Ways to bounce back after merry sins

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 07:46 |

It was the season of overindulgence. The tasty morsels on the dinner table, family gatherings and office parties were too taunting. However, no one wants to start the new year fatigued. Sandra Wekesa explores the best recovery tips as spelled out by Henry Ng’ethe, the Nutrition Association of Kenya chairman

1. Avoid refined flour

Refined flour was once exalted for its purported “purity” and considered superior to whole-grain flour. However, over the past few decades, nutrition science has revealed that refined flour is anything, but healthy. This is because consumption of refined flour raises blood sugar and insulin, causing metabolic dysfunction. It is depleted in nutrients and contains harmful additives. Refined flour displaces healthier foods from the diet. Further, it is a key contributor to weight gain, as its consumption promotes fat in the body and impairs fat oxidation, the process by which the body “burns” fat for fuel. Refined flour may also promote an inflammatory gut microbiota, or inflammation caused by bacteria in the gut, a condition that fosters metabolic dysfunction and weight gain.

2. Take plant-based protein

Replacing even just a few meaty meals with meatless ones can lead to improvements in health, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and less fat around your waist. Larger waistlines are associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

3. Avoid sugary meals

It is obvious that an excess of sweetened foods and beverages plays an important role in weight gain, blood sugar problems and an increased risk of heart disease. 

4. Eat more fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They tend to be low in calories, so they can help you manage your weight while still filling you up, thanks to water and fibre they contain. Vegetables are often cooked, although some kinds are eaten raw. Cooking and processing can damage some nutrients in plant foods. So, eat raw vegetables and fruits if possible. Also, wash vegetables and fruits before cutting— avoid washing after cutting to avoid loss of nutrients. 

5. Take a colourful meal 

Healthy eating is not only about how many servings you eat. It’s about the variety you pick, too. Each colour in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. And each colour indicates an abundance of specific nutrients. For example, blue and purple fruits and vegetables are as a result of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, a perfect pair of super-charged antioxidants. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene.  Amazing for promoting heart and brain function (specifically memory), cellular strength, and for reducing inflammation all over the body. Red fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, including lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.

6. Prepare and cook food with caution

According to a survey conducted by the Kenya National Micronutrient in 2011, about 47 per cent of Kenyans suffer from macro-nutrients deficiency. In most cases, this was brought about by food that is not nutritionally sufficient, maybe due to overcooking or improper food preparation. 

7. Pinch of salt: Avoid adding on the table

Salt contains sodium, a mineral that increases the risk of high blood pressure if overeaten. Also, a salty diet increases the amount of calcium your body excretes, which then leads to a risk of osteoporosis, a medical condition in which your bones become fragile and weak. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you avoid adding salt to your food. 

8. Moderate oil consumption

At nine calories per gramme, fats are far more calorie-dense than carbohydrates or protein, both of which have four calories per gramme. That is why some people opt for a fat-free diet. Studies suggest certain foods actually benefit from cooking with a little oil. When cooking carrots, spinach, and tomatoes, for example, heat facilitates the release of antioxidants by breaking down cell walls.

9. Discipline

With January already here, one of the main things that might be in your to do list is a healthy living motivation. However, the most important bit about weight loss isn’t just a matter of motivation, but discipline. You find someone eating everything at the dinner table just for the sake of his/her taste buds.

10. Increase water intake

An increase in water intake is necessary because it will help in hydrating your body; therefore, if you intend to keep healthy, ensure that you take in enough water. And if you are working out, increase your water intake to eight glasses or more a day.

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