Wholegrain Rolled Millet

Ogmo

Millet are a group of small seed grasses and is often referred as grain because of its grain-like consistency. These ancient crops can withstand dry and high temperature conditions and are grown in many developing countries.

Better growth even without fertilizers, low irrigation requirements, pest resistance, ability to withstand dry & high temperature condition make these climate-resilient millet as ‘smart crop’.

Millets have been part of our indigenous culture for a very long time. Bajra, jowar and ragi has remained a mainstream food in many parts of Indian states. Bajra kheech, Ragi koozu, kanji, bajra raab, Bajra rotla, akki roti, Jolada roti, mudde are some of the traditional Indian delicacies made with millet.

Causes of decline in millet consumption:

• Changing food habits, Modernization leading to adapting quick cooking grains like polished rice and wheat flour to save time.
• Taste and texture of millet; millet based recipes tend to be heavy on stomach and not as sweet as the wheat or rice based ones.
• Processing problems; millet grains are hard and coarse and need more processing and cooking time to make them palatable.
• Lack of market support; departmental stores started stocking more of easy to cook grains.
• Lack of value addition; Not many value added products of millet are out in the market.

rolled millet

Types of millet;

Millet are divided in two categories based on the size of the grain – major millet and minor millets. Pearl millet and sorghum are major millet while minor millet are represented by six millet (foxtai, finger millet, barnyard, kodo, little and proso millet).

Millet are also classified based on the presence of hard husk which covers the kernel. Ragi, jowar and bajra don’t have the hard husk and need no processing after harvest and can be used directly in cooking. While the other millet need processing to remove the indigestible hard husk before it is consumed.

According to research from NCBI “Minor millets are nutritionally superior to major cereals and possess therapeutic benefits for the modern lifestyle.”

1. Sorghum or Jowar; is rich in iron, calcium, protein, fiber and phytochemicals.

2. Finger Millet or Ragi; High in iron and calcium and is a good source of amino acids.

3. Pearl millet or Bajra; Rich source of magnesium and iron and contains eight essential amino acids.

4. Foxtail Millet; is rich in smart carbohydrate which doesn’t increase blood sugar levels immediately. It also has iron and calcium to strengthen immunity.

5. Barnyard millet; High in fiber, calcium and phosphorous.

6. Proso millet; it has significant amount of carbohydrates, protein, niacin and fatty acids.

7. Little millet; these are good source of vitamin B, calcium, iron zinc and potassium.

millet flakes

Benefits of millet

The tiny powerhouse of nutrients has been renamed as Nutri cereals by our government in a recent moves.

Vitamins ; these tiny gluten-free grains with lowglycemic index are packed wth water soluble B complex vitamins.

Minerals; Presence of minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin and phosphorous in millets helps keeping the heart healthy, controls cholesterol, prevent diabetics, boost immune system and develop and repair body tissues.

Fiber; Millets are rich in insoluble fiber which prevent the occurrence of gallstone.

Antioxidants; millets have phytochemicals known as polyphenols which removes harmful disease causing free radicals from body.
Gluten free; millet is gluten free, so Celiac sufferers can turn to it as their source of grain.

“So next time you are looking for an alternative to rice or potatoes, serve millet instead. Do consult your doctor if you have thyroid related issues before consuming millets as these grains possess goitrogens, the anti-nutritional factor.” Says Payal Talesra, our consulting dietician.

Reference sites;
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4519513/
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=53
https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/magical-millets-for-your-health-benefits.htm

Disclaimer; The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.

Prebiotic Vs Probiotic foods

Ogmo

Prebiotic Vs Probiotic foods

probiotic foods

We are what we eat. The lining of our gut is covered with millions of both good and bad bacteria which form a complex ecosystem called microbiome. The colony of bacteria is crucial for regulating our immune system and digestion of food. If our gut is healthy (more good bacteria), we are healthy.

Prebiotic is a naturally occurring non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant fiber while probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria in our body.
Prebiotics feed probiotics. Together prebiotic and probiotic can help make a strong gut flora of good bacteria to keep us healthy and disease free.

Carbohydrates; well, we need to understand a little bit about carbohydrates also before jumping on the pre and probiotic brigade. As carbohydrate plays a major role in explaining them.

Carbohydrate can be present in the food in the form of;
1. Sugar
2. Starch
3. fiber

Simple carbs are easy to digest such as sugar and the other forms what is called complex carb contain longer chains of sugar molecules and takes longer time to digest. Complex carb foods (wholegrain) normally have more fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Prebiotics are dietary ingredients with complex carbohydrates with high plant-fiber and something called ‘resistant starch’ that human can’t digest but our good bacteria can.
Yes, not all starches or carbohydrates are not equal. Simple carbohydrates (like sugar) get digested quickly causing a rapid spike in blood sugar level while some other starches (complex carbs) remain undigested in intestine thereby slowly releasing the sugar or energy levels.
Resistant starches are complex carbohydrates or fiber-rich carbs which resist digestion in the small intestine and passes to large intestine where they get fermented and become food for the friendly bacteria.
Wholegrain (rolled oats, millet), chia, green banana, soyabeans, raw garlic, flax seeds, apples, onion are a good source of prebiotic food.
Phew…wish I had focused on my science lessons during school days.

probiotic foods

Probiotics; these are live bacteria and yeast that are good for you and are naturally created by the process of fermentation in foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, acv and others.
Probiotics helps reducing ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut and keep us healthy.

Points to ponder;
• Bad bacteria thrive on high-sugar and high-fat diet and are the cause of various diseases.
• Cold foods have more resistant starch. Cooked, and cooled rice or potatoes.
• Eating foods with resistant starch can reduces blood sugar, increase fullness, and improves function of the gut.
• Eating a balance of both pro and pre can help lead a healthy life.

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/resistant-starch-101
http://drchristianson.com/30-amazing-resistant-starch-foods-for-better-digestion/http://blog.katescarlata.com/2017/01/23/resistant-starch-care/
https://kellybroganmd.com/resistant-starch-why-your-body-needs-it/

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Benefits of soaking grains, nuts and seeds

benefits of soaking

Benefits of soaking grains, nuts and seeds

soaking benefits

Why soaking is important
Nuts, seeds and wholegrain are a healthy addition to our meal. But all grains, nuts and seeds contain anti-nutrient which needs to be neutralized before eating.
All grains contain phytic acid or phytates in the outer layer which when consumed untreated will hamper the absorption of important minerals in our body.
Eating grains, legumes and nuts without proper cooking or processing may lead to food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome.
Well, soaking is the solution.
Soaking of grains is not new to Indians who have been using this technique to make many traditional recipes at home. Soaking rajma and chana is always a step carried out before turning them into delicious curries.
Dahi (curds), pickles, Idly, dhoklas, kanji, sprouted matki…the list is endless in Indian cuisine which involves soaking, sprouting and fermentation of grains and legumes.

Nutritional inhibitors and toxins:
Some of the inhibitors found in grains, nuts and seeds are phytic acids (phytates), tannins (affects absorption of nutrients) and goitrogens (affect thyroid function).

A note on phytic acid: Phytic acid or phytates is a form of indigestible phosphorous and is considered anti-nutrient. Grains have more phytic acids than nuts & seeds which contain enzyme inhibitors that block digestion.
But wait, there is a good fellow called Phytase which is a natural enzyme present in grains, nuts and seeds. Phytase helps break down the phytic acid and increases the nutritional quality of grains, nuts and seeds. Cooking alone does not help release phytase or in breaking down phytic acid from grains and nuts.
Processing techniques such as soaking, fermentation and sprouting is an effective method to eliminate phytic acid to great extent.

benefits of soaking

A simple acidic solution such as lemon juice, kefir, acv or whey is required to soak grains as they contain more phytic acids than nuts and seed which can be soaked in warm water and a pinch of salt to break down the enzyme inhibitors.

Soaking grains, nuts and seeds helps to;
• Reduce phytic acid, and other anti-nutrients.
• Improve body’s ability to absorb certain minerals better.
• Neutralize enzyme inhibitors from seeds and nuts.
• Encourage production of healing bacteria for good gut health.
• Increase the amount of vitamins
• Reduce anti-nutritional enzyme inhibitors.
• Break down gluten
• Make the protein more easily available.
• Increase availability of minerals.
• Reduce toxins
• Decreases cooking time and make them more light & soft.

“Soaking not only make grains, nuts and seeds healthy but it also increases the flavor, taste and texture.” Says Ms. Payal Talesra, a practicing nutritionist.

References:
https://wellnessmama.com/59139/soaking-nuts-seeds/
http://cleanlivingguide.com/journal/how-to-soak-sprout-grains-nuts-seeds-legumes/
https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-phytates-phytic-acid

Disclaimer: The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.
The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.

Processed Vs Unprocessed Foods

unprocessed foods

Processed Vs Unprocessed Foods

healthy eating

Let’s face it, with a busy lifestyle it’s so much easier to grab a bag of processed wheat flour than to go through the laborious exercise of removing impurities, washing, drying and then giving the wheat berries for grinding before rolling out chapatis or baking simple bread. Phew..
The advice “Eat more whole foods and consume fewer processed foods” is not as simple as it sounds.
I searched internet and spoke to some of my friends from food world to figure out what the fuss is all about. Though I am convinced and a little confused…chances are we would disagree on many of the pointers mentioned here.

unprocessed foods

Whole food is all about eating food that still looks closest to their natural state and processed foods are altered during manufacturing or are simply pre-prepared for convenience.” a foodie friend argued.
“Any kind of activity which involves even a slight change in the texture or state of whole food can be termed as processing.” She continues.
“But then, chopping, deseeding, de-husking, fermentation, pickling, sprouting, grinding, and freezing…if these are not a ‘process’ I don’t know what is. In fact, all the listed ways of processing (mechanical) makes the food more nutritious and easily digestible than they once were.” I wondered and argued.
“I need stone teeth to chew and a steel intestine to digest whole wheat kernels and paddy rice. My coffee needs pasteurized milk, the lentils and rice need to be cooked well before it comes to dining table.” And the conversation ended there.

healthy eating

Internet came to rescue as food scientist Rober Shewfelt in his book ‘In Defense of Processed Food’ defines processed food as “a product that has been modified to improve its safety, extend the shelf life, enhance its quality, and improve its convenience.”

Points to ponder:

1. Most of the foods that we eat are proceeds in some way. The difference is the degree of processing (heavy or minimally) involved and the method (mechanical or chemical) used to make food more palatable.

2. More the food is processed more is the chances of it being extremely low in essential nutrition, high in sugar, salt, wrong kinds of fats and may possess many additives. Try to avoid such foods.
That said, not all processed food that comes in bag or a box are bad. Learn to read labels, look for the added additives and make better choices. If not, then try to move on…

References:
https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/processed-food-gets-an-unfair-bad-rap.html
https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/processed-foods-whats-ok-and-what-to-avoid
https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/27/health/processed-food-eat-less-drayer/index.html

Spices – Turmeric, Cumin, Pepper, Cinnamon

indian spices

Spices – Turmeric, cumin, pepper, cinnamon

indian spices

Indian food is all about spices.
Apart from adding colour, texture, flavor and taste to Indian food, each spice stands on its own. Every spice has its own definite character and role to play in the dish it is being used.
But these spices reach far beyond just seasoning. Indian spices are not only used in kitchen but also has various medicinal benefits attached to them.

Turmeric: It is a dried rhizome of a plant in ginger family. This orange-yellow nutritionally rich herb contains good amount of protein, iron, fiber, calcium and vitamin C.
Curcumin found in turmeric is a very strong antioxidant and a natural anti-inflammatory substance.
Turmeric helps in cold and cough and prevents inflammation. It also helps in healing wounds, reduce pain and slow down aging.

Cumin: Cumin seeds come from a flowering plant of parsley family. It has high concentration of essential oils and has many microbial and antifungal properties. The seeds are full of vitamins, and many other minerals such as iron, zinc, thiamine, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium.
It relieves digestive problems, boosts immune system and helps in common cold. Cumin also helps in stomach pain, indigestion and morning sickness.

indian spices

Cinnamon: it is an aromatic inner bark of a small tree. The essential oil found in it called cinnamaldehyde which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also contains antioxidants, and is high in manganese.
It helps in digestion of sugar. It is anti-inflammatory, controls blood sugar levels, and boosts memory.

Black pepper: these tiny berries are fruits of flowering vine which is usually dried and used as a spice or seasoning, commonly known as peppercorns. The essential oil in it has high amount of phytochemical, one of which is piperine, responsible for its characteristic spiciness.

It is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin K, iron, manganese, folate. It also helps in digestion, diarrhea, cough and cold, sore throat, heart disease, fight depression, enhance memory and reduce blood pressure.

References:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section2
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/turmeric.html

Disclaimer; The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.
The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.

Super foods – Chia, Pumpkin and Raisins

chia, pumpkin seeds, raisin

Super foods – Chia, Pumpkin seeds, raisins

chia, pumpkin seeds, raisin

The saying “Great things come in small packages” holds true for these tiny powerhouse of nutrients.
“Filled with heart healthy fats, filling fibers, plant protein and phytonutrients these seeds are a great source to maintain good health. Include just about one tablespoon or two of these nutrient-dense seeds in your daily for more natural energy.” Says practicing dietician Payal Talesra

Chia seeds: these nutrient dense tiny black and grey seeds are unprocessed whole-grain super food from a flowering plant in mint family.
They are excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids in plant form, antioxidants, fiber, protein, iron and calcium.

Pumpkin seeds: These flat and oval seeds are edible seeds of pumpkin. These are also called Pepitas.
These seeds are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamins E and are excellent source of dietary fibers. These are high in magnesium, zinc and fatty acids.

super foods

Raisins: the crinkly looking raisins are obtained by drying grapes.
Raisins have a phytochemical called resveratrol, which helps lower cholesterol and shows anti-cancer qualities.
These are compact powerhouse of nutrients such as iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, complex B, polyphenolic antioxidants or catechins,

The seeds and raisins can be eaten in their natural form or by sprouting or roasting them. Soaking them overnight makes them healthier alternative as opposed to eating them raw.

References:
https://www.drhardick.com/how-to-eat-chia-seeds
https://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/chia-seeds-benefits

Disclaimer; The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.
The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.

Wholegrain Rolled Oats

Wholegrain Rolled Oats

wholegrain rolled oats

Rolled oats are whole oats kernels which are lightly steamed and then rolled to make flakes.

Rolled oats are steamed for a very small time unlike the quick cooking oats which are steamed for longer time and are heavily processed. Quick cooking oats are a mixture of heavily processed oat kernels and oat flour and are not as nutritious as rolled oats.

“Wholegrain are naturally high in fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied which makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. You are getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals and a variety of phytochemicals.” Suggests our practicing nutritionist Ms. Payal Talesra.

Benefits of eating rolled oats:

Resistant starch: resistant starch is a natural type of carbohydrate which also puts rolled oats into the perfect high-carb breakfast meal. (Contain slow carbohydrate)

Excellent prebiotic: oats feed the good bacteria and helps maintain a healthy gut flora. Prebiotics are natural plant based food that goes to intestine undigested. It provides a nutrient source for gut flora to feed and grow.

Beta glucan; oats are high in beta glucan, a soluble fiber, that can help reduce LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Soluble and insoluble fiber; rolled oats are higher in fiber than quick cook oats and takes longer time to digest making you feel full for longer. Soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood glucose levels while insoluble fiber helps in maintaining good intestinal health.

Avenanthramide: A polyphenolic compound which is heart friendly and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property.
Protein, Vitamins and minerals; Oats provide a good source of vitamin E, B1, B2, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium. The major protein in oats is called avenalin which is not found in any other grain, but is similar to legume protein.
Phytochemicals present in oats are a good source of antioxidants to protect cells against free radicals.

wholegrain flakes

Ways to improve health benefits of rolled oats:

Soaking; Always soak your wholegrain with a tablespoon of acidic medium (acv, whey, kefir, yogurt, lemon juice) to break down phytic acid in them.

Add some healthy fat and protein; more nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and flax seeds will keep you full for longer. Adding fats such as coconut milk, coconut oil, almond butter also helps absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in grain.

As a unique whole grain with multi-functional characteristics, rolled oats have gained popularity with known benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, type2 diabetes, obesity and colon health.” States nutritionist Payal.

Related Links:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p22.shtml 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2471095/Forget-trendy-probiotic-drinks–just-eat-porridge.html

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal#section3

Disclaimer: The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.
The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.

Make your breakfast count

breakfast

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” ~ Adelle Davis

You have to admit it that there are some mornings where you have to drag yourself out of bed to rush through your morning routines. When making breakfast is the last thing you can manage to do. And gourmet breakfast is certainly not a realistic goal when you race against time.
But then, if you have the luxury and time, by all means sit down and enjoy your aloo parathas, upma or fluffy idlis with steaming sambhar.

Breakfast is an important meal to begin with and can help stabilize your hunger pangs during the day, if done right. Breakfast provides our body, the much needed fuel and energy after an overnight of fasting. This is exactly why this meal is known as breakfast. Breakfast is a perfect vehicle to kick-starts your metabolism early morning. It’s always better to eat more food earlier in the day when the metabolism and blood sugar levels are under control.” Suggests practicing nutritionist Ms. Payal Talesra.

To me, the concept of an ideal breakfast does not exist. I normally eat what suits my body and follow the rule of eating everything in moderation. I try to include a simple breakfast to keep me energetic and also prevent me from eating unhealthy food for the rest of the day.” She says.

Importance of breakfast:
• Boosts your metabolism
• Lifts your mood
• It restores blood sugar levels.
• You are less likely to be overweight
• Improves memory, concentration and performance

I make sure to include the following in my breakfast:
1. Complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain (millet, oats) for fiber and energy
2. Protein (yogurt, sprouts, nuts and eggs)
3. Fruits & vegetables for antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
4. Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, milk, avocado)
5. Keep yourself sufficiently hydrated during the day.

It’s the beginning of your day, make your breakfast count!

Disclaimer: The following article is my interpretation of information I gathered from my nutritionist, internet references and friends working in the same field.
The views and nutritional advice expressed here are not intended to treat or prevent any disease or to replace the advice of your doctor.