Health is wealth. This clichéd age-old saying still holds good and even more so in today’s era. As they say, ‘a healthy diet is a solution to many of our health-care problems.’ The secret of good health is hidden in your plate. But, while the streets and restaurants around us are being flooded with fast, unhealthy food, staying fit is a big challenge. To stay fit, we need healthy food. And healthy food means lots of veggies and fruits.
But somehow the majority of the people do not get the nutrients that are needed from their diets. Blame it on the trends in the food industry, taste habits of the youngsters, or lack of awareness among the masses. A typical adult’s diet includes low or no nutrient processed food, refined grains, and added sugars and preservatives, which ultimately leads to chronic diseases. And now we have seen the advent of food supplements and pills. That is known to plug the gaps in our diets. Though they are a good source of getting the required nutrients but taking too much of these supplements can be very harmful. One can get too much of a nutrient without realizing it and can lead to dangerous, toxic levels.
Many studies have shown that supplements do not make up for the difference, and their benefits are very limited. Also, as we get older, our ability to absorb nutrients from food decreases. Therefore, the intake of supplements can pose a big problem in old age. So we can see that the supplements or the pills are in no way substitutes for natural food. The natural and fresh food that we eat is loaded with myriad nutrients like magnesium, vitamins, calcium, etc that are needed for good health.
Many doctors and dieticians today advise preferring fresh food than supplements because nutrients are most potent when coming from natural food. Another benefit of food is that it tastes better and is less expensive than the supplements that are available in the market. And if you think you are not getting the desired nutrients or have a genuine deficiency in a particular nutrient, consult your dietician or nutritionist. He/she can help you get a diet that is balanced and addresses all your concerns. The following are some tips that can help you get the maximum nutrients from the food required for a healthy living.
Eat local food: Eat food that is locally grown, and soon after it is picked. Experts say that the best time to eat food is within 72 hours of its harvest, as they are most nutritious. The food that is locally grown is more delicious.
Pair different foods: Pair food in such a way that it maximizes nutrient absorption. Putting the right foods together not just tastes great, but it also helps us absorb all the nutrients available in the diet. Consult your nutritionist to learn more about the pairing.
Understand your body needs: It is important to know what sort of micronutrients and macronutrients that your body needs. Macro-nutrients provide energy or calories and include fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Micro-nutrients, on the other hand, contain vitamins and minerals that are vital for good health. They are required in small amounts.
Say no to processed food and alcohol: Processed foods are poor in nutrients, and sugary food can rob the body of valuable nutrients. Likewise, heavy consumption of alcohol reduces digestive enzymes that break down the nutrients from the foods.
Add variety in your meal: To get a wide range of nutrients, consider including various leafy and colorful foods in your meal. For example, brown fried rice with carrot, capsicum, a salad with roasted vegetables.
Include fats with every meal: Most vitamins need healthy fats to absorb efficiently because they are fat-soluble. So you can use oil-based dressings on your vegetables.
Reduce your stress levels: Stress is known to affect digestion negatively. It slows down the digestion and food is left undigested in the system. Yoga and meditation can help reduce stress levels. Intake of certain medications like antacids, antidepressants can interfere with nutrient levels in the system.
Keep yourself hydrated: The efficiency of the digestive system is directly proportional to the level of hydration in our body. Water is needed as blood alone cannot transport nutrients in our system.
Include probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that reduce inflammation and helps indigestion. Your diet should necessarily include probiotic foods such as yogurt, aged cheese, etc. that nourish your gut.
Avoid tea and coffee: Intake of diuretics like coffee reduces the number of digestive enzymes and also damages the cell linings of the stomach and intestines. This makes it harder for the nutrients from digestion to enter the bloodstream. Drinking tea also inhibits the absorption of various minerals and vitamins.