ASK KOMAL: Is a Veg Diet Less Healthy?

Dietician Komal Jethmalani provides the answers.

Dear readers, are you worried about your health as we battle COVID-19?

Concerned about what you and your family are eating as you cope with staying indoors?

Struggling with weight gain?

Or are you facing other heath issues like diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain or heart problems?

Please mail your questions to Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani (Subject: Ask Komal) for her advice.

Hi Komal
This is Pramila — height: 5.4″; weight: 58kgs, age: 36 years.
I am a working woman and sit for around 7-8 hours daily.
I am in sound health but I have a fat belly and fat thighs.
I do all the household chores.
I do a 10 minute brisk walk while going to office rather hiring an auto.
Sometimes, I run to catch a train also. Still, my belly fat is not reducing.
I am a pure vegetarian. I eat fresh cooked food, all type of vegetable, fruits and nuts. But daily I eat different biscuits.
I visited a doctor for pigmentation marks on my face. The doctor said I have nutrition issues.
Please help.
Thank you so much.
Pramila Nayak

Fitness is attained with nutrition and exercise.

Doing regular household chores and short walks unfortunately does not contribute to fat burning.

Body fat can be shed by strength and endurance training wherein muscle build up and fat loss is the target.

Cardio activities are essential as well along with this.

Immobility for long periods does cause fat deposition in the most vulnerable areas of our body like belly and hips, where women have a high fat percentage.

Biscuits are generally made of refined flour and processed fat which contribute unhealthy and harmful transfats to our body. The high carbohydrate and sodium content will increase the risk of lifestyle disorders

So follow a healthy lifestyle devoid of excess carbs and fat, plus align yourself towards a fitness goal.

Dear Komal
Now that offices are opening up, are there exercises and diet one can do to improve one’s immunity since we are stepping out of the house?
I am 30, average height and weight. But I am also concerned about my husband (average height, overweight) and my two children (five and seven years old).
What advice would you offer?
Ketaki Ramesh

In today’s times, immunity is of prime importance.

A healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and a fitness regimen is very essential.

Avoid unhealthy fried foods, sugary foods and high fat savouries which lower our immunity.

Stick to eating regular and fresh foods like vegetables, fruits and salads, which provide the fibre component essential for improving metabolism and gut health.

Cardio activities and strength training exercises will go a long way in building a healthy home and family.

When children grow in such an environment, they acquire similar habits, leading to a healthy generation.

Dear Komal
Lately, my knees and ankles hurt a lot. Sometimes, there is swelling.
have a normal daily routine but don’t do any special exercises as such. No health issues either.
I am 40 years old, height: 5.6, weight: 60 kgs.
Vishal Sharma

Hormonal changes and aging can cause depletion of calcium from the bones.

Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium. It is also a vital nutrient for our immunity.

Keep a check on all blood parameters.

A healthy diet with adequate protein and balanced macro and micronutrients will be sufficient to achieve your requirements.

Stiffness due to lack of exercise could be one of the reasons for knee and ankle pain.

Get into a daily fitness regimen.

Dear Komal
Is a vegetarian diet less healthy than a non-vegetarian diet?
Do vegetarians need to take extra care about what they eat?
What should vegetarians keep in mind about their diet, especially as they get older?
Thank you.

Vegetarian diet offers a range of benefits. It helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.

A vegetarian diet is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and low in saturated fats. This keeps your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.

Vegetarians eat more phytonutrients which are excellent antioxidants essential for immunity. Those who eat a vegetarian diet also have lower body mass index.

Plant foods ward off excess weight. It is rich in protein from beans, nuts, dairy products, soya, etc and high in soluble and insoluble fibre.

A complete vegetarian diet can provide all the essential nutrients required for good health for all ages.

Dear Komal
I don’t like using creams or oils.
Can diet help solve problems like dry skin and hair loss?
I would prefer that to any external chemical method.
Thank you for your help.

Having a healthy and balanced diet which is devoid of processed foods, high fat sugary foods, savouries, carbonated water, too many spices, etc, will lead to glowing skin.

Plus, drinking plenty of water daily is vital for good skin. Dry skin and hair loss could also be related to some medical conditions, although, improvements have been observed with a change to a healthy lifestyle including good sleep, reduced stress, adequate physical activity and a balanced diet.

Komal Jethmalani is a dietician with over 25 years of experience in food, nutrition and dietetics, with an MSc in food science and nutrition.

A certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets, she consults under the brand, The Diet Mantra.

And she will try and help you achieve your dietary and fitness goals through healthy lifestyle changes.

Do share your complete health details including age, weight, height and health issues if any.

Write to [email protected] (Subject: Ask Komal), along with your name. You are most welcome to share your photograph as well.

This column is an advisory. Please do consult your doctor as well.

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