The right diet: What should we be eating everyday?

A question that most people have on their mind is -Is there a perfect diet? Is there a quick list that one can follow of the foods one must eat? Well, there is no quick list. Diets are based on a variety of factors like current health, current weight, family history or susceptibility to various health conditions.

When one talks about food, it is better to approach it as a wholesome activity rather than meeting a ‘calorie count’ at the end of the day. The first and most important thing is to understand that diets are not synonymous with ‘fasting’ or worse starving. While there are many diets like Keto or Atkins or GM diet, intermittent fasting it is very important to do some research before you jump on the diet bandwagon.

But more than a diet plan, what you need to focus on is the basic ingredients of your plate. Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and fiber. While most people think that Indian food is oily and greasy, the fact is that it is entirely in your control how spicy or oily you want to make it. If you can bake a dish instead of fry it, then opt for baking. Varieties of papads can be dry roasted instead of deep-fried. Be very conscious of the choices you are making. Make room for some cheat meals as well, but the fact is, if you relish food, get inventive and engage in the process of making food, every day will be a special meal. But even for your cheat meals, don’t go overboard with chips and junk food.

Most people have rice, dal, vegetables, salads, Rotis and yogurt on their plates on a daily basis which is essentially indicative of what your meal should look like.

1. Pulses: Grams, pulses of any kind are very high in protein and contain vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron, and zinc. You could whip up some classic Indian recipes like Chole, Rajma, Masoor, peas, dals. Use oil and butter with discretion and you can have tasty food that’s also healthy.  Pulses possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic qualities meaning they help build immunity against cancer. Their low glycemic index makes it perfect for those with diabetes.

2. Whole Grains: Whole grains like jowar, rice, and wheat are very good for your health. They are good sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Brown rice, oats, millets are versatile and you can whip up a range of Indian dishes including pulaos, dosas, and bread, bajra rotis, jowar rotis. They offer you  Vitamins B1, B2 and B3, iron, dietary fiber and essential minerals.

3. Dry fruits and Nuts: Go nuts over nuts! Peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, dates. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats, minerals, and protein. Dates are rich in iron, calcium, and potassium. From anemia to constipation, nuts will help you overcome it all.  If not during lunch or dinner, make dates your evening snacks. Those hunger pangs are about to become healthy!

4. Greens: Even as kids green leafy vegetables were the dreaded substance on the plate. But greens like spinach, broccoli, methi, french beans, Bhindi, bitter gourd are among the top green vegetables that one must eat regularly. Loaded with Vitamins A, B, C, and K, Omega 3. Green leafy vegetables are essential to maintain your health.  Apart from muscle building, green vegetables keep your gut happy. The roughage helps regulate bowel movements and thus keep you healthy!

5. Vegetables: Apart from green leafy vegetables, there is a world of colorful vegetables that are waiting for you. Carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, beetroot, brinjals, pumpkin, onions, garlic. Rich in minerals, carbs, antioxidants, and of course fiber. An innumerable combination of vegetables is possible if you try!

6. Fruits and Berries: Fresh fruits and berries are very important to stay healthy. Nature’s sweet treats! Bananas, apples, mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, papayas, pomegranates, oranges to name a few. Apart from the sweet and delicious taste. Fruits are loaded with Vitamin C, vitamin C, manganese, iron, and potassium, antioxidants. Of course, as with anything else is subject to your health.

7. Probiotics: Chass, lassi, dahi, and of late many probiotic drinks in the market have become hugely popular. Probiotics like yogurt promote the growth of good bacteria that are absolutely essential to good health.

8. Meats: If you are a nonvegetarian or pescatarian, meats like chicken, pork, fish are rich in protein. Finding the right meat and cooking it the right way are critical to how it helps your body. But meat has to be cooked with a side helping of vegetables and pieces of bread like rotis. Avoid processed meats and control the portion of the meat you eat.

9. Eggs: If you eat eggs, eggs are an excellent source of protein. They also contain selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper. Boil them, make an omelet, or add them to a gravy.

Diets should not be decided by the latest trends but by what your body wants. Losing weight or gaining weight should not be a primary concern when going on a diet. You must think of a diet as an ongoing choice and not something that you do for 3 months or 10 days. Drastically losing weight or gaining it is also not advisable. But before going on a diet, consult your doctor and work on what feels good for you. List down food that you enjoy, see which elements you can include in your diet. A healthy diet is very important.

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