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Make the most of what you eat

health and fitness Updated: Sep 17, 2012 01:21 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
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You are what you eat. No wonder then that one in two people suffers from some nutritional deficiency that is often not detected.

Health experts say iron, calcium, protein, fat, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D deficiencies are the most common among children and adults alike, which can be prevented just by paying attention to what is to be eaten.

"As we eat a lot of junk food, our calorie intake is usually fine. The distribution of essential nutrients, however, is inadequate," said Ritika Samaddar, regional head, dietetics, Max Healthcare.

The three basic meals of the day should have at least one protein source, for instance 500ml of milk and milk products such as yogurt. For those who have eggs, one large egg a day is good and for vegetarians, two katoris of daal, which can be substituted with between 50gm and 100gm of fish or chicken, are necessary.

"We try to omit fat completely from our diets, which is not at all healthy. Having about 20gm of visible fat daily from a healthy source is important for the body to function smoothly," said Dr Shilpa Thakur, chief dietician, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

Heart-healthy oils, such as canola, mustard and olive, and about a handful of nuts like almonds a day usually take care of the fat requirement of the body.

Calcium and iron deficiencies are on the rise. "This is because people, especially children, have stopped drinking milk," said Samaddar.

It is important to avoid food items or habits that hamper absorption of calcium. Lack of exercise, too much of caffeine and smoking can wreck havoc with the body's metabolism rate.

While cooking, go for seasonal fruits and vegetables that have maximum nutrients. Wash raw items firsts and then cut them.

However, these steps can be effective only if you exercise 30 minutes daily.

Do you lack essential nutrients?