Top 5 benefits- why you must drink water!

Drinking water is a habit that is skipped by many of us in the rush of our lives. Almost all of us overlook the benefits of staying hydrated. The apt amount required in a day for a woman is around 3 litres while for men it is around 4 litres a day.

 

Here are some of the benefits of drinking water –

 

  1. Flushing out toxins-

water

H2O helps you to flush out toxins from your body by letting your body release it through sweat and urine. When the body is dehydrated, it finds it difficult to flush out the toxins due to the less amount of fluid inflow in the body. The lungs, liver and kidneys help in the detoxification, and it is the fuel for it.

2.  Improving complexion-

water

Studies show that water helps in improving complexion since the skin is also an organ which requires hydration. Staying dehydrated can lead the body to be dry, flaky and tight. Good skin requires a good amount of hydration, in order to avoid wrinkles, dry skin and much more.

3. Regulating body temperature-

water

Sweat is the natural cooling system of our body, and hence drinking water helps to regulate the perspiration levels of our body. Perspiration helps in cooling down the body and shows the hydration level of the body. Perspiration also helps in detoxifying the salts of our body, as mentioned before.

4. Preventing Backaches-

water

Yes, water helps in preventing backaches. Our discs in our vertebrae are composed of it, hence dehydration can lead to backaches. Staying hydrated supports the water system of your vertebrae.

5. Increasing brain power and energy-

water

The human brain is composed of 73% of water, hence needs constant hydration. Dehydration can lead to constant mood swings, lack of concentration, lack of alertness and much more. If you feel tired at work, drink up some fluid instead of some caffeine.

 

Today is World Water Day and many organisations are recognising the importance of it through various campaigns. We, at Masala Box, gave out bottles to our subscribers of the day to spread the word. We ensure that it is not wasted and that it is used in the most efficient manner.

 

5 METHODS ON HOW TO AVOID JUNK FOOD-

How to avoid junk food seems to be a common issue of the present generation and is a tough one to tackle with. Studies have shown that fast food acts with the same effect of cocaine or heroin by triggering the pleasure centres of our brain. This trigger results in the form of addiction but this article will talk about 5 ways on how to avoid junk food.

  • Understand the ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ foods-

how to avoid junk food

The first key to avoiding unhealthy food is to completely understand the complexities of junk food like obesity, chronic diseases, heart attacks etc. Research on why junk food is known as “junk”, and ultimately understand what the benefits of ‘right’ foods. That is when you start your self-therapy to cut in your cravings.

  • Don’t diet, just change your lifestyle-

walking

This is one of the key stages of how to avoid fast food. Make small lifestyle changes like incorporating more of walking for short distance travels, starting out on eating homemade food, and also by keeping yourself mentally and physically engaged. Try to stay active by doing simple workouts, cooking, meditation or anything else that you enjoy.

  • Calculate your expenses-

calculate expenses

Calculate on how much you spend on unhealthy food per month, and calculate how much you have saved after switching over to homemade food. You will stick to homemade food eventually when you realize your expenses. If you find homemade food boring, you can always incorporate cooking interesting healthy recipes on your weekends.

  • Keep yourself motivated-

motivation

When the craving kicks in, remind yourself of why you chose this lifestyle. Remind yourself of the benefits you will be reaping from this. Understand the importance of this stage on how to avoid junk food.

  • Don’t be too harsh on yourself-

hanging out

Treat yourself thrice a month on fast food. Give yourself a break from all the deadlines, homemade food, and other stress-related factors. Remember to have only 1-3 meals of junk food a month.

 

These 5 methods on how to avoid unhealthy food may seem challenging. If you have no access to homemade food, you can always subscribe to Masala Box. Do check out the website or download the app for a healthier eating habit!

Top 9 foods to eat every day-

There are multiple kinds of healthy food that we must intake throughout a week, but some foods are mandatory to be eaten every day. These foods are beneficial to keep us healthy throughout the day as well as for a long period of time. Here are the top 9 foods to eat every day for taking care of us from head to toe-

  • Garlic-

Garlic coming from an onion family has many antibacterial properties which boost our immunity and also helps us in fighting the common cold. A small clove consumed every day can do wonders by also detoxifying our body, reduce our blood pressure and also lessen the risk of cholesterol. Well, now you know why garlic is at the top of the list of 9 foods to eat every day.

Garlic- Foods to eat every day

 

  • Tomatoes-

Tomatoes are known to be good for avoiding heart attacks or any other blood or heart-related problems. They are also a very good source of anti-cancer agents and help us in fighting mainly prostate, lung, and stomach and breast cancers. Apart from that, tomatoes are very good in taking care of our skin, especially for people who are prone to sunburns frequently.

Tomatos

  • Avocados-

Avocados, also known by other names like ‘butter fruit’ and ‘alligator pear’, are a highly recommended fruit due to its various health benefits. One of the best reasons to eat an avocado is that it maintains our blood pressure levels due to its high levels of potassium. Avocados are also super heart healthy and also help in weight loss; which makes it the third in our list of top 9 foods to eat every day.

Avacado

  • Spinach-

Nothing is as awesome as this dark leafy superfood which contains high levels of magnesium, calcium and iron. Some of the top benefits of having spinach every day are that it helps in controlling our diabetics level, and also helps in preventing cancer and asthma apart from other benefits. Now you know why spinach is listed as one of the top foods to eat every day.

Spinach

  • Yogurt-

A cup of yogurt a day is beneficial to our body in many aspects, especially if you are on a diet as it helps in appetite and weight control. It also helps in combating many digestive related issues like constipation, bloating and diarrhoea. Apart from that, yogurt is a very good source for boosting your immunity levels.

Yogurt

  • Kale-

This leafy veggie has proven its magic in many aspects of health and is one of the highest recommended foods by doctors. Kale is mainly consumed for a better eye health, detoxifying the body, and also for a better wellbeing of your skin. These are just some of the reasons as to why it is on the list of foods to eat every day.

Kale

  • Cucumbers-

This yummy vegetable contains a lot of water and nutrients and hence is a must to eat every day. Cucumbers are generally very good in reducing the risks of chronic diseases like heart problems, cancer and autoimmune diseases. They are also a very good source of water, hence helps in hydration and also in weight loss.

Cucumber

  • Grapefruit-

One of the major reasons as to why people love grapefruit is that it helps in weight loss aggressively. The citrus factor of the fruit reduces chances of strokes in women and also helps in controlling our blood pressure and heart health. This is exactly why it is one of the foods to eat every day.

Grapefruit

  • Bell peppers-

These beauties are a wonder when it comes to maintaining our eye health. Due to its high vitamin C properties, it also helps in boosting our immunity to high levels. If you are pregnant, capsicums area great source of nourishment to your foetus.

Bell peppers

Now maybe you are not a person who can easily eat all this every day as you are a busy bee. But you can definitely incorporate healthy eating by simply eating homemade. Subscribe to healthy homemade meal plans now only from Masala Box, or simply download the app.

Top 5 foods for yoga to heal your soul on INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY!

‘The more you bend, the less you break ‘ is the saying when it comes to yoga. June 21st is witnessed as International Yoga Day and India is always at the top of the game when it comes to Yoga. Here is a list of top 5 foods for yoga for an intense yogic like you.

  • Dark green leafy vegetables-

Leafy vegetables

Dark leafy veggies like spinach, lettuce and broccoli are rich in vitamins like A, C, K etc. and also contain high levels of iron, magnesium and fibre among many others. A yogic diet with these goodies helps us in protecting our cells, strengthening our bones and also helps in achieving a healthy body weight.  Many yummy recipes can be made out of these fine green veggies like salads, soups, and in some cases even energy drinks; which is why this is listed first for the top 5 foods for yoga.

 

  • Quinoa-

Quinoa

Quinoa is a flowering plant and is botanically related to spinach and amaranth. It is very nutritious as it contains a good amount of fibre, carbohydrates and protein among others.  It also helps in achieving weight loss, healthy bones and also in repairing tissues.

 

  • Fruits-

Top 5 foods for yoga

Although it sounds cliché, fresh fruits are a very important part of your yogic diet. Fruits contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre among many others. When you stretch out for an hour of the day make sure you have a fruit because it helps us in boosting energy, maintaining healthy bones, and also in losing weight.

 

  • Lemon water-

Lemon water

If you are into yoga it’s better to have warm lemon water although it can be consumed both warm and cold. Lemons, apart from the fact that it tastes good, contain folates, potassium, and most importantly vitamin C. It helps us in staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy weight, and also in reducing muscle pains.

 

  • Tofu-

Tofu

Soy milk is processed and curdled to make Tofu. It contains proteins, magnesium and calcium and can be used in preparing many tasty and healthy recipes like scrambled tofu, wraps and even curries. Further, it helps in maintaining bone density and also helps in weight loss.

 

A  healthy diet of our top 5 foods for yoga, helps us in healing our soul and also lead us to an active life.

Celebrate International Yoga Day with Masala Box by eating healthy and homemade. Subscribe now or download the app!

 

Recipe Thursday: How to Make Cheesy Vegetarian Chilli Mac

Looking to add some variety to your culinary expertise? A cheesy vegetarian chilli mac might just do the trick. A favourite among both kids and adults alike, this quirky take on a classic mac ‘n’ cheese is hit all the right flavour notes and is packed with all the good stuff your body needs. Make it for dinner, brunch or packed lunch, this one is a winner!

Chilli mac

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium-sized onion – diced

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tbsp flour

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 ½ cups of tomato puree/sauce

2 cups of kidney beans (soaked overnight)

2 cups of black beans (soaked overnight)

2 cups of pinto beans (soaked overnight)

1 cup of corn kernels

2 cups of vegetable broth

2 cups of uncooked macaroni (elbow) pasta

1 cup of cheddar cheese

Method of preparation:
  • Sautee the diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil in a large pot on a medium flame for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions become transparent.
  • Add the flour to the sautéed onion and garlic mix and continue to stir the mixture for about 2 minutes. You can continue this step until the flour and chilli powder mix starts to form a coating at the bottom of the pot.
  • Drain water from the kidney, black and pinto beans. Add all the three varieties of beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes and tomato puree to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. While stirring, it’s important to make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
  • Add the uncooked elbow pasta to the mixture and stir until it’s combined with the bean-tomato mixture. Close the pot with a lid and cook until the water in the pot comes to a boil. It’s advisable to carry out this step over a medium flame. To avoid the formation of clumps, make sure you keep stirring the pasta mixture every now and then.
  • When the pot reaches a boil, turn the heat down so that contents continue to simmer. Let the simmering continue for another 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the pasta becomes tender, add the grated cheddar cheese to the pot and mix until all the cheese has melted.

Your cheesy vegetarian chilli mac is ready to be served!

Happiness Through Healthy Eating

Healthy eating habits, unlike common misconceptions, aren’t about restricting your diet or steering clear of foods you love to eat. Healthy eating is all about feeling energetic, improved health and mood – basically, feeling great. The amount of diet and nutrition advice that is out there can you leave you overwhelmed and confused. But the truth is, maintaining a healthy diet isn’t that difficult.

Healthy Eating

How Eating Habits Affect Your Mood

Everyone is aware of how healthy eating helps maintain a healthy weight and avoid weight-related ailments. What’s overlooked is how your diet has a serious effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing. Studies have linked diets consisting of processed meats, frozen meals, restaurant food and sugary snacks to increased susceptibility to depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. An unhealthy diet can even trigger serious mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

A diet that comprises of a lot of fruits and vegetables, more home-cooked meals and reduced intake of sugar and refined carbs can remarkably improve your mood and lower the risk of mental health issues.

How You Can Adapt Healthy Eating Habits    

Transitioning to a healthy diet doesn’t require giving up all your favourite foods or changing your eating habits all at once. Sudden changes in your diet often lead to cheating or giving up in the early stages. The best approach to switching to a healthy diet is to incorporate a few, easy-to-adapt health hacks – such as adding a portion to salad to your meals. Here are some simple steps you can adapt to make your diet healthier:

Eating more homemade food

Cooking your own meals or ordering homemade food rather than commercially-prepared, restaurant food makes it easier to monitor what you consume. When you eat homemade meals, you are consuming fewer calories as well as avoiding the chemical additives, added sugar and unhealthy fats that make you feel bloated and lethargic.

Simplify your diet

Health Tips

Instead of focusing on counting calories, try to approach your diet in terms of colours, variety and freshness of the ingredients. Try to minimize the intake of packaged, frozen and processed food and eat more food that is prepared using fresh ingredients.

Making the right diet changes

Eating HealthyWhile eliminating the unhealthy foods in your diet, it is imperative that you replace them with healthier alternatives. Replacing trans fats with healthy fats – eating a portion grilled salmon instead of a bucket of fried chicken – can improve your health. However, replacing animal fats with refined carbohydrates won’t help in any way.

Listen to your body

How you feel after a meal is a great way to determine if your meal choice was healthy. The healthier the meal, the better you feel. Unhealthy, junk food makes you feel bloated, tired and lethargic.

Drink loads of water

WaterDrinking enough water is an integral part of staying healthy. Water helps flush toxins and other waste products from the body. Dehydration can often cause tiredness, low energy and headaches. Keeping your body well-hydrated can also improve your overall eating habits as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.

Planning and moderating your diet   

Homemade FoodPlanning your diet is a great way to keep your diet in check. Moderating and portion control is yet another great way to maintaining your health. Eat the right amount of healthy, homemade food during the week and reserve the restaurant food for that weekend outing or a cheat day.

 

 

Make a lifetime investment by understanding how you can keep yourself healthy, make eating the right food choices. Happy World Health Day!

5 Delicious Watermelon Recipes to Try at Home

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of watermelon. Apart from being a delicious low-calorie diet, the fruit also packs antioxidants and electrolytes that play a vital role in keeping your body cool in this hot, humid weather.

Here are five ways you can use this water-rich fruit to the fullest this summer:

Frozen watermelon ice cubes

Watermelon

If you enjoy the fruit-infused water, then this one is a sure shot winner! Cut watermelon into small chunks and pop them in the freezer. You can use the frozen chunks in place of ice cubes to keep your drink cold and release that subtle, sweet delicious flavour we all love!

Dip it in dark chocolate and season with sea salt

Health Tips

Cut watermelons into big chunks and pat dry them well. Dip the dried watermelon chunks in dark chocolate and sprinkle sea salt on them before putting them in the fridge to set. This one is a definite must-try.

Drink it!

Watermelon Juice

A simple watermelon and mint agua fresca are just what you need to cool down this summer. Juice a mix of watermelon chunks, mint and maple syrup to enjoy the most easy-to-make, refreshing drink. You can also this mix to prepare cocktails on a Saturday night.

Make a salad

Salad

Very few things are as refreshing as a salad in this sweltering summer heat. Cut the watermelon into small cubes and toss it with some cucumber and feta cheese for the perfect balance of sweet and salty. You can experiment with other combinations of vegetables and fruits as well.

Cold soups

Cold soups

It can’t get much simpler than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and transferring into a bowl, ready for consumption. A watermelon gazpacho requires minimal prepping and makes a lip-smacking appetizer. You can find the recipe here.

What are your favourite ways to consume watermelons this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

 

6 Body Cooling Foods to Beat the Heat This Summer

Summer can leave us dehydrated and feel deprived of energy. With the mercury levels soaring higher each day, it is important that we find ways to overcome the impact summer has on our bodies. Keeping your body heat in check can help prevent ailments such as stomach ulcers, rashes and boils on the skin, heat cramps, acidity and heartburn and excessive perspiration, among others. Incorporating body cooling foods in daily meal plans will not only balance our diets but also helps keep the body cool. Listed below are some cooling foods that can be included in our diet to fight the effects the sweltering weather has on our bodies:

Watermelon

Body cooling foods

Watermelon, a seasonal summer fruit, is 91.5% water. It’s a great way of fulfilling your body’s water requirement. The fruit also packs plenty of anti-oxidants. Make some freshly squeezed juice, fruit salads and chaats or just enjoy it by itself to keep your body well hydrated.

Coconut water

Coconut water

There is no better summer drink than coconut water. Available in abundance, this not-so-expensive drink is loaded with electrolytes, essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. Drinking coconut water regularly helps fight the hot weather and its negative impacts our bodies. Recent studies have also established that coconut water has cancer-fighting properties. Even more reasons to drink coconut water this summer!

Cucumber

cucumber

Rich in fibre, eating cucumber during the summer can work wonders in keeping any constipation troubles at bay. Use this water-rich vegetable in your salads or just eat them as a snack to stay as cool as a cucumber.

Curd/Yoghurt

Curd

Apart from being delicious, curd/yoghurt is a great coolant and has probiotic properties. It is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen that can be used to prepare an array of dishes, both sweet and savoury. You can use curd to make spiced buttermilk, raita or sweet lassi. You can also add seasonal fruits to it and make a lip-smacking smoothie.

Mint

Mint

Mint is a cheap, easily available herb that you can find in most vegetable stores and markets. Adding mint in water, chai or curd is great for overall health. You can also use this herb to prepare mint chutneys and dips which make a great accompaniment to snacks. Including mint in your diet is a great way to stay cool and refreshed.

Onions

Onions

Who would have thought onions have cooling properties, right? Red onions especially are loaded with quercertin, a natural anti-allergen. Ranging from mild to pungent, the taste of raw onions may not appeal to everyone. You can chop them up and mix it with other vegetables to make salads. Yet another way to eat onions is to add it to your curries and raita. Adding onions to your food also helps protect you from sun strokes.

Apart from what’s mentioned above, you can also include loads of fruits and vegetables, especially the green leafy kind, in your diet to stay cool and healthy. What are your favourite foods to eat during summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Balancing the Protein Intake in Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Getting the required amount of protein in your everyday diet without consuming too much meat can seem tough, maybe even impossible. It can appear especially difficult if you are vegan or vegetarian and are looking to consume vegetarian protein or plant protein. Getting all the required nutrients and minerals is just a matter of following a healthy, wholesome diet. Protein-rich meats can be substituted by simple, everyday ingredients to get all the protein your body requires.

Listed below are some of the most easy-to-source, simple-to-cook sources of vegetarian protein:

  •  Legumes
    Legumes

Legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, green peas, soybeans, kidney beans, etc. are some of the most common ingredients used in vegetarian, Indian dishes. Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrients as they are rich in fibre, iron, phosphorous, potassium and B vitamins apart from protein. For instance, half a cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 7 grams of dietary protein. Dishes such as lentil curries and hummus are a great source of vegetarian protein and make a perfect substitute for meats. Legumes are often classified as incomplete proteins. However, when paired with rice, it makes a complete protein and can provide all the essential amino acids your body requires on a daily basis. Including dishes such as dal tadka, dal makhani, toor dal fry, channa masala, etc., are a simple, quick and delicious protein-fix.

  •  Tofu

    Vegetarian ProteinTofu, or bean curd, is a plant-based protein. It makes an excellent addition to several Indian dishes and is immensely popular as a vegan alternative for paneer (cottage cheese). Half a cup of tofu contains about 10 grams of dietary proteins. It is also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids including omega-3 fats, making it a heart-healthier alternative for high-fat meats that contain saturated fat. Curries, salads, noodles, etc. are some of the dishes that tofu can be incorporated into.

  • Heart-healthy Nuts

    Healthy Nuts

Including nuts such as cashews and almonds is a great way to incorporate plant-based protein into vegetarian and vegan diets. Furthermore, nuts are excellent sources of heart-healthy fats, dietary fibre and vitamin E besides being a vegetarian protein mine. About 23 whole almonds provide about 6 grams of protein, while around 17 cashews contain just over 4 grams of dietary protein.

  • Dairy Foods and Their Alternatives

Apart from the above, dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are also great sources of vegetarian protein. Paneer, a fresh cheese used widely in Indian cuisine, contains about 17 grams of protein per cup. Calcium-fortified non-dairy substitutes, such as soy milk and soy yoghurt, are also excellent sources of protein. A cup of milk or soy milk provides about 8 grams, and 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt contains about 13 grams of dietary protein.

These ingredients work great with Indian dishes and are easily available in almost all local stores. If you lack the time to prepare your own food, then you can choose to get a meal subscription plan that includes some or all of the above-mentioned vegetarian goodness in their meal plan. That way, you can still get that vegetarian protein and keep your protein game strong!

5 Food Additives You Should Avoid

Food additives are nothing but chemicals that are added to food products to ease the processing, enhance the flavours and improve their shelf life. However, unlike the term suggests, these chemicals don’t really “add” any value to the food. Some of these additives are said to be cancer-causing and have been linked to triggering several ailments.

Listed below are some of the most common additives to stay clear from:

Food Additives

  • Artificial sweeteners

Aspartame (E951) is a chemical compound that is most commonly used in “diet” and “sugar-free” foods. A neurotoxin and a carcinogenic, this compound is said to have drastic effects on intelligence and short-term memory. Brain tumour, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures are some of the ailments that artificial sweeteners are said to trigger. Some of the most commonly consumed food products that contain aspartame include sugar-free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and other gelatins), desserts, sugar-free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, tabletop sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste.

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is widely used as a flavour enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin – a substance that causes cells to get overexcited to the point of damage or death. Increased consumption of MSG can result in adverse side effects including depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG is used as an additive in Chinese food, many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, frozen dinners and lunch meats.

  • Trans Fat

Trans fat is on the extreme end of the dangerous additives chart. It finds application in increasing the shelf-life of food products. Several studies show that trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes, and other health problems. Deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, baked goods, fast foods, chips and crackers are some examples of trans fat-containing foods.

  • Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is often used as a preservative, colouring, and flavouring in processed meats. This compound is highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. Once inside the digestive system, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs, the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrate is found commonly in food items such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats.

  • Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is used to give products a smooth, uniform appearance. Some of the more commonly recognized side effects associated are like bloating, diarrhoea, mild skin rashes, nausea and stomach pain. Used primarily as an emulsifier, you can find this compound in anything from salad dressing to tea bags, especially chocolates.