HOW OUR DIET AFFECTS OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
We are always taught that once health is lost, everything is lost. And for maintaining a sound mental and physical health, we do not need just food, but a balanced diet. A balanced diet fulfills our nutritional requirements proportionately and helps in improving our cognitive & physical efficiency. Conversely, a poor diet results in early physical or mental fatigue, impaired decision-making abilities, delayed reactions, and lethargy. In fact, an inadequate diet may aggravate stress and depression also.
Various studies claim that our diet is a very important external decisive factor affecting our body’s response to various disease causing agents. Moreover, it helps in comprehensive conditioning and balancing of our mood swings. Even a study named “food-mood connection” highlights the importance of diet in diminishing depression.
Poor dietary habits, like having junk food frequently, has left no space for health maintenance, leaving a healthy and fit lifestyle as a herculean job. Daily fulfillment of nutritional needs should be our regular pursuit for a sound mind and healthy body. It is said that most processed foods stimulate certain centers of our brain that are associated with the feeling of pleasure and reward. This consequently enhances our cravings for such unhealthy foods that contain added sugars and refined carbs. So, the only way out is to say complete no to junk food and welcome a balanced diet in our lifestyle.
GIVE A HEALTHY START TO YOUR DAY
Sticking to a great eating routine consistently from day to day may help in weight reduction, body & mental energizing, and eliminating risk factors causing certain long standing diseases.
Let’s learn the best eating schedule
Wake up and eat something healthy within 30 minutes
Have breakfast at around 7AM ideally
Prefer to have more and more protein in your breakfast plate
Ideal time for lunch is 12:45PM
Try to keep a time lapse of 4 hours between two meals
Try not to delay lunch beyond 4pm.
Ideally, have your dinner before 7PM
Try to keep a time lapse of 4 hours between lunch & dinner
Try not to delay dinner beyond 10pm
Bedtime eating may hinder your quality of sleep also
FACTORS AFFECTING OUR DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
The factors that affect the dietary/nutritional needs are: AGE
Age is a vital determinant factor behind our nutritional needs. For example, in younger age our calcium and phosphorus needs are high but drop down in adulthood and again rise as we go older. On the other hand, Vitamin C demands also keep on increasing with our age due to varied reasons. Furthermore, Vitamin B12 and magnesium absorption gets compromised in older adults. Such individuals are even less capable of producing Vitamin D in their skin. Therefore, we can say that nutritional demands are high in childhood due to growth and in later half of our life due to degenerative changes. Also, our dietary demands increase more in old age because at this age we are at high risk of heart attacks, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, cancer, liver diseases, and many more.
Nutrient needs significantly change depending on gender. Women require a higher amount of calcium and iron than men. As vitamin D plays a keen role in calcium absorption, the two nutrients in combination are often medically advised to females. Moreover, its pregnancy, lactation and menstrual cycle that brings the major differentiation in these two gender’s needs. The fetal development requires folate,B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, and iron. So pregnant ladies are prescribed supplements for such nutrients. Additionally, the absorptive capability of pregnant women is high for calcium, iron, and zinc.
Conversely, males and postmenopausal females have much lower iron requirements. High iron rich diets can risk them for heart ailments. Since men are more prone to heart diseases, they require some other nutrients like vitamin E and folic acid.
One’s dietary routine acknowledges a lot about his/her potential nutritional lags. For example, a person may have deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and potassium, if his diet lacks fruits and vegetables whereas a vegetarian person may have lower levels of vitamin B12. The individuals who specifically consume a very low-fat diet, may have insufficient levels of certain fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K). This is because the absorption of such vitamins requires fats.
Nutrient interactions also play a vital role in maintaining our body’s nutrient balance. For example, a vitamin C diet enhances iron absorption but the same is downregulated by a calcium diet. Iron absorption is also hindered by polyphenols, which are present in a variety of our regular foods or beverages like tea or coffee. Furthermore, calcium excretion increases due to a protein rich diet.
Our diets are predominantly governed by the climatic condition of the place where we are residing. People living in colder regions have to include high amounts of proteins in their diets. Since they require high calorie consumption to keep their bodys warm, they may include more fats in their diet. On the other hand, people living in warm regions have to include carbs with low protein in their diets. This is because when carbohydrates are digested, water is produced as a by-product which can keep them hydrated. However, India is a tropical country, where there are many seasons in a year. So, our diets are governed by the current season. In fact, changing seasons open doors to many infections and flu. Therefore, the need for immunity boosters is usually high during those months of the year.
Medications are necessary when it comes to treating or preventing diseases. We all know that medications potentially have a lot of side effects. These can be adverse interactions with certain nutrients. There may be compromised or over-absorption of those nutrients.
DNA is also known to impact an individual’s nutritional requirements. This is studied under nutrigenomics. These days, this is brought into focus to pave the path of personalized nutrition. There are certain gene variants that show a link with compromised absorption and assimilation of vitamin A, folate, choline, and vitamin D and there are other genetic variants that show a link with alarmingly high iron accumulation in the body.
TAKING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS DAILY; A SUPER HEALTHY TRICK
We all are very much aware of the fact that detoxification of the body from heavy metals, toxins and pollutants is equally important as nutrition. Along with this, we need to include more and more antioxidants also in our diet to neutralize the free radicals in our body. These free radicals are formed as the result of our regular activities like respiration, digestion, physical exertion and mental functioning. But these unstable oxygen species tend to attack cell walls and consequently, may damage skin, blood vessels, muscle, bones and various organs of the body like heart.
Although dietary supplements cannot be called a “magic pill for wellness”, these can make our way to achieve wellness easier. The right combination of supplementary nutrition which varies person to person can be the super health trick towards our overall well-being. It is a formula of shuttling the right nutrient for the required function. Luckily, science has given such advanced formulas to carry out the measured nutrition, detoxification and anti-oxidation for our body via supplementation.
But the matter of concern is that the health stores are fluffed with varied types of supplements. Choosing natural dietary supplements is the first step towards superior wellness. This is because the synthetic supplements come with several unmanageable long-term side effects.