Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds for Kids

Most of us know pumpkin as the fruit used for decorating Jack-o’- lanterns for Halloween, but other than just being a decorative fruit or vegetable, pumpkin offers numerous health benefits to your kids. Pumpkins get a lot of attention for a good reason. This winter squash is not a vegetable, but rather a healthy fruit that also contains nutritious edible seeds. The origin of pumpkin is not known but there is evidence that pumpkins were grown in Mexico and North America about 5000 to 7000 BC. Apart from Mexico, pumpkins have also been found on almost all the continents except for Antarctica. Today, the biggest producers of pumpkin are the United States, Canada, India, China and Mexico. Native Americans have long been using pumpkin seeds both for dietary and medicinal purposes. There are numerous health benefits of pumpkin seeds for kids. These health benefits can range from improved brain development, help in getting sound sleep, improved liver health, possesses antimicrobial properties, improved urodynamics and supply of essential vitamins and minerals. Though there are various benefits of pumpkin seeds, yet they are not recommended for infants. The reason is that there is a risk of choking with pumpkin seeds. The risk of allergy for pumpkin seeds is less. But, if your kid has an allergy for seeds or nuts such as cashew, pistachio, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, etc, then perhaps you might have to rethink about giving pumpkin seeds. Consult your pediatrician before giving pumpkin seeds to your child.

 When can I start giving pumpkin seeds to my kids?

You can start giving pumpkin seeds to your toddler once he/she has strong enough teeth to chew regular solid food, which can usually be between 1 ½ years of age to 2 years of age. This is the age at which your baby has teeth strong enough to chew solid substances and more often the child is ready to eat adult meals, more or less. If you are still worried whether or not your child can chew the seeds, then you could simply grind the seeds and give it a kind of peanut butter consistency and start adding it to his or her diet. For this, you will need seeds in large quantities. You can prepare and store it in a jar. As your child grows older, you could make the consistency crunchier. An important thing to keep in mind is that when you start collecting these seeds from pumpkin fruit, make sure that before you serve the seeds to your child or if you’re trying to make a paste out of it, you need to remove the outer husk or layer that surrounds the seed. Although this is a time-consuming process, considering the benefits your child can get, it is worth the effort.

 Pumpkin seeds benefits for kids

Improves Brain Development: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are highly recommended for kids because of brain development. Brain development in children is as essential as the development of the rest of the body and this is one of the most important health benefits of pumpkin seeds. (Foods for your child’s brain development?)

Promotes sound sleep: Another benefit of pumpkin seeds is that they promote proper sleep in kids and adults. A study published in 2005 in Nutritional neuroscience suggested that consuming tryptophan alongside a carbohydrates source is one of the best ways to treat sleep deprivation. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which helps in producing serotonin and this in turn gets converted into melatonin which is a hormone that helps in getting better sleep. If your kid has trouble sleeping, having a few pumpkin seeds before bed with small amounts of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit, may be beneficial in providing the body with tryptophan needed for melatonin production, which can lead to better sleep. For younger kids, powdered pumpkin seeds can be an option. (Why is sleep so important for your child’s brain development?)

Possesses Antimicrobial Properties: Pumpkin seeds also possess antimicrobial properties. Studies suggest that pumpkin seeds are effective in controlling bacteria such as S. aureus, E. coli and P. aeruginosa.

Improves Urodynamics: Traditionally, pumpkin seeds have been used for regulating passage of urine. Recent studies have confirmed that pumpkin seed oil can reduce bladder pressure, increase bladder compliance and reduce urethral pressure.

Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body or naturally found in some foods that scavenge or neutralize the effects of cell damage by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of antioxidants. (What are antioxidants?)

High in magnesium: Magnesium is one of the top four abundant minerals in the body. So, any deficiency of this mineral will easily reflect in daily life. Magnesium is key in formation of bones, maintaining blood flow and keeping stress low. It also brings relief to girls who suffer from menstrual cramps, leg cramps and irritable mood. For kids who deal with Asthma, which is on a rise due to hazardous air quality levels, magnesium can help. This marvelous mineral has calming effects and hence aids in reducing hyperactivity and lack of focus in kids. Daily intake of magnesium is necessary to maintain stock of the mineral in the body. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium, with 150 mg in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. (Why is magnesium important for your child?)

Strengthens the liver:  The unsaturated fats present in pumpkin seeds are good for strengthening the liver. Studies suggest that a mixture of pumpkin and flax seeds can reduce liver damage. (How to prevent liver disease in kids?)

Loaded with zinc: Zinc is considered an essential nutrient which means that the body cannot produce or store it. For this reason, it is very important to add zinc in your daily diet. Zinc is required for numerous processes in the body like gene expression, growth and development, immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing to name a few. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. (How can zinc help with hair and skin health?)

Rich in phosphorus: The health benefits of Phosphorus include supporting bone growth, aiding healthy digestion, eliminating toxins from the body, combating fatigue and weakness, preventing arthritis and osteoporosis and ensuring a healthy brain function.Phosphorus is found in high amounts in pumpkin seeds. 

High in Potassium: Potassium is one of the seven essential macro minerals. The human body needs potassium to support the heart, the muscles, and the transmission of messages through the nervous system. Pumpkin seeds are rich in potassium. Potassium basically acts as an electrolyte and it is less harmful than sodium which is also an electrolyte. In most of our diets and also in our children’s diets, the presence of potassium is becoming very less and the presence of sodium is increasing rapidly which needs to be corrected. (How can potassium rich food help the bones?)

 Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts:

In addition to this, other benefits of pumpkin seeds for kids are that they contain various other nutrients required by the body. They are a great source of healthy fats, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and phosphorus. Here’s a better look at the overall nutrition provided by one ounce (28 grams) of dried, roasted seed kernels. 

According to The National Nutrient Database, the nutritional profile of Pumpkin Seeds includes:

NutritionValue per 100 gNutritionValue per 100 g
Protein30.23 gCarbohydrates10.71 g
Fat49.0 gDietary Fiber6.0 g
Calories559 kcalWater5.623 g
Calcium46 mgCopper1.3 mg
Iron8.82 mgMagnesium592 mg
Manganese4.54 mgPhosphorus1233 mg
Potassium809 mgSodium7 mg
Zinc7.81 mgNiacin4.98 mg
Vitamin B60.143 mgCholine63 mg
Folate58 mcgVitamin C1.9 mg
Vitamin A16 IUVitamin E2.18 mg
Vitamin K7.3 mcgThiamine0.273 mg
Riboflavin0.153 mgPantothenic Acid0.75 mg
Nutrition of Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe: Pumpkin hummus/ spread/sauce with hidden herbs and nuts

We are happy to introduce our range of nutritious & tasty products for kids!!

We know that preparing and feeding healthy foods everyday is a huge task. Even more tough when kids are picky eaters. Kids prefer certain foods and formats. It is not easy to feed kids bitter Ayurvedic herbs, variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds everyday.
Mixed with Ayurvedic herbs, this unique product is an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Immunity, Brain development, Bone strength and overall-growth to kids without any fuss.

Let’s try to make every food a child wants to eat more tasty and nutritious with (hidden) veggies, herbs and nuts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (yes! you can puree raw or after roasting )
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp Iyurved’s 5 herbs and 7 nuts savoury spread (order here)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • Coriander chopped for garnish

Procedure:

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Garnish.
  • Serve with roti, wrap, bread, crackers, pasta or pizza sauce or raw vegetables.

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If your child is a picky eater or does not take enough nutrition for the day, you can give ‘5 Ayurvedic herbs and 7 Nuts’ chocolate or savoury spreads to meet daily Nutrition ORDER | 0% preservative

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5 Ways to detox festival binge eating

Festivals go hand-in-hand with sweets, fried and spicy foods in every culture. Round the year we often get excuses to indulge in delicacies in the celebration of festivals. The most exciting part of any festival is the scrumptious food, which varies across different festivals. Food is what makes every festival so memorable. During festive season, days often begins and ends with a sweet, delicately prepared at home with loads of patience and love. Food is what connects people of different regions and backgrounds. Even families unite after a long separation and build moments with taste-laden food and drinks. It is a common culture across the world to invite and visit friends and family. In the end, it all sums up to eating, laughing and more eating.

Soon, once the festival is over, we begin our search for detoxing our bodies of food-guilt, not love and laughter. People generally tend to (over) consume foods with high sugar content, spices and fat. More often than not, this leads to gastritis, indigestion, acidity and raised cholesterol levels, thereby creating a need to detox post festival.

After-effects of Festival Binge Eating:

Gas and constipation: This is the common problem people complain off after every festival. The reason behind this is the consumption of oily, deep fried spicy food. The excess use of oil, sugar, and refine flour that is used to make verity of dishes during festivals leads to acid reflux, constipation and heartburn.

Weight gain: Even health conscious people can’t stop themselves from having those tasty festival dishes, which are full of calories. Further, it results in weight gain and can cause health issues. It become important to detox post festival delicacies. (What food can help increase healthy weight in kids?)

Harmful for gut health: When there is excess of oil, starch or sugar in the diet, your digestive system can’t process it properly (Why?). The sugar starts to ferment and begins feeding pathogenic bacteria like yeast.  It harms the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. This can lead to conditions like small intestine bacterial overgrowth. A high fat and sugar combined diet may damage the gut micro biome by increasing unhealthy bacterias and decreasing number of healthy one. A detox post festival becomes necessary in such scenarios.

Acne: High saturated fat food may result in acne by increasing inflammation and altering hormone levels. (How to fix acne in kids?)

Increase risk of diabetes: Consuming festive food, which not only includes high fat food but, also high sugar levels (sweets and drinks), leads to high-calorie intake and sudden rise in blood sugar levels. This can be a trigger point for people with pre-diabetes developing diabetes.

Increase in cholesterol level: Excess use of saturated or trans fat (hydrogenated vegetable oil) for making different dishes during festival season may lead to high cholesterol levels in your blood, which is harmful for your heart health and liver function. Liver is the main organ that breakdown fat in the bod. Excess of fat intake can put pressure on liver. (How to keep Liver safe?)

To detox post festival binge eating becomes essential for a healthy body. Drinking enough water and having high-fiber diet helps to get rid of waste and toxins from the body. Some of the best ways to detox your body after binge are exercising, consuming probiotics (what are some easy probiotics?), adding some antioxidants in your diet (what are antioxidants?) and consuming foods that are easy to digest. Some food sources can really help to detox post festival.

How to Detox post Festive Binge Eating?

Aloe Vera and turmeric: Aloe Vera plant is water- dense. It is the best way to detox your body. This plant keeps the body hydrated and provides a way to flush out impurities. It is a rich source of antioxidants, which helps fight free-radicals (what are they?) and lowers oxidative stress on your body. The aloe Vera is proven to clean toxins from the liver. It also decreases irritation in the stomach and intestine. Turmeric is an extraordinary spice in terms of health benefit. It has anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties that fight inflammation and can contribute to healthy digestion. Mix a spoon of Aloe Vera gel (freshly obtained from leaf is preferred) with quarter spoon of turmeric in warm water. Enjoy this drink to detox post festival binge eating.

Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is fermented food which adds good bacteria to the gut. It is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. It gives good dose of enzymes, supports healthy immune system, promotes pH (acidity) balance in the body, aids healthy digestion, helps in removing toxins from body. Add one table spoon of ACV to the warm water, for best results drink this in the morning empty stomach. (Easy way to make ACV jellies)

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are high in fiber and essential fats (omega-3), which help to reduce inflammation and flush out toxins. It has high amount of fiber which reaches the large intestine and becomes food for the bacterias staying there, thereby promoting healthy intestinal flow, treating constipation, heartburn and other digestive disorders. Soak some chia seeds in a glass of water, drink this after an hour of soaking. (Some easy seeds rich in protein)

Lemon: Lemon is the key ingredient in many detox drinks. Lemon is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which is beneficial for skin and fight free-radicals. It has an alkaline effect on the body which helps restore the body’s pH balance and flush out toxins to cleanse the system. Start your day with a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon in it. It also aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Garlic: Garlic contains organo- sulfur compounds (OSCs), which make it the perfect detoxification supplement.  It is not only anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antibiotic but it also contains a chemical called allicin which promotes the production of white blood cells and helps fight against toxins. Selenium, a mineral present in garlic can cleanse the liver of toxins too. (How does this help with boils on the body?)

Ginger: Ginger water mixed with lemon juice is also used to detox the body. As per numerous studies, ginger has been credited to fight infection and inflammation. Ginger root contains powerful compounds, including gingerols and shogoals, that help to inhibit inflammation and protect against cellular damage. They also tend to liver against toxins. Taking a little bit of ginger in tea or meals everyday can support overall health including a good flow of blood in the body. (How does ginger solve cough in kids?)

Recipe: Aloe Vera Turmeric Detox Drink

Mix a spoon of Aloe Vera gel (freshly obtained from leaf is preferred) with quarter spoon of turmeric in warm water. Enjoy this drink to detox post festival binge eating.

Add honey for kids to make it a tasty drink.

Recipe for Quinoa Peas Meal

We are happy to introduce our range of nutritious & tasty products for kids!!

We know that preparing and feeding healthy foods everyday is a huge task. Even more tough when kids are picky eaters. Kids prefer certain foods and formats. It is not easy to feed kids bitter Ayurvedic herbs, variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds everyday.
Mixed with Ayurvedic herbs, this unique product is an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Immunity, Brain development, Bone strength and overall-growth to kids without any fuss.

Let’s try to make every food a child wants to eat more tasty and nutritious with (hidden) veggies, herbs and nuts.

  • ½ cup quinoa boiled in equal water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 pod garlic and ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • lemon juice fresh
  • green chilli chopped (optional)
  • salt
  • Chopped handful coriander

Heat oil in pan. Add cumin ginger garlic and onion. Saute for a minute. Add peas. Add salt. Add chillies. Cook for 3 min. Add boiled quinoa (no water at all). Cook for 5 min. Add lots of lemon juice to taste spicy salty and sour. All flavours! Garnish with coriander. Serve!

India’s First Tasty Kids Nutrition fortified with Ayurvedic herbs.

If your child is a picky eater or does not take enough nutrition for the day, you can give ‘5 Ayurvedic herbs and 7 Nuts’ chocolate or savoury spreads to meet daily Nutrition ORDER | 0% preservative

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HOW TO PREVENT CHILDREN FROM LIVER DISEASE?

Human body depends upon major internal body organs to survive and reproduce. These body parts are responsible for performing vital functions. The brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs are the main five organs essential for survival. Every organ has its own functions and they work together to make you feel fit and fine, so that you can perform your daily activities without any hassle. Liver is one of the most important body organs which performs hundreds of chemical actions that a body needs to survive. Liver’s main task is to process the nutrients broken down from food in the small intestine and pass them as necessary to the rest of the body where they are required. Liver is instrumental (the only organ) in breaking down fat into energy and sending remaining to the body fat reserves to be stored for later use. It also produces bile, a fluid essential for digestion of fats and nutrients that are part of the food. An unhealthy liver can directly impact digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body and restrict breakdown of fats.

 Factors responsible for liver problems in kids:

There are many childhood liver conditions and problems. The most common cause of liver disease in children between 2- 19 years is fatty liver. 40% of obese children have fatty liver. According to American Liver Foundation, the number of children affected by fatty liver disease is on the rise, having more than doubled in the last 20 years. It is caused when too much fat builds up in a kid’s liver and can develop in children of 10 years and even younger. There are two main factors responsible for fatty liver in kids. First is an unhealthy food choice. Drinks full of sugary content with processed and packaged foods which are high in saturated and trans fat, badly affects a child’s liver. The second factor is the lack of physical activities in kids. Regular exercise is key to having a healthy liver. It decreases stress on the liver by storing excess food as fat in the fat reserves. 

A viral infection (causes hepatitis, an inflammatory condition of the liver), genetic disorders, cholestasis (a condition in which the flow of bile from the liver stops or slows) are some of the other reasons that can affect your child’s liver. Jaundice is the most common liver disease among kids. It often affects newborn babies and goes away on its own. It happens because babies’ liver aren’t fully developed enough to break down and excrete bilirubin (yellowish substance in blood which forms after red blood cells breakdown). 

It is extremely important to keep the liver healthy and free of fatty layers for the body organs to function and be active. Liver performance can directly impact the growth and health of the child.

Sign or symptoms of liver disease:

  • Skin and eyes appear yellow
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dark urine colour and pale stool
  • Swelling in legs and ankle

Liver healthy foods source:

Grapefruit: It contains antioxidants (naringenin and naringin) that protect the liver from injuries by reducing inflammation and protecting the liver cells. The compound also reduces fat build up in the liver by increasing enzymes that burn fat. It is a good food for the liver. (What are some good fats to eat for the body?)

Beetroot: Beetroot is one of the liver healthy foods as it helps protect the liver from oxidative damage and inflammation. It Increases liver’s natural detoxification enzymes. It works effectively to prevent deposition of fat in the liver. Betaine in beetroot breaks down fatty acids in the liver and helps to treat fatty liver disease. (Easy beetroot recipe)

Avocados: Avocados help to protect liver as they are high in healthy fats. Research suggests that it is good food for the liver as it contains chemicals that helps to slow down liver damage. They are also rich in fiber which attaches to bile and helps in digestion and excretion of waste, leading to a healthy weight. (How does avocado help with dryness in skin?)

Sugarcane: Sugarcane juice is a perfect tonic for people with liver disease.  It is considered as one of the best liver healthy foods as it helps in strengthening the liver function. As it is alkaline in nature, sugarcane juice helps in maintaining acid levels in the stomach. (What are some natural sugar to use during cooking?)

Radish: Radish is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. Radishes act as real panacea for liver and stomach health. They are exceptionally useful for jaundice treatment because they remove the bilirubin and maintain its production. It is also a good source of natural nitrates that improves blood flow. If the blood flow is not proper, toxins and waste in the blood can keep floating in the body, causing harm. Liver helps to remove these toxins and cleanse the blood before sending off the nutrients to the body cells where required. These qualities made radish good food for liver health (What are some other foods rich in calcium and good for bones?)

Papaya: Papaya is rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids (Vitamin A).  It can balance free radicals (what are they?). Taking one teaspoon of papaya seeds regularly can protect your liver from disease. It can help to detox liver from unhealthy substances. It is one of the best choices of liver healthy foods.

Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the best natural resources of probiotics (good bacterias) which helps in maintaining lower fat levels in the liver.  Micro organisms (good bacterias) in our intestinal tract are crucial for liver cells functioning. Yogurt helps to maintain a healthy gut and hence, contributes to liver health and becomes good food for liver. (How do probiotics help with sneezing and allergy?)

Recipe: Twix bars (no sugar)

We are happy to introduce our range of nutritious & tasty products for kids!!

We know that preparing and feeding healthy foods everyday is a huge task. Even more tough when kids are picky eaters. Kids prefer certain foods and formats. It is not easy to feed kids bitter Ayurvedic herbs, variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds everyday.
Mixed with Ayurvedic herbs, this unique product is an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Immunity, Brain development, Bone strength and overall-growth to kids without any fuss.

Let’s try to make every food a child wants to eat more tasty and nutritious with (hidden) veggies, herbs and nuts.

Base:

½ cup Almond flour
½ cup Coconut flour Or oat flour
⅓ cup Coconut oil (melted)
4-5 dates (soaked in water and grinded to make soft paste)
Mix all together. Set the first layer on baking sheet in the baking tray. Bake on 175 Celsius for 10-12 min till light golden brown.

Second layer:

½ cup peanut butter (or any seed or nut butter)
Pinch of salt
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Vanilla essence (optional)
¼ cup honey or maple syrup (depending on your sweetness levels)
Mix all in a pan. It is optional to add some roasted peanut chunks to this mixture too. Spread on the crust evenly and freeze for 1-2 hours.

Top layer:

Take Iyurved’s 5 herbs and 7 nuts choco spread (order here)or melt dark chocolate in a microwave and add 1 spoon coconut oil. Mix well. Take out the baking pan from the refrigerator and spread chocolate spread on the bar. Keep in refrigerator again for 10-20 minutes till it hardens.

Cut the bar. Eat. Keep refrigerated for future use.

The same bar can be made with any nut butter in place of peanut.

India’s First Tasty Kids Nutrition fortified with Ayurvedic herbs.

If your child is a picky eater or does not take enough nutrition for the day, you can give ‘5 Ayurvedic herbs and 7 Nuts’ chocolate or savoury spreads to meet daily Nutrition ORDER | 0% preservative

Daily Nutrition for: Immunity, Brain development, Bones and Overall growth

(shipping in India only)

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WHY IS FASTING A GOOD WAY TO DETOX?

Detoxification or detox is a popular buzzword these days. Detoxification generally means cleansing up your body while removing the impurities from blood. Toxins are the pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals which enter our body along with our regular food and affect our health negatively. Detoxification is the process of removing these toxins from our body. Our body is naturally equipped to remove toxins and doesn’t necessarily need any fancy diet or products to do so. The digestive system removes undigested food, the lungs give out carbon dioxide and the skin gets rid of waste in the form of sweat. Due to the changes in our food habits and lifestyle over a period of years, there is a pressing need to occasionally enhance this natural detoxification by following simple methods to detox. In simple terms, detoxification means following a particular diet or using special products to help the body get rid of toxins, thereby promoting health and general well being. A good detox or cleansing method helps the body in getting rid of old deposits in tissues and gives a good rest to the overworked organs of the body. It helps to recharge, rejuvenate and RENEW YOU.

How to detox your body?

Sound sleep cycle, consuming more water and fluids, fasting, reducing salt, sugar and generally all the processed foods, thereby increasing foods rich in antioxidants and probiotics are few of the methods to cleanse the body. Fasting is one of the most common and effective ways of detoxification. Fasting means willfully refraining yourself from eating or drinking for a specific period of time. Physiologically, numerous metabolic adjustments occur during fasting inside our body. It includes complete abstinence from food for twenty four hours or just having one meal a day. Fasting is a popular topic of research nowadays and it has been found to manage weight and prevent numerous diseases.

Fasting- Good Way to Detox

How can you use fasting to detox your body? What is the science behind fasting? Studies support the benefits of fasting as it has been found to cleanse the body at cellular level. When you fast, the body’s access to glucose (to make energy) is reduced, forcing the liver and muscles to start using the stored glucose in the body. After about 8 hours of fasting, once this stock of stored glucose is over, the body begins a natural process of gluconeogenesis in which the body produces its own glucose (for energy). The liver and kidney helps in this process by converting non-carbohydrate materials like lactate, amino acids and fats into glucose energy. Since our body conserves energy during fasting, our basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy the body burns while at rest) improves, resulting in lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Digestion is the most important system in our body. It takes a lot of work. When you are fasting, you allow your digestive system to take rest as well. Your body works on breaking down fat cells. It is the most efficient way to cleanse the body and this is how you can use fasting to detox your body.

Later in the fast cycle, the body burns the stored fat as its primary power source and this process is called ketosis. This stage aids in weight loss and balancing blood sugar levels. Much later in the cycle of fasting comes the starvation mode (not preferred!), where the body begins to break down muscle tissues for energy.

The changes that the body goes through during fasting makes the cells stronger and enhances their capability to cope. This process puts the cells under mild stress which results in their improved performance and adaptability, resulting in younger, active body cells. Fasting has the same effects on the cells as exercise has on muscles and cardiovascular systems and hence helps to make cells stronger.

Recently, intermittent fasting has gained popularity in the health and fitness world. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which defines a strict fasting period and eating period. While there is no scientific study supporting the direct claims made by IF however dozens of clinical trials and animal studies do state the series of benefits fasting has shown on health. There is scope to perform long term studies.

What is the Religious significance of fasting?

Almost every religion has some type of fasting ritual. Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during day time for the entire month of Ramadan. Hindus observe fasting during festivals like navratri, shivratri and also specific days of the week or month. Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity also have some or the other form of fasting. In Chinese tradition, fasting is a part of preventive health care.

The foods that should be avoided to cleanse your body and the ones that you are not allowed to eat during religious fasting are almost the same and hence, fasting may work perfectly to detox the body.

What foods are best avoided (also during fasting) for cleansing the system?

Eggs and meats: Eggs and meats though are high in protein and other nutrients but can be a lot of task for the digestive system to breakdown. Avoiding these foods occasionally can give a good rest to your digestive system and make you feel lighter.

Salt: During fasting, the regular consumption of food goes down and hence it is necessary to cut down on the salt intake too. Too much salt in the body can cause hypertension and hence a break from salt reduces bloating and water retention. Sendha namak (rock salt) is usually preferred during fasting due to its added health benefits. It is low in sodium and high in potassium, therefore helps in keeping a balance of electrolytes in the body.(What are the benefits of Epsom salt?)

Wheat & Grains: Though wheat and grains are an important part of a balanced meal, but sometimes overconsumption may affect your digestive system and hence cause constipation or diarrhea. For this reason, gluten free flours like Kuttu (buckwheat flour) and Singhada (water chestnut flour) are preferred during fasting. They are easy to digest since they are not a grain, but seeds of a fruit. They are also low in calories, and good source of fiber. They contain high amount of antioxidants and are excellent source of vitamin B6 which helps in haemoglobin formation to supply energy to the body, and improves the mood during menstruation and depression. (Do kids need vitamin supplements?)

Sugar: Staying away from sugar helps to keep the blood sugar levels low and continue with the fasting period. It also enables reduced calorie intake and lesser inflammation. Cutting sugar from the diet also directly benefits calcium levels in the body. (How does sugar impact bones?)

Alcohol: Consuming alcohol frequently affects the liver by forming a fatty layer around it. Alcohol also combines with enzymes in the liver, producing a substance called acetaldehyde, which can become harmful in the long run. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body produce more urine and release more water. This can result in dehydration. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol during fasting to remain hydrated. (How to prevent fatty liver disease?)

Recipe for Cookie Crumbs, full of Nuts, seeds and Whole grains (No sugar)

Mix handful of any nuts & seeds, 2 tbsp basil seeds, 4 tbsp mix of whole grains flakes (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, amaranth) 2 tbsp any nut spread or Iyurved’s 7 nuts and 5 herbs spread (order here), honey as per choice, 1 tbsp cocoa, 4 tbsp rice flour, ½ tsp cinnamon powder, little milk/ nut milk to combine the mixture
Mix all and spread on baking sheet.
Preheat 5 min at 170 celsius and bake for 25-30min. Let is cool outside. Break with hand and serve as cookie crumbs.

You can make the herbs and nuts chocolate and savoury spreads at home or ORDER | 0% preservative

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF PANCHAMRIT

Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food- Hippocrates

 Panchamrit

Panchamrit is a Sanskrit term made by combining two words- Panch (means five) and Amrit (means divine nectar of Gods, immortality). In some regions, it is also known as Charanamrit (nectar from the feet of Gods). Panchamrit is made by mixing these five ingredients -milk, curd, honey, mishri and ghee.

Religious Significance:

In Hindu religion, Panchamrit is considered very sacred and is used as an offering to God during pooja and also used for Abhishek (religious bath of the divine).After the pooja, it is distributed as Prasad to the devotees. The usage of “Panchamrit” in Hindu rituals is considered as the oldest synbiotic food (a combination of both pre-biotic and pro-biotic) in the history of mankind. It is a concoction of five ingredients – Raw Cow’s Milk, Curd, Honey, Mishri (rock Sugar), and Ghee. Other than these key ingredients, cardamom and basil are also added. According to Mahabharata, Panchamrit was one of the valuable ingredients that emerged during the Samudra Manthan or Ksheera Sagar Manthan (churning the ocean of milk). Each one of the ingredients has a symbolic meaning to it. Milk symbolizes purity and piousness, honey stands for sweet speech and unity (as it is produced with absolute dedication and cooperation), sugar represents sweetness and bliss, curd indicates prosperity and ghee represents strength and victory.

Health benefits of Panchamrit:

  • Natural skin cleanser and helps to nourish skin cells and promotes natural glow
  • Enhances memory, grasping power, creative ability and brain development
  • Boosts health of mother and foetus during pregnancy
  • Keeps hairs healthy
  • Improves digestion
  • Strengthens bones
  • Builds immunity

Significance of each Ingredient:

Milk: Raw cow’s milk carries super efficient antioxidants-Vitamin K and Beta Carotene which counter the free radicals (What are they?) in the body. It is the next best thing after mother’s milk. Cow’s milk is rich source of calcium, proteins, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Curd: Curd is a provider of both bacteria (pro-biotic) as well as the food for the bacteria (pre-biotic). Curd has a cooling effect on body. Amino acids and enzymes in it help in digestion. It also provides protein and calcium.

Ghee: Ghee carries antioxidants – vitamin K and beta-carotene which counter the free radicals in the body. It is the most treasured food which has healing properties.

Honey: Honey carries the enzymes required to break down the food and aid absorption of minerals and vitamins in the body. It contains anti-oxidants, anti- bacterial and anti- microbial properties which helps in digestion, aids infections, clear complexion and makes skin smooth

Mishri (rock sugar): It provides energy, helps in keeping the immunity high and aids digestion.  It also enhances other ingredients.

Basil and cardamom: Basil is an anti-inflammatory food which aids in digestion by balancing the acid in   the body. It is an eixir that helps detoxify the liver and a super source of iron too. Cardamom is quite an all rounder with powerful antioxidants.

However, there may be certain regional variations in ingredients. Most South Indians add raw bananas to the Panchamrit. Raw banana is a great source of good bacteria for the gut (pre-biotic).

In a nutshell, a simple sweet concoction is not just super tasty but also prepares our body to consume all sorts of fried food and sweets in large quantities. The free radical damage and disturbed digestion from eating and overeating heavy, oily and sweet food is countered by the intake of pre-biotic, pro-biotic, antioxidants and enzymes.

Panchamrit is a perfect example of how our traditional foods are backed by science to provide us maximum health benefits.

Happy Festivals and Cheers to Panchamrit!

Recipe for Panchamrit

  • Raw Cow’s Milk (why?)
  • Curd
  • Manuka Honey
  • Mishri (rock sugar)
  • Ghee made with bilona method (why?)
  • Cardamom
  • Basil

Ingredients don’t have to be warm. Room temp or cooler. Mix all these together completely. Serve!

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