Expert explains how Indian diet is beneficial for fitness and healthy ageing

In a fast-paced life with so many fast-food options easily available, it`s challenging to eat healthy. The increased preference for convenience foods and packaged foods, combined with stress and environmental pollution, renders people more vulnerable to health problems. This is where clean eating and eating fresh foods come into play.

While we cannot control the environmental pollutants to which we are exposed, we can certainly adopt a healthier diet. As more people become aware of this, Dr Irfan Shaikh, Head, of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Abbott`s Nutrition business, highlights robust and healthier foods that comprise a balanced diet, as well as certain activities you can take to age properly.

Start Out Young
As teens grow, three essential systems in their bodies change muscle mass along with long bones, hormonal maturity and blood, and immunity. To ensure these areas grow properly, you need the right nutrients.

Bone development:
Most people think of adequate proteins and calcium when they think of bone development, but vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, collagen, and essential fatty acids are also necessary for bone health and turnover. Consumption of these nutrients can help reduce bone fracture risk for teens. Fish, egg, chickpea curry, mixed vegetable sabzi, dal tadka, and even some chutneys like flax seed chutney is rich in these nutrients.

Blood:
Iron, vitamin B-12, and folate are essential for the formation of healthy red blood cells. Without adequate iron, teens are unable to produce the red blood cells they need to carry oxygen throughout the body. Preparations made from spinach, like palak paneer, palak rice palak dal, lentil soups, methi paratha, and beetroot poriyal are some dishes that are rich in these nutrients.

Hormonal maturity:
Balanced diet, adequate proteins, high fibres, stress-free life, regular exercise, weight control, and sound sleep are critical for a successful transition of the hormonal foundation during the early years.

Preventative Care in the 30s and 40s
People in their 30s and 40s should focus on preventive care, particularly when it comes to their hearts.

Cholesterol:
To lower cholesterol, eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein-rich meals (particularly fish and seafood), legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds, and so on.

Stress:
Career, income, and family responsibilities create several possibilities to experience stress. Regular exercise and coping abilities to handle stressful situations are crucial to protect your health and mind. Some of the best ways to cope with stress are exercising, yoga, journaling, and meditation.

Blood Pressure:
Many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure because it has no symptoms, and the only way of finding out is to get examined. Reducing your sodium and chai or caffeine intake is vital to controlling high blood pressure, additionally, it is important to stay active and lose fat around the waistline.

The Importance of Prioritising
As we age, what we eat can impact our health, so it`s important to put some thought into what we eat and drink. Some key ingredients for future healthy ageing are:

Protein:
It is essential at every age, whether you want to build muscle, retain strength or recuperate from surgery. One can find protein in meats, beans, dairy products, fish, nuts, seeds, and cottage cheese and can serve these in the form of various curry preparations.

Fibre-rich:
Foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help with lowering cholesterol and managing body weight simply by keeping you full. Chana, masala, baingan bharta, and oats upma are some ways in which you can add fibre to your meal.

Calcium:
As we age, our bones lose some of their calcium and mass, heightening the risk of fractures and weaker bones. Consuming milk, dahi, and cheese is a good source of calcium uptake. Ragi dosa, til chutney and paneer, masala are some Indian dishes that are high in protein due to their ingredients.

Vitamin D:
It is important for healthy bones and is the only one that can be synthesised when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It can be found in fatty fish, eggs, and vitamin D-fortified dairy products.

Nutritional supplements:
A regular, balanced diet is crucial to meet daily nutritional requirements and also build stronger muscles as you age. However, while we recognise that muscles matter and eat accordingly, some nutritional gaps may exist. To fill these gaps, one can include a balanced nutrition supplement like Ensure HMB which is a science-based nutritional supplement formulated with 32 vital nutrients and a special ingredient – HMB or-hydroxy–methyl butyrate – that helps counteract muscle loss and restore strength and energy.

Every person passes many milestones throughout life and health should stay top-of-mind every step of the way. By embracing your cultural dishes which are prepared through locally and organically sourced foods, you can stay healthy as you age.

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