World Health Day 2022: World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7 to reimagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all, where economies are focused on health and well-being, where cities are liveable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet. It also marks the date of the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organisation in 1948 and this year WHO is focusing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being. (Also read: World Health Day 2022: Increase endurance, stamina with 15-Minute HIIT Yoga)
Everyone knows that a good diet offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, has enormous health benefits including the chances of reducing several chronic diseases and keeps the human body healthy and well for a long time. However, making significant changes to a person’s diet can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially when there is a lot of information online about various diets and food that a person should eat, which can sometimes seem very difficult to comprehend and understand.
According to Minal Shah, Senior Nutrition Therapist at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital and Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine at Vashi’s Hiranandani Hospital, instead of making significant changes in the diet, it may be better to start with a few smaller ones that are easier to include in the daily diet. They listed five small changes that a person can make to their diet to be healthier and insisted that these need to be implemented in one go after taking some time to add them to your diet over time.
1. SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY YOUR FOOD – Taking time to enjoy your food is essential as it directly impacts the amount of food that a person eats and, in turn, the weight they gain. In fact, according to this report, fast eaters are likely to have a much higher body mass index (BMI) than slow eaters. Hormones control how much you get and how full you get post-meal, and it requires at least 20 minutes for the brain to process this information. That is why eating slowly gives a person’s brain the time to perceive that the stomach is full.
2. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE – Protein is often the king of nutrients, and it does seem to have some superpowers. It is considered the most filling of the macronutrients, but it can also help a person retain their muscle mass and slightly increase the number of calories that are burnt per day. Further, proteins also help aid weight loss as they will help a person feel fuller for longer, curb cravings, and make them less likely to overeat.
3. COOK MEALS AT HOME – Not only is it good for a person’s health, but home-cooked meals are also way cheaper than takeout food. Secondly, since the ingredients are purchased and added to the meal, there is a meagre chance of having unhealthy or high-calorie ingredients.
4. BE MORE ACTIVE PHYSICALLY – Good nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of Depression, Anxiety, and stress. Plus, it is essential to move your body every day – a person does not have to visit the gym; they can take up other activities like Yoga, doing household chores, daily walks (with pets) and playing with children if they want to be more active. Also, remember, it is better to start small and retain physical activities for a longer duration than going to the gym once a month. Small changes, in this case, can have a long and lasting impact.
5. COOK USING HEALTHY OILS – Highly processed seed and vegetable oils have become a household staple over the past few decades, including Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, and Canola oils. The problem with these oils is that they are high in Omega-6 Fatty Acids but low in heart-healthy Omega-3s. Some studies have shown that a high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio can lead to inflammation and be linked to chronic conditions, such as Heart Disease, Cancer, Osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorders so make sure you pick healthier alternatives. These can include extra virgin Olive oil, Avocado oil, or Coconut oil. Among the Indian oils Sesame oil, Peanut oil and Mustard oil have a good ratio of MUFA and PUFA which is recommended for good health.
When implemented correctly, the above tips can help make a person’s overall diet healthier and more sustainable without a considerable change in their habits. Talking about the importance of Preventive healthcare on World Health Day, Mr Amol Naikawadi, JMD and Preventive Healthcare Specialist at Indus Health Plus, said, “A healthy lifestyle and preventive screening are the two mainstays of battling the onset of non-communication diseases (NCDs). Regular health check-ups can help in identification and diagnosis of health conditions in a timely manner. Regardless of whether an individual has a family background of illnesses, regular screening should be done after 25 years of age. Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases etc., which are a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors impact the lives of many people across the globe.”
He insisted that along with health check-ups and right kind of lifestyle, understanding genetic insights (knowing one’s genetic predisposition to different diseases can help prevent or delay their onset) has also become a key in today’s world to have a sustainable healthy life.