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10 simple tips for healthy eating

By Shweta Singh
Last updated on: May 12, 2016 17:53 IST
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Eat slowly, more frequently and you'll end up being more satisfied and healthier, says dietician Shweta Singh. 

healthy food

Healthy eating is no rocket science. And you don't necessarily have to indulge in diet foods or starve yourself with tiny portions to stay healthy.

Follow these simple rules every day and you'll never have to worry about your health.

1. Cleanse your body with detox drinks

Start your day with a warm detox drink such as green tea with lemon or warm water with honey, lemon and cinnamon powder.

Women who suffer from water retention or bloating can take barley water in the morning on an empty stomach.

It is also an effective remedy to treat urinary tract infection as it induces urination and helps to naturally clear the infection.

2. Mindful eating

The rule for 'mindful eating' is to take smaller bites and chew down each morsel thoroughly.

It takes about 20 minutes, from the time you start eating your meal, for the brain to understand and send a signal to you that you're full. Once you feel full, stop eating.

Research shows that people who eat slowly and chew their food properly consume fewer calories and have lower body weight.

Eating slowly can also improve digestion and provide more satisfaction from the meal as you relish each bite of your food.

3. Limit your food intake, not food choices

Do not eliminate any food from your diet unless you have a known allergic reaction from that food.

This is true for individuals following recent diet fads that require elimination of cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and others which contain gluten -- a protein known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Whole cereals are a good source of energy consisting of healthy dietary fibre, B vitamins and minerals, and therefore completely eliminating it from your diet may not be a good idea.

Controlling portion sizes may be a better option than complete elimination of a food group.

If you keep portion sizes moderate then you will be able to enjoy all foods -- even fatty foods -- without guilt.

4. Eat a variety of foods

Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to food, eating a variety of foods can ensure good nutrition and a balanced diet.

We need approximately 40 different nutrients from food and this can only be achieved when your diet consists of a variety of foods.

For example, choose different cereal for different meals in a day, such as oats, muesli or quinoa for breakfast, wheat, bajra roti for lunch and may be brown rice for dinner.

Similarly, try to incorporate various colours of vegetables and seasonal fruits every day.

5. Eat more frequently

Divide your diet into small frequent meals of about 200 to 300 calories throughout the day.

Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast as this often leads to uncontrollable hunger and overindulgence in the next meal.

Snacking in between meals is the perfect way to control overeating during meals, and fruits are one of the ideal choices for snacks.

Apart from fruits, nuts and dried fruits with coconut water, green tea or buttermilk is also a good idea.

6. Boost your protein intake

Include good quality protein foods such as eggs, fish, sea food, chicken, lean red meats and milk in your daily diet.

About 100 gm of fish, meat or chicken can provide approximately 20 to 30 gm of protein.

People who avoid eggs due to concerns of high cholesterol can have egg whites regularly or whole eggs twice a week.

Most of the protein in the Indian diet comes from cereals, which has poor quality and low digestibility.

Proteins are made of amino acids and the quality of a protein is determined by the essential amino acids it contains.

Since cereals lack certain amino acids it can be balanced out by using cereal-pulse combination foods such as khichdi, idli, dosa and dal with chapati or rice.

Vegetarians can also consume soy products such as soy milk, soy chunks and tofu to boost protein content of their diet.

7. Drink plenty of fluids

The daily requirement of fluids for each individual is different and is dependent on factors such as level of activity, environmental temperature, kind of food consumed and state of health.

Normally, a healthy male adult needs three litres of fluids and a female needs 2.5 litres per day.

The source of fluids could be food, beverages such as milk, tea, coffee, juices and drinking water, but you must avoid too many sugary drinks.

Plain water is the best drink to quench your thirst -- you should have at least 8 to 10 glasses in a day.

8. Avoid excessive salt consumption

Indians on an average consume about 9 to 12 gm of salt per day, which is much higher than the recommended amount of 5 gm per day.

The high consumption of salt can be attributed to increased intake of processed foods and fast foods that have excessive amounts of salt and fat.

Most of our traditional snacks -- like samosaspakorasnamkeenspapad and pickles too -- are high in fat and salt.

Excessive consumption of salt can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and unfavourable effects on your heart and kidneys.

Hence, moderation is the key, which is true even for home-cooked meals. Avoid use of table salt, as it often leads to excess use.

9.  Daily dose of greens

Have at least 150 gm (raw weight) of leafy vegetables and other greens daily.

These are nature's power foods that are good for maintaining a healthy vision, strong bones, boosting immunity, preventing ageing and providing protection against colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Consume them raw in salads and smoothies or cook them into soups, curries or sides.

10. Add some crunch to your diet

Nuts and oil seeds such as almonds, peanuts, pistachios, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are all concentrated sources of antioxidants, minerals, omega 3, fibre, vitamins and proteins.

You can consume about 30 to 60 gm of mixed nuts and seeds daily, either as snack or add them to your soups, beverages, salads and desserts.

Shweta Singh holds a doctor of medicine in alternative medicine with a specialisation in vitamin therapy, yoga and magnet therapy.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Kind courtesy: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.com

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