Cashew nuts or kaju – Healthy or not?

Cashew nuts or kaju – Healthy or not?

By Neha Ranglani  on: 13 December 2014
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Kidney-shaped cashew nuts have been used largely in Indian cuisine in dessert preparations like yummy kaju katli, as a garnish and even in gravies adding a rich, slightly sweetish tinge to the dish. Whole cashew nuts are also added to food items in some regions like Goa and consumed as an evening snack too. Since it has such a huge presence in Indian kitchens, we asked our expert and well-known Nutritionist Neha Chandna, based in Mumbai to tell us more about its health benefits. Read on…

Health Benefits of cashew nuts :

Keep your heart healthy: Cashew nuts are rich in good fats and have zero cholesterol which helps lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, and triglyceride making one’s heart healthy. Many think that cutting out fat intake is good for our body which is untrue. Our body needs nutrients from all food groups including fats; all you need to do is get it from good sources like kaju instead of unhealthy ones.

Make your body stronger: They are rich in magnesium which is required for strong bones, proper muscle and nerve functioning. Our bodies need a daily intake of about 300-750 mg of magnesium as it helps regulate the amount of calcium absorbed by our bones.

Keep BP under controlThese nuts are low in sodium and high in potassium and thus keep blood pressure under check. When there is excess sodium, the body retains more water which causes the volume of blood to increase in turn increasing the blood pressure.

Reduced risk of cancer: Cashew nuts also contain antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E which prevent free radical oxidation, reduce the risk of cancer and boost immunity. Since they are rich in zinc, they help fight infections.

Important for body functions: Their high copper content plays an important role in enzyme activity, hormone production, brain function, etc. Copper is also needed for the production of red blood cells to prevent anaemia.

How often should one eat them?

Though these are absolutely delicious and difficult to stop eating after just a few, remember control is the key to good health. Eating between 5-10 pieces is enough for a day. You can eat them in two batches as a healthy snack to replace your junk food cravings. But keep in mind, excess consumption can lead to weight gain so eat within limits.

Should they be avoided in any particular season?

Earlier, there was a belief that nuts generate body heat and should be avoided in summer months. While anything is excess is bad for the body, a few nuts have more health benefits than health issues. Stick to a handful and you can enjoy them in every season.

Should people will certain conditions avoid them all together?

Everyone can eat cashew nuts except people who are allergic to nuts or get a migraine headache due to them.

There are different varieties of cashew nuts like salted or roasted ones. Are they any good or should one stick to the plain ones?

You get a wide variety of cashew nuts coated with different masalas, salted, herbed, honeyed, etc. It all depends on your taste buds, choices and health goals. If you suffer from hypertension, avoid salted ones. If you are on a weight loss goal, avoid honey-coated ones. Take your pick wisely or simply stick to the plain variety.

Do they have any ill-effects?

There are no ill-effects of cashew nuts as such but one must not forget that they are rich in calories and so not too many should be eaten at a time. In some cases, they can cause an allergic reaction which may show different symptoms for different people including vomiting and diarrhoea, swelling, skin rashes, difficulty in breathing, etc. If you experience any of these after eating them, it is best to discontinue and see a doctor.

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Weight gain due to long working hours. What should I do? (Diet query of the day)
13 December 2014
Q: Dear dietician, I am a 46-year-old working, unmarried lady. I have a sitting job and long working hours from 10 am to 8 pm. Lately, I have been having irregular periods. I have put on weight especially on my waistline and the hip area. Please suggest a suitable diet plan so that I can reduce my waistline. Answered by Nutritionist Neha Chandna As you age, your metabolism decreases leading to weight gain. Since you have a sitting job and being a woman, you are prone to put on weight near the stomach and hip areas as a woman is genetically designed to have a pear-shaped body. Also, you might be close to menopause due to which you have irregular periods. I advise you to join a gym and alternate between weight training and cardio to help build muscle mass and burn fat. Along with this, you need to eat a balanced diet with lots of fibre, greens, veggies, nuts, salads, curd, etc. Here is a diet plan for you: Have a healthy breakfast to keep you going for the morning. Include items like oats porridge/ oats upma/ idli/ dosa. Between breakfast and lunch, have a fruit and a handful of nuts. In lunch, eat a portion of salad, a jowar/ragi chapatti with veggies, dal and a glass of buttermilk (chhaas). Keep your dinner light. You can have soup, salad, veggies/grilled chicken or fish. Avoid eating rotis or rice at night. Along with this, drink two-three cups of green tea every day and sleep well. 
Fad is bad: Say no to diets which promise speedy weight loss!
13 December 2014
‘I have to lose weight in 10 days for a wedding’ or ‘I need to shape-up quickly to fit into my dress’ – how often do we think about these things and look for quick solutions? In an attempt to lose weight quickly, many people knock the doors of fad diets. They may come to your rescue at times like these but beware – they do more harm than good to your health. Renowned Nutritionist Neha Chandna explains why fad diets are bad for you including seven popular ones like cookie and liquid diet. First and foremost, there are no shortcuts to weight loss. You haven’t put on all the weight overnight, so how can you expect to lose it at a lightning speed? These days, everyone wants to lose weight in the blink of an eye and to achieve their dream body, they resort to fad diets which definitely work but for a short period of time. They help you lose weight from your muscles and bones leaving you feeling weak and ill. And once you go back to your normal routine, you gain all the weight or even more in no time. You do the math and see what’s the whole point of following some diet regime which is short-lived, deprives you of nutrients and has many hazardous effects on your body? The best way to lose weight is to eat the right food, at the right time, in the right quantity, and exercise daily for 45 minutes to one hour. The point is to lose weight gradually rather than rapidly. A lifestyle change is the answer to losing weight than falling into the trap of fad diets. So how do you know if it is a fad diet? Here are some tips. How to spot a fad diet It promises exaggerated results in few days which is too good to be true Will mostly have rigid eating rules It restricts you from eating a lot of food groups like carbohydrates, fats, etc It promotes ‘magic foods’ The diet is sold based on a few testimonials without any research or studies done on its effect It doesn’t involve much exercise along with the meal plans ill-effects of fad diets on the body Causes constipation Leads to weakness Loss of concentration Nausea Headache Depression Muscle loss Health risks like osteoporosis and many more While there are a number of fad diets that keep cropping up every now and then, especially when they are endorsed by celebrities, here a few popular ones to stay away from. Cookie Diet: Invented by Dr Siegal, this a diet in which one has to eat nine cookies a day that makes up to 500 kcal and then have a 500 kcal dinner, totalling up to 1000 kcal every day. Why is it bad: This diet gets monotonous and can cause nutrient deficiencies. Baby Food Diet: This diet is about eating 14 jars of baby foods throughout the day and a sensible dinner. The baby foods include mashed fruits and veggies. Why is it bad: It does not meet your nutrient needs and is low in protein. Eating like an adult is recommended. Cabbage Soup Diet: This is 7-day diet which focuses on having as many bowls of cabbage soup every day with some fruits and vegetables. Why is it bad: This diet is bland, boring and makes you feel weak and resulting in poor concentration. The biggest drawback is that it makes you gassy and bloated. Liquid Diet: The idea is to cleanse the body and rejuvenate it with juices, water, clear soups. Why is it bad: It is again very low on protein and can make you really weak. Not recommended to do it more than a day. Atkins Diet: Written by Dr Robert Atkins, this is the most popular fad diet which aims at reducing the main source of energy – carbohydrates to up to 20g/day and focuses more on vegetables, fats and proteins. Why is it bad: The side-effect of this diet is, it recommends more than 30% fat intake which is above the recommended allowance and can lead to extreme ketosis which can cause damage to the organs in the long run. Blood Type Diet: Created by Dr Peter D’Adamo, it focuses on eating some and avoiding some foods as per your blood type. It follows a ‘one size fits all’ concept. Why is it bad: It bans a lot of health promoting foods making eating out difficult and some people may be healthy despite eating foods forbidden for them. General Motor’s Diet: This is a 7-day diet plan which is based on the intake of specified food items which include raw vegetables, fruits, juice, and lean meat. It restricts the intake of any dairy products and promises weight loss of 10 pounds in week. Each day is restricted to 1-2 raw foods in unlimited amounts. Why is it bad: This diet can make you weak and hungry, leads to the inability to exercise, depression and body pain. To avoid any damages to your body, do not opt for any fad diets. Just eat balanced meals and engage in physical activity to see the difference both physically and mentally. The process may be longer and less dramatic unlike fad diets, but the results will be long-term and benefit your body’s health than spoiling it with extreme restrictions. So, the next time you think about opting for any such diet, remember, it’s a fad… err bad idea!
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Best Dietician in Mumbai, India 

Dietitian Neha Chandna (Ranglani) has 8 years of experience in the field. Food and Health is the matter of interest for most of the people today and realizing the need to create awareness and spread the right information to the society, Neha decided to extensively educate herself in the field of nutrition. As a known fact that diet and exercise go hand in hand, She went a step ahead to certify herself as a REEBOK Aerobic instructor. One of the Most Famous & Online Nutritionists Dietitians in Mumbai (Khar west).Neha Chandna, a dietitian in Mumbai, is a university topper in Dietetics from S.V.T. She has worked as a nutritionist for reputed gyms and fitness trainers and as a consultant with doctors and physiotherapists. She deals with sportsmen, individuals who are obese or victims of lifestyle issues- to name a few- diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis, PCOS etc. and active/exercising sector of society. She educates and conducts seminar/workshops for corporates like banks (HDFC & Standard Chartered Bank), BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living. She also takes workshops on Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation. Neha Chandna also writes articles for magazines and newspapers like New Woman, Beauty and salon, Hello Mumbai, the afternoon etc. She has also done a couple of interviews for TV9 channel. She is an online consultant for a health social networking website Dietician Neha Chandna is one of the Best Dietician / nutritionist in Khar west , Mumbai.Neha Chandna is a Famous Nutritionist in Khar west & a famous nutritionist in Mumbai for weight loss diet chart and for other diet plan services. Popular dietcian in Mumbai. Consult her for best online Diet charts in Mumbai. 
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