“One cannot think well, love well and sleep well if one has not dined well” - Virginia Woolf.
Nutrition, by far, is one of the most important aspects of our life. We are what we eat. Nutrition science is continuously evolving, and its importance seems to be more pertinent in present times. Proper intake of nutrients constitutes a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that gives your body the essential nutrients it needs to function properly. To get the correct nutrition from your diet, you should consume most of your daily calories from fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains.
In today’s age, substitution of a balanced diet with junk food results in several health issues. For instance, obesity is one of the biggest diseases of the millennium. The number of obese cases in India has doubled in just five years. This shift is due to westernized diets, sedentary lifestyle and inactivity.
Besides, there are so many trends and myths surrounding nutrition that it often becomes difficult to decide what diet to follow or what to eat.
This nutrition week busts some myths around some super foods and so-called villains.
1. Peanuts - By far most of my patients have a notion that peanuts are full of fat. Hence, they conclude that peanuts are bad for health. In fact, they are full of the essential fatty acids and protein. As such, they make a good snack. They are also rich in biotin and B6. Hence, peanuts are good for hair and skin.
2. Coconut - It is rich in medium chain fatty acids and boosts your metabolism. It is also a rich source of antioxidants. So, the next time, do help yourself with a generous amount of coconut serving.
3. Raw nuts - Almonds/ cashew/ walnuts are very good sources of vitamin E, which is known for its antioxidant properties. They are all rich in minerals like manganese, potassium and specially zinc, which is required for insulin sensitivity. Eat raw nuts rather than salted ones as they retain more nutrients.
4. Yogurt - This simple ingredient is high in probiotics, which helps keep your gut healthy. Studies have also linked it to prevent osteoporosis. It is also known to enhance the immunity, thus helping in fighting lot of infections.
5. Bananas - One of the biggest myths I have heard is that bananas promote weight gain and are full of fat. They are actually a good source of potassium and fibre. They have good potential in reducing blood pressure and prevent diabetes. Having bananas in the morning helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
6. Biscuits - Another myth is that all sorts of biscuits are good for health. This isn’t, however, true as biscuits are fibre rich. They are high in trans-fat and sugars and do nothing but increase your waist line. Avoid all of them, especially if they are made from flour. Moreover, biscuits cannot be low on calories, because two out of three major ingredients are extremely calorific with little to no nutritional benefits. As such effective weight loss measures need to be followed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
7.Fruit Juices - Again one of the most common myths is that having fruit juice is healthy. No. When you are extracting juice from a fruit, you are stripping it off its fibre content and nutrients. All that is left is the fruit sugar, which is not so healthy. Instead, have a whole fruit at least with 4-5 servings in a day.
8.Sweet Potatoes - They have negligible amounts of fructose along with high nutrition value in vitamins and antioxidants. They are very good for diabetics as they help regulate sugar levels and HBa1c. They also cut down your cravings too.
Above all, you need to listen to your body and your gut. Everybody is different and each one’s body reacts differently to food. By knowing what your gut is telling you, it helps in terms of noticing if you are experiencing bloating or constipation. Then, you can consult a doctor accordingly. Besides, good sleep, exercise in addition to healthy nutrition are the essentials for a healthy and happy life.