World Health Day 2021: Take a pledge to adopt a healthier lifestyle with the right nutrition

This World Health Day, you could take charge of your health by incorporating small yet impactful changes to your lifestyle.

By Sheela Krishnaswamy,

The year 2021 instigates a sense of gratitude in most of our minds. Some realisations, harsh truth, and life lessons were taught by 2020 in the most unpleasant ways. 2021 is the year that has made every small achievement feel like a blessing. The age-old saying, ‘Health is wealth’ has a newfound meaning and is extremely relevant during the times we are currently living in. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is ‘Building a fairer and healthier world’.

This World Health Day, you could take charge of your health by incorporating small yet impactful changes to your lifestyle. One of the ways to achieve that is by snacking right. Snacking usually has a negative connotation in our minds as we think of unhealthy snacks like pizza, samosa, burgers, etc. You could break this spiral by making informed food choices and snacking right.

Try to incorporate snacks like almonds as they are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc. You could consume almonds in a variety of ways! As they are easy and quick to flavour they go with just about any Indian spices. Almonds contain satiating properties that promote a feeling of fullness and helps keep hunger at bay between meals. Almonds are a great addition to a person’s healthy diet to maintain heart health and blood glucose levels. According to a recent study, snacking on almonds reduced central adiposity (belly fat) a well-established heart disease risk factor.

As it’s currently sunny in most parts of India, you could also snack on some fresh seasonal fruits like watermelon, pomegranate, apple and muskmelon. The best way to consume them is raw. Another great snack suggestion is cucumber and capsicum sticks. They not only provide nutrition but also hydration.

Secondly, try to control your screen time. As most of us are still working from home with limited contact with the external environment, we need to be mindful of how many hours we are watching content online. You could perhaps install an app that tells you how many hours you’re spending across platforms. Instead of watching something, you could water your plants, take your pet on a walk or even practice guided meditation.

Thirdly, binge eating has become more common now and is a cause of concern. In the midst of work, managing family and the stress around the pandemic itself, people are mindlessly eating junk food or ordering unhealthy meals online. To curb this, eat together as a family, have healthy home cooked meals. Having a healthy balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and nuts like almonds, whole grains and legumes is important.

Lastly, find smart ways to exercise and incorporate physical activity at home. You could practice Suryanamaskar in the morning, do some burpees, jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups in the evening. Try to go for a stroll for about 20 min after dinner (do follow the necessary protocol of wearing masks and maintain physical distancing). You can make your workout routine interesting by doing cardio 3 days a week and yoga for the rest of the week or even alternate them based on your interest and physical capability.

Adapting to a healthier lifestyle is always a process. A process that needs dedication and smart choices. Don’t be very hard on your food choices, remember progress is important and not perfection!

(The author is Nutrition & Wellness Consultant. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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