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Healthy Food: What is it and How to Shift to it

In recent years, the Central Asian countries see a trending concept of proper and healthy food. It runs contrary to established eating habits in the region. However, every year more and more people start to adjust their diet to this concept. Below are all nuances of the healthy food principle.

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What is healthy food?

Before speaking about healthy food, we need to remember that a human body is a very complex system, and adequate nutrition needs variety foods: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Foods must be balanced and sufficient.

It affects the labour ability, emotional state and quality of life as a whole.

How to start eating healthy?

There are 5 main principles of healthy food:

  1. Diverse diet

1/3 of daily food must be protein food (meat, egg, curd, cheese); 1/3 — carbohydrate (baked, cereals, and starchy); 1/3 — vegetable food (vegetables and fruits).

And water: 30-35 millilitres of water per 1 kilogramme of weight. For example, a man weighing 60 kilogrammes must take nearly 2 litres of water a day.

  1. Regular eating pattern

A man should eat three meals a day every 5 hours. This time is enough to digest food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner satisfy all body needs and a five-hour break contributes to normal metabolism.

  1. Food must be safe

Food must be stored and cooked in special conditions. Cutting boards for meat and vegetables must be kept away from each other, utensils for raw food need to be treated with heat, dish sponges must be replaced regularly.

If there’s no centralised water supply, water should be boiled before drinking.

  1. Food must be in appropriate portion size

Food must comply with the sex, age and physiological criteria of a person. It should be remembered that men eat more than women, adults eat more than children. Low-calorie foods and water should be consumed in summer, while in winter we need much energy to keep our body warm, so the body needs calories.

  1. Food must be highly pleasurable

First, you need to enjoy the taste and flavour and have a sense of fullness. Second, you need to be emotionally satisfied with food consumption. It’s better to avoid unnecessary talks, disputes, switch off internet, where possible, not to talk about problems or things that can ruin your appetite at the table.

What are kilocalories and what is a daily intake of them?

Food consisting of proteins, fats and carbohydrates contains energy, which is measured in calories.

An adult needs about 2,000-2,500 kcal a day in average. If a person performs manual labour, the intake can reach 4,000 kcal a day. 

What if I do not eat regularly and the interval between meals gets longer?

In this case, the body goes into energy saving mode and starts to store fat for future hungry period, so long intervals between meals are forbidden.

Can I have snacks in between meals?

Yes, one or two snacks are especially needed for people engaged in mental and physical labour, but snacks must be healthy. You can have a snack of dried fruit, nuts, fruits, but not cookies, cake and candies.

What Kyrgyzstanis eat

According to the National Statistical Committee, every second citizen of Kyrgyzstan is undernourished. First, it depends on the cash shortage. It means that half of residents of the country cannot afford buying meat and other important foods. They eat baked goods and potato, which are affordable by low-income people.

Moreover, some part of people got used to taking hot meal during supper. They have tea and bread in the morning, leftovers from dinner at lunch. Most often, dinner consists of starchy foods, potato, onion and carrot. This is what the majority of people can afford.

They say it’s unhealthy to eat baked goods. Do we need to stop eating them?

This is not really so. Baked goods are also needed by a body, but in less amounts than that consumed by residents of Central Asia. Bread made of coarse flour is more useful than bread made of high-grade flour, baked hand pies of the same flour are much healthier than fried ones, homemade cookies and fruit pies with fewer harmful chemical additives are better than cakes and purchased rolled cakes. Thus, you will get more useful vitamins for your body and less harmful additives and fast-digesting carbohydrates.

What are the consequences of excessive consumption of baked goods?

– The body starts to turn carbohydrates into fats and they are stored as body fat, which, in turn, leads to rapid weight gain;

– It affects the gut flora, prevents digestion of nutrients, and causes gripes and faecal retention;

– The excessive use of sweet baked foods can lead to sharp increase on insulin and may cause insulin-dependant diabetes;

– For baked goods, an excessive number of salt used may lead to water retention in the body and lead to hypertensive disease.

White or rye bread?

High-grade flour has no nutritional value. It is finely milled and bleached and has no nutrients in it.

Therefore, it is better to use coarse flour or second grade flour. It has more vitamins and nutrients needed for the organism.

How to switch to healthy food?

Healthy food is mainly a habit. But you should consult a nutritionist first. You should keep a food diary and correct your mistakes. You should not haste to change your habit at once, to restrict yourself in food and to go on a diet.

The diet should be diverse, while switching will be efficient if accompanied by physical exercises. Healthy food is not always delicious, it differs from regular foods, so a man has to set priorities. Also, it’s a good idea to find like-minded people.

When a healthy eating habit develops?

A healthy eating habit develops on the 21st day. The body redevelops and it’s easier for a patient to stick to the healthy eating plan. 

Why is it important for Central Asia people to eat healthily?

In all Central Asian states, the main reason for mortality is non-infectious diseases, particular, cardiovascular diseases. They can be easily prevented by healthy food and physical activity.

For example, in Kyrgyzstan every second resident dies from cardiovascular diseases, and every eighth dies from neoplasms. Moreover, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract have been on the second place for 10 years, according to statistics of main groups of diseases.


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