Monday, July 28, 2014

Foods for better brain health

The brain is the most delicate and complex organ of the human body. Human brain is unique, electrochemical supercomputer which is far greater in complexity, speed and sophistication.   Isaac Asimov quoted, “The human brain then is the most complicated organization of matter that we know”. According to a saying, the brain is wider than the sky and deeper than the sea. The brain is the command and control centre of human body.  The brain is the seat of intelligence, emotion and memory.  The brain is the organ of one’s personality, character and intelligence. The brain receives, registers and processes information.   The brain initiates movements and behaviours. Neurons are the basic building blocks of the brain. The human brain contains more than one hundred billion neurons (nerve cells).  Each of the neuron has about 60,000 to 100,000 synaptic connections and has a total number of synaptic connections of about 1027 . The human brain is connected to 30,000 miles (50,000 kms) of nerves.  The neurons are arranged end to end and the neurotransmitters transfer signals across the gaps (synapses) of 0.02 to 0.05 microns. The brain is a dense web of interconnecting synapses. Neurons communicate using electrical impulses. The neurons actually make up less than a tenth of the cells in the brain. The other 90-98% by number is glial cells, which are involved in development and maintenance. The human being has the highest ratio of weight of the brain to the total body weight.  The human brain weighs about 1.5 kgs, about 2 percent of body weight. The brain requires 15 percent of the blood, 40- 50 percent of the oxygen supply and 25 percent of the calories we consume. A 15 sec blockage of blood to the brain will result in unconsciousness. The brain cells are sensitive to oxygen availability. The brain needs a well-balanced, low-cholesterol and low- saturated (animal – fat) diet.

Brain chemicals

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in our brains that regulate our feelings and emotions. Different neurotransmitters perform different functions in the body. There are 183 currently known transmitters.The neurotransmitters are primarily synthesized in nerve terminals. The master neurotransmitters are serotonin and the catecholamine group which consists of dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids. For example epinephrine and dopamine are made from phenyl alanine. Serotonin is made from tryptophan. Amino acids are generally abundant in high protein foods such as dairy products, eggs, legumes, fish, meats, nut, poultry and soybeans. Amino acid therapy is the use of supplemental amino acids to help balance body’s normal supply of amino acids and should be undertaken under the supervision of a doctor.
Acetyl choline is a neurotransmitter that is believed to play a crucial role in memory. Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) (natural tranquilizers) inhibits message transmission and helps to control brain overload. Serotonin is a neurohormone that acts on the overall operations of the brain. It is our natural anti-depressant and sleep promoter. It helps to control the general states of alertness. Catecholamines are our natural energisers and mental focusers.  Dopamine is a neurohormone that helps to control physical movement.  Endorphins are neurohormones (feel – good chemicals) that serve as a source of pleasure and reward as well as a means of reducing one’s awareness of pain and irritation.

Brain cell death

A process called oxidation destroys brain cells and creates free radicals as a by-product. Free radicals are killer molecules that kill cells including neurons and destroy neurotransmitters – which are the chemicals that transmit electrical messages from one brain cell to another.

Brain glucose

 The human brain is metabolically most active organ of the body.  It uses about 20-30% of a person’s energy intake at rest. Glucose is the brain’s sole source of energy.   The tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. The brain functions such as thinking, learning and memory are closely dependent on glucose levels and how effectively the brain utilizes glucose. If glucose becomes inadequate, neurotransmitters are not synthesized and communication between neurons breaks down.

Brain water

Human brain is very soft and composed of 80% water, which means that the most important requirement of good brain health is hydration. Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue and expansion of fluid filled cavities in the middle brain. Dehydration can impair short term memory, visuomotor functioning and psychomotor functioning.  Extreme dehydration can results in delirium which causes confusion, inability to speak or think coherently, disorientation and hallucination. Dehydration is a major contributor to increased production of free radicals and premature aging.

Brain fats

The brain is composed of about 60% fat and brain cells is about 70% fat. The fats we eat directly affect the structure and substance of the brain cell membranes. About 20 % of the fat in our brain is made from essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  The balance between omega-3 and omega – 6 fatty acids seems to be critical for the brain’s structure and function. Human brain has special requirement for fatty acids. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) accounts for up to 20% of total fatty acids in the grey matter and is the most abundant PUFA in the brain. DHA insufficiency affects membrane fluidity, serotonin transport, gene transcription, and inflammation and energy metabolism in the brain.  DHA exerts a neuroprotective action by preventing oxidative damage and inflammation.
Many nerve fibres are surrounded by myelin sheath, which speeds up the transmission of nerve impulses. Myelin is made up of various fats, fatty acids, phospholipids, cholesterol and protein. In fact 75% of myelin comes from fat. Choline enhances memory and promotes clear thinking.

Brain vitamins and minerals

The brain needs vitamins and minerals. B-vitamins help to maintain and build healthy brain cells. Vitamins B1, B6 and B12   play a valuable role for good brain health. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps in the conduction of electrical impulses within the brain.B6 (pyridoxine) is needed for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which improves mood and B 12 (cobalamin) which is a constituent of the myelin sheath. Mineral ions such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium must maintain in critical balance.

Brain healthy foods

Physical exercise is most important food for the brain. Foods that have over 90% water content like grape fruit and water melon contain essential nutrients and electrolytes required to maintain proper hydration and optimal brain function.  Drinking beverages like coconut water and fruit juices effectively maintains optimal hydration and electrolyte balance.
Since glucose is the fuel for the brain, the blood glucose level has to be properly maintained. Complex carbohydrates are the best brain foods. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, beans or lentils – take longer to digest and slowly release potential energy.  Refined starch (white breads, white rice and pasta) impairs mental function.
Human brain needs oils and fats to function. Two essential fats especially critical to the brain are the omega – 3 and omega – 6 fatty acids. Foods high in omega- 3 fatty acids are important to maintaining brain health. Certain fish including salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, anchovies, white fish and sable fish are good sources of omega – 3 fatty acids. Bad fats (saturated fats) inflame the brain. Trans fat is labelled as potentially the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by almost 50%.
Vitamins B 1 can be obtained from whole grains, nuts, meat and eggs. Vitamin B6 can be obtained from eating fish, poultry, eggs, whole grains and nuts. Vitamin B 12 can be obtained from meat, fish, dairy products, eggs and yeast extract.
Foods rich in vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta- carotene appear to reduce cell damage including brain cells. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and straw berries. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils (corn, canola, sun flower, soybean and olive oils), nuts and leafy greens. Beta – carotene is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and spinach. Folic acid is an essential ‘brain food’, which is critical for normal nerve function. Folate works with approximately 20 different enzymes to build DNA. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, bananas, orange, and straw berries.
Iron – rich foods improve mental alertness and energy levels. Lean sources of red meat, poultry, spinach, beans, dried fruits and whole grains are excellent sources of iron. Selenium is linked to balance of moods, which is available in whole grains, rice, meat and sea weeds.

Essentials of brain health

1. Be physically active
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet
3. Avoid saturated fats and caffeine
4. Listen to your body
5. Keep your mind active
6. Maintain good heart health and healthy body weight
7. Protect your head from injuries.
8. Calorie restriction can enhance learning and memory.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Leadership lessons from Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States. He was born on the 12th of February 1809 in rural Kentucky (USA). He served as president from 1861 to 1865, during the American Civil War. During the Civil War, Lincoln was determined to maintain the "Union” of American States at any cost.  He fought the war bravely and declared, “A nation cannot exist half free and half slave.” He won the war and kept his country united. Almost all historians judge Lincoln as the greatest president of American history because of the way he exercised leadership during the war. Lincoln had very little formal education, but had a strong passion for books and self-learning. His primary means of education was schooling at home using borrowed books and the Bible. As a legislator, he had a reputation of eloquent opponent of slavery. Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842 and they had four children.  He was elected as a president of the United States in 1860, re-elected in 1864 and served from March 4, 1861 until his death. As president, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. He is remembered for his character, his speeches and letters and as a man of humble origin whose determination and perseverance earned him the nation’s highest office. Lincoln is often admired for his Gettysburg address, which is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. He is a symbol of racial equality. Lincoln was assassinated on the 15th April 1865. His life reveals not only dreams and desires but also his habits of strong direction, dedication and determination.

Leadership lessons

Focused ambition 
Lincoln had a desire to become a great orator. With this aim, he approached his teacher, Mater Graham. The teacher advised him to learn grammar. Lincoln borrowed a grammar book and memorized grammar day and night. Lincoln mastered grammar and attained his goal of becoming a best speaker of his time.
Lincoln kept his ambition focused on serving the people and winning their esteem. It is said by Lincoln that “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
Character as destiny 
 Lincoln possessed a well developed conscience and courage. He was morally superior. It is  said by Lincoln that “Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.” Lincoln was fair, trustworthy, sincere, straight forward with sound moral principle. He even had the nickname “Honest Abe.” It is also told by him that  “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.”
Courage and commitment 
 Lincoln possessed supreme will power: strength of mind. He is remembered for his courage and leadership, his peacefulness and compassion, his patriotism and devotion to his country. It is said by Lincoln that “It requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” It is also said by Lincoln that  “Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years.”
Firm believer of hard  work 
 He acknowledged the power of hard work to achieve success.  It is said by him that  “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Another occasion he quoted that “I am always for the man who wishes to work.”
Habit of persistence 
Lincoln is a great example of persistence. Persistence means never giving up and  to do requires self-discipline. He was defeated for the legislature and lost his job in 1832. He failed in his own business in 1833.In 1836, he had nervous breakdown. He bought for senate in 1854 and defeated miserably. In 1860, he was elected president of the United States. "Some day I shall be president" - Lincoln.
Political skills
Lincoln was a skilled politician. He was admired for his warm storytelling and jokes. He was a man of principle and ideas. Though he lacked a formal education but he was a voracious reader and note worthy biographer. Lincoln was naturally prudent and cautious but he took bigger political risks.It is said by Lincoln that “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, leave him when he is wrong.”
Delegation of responsibility and authority 
Lincoln delegated responsibility and authority. Lincoln knew the value of making requests and persuaded his subordinates to compromise on political/ administrative issues.  It is said by Lincoln that “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them to real facts.” On empowerment, it is said by Lincoln that “You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.”
Power of democracy
Lincoln understood the power of democracy to govern people of any country. Lincoln described government as one of the people (instituted by content), by the people (operate as democracy) and for the people (protecting their natural rights). It is also said by him that “The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.” He quoted that  “ Public opinion in this country is everything.”

Quotes of Abraham Lincoln for reflection 

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Health benefits of dietary fibres

Dietary fibre is considered to be an important ingredient of a healthy diet. The term “dietary fibre” was coined by Hipsley (1953) to denote indigestible plant cell wall material (CWM). In the olden days dietary fibre (DF) was known as 'roughage or bulk'.  Now dietary fibre is referred to as non-starch polysaccharide (NSP). It is resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine. It undergoes complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Fibre is thought to exert significant effect on faecal volume, laxation, intestinal transit time, flatus production, bacterial metabolism and output of short chain (or volatile) fatty acids(VFA). Fibres help us clean our digestive tracts("Your Body's Broom").  Plant cell walls are the major source of dietary fiber. The major fibres of foods are cellulose, hemicelluloses, β- glucans and pectins. Gums and lignin  are minor fibres of foods.  The recommended dietary allowance for fibre is 25 grams.


“Dietary fibre is the edible parts of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Dietary fibre includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin and associated substances (Anon 2001, adopted by American Association of Cereal Chemists, AACC).

The dietary fibre hypothesis

Dietary fibre hypothesis was based upon the pioneering observations of physicians and epidemiologists (Burkitt  and Trowell 1975, Burkitt 1983).It is postulated that a high intake of fibre – containing foods is directly related to or is associated with a low incidence of many disorders and diseases common with a western lifestyle (e.g., chronic bowel diseases, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity and colon cancer). Dietary fibre intake is inversely associated with the risk of both cancer and adenomas.

Analytical fibre fractions

Total fibre – it is the aggregate amount of fibre in a food product. In other words total fibre is the sum of dietary fibre and functional fibre.
Functional fibre – it consists of isolated or purified nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans. It is also referred to as “isolated” or “novel” fibre mostly from animal  sources. Cellulose, chitin, beta glucans, gums, inulin, oligofructose, fructoligosaccharides, lignin, pectins, psyllium, and resistant starches are forms of functional fiber when added to foods. 
Crude fibre (CF) - It is the residue of plant food left after extraction with solvent, dilute acid and dilute alkali (Williams and Olmstead, 1935). Crude fibre is only 1/7 to ½ of total dietary fibre.
Total dietary fibre (TDF) - refers to total amount of nondigestible (unavailable) material naturally occurring in foods and mainly of plant origin and it includes fiber from foods such as whole legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, undigested products, and undigested biosynthetic polysaccharides, whereas crude fiber is the material that in chemical analysis remains after vigorous treatment with acids and alkalies (Mehta and Kaur 1992).

Kinds of dietary fibres

Dietary fibres are usually classified as soluble or insoluble based on their solubility. Plant foods contain both types of fibres in varying amounts, according to the plant’s characteristics.
Soluble fibre (SF) –It partially dissolves in water to form gel like texture. It helps to slow down digestion. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fibres are found in oats, rye, barley, legumes (peas, soybeans, and beans), fruits (berries, plums, avocados, bananas) vegetables (broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions) and nuts (almonds).
Insoluble fibre (IF) – It does not dissolve in water and passes through the gastrointestinal tract without being changed. It has positive water-attracting properties that help to increase bulk, soften stools and shorten stool transit time.  Whole – wheat flour, wheat bran, corn bran,  nuts, seeds,  beans and vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes are good sources of insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibres are gut –healthy fibres which are metabolically ferment in the large intestine (“the colon’s portion”) and can be prebiotic.

Chemical composition of dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is made up of 3 components.  The largest component consists of polysaccharides or plant fibres such as bran, pectins from fruits and vegetables, various gums and beta-glucans  from oats and rye. The second – largest component is lignin, which is made up of polyphenylpropane molecules and found in stalks and stems of plant products. The third component includes resistant starches and nondigestible oligosaccharides. The heterogeneity of dietary fibre is the primary reason for the diversity of its physiological effects.
The non-digestible fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) fibres help keep the digestive tract healthy by nourishing and promoting friendly bacteria (Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli).  These microbes use some of the "prebiotic fibres,” in the food as fuel for their own growth, and through their own metabolism produce molecules called short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA production by these microbes has been associated with a decrease in cancerous colonic cells, reduction of serum cholesterol, and maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels and healthy intestinal tract cell walls. Natural food sources of FOS include onions, garlic and asparagus. FOS helps to heal irritable bowel syndrome by exerting a regulatory action on bowel movement.

Recommended dietary intake

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends an intake of 20 to 30 g fibre/day for adults. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an upper limit of 40 grams of dietary fibres a day. Experts hypothesize that primitive diets contained between 80 and 250 grams of dietary fibre/ day (Sobolik 1994, Dreher 2001), whereas the mean dietary fibre intakes of the present are only 13 – 18 g/day (Institute of Medicine, 2002). The average daily intake of fibre in the United States is about 12g/day. The average daily intake of dietary fibre in the United Kingdom is around 12g/day in both men and women. In the developing tropical countries, the dietary fibre intake of people eating rice as a staple food (India, China, South America) are similar to Western intakes. Dietary fibre intake in the Asia – Pacific region and in most industrialized nations in Europe are also far below the recommended levels (Galvin et al 2001). The adequate intake (AI) of total dietary fibre for children, adolescents and adults was set to 14 g dietary fibre / 1000 kcal by the Institute of medicine, National Academy of Sciences, USA. The National Cancer Institute recommends an intake of 20 – 30 g fibre/day because it helps to reduce the risk certain types of cancer.

Food sources of dietary fibre

The fibre content of different foods varies greatly, e.g., cereal products 2.0% (white rice) to 42.0% (wheat bran); dried vegetables, 2.0% (chickpeas) to 25.5% (beans); dried fruits and nuts 5% (walnuts)to 18.3 (figs); fresh fruits, 0.5% (most fruits) to 3.0% (pears); and green vegetables, 1.4% (most vegetables) to 5.3% (garden peas) (Thebaudin et al., 1995).All plant – based foods contain mixtures of soluble and insoluble fibre.  Legumes, whole grains and nuts are generally more concentrated sources of fibre that fruits and vegetables. Eating fresh fruit is better than fruit juice because most of the fibre in fruit is damaged when it is squeezed to make juice. It is better to get fibre from natural foods rather than from fibre tablets, power or other supplements. There is no fibre in fish, meat, shrimps, eggs and milk.
Foods high in soluble fibres
Oats, barley, oat bran, psyllium husk; Legumes –peas, beans lentils; fruits-apple, orange, passion fruit, pear; carrots, broccoli.
Foods with insoluble fibres
Brown rice, rice bran, whole wheat, wheat bran; seeds and nuts; green leafy vegetables, cabbage, tomato; fruits – cherries, grapes, melons, prunes, berries.

Health benefits

Dietary fibre intake provides many health benefits. Because dietary fibre retains its ‘bulk’ as it moves through the digestive system, it creates a sense of fullness and satiety.   The promotion of satiation, lower calorie intake, and more feelings of fullness play a positive role in preventing obesity. Dietary fibres even control the rate of digestion. Dietary fibre decreases the absorption of macronutrients and minerals.
Being indigestible and hydrophilic, dietary fibres add to the bulk of stool and soften it. It improves large bowel function and elimination (“Nature’s laxative).   High fibre intakes promote bowel health by preventing constipation and diverticular disease.  Dietary fibres positively modulate the colonic microflora and increase colonic fermentation.  The production of volatile short chain fatty acids is used by the microflora to derive energy or for inhibiting pathogens. Viscous fibres such as those found in oats and legumes can lower serum LDL cholesterol levels and normalize blood glucose and insulin responses.
Dietary fibres bind to bile salts and they are valuable in the treatment of recurrent gall stones. The binding of dietary fibres with bile acids is integral to cholesterol homeostasis and fat absorption. Dietary fibre tends to absorb the intestinal toxins or carcinogens that build up in the large intestine and carries them out of the body.
High fibre intake is recommended (20-30g/day) in irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhoids, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia. High fibre intake has a 40% lower risk of heart disease. Some researchers found that increasing fibre intake decreases the body’s need for insulin.

Some disadvantages of high fibre intake

Some people experience abdominal cramping, bloating or gas, when they suddenly increase their dietary fibre intake.  Too much of fibre intake may lead to malnutrition and decreased absorption of minerals. Another  disadvantage of foods rich in fibres is that they contain a large amount of phytic acid. Phytic acid hinders the absorption of calcium, zinc and iron.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The art of mindful eating

Eating is an activity that plays a central role in our lives. We eat food for getting energy and the building blocks of various body chemicals. Mindful or conscious eating involves setting an intention before we eat, becoming aware of the process of choosing what to eat and eating consciously with a full attention. Mindful eating is a set of skills that anyone can learn.  Mindful eating fosters concentration and helps break emotional eating habits. Mindful eating helps to reduce cravings, controls portion sizes, enhances the eating experience, and improves digestion and overall health. Mindful eating creates an increased awareness of one’s physical hunger and satiety cues to guide the decision of when to begin or stop eating. Mindful eating promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance around meals, body and eating. “The quality of one’s life depends on the quality of attention” writes Deepak Chopra in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.

Meaning of mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention (or attention training or attention regulation). Mindfulness is practiced by paying attention on purpose non-judgementally and with a welcoming and allowing attitude. It means turning toward present- moment experience based on three human qualities: patience (Invitation to wait for a mindful response), openness (opening one’s senses to the flow of experience) and compassion (feelings of empathy).Mindfulness is not always easy to achieve or to sustain. Practicing mindfulness requires effort and patience. Mindfulness is an opportunity for anyone to discover the inner space, stillness and simplicity that are our natural heritage as human beings.

Steps in eating with awareness

1. Start small- choose one meal each day and try to focus on mindful eating of the meal.
2. Do nothing else while eating –avoid any distractions and pay attention to the meal.
3. Observe the food – notice its shape, colour and texture and appreciate its appearance.
4. Honour the food – express gratitude to be worthy to receive the food.
5. Focus on each mouthful – think about the flavour, texture and even sound of food in your mouth.
6. Chew the food – chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
7. Taste the food – notice the sensations of sweet, salty, sour or bitter.
8. Swallow your food – sense your body being nourished by the food.
9. Engage all six senses during eating – feel its aroma, shape, colour, texture and taste.

Benefits of mindful eating

1. Reduces overeating
2. Increases enjoyment of food
3. Improves digestion.
4. Being satisfied with small portions.

Types of foods

Calorie – dense foods – these foods are rich in calories and deprived of valuable nutrients. It is best to minimize your daily consumption. Examples include fried foods (French fries, potato chips), foods high in fats (red meats, cheeses) and foods high in refined sugars ( candy, white breads, refined pastas).
Nutrient – dense foods – these foods are packed with essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and necessary fibre. Nutrient density refers to the amount of essential nutrients for the given volume of food.Nutrient density is a simple way to connect nutrients with calories. Nutrient dense foods provide more nutrients for the fewest amounts of calories. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are excellent examples of nutrient - dense foods. 
Empty – calorie foods – empty calories are the calories from solid fats and added sugars in foods and beverages. These foods add to total calories but provide no vitamins and minerals e.g., soft drinks, candies, cookies, fatty meats and stick margarine. Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Fiber – rich foods – dietary fiber is a vital component of a healthy diet. Fibre is a diverse group of compounds including lignin and complex carbohydrates that cannot  be digested by human enzymes in the small intestine. Fibre tends to absorb toxins that build up in the large intestine and carries them out of the body. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends an intake of 20 to 30 grams fibre/ day for adults from a variety of food  sources. All plant – based foods contain mixtures of soluble and insoluble fibre. Legumes, whole grains and nuts are generally more concentrated sources of fibre than fruits and vegetables. High – fibre intakes promote bowel health by preventing constipation and diverticular disease.

The 2000 dietary guidelines  with “A-B-C” or

 “aim-build-choose sensibly” steps:

Step A : 1. Aim for a healthy weight; 2. Be physically active each day.
Step B : “Build a healthy base” with the following:
1.       Let the food pyramid guide your food choices.
2.       Choose a variety of grains daily especially whole grains.
3.       Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
4.       Keep food safe to eat.
Step C : “Choose sensibly” through the following:
1.       Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat.
2.       Choose beverages and foods that limit your intake of sugars.
3.       Choose and  prepare foods with less salt.
4.       If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Healthy – eating guidelines in “The Balance of Good Health” by
The Health Education Authority, UK (1997)
1.Enjoy you food;
2. Eat a variety of different food;
3. Eat the right amount to be a healthy weight;
4. Eat plenty of foods rich in starch and fibre;
5. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables;
6. Don’t eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat;
7. Don’t have sugary foods and drinks too often; and
8. If drink alcohol, drink sensibly.

Quote for personal reflection

Mindful eating...

"Mindful eating is not a diet. There are no menus or recipes.
 It is being more aware of your eating habits,
 the sensations you experience when you eat and
 the thoughts and emotions that you have about food.
 It is more about how you eat than
 what you eat."      - Susan Albers.