Stating that while resolutions may be many, doctors say that ensuring a healthy and balanced diet should be an individual’s top priority to avoid health problems later in life, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer.
Talking about the exact ingredients of a healthy diet, nutritionist Vinita Narayanan said, “It depends on a variety of factors like how old and how active we are, as well as the kinds of food we eat.”
Stressing on the need for diets to contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods to keep one going strong, she said, “It is important that we try to eat a mix of staple foods with legumes, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and foods from animal sources. It is also important to eat wholegrain foods as well.”
Cutting down the intake of salt and sugar is also essential to a person. “Too much salt can raise one’s blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt, while the World Health Organisation restricts the consumption limit to 5 grams a day per person. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is not only bad for teeth, but also increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which can lead to serious, chronic health problems,” she said.
While we all need some fat in our diet, eating too much – especially the wrong kinds - increases risks of obesity, heart disease and stroke, said dietician Nithya Rajan, adding, “A diet high in trans-fat has been found to raise risk of heart disease by nearly 30 per cent. It is therefore important to replace butter, lard and ghee with healthier oils such as soybean, canola (rapeseed), corn, safflower and sunflower. Besides, choosing white meat like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat could prove very useful.”
She stressed on the importance of avoiding the hazardous and harmful use of alcohol. “Alcohol is not a part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures, New Year celebrations are associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Overall, drinking too much, or too often, increases immediate risk of injury, and causes long-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.”
- Diets must contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods
- A mix of staple foods with legumes, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and foods from animal sources is important
- Cutting down salt and sugar intake will make a significant difference
- Fat is essential to the diet, but eating too much–especially the wrong kind–increases risks of obesity, heart disease and stroke
- It is important of avoid alcohol, which is harmful to the health