Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. – Jim Rohn.
“Health” has become the new buzzword amongst the more intelligent lot of Indians. Anybody and everybody is talking about it. Pilates, Kick-boxing, Power yoga, latest diet fads, organic food – these and more have become the focal conversation at parties and luncheons. In fact, organic vegetables and fruits are become hot selling items. Most bakery items have become eggless, whole wheat and brown bread. However, this interest in one’s health is still very limited – a majority of Indians, including educated ones, are woefully out of shape. What is inexplicable is that the older one gets, the less the inclination to get that body in order. And that is why the ungainly sight of a lot of Indian men with pot bellies and women with shapeless bodies.
Everybody wants to look good and feel good. However the catch is that to be healthy, ‘looking good’ is not enough, it’s the ‘feel good’ part that needs to be perfect for you to be absolutely ‘healthy’.
‘Health’ is also a state of mind. So apart from the right food intake, the time of intake, the perfect exercise etc., it is also important to have a clear and fresh mind to keep yourself healthy.
It’s impossible to chronicle all the ingredients for a sure shot recipe to perfect health, but the following recipe will definitely take you a long way in looking, feeling and keeping fit and healthy:
1. Eat a Fruit within 30 Minutes of Waking Up
Foods high in bad fats, sugar and chemicals are directly linked to many negative emotions, whereas whole, natural foods rich in nutrients – foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes – contribute to greater energy and positive emotions. – Marilu Henner.
You may be eating healthy the entire day, but what you eat in the first half hour of your day determines how fit your body is. So remember to eat a fruit within the first half hour of waking up. Yes, that means even before your tea or coffee!
2. Dinner 2-3 hours Before Sleeping
Dinner was made for eating, not for talking. – William Makepeace Thackeray.
Dinner generally is the most laid-back and relaxing meal of the day where you want to sit down with the whole family after the day’s chores and look forward to bedtime for a good night’s sleep. Wake up! Keep dinner and bedtime far, far away. You need to eat light and eat early. Dinner should be eaten at least 2-3 hours before you hit the sack. Your metabolism begins to slow down in the afternoon, continues to decline through the evening and is at an absolute low at night, so it takes longer to digest food which is eaten very late at night.
3. Cardio-Vascular Exercise at least 30 minutes a Day
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. – John F. Kennedy.
The cardiovascular system is the organ system in our body which consists of the heart and the circulatory system. The heart is the key organ in this system which acts like a pump with its main function to propel blood throughout the body. Cardiovascular exercise improves the heart health and makes the heart stronger for it to pump blood better. According to the guidelines published by the American College of Sports Medicine, 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week or vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week needs to done.
So fasten your sneakers and hit the gym for your daily dose of health! Or just go for a brisk walk or jog.
4. More of a Vegetarian Diet
Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends. George Bernard Shaw.
Many diets recommend a high intake of non-vegetarian food (the Atkins Diet, for example). However, increasingly, most doctors and researchers are veering to the view that a vegetarian diet is a much healthier option than a non-vegetarian one. Contrary to popular belief, a vegetarian gets all the nutrients in a well-balanced diet of grains and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables and dairy or soya products. A typical vegetarian diet being low in saturated fat and high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables is the ideal diet for healthy eating.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking is hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs. – King James I.
This universal truth is conveniently ignored. Many smokers feel it’s alright to have 1-2 cigarettes a day. If you want to live a healthy and fruitful life, the only way is to quit smoking completely. It’s the worst destruction you can cause to yourself. As soon as you quit smoking, you begin to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke. Stopping smoking also lets you breathe easier and let’s you have more energy during physical activity. Try and kick the habit and you’ll see a definitely healthier you!
6. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
There are six components of wellness: proper weight and diet, proper exercise, breaking the smoking habit, control of alcohol, stress management and periodic exams. – Kenneth H. Cooper.
Apart from its oft spoken of ill effects, alcohol increases your appetite and makes you eat more then your body needs. Consequently, it makes you obese and gives you a belly. Apart from this rather soft ill-effect, drinking too much alcohol can take a serious toll on your health and affect all the organs of your body.
7. Avoid Processed Food and Drinks
Research has shown that even small amounts of processed food alter the chemical balance in our brain and cause negative mood swings along with noticeable dips ill energy. – Marilu Henner.
Nowadays, it’s hard eating something that is real and not processed as the lives of people are getting busier. However, regarding real food, the question to ask yourself is ‘if it’s really worth it’. Is it worth shopping for fresh ingredients when you can conveniently replace them with processed substitutes which are more easily available and storable? The answer is definitely ‘YES’. Processed foods contain preservatives and trans-fats. Trans-fats are used in processed food because it converts a liquid fat to a soft solid form and also because it increases the shelf-life for fats. These fats are extremely harmful and have also been linked to several life-threatening diseases.
8. Consume Nuts
Nuts are a good source of dietary fibre and provide a wide range of essential nutrients.
Nuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet. All nuts are healthy although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than others. They strengthen bones and prevent the body from contracting diseases.
9. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues. – Kevin R. Stone.
The advantages of drinking adequate water are many, more so in a country like India with its hot, tropical climate. While not a silver bullet, drinking water has many advantages – it keeps your skin and hair looking good, it boosts your metabolism, it helps you eat less, it keeps your muscles energized and it keeps your kidneys in good shape.
Start your day with a glass or two of water and have it with every meal.
10. Avoid Useless Gossip
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt.
We complicate our lives when we indulge in useless and mindless banter which gets us nowhere. If you surround yourself with unhealthy people, you will be unhealthy. For a fit and healthy body it is important for the mind to be free of dubious thoughts.
11. Compete with Yourself, Not Anybody Else
I loved the feeling of freedom in running, the fresh air, the feeling that the only person I’m competing with is me. – Wilma Rudolph.
Competition is good provided it is taken in the right spirit. For a stress-free lifestyle and peace of mind, compete only with yourself and endeavor to excel and surpass your own past record. Don’t get affected by others’ performances as this takes a toll on our health and makes us unnecessarily anxious and distressed.