Tips for staying healthy at any age

Staying healthy is a challenge - or is it? Make lifestyle changes and watch your health improve. Watch what you eat, hydrate yourself and make a conscious effort to exercise. Your health is greatly influenced by what you eat and how you treat yourself.

I was recently admitted to hospital for a fever that wouldn't go away. With frequent reports of H1N1 deaths in the newspapers, my husband was convinced that I had somehow contracted the disease. I had been running a high temperature for four days, which no amount of Paracetamol would bring down. So, despite all my protests, I was rushed to the emergency room, where I was given medication, through intravenous and kept under observation till my temperature dropped to normal and was then promptly sent home. I woke up early the next morning, shivering, and a quick temperature check showed I had a temperature of 104.2°F. You guessed it; I was back in the hospital, this time with an airbag full of clothes and toiletries. I knew the doctors would admit me. To cut a long story short, the fever remained unexplained, and the best guess the doctors could make was that it was some kind of viral fever.

During my stay at the hospital, I was subjected to various tests. Some of which I do annually. My annual medical tests have always been normal, touch wood. No high blood pressure, no diabetes, no cholesterol, no thyroid malfunction, no problems with the ECG, no constipation, no piles, no joint pains and an enviable haemoglobin count. I didn't know how lucky I was, until every doctor that visited me, at the private hospital, commented on my reports. Most showed surprise that I was not on medication for common age-related diseases. One doctor asked me what I did right, to be healthy, at my age. After all, I am on the other side of fifty!

My health mantra

What is it that I do differently? I am a hard-core meat eater – there is some kind of meat served at every meal. Sometimes even at breakfast. Despite that my meals are super healthy. I incorporate a lot of healthy foods in my diet. It is not that I am an out and out health freak. I also eat everything – from junk food to fried stuff to sweets and baked goodies, but I make up for all the rubbish I eat, by preparing healthy foods at home.

If you wonder why I chose to write on this topic; it's recent forum post that prompted me to.

My staple foods

I am from Delhi, so my dietary habits are largely influenced by the northern belt. I eat more wheat than rice. I use whole grain wheat flour for my chapattis. To this flour, I add a handful of oats and soya flour and always add, one more, flour, by rotation. The flours that I add by rotation are bajra, jau, jowar, channa and makai. So, my chapattis are always multi-grained, consisting of four different flours. I also puree palak or fenugreek greens and add to the dough and at times mash avocado and add to the dough as well.

Multi-grain flour is healthier

It is not that I don't eat rice. I do, quite often, but not as regularly as wheat. I tried switching to brown rice, but my husband and daughter didn't like it much. So, I am back to cooking basmati, whenever I cook rice. My rice preparation is generally a pulao, made using a variety of vegetables. For special occasions, I also add fried cashew nuts, raisins and fox nuts to the rice. When I cook boiled rice I ensure there are a lot of veggies served on the side. If I serve biryani, I add veggies to the raita – onions, tomatoes, grated cucumber.

Water therapy

I believe water works at flushing out toxins from the body. It keeps the body hydrated and helps the digestive tract function properly. I drink a lot of fluids, mainly water, consuming around three litres of water a day. I drink a glass of water, after each visit to the loo.

What do I eat for breakfast?

I wake up around five-thirty, and after my morning routine (which I have no problem with) I have a cup of coffee. I had in fact given up coffee and had gone without it (cold turkey) for six months. I spend the next few hours reading the newspaper, tending to my plants, settling the house and chatting with my husband.

I begin breakfast preparation around seven-thirty. It could be anything – from idli sambhar to masala dosa or aallo paratha to chola bhatura or moong dal chilla to poha or bread and eggs with ham or sausages on the side to vegetable and cheese sandwiches.

The items that remain a constant during breakfast are a banana, half an apple and seven almonds soaked overnight. Another thing that I practice is adding vegetables to my breakfast. Idli, for example, will have bits of carrots, beetroot and cabbage and a handful of oats. The sambhar will be loaded with seasonal vegetables. There is always a sprinkling of finely sliced onions, tomatoes, green chillies and cilantro on the dosa or uttapam and a handful of oats in the batter. The puri served with the alloo will have pureed spinach or chopped fenugreek greens in it. Chola bhatura has carrots, cucumber, radish, beetroot and onions on the side. The bread, eggs and sausages are served with a bowl of steamed and lightly sautéed veggies. Or it could be an egg baked in an avocado with grilled tomatoes on the side. There are some days when we have just muesli or cornflakes, but the constants are always served.

A rule of the thumb I follow is to try and include a few veggies and two fruits and almonds in the breakfast I eat/serve.

Between breakfast and lunch

I munch on a tablespoon of flax seeds around eleven along with another fruit. It is mostly melons or frozen grapes (which I freeze myself) otherwise any other seasonal fruit.

What is on my lunch plate?

Lunch is usually served between 13:00-13:15 hours. It consists of 2 small chapattis, a dry meat dish, vegetables (mixed or plain), curd (generally a raita with palak, bottle gourd and potato etcetera), a dal or rajma or channa if it is an Indian meal. If it is a single vegetable, say a baingan bharta or stuffed karela, then I have salad on the side too. If I choose a continental meal then I serve a meat dish, with boiled and sautéed or baked or grilled veggies on the side or a salad.

There are a whole lot of veggies in whatever I serve. Be it pasta or a burger or noodles or pizza. There is also some fruit at the end of the meal. A small guava or one small orange or a small bowl of grapes.

Between lunch and dinner

Around 17:00 hours, I serve a small snack. It could be anything from a halwa to a chaat or masala vada or pakora or samosa and jalebi or just fried peanuts with chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies and cilantro. This is one time I indulge in the not so healthy foods.

Home made papri chaat

At 18:00 hours we go for a walk, and munch on a handful of walnuts before we leave. It is not so much a walk as it is socialising. We meet with friends, chat, and laugh and walk a bit. We are home by 19:15 hours to a glass of lime juice or buttermilk or juice or a milk shake.

Dinner is light

I start putting dinner together around 19:30 and by 20:15 we are through with it. Dinner is usually light. It could be a homemade soup and a chicken salad or guacamole and bread. I could serve a platter of grilled or baked veggies and meat or a meat and vegetable casserole or cold cut sandwiches with a salad on the side. Whatever it is that I serve I always drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it.

Dinner of meat and grilled veggies

Going to bed routine

A mug of warm milk and a spoon of chyawanprash is something that I have been taking since I was a child and I have continued with this habit.

Walk alone

At around 21:30 hours, I go for a brisk walk/run, by myself or step into the gym, depending on my mood. I take 8-10 rounds of the colony and am back home by 22:30 hours.

Mastered the art of multi-tasking

I find time to work on my freelance writing projects, cook, dust, iron, clean the bathrooms and do other mundane household chores during the course of the day. I also find time to read and watch television, while meeting my work deadlines. I hit the bed around midnight and fall asleep immediately. I do not sleep during the day.

What has worked for me

I think it is what I put into my belly and my active lifestyle that has helped me keep all age-related illnesses at bay. The threat of hereditary induced diseases looms large. I lost my mother to high blood pressure and dad to cardiac arrest. High blood pressure runs in the family on my mother's side and diabetes on my dad's side. I have cousins in their forties battling with these diseases.

Apart from the healthy dose of fluids, fruits, vegetables and whole grains I include a lot of seeds (sesame, melon, sunflower etcetera) and nuts in my diet. The key here is also variety. Some exotic veggies like red bell peppers, broccoli and avocado make it to my plate because they are rich in heart-friendly nutrients. Extra virgin olive oil is also part of my daily diet. I don't drink, and my only poison is my morning cup of coffee. We also eat out often, but we select what we eat with care. At a buffet, it is mostly meats and salads.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: K Mohan12 Apr 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

The author has given elaborate tips and ideas as to how to stay healthy in all age and that is quite interesting to understand and follow too. But what I feel is it all depends on each individual as to how they take their life seriously health wise. Some do take a pledge that they would stay healthy, won't eat junk foods, they would be regular to the workouts and above all, they won't have irregular foods.

What I opine that there is nothing better than having regular food at the right time and accept only those foods which are likely to be accepted by our body and easily digestible. We should not go for hard food just because our taste buds wants and go for it. By having daily routine food regularly in time itself will give a good effect on our health as our digestion would be right and we are in healthy mode. For God sake avoid going to the functions and parties often.

Some people have the invites for functions at least three days in a week and going for hard food at the dinner would surely tell upon the health the next day. Either we would be late to the office or skip the office for stomach upset. So as far as my suggestion goes, having party food once in a while and that too with limited taste is good and never ever rush for so many items in one go. The hosts may have thrown a big party with a lavish menu. But we must have control over our taste buds and shun that food for our heath sake, That should be our mentality and never bow to others pressure to accept heavy foods.

Author: Juana12 Apr 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 10

My entire article is about what I do (or I think I do) right. So, yes it is about individual choices people make. As a matter of fact, everyone’s health (good or bad) is a result of the choices they make. What one eats, how active one is somehow gets reflected in every individual’s health. And this is what I have tried to explain through my article.

There are healthy choices that can be made even when eating out at a party. One does not have to eat only the oil laden scrumptious fare. Health conscious persons can fill their plates with tandoori meats or grilled, steamed or pan-fried stuff, which is lower in fat. Opt for these instead of foods with gravy. Also, tandoori roti is a better choice than naan or kulcha or for that matter even biryani. One can head to the salad bar and load one’s plate with fresh veggies. Eating more vegetable and lentil based dishes can reduce the damage that an otherwise heavy meal can cause. Make use of the fibre available in vegetarian food. Similarly, for dessert, eating chopped fruits is a better choice than eating all the other delicacies.

I personally feel that if our lifestyle is otherwise healthy then indulging in heavy, oil-rich foods once in a way is not bad. If it is ‘party season’ and people find that they cannot avoid eating out then they should make up for all the bad food they eat at such parties by eating healthier foods when they eat at home. They must also consciously become more active, physically, to counter the effects of the heavy food. Exercise more to create a balance.

It is difficult to avoid social commitments and hence attending celebratory dinners and lunches become mandatory. One must exhibit control and avoid eating foods that can have an adverse effect on one’s health or eat a small healthy meal/snack at home before proceeding to a party. This prevents overeating and thus works at maintaining good health.

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