A Page From Nature's Kitchen

Did you know that certain foods are better consumed in the morning, noon, afternoon, evening and at night time?

In this edition, we are introducing you to foods that are better consumed in the morning.

Breakfast / Morning time (concentrate on foods that provide you with energy, not weigh you down)

Fruits: all fruits that grow from trees are considered morning foods.

Apples. The best time to eat apples are in the morning as its pectin helps the intestines and prevents carcinoma.

Pears are one of the lowest-calorie fruits; an average pear has just over 100 calories, which is 5% of daily calorie allowance of a healthy diet, helping you lose weight.

Oranges are a powerful cleanser of your blood and help eliminate waste, resulting in overall weight-loss. They provide potassium, an electrolyte mineral responsible for healthy heart function. They help achieve clearer skin and better vision with their high anti-oxidants.

Bananas can help with depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin – the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. They contain relatively few calories. An average banana contains just over 100 calories, yet it is also very nutritious and filling; therefore, helping weight-loss.

Besides, they pack a big punch of energy. Bananas also contain Resistant Starch (RS). RS signals your body to use fat for energy. Kiwis contain minerals like phosphorus, zinc, magnesium which accelerate hair growth by stimulating blood circulation. Mangoes contain the highest amount of beta-carotene, which is known to protect the body from various diseases. Mangoes contain about 20 different minerals and vitamins, making the fruit one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available.

Mangiferin is a compound found in mangoes and has also been found to inhibit the growth of colon and liver cancer cells and other tumour cells as well.

Papayas. One medium sized papaya contains just 120 calories and will help you lose weight as the delicious fruit fills you up with a considerable amount of dietary fibre by promoting a feeling of fullness while controlling cravings.

Nuts: Tree Nuts. Almonds are low in carbs, but high in healthy fats, protein and fibre. This makes them a perfect choice for diabetics. However, another thing that sets almonds apart is their remarkably high amount of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes, including blood sugar control. The current recommended intake for magnesium is 310-420 mg. Two ounces of almonds provide almost half of that, with 150 mg of this vital mineral. It turns out that 25-38% of type 2 diabetics are deficient in magnesium, and correcting the deficiency significantly lowers blood sugar levels and improves the function of insulin. Interestingly, people without diabetes also see major reductions in insulin resistance when supplementing with magnesium.

Walnuts have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They are very beneficial to the cardiovascular system. It has been found that eating just a few walnuts per day can help reduce blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower bad cholesterol in the body and encourage production of the good cholesterol. Fatty acids also aid the smooth functioning of the nervous system and improve your memory.

Cashews are high in minerals, fibre, protein and unsaturated fat. Among the "clean eaters" of this world, unsalted cashews are a staple, whizzed up into milks and butters. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the links between nut consumption – including cashews – and chronic disease. High nut intake – including cashews – was linked to lower rates of heart disease.

Macadamias are among the fattiest of all nuts. But it contains monounsaturated fats, a highly touted source of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil. These types of fatty acids benefit the cardiovascular system.

All tree nuts are brain foods, and a small amount of each is sufficient. If you purchase raw nuts, you can warm them in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes at between 120 C to 160 C.

Oats are filling and an excellent food to start your day with, mixed with some of the fruits and nuts described above. Oats are actually gluten-free. However, if you have a gluten allergy, be sure to ensure the oats you buy have not been cross-contaminated with wheat, rye or barley which contain gluten. Oats are technically gluten-free since they aren’t a type of wheat, barley or rye grain -the three groups of whole grains that naturally contain the protein gluten.

Instead of containing gluten, oats have a protein called avenins. For a good breakfast that charges your energy levels up:

Go for protein. Eggs on whole grain toast with nut butter, ¼ cup of oats on Greek yoghurt with fruits and almonds are a good breakfast choice. If you like cooked breakfast, an omelette with lots of high fibre vegetables will fill you up and provide lasting energy.

Go for fibre. Food that is high in fibre tends to slow down the digestive process, which will help you feel fuller longer, leading to a more sustainable form of energy.

Go for healthy fats. Avocados on toast are full of healthy fats and delicious.

Carbs (complex carbs like whole wheat bread, oatmeal and quinoa) should ideally make up no more than half of your breakfast. A mixture of good carbs, protein and fibre will keep you feeling full and energetic longer than a breakfast that is high in carbs (especially simple or processed carbs). But as we basically live on glucose, i.e., our brains can only process glucose for fuel, we do need carbs (glucose) to survive. There are many different types of sugars, including glucose, fructose and galactose. Although starches like grains and potatoes get broken down into glucose in the digestive tract, raising blood sugar levels, the sugar in a potato is not the same as that of a chocolate bar.