Being healthy is necessary to avert non-communicable diseases. Today, non-communicable diseases are more widespread than in previous decades. Thus, it is important to follow a proper dietary pattern as well as to exercise regularly. However, most people do not follow this lifestyle due to various reasons including a busy way of life, laziness, medical conditions and depending on the climate. Both diet control and exercise should be done in parallel so as to have good results.
Following are some health tips to control diet and exercise:
The main point we should consider when controlling our nutrition is to have a proper balanced diet. This should include foods containing all the required nutrients in correct amounts. The food guide pyramid for Sri Lankans can give us an idea of this. Our diet should include cereals, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, fish, meat, eggs, other animal products and fats.
Processed foods/junk foods such as ice cream, cakes, short eats and soft drinks should be avoided. Though tempting in appearance, it is important to think of the risks before eating them. When we eat one ice-cream we might have to do add an extra hour to our jogging or exercise session. Otherwise, the results of three days of exercise sessions will be lost. If we think about this before we eat, our preference for these foods will reduce.
People say they live to eat. But the correct way of thinking is to eat to live. We should not allow food to control us. Some people find it difficult to control the amount of food they eat. Such people may have a glass of water or some fruits before their meals. Fruits are a good option because of their health benefits.
As Sri Lankans, we consume rice and curry for our main meals. However, this is not compulsory. Rice can be replaced with cereals like mung beans, chick peas, cow peas and manioc, bread fruit and sweet potato for breakfast or dinner. It is important to reduce our rice intake when alternatives are available. We should also choose fresh foods over processed foods. Consuming fruits and vegetables in raw form has many benefits. Certain nutrients can be destroyed during cooking and the fibre content in raw foods provide benefits that will reduce the risk of contracting non-communicable diseases.
Drinking plenty of water is also necessary as our body requires water to function. We can also drink green tea, belimal and ranawara polpala beverages during the day. However, these should be consumed without adding sugar or jaggery. Having meals with a group (with family members, relatives or friends) other than having meals alone or while watching television, is also encouraged.
Apart from dietary patterns, exercising also plays a role in maintaining health as mentioned above. It is recommended to engage in exercises for at least 30 minutes per day on at least five days a week. This should be done regularly and should not be overlooked. We should develop an interest in it first. If it is not possible to exercise outside it can be done inside
Regular monitoring of weight should also be done at least once a month. If we follow these points, 3kg of body weight could be lost within a month. This way, we can protect ourselves from contracting non-communicable disease with ease.
The writer is an
Undergraduate student (3rd year) , Department of Applied Nutrition, Faculty of Livestock Fisheries and Nutrition, Wayamba University.