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Medicine & Health Education
Essential Therapeutic Life Style Changes
For a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Some Simple Steps to Uplift the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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Part - 09
 
 
PART - 09: BEHAVIOR CHANGES TO SAVE THE HEART - Sec. 3
 
 
 
 
Lifestyle and Food Habits that will need compulsory change

09.01: Essential Changes required in Life Style and Behavior.

Let us examine why we should change our way of life. The diseases, we have noted, cannot be cured by medication. They can only be kept under control and not eliminated; the disorders would continue to exist. Anyone in the family affected, whether male or female, should undergo the tests and change their daily habits in their food and activities. So the practice of eating the right type of food should begin at an early age. "Going on a diet" may sound like a punishment. So lifestyle Changes is a better term. You would have studied a lot about the role of rice, oil and proteins in our daily intake. But it should be remembered that body metabolism can convert any one type of food, which is in excess, to another form for storage. Consuming an excess quantity of rice would result in its conversion as fat which is stored in the abdominal region. This leads to overweight which left unattended brings about obesity. This leads to insulin resistance and Diabetes with what is classified as metabolic syndrome. This leads to premature heart disease and stroke. One gram of rice which gives 4 calories of energy when taken in excess is converted to one gram of fat, capable of giving 9 calories of energy. So we will need lot more exercise to expend these extra calories and to get rid of the fat.

Our traditional customs in lifestyle and behavior are important in this situation. Sedentary type of workers (white-collar job as it is called), should not adopt the food habits of those who do hard labor or physical exercise. They will need much less protein and fats. Sedentary workers will need a vegetarian diet habit with very little meats. Daily exercise is necessary for everyone at least to a minimal extent. At the same time, the age-old methods of spiritual practices should also be adopted for mental peace and development. Performing rituals like Surya-namaskaram, Yogasana and Pranayama and studying the philosophical thoughts laid down in the Itihasas and Puranas will be of great help. It is an irony of fact that while Westerners are increasingly adopting these habitudes, our people are forgetting them. The age old rites and customs become important along with a food regimen and physical exercise for peace of mind and for health. The physical body weight (in terms of BMI) should be kept under control. If there is a family history of cardiac diseases, regular check-ups like blood test, EKG, heart test etc., must be got done every year if not once in two years at the least.

09.02: Who needs the torture of a strict diet regimen?

As the prevalence of cardiac related disorders is high in most of our families, it is necessary that all of us should be careful about our food after the age of 35-40 years. Everyone should consider this if we have a near and dear one in the family [and friends] who had a heart attack or significant diabetes and related illness. This should not be considered as a torture of a "diet" but a health modification in lifestyle and behavior. As a young man or woman in the teens and twenties with growing body we needed lots of nutrition. But to continue the same eating habits with a lazy lifestyle in a couch watching TV is the culprit of real "Torture". The daily intake of food at a younger age was needed for the growth to the extent of 1800 - 2500 calories or sometimes more. But now that we are in the 30's and 40's it is only maintenance. We need to cut down this intake to 1000 to 1500 calories if you are in sedentary lifestyle. Plenty of water must be consumed, as also vegetables - both as fresh and cooked. It is advisable that parts of the green food are taken raw as salads - tomato and cucumber come under this category. The vegetables can also be taken as juice and made tastier by combination with fruits and nuts. They can also be consumed as soups or stews.

Assuming that by the age of 40 years most of us are in sedentary type of work and involve very limited physical labor it becomes important that we pay attention to our eating habits first. The consumption of high carbohydrates like rice and wheat should be reduced to the minimum. Butter, Ghee, oil and fatty items and fried food should be avoided as much as possible; the same applies to sweets as well, which contain a high level of ghee and sugar. Spicy foods will contain a high level of oil and salt as additives which should be noted. Non-vegetarians should reduce the red meat (that is other than chicken, egg or fish) content considerably if not avoided fully. It is not possible to lay down a rigid schedule of what type of food habits should be adopted by those with diabetes, hyper-tension or other cardiac ailments. One will have to approach their own physician and get the details of what is in and what is out, since the restrictions would vary from person to person. Generally, one would have to be knowledgeable about the correct food to be taken. Again, the daily menu should be between 1200 and 1800 calories if you are in correct body weight and it should be reduced to 1000 to 1200 if you are over-weight. Carbohydrates like rice and wheat should be reduced and replaced by a variety of vegetables and fruits.

 

 
 

The internet contains several websites on this.
Please see Diet Plans:< http://www.bnaiyer.com/Medical-Health/diet-title.html >
Calorie / Menu Planner:< http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/menuplanner/menu.cgi >
Portion Distortion -Take a Quiz - Part 1 & 2:< http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion/ >
< http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/index.htm >

 
   
   
 
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-- This is called Behavior Modification --
Essential Lifestyle Changes -- for a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit 0
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Thank You
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