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Health Benefits of Quinoa
Categories Other nutrition blog

Health Advantages of Quinoa

Quinoa is a sort of edible seed that comes in a variety of hues, including black, red, yellow, and white. The plant is native to the Andean region of South America, notably Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru, and has been cultivated for over 5000 years. The natural saponins, a bitter-tasting chemical component coating the exterior of the seeds that functions as a natural insecticide, is removed after they are collected.

Quinoa, often described as a “superfood” or a “super grain,” has become popular among the health conscious, with good reason. It is also gluten-free and suitable for those following a gluten-free diet.

Quinoa is often used as a rice substitute, but it is actually a seed. It is commonly mistaken for a grain and is referred to as such. Quinoa is soft and fluffy when cooked, with a somewhat nutty flavour. It can be processed into flour, flakes, and a variety of dishes like pasta and bread.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the boom in quinoa demand has pushed production outside South America to more than 70 countries. Quinoa crops are being grown on a huge scale in China, North America, France, and India.

Quinoa seeds can be black, red, white, purple, pink, yellow, gray, orange, green or yellow.

Quinoa has a high protein, fiber, iron, copper, thiamin, and vitamin B6 content. It’s also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and folate. “A ‘good source’ implies that one serving delivers at least 10% of the daily value of that nutrient, while an ‘excellent source’ means that one serving provides at least 20% of the daily value of that nutrient.”

Quinoa’s “unique composition and outstanding balance” of protein, oil, and fat, as well as its minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, make it a very nutritious food, according to a 2009 paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Quinoa, unlike many other plant foods, contains phytohormones. Because they occasionally act like estrogens in the body, phytoestrogens are being explored as a treatment for menopause symptoms.

Quinoa’s health advantages

1. An all-around protein

Quinoa is well known for being one of the few plant foods that provide complete proteins, with all essential amino acids in a healthy balance. Complete proteins include all of the essential amino acids in about equal amounts, which the body cannot manufacture on its own.

2. Anti-inflammatory benefits

Quinoa may help decrease the presence of inflammation. It helps promote healthy gut microbes (the friendly bacteria in the gut), which are important for preventing obesity, inflammation and disease.

3. Free of gluten

People with Celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance, are advised to follow gluten-free diets. Quinoa is an excellent choice for such people or those who have gluten intolerance, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), etc.

4. Heart health

Lowering LDL cholesterol is good for your heart, but quinoa can benefit your heart in other ways as well. A study published in the Journal of Food Lipids noted that quinoa seeds possess many of the dietary flavonoids “shown to inversely correlate with mortality from heart disease.” Triglyceride levels reduced by an average 12.7 per cent among the participants who ate 50g, according to the findings. If you eat 50 grams of quinoa, which is four tablespoons daily, your risk of cardiovascular disease can decrease significantly.

5. Digestion

One cup of cooked quinoa offers 21% of the daily fiber recommendation, which is fantastic for your gut. Quinoa is also easier to digest than many other grains. Furthermore, one feels fuller after eating quinoa, in comparison to eating wheat or rice, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

6. Hypertension and diabetes

Quinoa has also been examined for its role in diabetes and hypertension control. A study investigated 10 traditional Peruvian grains and legumes for their potential in controlling the early stages of Type 2 diabetes.  The study found that as Quinoa is one of the most protein rich foods with almost twice as much fiber as many other grains; is loaded with potassium and magnesium, it can be extremely beneficial in diabetes and hypertension control. Not only does quinoa help normalize blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels, it’s a great food for weight loss as well!

 

In case you need a professional help, you can contact Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist and Dietitian, having more than 18 years of experience. She is one of the best dietitians in Delhi if you are looking for nutritional advice

Categories Children Diet

Impact of too much sugar on your child’s health

Impact of too much sugar on your child’s health

Sugar is all over the place. Portion sizes are increasing in today’s society, processed foods are becoming the standard, and as a result, we’re consuming more sugar than ever before. A high sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dental cavities. Sugar’s impact on your child’s brain health is also becoming clearer according to recent studies.

There are both immediate and long-term consequences of high sugar intake on brain health. You’re certainly aware of ‘sugar high,’ which is defined by a spike in your child’s energy followed by sugar consumption. But did you know that sugar also has long-term consequences for your child’s brain health?

Let’s have a look at our brains:

The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is a key regulator of cognitive activities like attention, behavioural control, and self-control. These do not form until later in life because this area of the brain is still maturing until the early twenties. Sugar has an especially negative impact on a child’s brain because the brain is continually developing. Long-term, everyday use of high-sugar (and high-fat) diets has been related to a loss of neurons (brain cells) in the prefrontal cortex, which may have an adverse effect on the creation of the cognitive processes indicated above. During this stage of life, an undeveloped prefrontal cortex might reduce self-regulation, which could be the cause of your child’s behaviour problems.

The Hippocampus is a brain region important in learning and long-term memory. The production of new neurons, known as neurogenesis, is a key element of memory and learning development. High sugar intake has been demonstrated in studies to slow down this process, potentially affecting performance on tasks like learning ability. Sugar consumption has also been linked to poor performance on nonverbal IQ tests.

Is sugar an addictive substance?

Let’s move on to the brain’s reward system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (think of it as a brain messenger) involved in movement, motivation, and addiction. Dopamine is released when you eat a highly enjoyable food (such as a sugary snack). Eating large amounts of these foods can activate the reward system to a great degree, causing a person to eat more food than necessary to meet their energy needs. With consistently high sugar diets, this overeating can begin in childhood and persist throughout maturity. Research is also showing that sugar can be characterized as an addictive substance and may even have addictive properties including withdrawal or continued cravings when sugar is deprived

What should you do?

Sugar is so widely available that it’s easy for your child to consume too much. For a list of typical sugar sources and guidelines, check the previous blog (INCLUDE LINK). If you’re having trouble reducing your child’s sugar intake, try implementing the following suggestions:

1. Avoid fruit juice: Juice has an abnormally high sugar content. Many of the nutritious characteristics of fruit, such as fibre and vitamins, are stripped away during processing. Instead, make water the preferred beverage.

2. Be inventive when it comes to baking! Use natural sweeteners like dates or bananas to sweeten your food. Because many recipes ask for a lot of sugar, lowering the amount can also assist.

3. Keep an eye out for food marketing. Many smoothie businesses, for example, love to pitch their products as the healthier option, but they might actually be filled with 50+ grammes of sugar!

4. Finally, make a positive start to your child’s day. Many traditional breakfast meals, such as cereal or Pop tarts, contain a lot of sugar, which causes your child’s energy to jump and then drop before lunch. Including more complex carbohydrates and fibre in the first meal of the day (for example, overnight oats, eggs, peanut butter, and whole grain bread) can make a huge difference.

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in paediatric nutrition, can provide expert advice. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

References:

1. Reichelt, A., Gibson, G., Abbott, K., Hare, D. (2019). A high-fat high-sugar diet in adolescent rats impairs social memory and alters chemical markers characteristic of atypical neuroplasticity and parvalbumin interneuron depletion in the medial prefrontal cortex. Food & Function, (4).

2. Reichelt, A. (2016). Adolescent maturational transitions in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine signaling as a risk factor for the development of obesity and high fat/high sugar diet induced cognitive deficits. Front. Behav. Neurosci,

3. Neuroscientifically Challenged. (2015, January 16). Know your brain: reward system.

4. The University of Queensland. (2017, May 18). What is neurogenesis?.

5. Freeman, C. R., Zehra, A., Ramirez, V., Wiers, C. E., Volkow, N. D., & Wang, G. J. (2018). Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior. Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition), 23, 2255–2266.

iron deficiency
Categories Other nutrition blog, Pregnancy nutrition

Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy

Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy

Is iron important for a healthy pregnancy? When you’re pregnant, how much iron do you need? What are the best places to get iron?

Do you find yourself pondering these questions frequently?

Pregnancy and Iron

Iron is one of the nutrients that aids in the development of a healthy baby. Iron is required for your baby’s growth, including the development of a healthy brain. It aids in the transfer of oxygen from your lungs to your baby, as well as assisting in the production of new red blood cells to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Iron is also required to aid in the development of your baby’s own iron stores. This lowers the baby’s chances of iron deficiency after birth.

Iron deficiency during pregnancy can pose a number of dangers to both the mother and the baby. Mama’s heart may be under more strain, and she may be more susceptible to infection. Low birth weight, preterm delivery, and increased risk of infant mortality are all risks of iron deficiency. But don’t be concerned! Iron deficiency can be avoided or controlled during pregnancy by eating iron-rich meals on a daily basis and taking iron supplements.

What amount of Iron do you require?

During pregnancy, a woman should get a total of 27 milligrammes of iron every day. Most women obtain less than 15 milligrammes of iron per day from food, which is why taking a supplement during pregnancy is recommended.

Where can you find it ?

Heme and non-heme iron are the two forms of iron. Heme iron, which can be found in meat, is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, which can be found in plant sources. Red meat is a good source of heme iron. Whole grains, nuts, beans, and leafy greens like spinach are all good sources of non-heme iron.

Did you know that vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron in the body? When you eat meals high in iron, make sure you also eat foods strong in vitamin C. Kiwi, peppers, mangoes, and lemons are all good sources of vitamin C.

Did you also know that calcium and iron don’t mix well? While calcium is a crucial vitamin to consider during pregnancy, when it comes to iron, it can be a bully. Calcium will interfere with iron absorption if calcium and iron-containing foods are taken at the same time.

To get the most out of both minerals, aim to eat calcium-rich foods at least 2 hours apart from iron-rich ones. Tannins and iron are in the same boat. Coffee and tea contain tannins, so if you choose to consume either of these beverages while pregnant, do so one hour before or after consuming iron-rich meals.

Do you think you may be deficient or are at danger of becoming deficient?

Iron deficiency affects one out of every four pregnant mothers. Women who have heavy periods, consume a vegetarian or vegan diet, donate blood on a regular basis, have been pregnant multiple times, or have a gluten sensitivity are more prone to developing iron deficiency during pregnancy. If you suspect you have an iron deficiency, you may experience fatigue and a lack of attention. When your haemoglobin levels are low, you have iron deficiency anaemia. Hemoglobin is a protein found in your blood that transports oxygen throughout your body, with the help of iron.

In Conclusion

Iron is an important component to consider during pregnancy. Working with your dietitian can help you acquire enough iron to promote a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby!

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist and Dietitian with over 18 years of pregnancy nutrition experience, can help. Because of her continuous devotion to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling excellent eating habits and lifestyles, she is considered as one of the best dietitians in Delhi.

Tricks for including Omega-3 fatty acids into Your Child’s diet
Categories Children Diet, Nutrition Blogs

Tricks for including Omega-3 fatty acids into Your Child’s diet

Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for a child’s nutritional needs. It cannot be overstated how important it is especially for a child’s brain health! Omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health and can help a child focus, reduce hyperactivity, and lead to better memory, uptake and retention overall. It is critical that we provide high-omega-3 foods or supplements to growing children as much as possible.

What exactly are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid, which means that the body cannot produce them and they must be obtained from food or other sources.

The three main omega-3 fats are ALA, DHA, and EPA (the titles are confusing, so don’t memorise them).

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are produced in modest amounts by ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which can be obtained from foods such as certain oils, nuts, and seeds.

The DHA and EPA produced by this ALA are insufficient. As a result, you must consume it!

Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna provide DHA and EPA to the body.

DHA and EPA are critical for a child’s cognitive and behavioural development.

So, where may Omega-3 fats be found?

Although this is not an exhaustive list of omega-3-rich foods, there are a few items you can try to incorporate into a child’s diet.

• Fish and seafood, particularly fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines that we’ve already discussed;

• Walnuts, flax, hemp, and chia seeds are examples of nuts and seeds.

• Oils from plants.

Even if parents do their best to provide nuts, seeds, and fish to their children on a regular basis, they may not accept them willingly or eat as much as they require. This is where supplements can help to fill in the gaps in your omega-3 intake.

Introducing omega-3 supplements to children

We’ve all experienced how tough it is to convince a youngster to take supplements, right? Omega-3 supplements, especially those in liquid form, make this even more difficult because they have an oily texture and can have an unpleasant fishy flavour. This may not be a problem if your child is older and can take a pill or gummy, but we’ll focus on liquids today.

So, here are a few ways to mask the fishy taste of omega-3 oil:

1. Toss it with your child’s favourite freshly squeezed juice: Citrus fruits, such as orange juice are best for masking the flavour and texture.

2. Toss with yoghurt in a smoothie or frozen yogurt along with fruits: The soft texture and strong flavour of flavoured yoghurt will help to mask the oil’s taste and consistency.

3. Add to nut butter and spread on toast, crackers, or fruit.

4. POPSICLES WITH FRUIT!: There’s nothing like a delicious fruity popsicle to cool off after a long day of school or activities. Before freezing, hide some omega-3 in the popsicles.

In conclusion

No matter how hard you try, not every child will accept an omega-3 supplement, but it is a crucial nutrient to include in their diet. Don’t give up.

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in antenatal nutrition, can provide expert advice. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

Categories Dietician for children

Lactose Intolerance 

Lactose Intolerance 

Lactose intolerance is a type of reaction to lactose present in cow’s milk or formula manufactured from it that you or your child may experience. This occurs when our bodies are unable to digest lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance affects over 70% of the world’s population. People from Asian, African, and Hispanic ethnic groupings are more likely to have it.

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

Lactose intolerance has certain symptoms that are comparable to those of a cow’s milk protein allergy. Digestion issues such as belly aches and bloating may be among them. Diarrhoea can also be a symptom.

 A lactose intolerance test, which evaluates blood sugar levels before and after drinking a lactose solution drink, may be given to confirm the intolerance.

If the test reveals lactose intolerance, you will most likely be directed to a dietician, who will advise you on appropriate meals and beverages. To ensure normal growth and development, babies and young children require the right nutrition. If your baby is bottle-fed and has lactose sensitivity, your doctor will probably recommend switching to lactose-free formula milk. Lactose replacement drops, which make it easier for your infant to digest lactose in breast milk, may aid if you’re nursing. For many babies and young children, lactose intolerance is only transitory. Within a few weeks or months, their symptoms will usually improve. It’s safe to gradually reintroduce milk and dairy into their diet at this time.

How Do You Deal With Lactose Intolerance?

When a child is diagnosed with lactose intolerance, the symptoms are relieved by avoiding milk and other dairy products. Those with primary lactose intolerance, on the other hand, have various degrees of lactase insufficiency and can tolerate varying levels of dietary lactose. Lactose-intolerant youngsters (and their parents) should be aware that symptoms caused by dairy products are usually temporary and do not cause harm to the gastrointestinal tract (as compared with celiac disease or allergic reactions, including milk-protein intolerance that can lead to ongoing inflammation and mucosal damage). Despite the fact that lactose malabsorption does not predispose to calcium malabsorption, avoiding milk products to alleviate symptoms may be detrimental to proper bone mineralization. It’s been proven that children who don’t drink milk get less calcium than they need for appropriate bone calcium accretion and mineralization.

Beyond infancy, lactose-free alternatives to cow milk based on rice, soy, or other proteins are widely accessible, albeit the nutritious content of most of these milks is not comparable to cow milk. Lactose is present in other mammalian milks, including goat milk. Tolerance to milk products may be partial, so some people may be able to avoid symptoms by simply changing their diet. Lactose in little doses, spaced throughout the day and ingested with other foods, may be tolerated in some cases, without causing discomfort. Because the bacteria in yogurt convert the lactose into lactic acid before intake, many lactose-intolerant individuals who are intolerant of milk can consume yoghurt. Furthermore, the semisolid nature of yoghurt reduces gastric emptying and gastrointestinal transit, resulting in less lactose intolerance symptoms.

Aged cheeses have a lower lactose content than other cheeses and may be better tolerated as a result. Finally, oral lactase replacement capsules or lactase-enhanced milk or dairy products are widely available, allowing lactose-intolerant people to consume some or all milk products without restriction. Because the vitamin D amount of milk substitutes vary, labels must be verified to ensure that each brand’s vitamin D content is accurate.

Lactose-Free Formulas

Low-lactose and lactose-free formulas have no clinical advantages over standard lactose-containing formulas in developed countries, even in the case of acute gastroenteritis, because enough lactose digestion and absorption is preserved, except in severely undernourished children, in whom lactose-containing formulas may worsen diarrhoea and lactose-free formulas may be advantageous. In all circumstances, human milk should be continued for breastfed newborns. Despite the widespread availability and popularity of lactose-free cow milk–protein-based formulas, no research has shown that they have any therapeutic influence on infant outcome indicators such as colic, growth, or development.

Calcium Absorption and Bone Mineral Content Lactose, Calcium Absorption, and Bone Mineral Content

Recent research suggests that dietary lactose improves calcium absorption and that lactose-free diets decrease calcium absorption. Lactose intolerance (and lactose-free diets) may thus predispose to insufficient bone mineralization, a condition now identified in a variety of other paediatric illnesses. The long-term effects of lactose-free diets on bone mineral content and the risk of fractures and osteoporosis as people age have yet to be determined. Protein intake, vitamin D status, salt intake, hereditary and other factors all affect calcium homeostasis, making long-term research necessary to assess the hazards of each or all of these to bone health. Recent research suggests that genetic testing may one day be effective for detecting those at risk of lactase deficiency and, as a result, decreased bone mineral density, allowing for early management with dietary changes or nutrient supplementation.

Summary

Lactose intolerance has been recognised as a frequent condition in many children and people around the world for many years. Despite the fact that lactose intolerance is rarely life-threatening, its symptoms can cause severe discomfort, interrupted quality of life, and loss of school attendance, leisure and sports activities, and work time, all at a cost to individuals, families, and society. Treatment is straightforward and focuses on lowering or eliminating lactose, from the diet or “predigesting” it with supplemental lactase-enzyme replacement. Calcium must be obtained from nondairy sources or as a dietary supplement to avoid indolence.

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in child nutrition, can provide expert advise and the right kind of diet. Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

Categories Diet During Pregnancy, Nutrition Blogs

Diet to prevent pre-eclampsia during pregnancy?

Diet to prevent pre-eclampsia during pregnancy?

Preeclampsia is a disorder that affects women during pregnancy and increases maternal and child mortality and morbidity. During pregnancy, it is identified by sudden increase in blood pressure and proteinuria (presence of protein in urine). High blood pressure is a potentially severe complication of pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia commonly develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. Other than high blood pressure and protein in the urine; swelling in the legs and water retention may also be present. But swollen ankles and water retention can also be present in a normal pregnancy and so can be confusing.

One in every ten pregnancies is affected by high blood pressure, generally known as hypertension. During pregnancy, hypertension can manifest in a variety of ways. Pre-existing high blood pressure, hypertension that develops during pregnancy (gestational hypertension), and pre-eclampsia, which affects 2-8 out of every 100 women and begins at 20 weeks of pregnancy, are the most prevalent.

A team of researchers conducted a study of pregnant women’s food habits and their related risks of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. They found that:

• Instead of high-fat, high-calorie items, eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.

• Potatoes are not included in the five-a-day goal.

• Choose wholegrain over refined grains or starchy foods.

• Stick to a low-fat diet and gain weight at a healthy rate

• Consume fiber-rich foods like oats, beans, lentils, grains, and seeds.

• Avoid drinks with added sugars and other foods with a high sugar content, such as candies, cakes, and biscuits.

• Fish is a safe option during pregnancy in general, however the recommendation is to eat no more than two portions of oily fish each week, such as mackerel or salmon. This is because a chemical contained in oily fish (mercury) in excess can impair the development of an unborn baby.

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in antenatal nutrition, can provide expert advice. She is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

Categories Other nutrition blog

Substitutes for sugar: Are They the Answer to Better Nutrition and Eating?

Substitutes for sugar: Are They the Answer to Better Nutrition and Eating?

Sugar is frequently blamed for a variety of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. Does this imply that the solution to better eating is to use sugar replacements and sweeteners?

Simply put, the answer is NO!

Let’s have a look at why.

What is the difference between sugar replacements and sweeteners?

Each sugar substitute differs somewhat. However the basic concept remains the same:

sugar alternatives provide the same sweetness as sugar but without the calories.

Many ‘diet’ or ‘light’ beverages, baked items, yogurts, and chewing gum contain them. Sugar substitutes are commonly referred to as “sweeteners” and they are regulated to assure their safety.

The following are some examples of common names:

• Saccharin

• Aspartame

• Sorbitol

• Xylitol

• Stevia extract

Because these sweeteners are many times sweeter than sucrose (sugar), a lesser amount is required to produce the same sweetness. This may cause some people to feel that artificial sweeteners are a healthy alternative.

Let’s look at how sweeteners compare to sugar:

It has long been established that additional sugars are harmful to one’s health. Even while there is less concrete proof in the case of sweeteners, we are overlooking a larger issue. Sweeteners have lesser or no calories as compared to sugar, but they both should be consumed in moderation. They do not provide any nutrients.

So, what does the research say?

Due to their low calorie content, sweeteners have gained popularity as dietary supplements. Artificial sweeteners, according to research, appear to be linked to an elevated risk of several chronic diseases, similar to those associated with sugar consumption. Some of these sweeteners have also been linked with poor gut health. Furthermore, there is no clear and consistent evidence that sweeteners actually lower weight or obesity rates.

Sweeteners appear to have many of the same effects as added sugars. The majority of studies have identified a link between artificially sweetened beverage consumption and weight increase. Another study recently discovered that people who drink diet sodas on a regular basis have a significantly higher risk of developing the diseases that these sugar substitutes are intended to prevent (such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke).

The use of sweeteners in children could be hazardous in some ways. This is due to the fact that exposure to sugary meals throughout childhood can alter taste well into adulthood. Frequent consumption of high-sugar or artificial-sugar foods can change food choices, resulting in higher sugar consumption later in life. Sweetener-containing foods are deficient in nutrients and can interfere with proper growth and development during childhood and adolescence.

Sweeteners may also cause metabolic dysregulation by interfering with the gut flora. Finally, research in children and adults has demonstrated that artificial sweetener consumption (which has no calories) can lead to overconsumption of sweet food (which has calories) when added sugar is ingested later.

Last but not least

Sugar substitutes and sweeteners have little nutritional benefit. At the end of the day, it’s all about moderation. We should limit our use of both. Rather than focusing on which foods are the least unhealthy, try focusing on which foods are the most nutrient-dense.

In case you need a professional help, you can contact Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist and Dietitian, having more than 18 years of experience. She is one of the best dietitians in Delhi if you are looking for nutritional advice.

Categories Diet During Pregnancy, Pregnancy nutrition

Folate and Pregnancy: How important is it really?

Folate and Pregnancy: How important is it really?

Folate, often known as vitamin B9, is an important nutrient during pregnancy. Folate has a number of critical roles during pregnancy, the most significant of which is ensuring the normal closure of your baby’s neural tube during the first few weeks. Getting adequate folate during this critical phase will help your baby avoid neural tube problems like spina bifida and anencephaly. It is necessary for your baby’s spine, brain, and skull to develop properly. Other research has linked sufficient folate consumption during pregnancy to a lower risk of oral cleft lip/palate and cardiovascular problems in babies.

There is also some evidence that suggests a reduced risk of preeclampsia in the mother. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy issue involving the mother’s blood pressure, which can endanger both the mother and the baby’s life.

Is there a difference between folate and folic acid?

Folate and folic acid have a similar sounding name for a reason! Folate is a naturally occurring nutrient, but folic acid is a synthetic nutrient that is added to specific foods to provide the same nutritional benefits. Folic acid is more stable than folate for fortification purposes, therefore you’ll probably see it in your prenatal supplement! For the sake of simplicity, you can consider them to be the same thing!

Food sources of folate:

Leafy greens, lentils, asparagus, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, egg yolks and avocado are all good sources of folate. Fortified foods including cereal, grains, and whole grain flours also contain folic acid.

Hi to prevent deficiency of folic acid:

To guarantee that your requirements of folic acid are met in the event of you becoming pregnant, all women of reproductive age planning a pregnancy, should take a multivitamin supplement daily containing 400 micrograms of folic acid (with vitamin B12 for effective folic utilisation). As previously said, folate is critical during the early stages of pregnancy, so start supplementing at least three months before trying to conceive. This will guarantee you have adequate quantities to support your baby’s neurodevelopment.

Because pregnant women need 600 micrograms of folate/folic acid per day, dietary sources of folate/folic acid are just as vital as continuing to take your folate supplement! Women having a history of neural tube problems in previous pregnancies, a family history of neural tube defects, diabetes, obesity, or epilepsy may require more folate supplementation. If you think you could be at risk of folate deficiency, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist before starting a higher dose of supplementation.

In conclusion

Getting nutrition advice during pregnancy can be stressful, but we’re here to help! If you need some assistance incorporating folate-rich foods into your diet. Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience, can provide expert advise.

Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.

Categories Children Diet

Diet Culture Dropout: The Best Feeding Advice for New Parents

I’m on a quest to help you rediscover the pleasure that should come with eating. I don’t want you to miss out on memories of your motherhood or your children’s childhood because of food or eating anxieties.

The good news is that optimal nutrition does not need sacrificing a positive relationship with food. Choosing to focus on supporting your children does not imply that you are neglecting nourishment or that you are no longer “caring.” There’s no way. You do it because you care, and you’ll discover that healthy nourishment for your children is the result. So, where do you begin? How may this appear in your home?

It may appear hard to work for something different in your home when you look at the large picture. Especially, if food is difficult to understand and feeding children is a stressful experience. We’re already inundated with “rules” about how to feed our children and how to produce healthy eaters. Diet culture has penetrated a lot of this knowledge. Does any of this ring a bell?

  • Allow no packaged foods to be consumed by your children.
  • Offer them no processed foods.
  • Before the age of two, no additional sugar is allowed.
    • Limit sweets in your home and don’t allow your kids to consume sugar.
  • Nothing frozen should be consumed.
  • Stay away from convenience foods.

But what do you do if your kids gravitate towards foods that are intended to be “off-limits”?

This is where I see power struggles between children, parents and their caretakers begin, and where food becomes a source of conflict.

Perhaps you’ve seen something similar before?

You want your children to eat healthy meals, on the one hand. You want them to be fit and healthy, with a strong immune system to boot. You don’t want kids to have behavioural issues, and you’re concerned about their physique sizes. You want them to succeed and grow into capable, strong adults.

Diet Culture Influences Common Child Feeding Rules

Food rules can influence how we feed our children in the most subtle ways – things we might not even realise are food rules.

It’s critical to comprehend how diet culture operates, as it frequently promotes a rigorous attitude to food and eating while also normalising these practices as the best way to create a healthy family.

Diet culture has been cloaked in the guise of “wellness culture” in recent years, but it is still an unhealthy obsession with the things we eat. Diet culture has become a mainstream aspect of how we conduct our lives, making it difficult to spot it when it appears.

It frequently manifests itself when it comes to feeding our children, which is why this is an important subject to investigate.

Here are a few instances of how diet culture can manifest itself in how we feed our children:

  • Keeping a tight grip on the meals our kids eat or have access to
  • Allowing children to eat particular meals based on external norms (e.g., “Processed foods are harmful, thus they can’t eat any processed foods,” “Sweets are unhealthy for kids,” “We don’t allow any sugar in the house,” and so on)
  • Keeping your child away from events where other outside meals are offered that you are not comfortable with them eating.
  • Are you worried about what your youngster is eating?
  • Using a “good” versus “bad” lens to describe food
  • Trying to teach your child about healthy eating, food selection, and so on

These items may appear to be “applauded” by diet culture on the surface. Diet culture honours and rewards parents who are overly concerned about their children’s health and the foods they eat.

But how much will it cost? Many families who become enslaved to tight eating rules or a black-and-white view of health wind up with more complicated challenges. Mealtimes are typically chaotic when our children are fed through diet culture. Parents may feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of power battles with their kids. When we try to get our children to adapt to our norms or views around food and eating, this doesn’t allow our children to keep their underlying intuitive eating talents.

We essentially take away the autonomy that we want our children to acquire and grow, forsaking the most crucial components of forming a pleasant relationship with food in order to stay in the diet culture’s safe zones. Please believe me when I tell that as parents attempting to raise healthy, capable children, we only have the finest intentions.

I don’t believe any parent is intentionally attempting to sabotage their children’s connections with food and their bodies.

The goal here isn’t to condemn parents in any way; rather, it’s to recognise the toxic milieu in which we’re trying to feed and raise our children. Diet culture has penetrated every aspect of our lives, including how we parent and feed our children. It’s all too easy for us to fall prey to its enticing hooks if we don’t take intentional actions to proactively combat it. To become a part of the system from which so many of us seek liberation. So many of these feeding methods are ones we were exposed to as children, or that our parents were exposed to, and so on – through the centuries.

It all starts with becoming more conscious of how it hides and lurks in your own home, as well as questioning the norms you’ve internalised about food and your body.

What food ideas do you have that are currently influencing how you feed your own children?

Understanding this and taking the time to honestly reflect on it can help you make a proactive decision for you and your family. Take a piece of paper and write down some of the norms or attitudes you have about food or feeding your children that are influenced by diet culture.

If you’re unsure, write down the first thing that comes to mind. When thinking about this, consider TRUST as a component.

If you or your children don’t trust themselves or each other around food, this can be a key motivator for rules, as rules provide an artificial sense of control.

Fear is what keeps rules alive, so think about what you’re afraid of when you evaluate the food rules that have crept into your home or the base from which you feed your children. Diet culture instils fear and fosters the notion that we can’t trust ourselves or our children. Returning to the basics and learning to live and eat free of food restrictions necessitates beginning from the ground up. Because feeding our children involves more than a transaction: it isn’t just handing them food and expecting them to eat it. (Diet culture portrays feeding our children as something to be controlled in this way.)

However, this overlooks the most important aspect of feeding our children: cultivating a trustworthy feeding connection. This provides a sense of security and connection, and it is in this environment that children can learn to trust their bodies and form positive dietary associations that benefit their general health. Cultivating such trust is crucial to having food freedom as a family and breaking the chains of any internalised food rules you may have had.

Learning to consume and feed your children outside of these dietary restrictions can be quite beneficial, not just to yourself but also to your children’s attitudes toward food and their bodies. This is why it’s critical to be aware of the eating rules you follow, whether consciously or unconsciously. What is the perspective from which you feed your children, and how has that perspective been formed?

When you can begin to study and comprehend it, you may begin to demolish it in order to feed your children outside of diet culture’s confines and structures.

This could include bringing in previously forbidden items or questioning your own dietary guidelines regarding what or how much your children “need to consume.” This may appear to be bending your rules about when particular foods are allowed (for example, many of us grew up with a dietary rule that said we could only eat sweet foods after dinner – but why? Who told you that this was the rule? And what is the point of it?

If you’re not sure if the dietary “rules” you have for your kids and yourself are related to diet culture, consider this: “What is the objective behind this rule?” Is there a regulation in place to provide you some control over a dish that makes you feel uneasy? Taking an honest look at this will help you comprehend the rules you may have around food, as well as reveal which restrictions may need to be questioned and destroyed in order for you and your family to enjoy more freedom with food.

Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in child nutrition, can provide expert advise and the right kind of diet for the children. Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the greatest dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles. (Children’s Nutritional Needs During the Pandemic:)

All you need to know when Breastfeeding
Categories Nutrition during lactation

All You Need to Know When Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding burns extra calories, thus it can help you lose weight faster after your pregnancy. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which aids in the return of your uterus to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding also reduces your chances of developing breast & ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

It saves you time and money because you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sanitise nipples, or reheat bottles. It also allows you to spend quality time with your newborn and bond.

What is breast milk?

Your breasts create perfect “first milk” for the first few days after birth. It’s known as colostrum. Colostrum is thick and yellowish, and there isn’t much of it, but it’s enough to meet your baby’s nutritional requirements. Colostrum aids in the development and preparation of a newborn’s digestive tract for the digestion of breast milk and enhances immunity of the newborn.

Colostrum is the earliest phase of breast milk, and it changes throughout time to provide your baby with the nutrition he or she requires as it grows. Transitional milk is the name of the second phase. Your body makes this as your colostrum is eventually replaced by mature milk, the third phase of breast milk.

After colostrum, you’ll start producing transitional milk, followed by mature milk – 10 to 15 days after giving birth, which will provide your baby with all the nutrition they require until 6 months of age.

Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months is recommended by experts. Your breasts may produce less milk if you supplement with formula as the production of milk is dependent on demand and the sucking action of the infant.

During lactation, there are certain nutritional requirements that must be met.

It’s worth noting that nutritional requirements during nursing are higher than during pregnancy. The birth weight of the baby doubles in the first four to six months of its life. The milk produced during this time has to meet the growing baby’s needs.

Nutritional requirements also alter with maternal age, which can have a significant impact on maternal nutritional status and milk composition, particularly in teenage or impoverished mothers.

Some points to keep in mind:

1. Iron: Iron supplementation is commonly prescribed to compensate for blood losses incurred during childbirth and menstruation. It should be noted that some women who exclusively breastfeed for at least six months experience amenorrhoea and hence do not lose iron through menstruation during that time.

2. Calcium: Calcium is required during lactation. The regulatory processes of the body change so that there is increased calcium absorption, decreased renal excretion, and enhanced bone calcium mobilisation. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that lactating mothers consume five servings per day of calcium-rich foods of any kind, such as low-fat yoghourt or cheese, as well as other calcium-rich non-dairy foods, such as fish consumed with its bones (for example, canned sardines), salmon, broccoli, sesame seeds, etc. to meet their calcium requirements.

3. Protein: When compared to calorie requirements, the increase in protein requirements during lactation is minimal. Consumption of protein-rich foods can meet the increased requirements during nursing (for example, one egg, 25g of cheese or 175g of milk). Casein is the protein component of milk that is required for calcium and phosphate absorption in the infant’s intestines and has immunomodulatory properties.

4. Carbohydrate: Lactose is the most abundant carbohydrate in human milk and is critical for the continued brain development of infants. Despite the fact that lactose concentrations are less variable than those of other nutrients, overall output is lowered in moms who are severely malnourished.

5. Water: It makes about 85–95 percent of the total volume of milk. Many people believe that increasing water intake will boost milk production, but multiple studies have shown that forcing fluid intake beyond what is required to quench thirst has little effect on lactation.

6. Salt: The salt content of colostrum is higher than that of mature milk. There is no evidence of a link between salt intake during lactation and sodium levels in breast milk, according to research. However, tiny amounts of salt, fortified with iodine, should be consumed (iodised salt).

7. Vitamins: The content of several vitamins in breast milk is determined by the mother’s levels, and deficiency in the mother might result in a deficiency in the newborn. This is especially true for thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and vitamins B6, B12, E, and A, thus increasing your consumption during lactation is recommended.

Contact Kanupriya Khanna if you need specialist advise on your baby’s diet during the pandemic. She is a Senior Consultant Nutritionist and Dietitian with over 18 years of expertise in the field of nutrition and is regarded as one of the best nutritionist /dietitian in Delhi.

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