Today is 15th August, 2020 the 74th Independence Day of India and on this auspicious day I would encourage you to free yourself from the vicious cycle of disease and unhappiness to a beautiful cycle of health and happiness. We need to break free off the shackles of unhealthy eating
both food and negative thoughts while march towards the path of wellness by eating healthy food and positive thoughts.
In this context I would talk about a balanced diet taking inspiration from our tricolour – our national flag each and every Indian is proud of. The mere sight of the tricolour instills in us the pride and love for our country. Bringing the same feelings to food, it is a great idea to include in our diet foods resembling our flag – Saffron/Orange, White, Green and Blue.
This could be a simple way to educate the masses on the importance of eating right and a variety of foods. It is often said “Your plate should be as colourful as possible”, this implies the inclusion of a variety of fruits, vegetables, lentils, cereals, milk and dairy. This way the body gets most nutrients through food. It is much more than just a simple tool for education about a balanced diet. If followed in an organised manner it can supply the powerful phytochemicals to the body to fight off common infections as well as protect the body against deadly cancers.
In this article, I specially stress on the foods with similar colours to the tricolour and the nutrients contained within.
Saffron/Orange – The Saffron/orange colour of the flag represents strength and courage. Nutritionally speaking these colours symbolise carotene rich foods, variety of lentils, pulses, fish and meat products. The body derived proteins from lentils, pulses, fish and meat products. The carotenoids present in orange/yellow foods like carrots, mangoes, papayas, apricots, peaches, sweet potato, tomatoes, yellow capsicum supply the immunity boosting carotenoids/Vitamin A as well as Vitamin C from oranges, lemons, grapefruits etc.
White – This colour in the flag symbolises peace and calm which translates into milk, dairy products, egg white and rice in food. Nutritionally they supply the body with the required energy and protein as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals for growth and repair. It is best to avoid processed white foods like bread, sugar, processed pasta etc
Green – This symbolises fertility and nutritionally translates into dark green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach, kale, salad leaves, amaranth, fenugreek leaves as well as cucumbers, capsicum, chillies, gourds, mint, coriander etc. These are packed with B vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are a powerhouse of many phytochemicals which help the body to fight off infections and disease.
Blue – The colour of the chakra represents the importance of water in our lives. Nutritionally speaking, water is an essential nutrient required by the body. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep the body well hydrated. The recommended dietary intake for water is still debatable but as an average it is advised that men should drink about 4 litres of water and women should consume about 3 litres a day.
Water is required by our bodies for performing the vital functions and is required by cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because the body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it is crucial to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
By including foods of different colours we supply the body with a variety or nutrients required for performing the functions in the body to lead a healthy life.