5E Food Formula for Healthy Life Style

Good nutrition is fundamental to a healthy and productive life
Representational Pic
Representational Pic

Food is a commodity which has a direct relationship with the health of an individual, and also effects the health of a community. In fact, one of the main Public Health concerns includes an access to minimal, essential, nutritionally adequate and safe food for everyone, which in current pandemic has become a bigger challenge. Good Nutrition is thus a fundamental concern for a healthy and productive life. Since our health depends chiefly on eating habits and choices, we should understand that it is both the quantity of food and the quality of nutrition that influence our health. Actually, nutrition means giving to body what it needs and not what we like to eat. Feeding, in contrast, consists of the choice of foods, so it determines the dietary habits and is strictly linked to lifestyle.

Thus, nutrition determines the relationship between food and health. Conversely, health does not simply mean 'absence of disease' or 'physical fitness'. It is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. When people are healthy, they are more efficient at work which increases productivity and brings economic prosperity. Health also increases longevity of people and reduces infant and maternal mortality. Balanced diet, personal hygiene and regular exercise are very important to maintain good health. People, therefore, should be more concerned and passionate about healthy eating. In this context, I would like to share my 5E Formula with you which comprises 5 basic and simple ways which can be followed in achieving a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Eat Whole Foods: Creating meals made from whole food ingredients is one of the best ways to improve your health. When you make room for whole food ingredients in your meals, you will eventually crowd out junk foods that annihilate your energy, contribute to weight gain and weaken the health.
  2. Enough Water: Drinking adequate amounts of water keeps your skin glowing, flushes out the toxins from your body and makes your cells happy. Adding more water and reducing soft drinks and juice is a quick step to vibrant health.
  3. Edge off Sugar: Sugar is found in nearly every packaged food product, and yet it's linked to several devastating lifestyle diseases. Choose unsweetened foods whenever possible, and choose natural sweeteners when sugar is needed.
  4. Eat a Rainbow: Colorful foods are good for health. Eating a rainbow of colors everyday ensures that you get high amounts of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  5. Exercise Daily: Exercise is not just good for the body, it's good for our soul. Ensuring that you have enough time to exercise clears your body and your head of stress and can boost your frame of mind, which in present grim times is immensely important.

Eat Whole Foods

Whole foods are foods that are present in their natural state. They are in fact those foods that have been designed by nature, not by a scientist in a laboratory or manufactured in an industry. Choosing whole fruits, vegetables and grains ensures that you are eating foods that your body is able to recognize, digest easily and allow you to feel your best. Here are some of the points which makes it important to choose whole foods for your daily diet:

  • As per the reports, digestive issues and food allergies are related to processed or fractionated foods. These include those ingredients that are so far away from their natural state that they are not recognized by your body (for example, bleached flours, chemically isolated products, soy protein isolate, corn syrup, food additives).
  • Learn to read food labels wisely. 'Natural' and 'Whole Grain' labels are often misused.
  • Look for ingredients that you can recognize as foods.

It's very important to make the whole foods an important ingredient of your daily diet. Studies show that an imperative thing that you can do for your health is to cook meals at home. Cooking at home means you are more likely to eat whole foods and less likely to eat fast foods. And if you have children, it encourages your kids to learn the value of home cooked meals early on, which means they are more likely to make good eating decisions, as adults, in future. Thus, a right food style will also inculcate in them a healthy life style as well.

Enough Water

Drinking enough water ensures that your body is flushing out toxins which helps you remain healthy and active. Having adequate water in your diet will:

  • help your cells function better
  • help your brain work better
  • flush out toxins
  • help to beat fatigue
  • avoid beverages that add calories, caffeine or sugar into your day, like soft drinks and fruit juice, unless it's a fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

Giving up soft drinks is the easiest and cost effective way to improve your health instantly. Having soft drinks in the form of cold drinks has become an integral part of our daily lives. In fact, it has become an essential item in all the functions and is being drastically used during the meals at such events. Soft drinks mostly contain sugar, which is linked to obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. These cold drinks are just additive calories to your diet, they do nothing to make you feel full nor offer any nutrition. In contrast, I would suggest for choosing other alternatives like unsweetened iced teas, herbal teas and water with fruit that leave you hydrated and happy.

Edge off Sugar

In our processed food world, sugar in various forms is found in almost everything we eat. Learning more about how we've become addicted to it can help us break the cycle and heal our bodies. Sugar is delicious, no doubt, but it's important to learn about ways to reduce sugar in our diet and find healthy replacements when desired.  Too much sugar can mess with your blood sugar and insulin levels, can play a role in hormone fluctuations, and it's a big contributor to weight gain. Here are some quick tips to limit the amount of sugar in your diet:

  • Buy everything unsweetened: Nearly everything in the processed food products has an excessive amount of sugar in it, so choose plain foods as much as you can.
  • Skip sweet breakfasts: Try to choose savory breakfasts instead of sweet breakfasts.
  • Read labels: even if foods that are salty, there is probably some sugar hiding inside

Eat a Rainbow

Food nutritionists and researchers urge us to eat a Rainbow every day. It means that we should eat colorful food products, in other words the plate should be filled with colored natural food products as these colors are due to the presence of phytonutrients. All these phytonutrients are good for our hair, skin, nails, and also help boost our immunity, bring vital macro-and micronutrients into our system, allow our muscles repair quickly, and balance our temperament. And best of all, when you have this much color on your plate, there is less room for the white foods. The so-called 'white foods' include white flour, white potatoes, white rice and white sugar. These foods are stripped of vital nutrients, leaving lots of calories but little nutrients behind. These foods are often hard for people to digest and, because there is little protein or fiber, can spike your blood sugar, leading to cravings, mood swings and hunger. Colorful foods are good-for-us foods. Humans are attracted to beautifully colored fruit and vegetables because we know innately that they are healthy foods. Each color of fruit or vegetable offers unique phytochemicals with healing and helpful properties. Some of the colored foods and their properties include:

  • Strawberries, grapes, plums, cherries and beets have anthocyanin, which are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, and help support the cardiovascular system.
  • Yellow and Orange colored produce (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, pineapple) all contain carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.
  • Whites (the good white foods): Cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions lead to healthy bones and help fight heart disease.
  • Greens: Green foods are some of the most potent super foods available for your body. Plants like kale, spinach, broccoli and sprouts are loaded with vitamins, trace minerals and so much more. Green color means chlorophyll and folic acid (folate), and all these help to build the blood, prevent anemia, fatigue, and all greens have powerful cancer fighting properties.

Exercise Daily

There are so many benefits to exercise. Exercise is not just good for the body, it's good for our soul. Ensuring that you have enough time to exercise clears your body and your head of stress and can boost your temper. Of course, exercise can help control your weight, but it doesn't need to be all or nothing. Even small bits of physical activities like, a walk around the neighborhood, can make a big difference in your overall health. Not only does exercise help prevent common lifestyle diseases, it can also help heal them. Exercise also improves the attitude by stimulating hormones in the brain and making you feel good, relaxed and helps in keeping up energy throughout the day.

In conclusion, besides this 5E formula there is one more E which stands for Education for health. I believe that there is an immense need of health promotion strategies aimed at educating individuals to take responsibility for their own health. It is hence extremely important to increase knowledge and skills about healthier lifestyles and healthy eating, which include choosing healthy foods, cooking healthy meals and adopting good food hygiene rules to make or sell safe food.

Dr. Owais Yousuf is  Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, Integral University, Lucknow, U.P

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