From white petha juice to psyllium husk: Decoding Navjot Singh Sidhu’s diet chart in jail

Former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is currently serving a one-year sentence in Patiala jail for a road rage case, has been recommended a diet chart considering his medical condition. The special diet has been prescribed after an analysis of his health.

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“A specially designed diet plan under a dietitian is helpful in controlling medical conditions such as sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Certain medicines like blood thinners or anticoagulants on top can increase the further need to be mindful of what you consume. The number of meals depends on the person’s dietary needs, and hunger,” Lakshita Jain, certified clinical dietician, lecturer, diabetes educator, meat technologist, and founder of NUTR, told

According to Jain, Sidhu has been recommended a well-balanced diet which will take care of his gastric issues, weight and liver.

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Here’s a lowdown of his diet chart.

Early morning: a cup of rosemary tea, half a glass of white petha juice, or a glass of coconut water

* Experts advise starting the day with something light to kickstart the metabolism. “In simple terms, instead of opting for a heavy meal, one should start their day with foods that are light yet nutritious,” said nutritionist Lovneet Batra in an Instagram post.

*Rosemary is known to be extremely beneficial owing to its antioxidant properties that help reduce blood sugar levels, improve mood and memory, and may also protect vision.

*White petha or white gourd juice helps detoxify and boost metabolism. It is best consumed early morning to fight constipation.

coconut water Coconut water is an excellent source of nutrients. (Photo: Pixabay)

*Coconut water, according to nutritionist Arooshi Aggarwal, “is not only a great diuretic but also a great electrolyte that amazingly rehydrates, cures dehydration and relieves constipation”. “It is also a blessing for promoting gut health and deworming the intestines. Coconut water is rich in vitamin E and other fat-soluble vitamins that are good for radical scavenging and anti-ageing, both externally and internally. It also aids protection against urinary tract infections (UTIs) which are majorly common in diabetics,” she added.

Breakfast: One cup lactose-free milk; one tablespoon of flax, sunflower, melon or chia seeds; 5 to 6 almonds, one walnut, and two pecan nuts.

Studies have shown that a nutritious breakfast is extremely beneficial for the body as well as heart. Eating a well-rounded meal in the morning helps replenish nutrients that have been used up while sleeping and becomes your energy booster to kickstart the day.

Lactose-free milk (easy for digestion), low-fat milk (less fat percentage), tofu, paneer and pulses in the form of chana will give additional protein needed for liver health, explained dietitian Jain.

*Lactose-free or plant-based milk is known to provide the necessary nutritional value, which aids easy digestion. It also helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and keeps up with the energy levels without causing the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance like bloating, nausea or diarrhea, according to experts.

*Flax seeds — High on fibre, omega 3
*Sunflower seeds — Lower cholesterol, great source of magnesium, and anti-inflammatory
*Pumpkin seeds — Great source of vitamin K,E,B
*Chia seeds — Help maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels in the body
*A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that those who eat almonds on a regular basis also have a lower waist circumference and a lower body mass index (BMI).

walnut, walnut benefits, walnuts study Do you have walnuts on a regular basis? (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

*Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, protein and healthy fats. They are touted as “brain food” as they help improve brain functioning. Further, walnuts are a good source of calcium, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc. Having soaked walnuts increases metabolism, controls blood sugar levels and further helps in losing weight, said Batra in a post on Instagram.
*Pecans are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure.

Mid-morning: one glass of beetroot or ghia (bottle gourd) or cucumber or mausami (sweet lemon) or Tulsi and mint leaves or amla (gooseberry) or celery leaves or fresh haldi (turtmeric) or carrot or aloe vera juice. Alternatively, Sidhu can can have one fruit from among watermelon, melon, kiwi, strawberry, guava, apple, and wood apple. He can also opt for sprouted black chana (25 gm) plus green gram dal (25gm) plus kheera (cucumber)/tomato/half lemon/avocado.

Here’s how a lightly filling mid-day snack can help, according to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar.

*Go for meals and snacks full of a variety of nutrient-dense, healthy foods instead of relying on packaged and processed snack foods.
*Consume a larger proportion of calories earlier in the day, making breakfast, lunch and daytime snacks higher in calories than dinner and evening snacks.
*All this helps in boosting metabolism and regulating sleep levels.

Seasonal fruits like watermelon can help beat the summer heat, and don’t have any calories, too! Fresh juices can also help tide over slight cravings.

Lunch: One chappati of 30 gm comprising sorghum, singhara and ragi flour in equal quantity with one bowl each of seasonal green vegetable and of cucumber and ghia raita or one bowl of beet root raita, a green salad bowl of cucumber, tomato, kakri, lettuce leaves and half lemon, and one glass of lassi.

Gluten-free chapati (sorghum, singhara, and ragi flour) can help in easing digestion and reduce stomach-related issues, noted dietitian Jain.

According to nutritionist Pooja Bohra, a balanced diet is one that fulfils all of a person’s nutritional needs. A balanced meal is a snapshot of a diet that covers three core food groups. The balance at lunch time is a quarter protein, a quarter carbohydrates, and half of vegetables, she shared.

diet Here’s what to know about a balanced meal. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Evening: A cup of 100 ml tea with low fat milk and no sugar, and 25 gm of paneer slice or 25 gm Tofu with half lemon.

Wholesome snacks will ensure you don’t eat junk food at the most vulnerable time of the day. It will also ensure that your dinner stays light and you can sleep better, asserted Diwekar.

As part of her 12-week fitness project guidelines, she mentioned that for early risers looking to finish their dinner by 7-7.30pm, 4-6pm meal options could include peanuts, foxnuts, chikki, homemade chakli and fresh seasonal fruit or banana. This is most useful for people with lifestyle conditions like diabetes/blood pressure and PCOD and insulin resistance.

Dinner: A bowl of mixed vegetable and dal soup/black chana soup with a 200 gm bowl sprinkled with black pepper powder and consisting of sauteed vegetables (carrot, beans, broccoli, mushroom, bell pepper).

According to nutritionist Nancy Dehra, vegetables — raw, steamed, curried — however you eat them are the most important part of your meals as it allows more fibre, nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Bed time: A cup of Chamomile tea and one tablespoon Psyllium husk with half glass warm water

Dried chamomile contains terpenoids and flavonoids which provide benefits like helping with sleep, aiding digestion, and promoting good heart health. Psyllium husk with half glass warm water helps lower cholesterol, normalise liver size, and clean stomach of constipation,” dietitian Jain said.

Other recommendations for Sidhu

Drink 10-12 glasses (of water) per day

*Water makes up 60 per cent of the human body. Losing just one per cent to two per cent of your body’s fluids can result in fatigue and impaired cognition.

Focus on getting the bulk of your fluid intake from water, but for variety, enjoy low-sugar teas or milk.

An easy way to gauge hydration status is to look at the colour of your urine — the darker the urine is, the more likely a person is to be dehydrated.

*Avoid processed foods; avoid saturated fats (desi ghee, butter, white butter); use olive oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil or cold pressed mustard or sunflower oils; Do not sprinkle table salt on any salad; use iodised salt in small quantity

A 2019 study by the National Library of Medicine titled Sugar and the Mosaic of Autoimmunity says that diets high in excess salt and sugar are associated with risks of chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases. A sugar-rich diet also limits the immune system’s ability to fight diseases. Hence, it is advised to avoid canned and processed foods like chips, cakes and cookies, sugary breakfast cereals, sweetened dairy products, aerated drinks, and microwaveable foods

*Exercise everyday for at least 30-45 minutes.

Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar suggests one should eat seasonal and local food, besides exercising regularly; she even emphasises on eating without any distractions.

“Like food, exercise is important, too. If you have a body, you have to exercise. Exercise has four pillars — strength, stamina, stability and stretching. At least 30 minutes of exercise or 3 hours a week is necessary for everybody,” she said.

staying active in summers, how to keep energised and refreshed, summer season healthy activities, how to keep active in summers, indian express news Are you drinking water? (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Three square meals will help power you, along with one to two snacks per day. It’s a good idea to keep convenient, nutrient-rich snacks such as nuts, fruit, and string cheese nearby for when hunger strikes, said Dr Irfan Shaikh, head adult nutrition, scientific and medical affairs, Abbott’s Nutrition business.

Points to keep in mind

According to a United Nations’ paper Healthy diet: A definition for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, healthy diet is health-promoting and disease-preventing. “It provides adequacy without excess, of nutrients and health promoting substances from nutritious foods and avoids the consumption of health-harming substances.”

While conceptually simple, there is “no straightforward, universally accepted approach to classifying individual foods as more or less nutritious”. Similarly, some context specificity is required in the categorisation of individual foods as nutritious. The same food, for example, whole fat milk, may provide much-needed energy and other nutrients to one population group (e.g., underweight 3-year-old children), but be less “healthy” for another due to high energy (calories) and fat content (e.g., obese adults), it noted.

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