Your fitness journey need not stall in the current scenario of Covid-19 lockdown and work from home orders lifting, pushing you back to office and dealing with varied career and personal responsibilities. While one’s diet must be compliant with one’s body’s needs, lifestyle and environmental stresses and proper nutrition along with building a sustainable approach to diet and exercise are crucial, most people still make excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t know how”.
If you too belong to the category of these people, we got your health woes sorted and got a few doctors on board who not only spilled the secret to live longer and look better but also revealed the biggest contributors to lifespan and shared health tips to increase the nutritional value in daily life. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Vinodha Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Jindal Naturecure Institute, listed some of the superfoods that we must include in our daily routine to improve our nutritional value:
1. Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, Olive oil and many others help us deal with PCOS. Apart from soothing the severe pain, nuts and seeds considerably reduce risk factors such as obesity, infertility, moods swings, hair loss, etc.
2. Leafy vegetables: Green veggies including spinach, kale, beans, broccoli and other leafy vegetables are a rich source of iron, vitamin C, chlorophyll, vitamin K, ascorbic acid, folate and plenty of other phytochemicals that help to keep the red blood cells healthy. These veggies also improve blood flow within the body ensuring that nutrients reach every part of the body.
3. Fruits: For weight loss, we can include in their diet plan fruits like oatmeal, apple, blueberries, and grapefruit. Grapes help prevent heart disease and high cholesterol while strawberries reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Mangoes have a balanced ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Also, they are packed with protein and essential nutrients and minerals.
Asserting that many people think that a healthy life can be attained by eating healthy food and exercising but forget the other important aspects like emotional and mental wellbeing, Dr Deepak Mittal, Founder of Divine Soul Yoga, insisted that to increase the nutritional value in daily life, we must take care of our physical and mental wellbeing. For improving our physical wellbeing, he suggested –
• It is crucial to have the required nutrients in the diet, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, folic acids and iron, to maintain optimal health. In addition, drink enough water to avoid dehydration and limit alcohol intake.
• It is also essential to cut down on junk food intake, practice portion control, and never miss breakfast.
• It is also essential to take out time from your busy schedule and practice 30-45 minutes of Yoga and Pranayama as it improves our strength, heart rate, hormonal balance and sleep quality.
Furthermore, to improve mental and emotional well-being, he suggested –
• It is essential to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day, take a healthy diet and exercise. These elements improve the nutrition absorption in our body and keep us away from stress and anxiety.
• We should also practise meditation and daily affirmations to enhance our mental wellbeing. Meditation is a proven method to elevate mood & mindfulness and reduce stress and pain.
Highlighting that eating mindfully allows us to enjoy our food, control our portion size and prevent over-eating, Aman Puri, Founder of Nutrition Daily, advised, “Apart from major macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, include more fibre-rich foods in your diet every day from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Dietary fibre improves gut health, prevents constipation, and may help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.”
He added, “Cut down on sugar, salt, caffeine, and junk food intake- these can potentially threaten your health. Fix your meal, and sleep timings and try to adhere to them. This will help to set up your biological clock and allow better functioning of the body.”
Since nutrition affects our physical and mental wellness, Dr Pradeep Mahindrakar, MD, Pathologist at Metropolis Healthcare Ltd., insisted that following a healthy diet can lead to positive changes in our everyday life. He recommended, “To begin your road to a well-balanced diet, make sure you are consuming all the nutrients your body needs throughout the day. That means protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals all need to be a part of your diet. Eat fruits grown locally. Choose seed oils than veggie oils. Avoid breads, biscuits, cakes, pizza, pasta, packaged food/drinks, sweets and bakery products. Start cooking more of your own meals at home so you know exactly what’s going in them.”
Following are the tips he shared to increase the nutritional value in daily life:
1. For your energy level: A more nutrient-rich diet means more fuel for you to power through your workday, your workout, and all those chores you need to do. Eat smaller meals more frequently. A piece of fruit or a few nuts is adequate. Avoid eating lot at lunch. Avoid alcohol. Drink plenty of water.
2. For your weight: Make strategic choices about what you consume. Find out how many calories you need for your age, gender, activity level and your personal weight goals. Stick with your workout plan with good nutrition.
3. For your aging process: Want to live longer and look better while you’re at it? Diet and exercise are the biggest contributors to lifespan.
4. For your brain function: Ever heard of “brain food?” Nutrient-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados contain brain power-boosting Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Other foods which will maximize mental capacity include: blueberries – improve short term memory, pumpkin seeds – enhance memory and critical thinking skills, broccoli – enhances cognitive function.
5. For your immune system: In addition to fighting off disease, a well-balanced, nutritious diet can keep common illnesses at bay. Vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc and Selenium contribute to a stronger immune system. Foods’s highest in vitamins include fish, dark leafy greens, seeds, broccoli, pork, beef, lamb, mushrooms, nuts, eggs, sweet bell peppers, avocados, peas, winter squash and fruits. If you are vegetarian, then consider taking a multivitamin or mineral supplement.
He stressed, “Paying attention to nutrition can add extra years and quality to your life. Some nutrients support your digestive functions and immune system, which will work against the degenerative changes that occur within the body as you age. Other foods help the body to fight off disease, inflammation, and bad cholesterol. Food like papaya, blueberries, avocado, broccoli and nuts helps to improve aging process.”
Take time to fully enjoy what you are eating. Improve your nutrition, improve your life!