Dr. Saba Akram.
Let’s make a promise to our mind and body that we will indulge into Healthy Eating this 2017. Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Not totally avoiding junk food, but eating too much of it makes which does not meet your daily nutrient requirements and result in weight gain and adverse health effects.
Nutrition is important for everyone. When combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, eating well is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy. It is estimated that one third of all cancers could be prevented if everybody had a good diet. It also results in delayed occurrence of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other illness.
As is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an Chapter 7 (AL-A’RAF (THE HEIGHTS) Ayat 31
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. “
What is Healthy Eating? What is a Healthy Diet?
A balanced diet or a good diet is a nutritional lifestyle that promotes good health. This includes consuming food from 5 main food groups in the right quantity as a single group cannot provide everything a human needs for good health and healthy life.
Diet is often interpreted as some dietary regimen for losing weight. Diet actually means what food we eat in the course of a 24-hour, one week, or one month, etc. period.
The five main food groups with percentage needed to be consumed daily are given below –
(1) Whole grains (2) Fruit and Vegetables, (3) Protein, (4) Dairy, (5) Fat & Sugar.
WHAT you eat & WHEN you eat MATTERS a lot
- Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day.
A healthy breakfast (700 calories) can jumpstart your metabolism, while eating small, healthy meals (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up as well as helps control body weight, Lowering one’s risk of developing heart disease high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Avoid eating at night.
- Try to eat dinner earlier
Fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Did you know? Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.
Consequences of unhealthy eating
|· Overweight or Obesity in Adults and Kids
|· Coronary heart disease
· Ischemic heart disease
· Rotting teeth.
|· Cancer (deficiency of minerals and vitamins|
Moderation is key to Healthy Diet
Moderation is all about balance of calories/day and it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. Despite what fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.
For many of us, moderation also means eating less than we do now. But it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. For Eg: Eating a desi ghee paratha or drinking a milkshake once a week for breakfast, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal. If you’re still hungry, fill up with extra vegetables.
- Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
- Add food to your plate in smaller portions and chew slowly.
- Learn to differentiate between temptation and hunger. If you feel full stop eating for 8 mins as it takes time for your brain to tell you that your body is full.
- Drink water before starting your food and in between. Do not drink water at the end as it causes bloating and pressure on the digestive system.
- Eat with others whenever possible. As well as the emotional benefits, this allows you to model healthy eating habits for your kids. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.
- Teach your children healthy eating habits, by adopting and modeling these behaviors in yourself, help them maintain a healthy weight and normal growth. Also, the eating habits your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.
Struggle and failures to adopt a healthy lifestyle:
- Many people struggle with their health or weight because they want a miracle diet plan. They make huge changes to their eating habits cutting whole food groups and deny themselves the pleasure of eating due to which the body feels lethargic, they become short tempered and finally give up.
- The changes they made end up being short term and their old eating habits soon return, leaving them disheartened and demoralized leading to double weight gain and clogging of arteries and veins
The 5 WHO recommendations – (apply both to populations and individuals)
- Aim for an energy balance and a healthy bodyweight.
- Limit our energy consumption from total fats. Aim for more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats.
- Increase our consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Consume as little simple sugars as possible.
- Make sure our salt is iodized, and also limit our consumption of salt/sodium.
The key to success lies in developing healthy eating habits that will not only help you reach your goals, but will also leave you feeling full and with plenty of energy to do everything you want to do. Healthy eating habits are all about putting changes in place that are sustainable in the long term.
Stay tuned as I will be sharing some awesome lunchbox recipes for kids as well as diet pros and cons in the articles to follow.
A Sample of a Simple Balanced meal ( add 15 MIns exercise daily)
About the Writer:
Dr Saba Akram is an online pharmacist who feels that counselling people on general health can reduce the need of medication. My motto is “A kind word is better than the sweetest syrup.”
You can email at Saba_a1@hotmail.com