For the last few months, amid the pandemic, there has been a spike in the consumption of healthy foods. Most people have become health-conscious with their diet patterns and shifted to organic foods like fruits, grains, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, etc.
Eating healthy and maintaining a balanced diet has its share of benefits. It enhances your immune system and keeps you energised, prevents diseases like diabetes and heart problems, enhances the ability of your body to combat infections, and most importantly, it keeps you on your toes.
However, some people have mixed thoughts when it comes to consuming certain foods, while a few cut down foods that are necessary for sound health. For that matter, nutritionists are the right professionals to approach for such sort of advice.
Kripa Jalan, CEO/Founder of Burgers To Beasts having an MPH in Nutrition from Harvard University and a certified nutritionist, shares 5 amazing balanced diet tips one can incorporate into their fitness regime. Plus, she has also shared some dos and don'ts for an effective healthy lifestyle.
5 Balanced Diet Tips In Your Pocket
1) Eating healthy fats: Fats have been controversial in the past, but are finally, although slowly, considered essential for our health. They are no longer the disease-promoting villain we made them out to be. Of course, the type matters. Trans fats are a complete no-no when it comes to maintaining good health. Eating healthy fats like coconut, avocado, olive oil, and ghee with vegetables allows your body to better utilize the fat-soluble vitamins. Nuts and seeds are great sources too.
2) Include plants in your diet: We’ve made health too complicated with our extensive lists of foods to avoid, calorie counting, and weighing our food—and despite all these rules, we’re not getting any better. It just doesn’t need to be this complicated. Diversity of plants. That’s it. That’s all you have to remember. If you follow this one rule, it will lead you to better health. The single greatest predictor of a healthy gut microbiome is the diversity of plants in one’s diet.
3) Limit processed foods: Consume more foods that are grown in soil and fewer ones that are processed and packaged by humans in factories i.e. limit the number of processed foods in your diet.
4) Stay hydrated: Not only does water keep things moving in the body, but also affects the level of your performance – both physical and cognitive. Sometimes thirst makes you feel hungry, which is why it’s so important to drink at least 10-12 glasses of water daily.
5) Sleep for 7-9 hours daily: Sleep is a major cornerstone for an energetic, joyful, healthy life. Unfortunately, it’s usually the first thing we compromise when life gets busy. Realizing your sleep schedule is just as important as everything else on your calendar will have immense payoffs for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.⠀So, a good night's sleep helps lower hunger, cravings, and balances blood sugar, thereby decreasing the risk of pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and even sleep apnea.
Considering what pandemic has done to our mental health, Kripa has also shared some dos and don’ts for an effective healthy lifestyle.
1) 90% of chronic illnesses are created or worsened by stress. Eliminating it in this hyper-connected world is impossible, but you can certainly find ways to manage it better.
2) Include spices. They don’t just add flavor to your meals, but several of them also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.
3) Move with purpose. Movement enhances lymph circulation, which is our body’s own garbage disposal unit that helps clear our body of toxic wastes. The human body was designed to stay agile. Intentionally try to stand and walk around your house/office for a few minutes every hour. Couple that with 3-4 training sessions a week and you’re golden.
1) Limit the amount of added sugars in your diet (not natural sugars in fruits and vegetables). These are highly inflammatory and suppress the immune response.
2) Refined vegetable oils and seed oils are also best avoided when it comes to this spectrum of inflammation, gut health, and wellbeing. This includes corn, canola, and sunflower oils.
3) Minimize your refined carbohydrate intake and aim to keep your glycaemic load relatively low with whole grains such as millets.
When asked whether a stable diet is mandatory or not, Kripa replied “We need to start viewing our health from a preventive lens, rather than something that’s resorted to in cases of emergency. More than restrictive diets, habits are important. When consistency sets in, a pattern is created and the same applies to good nutrition. Everyone needs to have a couple of healthy habits when it comes to food – be it consistent hydration, adequate vegetables, or limiting sugar. However, for most people, a 3-4 hour gap between meals is perfectly fine – assuming they don’t have underlying health concerns.”
“Aim for good enough, not perfect – follow the 80-20 principle. I don’t want you to feel burdened by the lifestyle changes I’m suggesting—I want you to feel excited about the possibility of feeling better, and staying that way in the long run.”