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Soya protein is low in total and saturated fat, and has no cholesterol. Intake of 25 to 50 grams of soy protein per day help people with high cholesterol, lower their blood lipid levels. Soya contains isflavones, which may act like the human hormone estrogen as well as perform other functions (e.g. as an antioxidant). Estrogen has been found to protect the body against coronary disease artery and high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Estrogen improves the flexibility of arteries, reduce the build–up of cholesterol–rich plaque within blood vessels and prevent the process that leads to additional plaque production and damage to artery walls

Omega–3 fatty acids can slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and help lower heart disease risk and heart attacks. Cardio protective effects of omega–3 fatty acids are:- Decrease in sudden cardiac death Decreased risk of arrhythmia Decreased plasma triglyceride levels Decreased blood clotting tendency The omega-3 acids fatty are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are abundant in many cold–water fish, some shellfish, as well as flax seed, canola, soybean oils and walnuts.

Only cutting down oil in cooking will not help to reduce the lipids in the blood. There are several other methods which have to be included to reduce the total fat intake. Like reducing the intake of red meat, switch to low fat dairy products; avoid processed food, canned foods, papad, pickles.

In fact, women are at risk for heart disease, just like men. Only difference is that women develop heart disease later in life than men. After menopause, a women’s heart disease risk profile starts resembling that of man’s. The estrogen women produces before menopause, helps raise the levels of HDL[good] cholesterol and lowering the levels of LDL[bad] cholesterol in blood. Once estrogen production decreases with age, this protective feature is gone.

Menopause is end of menstruation. The stage of 45-60 years shows menopausal symptoms. It is triggered by shutting down of the ovaries. This is experienced by hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood changes, insomnia, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and even osteoporosis. A healthy, nutritious diet can definitely minimize the annoying symptoms. Soya products [like soya milk, flour] and flaxseed helps balancing estrogen. Calcium from milk and its products, spinach, fenugreek leaves, broccoli, turnips or seafood helps to strengthen bones. Also, complex carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits boost serotonin levels and keep the blues away.

As a teenager, girls need to pay special attention to calcium and iron. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are the best sources of calcium. Iron is found in meats and also found in plant foods like green leafy vegetables, soybean, and jaggery but one need to combine these with vitamin C rich foods [like lime, oranges, amla], to increase its absorption.

I would recommend them to do a life style modification, like to include healthy homemade breakfast than eating out, carry packed lunch or opt for healthier food like rice and fish curry instead of biryani and fried rice, opt for lime water instead of soft drinks, carry couple of fruits to munch rather than eating wafers and samosa, restrict consumption of tea and coffee, de-stress through physical activity like walking, swimming, using stairs than lift, and quit smoking. By following these simple and practical tips they can keep their body disease free. If the individual wishes, it is also possible to follow a certain diet regime as diet consultants design diet according to individual eating pattern, food availability, likes and dislikes.

Breakfast cereals like wheat flakes, white oats, muesli, cornflakes can be consumed by all age groups. They are nutritious and can be made wholesome by using soymilk, nuts, fruits and honey. One should restrict on having flavored breakfast cereals as they can cause weight gain due to high sugar content.

It is better to use boiled chicken and fish instead of processed chicken products since these products contain salt, binding agents and preservatives which can affect the nutritive value of chicken. Also these processed foods need to preserve at right temperature and should be consumed in recommended period of time as they are perishable.

Almonds are good source of proteins, calcium and iron. It tones up and energizes muscle function and brain power, helps nerves to perform its function normally, keeps the skin healthy and strengthens overall health. One should limit the consumption to 5-7 almonds in a day. It keeps the heart healthy because of presence of omega -3.

The recommended dietary allowance of calcium for growing children is about 400-600 mg. For that, about 400-500 ml of milk is required for growing children, which can be acquired from milk or milk products like cheese, curd, paneer. Other sources of calcium are ragi, nuts, fish, green leafy vegetables. Supplements should be only given on doctor’s recommendation.

The best way of giving of vitamins and minerals is through natural foods. There are varieties of fruits, vegetables and cereals available which can provide enough nutrients. Try and give wholesome foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Dry fruits, fresh fruits, vegetables can be used in cutlets or while kneading the dough. Sprouts, paneer, homemade soups, carrot, beetroot and pomegranate juice can also provide daily dose of required nutrients. In case of nutritional deficiencies like anemia, consumption of supplements needs to be considered on medical advice.

Adequate nutrition is very important to increase immunity and growth in children. It is important to consume right amount of food but the quantity of food does not matter as much quality of food. If meals are monotonous children create fuss, so it is important to introduce variety in color, texture, and taste by using different kinds of ingredients. If your child is a poor eater serve one dish which provides adequate nutrition and which can be eaten easily [like a Frankie ,you can use whole wheat flour mixed with soya flour and knead with milk or curd or egg or vegetable stock and give a filling of cheese, vegetables, scrambled egg, boiled chicken ,paneer]

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