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Friday, June 08, 2012

Food for Healthy Body, Mind and Thoughts too !

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Blame it to recent several trips to doctor for me, my wife or the kid, we the family purchased, stored and consumed several medicines of late. So I decided to take a break from the medicines and instead have been trying hard to live a healthy life for a change. My discoveries of my own lifestyle surprises me that all these technological advances in all walks of life have taken us away from where we belonged originally and ultimately. We have to intentionally try, that too hard with great grit and determination to stay healthy.

They say- Health is Wealth ! When I asked for whom  they never responded back. I think either this phrase was first coined by somebody in the business of Medicine, Sports or Entertainment. For rest of us, Health is much more then wealth, infact I think good/ great Health is everything. Its much more then just piece of mind, emotions

Some of us luckily are genetically engineered to easily combat disease and other forms of attack from any foreign organisms. Such people rarely get sick in their entire lifetime. Definitely I am not one of them. Then there are some anti-Healthy people on the other end of the spectrum. They appear healthy but actually are not. They consume enormous amount of medicine on daily basis for most part of their lives. Consuming pills, powders and injections, weekly/monthly visits to Doctors become a way of life for them. Coincidentally I am not one of them either and if you happen to fall in this category, don't blame yourself, trust me its a sheer coincidence. Our body is such a complicated machine that with all our technological advances for Thousands of years, still we are learning about it. Any small, seemingly innocent event happened with you before you were born (but were a part of this world) or in the first few years of your upbringing can insanely affect your hormones, and so rest of the life.

Perhaps we cant control such unforeseen events, but for a major part of our lives, we have full control over health.We can decide what to eat, where to sleep, what to drink and what not to smoke. We should not feel jealous by seeing some of our friends insanely healthy friends who can drink barrels of alcohol, hog on to big cheese burger and finger chips everyday, without ever going to the doctors. 

Below are some of the commonly available Vegetarian items available almost everywhere across the globe, which if we eat on regular basis can not only boost our immune system, but will save us from many dangerous diseases, lights up the head and body and so helps in keeping the stress, blood pressure and hence our emotions and reactions controlled, uncluttered. Technically speaking the below widely known food items are rich in unsaturated/ mono-saturated fats, fibers, proteins, water and omega 3 which can reduce LDL (bad) and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Usually all the fruits and vegetables also contain carbohydrates sufficient for our daily requirement. But our 

1. Water - in a previous post, we discussed the amazing benefits of drinking plenty of water in different forms and colors possible. Irrespective of the age, Food affinities and phases in our lives, we should not forget drinking 2-3 Liters of water everyday.

2. Fresh Fruits- go for fresh fruits such Apple ( to keep the doc away), Berries, Orange, Avocado. Berries are expensive and not easily available in small towns of India, so instead go for Lemons, Oranges, Pomegranates and Grapes. All these fruits are a great stress busters, rich in Vitamins and importantly Minerals and Fiber. Go for packaged juices and frozen fruits, only if you cant access those raw fruits easily, otherwise no matter what the companies propagate about their packaged/ frozen products, go for fresh fruits.

3. Legumes - several types of beans are easily available at a low cost in India and throughout the world.  Red, Black, Green lentils are anyways commonly consumed all over India, however the trick is not to overcook or over fry to preserve the vitamins and nutrients present in lentils. Legumes are rich in Protein and can possibly prevent cancer. Beans and Lentils must also be consumed after sprouting them up at least once in 2-3 days. Sprouting increases the fiber content and develops some enzymes which helps in detoxification of the body. For best results, consume sprouts raw. Boiling, cooking significantly reduces the nutritional content of sprouts. Consuming raw sprouts also increases the pH thus reducing acidity of the body.So without doubt, go for sprouts !

4. Nuts - nuts are usually high in calorie, so should be consumed with precaution. Fast food culture has popularized consumption of roasted, deep fried, flavored nuts, which actually is a double whammy. While some Nuts are expensive such as Cashew and Pistachio, but some are not so expensive such as Peanut, Almond, Coconut. Its good to add some seeds such as Pumpkin, Flax or Sunflower seeds along with nuts. Once again its recommended to consume nuts in raw form or mildly roasted, but in moderation. But the moot point is not to ignore Nuts altogether. For Vegetarians these Nuts are important source of Omega 3, Oleic acids which helps in reduction of cholesterol, improves blood flow and skin texture.

5. Green vegetables - Needless to say, Vegetarians must eat lot of vegetables :) ! At the cost of being repetitive, once again I would say that deep fried, over cooked, over boiled, salt and oil laden vegetables as are usually popular in Northern India are no good. Vegetables are the most cost effective source of Vitamin A, B, K, minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous and of course Fiber. Co-incidentally Non-vegetarians eat lot of raw, unprocessed green vegetables with their non-veg food items, however we the veggies love them deep, dark, stir fried. Thanks to the heavy usage of Turmeric, Cloves, Cinnamon , Pepper and several herbs in our daily food, we still manage to get some nutritional value out of that Dal Tadka and Shahi Paneer .  

6. Grass- the power of Sun. Yes you read it correctly, I said Grass. Wheat Grass, Aloe Vera, Dog Grass, Barley Grass, Spirulina are some of the most amazing source of all the Vitamins and Minerals. Just consume any of these few grams in a day and stay healthy.  Need not buy those expensive tablets or designer packets, instead go for raw or in powder form from any reliable local supplier. Back to basics guys, that's where the age old wisdom lies. All these chlorophyll rich green stuff is highly alkalizing as well. We can hope to get relief from internal inflammations, aches and acidity to certain extent. So now we know why Cows don't burp, or do they ?

Some trivia for fun - An average Male needs 1800-2100 Calories per day and average Female need 1600-1900 Calories per day. 1 Can (330 ml) of carbonated beverage contains 140 calories and 1 portion of French Fries (170 gms) contain 500-600 calories, 1 Can of Beer (330 ml) contains between 100-150 calories depending on brand and % of alcohol, 1 Burger contains 300-500 calories, 1 serving of ice cream (150 gms) usually contains 150-500 calories. Interesting point is all these items contain almost zero Proteins, dietary fiber, Vitamins but are loaded with LDL (bad cholesterol).

Sometimes I tend to believe we become What We Eat ! So, what are you eating this week ?

Disclaimer - these are general guidelines based on my experience, analysis and research. Please do your own research and consult your medical advisor to customize your diet based on your body and specific needs.

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