What is Nutrition? Nutrition- from a need to a trade

Most of us tend to view nutrition through green-colored lenses a lifestyle that symbolizes all greens and zero flavors. A dietary choice that forces you to leave behind the multicolored world of grease and cheese to step into a green-colored one filled with peculiar sounding vegetables like kale and healthy smoothies. You’d be surprised to know that the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined nutrition as the intake of food, following the body’s dietary needs.’

Importance of Nutrition 

Food has become our confidante in happiness, sadness, and fashionably so in fitness. While fitness may have gained more screen footage in recent times, we’ve lost the path that brings us good health. With newer and stranger diseases on the rise, this is the time to take a step back and reflect on what we pump into our body every single day.

You can argue that with technological advancement, the medical space has found solutions to unknown ailments. Unlike in the past we now have treatments available for cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, and even the common cold. So why bother monitoring your diet. After all, life was meant to be lived, not fretted over.

Nutrition doesn’t have to mean fancy, fitness-freaky food; all it means is a diet that consists of fresh and natural ingredients that fulfill your body’s dietary needs. A fresh salad with colorful vegetables, home-made lentils and rice and a grilled chicken sandwich (sans the mayonnaise) are all examples of nutritious meals.

A packaged granola health bar may contain high levels of sugar and saturated fats while home-cooked the plas and vegetables thrown on the grill can be an excellent way to get some lean protein and anti inflammatory spices like cumin, fenugreek, and turmeric into your body. Simply put, WHO’s philosophy that ‘good nutrition-an adequate, well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity is a cornerstone of good health’ is a good credo to not lose sight of.

Consider the meals you eat. What is the major part of your main meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Do you realize that most of the time your meal is mostly wheat chapatti/ bread or white rice, which is accompanied by whatever else is on the menu, sometimes it is dal or a vegetable, an added curd or chutney/achaar.

Most of the time we just eat as a matter of habit. Have we thought that the chapatti we eat is primarily carbohydrates and every portion of carbohydrates that we eat should have an appropriate portion of protein (dairy and pulses), fat (ghee and oils) and vitamins and minerals (dairy, vegetables, salads, and chutneys)? Unless all these nutrients are eaten in a definite proportion, you are not eating a balanced diet.

To understand this better, consider the ICMR guidelines. As per this, an Indian sedentary adult male needs this ratio:

Cereals and millets 30 gms
Pulses 30 gms
Milk and milk products 100 ml
Roots and Tubers 100 gms
Green vegetables 100 gms
Other vegetables 100 gms
Fruits 100 gms
Sugar 5 gms
Fat 2.5 gms

This guideline clearly shows that we need to eat equal amounts of cereals and pulses, lots of milk, fruits, and vegetables to meet our recommended daily requirement of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

For every 1 roti/ chapatti (approx. 30 gms of wheat),

you should consume:

1 cup of dal

1/2 cup of milk as curd/paneer

½ cup of green vegetables (like spinach, methi, lauki, torai, tinda, pepper, karela, cucumber) 1/2 cup of other vegetables (like tomato, brinjal, beans, onions, garlic, lotus stem, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli)

1/2 cup of roots and tubers (like potato, sweet potato, arbi, yam) tsp. of healthy oilseed oil/ghee

You need to know this:

The ‘multigrain’ term used in commercially packaged food means only that more than one grain is present and the primary ingredient is usually refined wheat flour.

The Confusion Surrounding Nutrition

There is no doubt that maintaining good health has become somewhat of an essential issue in the recent past. With lifestyle related diseases like diabetes and heart ailments affecting more and more people the profession of nutritionists and dietitians has boomed beyond imagination.

While nutritionists have helped a significant part of the world’s population get its life back on track, they have also complicated food for the significant other. We live in the Internet age, and that means everybody has access to a mine of conflicting information.

While the innocent potato and the somewhat comforting food group of fat have earned a bad reputation, various people have taken to adopting multiple diets, Right from the Paleo diet and Dukan diet to the Atkins and Keto diet, all everybody seems to want to do is lose weight.

Unfortunately, we have gotten all tangled up in this sticky web of specialty diets and healthy’ ingredients that promise to burn our pockets. The focus has shifted from eating healthy to losing weight, and that translates to the end justifies all means’ philosophy.

Teenagers and young adults choose to cut carbohydrates, dairy, and all kind of fat from their diet in the desperate attempt to lose weight, forgetting that in these formative years of their lives, they are eliminating essential micro nutrients required for bone formation and brain health.

Most fast-food is very high in sodium even items you might think are not. For example, the veggie burger has 900 milligrams, followed by the corn muffin-770 milligrams. The shake has nearly twice as much sodium as the fries.

You need to know this:

Tomato, cottage cheese (a firm white Indian cheese also known as paneer made from buffalo or cow milk) and avocado salad with warm homemade bread makes for a healthy meal.

An omelette with fresh herbs takes three minutes to prepare and two minutes to cook. Served with green salad or fresh vegetables and a wholemeal roll, it provides a perfectly balanced meal.

Beans, vegetable and ginger stir-fry with rice noodles take just ten minutes to prepare and provide a right balance of vital nutrients.

By choosing foods carefully from fast-food menus, you can select a reasonably well-balanced meal, while limiting the intake of more harmful ingredients. For instance, choose small plain burgers as opposed to a giant burger with all the trimmings. Or skip the mayonnaise and melted cheese.

By leaving these out, 200 calories can be saved on a king-sized burger (also reduces your fat intake). Or order milk instead of a milkshake, or just plain water instead of a conventional cola drink. If you are having fries, choose a smaller portion and have a side salad.

And never be persuaded to eat massive helpings than you need. known as paneer made from buffalo or cow milk) and avocado salad with warm homemade bread makes for a healthy meal. An omelette with fresh herbs takes three minutes to prepare and two minutes to cook. Served with green salad or fresh vegetables and a wholemeal roll, it provides a perfectly balanced meal.

Beans, vegetable and ginger stir-fry with rice noodles take just ten minutes to prepare and provide a right balance of vital nutrients.

Diseases like infertility, diabetes, and obesity were mostly non-existent in cultures surviving on a native diet of unrefined foods. Unfortunately, in this age of readily available convenience foods like frozen cheesy snacks, frozen cuts of meat, and ready-to-eat meals, we tend to get busy with our careers and forget to take care of ourselves.

Fact is that convenience foods aren’t all that convenient for your health. Regular snacking on foods high in sodium, excess salt, and sugar has replaced family meals eaten fresh on the dining table.

Now is the time to take control of your lives, go ahead and have the nutrition conversation that can change your life. Clear your cupboards of instant noodles, sugar-laden biscuits, and the greasy packet of aloo bhujia; a new era of healthy, whole grain snacks is here to save the day. After all, whole food leads to entire health.

Try any of the meals given below when the munchies strike:

Switch the maida/refined flour for ragi or jowar flour the next time you make Sunday pancakes. The high amount of dietary fiber in ragi has shown to lower blood sugar levels and helps in weight loss.

Craving the greasy golden goodness of McDonald’s French fries? Make sweet potato oven-baked fries at home instead. Giving you the same crunch and satisfaction, this snack will provide you with twice the amount of fiber than regular white potatoes and is super rich in potassium.

The sweltering heat and sweet cravings giving you no rest? Refrigerate two bananas overnight and chuck them in a blender the next morning with some honey and blueberries. Voila, you get creamy, smooth ice cream that is rich in anti-oxidants and potassium.

Cannot resist the buttery call of salty, crunchy movie hall popcorn? No worries, get yourself a packet of fresh corn seeds from an organic store, pop in a vessel with butter and some garlic for a tastier, healthier alternative.

In this blog, I invite the reader to have a conversation about what defines good health and proper nutrition. In this blog, you will find information on growing prevalent diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases that seem to have confounded doctors.

Goals

Eat right

Lose extra body fat

Read about food Change food habits

Sleep properly

Medical check-ups on time Wash and eat fruits and vegetables.

Eat cooked and

raw food

Avoid

sugar

white flour

Avoid processed,

packaged food

Have one healthy

morning ritual

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