White rice or brown rice, almonds or walnuts, butter or sesame oil, there are many food dilemmas. The right choice, based on information, understanding the composition of the dish and the oils that we use, will help us not only monitor weight, but also avoid many diseases. Nutritionists and doctors shed light on some frequently asked questions.
Almonds or walnuts?
Researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in a paper for the American Chemical Society, California, writes: “Walnuts are better than almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts. A handful of walnuts contains twice as many antioxidants as any other commonly consumed nut.”
For people worried that eating too much fat and calories will make them fat, Vinson explains that nuts contain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, not vascular-clogging saturated fats. In terms of calories, nuts fill you up very quickly, which prevents you from overeating.
Researchers have found that unsalted, raw, or toasted nuts are beneficial in controlling blood glucose and lipid levels and can be used for diabetes without weight gain.
But even doctors sometimes disagree about which nut is best. Rating almonds as the healthiest nut compared to others because they contain MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), Dr. Bhuvaneshwari Shankar, chief nutritionist and vice president (Dietetics) of the Apollo Hospitals Group, says: “Almonds are good for the heart and good for people weight watchers and diabetics.” There is only one caveat: you should not eat more than four or five almonds per day, because they are very high in calories.
Butter or olive oil?
What matters is what we cook with. Although it is possible to cook without oil, people continue to use oil so as not to lose flavor. So which oil is best?
Dr. Namita Nadar, Chief Nutritionist, Fortis Hospital, Noida, says: “We need to eat enough healthy fats, so we need to be careful about what fat we eat. Oils (with the exception of coconut and palm) are much healthier than animal fat (butter or ghee) in terms of heart and brain health.
Animal fat is much higher in saturated fat, which has been associated with elevated low-density lipoprotein levels, cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
All oils contain different amounts of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats. Most of us get too much omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. We should increase our intake of monounsaturated fats using olive oil and canola oil, while reducing our intake of corn, soybean and safflower oils, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids.”
Dr. Bhuvaneshwari says: “A mixture of two oils, such as sunflower oil and rice oil, has a very good combination of fatty acids. The old practice of using sesame oil is also good, but an adult shouldn’t consume more than four or five teaspoons a day.”
Jam or citrus jam?
Preserves and jams are very popular for breakfast and sometimes children eat too much. What is the verdict on these products?
Dr. Namita says: “Both jam and jam are made from whole fruits (sometimes jam is made from vegetables), sugar and water, but citrus jam contains citrus peels. It has less sugar and more dietary fiber, so citrus jam is healthier than jam. It has a lot more vitamin C and iron, so it’s less bad for your diet than jam.”
According to Dr. Bhuvaneshwari, both jam and jam contain enough sugar that diabetics should not eat them. “Those who are watching their weight should eat them carefully, keeping an eye on calories,” she adds.
Soy or meat?
And now what is useful for meat-eaters to know. How does soy protein compare to red meat? While vegans, meat eaters, and nutritionists argue all the time, the Harvard Public Health Institute says that both soy and meat protein have pros and cons, and that animal and plant protein most likely have the same effect on the body.
In favor of soy is that it contains essential amino acids, allowing you to replace meat and reduce the risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels. As for meat, due to the hemoglobin contained in it, iron is more easily absorbed, this contributes to the formation of body tissues.
However, there is a downside: soy can harm the thyroid gland, block the absorption of minerals and interfere with the absorption of protein. Red meat, in turn, can lead to heart disease, low calcium levels, and cause kidney abnormalities. To get the amino acids you need, the best meat alternatives are fish and poultry. Also, reducing meat consumption will help avoid excessive consumption of saturated fats. The main thing is moderation.
White or brown rice?
As for the main product: what kind of rice is there – white or brown? While white rice wins on the outside, in terms of health, brown rice is the clear winner. “Diabetics should stay away from white rice. Brown rice has more fiber because only the husk is removed and the bran remains, while white rice is polished and the bran is removed,” says Dr. Namita. Fiber makes you feel full and helps you avoid overeating.
Juice: fresh or in boxes?
In the summer we all lean on juices. Which juices are better: freshly squeezed or out of the box? Dr. Namita says: “Fresh juice, squeezed from fruits and vegetables and consumed immediately, is rich in living enzymes, chlorophyll and organic water, which very quickly fill the cells and blood with water and oxygen.
On the contrary, bottled juices lose most of the enzymes, the nutritional value of fruits drops significantly, and the added colors and refined sugars are not very healthy. Vegetable juices from vegetables and green leafy vegetables are safer because they do not contain fruit sugars.”
Although some store-bought juices do not have added sugar, Dr. Bhuvaneshwari advises, “Fresh juice is preferable to boxed juice because the latter has no fiber. If you want juice, choose juice with pulp, not filtered.”