Include colored fruit and vegetables in salad: Nisha Singh

Nutritionist, Nisha Singh has over 10 years of independent experience of managing various ailments through lifestyle and dietary modifications, counselling of patients, diet and meal planning.

She specialises in weight loss diets, pregnancy and post pregnancy diet plans, cardiac and lipid management, dealing with everyday diseases through dietary modification and health management of the athletes.

Nisha Singh answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

Which is better for health: a tsp of ghee or a tsp of butter in our daily diet?
Ghee is healthier than butter. Cow ghee being the healthiest. Butter contains saturated fats.

Should cookies be completely avoided for weight management?
Again, Like chaats, let cookies be your treat for a goal achieved. Do not make them a part of your daily diet.

I have this strong urge for spicy foods and chats almost every alternate day. How can I control this. I have cut down immensely on spices in my regular food. I am 30yrs F.
I would suggest setting goals. Say that if if you have 3 fruits per day you will allow yourself a chaat over the weekend as a treat. It’s about your will power and determination I believe.

I am 30 yr working woman. I generally face acidity due to late lunch and meals. What is the best thing to have in the mornings to avoid acidity?
Have a cup of cold milk first thing in the morning after you freshen up. avoid late and skipped meals. Cold milk is helpful in a acidity flare up as well.

How many calories add on to approx. a kg of weight in the body generally?
Roughly around 7500 Kcal make up 1 Kg.

How many pieces of dry fruit nuts are healthy on per day basis?
Each individuals own fistful. No more than that.

What is the best time to eat dry fruits? Some say mornings, some say evenings, some say post dinner. What is your advise?
According to me Mid Morning or Mid Evening are suitable times.

how can I maintain a balance of taking all essential nutrients without consuming excess calories?
Base your diet on fruits and vegetables. Avoid refined, processed, fried foods.

Is there a book which I could refer for diet programme for weight loss? Which one?
It would be best if you consulted a Nutritionist.

Can a planned diet also help to burn stored body fat? Or exercise is a must for the same?
As I said earlier, planned diet and exercise go hand in hand. Any one will only give restricted results.

Are there any foods that should never be preserved and then consumed?
All fruits and vegetables should be consumed fresh.

As we usually have some or the other left over food everyday please tell me as to how long can I preserve the left over food?
It’s best to eat foods fresh. But at the most it can be used in the next meal if refrigerated properly.

Water can be ” SIPPED” not gulped through out and also immediately after exercise.

Fruits can be eaten through the day. But, not immediately after meals. Give a gap of 45 mins to and hour.

Does consumption of multigrain chappattis lead to weight gain? Are bajra chappattis best for weight loss ?
No, they don’t. Unless your quantity is out of proportion. Bajra is as good as any other multi grain. It’s mainly about increasing fiber content.

What is your advise on the use of rice bran oil? Is it healthier than other oils?
It’s been around a long time. Yes, It’s one the best oils.

after excise what food is neccesary.
A combination of carbohydrate and protein. Have a Banana milkshake or whole banana, or a fistful of roasted chana with a piece of jaggery.

What is the best type of cooking oil that should be used for every day cooking?
Use oils that are MUFA and PUFA based. Sunflower oil, safflower, mustard,sesame oils are MUFA based where as Canola and Olive oil are PUFA based. Try changing your oil every 3 months.

Nowdays it is suggested to eat more salads in lunch and dinner. But does salad provide all the needed nutrients?
Yes!! Try and include various colored fruits and vegetables in your salad. Also carbohydrates are not a complete NO. Include whole grains like quinoa, bajra, brown rice

Iam 44yrs,5ft 5″, weight about 68Kgs. Last couple of years I am suffering from Colitics . Unable to take Milk & Milk related products,Egg, Spinach e.t.c. Pl, advice the diets I need to take to get rid from this problem.
Colitis is a very broad term.There are various forms of colitis. You can try to include probiotics in your diet. They should help to build the gut flora. Try Yakult or Nutrifit.

i am 32 years age and had typhoid last year since then my health has gone down a lot. i do get tired very quickly. What diet would you suggest me?
Have good quality protein in your diet along with whole grains as your source of carbohydrate. Have 2 -3 fruits. Fistful of dried fruits.

How to bring a) High BP (b) Sugar and (c) Cholesterol to normalcy?
Balanced diet and Exercise. Also Yoga and Pranayam.

Suggest weight loss diets
Please visit a Nutritionist to guide you.

Can we take green tea immediately after lunch and dinner.
It’s advisable to to take any fluid at least after 30 mins of having a meal.

I am 29yrs male. Height 5ft 8″, weight 70kgs. How many calories a day should I take?
Assuming that you lead a sedentary lifestyle you require roughly anywhere between 1900 to 2000 Kcals/d

I want to keep a check on my calorie intake everyday. Is there a way to do it at home?
calorie content calculations depends on your age, gender, weight, height, body frame and lifestyle. A nutritionist can make the same for you

Is there any difference between food allergy and food intolerance?
Yes there is. Food allergies have generally more severe reactions than food intolerances. Food allergies causes immune system reaction. Food intolerance is less severe.

I am 40 yrs female. I dont know I am allergic to cabbages and cauliflowers. I generally vomit whenever I have them.Why is it so?
Could be that these family of vegetables do not suit you. I would suggest that you go in for an allergy test.

What is the best time of the day to consume protein rich food?
It’s best to have protein foods which are heavier to digest, earlier in the day. Towards the evening keep your meals light.

Please share some healthy eating habits for males above 30yrs.
Include good quality protein in your diet through egg whites,fish, lean chicken. Fruits and vegetables daily, Upto 12 glasses of water.

Dear Madam Nisha. How can one control one’s cholesterol through diet?
Include almonds and walnuts in your diet. tablespoon of Flax seeds daily. Have whole grains, whole fruits. More fiber. Lean meats. No red meats along with regular, brisk exercise and pranayam.

What are the health benefits of organic foods?
Mainly that they are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. thus providing relatively healthier products.

How can I maintain the desired weight constant, after I lose the excess weight? Thank you.
Regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Can I lose the post pregnancy weight alone with diet guidance or do I need to do vigorous exercises too.?
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. If you have recently had a baby go slow with the exercises. Otherwise you can go for 40 to 45 mins brisk walk 5 days a week

I am 33 yrs female who has delivered a child 3 months back. What should be the essentials I should include in my diet?
Please have a wholesome, balanced diet. Consume minimum 2 fruits per day. Lots of green leafy vegetables. Have a fistful of dry fruits everyday. Also have milk daily.

What dairy products do you advise for weight loss? Please suggest how much and what to consume on per day basis?
Skimmed milk, curd and paneer made out of skimmed milk. 200 to 500 ml milk or its products daily.

Should milk be completely be avoided by women desiring weight loss?
Nope. Please have skimmed milk. Milk is very important source of Calcium. It aids weight loss specially belly fat apart being good for bone health.

Which fruit is the best for weight loss?
All fruits are good. Include lots of berries, water melon, grape fruit. Avoid Banana, Chickoo, Mango

Last month checked my cholostrol very high and uric acid, please give me diet plans to control cholostrol and uric acic.
Need to know Values for proper guidance. But if you drink please avoid beer and high protein foods, fried foods, redmeats. Include more of fruits and vegetables.

Can you please name some mineral rich foods or vegetables?
All fruits and vegetables are rich in various minerals and vitamins. Go for a colorful plate of salad, which has various colored fruits/vegetables. That should cover majorly every vitamin/mineral

Can you please guide on the required daily intake of minerals for a 40 yr woman?
Calcium 600mg/d,Soium 5g/d apart from these there are a whole lot of them

Is there a way in which I could determine the amount of nutrients that I consume in the diet that I take?
There is way and that’s where Nutritionists come in the picture

How can I cut down on my cravings for sweets?
Try having a small piece of jaggery or a couple pieces of fruit instead of chocolates, pastries etc.

I have this strong craving for sugar or any sweet after my regular meals (lunch and dinner) Is this normal?
I believe it’s more of a conditioning of your body. You are probably habituated to have something sweet after meals and hence the craving.

How does green tea help in weight loss or fat loss?
Green tea is known to increase the metabolism of the body. The rate at which one burns the calories.

I have heard that reducing the intake of salt and sugar helps in one’s weight reduction. How true?
True. reducing salt will result in less water retention in the body. simple sugar provides empty calories to the body.too much sugar in the blood leads to insulin surge which can cause our bodies to begin storing and stop burning fat.

Is rock salt better for health when compared to common salt ?
Rock Salt is the mineral form of common salt. I assume you mean Black Salt. Comparatively yes, it’s better than common salt.According to Ayurveda, It’s know to help reduce/control blood pressure among various other benefits.

Why are fruit juices asked to be avoided by many health experts today?
Because they are sources of concentrated sugar. whole fruit is always better as it contains fiber and all the rest of the nutrients. also sugar release is slower. Juices tend to give sugar rush.

My wife age is about 37 yrs,height 5ft3″. She has Obesity and also suffering from Endometriosis problem. Regular check-up with the Doctor, condition are better than previous situation.Please advise how she will reduce her Obesity through diets.
Firstly she needs to include atleast 40 mins of cardio exercises, 5 days a week in her routine .5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is desired. Include whole grains /multi grains in her diet. Consume atleast 10 -12 glasses of water daily. Avoid processed and fried foods.