Alright, so you know that New Year resolutions are made to be broken. Research shows that 25 per cent people give up their resolutions after just one week. That’s because most of us set targets that are either too vague, too tough or too ambiguous.
Also, year-end goals are often too predictable. It is said, most resolutions revolve around a few themes:
—Learn a new skill
—Take up a new hobby
—Quit smoking and drink less
—Read more books
—Find another job
—Spend more time with family and friends
We at Outlook Poshan find it odd that although humans spend a staggering 32,000 hours eating and drinking in a lifetime, according to new research, so few New Year Resolutions are to do with food and nutrition.
Also, we need to remember that almost every food on our plate is suspect. A whole laundry list of food products are recalled by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) every year. Harmful, dangerous, alien chemicals and non-foods invade our food chain constantly—from farms, factories, markets to the kitchen—so that someone can make some quick profit. Eating right and staying healthy can be a real challenge. All the more so, in a world of fad diets, quick fixes and fast foods.
So here are 5 things you need to chew over, keep in mind and make your own resolutions this year, if you wish to live with optimum health. And be one of those 10 per cent rare people who maintain their goals to the end of the year.
ONE: IT MATTERS WHEN YOU EAT
Our body is set to a 24-hour cycle, called circadian rhythm, that tells us when to sleep, wake up or eat. New research shows that eating at irregular hours messes up this cycle and metabolises foods poorly. So try to eat at more or less the same time every day and never eat right before going to sleep.
TWO: YOU CAN LIVE LONGER BY EATING LESS
Caloric restriction, or decreasing caloric intake by 20–30 per cent, was first shown to extend life in rats nearly 80 years ago. Since that time, limiting food intake for longevity has been investigated in species from yeast to humans. Caloric restriction has repeatedly been demonstrated to lengthen the life span, prevent age-related diseases—from Alzheimer’s to cancer, as well as younger appearance.
THREE: REMEMBER FOUR PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA
First, your food choice should not clash with the climate or seasons. so don’t forget to include seasonal food in your meals. Second, your diet should follow your age: food rich in fat and protein cab be easily digested by the young, but may harm the middle-aged and the elderly. Third, quantity of food determines your health. Fourth, don’t go for incompatible meals. For instance: milk and melons should not be eaten together. Milk is laxative and melon diuretic.
FOUR: GOOD FAT VERSUS BAD FAT
Did you know that there are two different types of fat in your body, white and brown? While the white fat stores energy from the food we eat, brown fat burns the fat to produce heat in the body. Both white and brown fat tissues also have their own immune systems, and scientists are only just beginning to understand how these work. The good fat is found near our necks and shoulders and keeps us lean, by converting fat to energy. The bad fat pads your bellies, hips and thighs, stores calories. A type of immune cell that guards us from infection, Gamma delta T cells, have a key role in turning bad fats into good fats and also in protecting you against the common cold. This is what you can do have more good fats: portion control (use 7-inch appetiser-sized plates for main meals) as weight gain can harm the immune system; avoid sugar and refined carbs; add nutrients to your diet, say, vitamins C and E, omega-3 fatty acid, bioflavonoids found in vegetables and fruits, foods rich in immune-boosting zinc, like beans; sleep for at least 7-8 hours daily, as sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system.
FIVE: CLEANSE YOUR LIVER
The healthy liver diet should include, firstly, foods that promote the detoxification process; and foods rich in substances that protect the liver. Foods that detox: Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, beetroot and carrot clear heavy metal deposits and purify blood. Garlic and onions are a rich source of essential amino acid, methionine. It detoxes mercury and other heavy metals. Freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of boiled water first thing in the morning cleanses the liver and stimulates bile flow. Legumes like peas, beans and lentils provide protein, fatty acids, fibre, minerals, hormones, B vitamins and stimulate bile flow. Foods that protect are: Watermelon, banana, oranges for fibre, vitamins and enzymes. Yogurt stabilises blood sugar levels and stops fatty build-up in liver. Haldi and dalchini have the healing qualities required to protect against liver damage. Coconut water flushes out the liver due to the anti- microbial properties of lauric acid.
JUST SOME BASIC RULES
There are some basic rules of eating: fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, a quarter with protein, and the last quarter with grains—called the quarter plate diet theory. Use just a teaspoon of salt—no more than six for women and nine for men a day. Get your daily iron from green leafy vegetables, tamarind and fruits such as guava. Boost your energy with healthy cereals. For vitamin C, stock up on black chana, turnip, leafy greens, sweet potato, bitter gourd and citrus fruits. Milk is the only source of serious calcium. Drink up your 600 ml every day. Be smart about cooking oil. Add a little mustard or sesame oil to your main bulk of olive, peanut, soybean and rice bran oils. Carry fruits to office. Rich in vitamins and electrolytes, they make the best choice of snacks.
So go ahead. Make your own Nutritious New Year Resolutions.