Are we doing enough to prioritize our health? We are on the verge of forgetting that “Health is wealth!”. Health is an asset that multiplies other commercial assets we need daily. ZeaHealth continually educates us to prioritize our health above all. We emphasize how one can remain healthy even in today’s busy world. If you have yet to see the best meal plan trending on the internet today, click here.
Nature has bestowed us with its wonders to keep us healthy and has a cure for every ailment in the form of healthy food. Unfortunately, in the fast-changing world, we are giving lesser importance to our health. There is a notable shift from fresh and healthy food too expensive supplements. Are we in actual need of these supplements? Or are we just making up excuses for our unhealthy lifestyle?
Well, a balanced diet is the only medicine to keep oneself healthy. However, the term balanced diet remains a vast concept defined and redefined by experts. Moreover, diet varies from person to person and from region to region. For example, people living in coastal areas will have a different diet compared to people living in higher altitudes.
This blog will examine how food can be a natural medicine in today’s world. We shall also delve deeper into the nutritional facts of different regions worldwide. This blog contains the creme-de-la-creme of old food habits, which we can utilize even today.
What do reports say?
The United States National Centre for Health Statistics (USNCHS) says that almost 15% of adolescents are overweight or obese. Nearly 25% of School going children eat processed food with increased sugar, salt, and fat. In addition, inflammatory foods such as pizzas, burgers, and artificially sweetened drinks contribute to increased body mass index and obesity in children.
A study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, foods such as red meat and sugary treats trigger inflammation and raise the cardiovascular disease risk. In contrast, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food reduces the risk.
The follow-up of the study showed that the people that consume inflammatory diets had a 46% increased risk of heart disease and a 28% increased risk of stroke.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) leads to 18.6 million deaths yearly and is the most common cause globally. Cardiovascular disease causes are lack of exercise, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a poor diet. Obesity is among the significant reasons.
With a rise in the intake of junk, fatty, processed, and sugary food, the world suffers from the unusual epidemic- Obesity. Being overweight or obese places you at a greater risk of developing health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, kidney disease, and many other chronic conditions.
The contributory risk factors associated with being overweight or obese involve poor nutrition/diet, physical inactivity, or a sedentary lifestyle. Modifying the risk factors can help achieve a healthy weight and prevent potential health risks through proper diet and physical exercise.
Time travel to classical antiquity
The food habits that we follow today are drastically different from ancient times. We also analyze our body mechanisms quite differently. Well, these are all gradual changes. Greek physicians considered that the body is made up of humor. Even Asian physicians thought of the three Gunas as the basis of health.
Therefore diet was different for people based on their conditions. However, the bottom line was that we should balance food. Excessive food from one particular source can lead to harmful effects.
Several young people get diabetes, cancer, and several other chronic diseases. The apparent reason behind this lies in the quality and quantity of food consumption.
Lorain Cordain, a nutritionist at Colorado State University, talks about the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet refers to the diet of the Paleolithic age. Such a diet reduces the diseases of civilization like diabetes, blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, etc.
Meat eating was crucial to the Homo erectus as it helped fuel a bigger brain. However, as agriculture came into being, people started discovering plant alternatives.
Primatologist Richard Wrangham says that the modern diet is indeed making us sick. Heating and Pounding food make it complicated for humans to digest. Nowadays, there is a significant growth in the consumption of processed food. For a short time, we depend on these diets without realizing the disastrous effect of it.
A healthy diet
Our CEO, Dr. Chandra Bondugula, focuses on a diet that includes every nutrient in a balanced way. Dr. Bondugula agrees that every region and body type has a different diet. Therefore, there can never be one universal diet that will suit everybody.
However, there must be an essential balanced diet that will supplement the physical need. So let us dine in with some of the healthy diets of the world.
The island of eternal Youth
I am not talking about the state of being young! Youth comes with good health. A good and healthy diet is all that makes up for good health. Do you know that Okinawa in Japan has the maximum number of centenarians?
- These people have very few or no chronic diseases.
- They have very few free radicals in their blood which makes them healthier.
- Women experience fewer or moderate symptoms of menopause and have a higher level of sexual hormones.
- The rate of dementia is much lower.
The Japanese diet consists of the following foods:
- Less- Sugar, saturated fats, and salts.
- More– Grain-based dishes, rice, Carrot, cabbage, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
- Beverage– Large amounts of green tea, At Least 2 liters of water
Japanese consume fewer dairy products like yogurt, cheese, etc.
Curative Indian food
The Indian diet is one of the world’s oldest and finest diets. A traditional Indian diet is something that you must try to keep yourself healthy. As we said at the beginning, traditional diets varied in human anatomy. In other words, there has never been one diet that suits everyone.
Look at the platter below for rich and flavored details of the Indian diet.
- The Indian diet is functional, containing high fiber, antioxidants, and probiotics.
- Ghee is an essential item in an Indian diet that maintains gut health. The churning of butter and ghee was integral to ancient Indian culture.
- Indians consume milk cream, ghee, and butter which improves digestion.
- Vegetables contain vitamins C, E, Folates, B, carotene, Thiamine, tocopherols, etc.
- South Indian dishes cooked in sesame oil are an excellent diet for the region. Therefore, fermented foods make a perfect diet for the hot and humid climate.
- Another essential Indian diet is unleavened bread like chapatis and parathas. These dishes have a rich composition of fibers, polyphenols, and minerals.
- The Indian diet focuses on Curd, Dahi post-meal. However, one should consume Dahi before sunset as it is a cooling agent. Dahi supplies our body with essential lactobacilli, which is good for maintaining Gut health.
- The Indian diet is cooked richly with spices. Not only do spices add flavor, but they also provide essential minerals. They act as acidulants too.
The Indian diet revolves around cooking with various oils. Mustard oil, Vegetable oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, etc., are common household oils. These oils are again suited for different regions. For example, the South Indian diet mainly revolves around coconut and sesame, whereas the East Indian and North Indian diets use Mustard oil. However, all these oils have antidepressant and antioxidant properties.
Medicinal properties of spices-
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and laxative, and suitable for the affection of the liver, jaundice, and blood diseases.
- Red pepper (Capsicum annuum) Anti-inflammatory, for pain relief (rheumatism/neuralgia); useful in indigestion, rubefacient.
- Garlic (Allium sativum) Anti Dyspeptic, antiflatulent for ear infections and duodenal ulcers, as a rubefacient in skin diseases
- Onion (Allium cepa) Diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant for bleeding piles
- Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-graecum) Diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, useful in heart diseases
- Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) Antispasmodic, carminative, digestive stimulant
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Antidyspeptic
Try out Dr. Chandra’s diet for a healthy outcome.
Have you tried Dr. Chandra’s recent diet? If not, check below!
These are the vegetables Dr. Chandra prefers having-
Vegetables: spinach, kale, collard greens, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, squash, zucchini, celery, carrots, peppers (red, green, orange, yellow), tomatoes, sweet potato, cabbage, corn, cauliflower, green peas, cucumbers, lettuce, lime juice, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap pea, garlic, and onions.
Fruits: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, grapes, apples, oranges, pomegranates, pears, bananas, peaches, plums, and dry fruits.
You can prepare smoothies with a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Else you can stir-fry with olive oil, minced garlic, and onion with various vegetables.
Dr. Chandra’s “My100 Plates” meals are richly packed with macro and micronutrients; the calories come from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
The micronutrients include vitamins (A, B complex, C, D, E, K) and minerals (iron, zinc, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iodine, copper, and fluorine). These micronutrients act as antioxidants, which fight against cancers. In addition, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains contain high levels of fiber, phytonutrients, and flavonoids that help prevent many life-threatening diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and diet-related cancers.
It is worth noting that My100Plates meal is mainly composed of highly nutritious plant-based foods with a lower caloric intake.
Dr. Chandra discusses some Positive Signs of Low-Calorie Intake:
Fewer calories amplify your belly-bloating effect and provide a hunger-squelching impact to boost your body-fat metabolism for effective weight loss.
- The low-fat and reduced caloric intake also helps to moderate your eating behavior by minimizing your food cravings and keeping you relaxed and free from distress, thus promoting a positive impact on weight loss.
- The high levels of nutrients keep your body energized for optimum performance, help maintain the health of your skin (anti-aging effect), improve vision, and promote the healthy growth of strong teeth and bones.
A healthy alternative: Mediterranean diet
Among one of the healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet is what you can prefer. In addition, studies reveal that this diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. So let us look at what the Mediterranean diet offers us.
- Consists of a plant-based diet like whole vegetables, legumes, herbs, spices, etc.
- This diet includes the consumption of healthy fats like olive oil. Foods like avocado, walnuts, salmon, sardines, and foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Mediterranean people consume fish two times a week, balancing it with other foods. However, they consume red meat within limits, like once a month.
- People living in these regions focus on antioxidants. These antioxidants are found in the above diet, which increases cognitive function.
Research from the American Heart Association says that a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Parameters for measuring health
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a valuable screening tool that can assess a person’s weight status concerning the potential disease risk. Typically, a healthy weight ranges between a BMI of 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI below 18.5 indicates being underweight, between 25.0 and 29.9 indicates being overweight, and greater or equal to 30.0 indicates obesity.
The foods we eat directly impact our inflammation levels, blood sugar, energy, hormones, brain, and heart health, just like medicines affect our body organs.
Our body needs nutrition which is possible through a healthy and balanced diet. Dr. Chandra believes that balanced food and a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risks of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other diet-related diseases. All the above statements prove a single statement – “Food is Medicine.”
As honorable Senator Bill Frist said, “we can start by doubling down on improving nutrition and effective education programs.” We must prioritize nutrition. The time is now to make and bring nutritious changes.