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Balanced diet is key to mental and physical health

We Are Not Only What We Eat, But Also What We Think: Dr. Ksh. Manglem Singh

Dr. Kshetrimayum Manglem Singh is a Retd. Chief Medical Officer of the Government of Manipur, a Life Member of the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India(APCRI), and a long time health columnist publishing not less than 250 articles on health and nevertheless he delivers his contributions on health and nutrition in various platforms.

Dr. Ksh. Manglem, a socially committed health professional

The committed medical practitioner of many decades was born in the year 1949 at Angtha, and graduated in Science with Distinction from DM College in 1969.

A medical graduate (MBBS) of Kerala University, Dr. Manglem did his postgraduation (MD) in Forensic Medicine under Calcutta University. Before his retirement he served at various health departments and medical associations.

As a delegate of 60-member team of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), he along with his spouse Dr. Renubala Devi, participated at the World Conference against nuclear war which was held at Yorkshire (UK) in Aug-Sept 2017.

In an interview with him, as a health activist he conveyed that, to maintain healthy life, longevity and normal weight we have to practice good eating habits. The important nutrients which are use in our day to day life are Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat and Fibre also known as macronutrients whereas vitamins and minerals which are required in small quantities but are highly essential nutrients are called micronutrients.

Carbohydrate:

Dr. Manglem said, 1gm of carbohydrate provides 4 cal of energy. Rice, wheat, potato etc. are complex carbohydrates, termed as starch. Fructose present in fruits and vegetables, lactose present in milk and milk products, sucrose present in honey, fruit juice, sugar, sweets and chocolates are carbohydrates termed as simple sugar.

He said plants implanted in the ground with their branches facing sunlight manufacture carbohydrate. Animals cannot produce their own nutrients at the cost of their mobility. The whole animal kingdom and human beings depend on the plants for their food.

Sugar is the smallest unit of carbohydrate. When we eat or drink simple sugar (fizzy drinks) there is sudden surge of energy however sooner we become exhausted. However after eating starch (complex carbohydrates) like rice or chapatti or food having low glycaemic index we get energy for a longer period, he said.

After eating sugar insulin is released from the body to bring down high blood sugar to normal and sometimes below normal. This condition known as hypoglycaemia is marked by sudden weakness, sweating, blurring of vision and tremor of extremities. When we eat too much sugar it is converted to fat. Overweight and obesity are the predisposing factors for serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc.

Protein:

Dr. Manglem said 1 gm of protein produces 4 calories of energy. Meat, fish, egg, milk products are protein foods having full range of essential amino acids (9 in number). Plant products like beans, pulses, etc. has less quantity of essential amino acids. Proteins are required for growth and repairing of body.

The utilizable amino acids content found in plant life is far in excess of that found in flesh foods. In vegetable protein is intricately associated with carbohydrate whereas in meat protein is associated with fat. As such vegetable proteins are superior to animal proteins for maintaining good health.

Body expends high energy in the digestion of meat. Carnivore animals sleep for more than 20 hours to regain strength after eating meat, monkey-a plant eating animal sleeps only 6 hours.

He said, athletes should not eat more proteins if they are consuming balance diet. Proteins do not give strength. For getting strength carbohydrate is the right option. Athletes can consume 3-5 grams per kg body weight of carbohydrate, 1gm per kg body weight of protein.

Eating too much protein may cause cancer of the breast, liver, urinary bladder and leukaemia (blood cancer), he said. Loss of appetite and diarrhoea may be the outcome of over eating of protein. If the ingested protein is not digested properly the undigested products are deposited in the organs like liver which become toxic. The hyperacidity so produced may manifest as numerous chronic diseases.

Fat:

He said 1 gm of fat produces 9 calories of energy. Saturated, monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) are different types of fat. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal fats. Food high in saturated fats include most selections found at a fast food restaurant and dairy products such as whole milk products, as well as commercial fried foods and processed foods such as cookies, cakes. Saturated fats are also found in cured meat such as bacon, sausage, ham. Red meat, duck are also usually quite high in saturated fats. Men who consume high amounts of red meat increase their chances of prostate cancer by 2 to 3 times over men who do not.

Polyunsaturated fats are divided into two families: the Omega-3 fats and the Omega-6 fats. When PUFA are used in cooking and especially deep frying, oxidation occurs even faster. More likely to form plague in an artery or on arterial walls. As fats are broken down through oxidation, they form substances that promote blood clotting and cause inflammation – all of which make blood flow more difficult.

PUFA are not the worst fats, but they are not the best either. Eating too much PUFA increases inflammation, which is associated with heart disease, arthritis, cancer of the breast, colon and Alzheimer’s disease.

Healthy eating habits:

It is not only what you eat that makes the difference, but also of extreme importance is when you eat it and in what combinations, Dr. Manglem explained.

Safe and permanent weight reduction is directly related to amount of vital energy you have at your disposal and to the efficient use of this energy to eliminate waste (excess weight) from your body. Health is produced by healthful living. We experience problems of ill health (i.e. excess weight, pain, stress) only when we break the natural law of life.

There is a whole category of substances that have a far more intense effect on our patients than drugs. That category is food- and we have neglected that particular area of medicine.

The problems can never be solved merely by more and more medical care. The health of the individuals and the health of the population is determined by a variety of biological, behavioural and environmental factors. None of these is more important than the foods we eat.

The incidence of the number one and number two killer diseases (heart disease and cancer) can be decreased by people knowing how and what to eat, imagine what it could do for the problem of overweight, often a precursor to these killers. Now it is finally apparent that the foods we eat, obesity and degenerative diseases are very much interrelated, we can relate this discovery to an entire field of knowledge devoted to the effect of food on human body.

Since our bodies are 70% water, we should be eating a diet that is approximately 70% water content, that means fruits and vegetables should predominate in our diets. The other 30% will consists of the concentrated food: breads, grains, meat, dairy products, legumes, and so on.

All the nutritional requirements that a human body has- all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, fatty acids that exist, that the human body needs to survive- are to be found in fruits and vegetables. The nutritional requirements are carried by the water in those fruits and vegetables into our intestines. Where all nutrition is absorbed. If we are eating foods high in water content, that means we are eating foods that have all the requirements of the human body.

Proper food combination simply creates the environment for weight loss. If you can eat food and have it go through your stomach in 3 hours instead of 8 hours, there are 5 hours of energy right that you have picked up- five hours to be put toward detoxification and weight loss. And you are going to pick up more energy as that food goes through the intestine with great ease.

According to Dr Herbert M Shelton, the authority on food combining, stresses that the potential value of fruit can be realised only if is consumed on an empty stomach. Once inside body all becomes alkaline if consumed correctly. Rather than habit-forming and toxic drinks such a coffee, tea, alcohol, sodas and milk, it would be wiser to drink fruit or vegetable juices. A good point to remember is not to gulp juice down. Because it is fragmented, you should take but a mouthful at a time and let it makes with saliva before swallowing it.

Eating tips:

Below are Dr. Manglem’s recommendation of a healthy eating habit:

  1. Drink 1-2 glass full of pure water 30 minutes before and 2 hours after breakfast or meal.
  2. Eat the protein portion of your meal first since this stimulates glucagon, which will depress insulin secretion and cause the release of carbohydrates that have been stored in the liver and muscles, which help prevent low blood sugar.
  3. Chew each bite 20-30 times and eat slowly. Avoid drinking water during chewing as it causes dilution of the digestive juices (saliva, gastric juice, bile, pancreatic juice, intestinal juice).
  4. Never rush through a meal. Rushing will cause hydrochloric acid of gastric juice to be suppressed, making digestion difficult.
  5. Never eat when you are upset, angry or bickering. Eating should be a time of relaxation.
  6. Limit your starches to only one serving per meal. Never eat bread, potatoes, corn and different starches together at 1 meal. Choose low-glycaemic carbohydrates such as vegetables.
  7. If you want to lose weight eat fruits and vegetables and limit carbohydrates to one meal a day or avoid them completely.
  8. Eat fruits 30 minutes before and three hours after breakfast or a meal. Fruit does not digest in the stomach. Fruits are All fruits (with exception of bananas, dates, and dry fruit, which stay in the stomach a bit longer) are in the stomach for a short time. They breakdown and release their supercharged, life-giving nutrients in the intestines. If you eat fruits along with concentrated foods (Carbohydrate, protein, fat) without making any time gap as mentioned the fruits will remain undigested and fermented causing bad smell, belching and bloating. Even it is advised to not eat banana with rice.
  9. Avoid alcoholic beverages, not only because alcohol is toxic to our bodies, but also because it triggers a tremendous insulin release and promotes storage of fat.
  10. To lose weight effortlessly and keep it off, we must begin working with our body and not against it. To get slim and stay slim we need to re-sensitize ourselves to our ‘inner thermostat’ so we can stop eating when we are full and feel good for the rest of the day. In reality, when we have eaten enough, our stomach sends a signal from the hypothalamus (pineal body) of brain- a sensation that says, “I am satisfied-that’s enough”. Most people experience this gentle, clear satisfied sensation in their solar plexus (the area below are ribcage but above stomach).
  11. Don’t over eat. Don’t over eat. Don’t over eat. Don’t over eat. We are not only what we eat, but what we think as well.

Finally, Dr Manglem asserted that sugar is addictive and many diseases come from it. Most food manufacturers add sugar needlessly to their products to increase the taste but this is bad for health. He advised all to avoid sugar to the extent possible and this will result in the prevention half of the diseases humans are prone to”.

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