Natural Supplements for a Healthy Body – Part 1

Natural Supplements for a Healthy Body – Part 1

At Turiya Wellness Center, we had 3 day wellness workshops from July 28-30, 2017. The topic on day 1 was Natural Supplements for a Healthy Body. The lecture was delivered by Dr.Sanjay, MBBS MDRD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiodiagnosis, K R Hospital, Mysore medical college and research Institute. We are sharing here the highlights from the talk as written down by one of the participants – Mrs.Geetha Naresh.

The first part of this 3 part blog is about better, healthier alternatives to Sugar, Salt, and cooking oil.

SUGAR : Replace with Jaggery Powder or Honey.

PS: Diabetics need caution even in consuming alternatives to white sugar.

NO Sugar, YES Jaggery powder, Honey

  • Jaggery Powder can be used instead of Sugar in beverages like coffee, and also for making sweet dishes. Honey is a great alternative to sugar in Tea.
  • White/yellow or light coloured Jaggery indicates the use of Sulphur or other preservatives and bleaching agents which is not good for human consumption. Jaggery should be dark brown in colour.
  • White sugar has a very high glycemic index and can lead to obesity, joint pain, diabetes and other lifestyle related diseases.
  • Natural sweeteners like Jaggery is rich in natural nutrients like vitamins and minerals that contribute to improved health.

SALT : Replace with Sea Salt, Rock Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt

PS: People with Hypertension or High BP, should consume salts with more caution.

NO tables salt(iodine) YES Sea salt, rock salt, Himalayan salt

  • Use only a pinch of even these unprocessed culinary salts
  • Do not use Processed Salts with high sodium content, or with added Iodine (though people living is the Eastern Part of India may have iodine deficiency). Added Iodine causes Thyroid issues.
  • Even salt marketed as Low Sodium Salt is to be avoided.
  • Use Natural Rock Salt/Sea Salt/Himalayan Salt

 

OIL : For cooking use oils that have high smoke point

It is interesting that Olive oil that is not native to India is being imported here, while Virgin coconut oil, that is native to India is being imported by western countries.

In India oil is used mostly for cooking, so oil is heated before being consumed. Olive Oil which has a low smoke point is not suitable for Indian cooking, and not ideal for our climate. Oil in general should be used in limited quantity.

NO Olive oil, YES coconut oil, ghee

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL : has a higher smoke point and also has many health benefits. However, it is not suitable for deep frying, re-heating, or over heating as that can lead to free radicals, which in turn increases Cholesterol levels, leave fatty deposits in joints, and lead to premature aging. So coconut oil is best suited for seasoning or in salads. Always try to use cold-pressed virgin coconut oil.

RICE BRAN OIL :  has a high smoke point and hence can be used for deep frying. At the same time it is advisable to use it sparingly, as when any food is deep fried, it loses lot of its nutritional value, and also can lead to health issues.

GHEE (COW’S MILK recommended) : While Ghee is very good and highly recommended even in Ayurveda, it should also be used in moderation as required by the body. Always go for Indian breed cow (Desi Cow) ghee that is certified by FSSAI/ISP/Agmark, as opposed to commercial ghee that could have oils or vegetable/animal fats mixed in. Also it cannot be ascertained to be from Cows. The Milk might be from Cows, Buffalo, Goat and other animals, mixed together. Ghee should also not be heated repeatedly and used.

Fermentation Method of Cooking Brown Rice

Brown rice is rich in fiber. It is a good source of manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B6. It is good for heart, helpful in weight management, and is effective in managing other lifestyle diseases like diabetes. Like any other whole grains, brown rice contains anti-nutrients and is rich in Phytic acid (phytates) – about 1.6% dry weight.

Direct boiling or pressure cooking of brown rice may take a longer time to cook and without much reduction in phytate content. The minerals in the brown rice thus cooked will not be bioavailable and is not much useful to the body. Soaking the rice for long hours will not reduce phytate content significantly.

There are two methods which can be employed to eliminate the phytic acid in brown rice:

  1. Soaking and Fermentation
  2. Germinating the brown rice or also known as GBR / GABA Rice

Soaking and Fermentation Method:

Method I:

The below method is a traditional Chinese method taken from a blog Stephen Guyenet blog(1)

  1. Soak brown rice in dechlorinated water for 24 hours at room temperature without changing the water. Reserve 10% of the soaking liquid (should keep for a long time in the fridge). Discard the rest of the soaking liquid; cook the rice in fresh water.
  2. The next time you make brown rice, use the same procedure as above, but add the soaking liquid you reserved from the last batch to the rest of the soaking water.
  3. Repeat the cycle. The process will gradually improve until 96% or more of the phytic acid is degraded at 24 hours.

Method II:

A study(2) compared the different brown rice wet processes (soaking, steeping and fermentation) to see which method is most effective. Fermentation was clearly the most effective process with phytic acid reduction up to 95%. Steeping of intact grains, as a first step of germination, was not significantly effective, only a reduction of 14–28% was obtained. During fermentation, as well as germination, decrease of phytic acid progressed with time. This will not only remove the phytate content from the brown rice significantly but also increases the other nutrients like vitamins B and C.

  1. Soak brown rice overnight and wet grind it into batter consistency. This batter is kept aside for fermentation for 24 hours. The batter can be used to make delicious pancakes.

(Recipe: Fermented Brown Rice Dosa Recipe replace millet with brown rice).

Method III:

Interestingly there exists an traditional Indian method of cooking brown rice (or white rice) which offers immense benefits. The method was given out by Mr. Murulidhar Kontum (3) (Advisor for S-VYASA, Advisor for Vishwa Mangala Gou Gram Yatra, Bengaluru) and is produced below:

“First cook your rice with enough excess water, so that when water remaining after cooking is drained off, any excess starch is removed with it. Instead of throwing this valuable starch solution down the drain, it is used constructively: half is offered to animals and plants, while the other half is inoculated with buttermilk and a pinch of fenugreek seeds – apparently because the strain of yeast that grows on fenugreek seeds is of particular value – and fermented overnight. The following day it is added to the pot in which the day’s rice is being cooked” and the cycle continues…

The above method offers following benefits:

  1. Removal of excess water from the cooking rice (all the ancient Indian texts related to rice cooking recommends this method) results in less calorific rice
  2. Valuable probiotics and yeast is added to the rice
  3. May result in significant reduction in phytates
  4. Rice cooked in above method is very valuable for people suffering from Arthritis and Musculoskeletal disorders

References

  1. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.in/2009/04/new-way- to-soak- brown-rice.html
  2. Liang, J., Han, B.Z., Nout, M.R. and Hamer, R.J., 2008. Effects of soaking, germination and fermentation on phytic acid, total and in vitro soluble zinc in brown rice. Food Chemistry, 110(4), pp.821-828.
  3. Kontum, M. (2010). A traditional way of rice preparation with particular benefits for Arthritis and musculo-skeletal disorders. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 1(4), 241–242. http://doi.org/10.4103/0975-9476.74421

Germinated Brown Rice (GBR, GABA Rice), How and Why?

In recent years, India has been called the Diabetes capital of the world. Polished white rice which has a high glycemic index has been blamed among other foods, and Diabetes White-Riceaffected people are eliminating it from their diets. However, shifting to mainly wheat has also been problematic for people with Gluten sensitivity/intolerance. So whole grains like Brown rice, which is rich in fiber is beingrice2 adopted by more people. Brown rice is also a good source of manganese, magnesium and Vitamin B6. It is good for the heart, helpful in weight management, and is effective in managing lifestyle diseases. However, as we have seen in the blog on anti-nutrients, Brown rice is also rich in Phytic acid.

What is GBR?

GBR is simply brown rice which is sprouted (or germinated).

GBRDry

Many don’t know that brown rice can be sprouted. We all know that whole grains/pulses (unpolished or unprocessed) are beneficial for our health due to the higher nutritional value when compared with processed or polished grains. Whole grains and pulses when sprouted has additional health benefits.

Proper preparation of whole grains prior to cooking is an important process to get the maximum health benefit out of them. Here we will discuss the benefits of sprouting brown rice as a preparation prior to cooking to reduce the effects of anti-nutrients.

How to make GBR?

To make GBR, simply soak brown rice for 6 – 8 hours and drain the water. Tie the soaked brown rice in a breathable cotton cloth or place in a sprouter. Brown rice will germinate after 12 – 18 hours.

Nutritional  benefits of GBR

GBR is much better option when compared to brown rice. GBR helps reduce high blood sugar, boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, inhibits the development of cancer cells and assists the treatment of anxiety disorders(1).

GBR is a natural functional food because

  1. It is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
  2. Nutrients such as GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), ferulic acid, protein, Vitamin E, dietary fiber, Niacin, magnesium, B Vitamins, total antioxidant activity are increased multifold in GBR when compared to brown rice(2).
  3. GBR contains less calories and sugar when compared to milled rice.

As discussed earlier, during germination, decrease of phytic acid progresses with time. Though there will still be some phytic acid left even after germination, there is phenomenal positive changes in the bioactive compounds which confers host of benefits. Further dried GBR offers an excellent appearance, improved shelf life with more sweetness, excellent taste with better texture. It cooks easier when compared to brown rice.

Importance of GABA

When brown rice is germinated, the most significant increase in the nutrient was observed in GABA levels. GABA, a neurotransmitter is naturally found in human brain and spinal cord which helps in preventing insomnia, depression and headaches. A study(3) showed that intake of GABA suppressed blood pressure and improved sleeplessness. A study(4) done on mice suggested that the antidepressant like effects produced in the mice were due to GABA. Its main benefits are listed below:

  1. Promotes fat loss by the stimulation of the production of human growth hormones
  2. Increases the sleep cycle giving deeper rest
  3. Boosts the immune system
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Assists the treatment of anxiety disorders
  6. Possible preventive effects on Alzheimer’s disease or other cerebral related disorders such as amnesia and dementia.

It has long been thought that GABA is unable to cross the blood–brain barrier, but the recent studies suggest otherwise. There is evidence of presence of GABA transporter in blood-brain barrier(5). One more study(6) suggest that the beneficial effects of GABA taken through oral supplements may be through indirect channels like Enteric Nervous System. In addition, there are hundreds of online consumers who claim the beneficial effects of GABA supplements. In any case, GBR is abundant with GABA and other nutrients, and is a natural functional food which offers many benefits.

Ready-to-cook GBR can also be bought from Dhatu Organics

References

  1. Patil, S. B., & Khan, M. K. (2011). Germinated brown rice as a value added rice product: A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48(6), 661–667. http://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-011- 0232-4
  2. Imam, M. U., Azmi, N. H., Bhanger, M. I., Ismail, N., & Ismail, M. (2012). Antidiabetic Properties of Germinated Brown Rice: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2012, 816501. http://doi.org/10.1155/2012/816501
  3. Okada, T., Sugishita, T., Murakami, T., Murai, H., Saikusa, T., Horino, T., Onoda, A., Kajimoto, O., Takahashi, R. and Takahashi, T., 2000. Effect of the defatted rice germ enriched with GABA for sleeplessness, depression, autonomic disorder by oral administration. JOURNAL-JAPANESE SOCIETY OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 47(8), pp.596-603.
  4. Mamiya, T., Kise, M., Morikawa, K., Aoto, H., Ukai, M. and Noda, Y., 2007. Effects of pre-germinated brown rice on depression-like behavior in mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 86(1), pp.62-67.
  5. Takanaga H, Ohtsuki S, Hosoya Ki, Terasaki T. GAT2/BGT-1 as a system responsible for the transport of gamma-aminobutyric acid at the mouse blood-brain barrier. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 Oct;21(10):1232-9. PubMed PMID: 11598501.
  6. Boonstra, E., de Kleijn, R., Colzato, L. S., Alkemade, A., Forstmann, B. U., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2015). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1520. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01520

Anti-Nutrients in Whole Grains – And how to neutralize them?

Anti-Nutrients in Whole Grains – And how to neutralize them?

Awareness is growing that processed and polished grains have been stripped of most of their nutrients and fiber. What is left is mostly starch. This starch is broken down by the body into simple carbohydrates which results in blood sugar spike. These blood sugar roller coaster rides have been linked to several lifestyle disorders like Diabetes and Obesity. People are hence shifting from polished white rice to whole grains like Brown Rice, Red Rice and Millets.

BrownWhile.jpg
Polished White Rice with the bran and germ missing. Brown rice with bran and germ.

 

The Anti-nutrient problem

Whole grains are basically seeds. In order to protect itself from pests and predators until it is ready to germinate, seeds have an in-built defense mechanism in the form of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are natural compounds found in different foods, which interfere with the absorption of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They can also inhibit digestive enzymes which are key to proper digestion.

The most commonly found anti-nutrient in whole grain cereals is Phytic acid. Phytic acid will bind with minerals found in food like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper etc., making a large percentage of it useless for the body. Another problem of Phytic acid is that it neutralizes digestive enzymes that are essential for breaking down carbohydrates and proteins.

So in essence, consuming nutrient rich whole grains which contain Phytic acid is as good as consuming processed food with all its nutrients stripped. The body is not able to enjoy the benefits from the nutrients.

How to reduce/remove Anti-nutrients

Thankfully it is possible to reduce or remove the effects of anti-nutrients through traditional methods of cooking like roasting, soaking, sprouting and fermenting. Roasting results in least removal of anti-nutrients, while fermentation offers the maximum removal.

SproutedRagi.jpg
Sprouted Finger Millet (Ragi) Grains

Dosas (Indian Pancake) is a great example where the anti-nutrient problem was addressed by traditional cooking technique of fermentation. Check here for a Millet Dosa Recipe

Finger Millet (Ragi) flour can be replaced with Sprouted Finger Millet (Ragi) flour to further reduce anti-nutrients. Instead of using flour, whole grains like millets and rice can be soaked and ground into batter as well.

In addition to reducing the effects of anti-nutrients, sprouting and fermenting adds a host of other benefits either in the form of increased and simplified nutrients that are easy for the body to use, or by introducing probiotics which are very beneficial for gut health.

Living Foods – Miracle of sprouting

Research on the health benefits of consuming sprouted whole grains reveal amazing life enhancing properties. Here is an attempt unravel the miracle of sprouting

What are Whole Grains?

whole-grains-sl

Grains or “seeds” are storehouse of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and essential fatty acids as well as the greatest source of proteins.

 

 

Does Grinding and Milling affect nutritional value?

grinding-millstones-2

Cold-Milling whole grains merely grinds the storage cell. No matter how fine or coarse the grind, it remains in the dried seed state. Grinding or milling a whole grain does not change its properties.

 

What happens when a grain sprouts?

When sprouting, a seed unfolds and starts to multiply and develop its nutrients in order to provide nourishment for the the maturing vegetable.

wheat-sprout-close-up-photo-isolated-white-43481814The metabolic activity of resting dry seeds increases as soon as they are hydrated during soaking. During germination nutrients are enzymatically broken down and simplified: protein into amino acids, fats into essential fatty acids, starches into sugars. Minerals chelate or combine with protein in a way that increases their utilization. Since no external nutrients are added, only water and oxygen are consumed by the sprouting seeds to enable these complex biochemical changes. Proteins, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, fiber and trace minerals multiplies during germination process.

Does drying the sprouted grain affect nutritional value?

dehydratingwheatberries-2Drying does not affect the superior nutritional value accumulated from germination but
helps in increasing the shelf life.

 

Why choose sprouted grains?

6668878-wheat-sprouts-on-white-backgroundSprouting changes dormant seeds into a living food. It’s nutritional qualities are now readily bioavailable when we eat sprouted grain or the flour. The changes that occur during sprouting increase nutrition, improve digestion and assimilation. This is the reason sprouts are considered predigested food.

Living foods are one of the best foods to combat lifestyle diseases. The increased nutritional component of these foods fights Cancer, Diabetes, Blood Pressure and Neurological Disorders.

Dhatu Living Foods