How important is breakfast? Are supplements good for our body? How does one remain fit and healthy during COVID-19 lockdown? These are some of the common questions that are raised every time one engages in conversations regarding food and fitness. Nutritionist and lifestyle educator, Karishma Chawla answers these and several other queries. Excerpts from the interview:
How to avoid gaining weight during lockdown?
Most important thing is the intent and commitment towards your health. A lot of people say they’ll workout when the gyms reopen, when they can easily do a few things by themselves at home. You can get yourself an accountability partner. It can be anyone in the house who can help you stay committed towards your goals. To the ones who are stuck at home with their laptops in front of them, I would advise them to get up every two hours.
Just jog for a while, move up and down the stairs, do anything which can ensure that your body is engaged in some sort of movement. If you spread it through the day, you are bound to feel healthier and happier.
How big a role does diet play in staying healthy and fit?
Food is our medicine. I have realised people search for a quick fix instead of focusing on their diet on a consistent basis. However, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic there has been a shift in the mindset of the people as they want their immune system to work better. We often load our stomach with sugar and processed food, which affects our gut health leading to a weaker immune system.
People are often alarmed about their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels after the numbers skyrocket. They don’t realise that it is the food they have consumed, the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves which has deteriorated their health. 70-80% of our immune system lies in our gut, so the biggest way we can improve our immunity is by consuming gut-friendly food.
Your gut bacteria is an organ by itself. It weighs around five pounds and plays a major role in the overall development of the human body. In fact, 90% of the serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is also produced in the gut. This means that the gut has implications beyond just digestion. It affects your mood, metabolism, immunity and cravings too. So, I would definitely say that food has a deeper impact on us than what we actually think and believe.
What are the food items one should consume to keep the gut helthy
Cut down simple carbs, increase complex carbs in your diet. Your gut bacteria requires fibre to function properly. Processed food is low on fibre. Most health problems arise because of constipation as the food we are consuming nowadays does not have the required amount of fibre. Include onion, garlic, and artichoke in your diet. You should consume fermented vegetables as well. Increase the intake of probiotics as they will keep your gut healthy in the longer run.
You can also have a spoonful of coconut oil, add some turmeric and black pepper to it for better absorption, it will keep your gut health in check and reduce inflammation.