Variety and moderation in diet are key to a healthy body and mind: HCFI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Poor diet has overtaken smoking as the world’s biggest killer

New Delhi, 3rd May 2019: According to the latest Global Burden of Disease Study, poor diet has now overtaken smoking as the world’s biggest killer, causing 20% of deaths globally in 2017. It is imperative to convince people to eat plant-rich diets, avoid junk food and care about nutrition. These measures will be critical to global human health and tackling climate change in future.

Crash diets, stressful work environments that encourage people to eat comfort foods, all-day desk jobs, etc. have distorted the definition of an ideal weight and wholesome eating. It is important to understand that a healthy diet does not just require consuming calories equivalent to 30 times a person’s current weight. The right balance of macro and micronutrients is equally essential.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Our ancient rituals and traditions have given us a way out of the conundrum of diet problems. They advocate the principles of ‘variety’ and ‘moderation’ i.e. eat a variety of food and eat in moderation. They also recommend including all seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white) and six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) for a balanced diet. There are several examples of food rotation in our mythology. For instance, fasting is a tradition for us. However, it does not mean ‘not eating’ but rather omitting certain foods from the diet on the day of the fast.”

The brain gets a signal that a person has eaten only after 20 minutes. Thus, it is important to chew every bite at least 15 times. It not only provides enough hormones for enzymes but also sends signals to the brain. Therefore, the time spent per meal should be 20 minutes.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The taste buds are only on the tip and side of the tongue. If you gulp food, the brain will not get signals. Eating small pieces and chewing them properly also sends the signals through the taste buds. The size of the fullness of the stomach also decides how much one can eat. The brain gets signal only when the stomach is 100% full. Therefore, one should not overeat and fill the stomach to its size. Also, if you eat less and over a period of time the size of the stomach will shrink.”

Follow these tips for a healthy meal

•       Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly

•       Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.

•       Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain.

•       At least half of your grains should be whole grains.

•       Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar.

•       Choose healthy fats. Use fat–free or low-fat milk and/or dairy products.

•       Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.

•       Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.

•       Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.