Forget fad diets, here are six ways to improve your nutrition game.
– Nmami Agarwal, Celebrity Nutritionist
The desire to get fit and healthy is a common goal, but the thought of making major changes in our diet or changing the diet completely can be overwhelming. Fortunately, even small tweaks can prove as essential steps towards achieving health goals in the long run. This September, as we celebrate National Nutrition Month 2021, we share with you a few simple changes that you can make in your diet and talk about the difference each can make to your health.
1. Eat a rainbow
Don’t settle on just your favorite foods but fill your plate with variouscolorful fruits and vegetables. Our body needs a rainbow of nutrients and colors for optimal health, and each food contains specific phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and lycopene. Research suggests that food patterns that include fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and may also protect against certain types of cancer.
2. Cover your bases
Your daily diet should be a balanced one because that’s what supplies vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your body to function smoothly. Each meal must consist of: healthy fats and oil, vegetables, cereals, pulses or eggs/meat/fish, milk or curd, fruits, nuts, and seeds, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research’s My Plate for the Day report. While proteins help repair and build your body tissues, fiber helps you feel full for longer and avoid unnecessary cravings.
3. Chew slowly and intentionally
Be mindful of what’s on your plate and how you eat it. Look at each bite you take and chew it slowly. This helps you focus on the activity and keeps you from getting distracted and ultimately eating more than your body wants or needs. If you pay attention to what you are eating instead of distracting yourself with gadgets and chew intentionally, you will break down the food better, which may help digestion. This will also make you feel more satisfied and understand exactly when you’re full.
4. Go wal(nuts)!
A single food may not be able to build a healthy body, but it sure can contribute to the overall nutrient requirement of your body. A handful of California walnuts (28g) provides 2.5g plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, 4g protein, and 2g fiber. These nutrients help you feel full for longer, control overeating, assist in lowering cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels. They are delicious in flavor and a versatile ingredient to cook with. You can toss some in the salad, blend it into a smoothie, or eat it as is. For the freshest taste, be sure to store your walnuts in the fridge or freezer.
5. Avoid sugary foods and drinks
You have heard this ‘n’ number of times before, but we’re still going to repeat – avoid sugar-loaded foods and soft drinks since they are high in calories, which are not just bad for our teeth but also have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
6. Drink more water
For optimal functioning, our body requires a good hydration level. Also, water is essential for the maintenance of health and life. On average, a sedentary adult should drink 1.5L of water per day, as water is the only liquid nutrient that is essential for body hydration and is vital for the body to function properly.
Completely changing your diet or stopping the intake of a certain food may negatively affect your mind and body. So, it’s smarter to begin with the smaller tweaks unless your health expert suggests otherwise.
Happy National Nutrition Month!