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Good nutrition is the key to a healthy body and an active mind. The kind of food you eat, affects the way you feel and how your body works. Therefore, it is crucial to have a balanced approach towards your daily meals and not just eat for the sake of indulging.
Nutrient-dense foods give us that little extra which makes all the difference to our wellbeing. There are two important groups of nutrients that our body requires. Macro nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins and micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Dried nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition and make for a healthy snack. They are a great addition to regular meals and help prevent deficiencies and over eating. They are rich sources of unsaturated fats, high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds. By virtue of their nutritional composition, they are the perfect health boosters.
You can munch on nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios between meals or as an evening snack with a cup of tea. According the American Heart Association, nuts are known to boost heart health too. In 2003, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a health claim suggesting a strong link between regular consumption of nuts and a reduced risk of both coronary heart disease and cholesterol. Closer home, The National Institute of Nutrition in India regards nuts and seed as Energy Rich Foods and Body building Foods.
Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricot, dates and prunes are also storehouses of energy, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are rich sources of iron and potassium, the two minerals that are essential and often deficient in our meals. Seeds, on the other hand, are small embryos of plants enclosed within an outer covering called seed coat. They benefit our health because of their oil profile, protein content and antioxidant activity. A balanced Indian diet traditionally includes seeds from fruits and vegetables like water melon, musk melon, sesame, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They can be added to salads, cakes and bakes .They can also be blended into shakes.
In addition to cereals and legumes, milk and vegetables also provide nourishment. Modern eating habits and our lifestyle may often lead to incomplete meals that may not be able to meet the nutritional needs of our body. Adding an extra dose of nuts and seeds daily helps bridge this gap.
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