Where there is just too much choice around, it pays to be aware and learn to choose the right option; it could be your sole saviour in today’s confused times.
Also the choice could be different for everybody - dependent not heir health challenges and needs. So choose wisely!
Wheat and Rice vs Ragi and Barley
Both barley and ragi have everything going for them: they are nutrient dense grains (packed with amino acids, calcium and iron), and have high amounts of cellulose (a type of dietary fibre), which keeps the digestion humming along nicely (thus preventing digestion) and keeps the blood cholesterol levels in check. Plus both deliver more protein.
Both are better than other regularly eaten grains like wheat and rice, but out of the three only ragi is gluten free, so barley and wheat are not good options for those who suffer from gluten allergy.
Amarant Pops vs Muesli and Corn Flakes
Packaged muesli is usually a loose mixture of oats, cornflakes with dried fruit, nuts and seeds. It definitely provides for better nutrition than just plain cornflakes as its nutrient quotient gets a big boost because of the add ons.
While the calories remain mostly comparable, protein, vitamin and mineral content and the amount of fibre is higher mostly in the museli. Only thing to be careful about is the high amount of sugar in some packaged museli; go for unsweetened varieties or make your own to reap the benefits.
Amaranth pops work as the best option as it naturally gluten-free and rich in protein, fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants and is the least processed of the three.
Jaggery vs Brown Sugar and Normal Sugar
While brown bread (whole wheat) is definitely far healthier than white bread (refined), unfortunately same benefits cannot be translated in the case on sugars: brown sugar usually available in the market is simply white sugar with added molasses (a black syrup by-product of sugar refining) and nothing more. It does have just a wee bit of minerals (calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium), but the quantity is not enough to give any noticeable health benefits.
Raw sugar, which is lumpy somewhat brown looking sugar is slightly better off as it at least does not go through chemical bleaching, sulphurising etc, but not so easily available. So when it comes to sugars the only rule to follow is to keep it as low as possible. Whatever the colour.
Jaggery on the other hand is least processed, is a natural body cleanser and also helps kickstart the digestion when had after a meal. Your best bet without a doubt.
Green vs Black Olive
They are both from the same tree, the only difference is in the ripeness; unripe olives are green, whereas fully ripe olives are black (these are allowed to ripen on the tree itself). Nutritionally and calorie wise they are both similar, the only difference is in the sodium content - green olives contain about twice as much sodium as black olives. So if you are watching your sodium, then maybe black’s the colour for you.
Regular Yogurt vs Probiotic Dahi vs Probiotic Milk
If it is the digestion and immunity enhancing benefits of probiotics that you are after than probiotics curd is a better deal. The difference between probiotic yogurt and regular yogurt is that in probiotic yogurt there is a third strain of bacteria (L. acidophilus) in addition to the regular two (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus), which provides the probiotic benefit.
But to maximise the benefit it is better to opt for probiotic milk, which has sufficient number of live microorganisms to provide the real benefit. And otherwise there is no match to home made dahi.
(The author is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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