Feeding smartly right from the very beginning not only helps the everyone to keep healthy but can also contribute towards preventing several health complications in the future. Children should be aware about healthier meal options for breakfast, instead of just having bread butter, they can have chickpea chilla, boiled eggs, porridge and healthy milkshakes prepared from nutritious fruits and vegetables.
On this National Nutrition Week 2021, Onlymyhealth started a series to discuss about the essential diet tips for various lifestyle concerns and health problems. This year's theme is 'Feeding smart, right from the start'. We spoke to Dr. Smita Naram, Co-Founder, Ayushakti, to know about the importance of a healthy nutritional diet and some foods to eat and avoid to maintain it.
Importance of healthy nutritional diet
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Talking about the importance of a healthy nutritional diet, Dr. Smita said, "Healthy diet plays an important role in the growth and development of a person and is also essential for your overall lifestyle. The journey starts from breastfeeding till old-age, the food we consume helps us in building good food habits. Breastfeeding is one of the most crucial initial stages of life, and the child should be fed properly from childhood to avoid any future health complications, so accordingly the mother is suggested to have nutritious food to make sure the child gets the right amount of nutrition."
Growing up it's important to focus on having a balanced diet depending on one’s age, lifestyle, illness and family history. A nutrition diet should be followed as advised by an expert. Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old traditional medical practice which has always aimed on the quality lifestyle of healthy living and from the beginning had a special focus on “Ahara” (diet) and “Anna”(Food) that results in good well-being of an individual. Healthy and good quality food helps in nourishing your mind, soul, and body.
Foods to eat and avoid to maintain healthy diet
As per Dr. Smita, here are some foods that you should eat and avoid to maintain a healthy nutritional diet:
1. High fiber grains
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High fiber grains, millets and lentils are beneficial for your health. Most whole grains are rich sources of fiber and they help in enhancing digestion and bowel movement. Adding high fiber grains in your meal makes it a healthy and nutritious diet.
2. Cooked vegetables
Vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach, carrots, etc contain important nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. These contribute towards making your diet healthy and nutrient dense. Cook your veggies and have them along with various spices.
According to Dr. Smita, spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and coriander should also be a part of your healthy nutritious diet. These spices boost immunity and are a major part of many curries and gravies mostly prepared in Indian households.
1. High sugar foods
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High sugary foods and drinks should be avoided to make your diet healthy. Having too many soft drinks, chocolates, etc can put your at risk of many diseases. Even if you are having sugar, then it should be in moderation. You can also replace it with healthier alternatives like jaggery.
2. Processed meat
Processed meat is not considered good for your heart as well as overall health. It is unhealthy and has been linked with cancer and heart problems. Processed meats including bacon, sausages, hot dogs etc should be avoided as much as possible as they contain harmful chemicals.
3. Refined grains
Foods that are made using white flour, cheese, butter, are usually considered unhealthy. Refined grains, especially when compared to whole grains are not the healthiest meal option. White bread, white pasta and many other such food items should be consumed in moderate quantities.
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