Nutrition Expert- Saba Shaikh, Practicing Clinical Nutritionist, Mumbai.
It’s an age-old saying that ‘health is wealth’, but when we go with the establishment of this rule, there are endless factors that are honestly pretty hard to keep up with! Don’t eat this, don’t drink that, do more of this, do less of that- we all have heard this never-ending list a millions of times in our lives. But what our mind always skips is how we eat and how much we must eat.
Good health is something that you don’t achieve overnight. There are many ways to improve your health and well being. Often even the smallest changes can have lasting benefits.
Steps to a healthier you:
• Include Veggies and Fruits: There is a reason why parents always tell their children to eat their veggies. Fresh vegetables and fruits contain a lot of vitamins and minerals which are essential for your organs to function properly. They also help to strengthen the immune system to ensure that your body is well equipped to fight against any infections that might get into your body. Another good thing is that vegetables and fruits usually have a lot of fiber, making them a great way to keep yourself satiated, so you can keep your calorie intake down if you need to.
• Fresh over Processed Food: Most of the food that is commonly available has been processed in one way or another, and that processing takes off some of the nutrients in the food, at every stage. In practical terms, it means that although the fried potato chips you are eating from the bag and a boiled potato are technically the same kinds of food, their nutritional profiles are very different. One contains almost all its original nutrients and the other has lost most of the nutrients and comes with various additives to preserve it and make it look or taste nice. Many of those additives will be artificial chemicals that are best avoided.
• Cut Out Soda: Barring any medical conditions from birth, your diet will be the biggest determinant of how healthy you will be. If you eat a lot of food that is healthy and nutritious, your body will use that nutrition to good effect. Soda is neither of those things, but it is still one of the most common things people take on a regular basis. It is filled with copious amounts of sugar instead, and simply cutting out soda from your diet will help you begin to become healthier almost immediately.
• Take Care of the Portion Size: For most of us who don’t know, eating food regularly doesn’t make us unhealthy but an abnormal amount does, here’s a note- “It’s our portion size which makes eating unhealthy”. Out-of-control hunger often results in helpless over-eating and that majorly happen when we skip our meals, especially breakfast. Healthy snacking between meals is a good way to control hunger but it shouldn’t replace proper meals. We must choose yogurt, a handful of fresh or vegetables like carrot sticks, and unsalted nuts in order to make our snacks healthy.-
How can we take care of the portion size?
Cooking the right amount.
Using smaller plates.
By sharing a portion with a friend.
• Quit Smoking: Smoking is one of the most reliable pointers to the possibility of early death, according to several studies. Nicotine is addictive, and it’s understandable why many people find it difficult to stop, but smoking over a long period of time is going to inevitably result in massive damage to one’s lungs, leading to lung cancer or any number of other respiratory conditions. Thankfully, there are quite a few methods to help smokers quit for good and you should consider taking one of them up if you truly want to achieve a healthier life in the long term. You can start with small steps like reducing how much you smoke each day, and then progressively take the number down until you’ve stopped.
• Water, Our Best Friend: We all know that almost half of us are always dehydrated. Shortage of water in the body makes us all tired and low on energy levels. Make sure that we fill up our water bottles all day long to keep ourselves replenished and we will feel better than ever immediately; that’s the magic of water. Infused water and tender coconut water is another options to stay healthfully hydrated.
• Keep Walking: It seems simple enough, right? No matter what our weight is, physical activity is important for us all. Not only it improves our blood circulatory system but it also assists us to keep focussed and improves overall health. Exercise is great for your health. Along with watching what you eat, exercising is also crucial for keeping you fit and making sure your body is shipshape. Obviously, we all are an athlete in the race of life, but it doesn’t require any athletic feature to get on the move. We will thank our younger self for not taking the escalators when we have a healthy body in the 70s.
We all can:
Go for a walk in our lunch breaks.
Make time for a family weekend activity.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Get Enough Sleep: Rest is important for your body. If you eat well, exercise and do all the other things on this list but don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t be able to translate all that into good health effects because it is when you sleep well that your body recovers, grow muscle and even burns fat efficiently. The number of hours you need to sleep every night depends on your age but generally, aims to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep daily.
• Meditate: There is a lot of confusion regarding meditation, with some seeing it as something spiritual and others seeing it as something that can only be done in conjunction with those painful-seeming yoga poses. The truth is that it can be anything – spiritual, part of your yoga routine, or just a period where you stay still and focus your mind on something (or nothing, if you prefer). Meditation helps you find calmness and clarity, and it can be very beneficial for your mental health, which is just as important as physical health.
We are all busy everyday but how we deal with it in order to maintain a healthy life is all that matters. By inculcating these tips in our life, we can manage a healthy life with a pinch of happiness. After all, nothing feels as good as healthy feels.