10 Advantages Healthy Food Has Over the Standard Indian Diet (#9 May Surprise You)
There are several advantages healthy food can give you over a standard Indian diet.
Eating a healthy diet is essential for maintaining good health and wellbeing. The standard Indian diet, which is today often high in fat and salt, can lead to our top killer diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Here are the top 10 advantages healthy food has over the standard Indian diet:
- Improved overall health and wellbeing
- Reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improved heart health
- Ditch sugar & eat fruits for increased energy levels
- Improved mental clarity and focus
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved digestion and gut health
- Weight loss or maintenance of a healthy weight
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease with better brain health
- Lowers cancer risk
Let's explore these 10 advantages one by one.
Improved overall health and wellbeing
After seeing thousands of patients, I realise most people are enthusiastic and motivated about getting rid of one diagnosis they have received.
If we cared just as much about our overall health and wellbeing, you may be able to avoid that diagnosis in the first place.
In my opinion, this may be the most important - and more underrated - advantage healthy food gives you.
I'm sure you know that eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh produce can also provide essential vitamins and minerals that are important for maintaining good overall health.
Did you know, 'overall health' may include numerous benefits we care about, like improved heart health, stable blood sugar levels, and lower cancer risk.
The best way to gain these health benefits may be to move away from unhealthy food and towards nutrient-dense foods.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease, Lower Blood Pressure & Improved Heart Health
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure.
Eating foods that are high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dals and legumes can help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Also, eating foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium can help lower blood pressure. This happens naturally when you adopt a whole food plant based diet.
Some foods like leafy green vegetables, especially coriander leaves and dill leaves are high in nitrates, which can naturally reduce blood pressure.
Plant based diets are rich in dietary fibers, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve arterial healthy.
Foods such as wholegrain cereals, legumes, nuts and fresh fruits are excellent sources of these nutrients and can help lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure levels.
In addition, plant based diets can help you lower salt intake because whole plant foods are naturally delicious and bursting with flavour.
This helps keep blood vessels flexible and healthy and reduces the potential health risks associated with high salt intake like heart attack and stroke.
Ditch Sugar & Eat Fruits for Increased Energy Levels
If you thought eating sugary food can improve your energy levels, think again!
While processed sugar can give you a surge in energy levels for a few minutes, it is followed by a surge in insulin secretion, which - you guessed it - pulls your blood glucose levels down again!
Eating healthy foods can actually give you more energy than sugary snacks by keeping your blood glucose levels steady.
Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and carbohydrates that provide sustained energy throughout the day.
These foods also contain complex carbohydrates with plenty of fiber and resistant starch which are slowly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, providing a steady supply of energy.
Improved mental clarity and focus
One of the less talked about advantages healthy food can give you is having a positive impact on your mental health.
Studies have shown that avoiding animal foods like fish & processed food and eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables can help reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
The antioxidants, folate, and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables may be responsible for the beneficial effect of improving mood and reducing stress levels.
Lower cholesterol & triglyceride levels
Cholesterol is one of the key nutrients your body uses to build your cells and tissues, but too much of it can be dangerous.
There are three dietary factors that can help you lower cholesterol levels:
- Low saturated fat
- Low dietary cholesterol
- High fiber
Eating a whole food plant based diet can help you achieve all three goals, reduce cholesterol levels and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Why does triglycerides sometimes increase when you eat a healthy diet?
Healthful diet can help with cholesterol levels, but some people may experience a higher triglyceride levels within weeks of switching to a healthy diet.
Why does this happen?
Because you may have started losing weight.
The higher triglyceride levels are usually an indication of your body fat getting used up. Once you lose your excess body fat, this may return to normal.
If you are worried about your triglyceride, please consult your doctor for personalised medical advise.
Strengthened immune system
Achieving a healthy immune system is critical for a healthy life.
On a blood test, one factor that determined the strength of your immune system is the Total WBC count
An optimal Total WBC count is around 3,000 - lower than what most lab tests might indicate
This means that when your immune cells are stronger, you need less of them to keep you healthy. The sicker you get, the more immune cells the body produces.
A whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet can help you achieve this goal by providing essential nutrients from plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Low-fat dairy products like yogurt and cheese can harm the immune system because they contain animal proteins, saturated fats, and hormones, which could interfere with immune function.
White bread should be avoided as it does not provide any nutritional value - and worse, may actually aggravate inflammation.
By making these simple dietary changes, you can help strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, nuts and dark leafy greens are especially beneficial for strengthening the immune system.
These foods contain powerful compounds like antioxidant phytochemicals that fight off free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.
Eating a variety of these foods on a regular basis can help improve immune function and protect you against chronic health issues such as heart disease and cancer today and in the future.
Improved digestion and gut health
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fiber can help to feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome.
The good bacteria are usually the ones that feed on fiber, making this a simple choice.
A healthy gut microbiome is essential for proper functioning of the immune system and reducing inflammation.
Fiber also helps to induce the feeling of fullness with a lower calorie intake and spread the amounts of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream over a longer period, which can help to reduce weight and blood glucose levels.
Additionally, fiber can even help to reduce cholesterol levels by trapping fat and bile acids like a sponge, which can have positive aspects on heart health and slow down and even reverse the development of heart disease.
Starchy foods such as potatoes, oats and other whole grains, dals, pulses and legumes are great sources of fiber that can help improve digestion and gut health.
Fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of fiber, especially those that are anthocyanin-rich like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Eating these foods regularly can help to support a healthy gut microbiome and boost immunity against chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases.
Weight Loss or Maintenance of a Healthy Weight
A plant-based diet can be an effective way to lose weight - or maintain a healthy weight if you are already at your ideal weight.
Whole food plant-based diets are typically low in calories, yet nutrient dense, meaning they provide essential vitamins and minerals while keeping calorie intake low. This is called calorie dilute.
Additionally, plant-based diets have a lot of dietary fiber. This helps to reduce cholesterol levels and improve digestion, and even support gut microbiome health.
Eating more portions of vegetables such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower is a great way to accelerate weight loss. This also ensures that you get your anti-cancerous properties intake in your daily diet.
Not only are these vegetables delicious, but they also contain powerful antioxidants that help protect against chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Soluble fiber is another important component of a plant-based diet that can help with weight loss. Soluble fiber beta-glucan and resistance starch are all compounds that have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by binding bile acids in the digestive tract and improving your gut health.
Eating oats and other whole grains like brown rice, red rice, ragi and jowar as part of your daily diet can help you feel full for longer periods of time, reducing overall calorie intake and aiding in weight loss or maintenance of a healthy weight.
On the Sampoorna Ahara Weight Loss Diet Program, we see a weight loss of 200 grams to 1 kg per week until you reach your ideal weight. If this sounds like something you would like to achieve, you can register here.
Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's Disease with Better Brain Health
India has historically enjoyed low rates of Alzheimer's disease, which is believed to be due in part to the high consumption of turmeric powder.
Turmeric contains curcumin and other powerful antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.
Studies have shown that turmeric and other spices and herbs may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by reducing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain.
However, as India's population ages and our lifestyles get worse, the rate of Alzheimer's disease is increasing.
This could be due to a decrease in turmeric consumption or an increase in other unhealthy foods like oil, sugar and animal foods.
The amyloid plaque in Alzheimer's Disease may be caused due to atherosclerosis of the small blood vessels of the brain, which means it may be largely preventable through a healthier diet and lifestyle.
I would like to share something personal - my grandmother passed away from dementia and Parkinson's disease.
Once she was diagnosed, it was already too late to treat these conditions.
I wish I could go back in time and tell paati what to do to prevent these diseases. While this is not possible, I can share it with you and your family, and I hope it helps.
Lowers Cancer Risk
Heart disease may be the leading cause of death in India, but most people consider cancer to be much more dangerous.
This may be because cancer is an umbrella term for a wide range of different diseases, some more dangerous than others.
Also, treatments for some types of cancer may be limited, there are always chances of recurrence, and lifestyle changes alone may not be enough to reverse most forms of cancer.
However, research has shown that diet and lifestyle plays a major role in causing 70% of cancers or more.
So if you have a history of cancer in the family or are interested in preventing cancer, switching to a whole food plant based diet may be the best step forward, along with smoking cessation and avoiding alcohol.
Are You Ready to Enjoy the Advantages Healthy Food Has to Offer?
From whole grains to fruits, greens and berries, there are some foods that may be even more powerful than some pills in preventing and treating disease.
A whole food plant-based diet may help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and lifestyle-related cancers.
If you are looking to enjoy the benefits of healthy eating, consider registering for Sampoorna Ahara Meal Subscription Program or visiting Nutrition Science India for more information on nutrition and health.
Looking to improve your overall health? We may be able to help.
- Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar to learn how best to deal with it.
- Sign up for our Plant Based Diet Masterclass on NutritionScience.in to better understand the numerous benefits of adopting a whole food plant based diet.
- Access our free course to help kickstart your plant based food journey.
- Subscribe to our 100% whole food plant based balanced meal plan, delicious & doctor designed to help you get all your macro and micro nutrients, from the comfort of your home - Bengaluru only
- Stock up on delicious sweets and snacks that are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, maida-free and plant-based - Available Pan-India
- Try a single healthy plant-based meal today