With the increasing number of health food options, do we know what really works for us? We speak to Elaine Ho from chopstickdiner.com to dig out the truth.

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With health and healthy eating slowing gaining priority over regular eating patterns, each day we are introduced to a new health product that promises to magically straighten our well-being. One day it is almond butter, the other day it is avocado smoothies and yet the third day it is red rice. Do these substitutions or new foods, really make a difference or are we better off with our servings of mee rebus and nasi lemak?

To get our health food facts right, we speak to Elaine Ho from chopstickdiner.com.

Armed with a degree in food technology, Elaine has worked for over 6 years in the Australian food production industry before returning to Malaysia and starting chopstickdiner.com- a humble attempt to share her nutritious recipes and to give her friends healthy lunch boxes. Her backyard idea soon skyrocketed into a full-time health food portal that serves delicious and healthy meals to many households and corporates throughout the city.

Read on to find out who wins the health food battle!

Kale Vs Bok-choy

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 “Being leafy vegetables, kale and bok-choy are both a good source of fibre. But in the nutrition race, kale wins! It is more densely packed in nutrition and is full of anti-oxidants.  Also, kale  is  eaten raw in salads or blended in smoothies, which means there is higher nutrition retention.”

 “Bok-choy on the other hand is served either blanched or stir fried. A sure way to receive all the nutrients from bok-choy is to incorporate a few leaves in smoothies. Blend it along with some strong flavoured fruits such as mangoes and grapes and you easily increase its nutrition value without compromising on the taste.”

Coconut oil Vs Olive oil

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 “Coconut oil is a new health gimmick! That being said, it is very important to be careful in the selection of your oil. Virgin coconut oil has good health benefits and can be consumed in equal proportions as olive oil. “

 “In the long term however, I still prefer using olive oil in my kitchen. The health benefits of olive oil have been long known. It is rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are the ‘good fats’ and effectively reduce the risk of heart diseases. Plus olive oil is more versatile to use in everyday cooking making it an option of preference for me.”

Quinoa Vs Brown rice

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“I think we have an obvious winner here – Quinoa. To be honest, both quinoa and brown rice are good for you. They are gluten free and have a high content of magnesium that is a key to strong bones. However, quinoa is one of the rare plant products that has lysine followed by eight other essential amino acids, making it a complete grain.”

“Some might however feel that quinoa has its own distinct taste that does not appeal to every palette. In that case, I would recommend to start by sprinkling quinoa over a serving a rice, adding it to salads and using it to coat chicken. Low in fat and high in proteins, quinoa makes for a wholesome grain option.”

Flax seeds Vs Chia Seeds

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“Both flax and chia are like the star seeds! They are rich in calcium, phosphorous, fibre, proteins and fats; so my decision here is based on the versatility of consumption for each. In those terms, I would select chia seeds over flax seeds.”

“Chia seeds can be eaten whole or you can soak them in water and use them in jelly puddings, as a yogurt topping and so on. With flax seeds it is not advisable to eat them whole. The only way to consume flax seeds is to pound them every day and use the powder in your cup of milo or your protein shake. Also long term storage of flax seed powder makes it rancid, which sort of loses out on the practicality of usage. "

Salmon Vs Tuna

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“The important thing to note when it comes to seafood is where the fish came from and what processes it underwent before landing on your plate. So if you would give me an option between farmed salmon and wild tuna, I would go for the wild tuna and vice versa.”

 “For me, salmon is my go-to fish. Salmon is great for muscle recovery and helps in absorption and energy release. If you are looking for a post-workout meal, the best would be a nice pink slab of baked salmon. Couple that with some grilled vegetables and you will be craving for seconds in no time. "

On Diets: Atkins Vs Paleo

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“While Atkins and Paleo are low carb diets, I would opt for the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet, called as the cave-man diet, basically lays emphasis on consuming wholesome foods that are locally sourced. Farm grown vegetables, kampong chicken, fresh fish and seasonal fruits can all be a part of the Paleo diet. "

“The Atkins diet on the other hand is a protein rich diet. Here, the source from where your food comes is not of much significance. Plus, consuming a diet that is high in protein can over time cause trouble with liver functioning.  So I prefer sticking to whole and non-processed food."

 (Photos: Pixabay)

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