Now that we have seen that the food we eat can work for a against us, we, therefore, have to select food that should work for us. We have seen that what we eat and how much we eat are the two major factors to consider. So let us examine a diet that helps weight reduction without causing damage to the body.
There are thousands of diets which are being suggested all the time in books and magazines, newspapers and the popular press. Very often, the diets are based on tradition or folklore and not on scientific facts. There are many dieting “myths” that your friends swear helped their friends and so on. Instead let us approach the question of a diet, logically and with scientific facts.
The key word to a nutritious and healthy diet is balanced-diet. We have to ensure that the food we eat is well balanced as regards essential nutrients. The human body is a wonderful chemical factory. Working at body temperature with the help of vitamins and enzymes and the essential nutrients like proteins, fats and carbohydrates etc. It manufactures, modifies and metabolises almost all the chemicals needed for a healthy body. Variety of foods thus it another major contributory factor in the selection of a balanced-diet. Therefore select as large a variety of foods as possible in a unit of 24 hours or 48 hours or 72 hours. This selection of a wide range of foods will save you from monotonous menus which you are generally advised to follow in a particular diet reduction programme, day in and day out. Next, we have to decide what our calorie intake should be. Food balance and caloric intake are very personal factors and should be adjusted whenever necessary to one’s own individual needs.
In summary, regarding the selection of food for weight reduction it can be said that you should choose a large variety of food over a certain unit of time taking into consideration the quality of food and quantity of food to ensure your predetermined weight reduction. We therefore recommend that you make your own programme for weight reduction. To give you some clues as to how to go about this, in the following pages we give you a few suggestions and a lot of relevant information on various foods to enable you to make an excellent weight reduction programme for yourself.
For persons, with high blood pressure, knowledge of foods that have high cholesterol content, as well as sodium and potassium balance is essential and hence Tables giving this information are also included here. Also for good health, iron and other trace elements intake is needed and a Table giving this information is also included.
In a weight-loss diet, you can choose to loose weight slowly or rapidly. The slow method is usually a safer way to weight-loss. We have given below a few suggestions, so that you can arrange a diet for yourself that can help weight reduction.
Do not skip it altogether. This has a bad effect on body functioning and your temper. Eat a light breakfast usually before 9.30-10.00 a.m. as you have to give some rest to your digestive system before making it work again for your lunch.
Avoid a three course meal. If you have to have soup, refrain from thick, creamy soups. Concentrate on light vegetable or clear soups. Keep in mind what you had for breakfast and balance your main dish with it, e.g., if you had eggs for breakfast then avoid eggs for lunch. Try a small portion of fish or chicken or meat with a large portion of mixed vegetable salad with or without dressing.
Remember the later in the day we eat, the lighter must be the meal. The reason for this is that during daytime we are more active, hence we digest and burn off heavy foods faster. At night, we are less active and heavy foods are not easily and quickly digested. Therefore, the flood at night must help to maintain the balance of the food we have eaten all day as well as refrain from overtaxing the body’s efficiency. So, perhaps a small salad of raw vegetables with a portion of fish or chicken or lean meat is sufficient, and a vegetable, preferably boiled or baked or lightly cooked in oil to accompany it. Soups are optional but thick, creamy ones should be reduced to once a week.
Sneaking snacks in-between the main meals defeat the purpose of a weight-reducing diet. Scientific opinion seems to be divided on the subject of frequency of meals. Some people advocate small, frequent meals so that most of the food is converted into energy. Others strictly insist on the three fixed meals and no snacks in-between. Whichever system you wish to follow, please keep in mind that the food and amount in both cases should be the same.
Refined and Unrefined Foods
This century has seen a revolution in the processing and marketing of foods never before envisaged. The convenience food industry with its refining, substitutions, synthetic colours and flavours and various other additives has become a multi-crore rupees business with transnational companies and units. But somewhere along the way, in the interest of making the foods more attractive and appealing than the competitors, the refined food industry has lost the way to quality and traditional nutritional values. Let us take a few examples:
The very first step of preparing white bread from refined wheat flour gives a nutritional loss of bran and wheat germ. Hydrogenation of oils causes the destruction of essential fatty acids which are required for certain processes in the body as we have seen. Soft drinks and sweets & sweetened with saccharin and cylamates, white flour, macaroni and packaged cereals are all part of refined foods which undergo a nutritional loss during the refining. Moreover, many refined, convenience foods contain additives, preservatives, and nitrates, residues of chemical fertilizers and sometimes residues of pesticides, not to mention traces of detergents-all these are unnatural ingredients of food and as such liable to cause drastic effects in the body.
Diet books and sometimes even your doctor often mention calories. “Cut down your calories” they say. So what are calories? Calorie is the term used to describe the “Unit of energy”. Energy is observed in many forms e.g. heat, light, kinetic, chemical or electrical energy. It can not be destroyed but can be converted from one form to another. Our bodies convert the food we eat into energy which is required for the various chemical and biochemical processes within the body. When the food we eat contains more calories than required, some of these calories are stored in the body as fat. Conversely, if we consume less calories than required by the body, we loose fat because the body uses our stored fat as energy source. But, before deciding our optimum calorie intake we have to keep in mind that age, sex, physique, climate, lifestyle etc., all play an important part in our individual calorie requirements.
Leading a Normal Life:
In the past, diseases such as plague, cholera, tuberculosis and others were considered to be the scourge of mankind. These were killer diseases and affected thousands of people in an epidemic due to their highly contagious and infectious nature. At the present time, most of these diseases have been wiped our or atleast controlled on a global scale. The modern day killer diseases are of an entirely different kind. Theses new diseases reflect the stress and strain of modern living and are a result of the lifestyle of this era. Among the foremost of today’s killer diseases stands heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Millions of people all over the world get affected by these killer diseases. High blood pressure is one of the major causes for strokes and other heart diseases. Although high blood pressure is not contagious or infectious, it is very widespread in most modern communities, probably due to the stress and strain of modern life and particularly to our unbalanced diet and our highly competitive way of life.
Although high blood pressure is so widespread, it often happens that people do not know that they have high blood pressure. In fact, hypertension is sometimes detected accidentally when a physician is doing tests for another condition. Because of this, some doctors call hypertension – “the silent killer”, because by the time the symptoms appear, the disease has become well-established. Therefore, once you have reached the age of forty, it is advisable to have your blood pressure checked periodically.
Your Doctor is Your Partner
In case your doctor finds raised blood pressure readings and suspects that you are suffering from high blood pressure, there is no need to feel scared or depressed. If you have uncomplicated high blood pressure, then you simply follow your doctor’s advice and chances are that you will completely overcome this problem. It is quite possible that your doctor will not need to prescribe any medicine at all. But if he does you musk make sure to take all the medicines regularly as prescribed by the doctor.
In addition to following your doctor’s advice, you may also want to seek information for better understanding of the recommended treatment or ask question to clear your doubts. Do not hesitate to do so; almost always your doctor would appreciate it. This would not only remove your apprehensions and reduce stress, but also help you to manage your blood pressure better.
For example, if you or your doctor have discovered that you have high blood pressure, discuss the possibilities of changes in lifestyle in an effort to bring it down. Many people do. You may also want to know if you can reduce your medication by weight control or by exercising more. If you notice any unfavourable side effects of the medicine, your doctor may change over to another medication and avoid unpleasant reactions.
Older people are more sensitive to drugs than younger individuals. You must therefore be completely honest about age, any other health problems, medicines you may be taking, family medical history, dietary habits and so on.
If your high blood pressure is secondary to some other conditions such as a damaged kidney or tumour or the adrenal glands involvement etc. surgery may be required and hopefully this may cure your hypertension permanently. There is no sense in delaying an operation if it is not required, because the sooner you remove the cause of high blood pressure, lesser will be the damage to your body due to high blood pressure.
Another important point is do not run frantically from one doctor to another in search of a quick cure. There is not any for primary high blood pressure. Also there will be scores of well meaning friends who will shower you with advice and quick remedies. You may listen to all of them, but follow your doctor’s advice only.
Some Myths About High Blood Pressure
Now that you now more about high blood pressure, you will become aware of the myths related to it. Do not believe them.
Some people will say that you need not take medicines if you do all other things your doctor tells you to do – lose weight, reduce salt intake, stop smoking, cut down on your evening drink and so on. Do not listen. If your doctor has prescribed regular medicine, it is important that you follow the prescription.
Some think that personal activities have to do be cut down to control blood pressure. On the contrary, exercise is prescribed as a part of the treatment. Sedentary lifestyle and rest are not required.
It is often said that people with high blood pressure feel dizzy and get headaches. This is not always true and neither are these the symptoms of high blood pressure. A person with high blood pressure can feel and look fine.
A common image of high blood pressure is of a tense and anxious person. Nervousness or tenseness does not necessarily lead to high blood pressure. Although stress is a contributory factor, many calm people too, have high blood pressure.