Thursday, 31 March 2016

A healthy diet is key for a long and healthy life

A healthy diet is key for a long and healthy life

A balanced and healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing and reversing common lifestyle disorders such as a high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancers, osteoporosis, heart attack, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and polycystic ovarian disease amongst others. And the first step towards living a healthy life is to maintain an ideal weight.

A fad of going on crash diets, stressful work environments encouraging people to eat comfort foods, all day desk jobs and size zero concept have increasingly distorted a person’s definition of an ideal weight and wholesome eating. What most people do not understand is that a healthy diet not just requires consuming calories equivalent to thirty times their current weight; it also means that the right balance of macro and micronutrients should be eaten.

While macronutrients are the chemical components of food such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats that provide the body with energy and are needed in large quantities; micronutrients are required in small amounts and include several minerals and vitamins. When consumed in the right quantities and balanced with adequate physical exercise, these can help a person prevent most common lifestyle disorders.

Speaking about the same, Dr SS Agarwal – National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA and President HCFI said, “An ideal diet should also be low in sodium and no person should consume more than 6 gm of sodium chloride in a day. The consumption of trans fat, which is found in hydrogenated oils or vanaspati ghee, should be minimal as it is bad for the heart and reduces the good HDL cholesterol levels and increases the bad LDL cholesterol. It is recommended that heart patients in particular should avoid eating out as much as possible since the food in most restaurants and hotels is high on trans fat and usually will be bad for the heart. Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white flour, white rice and refined sweetened cereals and white sugar should be consumed in minimal quantities and replaced with options like whole grain flour, healthy green cereals and oat meal.”

Earlier this week, the Public Health England (PHE) launched the new Eatwell Guide to a healthy diet, which should now include more fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates and have fewer sugary foods and drinks.

The guide replaces the Eatwell plate and has been refreshed to reflect updated dietary recommendations, including those on sugar, fiber and starchy carbohydrates from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report on Carbohydrates and Health in 2015.
The new Eatwell Guide emphasizes on fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates, preferably wholegrain. Sugary soft drinks have been removed from the image and foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar have been moved to the periphery of the guide, reflecting advice that they are not an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Adults should have less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men a day. The consumption of sugar, for example from sugary drinks and confectionery should be limited.

The Eatwell Guide now displays drinks recommendations which make clear that adults should be aiming to have 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day ideally from water, lower fat milks and unsweetened tea or coffee.

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