Those Diwali hampers won’t hamper your health at all. In fact, they can be good for you.
Mithai, too, is good, especially if it is made with milk, ghee and is low in sugar. Ghee has 40 per cent monounsaturated fat, a ‘good’ fat that lowers bad cholesterol and reduces build-up of plaque (fat deposits) in the arteries. “It is also high in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that fights heart disease, and vitamin A that improves eyesight. One teaspoon a day will benefit rather than harm,” says nutritionist Ishi Khosla of WholeFoods.
“Avoid coloured mithais as the colouring used is often not foodgrade,” warns Parmeet Kaur, chief nutritionist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“Though high in calories, nuts are also high in fibre and protect the heart in many ways. The protein in nuts is high in arginine, an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow,” says Kaur. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts are healthier than other nuts.
It’s good news even for those who prefer wine, cheese and chocolate. The chemicals, resveratrol and quercetin, in red wine protect against heart disease and some form of cancers by preventing cellular damage, boosting the immune system and dilating small blood vessels to increase blood flow.
High in antioxidants that fight cancer, heart disease and aging, chocolate – especially dark chocolate, which is less sugary – has a heart-protective fat called stearic acid. Chocolates also make you happy by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.