There are more than 2.5 billion malnourished people living in the world; 800 million are undernourished, 2 billion are overweight or obeseand 2 billion have deficiencies of micronutrients. Globally, poor diets are causing it morbidity and mortality from inadequate consumption of nutritious foods and excessive consumption of harmful foods. Modern food production also poses a risk to the planet.
In India, nearly 1.7 million people die each year from diseases caused by dietary risk factors and obesity, according to the State of India’s Environment 2022: In Figuresa statistical collection published annually by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) and the Down To Earth magazine.
According to the report, lifestyle diseases include respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and coronary heart disease. In terms of diet, it refers to those low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and high in processed meat, red meat, and sugary drinks. In terms of weight, it refers to being underweight, overweight or obese. The report states that in India, 71% of the population cannot afford a healthy diet – the lowest figure in the world and an average Indian diet lacks fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
Eat-Lancet reference diet
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Restructuring food systems to deliver better health and environmental outcomes is one of the most significant global challenges of the 21st century. To help make changes, the EAT-Lancet Commission set out to identify a universal reference diet that is healthy for both humans and the planet, minimizing the risks of chronic diseases and maximizing human well-being.
The EAT-Lancet reference diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, with proteins and fats coming mainly from foods of vegetable origin, unsaturated fats from fish and carbohydrates from whole grains. With better farming practices and less food waste and losses, the commission estimates that this diet could meet the needs of an estimated 10 billion people by 2050. However, it also points out that a healthy diet must be available and affordable for low-income countries. income also to have a real impact.
This brings us to the eight tips for making a diet cheaper and healthier.
Eat a balanced diet, according to Eat-Lancet, it is the need of the moment. A healthy diet is synonymous with convenience and accessibility. While India produces a variety of nutritious foods, the lack of nutrition education and financial resources leads to a lack of essential nutrients in the diet.
1. Include miles: Whole grains like millet (jowar, bajra, ragi, nachni, etc.) are powerful nutrients, rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. A variety of health benefits have been linked to whole grains, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Wheat flour and white rice can be substituted with millet for maximum health benefits. Also, miles are convenient, sustainableand environmentally friendly.
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2. Include legumes: Indians consume variety of legumes. They are rich sources of B vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Their consumption can satisfy every day protein and fiber requirement. Legumes are available in abundance in India at a reasonable price.
3. Eat Eggs: Eggs are incredibly healthy, nutritious and universally available foods that provide all the essential amino acids and micronutrients. A comparison of matched calories breakfasts shows that the eggs come out on top. Across India, the cost of an egg varies between INR 4 and 6, which is reasonable for most.
4. Eat peanuts: Nuts and seeds are a key part of a healthy and balanced diet. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashew nuts however, they are expensive. Peanuts are great alternatives to these nuts, packed with good fats, proteins and minerals.
5. Fresh seasonal products: Buying seasonal fruit and vegetables is a smart strategy to ensure healthy eating and save money. Fresh products are tastier and more nutritious. Sourcing seasonal fruit and vegetables from the local farmer’s market is affordable and saves money ecological footprint also.
6. Cook more: Trying something new kills the monotony and can be a cheerful way to add more versatility to yours daily diet. Preparing a new healthy recipe on the weekend is relaxing, a step towards healthy choices and an engaging activity shared among family members.
7. Avoid waste: Wasting food it has become a daily habit. Between harvest and retail alone, around 14% of all food produced globally is lost. Reducing food loss and waste is essential in a world where millions of people go hungry every day. Furthermore, reducing food waste is important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Buy only what you need, store food properly, use leftovers, and avoid ordering large portions.
8. Avoid refined white sugar: Stay away from foods and drinks that are laden with them refined white sugar. The added sugar is directly linked to noncommunicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc. They provide no nutrition except for empty calories.
In India, the affordability of a healthy and balanced diet is a public health concern. Healthy eating, however, is possible with adequate knowledge of the nutritional composition of different foods and combining them to meet individual dietary needs. Although poor economic conditions can be a determining factor in unhealthy diets, a lack of awareness also contributes.
A comprehensive strategy that includes mass nutrition education, the involvement of public and private stakeholders, and the availability of safe and nutritious food is key to ensuring food security for all.
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