Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Guide to a Good Diet

Get your daily fix of carbs and don’t avoid butter or bananas either.

Did you know that including coriander in your daily diet is vital? These green leaves act as stimulants, strengthen the stomach and promote digestion.

Besides, pistachios make for a healthy snack, improving eyesight and lowering bad cholesterol. And, if you were thinking butter and coconuts weren’t good for you, here’s some news. According to the nutrition experts - Don’t cut them out from your diet completely. They contain good saturated fat. A teaspoon of pure butter once a day is good enough.

Food experts recommend Indian spices like turmeric and ginger in our daily diet. Turmeric is an antiseptic that lowers cholesterol and prevents cardiac problems. It also protects one from infections, coughs, cold and fever, whereas ginger prevents aches and bloating of the body. Walnuts and flax seed are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, experts believe.

Coming to the macro nutrients  - carbohydrates, proteins and fats; dieticians strongly recommend a good balance of these three components. Fitness experts advise 55 to 65 per cent carbohydrates (cereals, whole wheat bread, rice, porridge, fruits and vegetables); 20 to 25 per cent fat (dairy products, oil, nuts and seeds) and 15 to 20 per cent proteins (dal, pulses, sprouts, egg, chicken, fish) in our daily diet.

It is unhealthy to stop having any of these nutrients, not even fat, as your energy levels will drop. A fruit diet helps detox and cleanse the body, but should preferably be done only a couple of days a month or once a week. A long-term adherence to fruit diets and ignorance of other essential ingredients such as carbohydrates and proteins can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

However, carbohydrates at the cost of protein is not healthy. We often find rice more than pulses in our diet. The modern Indian diet is also very fat-rich hence four to five servings of vegetables and three to four servings of fruits daily should be incorporated.

Besides the two main meals, one can have raw veggies such as cucumbers and tomatoes in salads, or include veggies during breakfast in "poha". One should go for a variety of fruits like apples, bananas and papayas. Let us not ignore the indigenous ones, such as guavas. We must aim at serving fruits as a meal. Otherwise, it’s best to have fruits as a mid-morning and evening snack. A minimum three fruits a day help us get our natural sugars.

Recipe to cook "Poha" can be viewed here.

While watching your diet, don’t forget to step out in the sun for essential Vitamin D, which helps in balancing hormones and acts as an anti-depressant. 

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