(Image source from: Eat smart for a healthy life})
Health is the main criteria for a successful life. For a healthy life many aspects like environment, proper exercise, perfect food, peaceful habitat, etc. are essential. While talking about healthy food, the first thing comes into mind is the dangerous pesticides contained in the vegetables and fruits which we buy from the market. By proper washing and preserving of these can help to a certain limit to get rid of the poisonous substances in them.
Alternately, now-a-days organically grown vegetables, fruits and other items are also available in the market. Whether consuming organic foods alone can be considered good for health? Is it enough to consume, tasty and properly cooked food can give us a healthy life? Is there anything more we should do for a healthy life? Yes, there is! For a healthy life the food consumed has to get digested properly and the nutrients, proteins and other minerals in the food has to be absorbed into our body.
How is it possible? It is possible by just eating smart! Just eating properly! Five simple steps can guide you to eat smart for a healthy life.
1.Quantity of food to be eaten for a healthy life.
There were many researches conducted to know the requirement of food for a healthy body. Many studies observed that brain functions properly in empty stomach. Empty stomach produces ghrelin, a hormone that carries the message to the brain that the stomach is hungry. This hormone also helps to perform other functions as well. Ghrelin stimulates and heightens the performance of the hippocampus, the region in the brain that handles learning, memory and spatial analysis, keeping us alert, active and focused. This points to the fact that we should be conscious of how much we eat. Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, describes on how we can get the best out of our day by optimizing our consumption of food.
“You shouldn’t keep eating through the day. If you are under thirty years of age, three meals a day will fit well into your life. If you are over thirty, it is best to reduce it to two meals a day. Our body and brain work at their best only when the stomach is empty. Be conscious and eat in such a way that within two-and-a-half hours, the food moves out of the stomach bag, and within twelve to eighteen hours, it is completely out of the system. If you maintain this simple awareness, you will experience much more energy, agility and alertness.”
2.Chew the food properly and eat slowly
Chewing the food properly has a significant role in being healthy. Properly chewed food is easy to digest. Eating the food slowly is also important. This will help the stomach to do its purpose efficiently. Studies show that 30% of digestion of starchy foods happens, with saliva. Digestion raises your metabolic activity.
Sadhguru of Isha foundation says, “In yoga we say, ‘If you take a morsel of food, you must chew it twenty-four times.’ There is a lot of science behind this, but essentially, one thing is your food gets pre-digested in your mouth and will not cause dullness in your system. Another thing is, if you chew twenty-four times, the information of that food gets established in your system and every cell in your body will be able to start judging as to what is right and not right for you – not in terms of the tongue but about what is appropriate for the whole system. If you do this for some time, every cell in the body will have the education as to what it likes and does not like.”
3.Enjoy right food at the right time
Having the right food at the right time is very much important for a healthy life. According to the time and season food has to be consumed. Nature itself provides us with the right food according to the seasons. We have to follow nature’s instructions for a healthy life.
Sadhguru says, “In India and especially in South India, during summer, the food is cooked in one way, during the rainy season in another way and in winter, another way, according to the vegetables available at that time and what is suitable for the body. It is good to bring in that wisdom and eat as per the needs of the body and according to the weather or climate we live in. For example, when December comes, there are certain foods which produce heat in the body like sesame and wheat. In winter, the skin, usually breaks because the climate becomes colder and people don’t traditionally use creams and things like that. So, everyone ate sesame on a daily basis. It keeps the body warm and the skin clean. With lots of heat in the body your skin won’t break. In summer the body gets hot. So, cooling foods were eaten. For example, in Tamil Nadu, they eat kambu (pearl millet). These things were fixed so that the body is able to adjust itself for that season.”
4.Balanced food helps to balance the metabolism of the body
A balanced food rich with the required Vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and other minerals are essential for a healthy life. We have to choose and eat the food rich with the required energy for the daily activities. For example a labourer has to choose a food which gives more energy for his daily activity, while a professional who does not have much physical activity has to consume food with less energy.
Sadhguru explains a few basics that will help maintain a balanced diet. “Today, doctors are saying that nearly 80 million Indians are heading to be diabetic. One of the reasons for this is because most Indian people are on a single-cereal diet. People are eating either only rice or only wheat. This can definitely cause health problems. It is important to bring in a multigrain diet in one’s life.
Traditionally, people always ate lots of grams, pulses, legumes and many kinds of grains. But slowly those things have gone away, and if you look at a South Indian’s plate today, there will be so much rice and just a little bit of vegetable. This is a serious problem. This shift to a total carbohydrate diet that has happened in the last twenty-five or thirty years needs to be reversed because a person’s long-term health will be seriously affected if they just eat lots of carbohydrates and very little of other things. This is a basic conceptual change which needs to happen in people’s minds. The majority of the diet should not be rice, but all the other things. Rice is your choice – whether you want to eat or not, you decide according to your hunger levels.”
5.Food habits contribute to a healthy life
Food habits play a major role in the health of a person. One has to choose the food which is suitable to his / her body. Maintain a regular time schedule for eating. Take time to eat. Give sufficient interval between 2 meals. Avoid eating junk food, which is good in providing with all the health problems. Binge eating is a major cause of many health problems.
Always think twice and decide, is it time for me to have food? Is this the quantity of food I need? Is this the right food for me? Does this food contain my nutrient requirements? Decide and enjoy eating for a healthy life.