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National Nutrition Week 2021: Diet Tips To Ensure Optimal Health In The Long Run

National Nutrition Week 2021: A healthy diet and lifestyle can help maintain overall health.

National Nutrition Week 2021: Diet Tips To Ensure Optimal Health In The Long Run

National Nutrition Week 2021: Eat a well-balanced meal to avoid nutritional deficiencies

National Nutrition Week is observed from 1st to 7th September. This week promotes the importance of healthy eating and intake all essential nutrients in the right amount. Several health issues such as obesity, PCOS, diabetes and high blood pressure are common these days. All of these issues are by and large due to unhealthy eating patterns, sedentary lifestyle and excess body weight. Many health issues can be prevented or managed effectively with the help of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Optimal health is something that you cannot buy but it can be understood as a valuable savings account. Good nutrition and a balanced diet should always be the first line of defense to prevent illnesses.

A balanced diet plate can be described in 3 parts - half of the plate consisting of vegetables, one-fourth of it should include proteins and one-fourth of it should comprise of carbohydrates. Include proteins such as dals, pulses and legumes [2 bowls a Day], low fat dairy products like milk, curd [2-3 Cups a day], egg, chicken and fish. Aim to include at least two servings (200 grams) of fish in week as it also has omega-3 fatty acids.

Carbohydrates should come from whole grains such as unrefined wheat flour, jowar, bajra, ragi, rice flakes, brown rice or oats and fruits. Refined and processed flour should be avoided. It is a timeless advice to eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables as it contains vitamins, minerals and fiber which helps relieve constipation. A balanced diet must include five servings of vegetables and at least two servings of fruits each day. Sugary beverages such as sodas, sports drinks, cold drinks and fruit juices should be avoided

Fat has always been mistaken as a 'bad' nutrient but the quality of fat is important in addition to its quantity. Choose unsaturated fatty acids such as those from fish, oilseeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseed.

Saturated fats from red meat and trans fatty acid found in commercial products such as biscuits, bakery products should be excluded from the diet. Cooking oils should be consumed in small amounts (3-4 tsp per day).

Besides this, processed food items such as pickles, breads, cakes or cookies should be avoided to control total salt intake (<5 grams/day). The best beverage of choice is water. Avoid skipping meals as it only adds to cravings during the next meal that you eat.

Physical activity is a bonus point for optimal health. Adults should engage in moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking or bicycling for at least 150 minutes each week, according to the World Health Organization. For children it is recommended that activities such as bicycling, dancing, jogging, running or swimming should be performed for 60 minutes each day.

Women with PCOS should focus on seed cycling, by including 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and pumpkin seed each for first 14 days of the cycle and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds for next 14 days in a 28 day cycle. It thus helps to maintain healthy estrogen and progesterone levels.

Thus, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet helps prevent long term illness and chronic diseases.

(Bhakti Samant is a Chief Dietician at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital)

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