“THE MAIN CHAL­LENGE IN UR­BAN IN­DI­VID­U­ALS IS THEIR IN­ABIL­ITY TO STICK TO MEAL TIM­INGS”

DR AMBRISH MITHAL Chair­man and Head of En­docrinol­ogy and Di­a­betes, Medanta: the Medic­ity, Gur­gaon

India Today - - HEALTH -

Peo­ple don’t eat on time and eat very late. They work all day, come home late and with just enough en­ergy to have din­ner and crash. The best meal time at night would be around 7 pm, but if that is dif­fi­cult, try and eat by 8 pm and then give a gap of two-three hours be­fore go­ing to bed, that would be ideal. Ir­reg­u­lar meals may set you up for obe­sity, high blood pres­sure and Type 2 di­a­betes. The prac­tice

of eat­ing and then fall­ing asleep is not a good thing for your health: your body and di­ges­tive sys­tem should rest while you sleep, not digest food.

Peo­ple are of­ten in a rush and don’t do jus­tice to their break­fast. That’s a big prob­lem. Break­fast should be heavy, lunch should be mod­er­ate, and din­ner should be light and early. That’s very hard to im­ple­ment, but needs to be done.

Lack of sleep and qual­ity sleep is an­other chal­lenge. Many times peo­ple come to me com­plain­ing that they are al­ways fa­tigued, can’t get up on time, sleep dur­ing the day, can’t con­cen­trate. And then you find out that their sleep hours are about five hours. There are all these sto­ries about fa­mous peo­ple sleep­ing four-five hours, but, let’s say, they are su­per­hu­mans. For or­di­nary mor­tals you need seven hours of sleep. Most peo­ple com­plain­ing of day-time tired­ness are not get­ting their full sleep.

Third is phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. I come across peo­ple with very long home-to-work com­mutes ev­ery day. Long com­mutes take away any time for you to do things you like. You also spend less time par­tic­i­pat­ing in mod­er­ate to vig­or­ous ex­er­cise—be it a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence like aer­o­bics, play­ing sports, do­ing yoga or tak­ing soli­tary walks. But that doesn’t hap­pen. And after din­ner there should be a lit­tle bit of ac­tiv­ity. Pro­longed sit­ting is a risk fac­tor for dis­eases of the heart, di­a­betes and stroke.

Fi­nally, food at the work­place. Many com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions now of­fer food, but usu­ally it’s not healthy. Healthy food means more of fruits and veg­eta­bles, less of roti and maida-based stuff. But ev­ery­thing is sim­ple carbs in our life. If you have a lot of high-fi­bre veg­gies and multi-

grain bread, that should be good enough. How­ever, in large-scale or com­mu­nity cook­ing, the dan­gers of in­fec­tion with veg­eta­bles and sal­ads is very high. The rea­son why deep-fried food is pop­u­lar in In­dia is be­cause germs get killed. How­ever, then you are dam­ag­ing your ar­ter­ies in the long run. So you have to hit a mid­way be­tween the risk of in­fec­tion and the risk of chronic disease to work out a prop­erly-cooked clean food that avoids sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates.

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