You are what you eat. Your emotional health, physical well being as well as your skin and beauty is highly influenced by your dietary habits. Nutrition is an issue of survival, health and development for current and succeeding generations. Healthy food combined with a regular exercise is the foundation for good health. Healthy children grow up to better IQ and adequate nutrition makes them more productive while, poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased vulnerability to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity. Obese children grow up to suffer from mood swings, depression, hormonal imbalances, risks of asthma, diabetes, and heart problems.
Problems faced in India
Undernutrition is a problem which seems to be higher in rural India. It is a known fact that an undernourished mother begets a baby with low birth weight. It jeopardizes a child’s survival, health, growth and development, and thereby slows down the national progress towards development goals.
Overnutrition, on the other hand, is a curse of the modern world and globalization. Urban India is currently witnessing a rise in the number of people who are obese. The urban population has started relying on convenient and processed foods that contain a large amount of trans-fat, sugars, and other unhealthy and artificial ingredients. Obesity is considered as a major predisposing factor for many health risks like cancers, diabetes, heart diseases and strokes.
Here are a few guidelines for a healthy diet:
- Eat a variety of foods – Having a variety of foods helps ensure that you get all the disease-fighting potential that foods offer.
- Portion size matters – You can eat plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruits. However when it comes to higher-calorie foods portion control is the key. Fast foods restaurants serve dishes with huge portion sizes. Avoid them or split it with a friend.
- Include a rainbow in your diet – Include green orange, red, purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fibre and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes, rich in fiber, count as vegetables, though are moderately high in calories. Choose fruits over juices due to the fibre content.
- Get more whole grains – At least half the grains you eat should be whole grains like wheat, barley, and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and thus all the nutrients and fibre of the grain.
- Limit refined grains and added sugar – The refined carbohydrates in white bread, regular pasta and most snack foods have little or no dietary fibre and are devoid of many nutrients too. Limit foods which have added sugars like soda and candy. These are sources of empty calories and contribute to weight gain.
- Enjoy more fish and nuts – Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils supply healthy saturated fats. Though high in calories these foods do not promote weight gain. Choose olive oil over butter for cooking.
- Shun trans fats – Trans fats are used in processed foods such as commercially baked items, fast foods and snacks. Trans fats raise LDL – bad cholesterol and also reduce HDL – good cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Keep sodium down potassium up – Excess sodium raises the blood pressure in your body and has other harmful effects. At the same time consumption of more potassium is beneficial as it helps lower blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, potatoes, bean, and yogurt.
- Watch your calcium and Vitamin D – These nutrients are vital for your bone health. Calcium is present in dairy products, soya bean as well as in some leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is available in sunlight but might needs some supplements too.
- Limit alcohol – If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Binge drinking can be dangerous for your health and heavy drinkers are prone to various liver, heart and a wide range of health problems. Alcohol also increases the risk of certain cancers. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid alcohol altogether.
Our team at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital recommends a balanced diet for all. Do consult our Nutrition department for a personalized diet plan made as per your age, profession, health condition as well as lifestyle. Please see below website for more details: