Undeniably, every living being including the human being needs food to eat and survive. We also know that except human beings all other living creatures on this earth are in need of limited variety of eatables. We, in fact, can’t live without a large variety of food items, more for satisfying our tongue than for survival and for maintaining a better health.
Now the question arises: do we live to eat or eat to live? Undoubtedly, the simple and most logical answer is, we must eat to live. If it is so, the next question must be asked and that is, what should be our diet in order to live well and healthy?
Taking healthy food does mean eating a variety of foods that contain nutrients we need to maintain our health and keep us going. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. In other words, the crucial part of healthy eating is nothing but having a balanced diet. And a balanced diet - or a good diet - means consuming eatables from different food groups in the right quantities, because one single food group cannot provide everything average healthy human needs. Nutritionists opine that there are five main food groups - whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, fat and sugar. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables in reasonable quantity regularly has added advantage.
That’s why Bettenny Frankel says, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” To put it differently, it can be said that we don’t have to eat less, we have to eat right instead.
Truly speaking, healthy eating is a way of life, which everyone should follow and practice in order to remain fit and fine. Enjoy what Brooke Griffin has to say in this regard, “The healthier you are, the better you will perform. Value your health and fitness. There is always time to make time.”
Ok, fine. But is that all? No, besides the quality and quantity of what we eat throughout the day, it is equally important to keep in mind when to eat our food and how much. And more importantly, what is the sequence of taking various food items. Putting it briefly, our day should start with highly nutritious items in good quantity. There is an age old saying which goes like this: take the breakfast like a king or a queen, take the lunch like a prince or a princess and take the dinner like a pauper or a beggar. The message is quite loud and clear and needs no elaboration.
It has been discovered that even factors such as how you eat your food can influence how many calories get into your system. The longer you chew your food, the more calories the body retains.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has these recommendations:
- We should aim for an energy balance and a healthy bodyweight.
- We should limit our energy consumption from total fats. We should also aim for more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats.
- We should up our consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- We should consume as little simple sugars are possible.
- As well as making sure our salt is iodized, we should also limit our consumption of salt/sodium.
The number of calories we need from the food we eat daily can depend on several factors like our age, size, height, sex etc. For example, a physically active 6feet man of 25 years will require more calories than a 5feet man aged 50 years. To say, an active older man will require fewer calories than an active young man.
One more thing is to be kept in mind. We should avoid junk and processed food as it contains less nutrition, yet more quantity of fat, sugar and salt. In today’s fast life, however, a large section of city dwellers fall prey to eating highly spicy, oily and sugary items often and that too in a hurried manner and in a state of stress which is bound to make them indisposed frequently. Actually, “one pill for every ill” – as is becoming the habit, we notice among many of our friends and relatives these days, is an undesirable condition. On the contrary, it’s far better, if our daily food compensates the requirement of medicine, if at all we’re about to fall sick.
Before signing off tonight, it is interesting to find what Thomas Alva Edison said in this regard long back, “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest the patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Milan Sinha has worked in senior positions in financial sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. He is a post graduate in Chemistry from Patna University and also a graduate with Economics.
Presently, besides being a freelance writer / a regular contributor to newspapers & magazines, also engaged as a Stress Management, Lifestyle Management & Wellness consultant, Motivational Speaker and Awareness campaigner.