Woman's Era - - Editorial -

Low-fat veg­e­tar­ian diet is the ideal diet. Dr Dean Or­nish, head of Pre­ven­tive Medicine Re­search In­sti­tute at Sausal­ito Cal­i­for­nia, pub­lished his study in Lancet On­col­ogy, rec­om­mend­ing life­style changes such as diet rich in fi­bre, veg­eta­bles, wholegrains, legumes and soy prod­ucts, mod­er­ate ex­er­cise and stress man­age­ment for a healthy and longer life. Shel­don G Sheps of Mayo Clinic found that a diet of fruits, veg­eta­bles and grains leads to length­en­ing of life­span, and un­pro­cessed foods, such as whole­wheat flour, veg­eta­bles and fresh fruit and low-fat dairy prod­ucts cause con­sid­er­able re­duc­tion in blood pres­sure, which is a silent killer. Pro­cessed foods such as choco­lates, cakes, cook­ies mainly pro­vide calo­ries and ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion causes di­a­betes, obe­sity and coro­nary artery dis­ease.

Free rad­i­cals are un­sta­ble and have highly ac­tive com­pounds. Ox­i­da­tion and other chem­i­cal re­ac­tions in­volv­ing oxy­gen pro­duce max­i­mum free rad­i­cals. Free rad­i­cals dam­age cells and cause age­ing. Free rad­i­cals are pro­duced in higher quan­ti­ties when we con­sume a diet rich in sat­u­rated fats and sugar. Other than nor­mal me­tab­o­lism, some ex­ter­nal sub­stances also pro­duce free rad­i­cals such as tobacco, al­co­hol, en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants, ra­di­a­tion and fatty diet. The Hu­man body pro­duces an­tiox­i­dant en­zymes op­pos­ing free rad­i­cals. Vi­ta­mins C and E, Se­le­nium, Carotenes and flavonoids are good an­tiox­i­dants. A con­sid­er­able body of sci­en­tific data sug­gests pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships be­tween veg­e­tar­ian life­styles and risk-re­duc­tion for sev­eral chronic de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases and con­di­tions, such as obe­sity, coro­nary artery dis­ease, hyper­ten­sion, di­a­betes mel­li­tus, colon can­cer, and oth­ers. Vege­tar­i­ans also have lower rates of os­teo­poro­sis, lung can­cer, breast can­cer, kid­ney stones, gall­stones, and di­ver­tic­u­lar dis­ease.

Var­i­ous re­searches have con­firmed that there are foods which help you to live longer. These foods are mostly from plants, and are wholegrains, berries, olives and olive oil, gar­lic, nuts, green tea, fish, av­o­cado, and dark choco­late. Blue zone peo­ple live long­est and their di­ets mostly in­clude plant-based food and fish. Blue Zones in­clude Ok­i­nawa (Ja­pan), Sar­dinia (Italy), Ni­coya (Costa Rica), Karia (Greece) and Loma Linda in Cal­i­for­nia (USA).


Their longevity is due to their di­etary habits and life­styles. They smoke less and are semi-vege­tar­i­ans. They take a mod­er­ate calo­rie plant- based diet and mod­er­ate amount of wine. In a co­hort study, the com­bi­na­tion of a plant-based diet, nor­mal BMI, and not smok­ing, ac­counted for dif­fer­ences up to 15 years in life ex­pectancy. The diet ad­vice for peo­ple liv­ing in tem­per­ate cli­mate and trop­i­cal is slightly dif­fer­ent. The trop­i­cal coun­try peo­ple should en­sure sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties of salt in their di­ets spe­cially in sum­mer to com­pen­sate for elec­trolyte loss in sweat.

They should be cut­ting on cof­fee, tea and al­co­hol to re­duce the risk of de­hy­dra­tion. Cit­rus fruits, wa­ter-dense fruits (melon and water­melon) and yo­gurt should be taken in good quan­ti­ties and pro­tein- rich foods, spe­cially non­veg­e­tar­ian, be re­duced.

A healthy diet that is low in fat – spe­cially sat­u­rated, hav­ing plant­based nat­u­ral, un­pro­cessed food prod­ucts – re­duces our risk of de­vel­op­ing obe­sity, di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure, heart dis­ease, stroke and can­cer of the colon and breast. In spite of be­ing low in calo­ries, this diet does not cause weak­ness or de­fi­cien­cies of re­quired nu­tri­ents. Such a diet helps in re­duc­ing weight and then main­tain­ing it. This diet is rich in nat­u­ral com­plex car­bo­hy­drates such as wholegrains, beans, green veg­eta­bles and fresh fruits which do not im­me­di­ately in­crease the blood level of sugar due to hav­ing low glycemic in­dex. Avoid­ing sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates such as sugar, al­co­hol, syrups and high glycemic foods which are only calo­ries and have no nu­tri­ents, in­crease the risk of di­a­betes, obe­sity, heart dis­ease and can­cer. A healthy diet of com­plex car­bo­hy­drates is more fill­ing than a diet of sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates. Sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates or empty calo­ries also get de­posited in the body in the form of fat. Di­etary fat spe­cially sat­u­rated, eas­ily gets con­verted and de­posited as body fat.

Pro­tein should be in an av­er­age quan­tity, 1 gm per kg of body weight and at an av­er­age of not more than 100 gm per day. If you take a veg­e­tar­ian diet of mixed food items such as grains, legumes, non­fat milk and yo­gurt, you will get a com­plete pro­teins – not much dif­fer­ent from an­i­mal pro­tein such as fish, chicken and mut­ton. Egg white is also a com­plete pro­tein. Sat­u­rated fat is full of choles­terol, your body re­quires choles­terol, but you don’t need to have sat­u­rated fat as your low-fat veg­e­tar­ian diet pro­vides you suf­fi­cient choles­terol, which is re­quired by the body. The ex­cess of it is harm­ful, lead­ing to coro­nary heart dis­ease. Choles­terol is re­quired by our body for mak­ing hor­mones and cell mem­branes and 75 per cent of body’s re­quire­ment of choles­terol is pro­duced by the body it­self. So, too much choles­terol in the diet is def­i­nitely not go­ing to help you but rather harm you.

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