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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Eating as a cure for Covid-19 – Living – Al-Ahram Weekly

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One of the most important factors that can help to prevent or cure a disease like the Covid-19 coronavirus or any of its variants is efficient nutrition, meaning eating healthy food in reasonable quantities. It is very important to know what kind of food to eat and what not to eat before, during, and after an infection.

“The main function of the human immune system is to protect the body from diseases, toxins, cancer cells, and foreign bodies. There are many factors that affect the functions of the immune system, the most important of them being food,” said nutritionist and head of the food industries department at Egypt’s National Research Center Ahmed Mohamed Saeed.

He added that a lack of nutrients or malnutrition could lead to immune deficiency, and an excessive food intake could lead to other diseases that affect the functions of the immune system.

Many foodstuffs such as fruit and vegetables and foods rich in nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals and bioactive substances contribute to strengthening the immune system. One of the most important food sources that help to support the immune system are functional foods. These contribute to preventing, mitigating, or treating diseases and strengthening the immune system, Saeed said.

“Functional food is the concept of food being not only necessary for survival, but also being a source of mental and physical well-being and contributing to the prevention and reduction of the risk factors for many diseases or the promotion of certain physiological functions such as those of the immune system,” he added.

Consuming these different sources of food could help in the production of immune cells and antibodies, he said.

“Vitamins like A, B6, B12, folic acid, C, D, and E and micro-elements like zinc, copper, selenium and iron have been shown to play key roles in supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of infection. Other nutrients such as amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role,” Saeed said.

Gut bacteria play a role in regulating the immune system, and they can help to restore its functioning especially among elderly patients.

Among the foods that can contribute to strengthening the immune system, Saeed picks out yoghurt as a great source of protein that can help to maintain healthy bones and skin, which is the first barrier against infection. Citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruits are full of vitamin C, which is known to support immunity. Women should get 75 mg of vitamin C per day, while men should get 90 mg. It helps the body to repair tissues and maintain a healthy skin and blood vessels. It is also an important antioxidant, a substance that prevents cell deterioration and improves immune function.

Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in vitamin A, which is important for immune function. Men need 900 mcg of Vitamin A each day, while women need 700 mcg. Red peppers are particularly beneficial for immune health due to their content of vitamins A and C. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, the first helping to prevent cell damage. Ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is also good since it contains allicin and antioxidants that help fight infection and support the immune system.

Turmeric supports the immune system because it contains curcumin, which is the ingredient that gives it its dark yellow colour. Curcumin has the ability to modulate the immune system by activating immune-related cells.

When it comes to combatting the coronavirus, Saeed also sees a role for food. “Yoghurt is one of the best foods that can be eaten during an illness because it is soft and filled with protein. Ice cream may also be a good option, but use caution if a person has diabetes. Ice cream contains glucose and protein, which helps patients to maintain their weight, bearing in mind that most people with coronavirus lose weight,” he said.

“Patients should also be given a lot of fluids, especially soup that contains protein (chicken or meat) and vegetables that help provide the body with the nutrients it needs while fighting off an infection. Any type of pasta eaten with a type of protein (meat in tomato sauce) is a good meal, especially after symptoms begin to subside. Fruit and cooked vegetables in all their forms, especially broccoli and cabbage, are also very useful foods.”

“Try a vanilla or chocolate protein shake, which is also light on the stomach. Whole grains such as oats, plain popcorn, brown rice, and whole wheat bread are also good,” he said.

On the other hand, there are also foods to avoid. “Avoid eating avocados because they are a fatty fruit rich in histamine. For a patient to recover faster, it is best to avoid bread with gluten (an ingredient found in wheat flour), since this causes inflammation that can lead to an increase in mucus production. Eliminate sugary foods from the diet because they will make recovery times longer. Sugar causes inflammation that can impair the production of the white blood cells that fight infection,” Saeed said.

“Fried food like French fries causes inflammation in the body, which is especially harmful when you are sick. Whole milk yoghurt has been shown to stimulate mucus production. Drinking coffee is a very bad idea. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates your body faster, and that’s even more harmful if you’re experiencing other symptoms like a fever or an upset digestive system. Pizza can also make cold symptoms worse, so it’s a triple threat to recovery efforts . The gluten, the carbohydrates in the dough, the fat and dairy products, and the histamine in the tomato sauce will all make you feel sluggish and tired.”

After the recovery of a patient from the coronavirus, the focus should be on healthy foods that strengthen the body’s immunity and restore strength. Protein of various types should be eaten, like milk and its derivatives and animal proteins, in order to regenerate tissues. Starches from bread, rice, and potatoes can help to restore energy. Fruit and vegetables are also good because they provide the body with vitamins and minerals.

In short, a variety of foods of good quality and in appropriate quantities should be eaten in this phase to help a patient recover.

Food tips to avoid Covid-19

According to nutritionist Ahmed Mohamed Saeed, certain foods and other activities can help to protect us against the Covid-19.

His advice includes:

– Eating more fruit and vegetables.

– Getting enough sleep.

– Making sure you eat enough protein.

– Not skimping on foods – that contain probiotics.

– Managing stress.

– Getting enough vitamins through your diet.

– Being active in moderation.

– And quitting smoking.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 February, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Expert’s nutrition tips for runners

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Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels

With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.

Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.

Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:

1. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.

For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.

Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.

2. Protein
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.

Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.

3.Fat
Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.

Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.

4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.

5.Water
The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.

Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).

Nutrition and running style

Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.

If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.

If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.

Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!

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Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.

Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!

This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!

Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:

Vegan Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.

Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing

Vegan Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.

Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism

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Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Myths about veganism

Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.

1. Milk has a lot of calcium

Credit: iStock

There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.

2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.

3. Vegans have B12 deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.

4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive

food item
Credit: iStock

The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.

5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.

6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer

  7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.

Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.

7. Veganism is a cult

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.

Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram

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