Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, life has been quite a roller coaster ride for all. While masks, santizers and social distancing have become the 'new-normal' for us, we have also seen several desi foods and nuskas coming back in vogue. From kadha to locally grown vegetables - today, we have included it all in our diet regime. But, nothing in excess is good for health. Which is why, consulting an expert is always recommended before making any change in lifestyle or diet. NDTV Food recently contacted celebrity fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala who shared with us some easy tips on how to boost immunity, lock down diet and more. Let's take a look.
Share a few simple tips one can follow to boost immunity and stay healthy during the ongoing pandemic.
As we all continue to adapt to the ongoing pandemic, most of us have understood the importance of being mindful and taking steps to strengthen the immune system. A balanced diet with the nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. will help contribute the body mass and maintain holistic health.
I like to start my day with lemon water that boosts vitamin C in the body and helps getting rid of the toxins. It is then followed by a handful of almonds. Almonds are high in copper, zinc, iron that plays an important role in the growth, development, and maintenance of immune function. Besides, it's a good source of vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant to support pulmonary immune function. Vitamin E is also known to offer protection against infections caused by viruses and bacteria.
While eating right is very important, one must not neglect exercising too. Simple exercises like yoga and meditation, walking indoors or in the lobby area will increase your energy levels and keep you active.
Which desi superfoods do you swear by?
I love eating fresh and nutritious foods like green leafy vegetables and fruits, that are locally available. Few foods I swear by are:
- Pulses as they are a significant source of vitamins and minerals
- Vegetables and fruits for fiber intake.
- For munching between meals, I prefer nuts like almonds. Almonds are a rich source of protein, a nutrient which is not only energy-yielding, but also known to contribute to growth and maintenance of muscle mass. A handful of almonds may have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness, which may keep hunger at bay between meals
- And of course, kadha. At least once or twice a week, ensure drinking kadha as these homemade remedies will help support your immunity and may help fight and cure ailments.
I make sure my family and I eat least 1 fruit, 1 vegetable and 1 protein rich food like almonds every day.
Did the months-long lockdown inspire you to try new kinds of diets?
Not really. I have always been very conscious of my diet, and I am someone who plans meals for the week on the weekend itself. My family and I adhere to a weekly routine of 3-meals and 2-snacks a day, and we create a nutritious meal plan every Sunday. I ensure including a balanced amount of food that is rich in fiber, calcium, proteins and vitamins. Also, wholesome snacks such as fresh and seasonal fruits, oats, fresh juices and almonds are a few things we love eating, and definitely recommend to others too.
During the candid chat session, Yasmin Karachiwala also shared tips on weight loss, her take on fad diet, detox waters et al. According to her, balanced meal, with all the essential nutrients, is the key to over all health.
What's that one food you swear by when it comes to effective weight-loss?
I wouldn't say it's one food but rather an effective food plan - one that includes a light breakfast with oats and almonds. In fact, according to a recent study , snacking on almonds may lead to a lower overall hunger drive, suppressed unconscious desire to consume other high-fat foods, which could be useful in a weight management strategy. Additionally, one could also opt for mid-morning fresh fruit juices or a fruit, a nutrient-rich lunch including dal, vegetables, fish to maintain your energy levels, a vegetable sandwich in the evening and a light dinner with soups, egg or paneer and leafy vegetables.
What's your take on detox waters?
I personally don't consume water with anything but a lot of my clients end up drinking only half of their required quota of water in a day. To them I definitely recommend to add jeera, lemon, ginger or orange with chia seeds or grapefruit with chia seeds. This helps them consume required amount of daily water intake and keeps them hydrated.
How important is the diet in staying fit?
Following a diet that complements your fitness routine is important. One can dedicate 1-2 hours to exercising every day, but what he/she eats during the day has an equally important impact on the body. Diet and exercise go hand in hand and you cannot adopt one healthy habit and trade it off with another, such as unhealthy eating. I believe in achieving overall fitness, it's important to focus 70% on your diet, and 30% on regular exercise.
I always follow a diet that is rich in nutrients and helps build the body maintenance. A well-balanced diet with wholesome nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, good carbs from pulses green vegetables, fresh fruits and nuts like almonds helps keeps the body and mind strong and healthy and provides energy that allows for better sleep, and improves brain function. Fresh fruits like banana and berries are low in calories, high in fiber, folate and potassium. These fruits act as antioxidants, which further helps in resolving digestive issues and flushes toxins out of the body.
Besides this, eating a handful of almonds every day is a must. Almonds are a source of 15 nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, protein, riboflavin, zinc, etc. Almonds also provide energy and are a healthy source of energy to help keep you active through the day. Besides that, several years of research has also highlighted the positive effects of almond consumption in controlling heart disease risk factors, better managing Type II diabetes, and enhancing skin health. So be sure to add these foods to the diet, to ensure better health in the longer run.
What is your take on fad diets?
I don't believe in fad diets. I believe it's important to stay fit and healthy and that can be achieved by regular exercise and a complementary diet. But before doing this, it is crucial to understand what health means to you, and what your goals are, and then tailor your fitness and diet plan accordingly. Be sure to include foods that provide a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals like Quinoa, Healthy Salads, Oats, Green vegetables, nuts like almonds, etc.
Cheating on your diet or skipping a workout - which would you choose?
There are days where you may feel lazy or demotivated, and feel like skipping your exercise time. On those days, I prefer to do simple exercises like only to do Pilates for 30 minutes. These light exercises help in keeping me rejuvenated and refresh my mind and body. For cheat days, I have a cheat-meal that helps satiate my cravings in a balanced manner.
Finally, share with us one fitness secret that you feel not many people know about.
Many people believe that working out for a longer duration helps lose weight faster. But this isn't the case. Health isn't a short-term goal that one can achieve with crash diets, or fitness regimes it's a way of life. Nothing in your life can change, unless you make a serious effort towards it, and staying healthy is something you need to dedicate yourself to, as it will only help achieve a better you in the long run. People pledge to stay healthy, but soon the motivation fizzles out, and they are back to square one. So, my suggestion here is-instead of charting diet plans, try to match your diet and fitness regime to your routine, and preferences.