IntroductionHealth plays a very important role in our lives. In absence of good health, we remain susceptible to various illnesses, diseases, disorders etc. We all want to live long and for this, it becomes essential for us to keep our body healthy. Good health does not come very easily. We have to make efforts to achieve it and maintain it. Our unhealthy lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits affect our health greatly and thus we have to change them. We have to replace unhealthy eating habits with healthy eating habits. This may seem difficult in the beginning, but slow and gradual changes made will make the process very easy and smooth. Our diet plays a very important role and also exerts significant effect on our health. We need to take care of it, if we want to enjoy good health.
Here are some of the healthy eating and healthy drinking habits-
Eat nutritious well balanced dietA well balanced diet ensures that we get adequate amount of calories from our diet as well as takes care that all the nutrients required daily by our body are reaching it in adequate amount. Thus, risk of suffering from deficiencies of any type reduces. Balanced diet includes foods from all categories. Various foods consumed from various food categories will help to absorb different nutrients necessary for our body. Balanced diet also ensures that we get proper portion sizes. At least five portions of fruits and vegetables should be consumed in a day, of which two should be of fruit and three portions should be of vegetables. Four servings of protein and three servings of grains should be eaten. Balanced diet helps our body to meet its daily calorie requirement and daily essential nutrients too reaches body in adequate amount.
Stop drinking aerated beveragesDrinking aerated beverage increases weight, high blood pressure and cholesterol. It results in impaired fasting glucose. It increases susceptibility to metabolic syndrome. People now a days are replacing their cold drinks with diet soda, assuming it to be a better version. Though it may be less in calories but still exerts same side-effects as other aerated drinks. It is one of the worst things we can ever put in our body. Artificial sweeteners present in it are toxic. Thus, aerated beverages should be not consumed as they are not filled with any goodness and only does harm to our body.
Drink more amount of WaterAdequate amount of water intake is a healthy habit one can really induce oneself into. It prevents dehydration by hydrating body. This will remove all the accumulated toxins from the body. Consequently all the organs of the body will start functioning efficiently. Always carry a water bottle while going outside. This will ensure providing adequate hydration to body even while we are outside. Drinking 2-2.5 liters of water daily is recommended amount to stay hydrated, apart from other fluids intake. It quenches thirst and prevents us from drinking soda or other unhealthy drinks. If plain water seems boring then we can even add some lemon juice or other fruit juices to it to make it more tasty.
Avoid AlcoholIt is an altogether healthy habit to avoid alcohol but if one has to drink it then do it in moderation. This is because alcohol in moderate amount is associated with health benefits. It decreases the risk of diabetes, strokes and heart related diseases. One drink a day for women and two drinks for men is what counts as alcohol in moderation. Heavy drink continued for a longer period is fatal and associated with serious health risks like causing cancer and organ failures.
Always eat breakfastBreakfast is the most important meal of the day. It should be the largest meal of the day as calories consumed during breakfast will provide energy to our body throughout the day. Skipping breakfast will tend to increase weight whereas those who eat it lose more weight and also it should be in substantial amount. Breakfast should be healthy to set a positive tone in the beginning of the day itself. Do not eat junk or processed foods in breakfast. Healthy 100% fruit juice or smoothie, lean protein, whole grains are all good choices for healthy breakfast. More healthy the breakfast is, more energy it will release throughout the day and necessity to binge on unhealthy foods is reduced greatly throughout the day.
Eat Fruits and VegetablesHalf of the required amount of calories should come from fruits and vegetables. At least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables should be eaten. Sprouts also count as one portion of vegetable. Filling half of the p;ate with fruits and vegetables will ensure that we do not binge on other foods which are high in calories whereas fruits and vegetables are low in calories and have high nutrition value. They fill up stomach and also supply vitamins and minerals both essential for body. They are also rich in antioxidants. Eating sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables will ensure that blood sugar, blood pressure remains in normal range and also reduces risk of heart diseases and cancers.
Drink Green TeaGreen tea is rich in antioxidants. It increases metabolism and it is best to drink after meals to reduce the risk of heart burn. It is delicious as well as healthy. Since it is rich in antioxidants, it will delay the signs of aging by acting against free radicals in the body as well as it is best alternative to other beverages which are high in calories, which are caffeinated, ones which are aerated etc. Green tea only provides healthy benefits and is also tasty and thus should be made as part of a daily healthy habit.
Cut down SugarSugar is purely carbohydrate in content and it is better to get daily carbohydrate requirement of body from other sources which also provides us different essential nutrients. Sugar is high in calories and nutrients deficient. Thus, try to avoid it as much as possible. This is cause hardly it benefits our body in anyways. Tea, coffee, juices should all be consumed plain without adding any amount of sugar to it. This way we will be able to inculcate a healthy habit in our daily routine as well as appreciate the taste these drinks offer us as sugar masks the complete taste. Even artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Though they have negligible amount of calories in them, but are not good for health.
Avoid processed foods and junk foodsIt is best to avoid processed foods and always go for fresh, healthy foods and drinks and if possible organic ones. Processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt, fat and all those preservatives which give them bad taste and smell. They lack nutrients and thus they do not do any good for our body. However, if it becomes extremely difficult to buy certain fresh foods and buying processed foods become necessary then do check labels properly before buying them. If labels show high amounts of sodium and saturated fats then buy the other ones which show low amount of the same. If label reads no trans fat does not mean it does not contain any. It still has trans fat, but in small amounts which of course can be ignored without legal issues. Junk foods are again very high in calories and very low in nutrition but still we make it part of most of our meals today. Junk foods and processed foods should be eaten in very small amount with the purpose of occasionally treating oneself once in a while. Rule is to always buy and consume real foods which are gifts of nature.
ConclusionDietary changes made in every day life greatly influence our health. If we eat and drink unhealthy then we will suffer from bad health and health related complications. If we eat and drink healthy then we will be blessed with good health. All we have to do is change unhealthy habits and replace each unhealthy dietary habit with a healthy dietary habit. We are what we eat and thus if we make little efforts in our every day life and slowly as well as gradually if try to change unhealthy eating habits then over the period of time we will start following best diet plan. It will be healthy and balanced which not only will fulfill our daily calorie requirements but also will fulfill our daily nutritional requirements. It will keep our body free from illnesses and will bless us with good health.
Very informative about diets. Eating junk foods is always the source of bad health. But they are tasty.Many people tend to eat it. But it is not good to take junk foods. We should have a control here.
People say have a heavy breakfast, moderate lunch and poor dinner. If we follow this system we will have a good health.
Drinking, smoking are very bad habits. Don't drink alcohol.
Don't eat anything after 8 PM in the evening. Make a point to be awake at least for 2 hours after your last meal of the day.
These are also some useful tips for maintaining good health.
Our diet itself will decide what kind of health we will enjoy. We are what we eat and drink and thus we cannot eat anything and every thing. We have to eat healthy to remain healthy and this conscious effort will help us to remain healthy in the long run, keeping all sorts of sicknesses and diseases far away from us. Healthy dietary habits is not about starving oneself. It is about smart eating as well as about enjoying the food at the same time. Healthy dietary habits will keep us physically and mentally healthy and keep us energized throughout the day i.e., our body will remain active. Unhealthy eating will give rise to lethargy feeling whereas healthy eating boosts energy levels in the body.
It is nice that you dedicated an entire paragraph on the demerits, of sugar. Sugar is the unhealthiest food item that we consume. Latest research shows that it impacts our health worse than fats do.
Sugar is also loaded with calories and all of it is empty calories. Sugar provides zero nutrition and is also addictive. We can regulate the sugar we add to our tea, coffee and cereal. We can stop ourselves from eating ice cream and pastries and cakes etc. However, sugar comes concealed in most packaged foods, which we do not even realise. It is there in ketchup and in bread and in a lot of mixtures and snacks that we eat.
We must learn to read and understand labels on food items, so we can avoid sugar that comes labelled under fancy names. Companies cheat us into believing that they are not selling us sugary products, but consumers must beware of ingredients that say corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, malt syrup to name a few. These are all sugars and as harmful as the crystals we put in our tea and coffee.
Excellent article written about a common problem.
In today's world when you open any major paper you find reports of
1. increasing trend in diabetes and high blood pressure
2. Adolescents and young people suffering from obesity and high cholesterol related issues
3.Young people who have to lead life sadly dying from a massive heart attack or suffering a major stroke
4.People not even crossing 50 but need stents to improve blood flow to heart, getting transplants for alcohol related liver failure
5.Many Indians by their 40s-50s start their day with a handful of tablets and capsules (to reduce BP, to control sugar, to control cholesterol, to increase vitamin levels and to increase calcium levels)
Some of the seniors who have seen the 70s-80s go by surely would find it hard to recollect hearing the same diseases existing with such rapid and widespread occurence. Science and research attributes part of this to genetics, stress and unhealthy dietary habits.
Take for instance the common food items around us (please correct me if the figures change)
1.Look at the little box of the common popular biscuit brands that we give our children and we too eat often - 410-460 kcal/100 gm!
2. Look at the tetra pack of the common juice brands 60-65 kcal/100ml
3. Popular packs of mixture,'kara items' 400-540kcal/100mg
4. Popular chocolates 40-50 kcal/10 gms!
5. I think there's no need to go into Junk food that we all know about
Prevention and 'I told you so' would sound apt in such situations and here the battle against these disease should start from home and from every individual. Every one of us have dreams of seeing our children grow, invest in mutual funds and retirement plan. Perhaps the best gift we can give our children is encouraging healthy habits related to food and exercise.
Last but not least when we dream about our children getting their degrees, getting married, it's important that we have to be healthy to see those special events and i think there would be no greater motivator to start the changes in our diet. If you already follow it, Well done! if not, start now for its never too late!!