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Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Have you experienced signs of weight gain, elevated blood pressure, loss of muscle strength, decreased immunity, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, sleep issues, irritable moods or binge eating? The past two years, with the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown us the tough times, and it’s not over yet.
With the new variants of Covid-19 doing the rounds, the world is fighting a battle with a hope to conquer. Unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and mental stress during lockdown has increased the risk of chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, cancer, depression and anxiety. We all need to gear up and work together in the new year to build an armour of a strong immune system within us to keep us away from both mental and physical illnesses.
Let us all pledge to:
● Eat healthy
● Stay physically active
● Avoid alcohol
● Follow a regular sleep pattern to give yourselves and our loved ones the gift of good health
Good nutrition not only supplies building blocks for your body to function well but also to build a strong immune system. Yoga, exercise, walking, dancing, sports further improve physical strength and release happy hormones like serotonin that reduce stress and anxiety.
It also decreases the inflammatory response by flushing out the pathogens.
They generally eliminate some foods or even a whole food group labeling it as ‘bad foods’ which can in the long run lead to nutritional deficiency and even hormonal imbalance.
A balanced diet includes all the food groups (cereals, pulses, fruits, veggies, milk and its products, fats/oils, eggs and meat). It helps eliminate deficiencies, boosts immunity and increase productivity.
Balancing does not mean including all foods in your plate but also consuming them in optimal quantities. Use a simple katori (bowl) to measure the amount of food that you consume.
They are major sources of fibers, micronutrients and minerals important to build immunity. Fill a quarter with proteins sources (eggs, milk, paneer, pulses, fish, meat, soyabean, dals and quinoa) and the remaining quarter with complex carbs (brown rice, millets, roots, whole grains).
Have idli/dosa/poha/veg parathas/ eggs/salad/milk/cereals etc. These will provide complex carbs, proteins, and fiber.
Consume cereals (chapati/rice), dals/egg/meat/fish, veggies, dairy products(curd) on your plate.
Munch on a bowl of popcorn/makhana/roasted chana/peanuts/sprouts over cookies/chips/namkeens/samosas at snack time.
Have them at mid-morning and snack time. Eat all types of locally available seasonal vegetables (roots and tubers, green leafy veggies and other vegetables). Eat at least 3 katoris of vegetables a day.
These are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, flavonoids, antioxidants and minerals. They have high satiety index (you will feel ‘full’ after eating nuts). This helps in consuming less of other fatty and unhealthy foods while hungry in between meals.
Dehydration can cause drowsiness, fatigue, loss of focus and mood swings. Coconut water, lassi, buttermilk, green tea, lime juice is a good way to beat dehydration.
Opt for steamed, sauteed, baked, roasted or pressure-cooked food. These cooking methods help in preserving nutrients.
Try to avoid sugary drinks, sweets, fried snacks, processed foods, bakery items, pastries and cookies, salty namkeen. These are loaded with salt, sugar and saturated fats which result in an instant energy rush to your blood and brain and give momentary satisfaction. However, it leads to imbalance of hormones and after a few minutes one starts feeling heavy, bloated, irritable, lethargic and depressed.
Limit it to 1tsp/day. Noodles, RTE soups, pickles, papad, bakery items contain high amount of sodium and hence should be avoided.
Replace it with lean meat, poultry and fish.
Consume millets like jowar/bajra/ragi/maize and whole grains in your meals. Avoid refined flour like maida.
Limit eating out. The lockdown has taught us how to make everything we want at home, hasn’t it?
Choose stairs instead of elevators and walk for 30 minutes every day.
Ensure you do some form of exercise. Do yoga or dance or zumba or play with your kids if you do not like exercising at the gym. Practice any sport like cycling, swimming, tennis, badminton 2 to 3 times a week.
Get up from your desk every half an hour, stretch and walk down to refill your water bottle.
Reduce and if possible quit tobacco and alcohol. Excessive consumption reduces the immune system’s response to invading pathogens.
Research shows that good quality sleep of 8 hours helps to build our immunity. To induce good sleep at bedtime, drink a glass of warm milk with turmeric.
Yes, most importantly, stay happy. The glow on your face come from the inside and not from the outside.
Do not miss out on the key moments of your life with your loved ones due to poor health, when all you need is a little bit of a daily commitment to yourself. Wish you a very happy and healthy 2022.