In a healthy body resides a healthy mind. We all know that health is wealth. Food we consume contributes significantly towards our health.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
As the wise man stated, our food is medicine that keeps us healthy. Because of food is easily available compared to earlier times, the variety of food available increasing enormously and so many other factors have contributed to us eating an unhealthy diet.
We have to plan to make our diet healthy. Here are a few pointers
Make sure you include
- Whole grains
- Complete proteins
- Fruits and vegetables
- Milk and milk products
Limit the consumption of
- Excess fats especially saturated fats
- Trans fats (avoid)
- Refined foods
- Sugary beverages
- Excess salt
- Excess sugar
Grains which are not whole will mostly give only energy. Whereas whole grains are good sources of energy along with micronutrients that is vitamins and minerals. The most important fact is that they also provide fiber which is essential for gut health. They are also good sources of phytochemicals which have health-promoting properties.
It is not just enough to provide an adequate amount of protein through diet it is also important to supply all the essential amino acids containing foods. Animal foods generally have all the essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by our body. But plant proteins except for a few sources such as soybean lack a few essential amino acids. This drawback can be overcome by mixing complementary foods such as cereals and dals. When consumed together these complementary foods will provide all the essential amino acids. Vegetarians need to be a little careful while planning to meet protein requirement in their diet.
Fruits and vegetables
These two food groups supply vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Therefore, it is extremely important to have these in the diet every day. The variety of fruits and vegetables available is enormous, try to incorporate different fruits and vegetables in your diet especially the locally available seasonal ones.
Milk and milk products
Include adequate amounts of milk and milk products in your diet because they provide calcium which is of utmost importance to the formation of strong bones and teeth. Calcium also performs several other important functions in the body. Milk and milk products provide other micronutrients also but calcium is the most important nutrient they supply.
When it comes to foods to be limited or avoided
- Take not more than a tsp (5 gm) salt a day
- Not more than 30 % of your calories should come from fat (in that keep saturated fat limited and avoid trans fats)
- Not more than 5 % calories should come from free sugars.
If you follow these rules and also get adequate exercise that is what is called a healthy lifestyle. According to World Health Organization, a healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity is the reason for several diseases globally.
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.