Traditional Chinese medicine has for years used pears to help those suffering from lung infections. Just like in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine uses foods to heal certain internal organs and pears are used to dissolve mucus, detoxify, relieve constipation, lubricate the throat in hot weather, regenerate body fluids and relieve coughs.
Researchers in Netherlands conducted a study and found that fruits like pears and apples are rich in a plant compound catechin, which may help protect the lungs from chronic diseases.
Pears are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. The fiber found in pear is insoluble, which along with the fructose and sorbitol, makes it an excellent addition for those who are constipated. Pears are considered beneficial in treating inflammation of mucous membranes, lowering high blood pressure, controlling blood cholesterol levels. , and alleviating arthritis and gout symptoms.
Oats are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre and this makes it a great food for those trying to lower cholesterol. Besides fibre, oats is also loaded with magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine and zinc. So with such an impressive resume-why is it one of least popular grains especially among Indians?
Blame it on the mushy, gooey texture when cooked with liquids. Also, oats porridge by itself is so bland that you end up adding lots of sugar to make it palatable, thus making an otherwise healthy dish into a totally non-healthy dish. So, what is the solution? How can we use the oh-so-good oats and make a dish that is tasty, palatable and not mushy or gooey?
Here’s the answer: Oats upma Or Oats Pulav (the difference is in what you use for seasoning). For upma add a tadka of mustard seeds, jeera, channa dal, curry leaves while for the pulav add whole spices like cardamom, peppercorns, shahi jeera, cinnamon sticks and ginger+garlic paste.
Rolled Oats – 1 cup
Onion – 1 medium
Green chilli – 1 slit lengthwise
Ginger- 1 inch piece finely chopped
Mixed vegetables – 1 cup (mix of carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower)
Water- 3/4 cup
Peanuts: a handful
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped(for garnish)
Lime juice: 2 tbsp
Salt: to taste
For the Tempering:
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds -1 tsp
Channa dal- 1/2 tsp
Red chilli -1 broken
Hing- a pinch
Dry roast oats for a few minutes, until it becomes slightly hot to touch.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add the rest of the ingredients for tempering and the turmeric.
Then add finely chopped onions, peanuts, green chili, ginger and saute until onions turn translucent.
Add all the vegetables,salt and saute for a few more minutes, then add 3/4 cup of water and salt required.
When the water starts boiling, lower the flame add the roasted oats, cover and cook till done.
Switch off and garnish with coriander.
Serve hot with a dash of lime. You can also serve chutney with it.
Oats are rich in fibre, protein vitamin B1 and minerals like manganese, phosphorous, copper, selenium and zinc. It is made up of three types of starch mainly rapidly digested, slowly digested and resistant starch of which the resistant starch is important as it does not get digested and is seen to be beneficial to gut health. Oats is shown to be helpful in reducing cholesterol, increasing satiety as well as reducing constipation.
If a bowl of oats porridge isn’t your cup of tea, then try out this Oats Chilla or dosa recipe and you can still get the health benefits of oats.
Ingredients for Oats Dosa/chilla :
Rolled oats: 1 cup (powder in a mixie/blender)
Urad dal: 1/4 cup
Tur Dal: 1/4 cup
Channa dal: 1/4 cup
Moong dal: 1/4 cup
Ginger: 1/2 inch grated
Red chili powder: 1/4 tsp (add more if you like it spicy)
Cumin/Jeera seeds: 2 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 4 tbsp (chopped)
Salt: to taste
Water: enough to make a smooth pourable batter
Oil/ghee: for making dosas (you can use a small onion cut into half breadth wise to dip and spread the oil on the tava)
Wash and soak the dals for 4-5 hours. Then grind it together till you get a fine paste.
In a big bowl whisk it with all the ingredients, add water and whisk again to make a smooth batter(add more water if the batter is too thick). Keep aside for at least 30 mins.
Heat a tava, dip a cut onion in the oil and spread over the tava. Check if the tava is hot by sprinkling some water on top of it-if it sizzles, then the tava is ready.
Take a ladleful of the batter into the centre of the tava and spread using the back of the ladle in circular movements, spreading the batter thinly over tha tava.
Cover and cook for a few minutes over medium flame.
Then remove the cover, add some oil to the sides of the dosa and cook till you see the dosa leaving the sides.
Flip the dosa,add some oil and cook the dosa on the other sides for a few minutes.
Flip back to the first side and let it cook again for a minute.
The World Heart Day is on the 29th of September. A Heart Healthy Diet is not designed only for those who have problems related to the heart (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, etc), but also for those who would like to reduce the risk of heart diseases in the future. Following a Heart -healthy diet can be beneficial for all, especially since research shows that Indians are genetically predisposed to heart disease. Low physical activity, low vegetable intakes along with high fat intake has added to our problems due to which obesity and diabetes are now common among Indians. A heart friendly diet should be:
1. High in fiber-studies have shown that a diet high in fiber helps in reducing cholesterol. Include whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat atta, ragi, jowar, bajra, whole wheat bread/pasta) and pulses, fresh fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
2. Low in saturated and trans fat– a diet low in fat, especially trans-fat (dalda/vanaspati, margarine,) is shown to be beneficial. Non-vegetarians can choose from lean meat like chicken and fish (especially those high in Omega-3 fatty acids like Indian Mackerel, sardines, salmon)
3. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids– a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is seen to benefit those who are at high risk for ischemic heart disease (IHD). It is essential for numerous normal body functions like building cell membranes in the brain and controlling blood clotting. Fish, walnuts, flax seeds, soy beans, spinach/palak should be included see the benefits.
4. Low in sodium-sodium is known to increase the BP and put more pressure on the internal organs including the heart. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for salt is less than a teaspoon/day.
5. Rich in Antioxidants: Found in coloured fruits, vegetables and grains, antioxidants are believed to help prevent disease by fighting free radicals which are substances that harm the body when left unchecked.
6.Rich in Fermented foods: Fermented foods contain ‘probiotics’ or in other words ‘live bacteria’ and yeasts that are thought to have health benefits. desi ferThe most commonly used fermented food in Indian houses is curd/yogurt/dahi, lassi, chaas/buttermilk. Check nutrition labels carefully for added sugars, thickeners and other additives that are used commercially and remember that fermented foods should be ‘live’ so need to be kept in the fridge. Heat treatment that may be used to preserve or cook these foods destroys probiotics.
Along side a healthy diet, being physically active is also very important. Speak to your doctor and then choose an activity or exercise that you can do for at least 30 minutes every day.
On rising: Water + Walnuts Breakfast: Oats porridge (old fashioned/steel cut/rolled oats NOT Instant)+ Blueberries Mid-morning: Green tea + Apple Lunch: Brown rice + Palak dal curry+ Cabbage and pea’s sabzi
Cucumber and tomato salad+ Buttermilk/chaas (made from skimmed milk) Evening: Tea/ Coffee with Channa chaat Dinner: Paushtik Roti (with flax seed powder) + Baingan ka bharta + Fish curry
Carrot raita(made with non-fat curd) + Red grapes (NOTE:Portion control is very important. To find out the right portion sizes, do contact your dietitian.)
Prevention is always better than cure and this is true even for the matters of the heart! Why wait for heart problems to crop up and then change your diet? By eating healthy now, you may be able to prevent/avoid heart diseases in the future.