Eating yellow Moong Dal with Rice has profound benefits

1. Health benefits of eating yellow moong dal with basmati rice

Health benefits of eating yellow moong dal with basmati rice

Moong daal and rice is a perfect combination that offers a myriad list of health benefits. This combination is widely eaten in India and the Middle East. Consumption of these two together provides high levels of nutrition to your body and makes for a low-fat, high-fibre protein rich meal. Read to know more about it:

2. Nutritional value of basmati rice

Nutritional value of basmati rice

Basmati rice comes in two varieties – white and brown. One cup of cooked brown rice provides 218 calories, while white rice provides 242 calories, 8.1 g of protein, 77.1 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of fat, and 2.2 g of fiber per cup.

3. Nutritional value of yellow moong dal

Nutritional value of yellow moong dal

One cup of cooked moong dal has 147 calories, 1.2 g of total fat, 28 mg of sodium, 12 g of dietary fiber, 3 g of sugar and 25 g of protein per serving. It is a good source of protein and is in low in carbohydrates.

4. Builds muscles

Builds muscles

Moong dal contains amino acids and rice contains sulfur-based amino acids, both of which are required by the body for synthesis of proteins. Combination of dal and rice aids in protein synthesis, which helps build and strengthen muscles.

5. Strengthen the immune system

Strengthen the immune system

Moong dal is known to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help in fighting harmful bacteria, viruses and colds. Rice has fibre called resistant starch which helps in promoting healthy bacteria in the bowel, thus boosting the immune system.

6. Provides benefits to hair and skin

Provides benefits to hair and skin

Moong dal is a good source of protein and rice has good fiber content which cleanses the body and thus promotes healthy hair and skin. The best time to eat moong dal and rice is in the afternoon as it can easily digest at this time.

7. Prevents anemia

Prevents anemia

Moong dal contains a good amount of iron which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Therefore, consuming moong dal meets the iron deficiency in your body and reduces the risk of anemia.

8. Boosts metabolism

Boosts metabolism

Spices like turmeric, cumin, or coriander powder are used while preparing dal which helps in boosting the metabolic process in the body. On the other hand, basmati rice contains thiamin and niacin which also help in boosting your metabolism.

Next Slideshow
This is why the nutritionists are gushing over oat milk
Nov 28, 2018, 04.12PM IST

1. Health benefits of oat milk

Health benefits of oat milk

Oat milk is a specialized form of milk, prepared with steel-cut oats and then soaked in water and blended. It is quite delicious and a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk and a perfect option for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or just watching their weight. It is brimming with other essential nutrients such as vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. One cup of oat milk has 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein and about 35 percent of recommended daily allowance for calcium. If you are thinking to switch to oat milk, here is why it is an ideal choice. Have a look at the health benefits this homemade milk.

2. Treats chronic diseases

Treats chronic diseases

According to various researches, consuming oats milk regularly can lower overall oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Thus, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Increases bone strength

Increases bone strength

Oat milk is an excellent source of calcium, iron and other important minerals. These minerals are very important for maintaining bone density. It will also keep your bones healthy and strong.

4. Improves vision

Improves vision

Vitamin A found in oat milk protects the eyes from various eye diseases like macular degeneration and oxidative stress in the retina.

5. Boosts the immune system

Boosts the immune system

Oat milk helps in boosting the immune system and helps optimize the digestive process due to the presence of high level of soluble fiber in it.

6. Protects cardiovascular health

Protects cardiovascular health

Oat milk has low levels of fat as compared to cow’s milk. It has no cholesterol and hence good for the heart.

7. Promotes weight loss

Promotes weight loss

Oat milk has minisule fat content, which makes it a perfect drink for people who are trying to shed those extra kilos. Due to the presence of soluble fibre in oat milk, it will help you in keeping your stomach full for a longer period of time.

8. Cleanses the body

Cleanses the body

Drinking oat milk regularly helps in getting rid of the toxins from the body and stops abdominal bloating. It is also known for regulating your digestive system.

9. Prevents ageing

Prevents ageing

Oat milk is loaded with antioxidants that helps in protecting the body from the ill effects of free radicals, thus preventing deadly diseases like cancer and also premature aging.

10. Ingredients

Ingredients

1 litre of water

100 grams of oats

1 pinch of salt

11. Method

Method

Step 1: Soak steel cut oats in water overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the oats well.

Step 2: Now, add the soaked and rinsed oats in a blender with three cups of water. Blend it for about one to two minutes or until it has an even consistency.

Step 3: Strain the milk through cheesecloth or nut milk bag.

Step 4: Store the milk in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within three to five days.

10 halwas made with weird and unusual ingredients

1. Unusual halwa recipes

Unusual halwa recipes

All those who love halwas know how divenly delicious they are. And despite the ghee and sugar used in preparing them, we can’t write them off from our lives. From the sooji halwa to the delectable kadha prasad made with wheat flour to the besan, gajar and bottle gourd or lauki halwa, we have a huge variety of them. But there are some unconventional and bizzare ingredients that are used in making halwas like tomato, raw banana, turmeric, onion and even meat. Have a look!

2. Sweet Potato Halwa

Sweet Potato Halwa

Very little sugar is added to it as it has a natural sweetness. Sweet potato is cooked in milk and ghee is added to it towards the end.

3. Hare Chane Ka Halwa

Hare Chane Ka Halwa
Green gram or hara chana is available for a very brief period in India, towards he beginning of winters. It is usually used in a number of recipes and one of them is halwa. Boiled and cooked in milk, they are added with khoya and sugar and turned into the most desirable dessert that you can imagine.

4. Kachi Haldi Ka Halwa

Kachi Haldi Ka Halwa

Prepared with raw turmeric, peeled and ground, jaggery, whole wheat flour, ghee, milk, and mixed dry fruits, it was prepared traditionally for pregnant women and is often recommeded for those who suffer from joint pain.

5. Tamatar Ka Halwa

Tamatar Ka Halwa

Wholesome, delicious and scrumptious! Tamatar halwa is a rich and tasty Indian dessert made with tomato, sugar, ghee and nuts. It is popular in South India.

6. Pyaz Ka Halwa

Pyaz Ka Halwa

Grated onion, ghee and roasted cashew nuts are mixed and cooked to make this delicious bright coloured halwa. And you cannot guess the final dish has been made with onions!

7. Kali Gajar Ka Halwa

Kali Gajar Ka Halwa

It is healthier than the red galar halwa and has a unique creamy taste. A must try prepartion during winter months when this carrot comes in the market for a brief period.

8. Kachhe Kele Ka Halwa

Kachhe Kele Ka Halwa

Yes, you can make halwa with raw banana too! Just boil them and cook them in milk and khoya with a little sugar and your iron rich halwa is ready.

9. Gosht Ka Halwa

Gosht Ka Halwa

It is a traditional recipe with its roots in medieval India. You cannot guess the halwa is made with meat! Lean mutton is boiled in milk three to four times to do away with the smell.

10. ​Beetroot Halwa

​Beetroot Halwa

Beetroot Halwa is a unique dessert with a rich and creamy texture filled with the nutrition of Beetroot, khoya, milk and dry fruits.

11. Ande Ka Halwa

Ande Ka Halwa

Prepared with milk, khoya or milk powder, eggs, sugar, cardamom, ghee, almonds, cashews, and raisins, Ande Ka Halwa is a scrumptious dessert you don’t want to miss. It tastes like dry fruit cake and is often prepared during Shab-e Bara.

Guppy’s Winter Ramen Festival Has 12 Types Of Ramen, Food Challenges

#NewMenuAlert: Guppy's Winter Ramen Festival Has 12 Types Of Ramen, Food Challenges And More!

  • Guppy at Lodhi Colony is hosting a Ramen festival this winter
  • The festival has 12 different types of ramen dishes
  • Their are different options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians

It’s the best feeling ever to slurp on a bowl of delicious noodles during winters. A bowl of piping hot noodles during a cold winter’s night is one of those simple pleasures of life that one should experience. To meet your snuggly demands, contemporary Japanese bar and kitchen Guppy in Delhi has introduced a Ramen festival called #RamenMeCrazy, the menu for which has 12 different types of Ramen, with exciting options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The ramen bowls will be a delight for people who love the convenience and warmth of one-bowl meals and the menu will cater to the tastes of both the adventurous type of foodies and foodies who like more tried-and-tested popular options. What’s more? The menu is available all through winter at the Lodhi Colony outlet of the restaurant.

Exciting Ramen Options For Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians

The ramen bowls at Guppy, Delhi promise to win your hearts and change your perception towards Japanese cuisine, which is often only associated with raw fish. The mouth-watering vegetarian options include Hokkaido Miso Ramen served in spicy miso vegetable dashi broth topped with corn, broccoli & snow peas; Smoked Tomato Ramen served in vegetable and tomato stock topped with sautéed kale, bean sprout corn, snow peas and broccoli; and the 5 Mushroom Suimono Ramen which is the eggless ramen noodle topped with butter sautéed assorted mushrooms, bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and spring onions.

 

87llnna8

Ramen Festival all winter at Guppy, New Delhi

For non-vegetarians, ramen options include Chicken Paiten Ramen, served in simmered chicken stock topped with braised chicken, seasonal vegetables and soy cured egg; Tokyo Shio Chicken Ramen, served in salt flavoured dashi chicken broth, topped with chicken sausage and seasonal vegetables; and Cha Shu Ramen served in 72 hour simmered pork stock topped with Guppy signature pork belly, ginger, corn, wakame seaweed, spring onions and soy cured egg. The last option is said to be particularly popular in Japan. Seafood lovers will have a chance to try Seafood Ramen & Lobster Ramen served in rich soy flavoured seafood stock.

Additionally, there are some food challenges that will give a chance to foodies to compete against each other. The Ramen on Fire Challenge will allow you to compete against a friend, in finishing a spicy ramen meal and whoever finishes it first, wins a set lunch. Turn Up The Slurp Challenge will have you competing to be the ‘loudest slurper on the table’!

Kids with the Stomach Flu Don’t Need Probiotics

It may seem like common sense to help bolster stomach flu treatment in children with a course of probiotics — but you’re likely wasting your money.

Some previous studies have helped push the idea that probiotics are effective in cutting down on the agonizing symptoms of acute gastroenteritis (commonly called “stomach flu”), including diarrhea and vomiting.

But a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month, concludes that probiotic supplements have no effect on the duration or severity of acute gastroenteritis in children.

Promises of probiotics

Whether you’re shopping at the supermarket or at the health food store, you’ll likely encounter products from yogurt to supplements touting their probiotic contents. Probiotics — live “good” bacteria that are part of the complex ecosystem in our gut — are touted as a cure for everything from constipation to anxiety.

Unfortunately, despite what the producers of these products would tell you, the science just isn’t clear on these claims.

“What we found was a resounding no difference. The kids that received the probiotic and the kids that received the placebo did exactly the same in terms of every possible outcome we could think of. They had the same duration of diarrhea, the same duration of vomiting, the same duration of fever,” Dr. David Schnadower, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and first author of the study, told Healthline.

For their study, Schnadower and his fellow researchers recruited 971 children between the ages of 3 months and 4 years who presented at 10 different pediatric emergency departments around the United States for gastroenteritis.

The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which the children were either treated with a 5-day dose of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a commonly sold strain of probiotic bacteria, or with a placebo.

The children followed up with doctors daily for five days, then at two weeks, and finally at one month to track symptoms.

There was no significant difference whatsoever in the health outcomes for the children that took the probiotic compared with those that did not.

“I think that this study was a very well-designed study that pretty definitely shows that there really is not a benefit in using probiotics for kids who are healthy and have gastroenteritis,” said Dr. Sophia Jan, chief of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, who was not affiliated with the research study.

Rise of probiotics

The research comes at a time in which probiotics continue to emerge as a robust sector of the nutritional supplement industry. The global probiotics industry is expected to grow from $37 billion USD in 2015 to more than $64 billion in 2023. That growth will come despite a lack of real clinically conclusive evidence that the health claims made by these product’s manufacturers are legitimate.

“From Whole Foods to Walmart, you will see walls and walls of different probiotic products, probiotic-enriched foods, and people are buying them like candy in the belief that they are good,” said Schnadower.

Because probiotics are marketed as dietary supplements, they are not regulated for their claims by the FDA the way that pharmaceuticals and other medications must prove their efficacy and safety.

Treating the stomach flu

As far as using probiotics to treat gastroenteritis — you may have to just ride it out. That’s because despite the hope that probiotics could help, there isn’t any known cure for stomach flu.

Acute gastroenteritis remains a serious illness worldwide — it is the second leading cause of death in children under five-years old — but deaths are rare in the United States. It can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, that cause the trademark symptoms that it is known for.

It is also highly contagious.

The most dangerous complication that occurs from acute gastroenteritis is dehydration, due to the loss of fluids from diarrhea and vomiting. Children who are immunocompromised, such as those with chronic illnesses are also at increased risk of complications.

“Most gastroenteritis will resolve on their own without a lot of intervention. Kids are miserable, certainly for several days, but the good thing is that most kids will recover fairly well on their own as long as parents continue to encourage their kid to stay hydrated,” said Jan.

It is recommended to treat children with acute gastroenteritis with small but frequent fluids, to keep them hydrated without provoking nausea or vomiting. Also important for families is hygiene, including frequent handwashing, and disinfecting areas like bathrooms that are likely to be contaminated with bodily fluids.

As for treating stomach flu with probiotics, save your money.

“What we are telling families is don’t spend 60 dollars on this, which will do nothing to you. Spend it on good food for your kid or save that money for college. Don’t spend it on something that doesn’t work,” said Schnadower.

Gut Health May Be a Factor in Type 1 Diabetes in Children

One of the keys to reducing the risk of type 1 diabetes may be linked to the health of a child’s intestinal system.

A recent study comparing the gut microbiota in 15 children with type 1 diabetes to 13 children without diabetes as well as 15 children with maturity-onset diabetes of the young 2 (MODY2) is revealing significant differences.

“Compared with healthy control subjects,” explains the study published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care Journal, “type 1 diabetes was associated with a significantly lower microbiota diversity.”

Researchers said children with type 1 diabetes also had higher levels of “proinflammatory” cytokines and lipopolysaccharides. Inflammation is a known contributor to the onset of autoimmune disease as well as to the development of diabetes-related complications.

The study also found that children with type 1 diabetes and the group of children with MODY2 had increased “gut permeability,” which is essentially “leaky gut syndrome.” A leaky gut means that foreign material from the gut is able to leak into other parts of the body.

This appears to happen more often to people who are “more prone to the potential of autoimmune dysfunction,” explains Jennifer Smith, registered dietician and diabetes educator with Integrated Diabetes Services.

“Their guts seem to be more permeable,” Smith told Healthline. “If they have environmental factors — in this case, it would be dietary — if there are inflammatory types of foods that cause irritation within the gut lining, it allows those things to move out of the digestive system and into our body, rather than being normally moved through your digestive system.”

Smith, co-author of the book “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes,” adds that the irritants and allergens from the gut are then in circulation within the body.

An allergen is a type of antigen that triggers an especially aggressive response from the body’s immune system when it perceives an allergen as a threat even if it might actually be harmless to the body.

When there is a regular, consistent presence of those irritants and allergens resulting from the diet (gluten, for example), this can lead to an autoimmune response such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease.

Smith says she’s seen similar research being presented in relation to celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.

The research is showing a consistent increase of certain bacteria and a decrease of other bacteria for people with these ailments.

Diet may play a role

The research also looks at the strong role that a person’s diet contributes to their gut biome.

“Gluten and dairy have proven in research to have a tremendous implication in the onset of type 1 diabetes,” explained Smith.

She points to another recent study linking high gluten consumption in a pregnant mother and a child’s risk of eventually developing type 1 diabetes.

Regarding dairy, Smith explains that the type of protein present in the United States’ commercial dairy products is the A1 protein. It is known to be allergenic with links in the development of type 1 diabetes.

Other countries use milk from cows that are not from this particular European descent, and instead contain the “A2 protein,” which has proven to be far less allergenic.

Populations that consume primarily A2 milk have fewer cases of type 1 diabetes compared to populations drinking primarily A1 milk.

For children with an increased risk of autoimmune disease due to a family history of autoimmune disease, Smith says avoiding or reducing gluten and commercial dairy products as well as potentially taking probiotic products could improve the issue of a “leaky gut.”

That, in turn, could help to delay or prevent autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.

Questions about the study

Some experts point out the long list of variables that complicate the results in a study like this.

“It was a small study and it was not randomized,” Dr. Stephen Ponder, a pediatric endocrinologist and 2018 Diabetes Educator of the Year, told Healthline. “I didn’t see a statement that the patients were not related, which could introduce some bias concerns, too.”

Ponder, co-author of the book “Sugar Surfing,” adds that participants also seemed to all live in the same general area, which means their food and water supply could also have an impact on their gut bacteria.

“It is intriguing to consider how microbiota varies from region to region, and even within different ethnic and racial populations, too. Which means the question about cause versus effect can’t be answered by a small study like this,” he said.

For Ponder, this research presents far more questions than answers concerning the role that our gut plays in the development of diseases such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

“I hope they cast a wider net next time and look at populations in different regions, levels of glycemic control, and their ages,” he said. “As our gut microbiome is constantly churning, it must play a role in both protecting us and at times exposing us to risk.”

4 Spring Recipes You Should Try Today

4 Spring Recipes You Should Try Today

While it may not seem like it some days, spring has arrived—at least from a grocery point of view. With the return of farmer’s markets and vibrant vegetables coming into season, it’s time to turn the page from winter to spring.

Say goodbye to the monochromatic winter scenes as well as those dull root veggies. The wide variety of spring produce will surely bring your kitchen back to life and make cooking much more fun.

Below are five recipes inspired by the most popular spring ingredients —asparagusbeetsartichokes and strawberries. Enjoy the most beautiful season with these delightful springtime dishes!

Asparagus: Simple is Best

As Martha Stewart said, the key to delicious asparagus is freshness. Fresh asparagus is sweet, succulent and crisp-tender that doesn’t require anything fancy to taste great. You can simply blanch them, top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil and some lemon zest to elevate the natural flavor of asparagus.

Too boring for a spring dinner party? If you’re looking to add a colorful presentation to your dinner table, I bet you’ll love this refreshing twist.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Ib. asparagus
  • ¾ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ cilantro leaves
  • 1 mango
  • Fresh ginger, 2-inch piece
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ cup dry roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 8-inch dried rice paper spring roll wrappers, 6 to 8 sheets
  • ¼ cup store-bought Asian Sweet Chili sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions:

  1. Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water until tender to the bite or approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Peel and julienne mango and ginger.
  3. Julienne bell pepper, set aside.
  4. Fill a large bowl with hot water. Slip rice paper wrapper into water until pliable, approximately 1 minute. (Note: Work with one wrapper at a time.)
  5. Place wrapper on the cutting board. In the center, put 3 to 4 asparagus spears with the tips coming off the end of the wrapper slightly, 3 to 4 mango slices, 3 to 4 pepper slices, 3 tablespoons sprouts, 2 tablespoons herbs, sprinkling of ginger and peanuts.
  6. Roll the wrapper from the bottom up, tightly, leaving the ends open.
  7. Set aside and cover with a damp towel.
  8. Finish with remaining wrappers.
  9. Slice wrappers into 3 segments and let them stand upright on a serving platter.
  10. Mix chili sauce and lime juice together. Serve alongside the rolls.

Beets: Delicious Ruby Red Root Veggie that Can’t Be Beat

More often than not, people hate beets because of their earthy taste. However, beets are famously high in many vitamins and minerals. It would be a shame if you let them walk away from your life. Fortunately, here’s the recipe that can transform beets into a delicious, sweet and brightly colored dish. The best part yet, spring beets are tenderer than those harvested later in the year.

Give it a try. I’m sure it will definitely change how you feel about beets as well as your life.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-to-large size beets
  • ½ cup Pecans – toasted and rough chopped into pieces (toast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes)
  • ½ cup Basil (optional)
  • Zest and segments of one orange
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¼ – ½ cup of mayonnaise (avoid any mayo made with canola or soy oil)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for rubbing on beets
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat your oven to 400°.
  2. Scrub beets well. It’s not necessary to remove the skins, but you can if you’d like.
  3. Rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over the beets.
  4. Place them on a baking dish or cookie sheet and place inside oven. Bake until tender and a fork pokes through easily. This will take approximately an hour.
  5. Once cooled, dice beets into little squares.
  6. Place in a mixing bowl. Add mayo, garlic, pecans, basil and oranges and toss together.
  7. Stir in feta at the end.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

 

In addition to beets, another strange-looking spring ingredient you perhaps never thought of putting in your grocery cart is artichoke. Okay, you may have tried jarred, marinated artichokes, but the fact is that processed food can never stand up to fresh produce. Additionally, preparing and cooking fresh artichokes are not as difficult as you think (Check out the tutorial video below.). Plus, like our friend at Serious Eats said, who can say no to the glorious mounds of fresh artichokes at the market?

If you live in Chicago or Boston where April snow is not rare, this soupy, braised artichoke recipe will certainly cure your cold heart.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups homemade vegetable stock or water
  • 2 leeks, including 1-inch of the greens, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch wedges, joined at the root end
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced shallot
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounces yellow-fleshed or new red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
  • ½ or less cup crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup shelled peas or fava beans
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fennel greens or parsley
  • Freshly milled pepper

Instructions:

  1. Trim the artichokes by snapping off several layers of the tough outer leaves by pulling them downward so that they break off at the base. Stop when the inner leaves become a lighter yellowish green and look tender.
  2. Trim the stem and slice off the top third of the artichoke. With a paring knife, smooth the rough areas around the base, removing any dark green parts.
  3. Cut the trimmed artichoke into quarters and remove the fuzzy chokes with a paring knife. Slice into sixths, and set them aside in a bowl of acidulated water (water and lemon juice or vinegar) until ready to cook.
  4. Melt the butter in a wide soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and leeks and cook, stirring frequently, without browning for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan with the fennel and stock. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt, then press a piece of crumbled parchment or wax paper directly over the vegetables.
  6. Bring the liquid to a boil, then simmer, covered, until the artichokes are tender, approximately 25 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. When the artichokes and fennel are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon to a dish.
  9. Whisk enough crème fraîche and the mustard into the broth and boil briskly to make a thin sauce, 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Add the peas and cook until tender, then return the vegetables and potatoes to the broth. Add the chopped fennel greens, season with pepper, and serve.

Strawberries: More than Just Desserts

Nope. I’m not going to introduce strawberry recipes that you can think of in seconds. For this common ingredient, largely used in sweet treats and salads, I challenge you to try this adventurous cocktail recipe – strawberry basil sangria.

Sangria, the Spanish fruit punch doesn’t have to always go with citrus. Oftentimes, people use the strong citrus scent just to cover up the bad wine. If you want to enjoy a good bottle of wine with a hint of fruit in a spring morning, strawberry basil sangria is it. Unlike citrus, the aroma of in-season strawberries is sweet but not overwhelming, which can showcase the high quality wine. Moreover, the addition of basil can give the drink a clean finish, making it a go-to drink for a Sunday brunch or an afternoon picnic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 bottle Chardonnay
  • 1 cup brandy
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • 8-10 basil leaves, finely diced
  • ½ cup club soda

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large pitcher except club soda. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add club soda.
  3. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Can’t Work Out? Try a Hot Bath

You likely think of a relaxing bubble bath as the antidote to a stressful day.

It certainly can be that.

But new research suggests a long, hot bath may be as helpful to you as a gentle workout session, too.

British researchers report that hot-water immersion — that is, a long sit in a hot-water bath — may help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar levels in much the same way exercise does.

This is especially helpful for people who are unable to exercise or meet the weekly physical activity recommendations.

However, before you turn on your faucet and drop in a dissolving bath bomb, you should understand the limitations of these findings.

Role of inflammation in health

Inflammation after exercise, such as sore muscles and redness, is to be expected.

During brief physical stress, levels of inflammatory markers rise.

These markers signal the production of another inflammatory chemical called interleukin.

After this initial increase in inflammation, your body produces an extended release of anti-inflammatory chemicals. These substances combat the high levels of inflammation caused by the exercise.

This is a natural, normal process: Brief inflammation is followed by prolonged anti-inflammation.

However, when the anti-inflammatory process isn’t robust enough, your body may be left with chronic, low-grade inflammation.

This type of inflammation isn’t healthy. In fact, it may contribute to a number of health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.

Exercise can combat the inflammation, but not everyone is able to exercise. Or they may not be able to exercise at levels adequate enough to reap the anti-inflammatory rewards.

In recent years, research has shown that raising body temperatures can also influence the body’s inflammatory response.

What’s more, research suggests this same spike in body temperature may increase the production of nitric oxide. This substance in your blood can help improve blood flow and transport glucose throughout your body.

What’s been unclear, however, is if exercise alternatives, such as sitting in a hot tub of water, can produce the same low-grade inflammation and healthy anti-inflammation responses.

What the researchers found

For this test, researchers recruited 10 overweight and sedentary men.

The participants were divided into two groups. Both groups sat in an 80°F (27°C) room for 15 minutes.

Then, the first group of volunteers participated in an immersion bath in 102°F (39°C) water up to their necks for one hour.

The second group sat in a room at ambient temperature for the same amount of time.

In 15-minute intervals, researchers took measurements of each participant’s blood pressure, heart rate, and core temperature.

Blood samples were taken before the tests, immediately after the test, and in a follow-up session two hours after the test.

The researchers took blood samples from each of the men at these points in the study so they could examine the markers for inflammation, blood sugar, and insulin levels.

Three days after the first test, the participants returned and reversed roles.

The single hot-water immersion session did produce some positive effects.

Namely, it caused the levels of interleukin (the inflammatory chemical) to rise and increased the level of nitric oxide in the blood.

The rise in nitric oxide can cause blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure. Nitric oxide is also thought to improve glucose intake by your body’s tissues.

For the final stage of the test, the participants returned to complete 10 hot-water immersion sessions in 14 days. The first five sessions were 45 minutes long. The final five were 60 minutes.

Blood samples taken after the two-week treatment period saw even greater results.

Fasting blood sugar and insulin levels were down, as were levels of low-grade inflammation.

These effects are similar to the impact exercise has on your body’s inflammation and glucose levels.

In other words, the hot-water immersion sessions were similarly beneficial as exercise in these men.

“Our study shows that even a single session induces a rise in markers that may positively affect health if repeated over two weeks,” Christof Leicht, PhD, MSc, one of the study’s authors and a lecturer in exercise physiology at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, told Healthline. “It appears to be similar to exercise. One exercise session won’t do much to fitness or health, but repeated sessions show the desired effect.”

Exercise, hot water, and health

Heat and water therapies, such as saunas and hot baths, have been an area of scientific research for many years.

A 2016 study found that heat therapy can improve circulation and vascular function. This may reduce blood pressure and stiffening of the blood vessels.

Decades of research says that hot baths may improve sleep quality, too.

Your body’s core temperature rises while you’re sitting in a hot bath or sauna. Once you’re out of the hot environment, the slow temperature drop signals your body that it’s time for rest.

This may help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Indeed, heat therapy’s perceived benefits makes it a target for people looking for alternative therapies.

Its relatively low cost and limited risks of possible side effects makes heat therapy a point of interest for many people looking for relief from a variety of health conditions.

This latest study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, outlines the impact heat therapy can have on inflammation markers and fasting blood sugar in your body.

Can baths replace gym time?

Leicht and his colleagues don’t go that far in their proposals.

“We do not suggest to replace exercise sessions with hot baths, as exercise has a multitude of proven positive effects, some of which are unlikely to be achieved when taking a bath at home,” Leicht said.

He cites an improvement in endurance and strength, social interactions, and the psychological benefits of exercising outside as reasons not to forego your treadmill time for a sit in a hot bath.

He does, however, suggest you supplement your workout routine with a hot bath for extra benefits.

“We would encourage people to top up their current exercise days with a hot bath or two,” Leicht told Healthline. “This especially applies to people who are restricted to adhere to recommended exercise guidelines.”

Nicky Kirk, DC, MSc, a chiropractic sports physician, also says a hot-water bath isn’t a good replacement for cardio and weight-bearing exercises.

Kirk says the benefits of exercise go beyond anti-inflammatory responses. They include decreased stroke risk, improved ability to think, decreased likelihood and severity of depression, lowered diabetes risk, and decreased risk of bone fracture.

A bath may not be this effective.

“The additional benefits of physical activity or exercise can include decreased risk of falling, decreased onset of dementia, improved joint health, and decreased risk of cancer,” Kirk told Healthline. “By immersing in water, we are losing the effects of weight-bearing on the joints and bones, the activity of the muscle pump which aids in venous return, strength and resilience of the heart as well as the musculoskeletal system.”

The men that participated in the study reported discomfort during the immersion sessions. This discomfort may be the result of the high temperature or the length of time they were required to sit in the hot water and remain immersed up to their neck.

These requirements may make adopting this type of alternative treatment difficult.

That’s why Leicht and his fellow researchers may look at research in the future that uses shorter immersion periods and lower water temperatures.

The bottom line

The results of this study indicate that hot-water baths may be beneficial for people who are sedentary or unable to exercise.

“If individuals are in a situation where their health is compromised and they are physically unable to participate in physical activity, hot-water immersion could be a useful modality to decrease some of the risk factors associated with obesity and inactivity,” Kirk said.

But for people who can exercise, this study isn’t permission to skip the gym and hit the hot tub.

Instead, you can use hot-water baths to supplement your workouts and possibly prolong your body’s natural inflammatory response.

A 14-Course Dinner Featuring Ancient Recipes From Around The World

Puratan By Gourmet Planet: A 14-Course Dinner Featuring Ancient Recipes From Around The World

  • Puratan was organised by Gourmet Planet on Nov 23, 2018
  • The dinner featured ancient recipes from 3500BC to 1700AD
  • The dinner was a true delight for any gourmand’s senses and taste buds

We often fail to realise how important and how complex the history of even common dishes can be. What you eat today has gone through several stages of reimagining and revision, before it appeared in its present avatar on your plate. Food bears the imprints of changes in history, culture and economy, as prominently as all other aspects and objects in our lives and this is why tracing the roots and history of any particular dish can be difficult. One can then imagine the kind of research and gargantuan effort that it would take for someone to re-create the dish that Julius Caesar is said to have created for his wife Queen Cleopatra or a dish that young Tutankhamun might have favoured. This Herculean feat was accomplished by Chef Shiv Shankar for the exclusive dinner event Puratan- a 14-course dinner that consisted of ancient recipes from Mesopotamia through Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, China, Israel, Persia and Japan.

Chef Shiv Shankar is the author of ‘The Brahmin Butcher’s Diaries’ and is the only Ancient Cuisine Reconstructionist in Asia. For Puratan, which was organised by Gourmet Planet at The Lodhi, New Delhi on November 23rd, 2018, Chef Shiv Shankar, Chef Pankaj Sharma and the hotel’s team, curated a 14-course menu, which began its journey in 3500BC Mesopotamia and took the guests through seven ancient civilizations, epic periods and a time line of 3500 years. Some of the historical figures whose purported recipes were featured in the Puratan menu included Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Sephardim Jews, Emperor Ch’ien-lung – Qing dynasty, etc.

 

6pm290n8Stuffed quail is said to have been a favourite of Young Pharoah Tutankhamun

An Exquisite Menu For Gourmands

The menu was designed to include a number of different kinds of flavours, tastes and various techniques of cooking with meats and spices. It began with Maricha Dughdam – a spicy concoction made from milk infused with long pepper, which was apparently consumed in the monsoon and winter seasons in India during the Epic period. The recipe is said to be great for detoxifying the respiratory system, increasing appetite and relieving joint pain.

From Borscht, the Russian beet soup said to be popular with Empress Catherine the Great, to Mastik Psari, a sea bass dish with nuts and capers claimed to be a favourite of Alexander The Great, each dish served during Puratan brought forth a piece of history with it and enhanced our knowledge of what was favourable to some of the most famous palates in the history of the world. Each course was paired with exquisite wines, which complemented the taste of the dish. The menu was as much a journey for the senses, as it was for the taste buds.

bu9bsnpgLetto Con Rose or a Bed of Roses is said to have been served to Queen Cleopatra by Julius Caesar

The end of the lengthy 150-minute dinner was marked by carving a whole stuffed and roasted lamb for the Persian dish Mishmishiya, which included tender meat served with Zafrani pulav. For the sweet finale, we were served with a beautifully constructed ancient Greek dessert Galaktoboureko, which consisted of semolina custard in layers of flaky phyllo pie.

What Is Lotus Birth and Is It Safe?

lotus birth

Lotus birth is the practice of birthing the baby and placenta, and leaving the two attached until the cord falls off on its own. Anecdotally, this can take 3 to 10 days, though there’s no research to prove it.

This is in contrast to the conventional practice of clamping the cord to cut off circulation a few minutes after the baby is born, and eventually cutting the cord to detach baby from the placenta.

Practices like lotus birth are believed by some to be traditional in history and are common in some modern cultures. However, its modern resurgence in industrial societies is credited to Claire Lotus Day in 1974. Day promoted lotus birth after she observed that anthropoid apes don’t sever their infants from the placenta.

The lack of intervention in lotus birth has attracted people in the natural birth world. It’s believed by them to be gentle and beneficial to the baby. There’s hardly any research on lotus birth or its risks and benefits. Most information comes anecdotally from individuals.

Read on to learn about this process, including benefits, risks, and how to have a lotus birth.

What are the recommendations for cord removal?

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the optimal time for cord clamping has been debated for more than 50 years. It used to be believed that early cord clamping (within one minute of birth) was more beneficial to the newborn and mother. However, a vast amount of high-quality research has proven against that belief.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends waiting at least 30 to 60 seconds before clamping the cord. The World Health Organization recommends waiting one to three minutes before clamping the cord.

The only case where delayed cord clamping is not recommended is if the infant is born in some kind of distress and needs immediate medical attention.

Lotus birth vs. delayed cord clamping

Delayed cord clamping is now the recommended practice globally. It’s standard practice in hospitals and home births to first clamp the umbilical cord to stop blood flow, and then sever the baby from the placenta by cutting the cord.

For both term and preterm infancy, delayed cord clamping has been shown to:

  • increase hemoglobin levels
  • improve iron stores over the first few months of life
  • improve red blood cell volume
  • improve circulation
  • decrease need for blood transfusion
  • decrease risk of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage

There’s a slight increase in the risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping, but the benefits are considered to outweigh the risk.

While there’s much research to promote the practice of delayed cord clamping, research on the benefits of lotus birth is limited to small case studies.

Since there’s no solid research on lotus birth, it’s unclear if the practice is actually beneficial. It could be that delayed cord clamping provides all of the post-birth benefits from the placenta and that nothing beyond that is necessary.

Proponents of lotus birth believe it may lower the risk of infections because it does not cause an injury to the cord. However, it can also increase the risk of infection because, after birth, the placenta is a dead organ with stagnant blood. There’s not enough research to say how much higher the risk of infection may be with a lotus birth.

Lotus birth can also be a spiritual practice to honor the relationship between the infant and its placenta. If you want to honor the placenta but aren’t sure if lotus birth is right for you, there are other rituals you can use, like burying it in a special ceremony.

What are the benefits of lotus birth?

Practitioners of lotus birth claim the practice to have these benefits:

  • a gentle, less-invasive transition for the baby from womb to the world
  • increased blood and nourishment from the placenta
  • decreased injury to the belly button
  • a spiritual ritual to honor the shared life between baby and placenta

There’s no research to support the first three claims. The placenta receives its blood supply from the mother, and once the placenta is birthed, it’s no longer living or circulating. So, it’s unlikely that keeping the baby and placenta attached can really provide any benefits.

A lotus birth might be helpful or necessary if you have an emergency birth situation and are waiting for medical attention. For example, if you deliver during a hurricane when streets are flooded and you can’t get to the hospital right away, keeping the placenta attached to the baby may reduce your risk for complications while you wait for help. That’s because cutting the cord yourself can risk hemorrhage and infection.

If you’re in an emergency situation, always try calling your local emergency services to speak with someone who is trained to help you.

What are the risks of lotus birth?

There’s limited research on lotus birth, so it’s unclear if the practice is safe. There’s also not enough research to inform how exactly to treat the placenta and avoid risks while waiting for it to detach.

Once out of the womb, blood stops flowing to the placenta. At this point, the placenta becomes dead tissue prone to infection. Because the placenta is still attached to the baby, an infected placenta can infect the infant.

Additionally, the baby risks injury of the cord accidentally being ripped away from their body. This is known as cord avulsion.

One case study of a full-term baby linked lotus birth with hepatitis in the baby, but more research is needed to understand the potential connection.

Considerations

Since a lotus birth leaves the baby and placenta attached via the umbilical cord, your postpartum experience and newborn care will look slightly different than after a conventional birth.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind for a lotus birth:

  • You can still hold your baby right away after they’re born.
  • The placenta is usually birthed within 5 to 30 minutes after the baby.
  • You’ll need a sterile place to catch and carry the placenta.
  • You must still put your baby in a car seat if you drive, even with the placenta attached.
  • The placenta will slowly dry out and decay, and eventually, the cord will fall off from your baby’s tummy.
  • The placenta will probably have a smell as the blood sits stagnant.
  • Some people report rubbing salt and herbs on the placenta as it dries out.
  • Keeping the placenta attached is in no way a replacement for feeding your baby. Because the placenta is no longer attached to the mother, it does not provide nutrients to the baby. Newborns feed at least every two to three hours.
  • Baby clothing will need to have an opening in the middle, so snap closures will be more helpful than zipper fronts.
  • While you want to keep your baby clean, we don’t know if it’s safe or not to give your baby a bath with a lotus birth. Consider sponge baths while you wait for the placenta to detach.

When you’re pregnant and building your birth team, you’ll have many conversations and questions to cover with your healthcare providers. Like interventions and pain relief, lotus birth should be a question you discuss thoroughly before you’re in labor.

Most doctors and hospital midwives have standard practices based on research and conventional training. You won’t know what their standards are unless you ask first.

Most healthcare providers will not perform a lotus birth delivery because of the lack of research. The major maternal and fetal health organizations don’t even have statements on lotus birth because it’s so rare and not well understood.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the United Kingdom advises against lotus birth. You’re much more likely to have a lotus birth if you have a home birth with a midwife who has experience with it.

Because the health of you and your baby is on the line, doctors and midwives alike must choose what they’re comfortable with doing, and advise you accordingly. Remember that just because something is believed by some to be natural or even safe, this does not necessarily make it so. It may be even less safe if your doctor or midwife is unfamiliar with the practice.

If you find a healthcare provider who will allow you to have a lotus birth, be sure to ask for a thorough history of their experience with the practice. Ask many questions and do as much research as you can. Some of your questions should include:

  • How do I dress and carry my baby if the cord is still attached?
  • How do I improve the safety of the practice?
  • How many times have you helped someone have a lotus birth?
  • What are all of the risks?
  • How do I treat the placenta while still attached?
  • What do I do if I see signs of infection?
The bottom line

Lotus birth is the practice of not cutting the umbilical cord after birth and, instead, letting the placenta stay attached until it falls off naturally. It’s believed to be a gentle ritual that comforts the baby. However, there’s very little research to prove any benefits, and there is, in fact, a great possibility of infection and injury to the baby.

Before choosing a lotus birth, ask your doctor or midwife for their recommendations and experience with the practice. If you decide to have a lotus birth, work with a practitioner that’s experienced with this birthing method.

Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Bodybuilding is centered around building your body’s muscles through weightlifting and nutrition.

Whether recreational or competitive, bodybuilding is often referred to as a lifestyle, as it involves both the time you spend in and outside the gym.

In order to maximize your results from the gym, you must focus on your diet, as eating the wrong foods can be detrimental to your bodybuilding goals.

This article explains what to eat and avoid on a bodybuilding diet and provides a one-week sample menu.

Bodybuilding Meal Plan
Bodybuilding Basics

Bodybuilding differs from powerlifting or Olympic lifting in that it’s judged on a competitor’s physical appearance rather than physical strength.

As such, bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain a well-balanced, lean and muscular physique.

To do this, many bodybuilders start with an off-season followed by an in-season way of eating — referred to as a bulking and cutting phase, respectively.

During the bulking phase, which can last months to years, bodybuilders eat a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and lift weights intensely with the goal of building as much muscle as possible (1).

The following cutting phase focuses on losing as much fat as possible while maintaining muscle mass developed during the bulking phase. This is achieved through specific changes in diet and exercise over a period of 12–26 weeks (1).

SUMMARYBodybuilding training and dieting is typically divided into two phases: bulking and cutting. The goal of the bulking phase is to build muscle, whereas the cutting phase is dedicated to preserving muscle while losing body fat.

Benefits of Bodybuilding

There are several health benefits associated with bodybuilding.

In order to maintain and build muscles, bodybuilders exercise frequently, performing both resistance and aerobic training.

Resistance training increases muscle strength and size. Muscle strength is highly correlated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, heart and kidney disease, as well as several other critical illnesses (2).

Aerobic exercise, which bodybuilders regularly implement to reduce body fat, improves heart health and significantly lowers your risk of developing or dying from heart disease — the number one killer in America (3, 4).

In addition to exercise, bodybuilders also focus on their nutrition.

With careful planning, bodybuilders can eat in a way that not only supports their efforts in the gym but keeps them healthy too.

Following a healthy eating pattern, including nutrient-dense foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts, can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases (5).

SUMMARYBodybuilders exercise regularly and may eat well-planned and nutrient-dense diets, both of which offer many health benefits.

Calorie Needs and Macronutrients

The goal for competitive bodybuilders is to increase muscle mass in the bulking phase and reduce body fat in the cutting phase. Hence, you consume more calories in the bulking phase than in the cutting phase.

How Many Calories Do You Need?

The easiest way to determine how many calories you need is to weigh yourself at least three times a week and record what you eat using a calorie tracking app.

If your weight stays the same, the daily number of calories you eat is your maintenance calories — in other words, you’re not losing or gaining weight, but maintaining it.

During your bulking phase, it’s recommended to increase your calorie intake by 15%. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, you should eat 3,450 calories per day (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) during your bulking phase (6).

When transitioning from a bulking to a cutting phase, you would instead decrease your maintenance calories by 15%, meaning you would eat 2,550 calories per day instead of 3,450.

As you gain weight in the bulking phase or lose weight in the cutting phase, you will need to adjust your calorie intake at least monthly to account for changes in your weight.

Increase your calories as you gain weight in the bulking phase and decrease your calories as you lose weight in the cutting phase for continued progression.

During either phase, it’s recommended not to lose or gain more than 0.5–1% of your body weight per week. This ensures that you don’t lose too much muscle during the cutting phase or gain too much body fat during the bulking phase (7).

Macronutrient Ratio

Once you establish the number of calories you need, you can determine your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio between your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake.

Unlike the difference in your calorie needs between the bulking and cutting phase, your macronutrient ratio does not change.

Protein and carbs contain four calories per gram, and fat contains nine.

It’s recommended that you get (6, 7):

  • 30–35% of your calories from protein
  • 55–60% of your calories from carbs
  • 15–20% of your calories from fat

Here’s an example of the ratio for both a bulking and cutting phase:

Bulking phase Cutting phase
Calories 3,450 2,550
Protein (grams) 259–302 191–223
Carbs (grams) 474–518 351–383
Fat (grams) 58–77 43–57

These are general guidelines, so its best to consult with a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs based on your goals to make sure your diet is nutritionally adequate.

SUMMARYRecommended calorie intake, but not your macronutrient ratio, differ between the bulking and cutting phase. To account for weight changes, adjust your calorie intake each month.

Bodybuilding Nutrition: Foods to Eat and Avoid

Like training, diet is a vital part of bodybuilding.

Eating the right foods in the appropriate amounts provides your muscles with the nutrients they need to recover from workouts and grow bigger and stronger.

Conversely, consuming the wrong foods or not consuming enough of the right ones will leave you with subpar results.

Here are foods you should focus on and foods to limit or avoid:

Foods to Focus On

The foods you eat don’t need to differ between the bulking and cutting phase — usually, it’s the amounts that do.

Foods to eat include (7):

  • Meats, poultry and fish: Sirloin steak, ground beef, pork tenderloin, venison, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia and cod.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat milk and cheese.
  • Grains: Bread, cereal, crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn and rice.
  • Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, watermelon and berries.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, corn, green peas, green lima beans and cassava.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, leafy salad greens, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms.
  • Seeds and nuts: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Beans and legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans.
  • Oils: Canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil.

Foods to Limit

While you should include a variety of foods in your diet, there are some you should limit.

These include:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can negatively affect your ability to build muscle and lose fat, especially if you consume it in excess (8).
  • Added sugars: These offer plenty of calories but few nutrients. Foods high in added sugars include candy, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, cake and sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks(5).
  • Deep-fried foods: These may promote inflammation and — when consumed in excess — disease. Examples include fried fish, french fries, onion rings, chicken strips and cheese curds (9).

In addition to limiting these, you may also want to avoid certain foods before going to the gym that can slow digestion and cause stomach upset during your workout.

These include:

  • High-fat foods: High-fat meats, buttery foods and heavy sauces or creams.
  • High-fiber foods: Beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Carbonated beverages: Sparkling water or diet soda.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Many bodybuilders take dietary supplements, some of which are useful while others are not (10, 11).

The best bodybuilding supplements include:

  • Whey protein: Consuming whey protein powder is an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake.
  • Creatine: Creatine provides your muscles with the energy needed to perform an additional rep or two. While there are many brands of creatine, look for creatine monohydrate as it’s the most effective (12).
  • Caffeine: Caffeine decreases fatigue and allows you to work harder. It’s found in pre-workout supplements, coffee or tea (13).

A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may be helpful if you’re limiting your calorie intake in an effort to reduce body fat during your cutting phase.

SUMMARYInclude a variety of nutrient-rich foods across and within all the food groups in your diet. Avoid or limit alcohol, foods with added sugars and deep-fried foods. In addition to your diet, whey protein, creatine and caffeine can be useful supplements.

One-Week Sample Menu

The diets of bodybuilders are commonly described as restrictive, repetitive and boring.

Traditional bodybuilding diets typically contain limited food selections and little variety among and within food groups, which can lead to an inadequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins (14).

For this reason, it’s important to incorporate variety into your diet to ensure your nutritional needs are being met — especially during a cutting phase when you eat limited calories.

Each meal and snack should contain 20–30 grams of protein to optimally support muscle building (15).

When you’re in a bulking phase, your food intake will be much higher than when you’re in a cutting phase.

You can enjoy the same foods in the cutting phase that you would when bulking — just in smaller portions.

Here is a sample one-week bodybuilding menu:

Monday

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal.
  • Snack: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
  • Lunch: Venison burger, white rice and broccoli.
  • Snack: Protein shake and a banana.
  • Dinner: Salmon, quinoa and asparagus.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Protein pancakes with light-syrup, peanut butter and raspberries.
  • Snack: Hard-boiled eggs and an apple.
  • Lunch: Sirloin steak, sweet potato and spinach salad with vinaigrette.
  • Snack: Protein shake and walnuts.
  • Dinner: Ground turkey and marinara sauce over pasta.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Chicken sausage with egg and roasted potatoes.
  • Snack: Greek yogurt and almonds.
  • Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice and mushrooms.
  • Snack: Protein shake and grapes.
  • Dinner: Mackerel, brown rice and salad leaves with vinaigrette.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Ground turkey, egg, cheese and salsa in a whole-grain tortilla.
  • Snack: Yogurt with granola.
  • Lunch: Chicken breast, baked potato, sour cream and broccoli.
  • Snack: Protein shake and mixed berries.
  • Dinner: Stir-fry with chicken, egg, brown rice, broccoli, peas and carrots.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Blueberries, strawberries and vanilla Greek yogurt on overnight oats.
  • Snack: Jerky and mixed nuts.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillets with lime juice, black and pinto beans and seasonal veggies.
  • Snack: Protein shake and watermelon.
  • Dinner: Ground beef with corn, brown rice, green peas and green beans.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Ground turkey and egg with corn, bell peppers, cheese and salsa.
  • Snack: Can of tuna with crackers.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillet, potato wedges and bell peppers.
  • Snack: Protein shake and pear.
  • Dinner: Diced beef with rice, black beans, bell peppers, cheese and pico de gallo.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Eggs sunny-side up and avocado toast.
  • Snack: Protein balls and almond butter.
  • Lunch: Pork tenderloin slices with roasted garlic potatoes and green beans.
  • Snack: Protein shake and strawberries.
  • Dinner: Turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese over pasta.

SUMMARYVary the types of foods in your diet and consume 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack.

Things to Keep in Mind

For the most part, bodybuilding is a lifestyle associated with several health benefits, but there are some things to know before doing bodybuilding.

Low Levels of Body Fat Can Negatively Affect Sleep and Mood

To prepare for a bodybuilding competition, competitors achieve extremely low levels of body fat, with men and women typically reaching body fat levels of 5–10% and 10–15%, respectively (14, 16).

This low level of body fat, combined with the low calorie intake, has been shown to decrease sleep quality, negatively affect mood and weaken the immune system in the weeks leading up to a competition and even several weeks after (1, 17, 18, 19).

Consequently, this can decrease your ability to function each day, negatively affect those around you and leave you more susceptible to illness.

Risks of Anabolic Steroid Use

Many, but not all, muscle-building supplements are advertised by bodybuilders who use performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids.

This misleads many bodybuilders into believing that they can achieve the same muscular look by taking the advertised supplement.

In turn, many bodybuilders, especially those at the beginning of their journey, develop unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished naturally, which may lead to body dissatisfaction and eventually the urge to try anabolic steroids (20, 21).

However, anabolic steroids are very unhealthy and linked to several risks and side effects.

In addition to being illegal to possess in the US without a prescription, using anabolic steroids can increase your risk of heart disease, decrease fertility and result in psychiatric and behavioral disorders like depression (22, 23, 24, 25)

SUMMARYWhen preparing for a competition, make sure you’re aware of the possible side effects. Also, understand that the physiques you see in supplement ads may not be realistically achieved without the use of anabolic steroids, which are very unhealthy.

The Bottom Line

Bodybuilding is judged on muscularity and leanness rather than athletic performance.

Achieving the desired bodybuilder look requires regular exercise and special attention to your diet.

Bodybuilding dieting is typically divided into bulking and cutting phases, during which your calorie intake will change while your macronutrient ratio remains the same.

Your diet should include nutrient-dense foods, 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack, and you should restrict alcohol and deep-fried or high-sugar foods.

This ensures you get all the important nutrients your body needs for building muscle and overall health.