Sensible dietary pattern, balanced diet key to improve nutritional status & boost immunity to minimise severity of infections & diseases: Experts


New Delhi: Providing access to healthy snacking thereby sticking to a sensible dietary pattern aimed at improving digestive system can help minimize transmission of diseases as we navigate these unprecedented times, said diet, health, and nutrition experts in an ASSOCHAM webinar held on National Nutrition Week 2021.

“A healthy diet, physically activity, stress and sleep management are critical to keep our immune system strong,” stressed the experts in a webinar on ‘Nutritious and Balanced Diet: Key to Success,’ organised by ASSOCHAM as part of a series on Illness to Wellness.

Highlighting the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on people, renowned nutritionist, Ms Ishi Khosla said, “I am experiencing in my practice that due to the pandemic, even people with common problems like diabetes and obesity are finding it hard to deal with the issues arising out of Covid-19 induced lockdowns whereas earlier they were being able to cope up with such disorders.” She also said that cooking food in gut-friendly oils like rice bran (for frying), mustard, coconut, cold-pressed ground nut, sesame oils, clarified butter can help improve gut health. “Need to use different oils for cooking during the day to get benefits of variety of nutrients.”

Sharing her thoughts on National Nutrition Week 2021’s theme of ‘Feeding smart right from the start,’ nutrition and wellness consultant and founder, Nutrition Nectar, Ms Sheela Krishnaswamy said, “Nourishment for first 1,000 days can help prevent many diseases and the child goes on to grow and develop into a fit and healthy adult, this needs to be focussed upon to create healthy individuals.” She added that parents need to be aware about promoting healthy eating habits among children thereby providing healthy alternatives like nuts and seeds, cut fruits etc to create an environment for healthy foods and beverages that would help reduce intake of foods high in saturated fats. “There is a need to stick to a sensible and healthy eating pattern to take care of all aspects and organs of the body and not merely look at weight control,” further said Ms Krishnaswamy.

In his address, Mr Anil Rajput, chairperson, ASSOCHAM National Council on CSR said that “Sedentary lifestyles, stressful work and an unhealthy diet are collectively impacting health of many people in the working age-group and the role of a healthy and nutritious diet in preventing and controlling NCDs cannot be overstated” He stated that “A recent report by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute for ASSOCHAM titled ‘Non-Communicable Diseases in India’ highlights the gravity of the situation and states that NCDs in India contributed to 6.3 million deaths in 2017, and the condition is getting even more perilous since then.”

“Consumption of a balanced and nutritious diet is simply a matter of discipline and responsibility towards self, the family and eventually towards the society. It entails eating fresh fruits and vegetables, minimal consumption of heavy, oily food, reduced sodium and sugar intake along with regular exercise,” said Mr Rajput. He also added that “A healthy mind and body can launch a formidable defence against various ailments and healthy individuals can deliver superior value for the nation and positively impact its output”.

As a health expert, Total Care Control, founder and director, Dr Rajesh Kesari stated, “We are what we eat i.e., for our physical growth and development we need nutrients and that comes from the food we eat which has to be a balance of both macro and micronutrients-carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals etc. An imbalance of these critical nutrients leads to ailments and diseases.”

Noting that physical activity helps glucose levels remain normal, Dr Kesari said that regular exercise helps release anti-depressants and there are many other benefits of following a fitness regime as many prevalent non-communicable diseases that are leading to mortality can be curbed simply by doing more of physical activity.