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Health

Introduction

According to an old definition, we are alive only as long as our heart is pumping. We need to take good care of it, since it is not techno-economically feasible to replace this vital organ. It is especially difficult to find a worthwhile heart in good condition and transplant it while it is going lub-dub lub-dub! So, now we know that we need to have a heart, have it in the right place and that a change of heart is not easy!

An average heart pumps 70 ml per heartbeat which works out to 5 liters per minute. It pumps 7,200 Liters per day, almost 2,628,000 liters per year, or 184,086,000 liters by the time you are 70 years old. Thats pretty good for a little pump weighing less than 300 gms!

The heart, just like any other pump, is susceptible to failure due to over-working. Obesity can cause hypertension or chronic high blood pressure which will put an undue strain on the heart and decrease its life expectancy.

Body Mass Index

One easy method of detecting obesity is by calculating the Body Mass Index or BMI which is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of his or her height to obtain the BMI in kg/m2.

For example, if your weight is 68 kgs and your height is 1.7 meters, then your BMI = 68/(1.7)2 = 23.5 kg/m2

A BMI of 18.5 to 25 indicates optimal weight; a BMI lower than 18.5 suggests that the person is underweight; a BMI above 25 may indicate the person is overweight; a BMI above 30 suggests the person is obese and a BMI above 40, morbidly obese.

If you plan to reduce your BMI, here are some non-medical suggestions for weight reduction. If you have a medical reason for being over-weight, then you should take medical help to manage your weight.

Weight management depends on how we achieve our energy balance: calorie input = calorie output. Calorie input depends on our choice of food and the quantities that we consume while calorie output depends on whether we have a sedentary lifestyle or an active lifestyle. A good strategy would be to address both: reduce calorie input and increase calorie output to strike a balance.

To reduce calorie input, a relatively painless, effective and sustainable strategy would be to shift the consumption towards low calorie foods rather than try to reduce the quantities consumed.

Calorie Input Management

a) Indian spices for weight reduction

Cardamom: Increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. Take about 1.5 gms a day.

Cinnamon: Lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Take about 3 gms a day.

Curry leaves: Reduces bad cholesterol and fat deposits. Take about 10 leaves a day.

Garlic: An effective fat-burning food, garlic helps reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Take about 5 gms a day.

Onion: Helps in weight loss. Take 1 onion a day.

Red Chillies: Increases metabolism and helps burn calories. Take about 15 gms a day.

Turmeric: Reduces accumulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, prevents blood clotting and reduces high blood pressure. Take about 3 gms a day.

b) Indian foods for weight reduction

Mustard oil: This has low saturated fat, contains antioxidants and essential vitamins. It reduces bad cholesterol. Do not exceed 6 tsp per day.

Cabbage: Works by inhibiting the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat.

Moong dal: Sprouts are rich in Vitamin A, B, C and E and many minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium. It is a rich source of protein and fibre, which helps lower the level of blood cholesterol.

Millets: Fibre-rich foods such - jowar, bajra, ragi, etc., absorb cholesterol and help increase the secretion of bile for emulsification of fats.

c) Home-remedies for weight reduction

Honey: It mobilizes the extra fat deposits in the body allowing it to be utilised as energy for normal functions. Take 10 grams with hot water and lime early in the morning.

Buttermilk: Is the sour, residual fluid that is left after butter is churned. It provides the body with all essential nutrients and does not add fats and calories to the body.

Cucumber: Eat a cucumber before every meal. This low-calorie food will fill you up and automatically reduce your intake of foods containing higher calories.

Psyllium husks: Add a tea spoon of the highly soluble fiber obtained from Isabgol seeds to a glass of water and drink it before a meal. Makes you eat less by filling you up and prevents the absorption of fats and oils by the body.

Water: Drink plenty of water or low-calorie drinks. About 8 glasses is the minimum requirement.

Green tea: Contains flavonoids and reduces the risk of heart disease.

 d) Sample diet plan

Choose any one or two from the options shown below:

Pre-breakfast

         A glass of lemon juice and honey in warm water

         A cup of green tea

Breakfast

         Omlette made with 2 egg whites & 1 onion along with 2 chapattis made with multi-grain flour

         Oats / Cornflakes / Wheat bran with skimmed milk 200 gms

         Moong sprouts / Fruit salad with seasonal fruits 200 gms

         Idly / Upma / Dosa 200 gms

Pre Lunch

         Coffee

         Green tea

         Guarana drink

         Lime juice drink

Lunch

         Chicken 200 gms with 2 chapattis or brown rice 200 gms

         Green salad with cucumber, tomato, beetroot, carrot  200 gms

         Boiled lentils / boiled vegetables 200 gms with 2 chapattis or brown rice 200 gms

         Curds 100 gms

Pre-dinner

         Green salad with cucumber, tomato, beetroot, carrot, capsicum 200 gms

         Boiled lentils 100 gms

         Corn on the cob

         Green tea

Dinner

         Chicken or vegetable soup

         Green salad with cucumber, tomato, beetroot, carrot, capsicum 200 gms

         Chicken / fish 200 gms with 2 chapattis or brown rice 200 gms

         Boiled lentils / boiled vegetables 100 gms

Post Dinner

One glass of flavored beverage prepared with skimmed milk

Seasonal fruits 200 gms

Calorie Output Management

Choose any exercise of your choice: Walking, running, swimming, cycling, step exercise, etc. Since time spent beyond 20 minutes of exercise will contribute towards weight loss, it is good to start with a minimum of 20 minutes per session and then build it up according to your requirements. Exercise should be done at least thrice a week.

Weight training should be included in the exercise plan to benefit the muscles as well as the bones.

Play your favorite game at least once a week to make exercise interesting. If outdoor games are not possible, even playing games on a home video game such as Wii will do!

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