YOUNG WORLD

Eat intelligently

World of Science

Dr. T.V. PADMA

What does it mean to eat intelligently? It means exercising enough to keep your body from accumulating enough fat but not so much that you get incredibly thin. Dieting is something that you should never resort to. The growing body requires all the food groups mentioned. Eat well, eat enough and eat sensibly.

Skipping meals can lead to stomach ulcers. Your body pours acids into your stomach as it digests food. Eating too little or not eating at regular times can result in the acid tearing away at the tissue that lines your tummy. It doesn't matter if you eat a few big meals or many small ones, but eat at regular times every day.

Salt, something the body needs but only in small amounts, can be a source of energy, but you need to take the right amount. If you sweat a lot, you probably will crave salt. If you tend to stay indoors and not work out too much, you probably don't need much.

Iodized salt is good. Not enough iodine results in a disease called goitre. Too much salt may have some bad side-effects, too, in the long run. Most Indians probably take far more salt than they need to. Soy sauce and cheese are salty, though you wouldn't think so!

Something our grandparents didn't have to worry about that we need to, are artificial food additives. Look at the ingredients list on a bottle of soda or on chocolate or biscuits. Just about any food that you buy pre-made in a store, will contain artificial ingredients, chemicals that are man-made and added to manufactured foods for a variety of reasons — to make them look more colourful, to make them sweeter, to preserve them so they can stay without going bad for a long time on the shelves of stores and so on. Emulsifiers, MSG (mono sodium glutamate), sodium caesinate, stabilizers, artificial colours and artificial flavours are all examples. None of these additives is especially healthy. Some are very bad for the body. A few are dangerous and may have lasting nasty side-effects such as cancer. So learn to cook, so you can prepare fresh meals. Why buy pre-packaged foods that have artificial chemicals instead of appreciating the wonderful flavour of fresh food?

Water is a wonderful part of what we need, and you must drink enough, just as you eat enough. Eight glasses a day is a minimum. Surely all of us know that, but how many of us do it? And no, coffee, tea and sodas don't count. Coffee, tea and many carbonated beverages (bubbly soda drinks) contain the stimulant called caffeine. Caffeine is addictive — that means it is habit forming. Drinking a daily dose of caffeine makes the body dependent on it. So, avoid caffeine-containing drinks at all costs. Stay strong and stay away from them!

Drink plenty of plain, boiled and filtered water. Drink a tall glass in the morning as soon as you wake up. And another before bedtime. Keep drinking water throughout the day. If you feel an urge to eat, try drinking a glass of water instead. The body expends a few calories to heat up cold water, and many people feel this tastes better, so try and drink a couple of glasses of this. Don't cheat by substituting sugary juices and sodas. Aches and pains start to disappear when there's enough water in the body. You feel far less tired, too. So drink up!

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