According to an article by Ms. Rema Nagarajan , published in The Times of India on the 20th of April 2020 (1), doctors in the UK’s NHS that majority who were severely ill were overweight or obese .About 73% of the total admitted patients were obese or overweight. In France too , a higher proportion requiring ventilation were overweight or obese.
The article further mentions a quote by DR.Srinath Reddy of the public health foundation of India “obesity in general or abdominal obesity is associated with the higher levels of inflammatory markers in the body even before the virus strikes. The virus markedly accelerates the inflammatory process”
Obesity essentially means an increase in the adipose tissue. This adipose tissue produces and releases a variety of pro inflammatory molecules which are active participants in the development of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension or cardio vascular disorders.(2)
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO PREPARE YOUR BODY TO FIGHT OBESITY AND THE INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE CREATED DUE TO IT
DO NOT JUST COUNT CALORIES BUT MAKE SURE OF THE QUALITY.
Loosing weight is not about the calories counting alone but being able to consume the right combinations of food , making sure that all the food groups are inclusive in the diet. So when you are trying to cut out calories, do not adjust on a low calories diet but be smart, choose a moderate protein, moderate fat and a low carbs in the diet. This will ensure nourishment along with loosing weight.
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EAT LUNCH AND DINNER BY HEALTHY PLATE METHOD
Generally speaking, according to our days calories are distributed over 4 meals breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Choose the healthy plate method. According to the Harvard medical school publication(3) , half your plate should be covered with salads and fruits. To convert this into an indian context , the lunch and the dinner can have ¼ portion of salad (raw cut vegetables) or soup and ¼ portion of the sabji (excludes sports or legumes only fruit vegetables).¼ portion of the plate should be whole grains which will account to the roti or the rice that we consume in meals. And the last ¼ portions should be the protein like the dals , pulses or the non veg portion of food. Finally consume a big glass of buttermilk or ½ cup of curds which will also give the prebiotics.
CHOOSE YOUR BREAKFAST WISELY
While there are many concepts about intermittent fasting or even eating 2 times a day, the simplest version of all this would still be focusing on the breakfast you eat. It is still the most important part of the day. Make it a point to choose a combination of protein and carbs. For the breakfast for example- protein foods will include sports, curds, milk, nuts and seeds, eggs, nut milks and soy protein. This can be combined with carbs coming from fruits, Indian breakfast items like pohe, upma, or even combining it with oats , chaapti or bread.
FOCUS ON A MINIMUM OF 20 MINS OF AN ACTIVE EXERCISE
Since obesity is linked with the compromised capacity of the lungs to take in optimum oxygen there are chances that the body is devoid of the oxygen required for a lot of bodily processes. This is one more explanation as to why the obese people are more prone to covid 19 infections.
Exercise will not only help to burn the calories but will also be responsible for better oxygen uptake by the lungs. Exercise is also capable of the after burn which will burn more calories and keep the metabolism boosted.
Right now when we have limitation for the workouts that can be done following the simple suryanamakar. This is the safest and the most effective way. Minimum of 12 are expected to be done, and if you are better with it do multiples of 12 with a gap in between.
Stair climbing is very effective form of workouts as well and so is walking about 5000 to 10000 steps a day will be enough.
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ANTI INFLAMMATORY DIET- MODIFICATIONS IN THE DIET AND THE INCLUSION OF CERTAIN FOODS IN THE IT WILL HELP TO REDUCE THE INFLAMMATORY RESPONSES
(I) JUNK FOODS
Foods prepared from refined flour, frozen foods like French fries, burgers, or highly processed foods like ready to eat packets could be categorized in the as Junk foods. Deep fried foods which are prepared in reused oil for frying can also make the food more toxic. Bakery items which are high in trans fats are also under this category.
This essentially means that we need to consume food which is processed least , like raw fruis and vegetables or the wholesome foods like whole grains and pulses. Consumption of home cooked foods are the first choice to beat obesity. If not then be sure of the source of the raw material, if you have to consume restaurant foods.
(II)INCREASING THE GUT GOOD MICRO ORGANISMS
our large intestines consists of a variety of good bacteria, which are capable to producing a variety of nutrients, build immunity by fighting the pathogens and the unwanted bacteria and also the metabolic products which are capable of removing the toxins.
The gut bacteria numbers can be increased by consuming foods like buttermilk or curds which act as probiotics or then consuming fiber rich diet like raw salad and fruits which act as prebiotics.
Ghee acts as an excellent source of nutrition for the micro organisms as it contains short chain fatty acids which will help the micro organisms to multiply.
(III) ANTI INFLAMMATORY AGENTS
- Turmeric – The curcumin present in the turmeric acts an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric powder with a higher curcumin about 5 to 7% is more powerful. This can be consumed in the raw form added to the ghee first thing in the morning. It could also be added to milk and consumed as a turmeric latte. When cooking itself, the turmeric with higher curcumin can be used. Make it a point to at least consume ½ to 1 tsp in the day.
- Cruciferous vegetables- vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli , radish, turnips, argula, bokchoy, Brussels sprouts belong to this family. They will help to reduce inflammation and also act as powerful anti cancer agents. Make it a point to include at least 1 cup of these in the daily diets in the from of sabjis or added to salads or as soups.
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids- natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids are in the indian fish including rohu, surmai, rawas , katla, pomfret, hisa, bangda or black mackerel (4).
A variety of vegetarian foods like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds and walnuts are also sources of omega 3 fatty. Recommendations of consuming at least a fistful of nuts in day(30g) or 2 tbsp of flax seeds to have the benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids. Consuming about 2 servings of 100g of fish twice a week will be a good source too. Consuming nuts will not only give the omega 3 but also serve as a good snacking option to reduce obesity.
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Its very important that you make these changes in your lifestyle today itself , to have a better quality of life and be smart in tacking the pandemic
Nutritionist Avaanti Deshpaande