Dr B S Suvarna
B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD, PGDPC (Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
MAMTHA HOMOEO CLINIC
Karnataka State, India
It is now almost impossible to avoid advise on diets natural food , special supplements and the like if one is trying to pursue a healthier life style .
There seem to be as many guides and self-help books extolling one approach as there are others warning you of its dangers , not with standing the enormous amount of conflicting literature on the subject , there is a consensus view which has emerged and which , if followed with the addition of some of your own personal touches , will ensure you have very few dietary problems .
BASIC GUIDELINES TO A HEALTHY DIET :
- Limit sugar intake (this means reading labels carefully), although canned foods , bottled sauces dressings and cereals may some times be described as “natural “ they often contain high quantities of sugar.
- Avoid highly processed foods with preservatives and coloring added.
- Eat natural whole grain breads , cereals , pasta and rice , rather than highly processed varieties
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables rather than those which are frozen or canned
- Eat high quality protein sources (low-fat dairy products , whole grains , beans , fish , eggs fowl) and avoid high fat meat , cheese , red meat and processed meat
- Find suitable beverages to replace coffee tea and fizzy canned drinks try a variety of juices and drink plenty of spring water
- Reduce your salt intake by avoiding added salt and salty snack foods
- Keep tobacco and alcohol consumption to a minimum and avoid unnecessary medication
- Keep fast food and canteen eating to a minimum
- Reduce your consumption of fried foods both at home and in restaurants , cook vegetables in a steamer rather than a saucepan
- Try to eat your largest meal in the earlier part of the day to ensure the body is able to rest more at night
- Give your self time to eat slowly , peacefully and with concentration , that way you will be aware when you have eaten enough and will be less likely to over eat , digestion is aided by a peaceful mind and body
- The last point is often overlooked , no matter how healthy or natural your diet is , if you eat it in a rushed and stressed state then the body’s digestive processes will work against all the trouble you have taken to select and cook the food , we can now expand on some of these guidelines and add a few specific hints .
SPECIFIC HINTS CARBOHYDRATES :
These are the major sources of” quick energy “for the body and are converted in the body to glucose which is our basic fuel and which is stored in the liver and muscles . The major sources of carbohydrates are listed in the table , the complex forms of carbohydrate contain starch some of which is broken down by the body to simple sugars as listed in the table , but the body can only use glucose as fuel . over the last 50 years we have reduced the proportion of complex carbohydrates in our diet from 70 to 50 % , while our intake of simple sugars (cakes, sweets, fizzy drinks) has increased in an increase in obesity , diabetes , atheosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries ) and on a daily basis , may cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels giving rise to mood swings and a tendency to feel excitable and nervous , then feel down and depressed , reducing the refined carbohydrates in your diet involves:
- Cutting down on pastries , sweets , cakes , biscuits .
- Changing from white bread to whole wheat bread
- Reducing added sugar to drinks and cereals
- Avoiding processed and tinned vegetables and fruit
- Reducing the consumption of soft drinks
- Experimenting with other forms of sweeteners i.e. honey fruit parsnips molasses
- The large amount of fat sugar and salt in these foods can lead to health problems
- Some foods offer plentiful sources of carbohydrates which the body converts into glucose to be used as a fuel for “quick energy“
FAT AND CHOLESTEROL :
Fats are the major source of calories in our diet and like cholesterol are in essential ingredients for many of our tissues and cells . Cholesterol is made by the body from the fats we eat , it is required to make our hormones , the bile salts used to digest the food and the hormones oestrogen and testosterone , if the level of cholesterol is increased , however , then it is if the level of cholesterol is increased however , then it is deposited along the walls of the arteries (a little like the furring produced inside a kettle ), this” furring” may cause the blockage of blood flow which causes heart attacks .
The advise regarding fat content in diet has often centered around whether we eat butter ( animal fat saturated ) or margarine ( vegetable fat unsaturated ) , where as it is true that animal fats predispose to the formation of atheoslerosis , it is the total content of fat does require a reduction in meat which can contain any thing up to 45 % of fat ( beef steak ) , even lean meat contains 25 % fat , other ways of reducing the effect of fat in your diet is by increasing the lecithin content in your diet , lecithin is one of a special category of fats called phospholipids and is found in peas , beans ,onions and garlic . It is interesting to note that many traditional high feet diets found in the Mediterranean are all combined with raw onions and garlic . The diets are thus well balanced and do not produce the fatty deposits that might lead to heart attacks despite the high incidence of fat in the food consumed , manufactured vegetable oils sold as a “healthy alternative “have to pass through a complex chemical process known as hydrogenation which makes them stable at room temperatures , it is there fore advisable to choose those natural oils that are pure extracts of vegetables or grain , e.g, olive oil or safflower oil , heating oils above 190o/ 375oF potentiates their ability to cause atherosclerosis , which may explain the importance the importance of reducing fried foods to a minimum , reducing fat content in your diet involves reduction in the consumption of fried foods changing from red meats to chicken , fish or beans as a source of protein ,Increasing the intake of beans and sprouts as well as onions and garlic . Reducing bread spreads of whatever variety , changing from full cream milk to skimmed milk keeping to a maximum of three to four eggs a week .
Most people think of meat as a first class protein and believe other sources of protein are some how less nutritious. Another popular misconception is thinking of a meatless diet as a vegetarian diet , proteins are the building blocks and skeleton of the body . A high protein diet is required at the time of growth ( childhood , pregnancy ) but we generally eat more protein than we need , and we certainly can reduce our meat eating considerably , some types of wheat contain up to 14 % protein and the average is 7 % . Beans are a particularly good source of protein but have become unfashionable in the west beans can be” de-gassed “by allowing them to soak well and changing the water at least once . Do not cook the beans in the same water you have soaked them in , as the water will have absorbed the gases from them .
Tips on protein consumption :
- Reduce or eliminate red meat consumption
- Eat fish, chicken or cheese of the appropriate variety
- Introduce a bean dish once a week
FIBER VEGETABLE AND FRUIT :
The reduction in the fiber content of our diet is thought to be one of the most important changes in the last 50 years leading to the development of many diseases (appendicitis , gall stones , constipation , varicose veins , haemorrhoids , large bowel cancer ) Fiber derived from vegetables and fruits is not absorbed (see table below ) by the body ,produces “bulk “ and aids in the excretion of faeces reducing the time the waste products of our diet are present in the bowel . Adding bran to the diet can be an easy way of increasing the fibre , but far better is to increase the vegetable and fruit content which will ensure an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals .
|Gums Pectins Mucilage||Fruit|
VITAMINS , MINERALS AND FOOD ADDITIVES :
There is no sadder sight than to see prosperous , westerners consume dozens of extra vitamins and mineral pills each day in the misguided assumption that they are keeping to a healthy diet . Charts and tables of what each vitamin or mineral can do for you are displayed in almost every health book and pharmacy . Additional supplementation is not necessary if you ensure you have a good basic diet with fresh fruit and vegetables , occasionally , and in special circumstances only , are added vitamins and minerals required . Too many people pop these pills as a way of avoiding a serious involvement in their daily diet . The evidence that high doses of vitamin C or other supplements will reduce cold or prevent cancer is still debated in the medical journals , but recent studies found do show that large doses of vitamin C may prevent the formation of polyps in the large bowel that can cause cancer .
The various food additives found in our foods include preservatives , food coloring , oxidizers , softeners , stabilizers, and anti-oxidants and they have been shown to have a cumulative toxic effect on the body , recently antibiotics and hormones fed to animals have found their way into the meat we eat and much concern as to their effects has highly stimulated and development of organic farming , since 1986 , all foods have had to have information about all additives included on their packaging , it is quite a chore , however , to keep checking them . Far more sensible is to buy fresh food and to avoid tinned , processed or packed articles .