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Healthy Eating

3 Apps to Tell You What’s Inside Any Food

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Do you really know what’s in your favorite ice cream? What about your daily latte? Sure, you can check nutrition labels – but it’s not always easy.

First of all, most foods are heavily processed these days. Some contain hidden sugars and ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Second, keeping track of your daily calories and macros can be difficult – especially if you have a busy lifestyle.

Fortunately, digital technology makes everything a lot easier. Below are three apps that can tell you what’s in your food and take the guesswork out of eating a healthy diet. Let’s dive in.

Yuka is a mobile app that analyzes food and cosmetic products. Its database spans over 1.5 million foods and 500,000 cosmetics, from diet cola and marshmallows to bar soaps. More than 800 new products are added every day.

To get started, install the app on your phone or tablet and register for an account. You can then simply scan the products you want.

The app rates foods based on three factors: their nutritional value, the presence of additives, and the presence or absence of organic ingredients. The nutritional quality makes up 60 percent of the score.

Additionally, Yuka offers healthier alternatives to poorly rated foods. Plus, you can see exactly how much sugar, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and calories are in each product. This feature can make clean eating easier and help with meal preparation.

Related: Mindful Eating Apps And How-To For A Healthier Eating And Food Outlook

There is also the option to sign up for a premium account. The annual membership fee is $ 20 and gives you access to additional features, such as the ability to scan groceries and cosmetics in offline mode.

Premium users can also browse products based on their dietary preferences. For example, Yuka will let you know if any of the products on your shopping list contain gluten or lactose. In addition, you can search the database to get the information you need without having to scan individual products.

Download: Yuka for Android | iOS (free)

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Another great choice is Foodvisor, a nutrition app that uses deep learning to analyze the macros and calories in your food. Just take a picture of your meal or snack to see the exact amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, calories and other nutrients.

Foodvisor recommends taking photos of cooked meals. However, if you have a salad or snack you can choose the “raw” option.

When you sign up for an account, there are a few basic questions you need to answer about your lifestyle and health goals. The app uses this information to determine your ideal calorie intake and macronutrient ratio.

Next, you have the option of using the app as is or signing up for a premium membership.

Premium members can chat in real time with registered nutritionists and sign up for special programs for fat loss, muscle building or better health. They also have access to hundreds of recipes and additional functions, such as a daily overview of their nutrient intake.

Related: The Best Health Apps To Help You Stay Fit

All in all, Foodvisor has the tools you need to make smarter food choices and stick to your diet. However, no app can make decisions on your behalf. Ultimately, it is up to you to give up bad habits and start eating for your goals.

Download: Foodvisor for Android | iOS (free)

One of the most popular mobile health apps, Noom, has been around since 2008. The earlier versions allowed users to keep track of their calories and exercise habits. Today the app uses a psychological approach to help people make sustainable changes to their lifestyle and achieve a healthy weight.

Noom’s experts provide coaching and support so you can build better habits without losing your motivation. It’s like having a health coach, nutritionist, and personal trainer in one place. Your only job is to download the app, answer a few basic questions, and sign up for an account.

Like the other apps on our list, Noom will tell you what’s in most foods, but you’ll have to manually log everything you eat. The app also logs your exercise and then subtracts the calories burned from your daily calorie budget.

Users can also scan their favorite foods, measure their progress, and count their daily steps. They also have access to healthy recipes and personalized nutrition lessons.

Another aspect to consider is that Noom does not label foods as “good” or “bad”. Instead, it uses a color code to help users determine which foods are helping or preventing them from achieving their health goals.

For example, “green” foods like quinoa, spinach, apples, and low-fat yogurt should make up a third of your daily energy intake. Legumes, poultry, salmon, avocado, and other “yellow” foods should make up about 45 percent of your daily calories. The rest of your calories can come from “red” foods like peanut butter and cookies.

As for prices, you can either sign up for the free version or pay around $ 59 per month for a premium membership. Consider trying the free version, see how it works, and then decide if it’s worth buying premium.

In the meantime, you might want to try other nutrition apps and compare their features. Shopwell, for example, can tell you what’s in over 400,000 grocery products by simply scanning them. In addition, users can set up personal alerts for allergens and other potentially harmful ingredients that may be hiding in their food.

If you’re looking for a simpler app, try MyFitnessPal’s calorie counter. Alternatively, check out the database at Open Food Facts to analyze and compare thousands of foods based on their nutritional value.

Download: Noom for Android | iOS (free)

Choose a nutrition app that suits your lifestyle

Choosing smart foods can be a real challenge, even for those who know a thing or two about nutrition. Sugar, for example, has dozens of names, from glucose to dextrose to fruit juice concentrate. Other potentially harmful ingredients like nitrates are even more difficult to spot.

With these things in mind, it makes sense to use the best nutrition apps. Noom, Foodvisor, and Yuka provide the information you need to improve your diet. Some also have built-in fitness trackers, recipes, custom meal plans, and other helpful tools. You just have to choose one that suits your lifestyle.

Scan ingredients in health apps on smartphones

7 Health and Allergy Apps to Help You Avoid Harmful Ingredients

With these product scan apps for Android and iOS, you can avoid food, cosmetics or cleaning products that contain toxic ingredients.

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About the author

Andra Picincu
(16 articles published)

Andra Picincu is a senior digital copywriter and content strategist with more than 12 years of experience. She has a BA in Psychology and a BA in Marketing and International Business. Her daily work includes writing content and running digital marketing campaigns for multinational companies, creative agencies, brands and small to medium-sized businesses.

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Healthy Eating

What is starch? Types, benefits, risks, and more

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Starch is a complex carbohydrate. When people hear the word “starch,” they might think of high-carb foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta. However, most plants store energy as starch, including fruits and vegetables.

Starchy foods are the main source of carbohydrates for most people. They play a crucial role in a nutritious, balanced diet as they provide the body with glucose, which is the main source of energy for every cell. They also provide a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Starchy foods are also valuable ingredients in the kitchen, as they can thicken soups and sauces without adding fat.

Read on to learn more about starches, including the types, health benefits, and risks of overeating starchy foods.

Starch, or amylum, is a complex carbohydrate found in many foods, including grains, vegetables, and fruits. The main sources of starch are:

Extracting pure starch from food produces a white, tasteless and odorless powder that does not dissolve in cold water or alcohol.

Starch is a natural polymer or polysaccharide, meaning it is a long chain comprising one type of molecule. Starch is made up of glucose molecules. It can come in two forms: amylose and amylopectin.

Amylose is a linear or rectilinear polymer that scientists refer to as amorphous or solid. Amylopectin forms a branched chain and is crystalline.

Different plants contain different ratios of these polysaccharide units. However, amylose generally accounts for a maximum of 30% of starch, with the remainder being amylopectin.

Plants create these starch polymers to store the glucose they create during photosynthesis. For this reason, starchy foods are good sources of energy.

When someone eats starchy foods, the body breaks down the natural polymers into glucose units, which provide energy throughout the body.

Aside from being part of a nutritious diet, various industries – including pharmaceutical, paper and food – use starch in their manufacturing processes.

Depending on their nutritional properties, starches belong to one of three groups:

  • Rapidly Digesting Starch (RDS): This form of starch is found in cooked foods like potatoes and bread. The body quickly converts it to glucose.
  • Slow Digesting Starch (SDS): This starch has a complex structure, which means the body breaks it down slowly. It is found in cereal grains.
  • Resistant Strength (RS): The body cannot easily digest this form of starch, and it can pass through the digestive system untouched, much like fiber. It can support a healthy intestinal flora. Experts further divide RS into four categories, including:
    • RS1 found in grains, seeds and beans.
    • RS2 made from raw potatoes and unripe bananas.
    • RS3 from foods that are cooked and then cooled, such as rice and corn flakes.
    • RS4, that’s in the bread.

Each type of food can contain different types of these starches.

People can buy different types of starch for cooking, including:

  • Potato: Raw, mashed potatoes are the source of potato starch. The liquid starch dries to a white, flour-like powder. It is gluten-free and is used in various recipes as an alternative to wheat flour.
  • Tapioca: This versatile flour comes from the crushed pulp of the cassava root. People can mix it into baked goods or use it as a thickener for soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Corn: This starch comes from the corn kernel. It can thicken recipes and is a base for corn syrup. Doctors also use it to supply glucose to people with glycogen storage disease.

There is also modified starch, a derivative of starch that manufacturers have treated to change its properties. The baking industry makes extensive use of this form of starch because it can tolerate a range of conditions, including extreme heat or cold.

Doctors recommend eating plenty of starchy foods as part of a balanced diet to provide energy and fiber and to increase feelings of satiety.

energy

Starch is the most important source of energy for humans. The body digests starches by converting them into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body. Glucose fuels virtually every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. If there is excess glucose, the liver stores it as glycogen.

Glucose is essential for brain function. The adult brain is responsible for 20-25% of the body’s glucose usage.

Learn more about high-energy foods here.

fiber

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate found only in plant foods. Starchy foods like corn, beets, potatoes, beans, fruit, and whole grains are plentiful sources of fiber. Although the body does not digest fiber, these carbohydrates are an essential part of a nutritious diet.

Nutritionists divide fiber into soluble and insoluble forms. Fruits and vegetables are sources of soluble fiber, which can absorb water. Soluble fiber feeds the good bacteria in the gut, slowing digestion and softening stools.

Insoluble fiber does not absorb water. Instead, it passes through the digestive system and adds bulk to keep bowel movements regular and prevent constipation. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most people in the United States do not eat enough fiber. Government guidelines suggest that adult females need up to 28 grams (g) of fiber per day, while adult males need up to 34g.

Learn more about high-fiber foods here.

abundance

Eating starchy foods can help increase satiety, which is the feeling of being full after eating.

Research shows that eating foods rich in resistant starches helps people feel full. These foods can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fat storage. In addition, eating high-fiber foods rich in resistant starches can help people maintain a moderate weight.

In a small 2018 study, researchers offered participants breakfast and lunch with either 48 g of resistant starch or a placebo. At dinner, participants were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The researchers found that eating the resistant starch for breakfast and lunch significantly reduced the participants’ energy intake during that later meal.

Learn about foods that can improve satiety.

For most people, starch poses no risk or side effects. Dietary guidelines recommend a balanced diet of starchy foods.

However, people with certain health conditions, including diabetes and congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID), need to moderate their starch intake.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 1 diabetes count how many grams of carbohydrates they eat and then balance that with their insulin dose. People with type 2 diabetes should avoid consuming large amounts of carbohydrates in one sitting and instead spread them out evenly throughout the day.

Individuals with CSID must follow a special diet. People with this genetic condition cannot digest certain sugars, so they experience digestive problems when they eat certain fruits, juices, and grains. These problems can lead to malnutrition.

Starch is a carbohydrate and is a natural part of most plants, including fruits, vegetables and grains. Starchy foods are an essential part of a balanced diet as they provide energy, fiber and a feeling of satiety.

The body breaks down starch molecules into glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy. The brain in particular requires a significant amount of glucose every day.

Starchy foods are safe for most people and do not present any risks or side effects. However, it is important that people with diabetes or CSID carefully consider their starch intake.

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Healthy Eating

Try this winter special ‘paneer stuffed ragi paratha’ (recipe inside)

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Winter is the ideal time to have it parathas. Imagine the crispy exterior and soft interior, filled with your favorite ingredient and served with a dollop of butter! Yummy, right? You can eat as much delicious food as you want, but remember that it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your health.

ragi paratha stuffed with paneer is a savory twist on the classic paneer paratha, says nutritionist Nmami Agarwal. According to her, it can be served as a high-protein breakfast or consumed during lunch.

“Ragi is a healthy food, a gluten-free whole grain. It’s full of calcium, good carbohydrates, amino acids and vitamin D. Paneer – also known as “Indian cheese” – has quite a high nutritional value. It’s a good source of calcium and protein and is great for overall health and well-being,” she says, adding that the recipe can be cooked with Oleev olive oil, which “contains 80 percent monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which may help control cholesterol levels.”

The oil is “perfect for Indian cooking, including parathas, due to its high smoke point. It has the added benefits of vitamin K and vitamin E, both of which are essential for optimal body function,” says the expert.

ingredients

For ragi dough

– 30 grams of ragi flour (cranberry/nagli)
– 30 grams of whole wheat flour
– 1 teaspoon of Oleev olive pomace oil
– salt to taste

For paneer filling

– 30 grams of paneer, grated
– 1 green chili, finely chopped
– A few leaves of mint (pudina), finely chopped
– ¼ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera)
– salt to taste

For cooking

– 1.5 teaspoons Oleev olive pomace oil
– Calories – 202 kcal
– Protein – 6.2 grams
– Carbohydrates – 24.8 grams
– Fats – 8.7 grams

method

1. Start kneading the dough by mixing ragi and wheat flour. Knead the paratha dough for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
2. Next, add a teaspoon of oil to coat the dough and knead a little more.
3. Cover the ragi paratha dough and let it rest until the filling is ready.
4. The next step is to prepare the paneer filling. In a mixing bowl, combine grated paneer, green chilies, mint leaves, salt, cumin powder and mix all ingredients well.
5. Divide into equal portions.
6. Finally, add the filling to the ragi paratha batter.
7. Dust the ragi paratha dough with flour, flatten with your finger and place on a flat surface. Roll it out thinly.
8. Take a portion of paneer filling and place it in the middle. Next, gather the sides of the paratha dough and bring all sides together.
9. Remove the excess dough that popped out when you put it together. Press down on the filled ragi paneer paratha dough.
10. Dust the filled dough with a little flour and gently roll out to desired thickness and similarly do the remaining portions of paratha dough and filling.
11. Preheat the pan on medium heat and grease with a little oil.
12. Place the filled ragi paneer paratha. Cook over medium-high heat for 30 to 45 seconds and flip.
13. Drizzle a little oil on the parathas and keep pressing the ragi paneer filled parathas to cook evenly on all sides.
14. Turn a few times until both sides are properly cooked.
15. After cooking, transfer to a plate. Serve hot.

The classic way to have it is with some yogurt and achar; Do you want to try?

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Healthy Eating

The Ideal Walking Workout Smoothie Recipe from an RD

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I I don’t know why it took so many of us (myself included) a global pandemic to realize the value of a good walk, but now that we’re here, I vow to never break my daily walking habit. And as research shows, we do a lot of good for our bodies when we hit the road. As Well+Good previously reported, walking for as little as 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of stroke and improve cardiovascular health, and it can also be an effective low-impact exercise.

Like any form of exercise, a good walk requires the right amount of energy. When it comes to what nutrients you need for your walking workout, nutrition experts recommend eating a little differently than you would for a run or other higher-intensity hike. We spoke to Registered Nutritionist Megen Erwine, RD of Let’s Get Checked to find out what makes the perfect pre-walk snack. What’s even better is that it can be reduced to a super easy three-ingredient walking workout smoothie recipe that will soon become your new staple.

How Much Do You Need to Eat to Fuel Your Running Training?

As with any workout, proper refueling and recovery afterwards depends largely on the intensity of the activity. There is a very wide range of walks you can take, from a leisurely coffee stroll to a more rigorous, arm-pumping excursion. A slow and short walk probably doesn’t require much extra energy beyond your regular meals and snacks.

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“Always remember that your daily dietary habits will outweigh any pre-workout or post-workout fuel,” says Erwine. She believes that focusing on properly refueling for the energy expenditures of daily living prepares you for both your afternoon walk and morning meeting, late-night childcare, or whatever else comes your way. “Focus on staying hydrated and eating balanced meals and snacks that contain complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat,” Erwine recommends. You should also support your gut health by eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut so you don’t have to fight the urge to pee when you’re miles from home.

For your longer, vigorous walks, Erwine says you probably won’t need too much extra fuel, depending on your goals. Since walking requires less energy than higher-intensity activities like running or HIIT, you probably won’t need to lose sleep over carbs before a long or short dog walk. That being said, it’s important to make sure you have an adequate meal before engaging in any low-intensity exercise like walking, especially if it’s for an extended period of time. “Plan for a balanced meal 90 minutes before training,” recommends Erwine. “The timing allows for the food you eat to be digested and turned into energy.”

You also avoid nausea by giving yourself a chance to digest before you exercise. If you haven’t eaten a meal within that time frame and are heading out, Erwine recommends grabbing a small, carbohydrate-based snack beforehand. “A piece of fruit is a great example,” she says.

Hydration is also key

Just as important as what you eat before your run is what you drink. Finally, staying hydrated helps your body perform basically all of its essential functions and ward off headaches, fatigue, constipation, and mood swings.

Many factors affect how much water you need, including your age, activity level, and overall health, but Erwine recommends a general fluid intake guideline of about 72 ounces per day for women and 100 ounces for men. If you’re training intensely, add more water to counteract sweat and increased hydration from energy expenditure (and yes, hydration is important in winter too!).

Overall, you should listen to your body’s thirst signals and drink before, during, and after your workout. That balanced meal you eat an hour and a half before your walk? Erwine says you should definitely include 16 ounces of water to keep you hydrated for your activity. Don’t forget your water bottle so you can sip on the go and also avoid getting in a dehydrated state. Incidentally, Erwine says that sports drinks aren’t necessary for low-to-moderate intensity workouts — water will replenish your fluids just fine. However, add one of these electrolyte-rich foods to your pre-walk meal for added benefits.

The perfect walking-working smoothie recipe

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack or small meal to prepare before your walk, a smoothie is an easily digestible way to fuel your workout. It’s also easy to have all the ingredients you need on hand so you don’t have to rummage around at the last minute. When designing your ideal smoothie, Erwin recommends making sure to include all three macronutrients — carbs, protein, and fat — for a well-balanced meal.

In this case, in the form of banana, Greek yogurt, and nut butter. “Just mix together a frozen banana to provide complex carbs, a cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt for protein, and a tablespoon of nut butters for healthy fat,” she recommends. If you don’t eat dairy, use soy milk or one of the higher-protein plant-based yogurts on the market, like Kite Hill’s high-protein, almond-based yogurts.

You can play with this simple formula to adapt it to your preferences and what you have on hand. Not in bananas? Sub into another frozen fruit. Your kids or roommates ate all that nut butter without you knowing? Add flaxseed or avocado for that fat boost. Just press shuffle and get ready to hit the street, treadmill, beach or wherever your stroll takes you.

Oh hello! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Join Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.

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