Make These Dietary Switches
‘Healthy lifestyle’, a common phrase that has come under much scrutiny over the last couple years, has some of us checking our calorie count with every meal intake, and most of us aiming to achieve it, but never being able to. The key to minimizing health risks is not as hard as you may think. Starting small and adopting simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help in maintaining overall heart health.
Choose granola bars over Indian dessert
We Indians have a sweet tooth and crave something sweet with our meals, but most of the time we go overboard with the consumption of desserts that have excessive amounts of sugar. Overconsumption of sugar for long periods of time accumulates as fat in the body causing weight gain. Even though sugar is part of our regular diet one needs to be mindful of the consumption pattern, and portion sizes and should go for a snack, which is ideal. Granola bars are a quick snack for those who need a power boost but make sure you use low amounts of sugar. Homemade granola bars can be made at home with oats, berries, edible seeds, and dry fruits that are high sources of fiber and protein. Soluble fiber helps to reduce LDL levels i.e., bad cholesterol and blood pressure which will keep your heart healthy.
Swap fruit juices with whole fruits
Consuming whole fruits in the morning helps in better absorption of vitamins from the fruits. However, people choose the convenient option and consume fruit juices.
Natural and canned fruit juices are concentrated sources of sugars without the benefit of fiber. Hence, it is advisable to include whole fruits as part of your breakfast, which has nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Seasonal fruits can be a good way to include fruits in your breakfast every day.
Choose blended oils over single-seed oils.
Our day-to-day cooking requires oil in almost all our meals, therefore choosing the right oil is a simple change for overall health. Though single-seed oils like peanut, soybean, canola, etc. do have health benefits, they are not enough to provide the right balance of fatty acids which are recommended in our diet. A healthier switch would be opting for multi-source oils, also known as blended oils. Blended oils with antioxidants have multiple benefits like providing nutrition from fats and improving immunity. It is prepared by combining two or more oils into one to obtain benefits of two oils in one.
Lower sodium and saturated fat rich snack foods
The American Heart Association and Indian Council of Medical Research recommend ideal consumption of sodium to be no more than 2000 mg a day. Processed foods like chips, crackers, or white bread as an evening snack has become a norm amongst adults these days and these foods are usually high in sodium and saturated fat. It is important to check nutritional labels before purchasing processed foods to assess the amount of sodium and saturated fat you are consuming. You can also opt for a healthy switch and consume foods like fruits, sprouts, oats, yogurt, or millet-based foods for snacks.
Swap fast food with healthy alternatives
Working professionals living sedentary lifestyles tend to depend on fast food to satisfy their hunger pangs. Fast food can contain excess amounts of saturated fats, refined sugar, and sodium, increasing the possibility of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol imbalance. To counter this, a simple habit of eating healthy alternatives like hummus wrap, savory oatmeal, and millet dosas can be relished. Chickpeas, oats, millet flour, and veggies have great sources of plant-based protein and fiber which improves your good gut bacteria and have a low glycemic Index that helps to control blood sugar levels. Leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, fenugreek leaves, kale, and collard greens are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that promote overall health and heart health. (IANS)