What one eats is seen to determine one’s entire life; and nowhere has this statement been truer than in the contemporary scenario. With the rise in both obesity risks as well the number of cases in the country, eating healthy has become more important than ever. With morbid obesity at 5%, India is said to be following a trend set by other developed countries, making it all the more necessary to conduct a close analysis of eating habits.
A healthy diet tips must contain the following elements:
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean – meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
- A diet low on – saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars
- Adequate caloriesto meet daily needs
As specified by the last point, calorie needs are the major determinant of the diet one must follow, though fruits and vegetables form the base for all diets. Fresh fruits are the best choice for any meal as they do not require added sugar and in their absence, frozen or dried fruits are the next best option. With vegetables, steamed or grilled is the best option, in opposition to the fried version that is consumed by most of the population. The use of oil beyond the necessary amount is seen to be the major cause for obesity as it leads to a high fat diet, terminating in high cholesterol levels and excessive fat deposition. Calcium intake in the form of dairy products is encouraged as it has been noted in the recent years that many people in India (mostly infants and children) have been suffering from Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies due to the high fat diets mentioned before.
Some of the practices that have been observed as roadblocks to healthy eating are:
- Eating when not hungry
- Skipping meals
- Eating between meals
- Eating in response to stress or mood swings
- Eating the same foods all the time
Most of these factors can be attributed to hectic work schedules that clash with the population’s efforts to care for themselves. Emotional eating where food is taken for comfort is another practice that must be avoided. These practices combine to lead to weight gain that can only be combatted with healthy eating. But both weight loss and maintenance require two factors: discipline in diet and constant exercise. This exercise can be in multiple forms, from something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and gardening to moderate exercise regimes. The time spent in these regimes can move from 10 minutes at first to 40 minutes. All these practices function better when done in the presence of company as this enables both self and social monitoring, preventing weight regain.
It is important to reach a goal weight and to maintain a fitness for overall health. The size of the meals one eats must also be cut down instead of three large meals daily, one can partake of smaller meals at shorter intervals, thereby mitigating hunger as well maintaining one’s bodily requirements within reasonable limits. Thus, healthy eating leads to happier lives and ultimately, more effective functioning.