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What’s on your plate tonight?

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“The worst of the home cooked food is better than the best of commercial food available at outlets”

In this age of internet and almost free data downloads, access to information and videos on the YouTube are ubiquitous and self-awareness among people is at its peak. You consciously check out all the authentic data sources for information on what constitutes healthy lifestyle and make a concerted effort at adopting and incorporating the suggestions in your daily schedule. You have significantly cut down on fried foods, saturated oils, butter, egg yolks, white sugar, sweets, refined wheat flour, salt and spices. Not only this, you deflect all attempts that try to lure you away and hijack your health agenda of following a strict regimen. You believe that your health is supreme and nothing can be as important. That is why you prefer to starve yourself rather than stuff yourself with unhealthy and unhygienic foods. How many of us choose to carry our own water and home cooked food to work almost each day except once in a while?

vegetable salad

Image Credit: Freepik

It is true that commercial food available at outlets in the market is mouth-watering and delectable while the home cooked food is bland and devoid of good looks. Let us understand why is it so. It should be clearly understood that the only thing which customers can judge or rate the food is by way of its taste, visible ingredients and the appealing looks. Apart from this, there is nothing much that can be judged even by a connoisseur of food, let alone you and me. In fact, the customers cannot judge the quality of ingredients, presence of healthy nutrients and its hygiene factor. Therefore, to secure a good rating or review from the customers, the outlets almost completely work towards enhancing the taste and looks while completely overlooking or neglecting the health parameters. This is why almost all commercial foods contain taste enhancers, colouring agents and preservatives in no small measure. You will be shocked to know that some of these taste enhancers are deadly chemicals that might be found on the list of banned items as well. These foods, more often than not, contain liberal quantities of saturated fats, white sugar and spices to make rich curries and add great flavour. And since none of these additives is used in home cooked recipes, therefore the home cooked food does not give great taste, flavour or the looks. This is the reason why if you consume commercial food on a long-term basis you are sure to spoil your health. Do you now understand what could be the latent reason for your deteriorating health which will surely make you really sick anytime soon?

[ Also Read: Food habits, lifestyle and personal preferences dictate your overall health ]

If you are the one who seeks pleasure in life through food, then you might be at a greater risk of developing ill health as your intake of commercial food is way above what is considered a safe level. While you are still in your thirties, the ill effects of bad dietary habits might not show but after stepping in your forties when the process of metabolism slows down significantly, the ill effects will find a way to show up. You might not have become overweight or obese or developed any serious illness but your internal body health must be on a weak wicket by now. An infrequent and once in a blue moon indulgence cannot be associated with any significant risk. What you need is a sea change in your attitude towards food, preferences and lifestyle to reverse these deleterious effects your indulgence has already caused over the years.

Health

Image Credit: Freepik

One recent development is the rising popularity of organic foods. Simply put, organic foods are those that do not use pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful synthetic chemicals in their production. This is the reason why such varieties are supposed to be good for our overall health. The less we consume harmful chemicals by way of food intake the better health we will have. There have been many credible studies worldwide that suggest triggering of various cancers inside the body when foods infected with harmful chemicals are consumed, although it is a slow process. We also hear of so many instances where agricultural produce has been found to carry high chemical content when polluted river water is used to irrigate the crops. You should take enough care to check if items other than the organic varieties have found a way to your plates.

[ Also Read: Consume fruits and vegetables for a longer and healthier lifespan ]

You would have heard of probiotic drinks and foods. Simply stated, probiotics are foods that contain live microorganisms that are good for our health. These are in fact a host of microorganisms inside our gut that help breakdown the food we eat. Due to bad diet or over consumption of antibiotic medicines to cure other diseases, the good bacteria get killed too which leads to bad health with symptoms ranging from improper digestion to stomach aches. Therefore, to restore the compromised gut health, doctors recommend probiotics for a few days. There might be a rare case of an adverse reaction in some people, hence it is always suggested to take probiotics after consulting your GP.

Nicoise salad

Image Credit: Freepik

You would have read about free radicals and anti-oxidant activity too. Let us now understand what this means. Free radicals are unstable molecules formed inside the body due to consumption of tobacco, exposure to stress, radiation and severe environmental conditions. Free radicals are responsible for causing illness, diseases and ageing. Free radicals are actually by-products of oxygen metabolism or oxidation and hence totally unavoidable. Abnormally high concentrations of free radicals can lead to development of cancers and other serious health conditions.Therefore, the only way to reduce the undesirable and harmful effects of free radicals is to consume another set of ingredients called as anti-oxidants, which inhibit oxidation. The body gets its supply of anti-oxidants from the foods that we eat. Nutrients, rich in anti-oxidants are Vitamin A, C, E, lycopene, beta-carotene, selenium and lutein. These nutrients are available in copious quantities in foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, beetroot, spinach, whole grains, seeds, nuts etc. Hence include these foods in your daily diet to get your fill of the antioxidants that fight free radicals.

So, what’s on your plate tonight?

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