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  1. Nuts Guide

    Nuts are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats. Additionally, it also provides vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Nuts maintain optimum health. One serving (30 g or ¼ cup) of nuts provides about 3-6 grams of protein. However, if your goal to get more protein, we usually recommend increasing the intake of legumes.

    Nuts strengthen the brain, heart, and muscles. They boost cognitive function, reduces oxidative stress, provides energy, and prevents diseases.

    You should include a variety of nuts in your daily diet. Almonds and walnuts are especially important because both nuts have a greater antioxidant capacity and contain the healthiest fats. Walnuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids.


    1. Preference: Give preference to walnuts and almonds. These should be a part of your daily diet. Walnuts are more important than almonds if you need to choose one from two.
    2. Alternate: Except almonds and walnuts, alternate all other nuts. Do not consume the same nuts daily.
    3. Soak: Soak all types of nuts for about 8 hours before eating. You can also soak nuts overnight.


    Nuts Groups Recommended Ratio
    Walnuts 45%
    Almonds 45%
    Others 10%


    Nuts are not an important part of the whole food plant-based diet. It just provides additional support to people who have high energy and calorie needs.

    Standard Serving Size for Nuts

    Soaked Nuts 30 grams (¼ cup)
    Nut Butter (homemade) 2 tablespoons

    Recommended Daily Amount

    The recommended daily amount depends on your health status. We divide our recommendation into four groups:

    1. Group 1 (Acne, Obese & Heart Disease): If you are obese or suffer from acne or cardiovascular disease, you should consider the recommendation given under Group 1.
    2. Group 2 (Sedentary Lifestyle): Healthy people living a sedentary lifestyle and doing sitting jobs.
    3. Group 3 (Physically Active): Children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, physically active people doing exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
    4. Group 4 (Athletes and sportspeople): Athletes and sportspeople.

    Group 1: Acne, Obese & Heart Disease

    Age Group Recommended Daily Servings
    12-18 ¼ serving (7.5 grams)
    19-50 ¼ serving (7.5 grams)
    51-70 NIL
    70+ NIL

    The above recommendation is for obese people (trying to lose weight) and people who suffer from skin diseases (especially acne) or cardiovascular diseases.

    Group 2: Sedentary Lifestyle

    Age Group Recommended Daily Servings
    19-50 ½ serving (15 grams)
    51-70 1/3 serving (10 grams)
    70+ ¼ serving (7.5 grams)

    The above recommendation is for healthy people living a sedentary life.

    Group 3: Physical Active

    Age Group Recommended Daily Servings
    1-2 ¼ serving (7.5 grams)
    2-3 1/3 serving (10 grams)
    4-8 ½ serving (15 grams)
    9-11 ¾ serving (22.5 grams)
    12-13 1 serving (30 grams)
    14-18 1 ½ serving (45 grams)
    19-50 1 serving (30 grams)
    51-70 ¾ serving (22.5 grams)
    70+ ½ serving (15 grams)
    Pregnant 1 ½ serving (45 grams)
    Lactating 1 ½ serving (45 grams)

    The above recommendation is for children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and people exercising for 30-60 minutes a day.

    Group 4: Athletes & Sportspeople

    Age Group Recommended Servings per day
    4-8 ¾ serving (22.5 grams)
    9-11 1 serving (30 grams)
    12-13 1 ½ serving (45 grams)
    15-18 2 servings (60 grams)
    19-50 1 ½ serving (45 grams)
    51-70 ¾ serving (22.5 grams)
    70+ ½ serving (15 grams)

    This recommendation is for athletes, sportspeople and physically active people doing exercise for more than 60 minutes a day.

    Appropriate Amount

    The amount also depends on your digestive capacity. Your appetite and digestive capacity matter more than the recommended amount. You can eat less or more according to your appetite and digestive capacity. The appropriate amount is the amount that does not affect the intake of other food groups, and you easily digest the amount without facing any trouble or loss of appetite for the next mealtime.


    Soya and nuts are major sources of plant-based milk. You should check the ingredients of nut milk. Generally, plant-based nut milk contains 2.5% of nuts (e.g., 2.5% of almonds in almond milk). You should count it toward your daily recommended nut amount.

    We promote simplicity and negligible or minimum processing. Commercial nut milk contains unwanted ingredients. Making nut milk at home is a time-consuming process. Therefore, it could be best to eat soaked nuts. Be simple and have more time for other activities.

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  2. Spices Guide

    Spices Guide

    The selected spices improve the bioavailability of nutrients and phytochemicals in the body. Spices also have unique healing power. So, spices also help in the treatment of several health conditions. Spices improve appetite, digestion, and metabolism. Therefore, spices are an important food group in our dietary guidelines.


      1. Variety: Include a variety of spices in your diet.
      2. Tolerability: Choose according to your body tolerance. If some spices are not suitable for you, you should not eat.
      3. Appropriate Amount: Eat in the right amount. Eating less may not be beneficial. Excess intake of some hot spices may cause burning.
      1. 7 Daily Herbs: Eat Turmeric, Black Pepper, Long Pepper, Ginger, Cumin Seeds, Green Cardamom and Cinnamon daily
    1. Weekly Herbs: Any two of Asafoetida, Clove, Fenugreek seeds, Mace, Nutmeg, Saffron and Fennel Seeds.


    There are three main categories of spices:

    Essential Spices

    Essential spices include 7 spices listed as follows:

    1. Black Pepper
    2. Cinnamon
    3. Cumin Seeds
    4. Ginger
    5. Green Cardamon
    6. Long Pepper
    7. Turmeric

    Ginger should be preferably fresh. You can also take dried ginger powder or Sonth powder.

    You should take these herbs daily in the recommended amount.

    Recommended Daily Amount

    Spices Children Adults
    Black Pepper 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Cinnamon 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Cumin Seeds 40 mg per Kg of Body Weight 3 g
    Ginger (Fresh) 40 mg per Kg of Body Weight 3 g
    Ginger powder (dry) 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Green Cardamon 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Long Pepper (Pippali) 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Turmeric 40 mg per Kg of Body Weight 3 g

    The maximum amount of spices should not exceed half (50%) of the adult dosage if your child is overweight or obese.

    7 Spice Mixture

    You can prepare a mixture with these spices’ powder, as follows:

    Spices Mixing Proportion
    Black Pepper 10 grams
    Cinnamon 50 grams
    Cumin Seeds 100 grams
    Ginger powder (dry) 10 grams
    Green Cardamon 50 grams
    Long Pepper (Pippali) 10 grams
    Turmeric 100 grams

    Use this mixture instead of Garam Masala. You can add it in every food recipe. For maximum benefits, add it after cooking the food along with Fresh Herbs.

    Recommended Spices

    Recommended spices include:

    1. Asafoetida
    2. Carom Seeds
    3. Clove
    4. Dill seeds
    5. Fennel Seeds
    6. Fenugreek seeds
    7. Mace
    8. Nutmeg
    9. Saffron

    You should take any two from the above list weekly. Asafoetida is an important spice and should be added in legume recipe. You can take a pinch of Asafoetida with one and a half cup of cooked legumes (lentil, beans, chickpea).

    Recommended Amount

    You do not need to take all these spices daily. Alternation is better and highly recommended. But choose only 1-2 spices from this list for daily intake.

    Spices Children Adults
    Asafoetida 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Carom Seeds 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Clove 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Dill Seeds 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Fennel Seeds 100 mg per Kg of Body Weight 7.5 g
    Fenugreek seeds 40 mg per Kg of Body Weight 3 g
    Mace 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Nutmeg 10 mg per Kg of Body Weight 750 mg
    Saffron 10 mg per Kg of Body Weight 750 mg

    Acceptable Spices

    We recommend choosing a variety of spices in your diet. This list includes all other optional spices that can also help you preserve proper digestion. The following table provides a general reference of spices as well as the recommended amount. You can include 2 spices in each month from this list if you wish.

    Spices Children Adults
    Allspice 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Anise 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Bay Leaf 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Caraway 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Marjoram 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Mustard Seeds 10 mg per Kg of Body Weight 750 mg
    Nutmeg 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Oregano (dry) 8 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Paprika (dry) 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Rosemary 10 mg per Kg of Body Weight 750 mg
    Sage 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Tarragon 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)
    Thyme 10 mg per Kg of Body Weight 750 mg
    Vanilla 20 mg per Kg of Body Weight 1.5 g
    Wintergreen 4 mg per Kg of Body Weight 300 mg (one pinch)

    The maximum recommended amount should not exceed half (50%) of the adult’s recommended amount if the child is overweight or obese.

    Restricted Spices

    You should not take the following spices:

    1. Ground red chilli or paprika powder.
    2. Cayenne Chilli (all varieties – fresh green, red, etc.) and its dried forms.

    Green and red chilli are normally used in food preparation. These are on our restricted list.

    You can use it if you are healthy. You should not use it if you are following the Healing Phase Diet and Stablizing Phase Diet

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  3. Fresh Herbs Guide

    Herbs are the best source of health-promoting phytochemicals. They have a healing capacity. Herbs help in the prevention as well as treatment of diseases. Some herbs with potent healing power are easily available. These should be used in the fresh form as part of the food.

    Commonly available herbs include coriander, basil, mint, parsley, curry leaves and dill leaves. Besides, fennel green, giloy leaves, hyssop, oregano, moringa and rosemary are also available in some part of the world.

    Fresh herbs have strong antioxidant, anticancer, anti-mutagenic, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, renal protective and anti-inflammatory properties. These herbs help to preserve health by protective actions. These herbs also boost immunity.


    1. Variety: Include a variety of fresh herbs in your diet. Choose at least 2 types of different herbs every day.
    2. Fresh: These herbs should be fresh. Consume within 2-3 days after picking up from the garden or purchasing from the vegetable market.
    3. Green: Use the green leaves of these herbs as a part of the food.


    The green leaves of these herbs are a particularly important part of the healing diet. Due to protective and healing benefits, herbs are also an essential part of dietary guidelines.

    Standard Serving Size

    Form 1 Serving Size equal to:
    Chopped Herbs 15 grams (approx. 1 ½ handful)
    Herbs Paste 15 grams (approx. 1 ½ handful)
    Green Chutney (without salt) 15 grams (approx. 1 ½ handful)

    Recommended Servings

    Age Group (In Year) Minimum Daily Amount Recommended Daily Amount
    1-2 1/6 serving (2.5 g) 1/3 serving (5 g)
    2-3 1/3 serving (5 g) ½ serving (7.5 g)
    4-8 ½ serving (7.5 g) ¾ serving (11.25 g)
    9-11 ¾ serving (11.25 g) 1 serving (15 g)
    12-13 1 serving (15 g) 1 ½ serving (22.5 g)
    14-18 1 ½ serving (22.5 g) 2 servings (30 g)
    19-70 1 ½ serving (22.5 g) 2 servings (30 g)
    70+ 1 ½ serving (22.5 g) 2 servings (30 g)
    Pregnant 1 ½ serving (22.5 g) 2 servings (30 g)
    Lactating 1 ½ serving (22.5 g) 2 servings (30 g)


    There are two categories (group) of fresh herbs:

    Essential Herbs (Group 1)

    Essential herbs include all varieties of basil, coriander, mint, oregano, and thyme.

    1. Basil (all types).
      1. African Blue Basil
      2. Camphor Basil (Kapuri Tulsi) – Ocimum kelimandscharium
      3. Cardinal Basil
      4. Cinnamon Basil
      5. Clove basil or African basil (Ram Tulsi) – Ocimum gratissimum
      6. Genovese Basil (Italian basil)
      7. Greek Basil
      8. Green Ruffles Basil
      9. Hoary basil (Shweta Tulsi) – Ocimum canum
      10. Holy Basil (Vishnu Tulsi) – Ocimum sanctum
      11. Lemon Basil
      12. Lettuce Basil
      13. Lime Basil
      14. Purple Basil
      15. Spicy Globe Basil
      16. Summerlong Basil
      17. Sweet Basil or French Basil (Van Tulsi) – Ocimum bacilicum
      18. Thai Sweet Basil
    2. Coriander or Cilantro – Coriandrum sativum.
    3. Mint (all types)
      1. Apple mint
      2. Orange mint
      3. Peppermint
      4. Pineapple Mint
      5. Spearmint
    4. Oregano (fresh).
    5. Thyme (fresh).

    These herbs are essential. Coriander, basil, and mint should be in your regular diet. You can choose both green herbs from this group if available. If these herbs are unavailable due to season or country, you should use other herbs listed in the recommended group.

    Recommended Herbs (Group 2)

    • Curry leaves.
    • Culantro (long coriander, Mexican coriander) – Eryngium foetidumI.
    • Dill leaves.
    • Fennel (green).
    • Fenugreek leaves.
    • Giloy.
    • Hyssop.
    • Moringa.
    • Parsley.
    • Rosemary.
    • Vietnamese cilantro – Persicaria odorata


    Fresh herbs are also important during pregnancy. Pregnant women should take coriander daily and mint and basil every week.

    The half of servings should be from coriander. The remaining half should be from other herbs, including mint, basil, fennel green, parsley, dill leaves, giloy leaves, moringa leaves etc.

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  4. Going Nuts for Brain Health

    Many people think that eating nuts is good for your brain. A large study from Harvard recently found that eating nuts was strongly correlated with longevity. In the study of over 100,000 people, the researchers found that people who ate nuts daily had a 20% lower death rate compared to people who didn’t eat nuts.

    However, from a brain health perspective, not all nuts are created equally. There is great variation in the health benefits to be found in different types of nuts, especially from a brain health perspective.


    Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. One study even shows that mothers who get enough DHA have smarter kids. Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.

    Additional research has found that people with walnuts and walnut oil in their diets have lower resting blood pressure as well as lower blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory.

    Almonds & Hazelnuts

    Almonds and Hazelnuts are two of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available, and vitamin E intake is generally associated with less age-related cognitive decline. In one study, participants who received vitamin E improved statistically and clinically in some memory and verbal measures, while participants who received a placebo did not. 1/4 cup of almonds or hazelnuts packs in nearly 50% of the RDA for vitamin E.


    Peanuts have not been extensively studied as a brain healthy food, but there is good reason to believe that they offer brain benefits. Peanuts are high in niacin (1/2 cup of peanuts offers about 50% of the RDA for niacin.) Studies have correlated niacin deficiencies with a higher incidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. There has also been preliminary research that suggests that eating peanuts may help stave off Parkinson’s.

    Other nuts like pecans, chestnuts, and cashews are often mentioned as having brain health benefits. However, there are little or no published scientific studies to back up those claims, so we’ll have to wait on further research to be sure.

    Of course, nuts are high in calories. Many worry that the proven health benefits of eating nuts will be outweighed by the increase in caloric intake and potential weight gain. Interestingly, studies have shown that people who regularly eat nuts actually weigh less than their nut-free counterparts.

    Continus Reading »
  5. Go Ahead, Spice Up Your Diet — It’s Good for Your Heart

    Go Ahead, Spice Up Your Diet — It’s Good for Your Heart

    Two new studies have found that herbs and spices add more than just flavor to food. They also provide potential benefits for your health, such as lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Getty Images
    • Two new studies have found that consuming herbs and spices can help promote better cardiovascular health.
    • One study found that adding herbs and spices to meals may help reduce blood pressure in people at risk of heart disease.
    • The other study linked spice supplements to lower cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Herbs and spices add more than just flavor to food. They also provide potential benefits for your health.

    “Studies have shown positive health benefits when including herbs and spices in the diet, including anti-inflammatory [properties],” Kayla Kirschner, RDN, a nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told.

    “Chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more,” she continued.

    At this week’s NUTRITION 2021 Live Online meeting of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), scientists from Penn State University and Clemson University are scheduled to present findings from two studies that found benefits of herb and spice consumption for cardiovascular health.

    One study found that adding herbs and spices to meals may help reduce blood pressure in people at risk of heart disease. The other study linked spice supplements to lower cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    “This research will help us to evaluate dosage, usage, and short-term effects,” said Kirschner, who wasn’t involved in the new research. “Hopefully, future studies will provide evidence on long-term effects.”

    Kristina Petersen, PhD, APD, is one of the scheduled presenters at this week’s ASN meeting. She’s an assistant research professor in the Cardiometabolic Nutrition Research Lab at Penn State College of Health and Human Development in University Park, Pennsylvania.

    Petersen is presenting findings from a new study at Penn State and Texas Tech University, which examined the cardiometabolic effects of adding herbs and spices to the typical American diet.

    “Our findings suggest that adding dried herbs and spices found in the spice aisle of the local supermarket to commonly made recipes has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease,” Petersen said.

    The study included 71 U.S. adults with obesity and other risk factors of heart disease. Over the course of the study, participants ate a typical American diet, with 50 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates, 17 percent from protein, and 33 percent from fat, including 11 percent from saturated fat.

    Every 4 weeks, the participants rotated through a different version of the diet:

    • a low spice version, with 0.5 grams per day of mixed herbs and spices
    • a medium spice version, with 3.3 grams per day of mixed herbs and spices
    • a high spice version, with 6.6 grams per day of mixed herbs and spices

    The researchers found that participants had lower 24-hour blood pressure levels when they ate a high spice diet. However, they found no differences in blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels.

    “This is likely because we added the herbs and spices to a diet similar to what the average person in the United States consumes, which is not as nutritious as diets that are recommended for health and heart disease prevention,” Petersen said.

    “It remains important to eat a healthy diet, including lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes,” she added.

    Another presentation at this week’s ASN meeting will explore the findings of a recent research review that found a link between spice supplements and lower cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    “Our systematic review of the available journal articles on ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, curcumin, and curcuminoids suggested an association with an improved lipid profile,” said Sepideh Alasvand, a PhD student in the department of food, nutrition, and packaging sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina. She conducted the review with her supervisor, Vivian Haley-Zitlin, PhD, RDN.

    The review included 28 randomized controlled trials, in which people with type 2 diabetes received ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, curcumin, or curcuminoid supplements. Curcumin and curcuminoid are derived from turmeric.

    “Although the available studies are limited and more studies are needed, the preliminary findings suggest that these spices may offer a potential benefit for people with type 2 diabetes and unhealthy high cholesterol levels,” Alasvand said.

    The trials ran for a duration of 1 to 3 months and yielded different findings for different spices and supplement dosages. Approximately 30 percent of the trials found no significant effects from supplementation.

    “These results signify the importance of dosages used in research studies when evaluating results and suggest a need for dose-response studies,” Alasvand said.

    Dose-response studies explore if and how different dosages of a supplement, medication, or other treatment influences the effects.

    Although more research is needed to understand the specific health effects of herbs and spices, evidence shows that adding these nutrient-rich seasonings to your meals has potential benefits.

    “Herbs and spices are great additions to meals to increase not only nutrition, but the taste of foods as well,” Kirschner said.

    “[But] oftentimes prepackaged herb and spice mixes contain added salt, which can unintentionally increase sodium consumption — something we want to monitor to prevent high blood pressure and heart issues,” she said.

    Some herb and spice blends also contain processed sugar or other additives.

    To learn what herb and spice blends contain, Kirschner encourages people to check the label.

    “Another idea is to make your own salt-free seasoning blends using the bulk herbs and spices at the store,” said Megan Byrd, a registered dietitian in Keizer, Oregon.

    “By mixing together your own herbs and spices blends, you’ll be avoiding additives, sugars, and added salts without sacrificing any flavor,” she continued.

    Many herbs and spices are also available in supplement form as capsules, extracts, tinctures, or teas.

    Supplements allow you to take a defined dose of a specific herb or spice in quantities that tend to be larger than what’s added to foods.

    Although certain herb and spice supplements may have health benefits, some supplements can interact with certain medications or cause other side effects. Certain supplements may not be safe for everyone to take.

    “Before taking supplements, always speak with your doctor or healthcare professional,” Kirschner said.

    “Herbs and spices used for culinary purposes are usually smaller doses than what is found in supplements. For this reason, adding additional herbs and spices to your foods is generally OK,” she added.

    Continus Reading »