A balanced nutrient-rich diet is essential for the optimum functioning of your body. Every nutrient has something beneficial to offer. You cannot depend on just a few nutrients and skip the others. As a standard guideline, follow the 50:30:20 rule of calorie consumption to ensure there are sufficient carbohydrates, proteins and fats respectively in your diet.
Consume complex carbohydrates that are rich in fiber and avoid commercially baked goods, including the ‘whole wheat’ options. The modest home-made roti from multigrain ‘atta’ is a far more superior choice.
Indian women lack adequate protein and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These nutrients are essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength, bone health and organ functions. Incorporate lean sources of protein and fish, or nuts and seeds such as kidney beans, flaxseed, edamame, etc. in your diet.
Even if you are looking to lose weight, avoid fad diets and quick weight loss programs and instead, work on managing the portion size of your meal. If you have health concerns or a specific goal in mind, it is best to consult a nutritionist.
To make a conscious shift away from processed foods, start by reading the nutritional contents of the packaged foods that you are having. Stay away from snacks that are deep fried, high in sugar and salt, or contain trans fats.
Fact: Junk food is one of the primary triggers of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) that is increasingly affecting a lot of urban Indian women, including adolescent girls.
Whether you are looking to snack at work or keep up your metabolism throughout the day, carry a small box of assorted nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc. You could also munch on some raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, zucchini and celery with hummus or a yogurt dip.
Looking to satiate that sweet tooth? Choose fruits as they contain natural sugar and are a great source of vitamins B, D, E, folic acid and iron, which are vital for women’s health.
Water is critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Remember to consume enough water through the day. If you are among the forgetful ones, use a mobile app or set periodic reminder alarms on your phone to ensure that you stay hydrated. Keep a copper water bottle handy and add lemon slices, cucumber or mint leaves for a refreshing drink that is healthy and replete with minerals and vitamins.
Most of us are addicted to caffeine and it is easy to lose track of how much tea/ coffee we consume while working. Even though caffeinated and sugary drinks provide instant energy, they result in a sugar crash after some time. The healthy alternative is to go for green tea or coconut water.
Alcohol consumption too (if any) should be in moderation, and it goes without saying that smoking is an absolute no-no.
The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. When we sleep, the body goes in a restorative maintenance mode that is important for your brain and heart health, immune system, emotional balance, vitality and weight control. You need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep so that your body can recuperate enough to take on the challenges of the next day.
If you have difficulty sleeping, try adding foods such as tomatoes, walnuts, olive oil to your dinner or have a small glass of warm milk before you sleep. These foods are rich in melatonin and can help you get the much needed shut-eye.
Equally important is finding at least an hour of ‘me time’ for yourself every day. This time is sacrosanct, allowing you to unwind. Sit with your favorite beverage and listen to music, read a book or strum a guitar. Do whatever helps you to relax.
Exercise can reverse the effects of chronic insults to the body brought on by poor lifestyle choices and also help manage weight, improve heart health and longevity, and relieve stress. Exercise is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. Try to get about 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity workouts at least five times a week.
Alternate days between cardio and strength training, so that you can improve overall cardiovascular fitness as well as build strength and counter the effects of muscle loss and the early onset of osteoporosis.
For cardio, try fun workouts like zumba, dancing, swimming, hiking or playing with kids. For strength training, start with body weight exercises and graduate to a weight training program. Don’t get swayed by the myth that you will get bulky like a man, women just don’t have the testosterone for it. Also, remember to take advantage of the 60-minute absorption window post workouts and fuel up with fast absorbing foods high in protein that will help you get leaner and stronger.
The percentage of Indian women affected by heart ailments and breast cancer is much higher than the global average.
To screen for the risk of breast cancer, women above the age of 40 should get a mammogram done once a year, and those above 55 should get it done bi-annually. If you have a family history of the disease, you may want to start annual screenings right away.
Similarly, to screen for and detect the risk of cervical cancer, get a pap smear done once every three years starting from the age of 21. You should also get DEXA scans done to monitor the risk for osteoporosis, considering Indian women are highly deficient in iron and calcium.
Regular preventive health check-ups can help identify any health concerns in the nascent stage before it becomes a threat. In case you do fall prey to any critical ailment, you would want to get yourself the best treatment, as well as protect yourself financially considering the escalating healthcare costs.
ICICI Prudential’s iProtect Smart term plan with the Smart Health rider is just the right tool that provides extensive coverage against 34 critical illnesses^ in addition to life insurance benefits against untimely death. Not just this, the plan also gives 100% payout on terminal illness~ and premium waiver benefit in case of permanent disability~ due to accident, thus ensuring complete financial protection for you and your family.
The key to staying healthy is to develop the right habits, and regardless of age, a healthy diet, exercise and good sleep are the key ingredients to improve the quality of life for the years to come.
^The critical illness benefit is an accelerated benefit and the death benefit will be reduced by the critical illness cover paid to the policyholder. The future premiums payable for the residual CI Benefit will reduce proportionately. In case the CI Benefit equal to the Death Benefit, the policy will terminate on payment of the CI Benefit. Only doctor’s certificate confirming diagnosis needs to be submitted. On payment of Angioplasty, if the CI Benefit is more than Rs. 5,00,000 the policy will continue for other CIs with CI Benefit reduced by Angioplasty payout. To know more about the illnesses covered, please refer to the Sales brochure. Critical Illness Benefit is optional and available under Life and Health and All in One options.
~Refer the product brochure for the definitions, exclusions and other terms and conditions applicable for Permanent Disability due to accident and Terminal Illness