Greatest wealth – good health

Good health can be achieved by building a powerful immune system and by avoiding mindless eating. If we talk about today we all have restricted movements due to Lock down so limited exercise is there, at this time it is very crucial to wisely plan your foods.

Mindless eating is when you are eating randomly instead eating out of hunger. If you find yourself standing in your kitchen or in front of your refrigerator looking for something to eat but not really hungry, this is mindless eating. During lock down we are mostly not rationalizing what to eat and how much instead binge to kill time. While working from home we indulge in random munching at irregular time. So to control this, it’s very important to follow a discipline, to eat when hungry and should eat while sitting on table with an understanding of what should be taken and how much with proper chewing. The major solution to all this is mindful eating by giving yourself a mindful margin by eating small and frequent meals with a balance of locally available and seasonal foods which include whole grains, legumes, lentil, milk & milk products, seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. Plain water can be replaced with some herbs infused water 2-3 times in a day.

Two techniques for better eating changes are Food Trades Off for example “I can eat Desert if I’ve worked out”  & Food Policies for example “I will eat 20 % less than I usually eat” or “I shall take 1-2 pinches of sugar in tea instead of 1 tea spoon”.

Keep a checklist of three changes that you mark at the end of day to record your successes with three change goals. Experts in behavioral modification say it takes about 28 days to break an old habit and replace it with a new one. It’s easy, positive & slow. If we make three small, 100-calorie changes then by the end of year one will be able to loose somewhere around 13.5 kg (30 pounds approximately).

For building healthy Immune system which is body’s first line of defense against any infection and disease Micronutrients play an important role. It is a group of nutrients our body needs which includes Vitamins & Minerals. Vitamins are necessary for energy production which acts as a fuel to body, blood synthesis, good immune function & protection of body against oxidative damage.

The most essential Vitamins & Minerals which helps in building good immune system are vitamin D, the B Vitamins, A, C & E Vitamin, Iron, Zinc.

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in promoting immune response. It has both anti-inflammatory & immunoregulatory properties which is important for jumpstart of immune system defenses. Vitamin D works with T cells, the body’s natural killer cells to fight off infection and disease. In humans, Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin in presence of sunlight, sun bathe for 30 minutes on daily basis and sources of Vitamin D are fortified foods like milk, soy products, orange juice & cereals, Egg yolks, Mushrooms, fatty fish like mackerel, tuna & salmon.

Vitamin A, C & E helps to maintain the structure & function of the mucus cells lining the respiratory and digestive tract, acting as a barrier against infections. Vitamin A, C & E mostly are found in colorful fruits & vegetables especially those with purple, blue, red, orange and yellow hues. 

Aim for 2-3 servings of seasonal fruits and 4-5 serving of seasonal or dark green leafy vegetables on daily basis. Replace cookies or other unhealthy snacks in between the major meals with a bowl of colorful seasonal fruits with 1 spoon of mixed seeds. 

Zinc is critical for normal development and functioning of immune cells. It is not stored in the body, therefore regular intake is important for maintaining the integrity of the immune system.

The best sources of zinc are beans, lentils, peas, Nuts & Seeds, handful of whole grains, seafood & dairy products.

Bean salad with vegetables & seeds, Chickpea Hummus & fruit platter, Vegetable soup with lentils, baked bean cutlet with vegetable dip, Handful of nuts. Try to cook your foods by combining beans, peas or lentils on daily basis. 

Few fresh herbs infusions are:

Infused water: Soak 1 whole cucumber chopped with 1 whole lemon sliced, 5-6 leaves of basil and mint, 1-2 cloves, an inch piece of ginger in 1 glass jar overnight and can be consumed the next whole day, it can be refilled once. Try and use jar made of glass or steel, no copper.

Decoction water: Boil ½ green cardamom with a pinch of cinnamon powder, 1 tea spoon of ginger juice, a pinch of turmeric with 3-4 holy basil leaves in 1 glass of water after boiling sieve it and consume it with ½ tea spoon of honey and few lemon drops.

Mint & carom leaves infusion: Boil 5-6 mint leaves with 2-3 small carom leaves or ½ tea spoon of carom seeds & an inch piece of grated ginger in 1 glass of water, sieve it and consume it few drops of lemon.

Few healthy breakfast options which can be included on daily basis are

Oats & lentil/ millet based pancake stuffed with vegetables & curry/ Moringa leaves.

Quinoa/ amaranth/ couscous upma or salad with vegetables.

Pearl and barley millet roti roll stuffed with scramble cottage cheese/ tofu/ egg/ beans with a rainbow of seasonal vegetables.

For beverages include Fruit or vegetable smoothies with basil seeds & nuts/ Green juice/ buttermilk.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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