While we just said goodbye to Christmas, its time to make way for the New year's eve, waiting for a brand new year- 2019. Time to spend some excellent time with family and friends while indulging in feast and festivities. And the most important part of the celebration is FOOD! Infact right from the 25th of December, I guess many of us haven't stopped eating tasty (read unhealthy food). People look forward to the relishing amazing food this festive season while the entire family comes together.
However, while all this sounds cool, the festive indulgence should not have a harmful effect on your health. Festive meals tend to be rich in fats, sugar and carbohydrates, especially in India. The sluggishness one feels after indulging in the new year feast is due to consumption of foods that have a high glycemic index. Such foods quickly increase blood sugar, which can induce an insulin rush and thus make you feel sleepy. Such an insulin spike in most people leads to food coma, however, with people who have diabetes, this festive binge can cause serious health complications.
By Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, suggests a few feasting tips would be light on your heart without compromising on the taste-
1. Use MUFA rich oils- It is better to avoid fried food as much as possible, but when required use MUFA rich oils to fry or sauté the food. MUFA, meaning Monounsaturated fatty acids, are more heart friendly. MUFA rich oils such as peanut oil, mustard oil, canola oil, among others, help in controlling high blood pressure which is a risk factor for many heart diseases. They have also proven to be helpful in preventing oxidation of bad cholesterol ‘LDL’, thereby reducing arterial inflammation.
2. Add Green to your meal- The best way to avoid over-consumption of fatty foods is to balance your meal out with green vegetables. These can be in the form of sautéed vegetables or eating a variety of salads. Since vegetables are rich in fibre, they can induce satiety which will help you feel ‘full’ and thus avoid over-eating. Incorporating nut such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc. in your daily diet also provides you with healthy fats and good nutrition.
3. Eat smaller proportions- Another way to limit your food intake is to reduce the portion of your meal. Instead of abstaining from indulging in the delectable foods, choose to eat everything but in smaller portions. This way you can indulge without over-eating.
4. Reduce the salt and sugar intake- Be vigilant in limiting the amount of salt and sugar intake during this festive season. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet helps to decrease blood pressure which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, have control over how much sugar you are consuming to avoid a ‘sugar rush’. Increased consumption of sugar is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Use jaggery or molasses instead of refined sugar.
5. Eat ‘good’ meat- Meat is rich in proteins. But red meats such as beef, pork and lamb have more saturated fats as compared to chicken and fish. These saturated fats can increase the risk of heart disease and in people who already have a heart condition consumption of red meats can worsen the problem. On the other hand, fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to reduce the risk of heart failure.
This new year, opt for a heart-friendly feast, to kick-start a healthier year. The festive indulgences can have effects that can last long after the festivities are over. It reflects in the form of weight gain that inevitably happens which further pushes your body into a state which becomes more receptive to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.