We, the people, living in the 21st century, know that having a balanced diet, combined with a regular exercise routine can help live a healthy, longer life. But is our level of understanding about healthy foods really sufficient to keep ourselves healthy?
Nutritional Foods Are The Essentials To A Healthy Life And Patterns of Consumption
Research studies that observe the food consumption patterns of people in modern times point to the fact that a large majority of people follow food patterns that are widely popular in their region, cultural setting, and locality.
For instance, the majority of the population in South India consumes rice, and rice-based foods at least twice a day, while the majority in the north of India consume both rice and wheat, again, at least twice a day.
Both the rice-based and wheat-based food items are clean forms of foods, freshly prepared at home, and one may tend to assume that these are healthy. While it is true that these are healthy, they are not healthy when consumed in large quantities.
The Bitter Truth
Studies have shown that the higher level of prevalence of diabetes in India is linked to the consumption of rice and wheat in excess quantities.
The conclusions of such studies may urge a commoner, who may have limited knowledge about nutrition and dietetics, to bring the lives of the people who lived in the 20th century into the picture, whose food patterns weren’t much different from ours. Though it is true that the food consumption patterns in India in the 20th century weren’t different to a great extent, it is to be kept in mind that the works and lives of the 20th-century men were hugely different from that of the people in our times.
Understanding Nutrition and Self
With limited inventions in the field of technology, machinery and scientific advancements, people had to do a lot of physical work in the 20th century. Their physical exertion would burn a lot of carbohydrates, broken down from and supplied by rice and wheat.
With the change of time, our lifestyle and habits have undergone changes too, and it is a well-known fact that in modern times, most of us do light, table work, rather than manual work. Understanding this fact in a deeper, scientific angle should be enough for a commoner to realize that food patterns should change in accordance with our bodywork patterns.
Therefore, understanding food patterns and their work on the body is the first step in the journey of fitness and health.
With this fact made clear, what should we eat? Should we cut out carbs completely? Well, it is of extreme importance that we understand the nutritional aspects and health benefits or harms of each food item we consume.
Interestingly, even homemade foods can be unhealthy when made greasy or too spicy or very salty, and foods bought from outside, like salads, smoothies, sushi, and such, can be healthy too.
Many studies have proved that fried foods, highly processed foods, foods that are too salty and spicy, sweets, and snacks are all harmful when consumed regularly. Any vegetable or snack that is deep-fried in oil will lose its nutrition and may contain a lot of wasted calories. When consumed regularly, it makes one gain weight around the waist area, and the fat from such foods may gather into small pockets of fat, leading to blocks in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, at a later stage. Thus, the increasing cases of heart attacks in modern times.
Hence, staying healthy also means understanding food items that should be avoided.
Food for Thought and Thought for Food
The next important step is to understand the nutritional value of the food items that we consume. Vitamins, minerals, protein, and other essential nutrients should be consumed in sufficient quantities. And, if one has to cross-check if they are consuming all these foods in sufficient quantities, they should know the nutritional value of each food item they consume.
If a person eats non-vegetarian foods and does not add a sufficient amount of essential oils either in their diet, they may become prone to certain mineral deficiencies, which in turn may affect the quality of their skin, hair, and nails. Only knowledge and understanding can help one realize the mistakes they make in their diet.
High Time to Stop, Reflect, and Start Over
It is time we, the people of the 21st century, stop and think about all the food items we eat in a day, understand our food consumption pattern in general, and analyze how the energy from these foods is utilized by our bodies.
Having a healthy breakfast with many essential nutrients is extremely important. While consuming food, it is advised that food be consumed in smaller portions, five to seven times a day. The dinner or the last meal for the day should be consumed before 8 Pm, and a gap of at least two hours to be ensured between the last meal and bedtime.
Ensuring that all foods items consumed are healthy, combined with a regular exercise schedule and a regular sleep pattern would help one stay fit and healthy.
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