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Dr K K Aggarwal

Plant-based diets can pave the way for better health and well-being

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Statistics show that dominant diets and food production are not nutritionally optimal. At least 820 million people are hungry worldwide, and close to 2 billion people are overweight or obese because they eat the wrong food. Indian food that is largely plant-based can show the world how a nutritious and sustainable diet can be provided to the world’s projected population of 10 billion people by 2050 without environmental degradation.

South Asia, including India, is an exception to meat consumption, with the majority eating half of the recommended amount, while countries in the North America, by comparison, eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat.

Vegetarian and plant-based diets are associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer as well as increased longevity. Vegetarian diets are typically lower in fat, particularly saturated fat, and higher in dietary fiber. They are also likely to include more whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy protein, and together with the absence of red meat, this type of eating plan may provide many benefits for the prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Our ancient rituals and traditions have given us a way out of the conundrum of diet problems. They advocate the principles of ‘variety’ and ‘moderation’ i.e. eat a variety of food and eat in moderation. They also recommend including all seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white) and six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) for a balanced diet.

The brain gets a signal that a person has eaten only after 20 minutes. Thus, it is important to chew every bite at least 15 times. It not only provides enough hormones for enzymes but also sends signals to the brain. Therefore, the time spent per meal should be 20 minutes.

Some tips for healthy eating

  • Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain. At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  • Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar. Choose healthy fats. Use fat–free or low-fat milk and/or dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  • Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.

Can diabetes be prevented?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Adhering to a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in animal products, may protect one against developing type 2 diabetes. The diet emphasizes olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, and de-emphasizes meat and dairy products. It is a healthy eating plan that seems to help in the prevention of heart disease.

Moreover, the people who tended to stick closest to the diet were those with factors that put them at the highest risk for developing diabetes, such as being older, having a family history of diabetes and being an ex-smoker. These people were expected to have a higher rate of diabetes, but when they adhered to the Mediterranean diet this was not the case.

Type 2 diabetes is typically brought on by poor eating habits, too much weight and too little exercise.

One key factor that might be responsible for the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet is its emphasis on olive oil for cooking, frying, putting on bread and mixing in salad dressings.

Tips to prevent diabetes

1. Eat less

2. Omit refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white rice and white maida)

3. Use olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, and reduce meat and dairy products.


Can diabetes be prevented?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Can diabetes be prevented?

Adhering to a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in animal products, may protect one against developing type 2 diabetes. The diet emphasizes olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, and de-emphasizes meat and dairy products. It is a healthy eating plan that seems to help in the prevention of heart disease. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers tracked the diets of 13,380 Spanish university graduates with no history of diabetes. Participants filled out a 136-item food questionnaire, which measured their entire diet (including their intake of fats), their cooking methods and their use of dietary supplements. During an average of 4.4 years of follow-up, the team found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, those who stuck very closely to the diet reduced their risk by 83%. The people who tended to stick closest to the diet were those with factors that put them at the highest risk for developing diabetes, such as being older, having a family history of diabetes and being an ex-smoker. These people were expected to have a higher rate of diabetes, but when they adhered to the Mediterranean diet this was not the case. Type 2 diabetes is typically brought on by poor eating habits, too much weight and too little exercise. One key factor that might be responsible for the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet is its emphasis on olive oil for cooking, frying, putting on bread and mixing in salad dressings. Tips to prevent diabetes

• Eat less

• Omit refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white rice and white maida)

• Use olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes and fish, and reduce meat and dairy products.

Plate Your Food Now

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A ‘Food Plate’ symbol has replaced the traditionally recommended ‘Food Pyramid’ of the USDA. These guidelines break down a healthy diet into 4 main quadrants on a plate: red for fruits, green for vegetables, orange for grains and purple for protein. A small blue circle attached to the plate signifies dairy products.

Fruits and vegetables occupy half of the plate space, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section. Eating more fruits and vegetables means consumption of fewer calories on the whole, which helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of fiber along with vitamins and minerals.

The other half is divided between grains and proteins. Grains, with emphasis on whole grains make up one quarter of the plate. Protein is a smaller quarter of the plate. The recommendation is to aim to eat different kinds of protein in every meal.

In a major shift from the food pyramid, the Plate does not mention the number of servings for any food group or portion size. Nor does it mention fats and oils.

Remember the following tips for a healthy meal:

• Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly

• Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.

• Avoid oversized portions, which can cause weight gain.

• At least half of your grains should be whole grains. • Reduce intake of foods high in solid fats and/or added sugar.

• Use fat–free or low fat milk and/or dairy products.

• Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.

• Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.

• Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.

How to Eat Less And Stay Healthy?

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Vedic science, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Allopathy all talk about eating less to stay healthy. Following are the ways to eat less:

1.The brain gets a signal that you have eaten only after 20 minutes, therefore, chew every bite of food at least 15 times. It not only provides enough hormones for enzymes but also sends signals to the brain. Therefore, the time spent per meal should be 20 minutes.

2. The taste buds are only on the tip and side of the tongue. If you gulp food, the brain will not get signals. Eating small pieces and chewing them properly also sends the signals through the taste buds.

3. The size of the fullness of the stomach also decides how much one can eat. The brain gets signal only when the stomach is 100% full. Therefore, one should not overeat and full the stomach to its size. Also if you eat less and over a period of time the size of the stomach will get shrunken.

 

How to Eat Less And Stay Healthy?

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Vedic science, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Allopathy all talk about eating less to stay healthy. Following are the ways to eat less:

1.      The brain gets a signal that you have eaten only after 20 minutes, therefore, chew every bite of food at least 15 times. It not only provides enough hormones for enzymes but also sends signals to the brain. Therefore, the time spent per meal should be 20 minutes.

2.      The taste buds are only on the tip and side of the tongue. If you gulp food, the brain will not get signals. Eating small pieces and chewing them properly also sends the signals through the taste buds.

3.      The size of the fullness of the stomach also decides how much one can eat. The brain gets signal only when the stomach is 100% full. Therefore, one should not overeat and full the stomach to its size. Also if you eat less and over a period of time the size of the stomach will get shrunken.

Eat less to live more: An all-religion consensus

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Inaugurating an Inter Religion Seminar on Diet, Health & Religion at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sh. J. Veeraraghavan, Chairman, Bhavan’s K.M. Munshi Institute of Educational Leadership and Management said that a healthy mind stays in a healthy body and for a healthy body, it is important to take a balanced diet. All religions agree that one should eat in moderation and consume a variety of food.

The session was moderated by Padma Shri & Dr. B.C. Roy National Awardee, Dr. KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India, who said that it has now been proved by modern medicine that longer the waistline shorter the life. A balanced diet means consuming all seven colours and six tastes in diet.

Sh. Ashok Pradhan, Director, BVB, Delhi Kendra said that it is an old age Upanishad saying that the less you eat the more you live.

Over 9 religions participated in the seminar.

Prof. Sunil Kumar Member, Managing Committee, Ramakrishna Mission said that Hinduism recognizes that people are different because of their ‘ahaara’, which means not just diet or food we eat, but everything that our mind intakes through our 5 sense organs! The subtlest part of the food that we eat goes to form the mind, and therefore the purity and quality of all ahaara not just food is important. Satvik food, which is fresh, simple, wholesome, including non-vegetarian food, is generally helpful for those Satvik people who are consciously striving towards the holistic and healthy worldview of ‘oneness’. For the majority of people, who are ever active, righteous conduct is more important.

 Dr Shikha Sharma, Wellness Expert said that even blood groups can help your diet patterns.

 Dr. Shridhar Dwivedi, Dean & Principal, Professor of Medicine/ Preventive Cardiology, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Hamdard University said that Islam as such forbids consumption of pork, alcohol and anything, which is detrimental or obnoxious to  human health or soul as it considers that we are mere custodians of the priceless gift of the Almighty God. It is under this surmise that Jehangir had prohibited use of tobacco or smoking in the 17th century. Muslims by and large follow rigid dietary guidelines (no pork, no alcohol) and are required to wash specific parts of the body before each of the required daily periods of prayer. Further they observe ‘roja’ for one month during the holy month of ‘Ramadan’, which is again a very healthy practice, if followed as per the strict tenets of Islam.

Sister Prabha Varghese said that in Christianity, diet varies with tradition. Some people choose to fast on particular religious holy days. Catholic Christians fast and abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some but not all Catholics also abstain from meat on all the Fridays of the year. Hospitalized or ill patients are excused.

Dr. AK Merchant of the Baha’i faith said, Baha’u’llah says: “Eat ye, O people, of the good things which God hath allowed you, and deprive not yourselves from the wondrous bounties…” Consumption of alcohol is prohibited. It includes when alcohol is taken as a drink as well as in cooking. For example, wine in sauces, sherry in trifles, and so on. The Baha’i teachings permit the eating of all foods. There is nothing in the Baha’i teachings about whether people should eat their food cooked or raw, nor is it forbidden to eat meat. The only dietary law is the prohibition of alcohol, which is forbidden except for medicinal purposes. Baha’is believe that living a simple life, abstaining from the use of alcohol and mind-altering drugs is beneficial to spiritual development, greatly reduces illness and has a good effect on character and conduct. It may be further mentioned that if a person can live on a purely vegetarian diet, it would be most beneficial.

Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar said that traditional Jews observe the dietary restrictions known as Kashrut; they “keep Kosher”. That means that they eat only those fish, fowl, and animals allowed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14: specifically, fish with scales and fins (no shell fish), domestic fowl (chicken, turkey, etc., no birds of prey), and animals whose hooves are parted and who chew their cud. Moreover, fowl and animals must be slaughtered in a specific way, the blood must be drained from the meat, and no dairy products may be served with a meat meal.

Dr. Shernaz Cama said that from the earliest times, the Iranians ate the flesh of domesticated animals and birds. Meat, poultry and fish was either roasted or cooked or fried before eating and eaten with various kinds of vegetables fruits, and dry fruits and consumed with milk, yogurt drink and alcohol. Animal food was used in the sacred feasts and festivals or in funeral repasts. To be constantly alert against evil, excess – gluttony, and deficiency – fasting is forbidden. Zoroastrianism has no food products that are forbidden and consuming alcohol, especially wine, is considered a religious duty.

Sh J Jolly said that Sikhism talks about earning livelihood with honesty and hard work. Body should be cared for in order to attain spiritual evolution. One should eat less, sleep less and talk less.  Sikhism does not talk about fast and says it is not necessary but one should eat in moderation. Sweet foods should be avoided as many of them may cause disease. Sikhism does not restrict one to be a vegetarian but with spiritual advancements one automatically shifts towards vegetarianism

Sikhism says big NO to alcohol. Smoking is considered as a cardinal sin. One should avoid foods, which may end up with physical and mental sufferings.

Samani Charitra Prajna said that the core principle of Jainism is Nonviolence. Food is the main source of energy to survive. Bhagwan Mahavir talked about two types of diet – Hitkari (Beneficial) and Mitkari (Moderate). Jains are lacto vegetarian and even many are vegans. Many avoid root vegetables in their diet. Among the seven prohibited addictions, alcohol is one.

Fasting is a way of penance for purification of consciousness. There are many ways of fasting like abandon of all kinds of food for a day or more, unodari – that means eat less than hunger, ras parityag – give up food like butter, milk, oil for few days etc.  In Jainism, there is a mention of abstinence from night eating. Acharya Hemchandra, in Yoga Shastra, says that the digestive system becomes inactive after sunset. So this time is not suitable to eat.

Dr. T.D. Kartsang said that Buddhism strictly prohibits alcohol.  For meat you have to kill a sentient being, which is the biggest sin. Therefore consuming any kind of meat is not encouraged or appreciated but also not strictly prohibited as some of the countries which are geographically at high altitudes and where plantation is not possible; people have to depend on animal products like meat, milk and butter etc.