Are you spending too many hours inside your office, away from the sun, and eating junk food to fill in the long hours? All these can take a toll on your health, resulting in Vitamin D or B-12 deficiency, calcium loss, iron shortage or even low magnesium levels. In fact, magnesium deficiency is hard to detect, but this nutrient is essential for muscle health, keeping the heart rhythm steady and smoothly transmitting nerve impulses. Some prefer to take supplements to replenish these vitamins and minerals, but it may not be the best choice, studies say. For instance, excessive calcium intake may cause calcification or hardening of the arteries. In contrast, regular exercise like walking or running can strengthen your bones without any side effect. Dr Anasuya Shetty, a physician, diabetologist and nutrition expert at Apollo Clinic in Bengaluru, has some easy solutions that can help you stay healthy, naturally. Here we go.
Why you need uv-b: The sun's UV-B ray enables skin cells to produce Vitamin D. Sitting indoors for long means little exposure to sunlight, which may lead to Vitamin D shortage and cause aches, pains and even lethargy. The best way to beat this is to take a 15-20 minute walk in the open air and get adequate exposure to sunlight. You can go for a walk on the office terrace or any other open area. Otherwise, park your car some distance away and take a short walk to the office. Moderation is the key here as an overdose of sunlight has its disadvantages.
Super foods: Get your nutrients from natural sources and take note of your body signals. Ideally, calcium should be taken along with magnesium. So, turn to green, leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. An egg (with yolk) and a glass of milk at breakfast will also ensure your daily dose of Vitamin D and calcium. Besides milk, yoghurt is another rich source of calcium. If you are a vegan, opt for soya milk. Don't skip breakfast or you may end up with gastric problems such as acidity or heartburn. Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are a good source of vitamins and proteins. So, eat five to eight pieces daily. However, one must be extremely careful as nut allergies can be fatal. If nuts are a big no for you, go for vegetables and paneer (cottage cheese).
Deal with 11 a.m. craving: If you have diabetes and feel a craving for food, do your 11 a.m. snacking differently. When you are hit by hypoglycaemia or low sugar level, grab some fruits instead of junk food.
Forget Exotic, Go local
Some people are fond of exotic foods. But you need not wait for Brazilian nuts or hazelnuts to tick the boxes on your list of nutrients. Locally available almonds are good enough to meet your essential body needs. If you cannot find the imported kiwi, give oranges a chance. Again, you need not wait for the dragon fruit to replenish the mineral contents in your body; apples and musk melons can do the trick. If lettuce is sold out, the good old spinach can come to your rescue with all the fibre content you need. There is no point debating whether the dinner plate contains a high-carb or a low-carb meal. Eaten in moderation, all foods are allowed.
So, what is moderation? Make a quick check along these lines. If you are a rice eater, go for one cup of cooked rice with two cups of vegetables. Focus more on those rich in fibre. For the vegetarians, pulses or dal will help to get enough protein; others can go for chicken, fish or eggs (just be careful how many eggs you are eating).