Follow these rules when eating food for health & longevity Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake –health writer

Follow these rules when eating food for health & longevity

Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake –health writer

Hot food joints are always crowded, and it is disheartening to see parents taking their kids for an evening out, away from home cooked food. Even birthday parties are held at these food outlets for kids for convenience and low expenses.

When you visit Colombo, driving along Rajagiriya main road, you’ll come across on the left-hand-side a giant hot food outlet: you’ll be surprised to see the crowds of young people patronizing this joint even closer to midnight. This area of the city is full of hot food street restaurant feeding the locals with unhealthy food. The Diabetic clinic is also in the vicinity.

The main components in these food outlets are foods cooked with bad fats. These foods are bad for your heart. They are full of saturated and trans-fats in foods like burgers, French fries, deep fried chicken, among others. Then there the pastries, pies pizzas, and others baked treats with processed wheat flour with added sugar and salt.

Why are these foods bad for you? They raise your bad cholesterol levels in your blood and increases production of plaques that clog up your arteries. These foods do not help to keep your BMI within the normal range, either. No wonder the incidence of obesity among school kids is high in most affluent countries.

There are better fats to eat in your daily diet. They are foods cooked with ‘unsaturated’ fats. You find them in nuts, flaxseeds, avocado, olive and vegetable oils.

Eat more colourful fruits, dark leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, beetroot, and other high fibre veggies, much healthier for a satisfying satiety. Always focus on eating unprocessed foods.

Add plenty of spices into your daily curries and use less salt.

Sugar is ‘poison’ to every organ in your body. Added sugars are found in sodas, other beverages, ice creams, desserts and so on. You are recommended 6 teaspoons of sugar in your diet each day and no more. At the super-market checks on the labels to check the amount of added sugar in addition to the amounts of carbs

When you eat fried foods like chips, the body balances the extra salt consumed by retaining fluids which boost your blood volume. Eating excess salt daily can cause water retention around your ankles and may find difficult to walk. The heart needs to pump harder resulting in high blood pressure. Avoid keeping the salt shaker on your dining table to rid the habit of adding salt to your food. Too much salt has been linked to an increased risk in stomach cancer.

Eating sausages and red meat

New research states that those who eat processed meat-like sausages, hot dogs, containing high fat and salt, among others, run an increased risk of death. Sausages in the processing process use preservative chemicals called nitrites and nitrates: they convert into cancer- producing compounds in your body.

All red meat contains a red pigment in the blood called haems, which, once in the gut, brakes down to form N-nitroso compounds or NOCs, many of which can cause cancer. Haems can irritate your gut mucosa (inner lining) and cause damage and then most likely to increase the risk in developing cancer.

It is healthier to grill the sausages rather than fry, but it has no effect on their carcinogenic properties.

It is best that you avoid red meat and processed foods from it and enjoy eating fish and poultry instead.

Stress: Stress could be just as unhealthy for you as a really bad diet, a new Brigham Young University study finds.

In addition to being on a planned healthy diet, you need to limit your alcohol consumption, and start exercising daily to keep your weight within the normal range.

Aim for a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 with diet and exercise. Following a healthy plan for dieting makes you feel fit, think positive, relate to your loved ones well, and add credits to your health and wellbeing.

What more do you want in life except added with a good bank balance?

Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.

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