10 Things We Learnt About Nutrition From Zoha Matin

 You really are what you eat. You may not feel it, but every little cell in your body is being repaired and rebuilt by nutrients found in your food. Everything from your skin and hair to your muscles, bones and digestive and immune systems are affected by the food you eat. This is where nutritionists come into the picture so we decided to get some pressing of your queries answered by one. Our guest this week for Ask Mashion Nutritionist Zoha Matin, aka Zo The Nutritionist, told us exactly what to put and what not to put on our plates!

Milk – The Real MVP

When it comes to calcium, milk is better than any other food sources. It provides more calcium per serving than others, for it’s rich in vitamin D – nutrients that increase calcium absorption in the bone. Zoha recommends drinking two cups of milk to meet your sufficient calcium requirement.

Yoghurt Should Be A Constant

Your body needs to have a healthy amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract and yoghurt is proven to be one of the best sources of probiotics. This super food has a number of health benefits including strengthening bones and reducing the risk of high blood pressure. It also helps protect children from diarrhoea caused by antibiotics. Our nutrition expert also recommends including yoghurt in one’s daily diet and calls it a great natural probiotic for digestion.

Alternatives For The Lactose Intolerant

Lactose intolerance is explained as the inability to digest a kind of natural sugar called lactose – mainly found in dairy products, such as milk and yoghurt. A lactose intolerant individual’s small intestine stops producing enough enzyme lactase to break down lactose. Since they cannot consume calcium with any dairy products, Zoha suggests the following substitutes: tofu, dark greens (spinach and kale), lactose-free milk, calcium fortified soy milk, dried figs, almonds, as well as chia and sesame seeds.

Healthy Fats = Healthy Brain

Along with other factors, one’s diet also plays an important role in brain health. The human brain is composed of 60% fat, which is why it needs healthy fats to function properly. A diet consisting of healthy fats boosts memory and brain function by encouraging good blood flow to the brain. Zoha suggests including plant-based oils such as olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, and nuts and seeds in one’s diet to improve brain activity.

The Role Of Roti In Weight Loss

Roti is easy to digest, low in calories and has plenty of proteins. According to Zoha, if the roti is made from whole grains such as chakki ka aata – it is part of a healthy balanced diet and can be eaten in moderation to promote a healthy body weight. For those trying to lose weight, she recommends consuming one small roti per meal as it contains roughly 100 calories.

Your Iron Fix

Iron plays an important role in the production of a protein called haemoglobin – the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. An iron deficiency can lead to anaemia which is a deficiency in the number or quality of red blood cells.

According to the annual Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, Pakistanis on average lose 34,841.8 years due to iron-deficiency anaemia. A low-iron diet is the major cause of iron deficiency anaemia, which can best be treated with a diet consisting of iron-rich foods. Nutritionist Zoha recommends eating meat such as beef and mutton, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and spinach and pumpkin seeds to increase iron levels.

Fruits To The Rescue

Fruits are the best source of vitamins and minerals. Regular consumption of fruits can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Despite various myths surrounding the time to eat fruits, our expert suggests there’s no specific time to eat them and says they can be consumed anytime throughout the day. According to Zoha, fruits such as berries, watermelon and those rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, help keep your skin hydrated. When talking about weight loss, Zoha says, “There is no fruit in particular that will help you reduce weight but one can go for high fibre fruits such as apples and berries, to keep you full for longer.”

Diet Solutions For PCOS

Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) usually have higher than normal insulin levels. Higher insulin levels cause your ovaries to produce more androgens such as testosterone. To those with PCOS, Zoha recommends following a low glycemic index diet, which is based on the concept of glycemic index (GI) – a measure that rates foods according to their effect on your sugar levels. She suggests consuming more whole grains and less processed foods. Misconceptions linking PCOS with the consumption of poultry meat have been very common, but Zoha says that there aren’t enough proofs to support this fallacy. However, opting organic chicken is a safer option to avoid any unhealthy repercussions.

The Right Supplements For Hair And Skin

Frequent trips to salons and various treatments are not enough for healthy hair and skin, you must also maintain a balanced diet. Your diet plays a vital role in keeping your hair healthy and skin fresh. Although hair is mainly comprised of protein, it also needs vitamins for growth. For healthy hair and skin, Zoha suggests three supplements: 1) vitamin B7 commonly known as biotin – an effective supplement for hair growth 2) mineral silica, which is one of the main components of collagen – the connective tissue that makes up most of our skin 3) vitamin B2, which is also known as riboflavin.

Homemade Meals For The Win

Homemade food is clearly healthier than restaurant meals. When preparing food at home one has control over the ingredients added in it but when dining out, people usually opt for fancier food items and eat more. Zoha also prefers homemade food and suggests limiting eating out to once a week.

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