What you eat and what you do not eat has a significant effect on your overall health. An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of diseases by manifolds. Healthy dietary modifications are important to boost immunity and control degenerative diseases.
Sandhya Pandey, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram shares the following to ensure adequate nutrition:
Follow a rainbow diet – Make sure that you have 7-8 servings of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables. These are rich in phytochemicals (plant nutrients), a potent disease-fighting and immune-boosting nutrient. The more the different or variety of colors you include in your diet, the more it will benefit your health as different colours are rich in different phytochemicals. Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium.
Flavourful immunity – Boosting spices and foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric not only add flavour, but also add a cancer-fighting punch of valuable nutrients. Other good choices include basil, rosemary, and coriander. Use them in soups, salads, casseroles, or any other dish.
Pump up your protein intake – by having pulses, beans and legumes, lean meat, eggs, low fat milk and milk products.
Have healthy carbohydrates – from whole grains, cereals and millets like oats, barley, ragi etc which is loaded with fiber and essential nutrients rather than refined flour and sugar.
Focus on plant foods – Plants have less fat, more fiber, and more cancer-fighting nutrients. These 3 elements work together in best ways to support your immune system and it helps your body to fight cancer.
Increase fiber in diet – Evidence consistently suggests that eating plenty of fiber can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Increase fibre in diet by incorporating whole grains, pulses and legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Add probiotics like yogurt and fermented food in diet – This will boost your immunity and gut health.
Cut down on red and processed – meat, tinned, canned and preserved food which is loaded with sodium and preservatives. These are also low in fibre and high on calories, saturated fats and trans fats.
Cut down on saturated – fats and trans fats while increase the intake of w-3 fatty acid from fatty fish, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts etc.
Follow healthy cooking practices:
Do not cook oils on high heat.
Go easy on the barbecue.
Be careful what you put in the microwave.
When cooking vegetables, steam until just tender using a small amount of water.
Wash all fruits and vegetables
Reduce the intake of alcohol and quit smoking – Consuming alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, breast and liver. The risk is even more for those who smoke. Alcohol has also been associated with colon and rectal cancers. To minimise the risk, men should take less than two standard drinks a day, whereas for women this limit should be one standard drink a day.