Forsaking chicken tandoori for a ham sandwich in the name of a healthy diet may actually be doing the opposite. In recent years, most of us have begun making healthier choices. But are these choices, often based on general understanding, really as healthy as we think they are? Well, yes, and no. While we may have been successful in shunning foods high salt content and bad fats, there is still a lot more of unhealthy content sneaking in. Most of us don’t realize how much salt, sugar and saturated fat is present in our everyday food. With lifestyle diseases on the rise, it’s important to be aware of what hidden nasties may be in your food and to know what you are putting in your and your family’s bodies. Some of our favorite meals, takeaways, and snacks contain high amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fats. For instance, the majority did not realize a pre-packed ham and cheese sandwich had more salt than a chicken tikka masala ready meal.
Simple changes you can make
Prepare food from fresh ingredients Read labels to check for saturated fat content and cut down on such foods Swap high sugar options for lower ones Watch out for hidden salt and sodium content in packaged and frozen foods
Biscuits, khaari, khakra, matri, chips, margarine, frozen foods, all these contain hydrogenated fats. While it gives food its structure and makes it crispy, these trans-fatty acids clog arteries and impede hormone production, and replace good, necessary fats like Omega 3 and 6. Certain foods may be marked as zero cholesterol. But check for the saturated fat content in the nutrition information table. It’s unlikely to be zero. When our liver processes saturated fat, it releases cholesterol. So don’t be guided by marketing gimmicks.Canned fruits and vegetables, and chips contain high levels of sugar and salt, which is bad for health. Using fresh ingredients may take 10 extra minutes, but you can be assured that you and your family’s health are not at high risk.
Make right choices
Tandoori and roti vs. naan and parathas
Go for a tandoori or a plain roti or chapati made from wheat flour instead of refined flour options like naan. Hollywood’s holistic health coach Alex Jamieson compares it with the paste used in papier-mache projects. ‘Made of white flour and water, the sticky, gooey paste worked like the glue that hardened in no time. That’s what refined flour, moistened with your saliva, is like a gummy, nutrient-poor glob of starch.’ Also, avoid parathas in a restaurant. The ghee used is unlikely to be of a good quality and you may ingest high levels of bad fats.
Dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate
Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants and less fat while milk chocolates high levels of saturated milk fat. Dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher contains resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Truffles, scuffles and even hot chocolate can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) as long as dark chocolate with a high content of cocoa is used.