3 with a 52 per cent lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids might protect against the future development of RA.


Among people who abuse alcohol, fish oil may offer protection from dementia. Brain cells that were exposed to a mix of fish oil and alcohol had 95 percent less neuroinflammation and neuronal death compared with brain cells that were only exposed to alcohol.

Mouth and skin cancers

Oily fish consumption may protect against early- and late-stage oral and skin cancers. Omega-3 fatty acid has been found to target and selectively inhibit the growth of malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses that do not affect the normal cells.

Sensory, cognitive, and motor development

Consuming oily fish during the last months of pregnancy can have positive effects on a child’s sensory, cognitive, and motor development, research suggests. The same study did not find that breast-feeding offered the same benefits.


The children of women who regularly consumed salmon during pregnancy may be less likely to show signs of asthma at the age of 2.5.

Protecting vision and memory

DHA can protect against vision loss. Scientists have identified a link between oily fish consumption and a lower risk of vision loss in older people. A study published in PLOS One indicates that eating oily fish may improve working memory.

Breast and prostate cancer

One meta-analysis of nearly 900,000 women has linked a higher consumption of oily fish with a lower risk of breast cancer. However, another team found that men with high quantities of omega-3 oil in their blood had a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Many people take fish oil supplements for health reasons. Learn more about fish oils and their benefits here.

Although eating oily fish promotes many aspects of good health, overconsumption may not be beneficial. A recent study found a risk of premature death in people with both high and low levels of HDL, raising the question of whether more HDL is always better.

Also, high levels of HDL can be harmful for people who are undergoing dialysis, because it can increase levels of inflammation.



Health benefits of onion

Health benefits of onion


As we are waxing through the ‘ember months,’ don’t forget to use onion as part of your cookery ingredi­ents in line with all the benefits it contains for your health and palatable enjoyment.

Onion is one of the most popu­lar and multipurpose vegetables in the world. It is well-known as a very strong aromatic bulb veg­etable that has been cultivated for thousands of years, due to its me­dicinal and culinary value.

Onion and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing com­pounds that are responsible for their pungent odours and various health-promoting effects. Part of onion’s popularity throughout the centuries is its adaptability; it can be grown in a wide variety of climates and soils. There are different varieties of onion, such as scallions, shallots, yellow, red onions and white onions.

It is said to have originated from Central-Asia with emphasis on early civilisation. It was a popular ingredient in an­cient Egypt as recorded in the Holy Bible (Numbers 11:5), “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucum­bers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.” Apart from consumption, onions were also placed on altars and buried with Pharaohs and have been found in mummies as symbol of eternity in Egypt. Ancient naturalist believed that onions have long therapeutic his­tory. It was used in healing health problems like heart diseases, vi­sion problems, toothaches, dys­entery, indigestion, hemorrhoids and so on.

Like in garlic, onion also has an enzyme, allinase which is per­ceived only when the onion is cut or minced, and causes your eyes to shed tears. The organic sulphur compounds are good for the liver because it detoxifies unwanted compounds from the body. Onions are proven to be low calorie veg­etables, high in Vitamin C, biotin, Vitamin B1, B6 and K. It also con­tains quercitin, an antioxidant fla­vonoid that helps to lower choles­terol and the risk of heart disease, as well as certain types of cancer. Antioxidants are compounds that help delay or slow the oxida­tive damage to cells and tissue of the body that may help to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, as well as certain types of cancers. Studies have revealed that quercitin which is an anti- in­flammatory, antiviral, antibiotic helps to eliminate free radicals from the body. They inhibit reac­tions in the atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, by ward­ing off blood clots; they prevent diabetes (lowers blood sugar), chronic bronchitis, asthma, and hay fever. The benefits are also good for many types of tumors, including those of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, colon, kidney, and breast and prostrate. A recent study revealed that strong tasting onions are highest in flavonoids and may inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancer cells. How­ever, for someone who wants to in­crease an intake in antioxidants, there is need to consume scal­lions, shallots, red and yellow on­ion varieties instead of the white onion specie.

Onions are free of sodium, fat, cholesterol, but provide a num­ber of other key nutrients. It is a good source of dietary fiber and folic acid. They also contain calcium, iron which is benefi­cial in the treatment of anaemia and have a high protein quality. Onion juice is applied directly to the skin for insect bites, wounds, warts, light burns and bruises and brings boils to maturity by its warming feeling. The seeds of onions increase semen and libido in sexual performance. It also lessens vomiting, diarrhea and cholera. Studies have also shown that constant onion consump­tion can protect one from tooth decays because of its bactericidal property. Onions is said to have expectorant properties for cold, cough, bronchitis and influenza. It relieves bleeding piles after be­ing taken for few days. The seeds also relieve dental worms and urinary diseases. The stalks of onion are a source of vitamin A, thiamin and vitamin C.

One of the most important qualities of onions is its high culinary taste. They are used for garnishing soups, sauces, and for flavouring or seasoning food everyday, universally. It could be eaten raw, baked, grilled, stuffed, and pickled or fried. In manufac­turing, the oil is used to flavor packaged foods. It can be well preserved; hence, the bulbs may be kept for several months with­out deteriorating.

I concur with Julia Child, who said “It is hard to imagine a civili­sation without onions.” Our cook­ing would be significantly differ­ent if the onion did not exist.”

Source: National Mirror