Your health is only as good as what you put on your plate. Eat well to prolong your life and stave off diseases.

There is a dirty four letter word in every weight-conscious person’s vocabulary: Diet.

We associate dieting with eating a few morsels of extremely bland food. Every person looking to lose weight first cuts down on his meal portions. This is normally the first step, followed by the person eliminating sweets, chips, pizza, pasta and burgers. After this, the person stares hungrily at pictures of food or other’s people’s plates in restaurants.

With these precedents, comes the inevitable: Binge eating and gaining several extra kilos.

During National Nutrition Week, it is essential to examine the concept of diet. Contrary to the popular notion, a diet simply means one’s daily intake of food. It could be a healthy diet or an unhealthy one, depending on the person’s health profile. While every person’s choice of diet and portion intake is subjective, it is pertinent to note that there are actual rules about what constitutes a good diet.

Why one needs a good diet

The benefits of a good diet cannot be emphasised enough. When one consumes nutritious food comprising all the food groups, one’s health remains in good condition for longer. Healthy diets restrict the onset of lifestyle diseases and ward off excessive weight gain. Plus, one is not hampered by metabolic disorders that make it impossible to digest certain types of food, such as milk or refined flour.

Doctors and nutritionists insist on a balanced diet that is low on oil, sugar and salt for resistance to disease and improved immunity. It is important to note in this connection that eating home cooked, nutritious food is the key to maintaining good health.

Portion control is also a key element. While many people today are adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet, they reverse their good intentions by eating overlarge portions of food. As a normal rule, three chapatis or rotis, with a portion of vegetables, a bowl of rice, dal, yoghurt, raw vegetable salad and a fruit for dessert are sufficient for adults.

Diet happy

The key to a healthy diet is to treat every food group with respect. We often err in treating sugar and fat as the enemy; both are essential for the body. Instead of avoiding them altogether, it is wiser to ingest sugar through sweet fruits like mangoes, litchis and dates. Good fat can be eaten through ghee and fresh cream.

Salt intake must be monitored – anything over 6 gram of salt per adult per day is unacceptable. If one does not like to eat unsalted food, one must dilute the proportion of salt in the body by drinking a lot of water.

Let us observe National Nutrition Week with a promise to our bodies – the promise of good health through the correct diet.

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