Living in Pakistan means indulging in some decadent foods, which can lead to heartburn, acidity, constipation and gastric pain. Most of these are due to overeating, either because we can’t help that extra luddoo or a well-meaning Aunty is worried you need that extra paratha because you’re looking near starvation! Here are some HTV tips for eating healthy:
Making Food A Regular Habit
Sometimes we eat just because it’s in front of us and we’re bored. After all, eating is our country’s No. 1 social activity. However lack of good meal times and snacks can pressurize your system so try and stick to a routine and say NO to unnecessary snacks.
Drinking water helps digestion and most of us are not properly hydrate. Try and drink at least 8 large glasses a day, which is especially important in our hot environment.
High Fiber Diet
A diet rich in fiber increases the fullness factor of your meal, which means you stay full for longer. Switch your white aata and rice for brown and see the difference in your weight and intestinal health. Fruits, vegetables, legumes are also rich in fiber and easily available.
Cut Down on Fat
Foods rich in fats make digestion difficult and can cause constipation – so ease down on the Nihari. Although we do need a certain amount for easy digestion, the typical Pakistani usually overshoots his daily fat allowance in one meal. Try including unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids, such as in fish and vegetables, in your meal instead.
Probiotics are bacteria found in yogurt and dairy products that enhance gut flora that helps in digestion. Fresh yogurt from your doodh wala is filled with probiotics and help with irritable bowel syndrome, absorption of nutrients and helps in stressful conditions. Instead of buying the prepackaged yogurt, pick up a thayli of fresh for your next meal.
Get Rid of Bad Habits
We all know the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and caffeine in-take. But did you know that these can have a negative impact on your digestion as well? It can increase acidity, cause heartburn and peptic ulcers. It’s never too late to quit and talk to your GP about steps you can take.
Living in a big city makes us lethargic and a lack of exercise can be a serious health problem. Make an effort to include exercise as a part of your daily routine. If you can’t hit the gym then just take the stairs at work or park a little farther from the office to slowly incorporate 20 minutes of cardio a day. Exercise can help in digestion by increasing blood supply to all organs and vessels, which stimulates muscle movements and organs working efficiency.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Check your body mass index (BMI), which shows your ideal weight according to your height and gender. If you are overweight, make your ideal weight your target. If you are under weight, continue your exercise routine with a healthy diet.
Focus on Your Food
Pay attention to your food and be aware of what you’re fueling your body wit. Research shows that watching TV shows or playing video games while eating results in more consumption of food than normal. Eating slowly helps you enjoy your food as well as prepare your stomach for the food that it has to digest. Swallowing big pieces of food quickly slows digestion as the bigger pieces have lesser surface area for the gut enzymes to act on them, break them and absorb them.
Take Care of Yourself
In a nutshell, follow a proper sleeping, eating and exercise routine to keep your gut healthy, because a healthy gut means a healthy you.