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Naturopathic diet: What does it tell you about your food?

A typical naturopathic diet will include raw and organic seasonal veggies and animal meat sans those hormones or antibiotics. It will ban artificial sweeteners and processed foods.

With so many fad diets creating waves in the space of nutrition science, we are somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to opting for the right foods for ourselves. Moreover, the availability of so many options and the co-existence of numerous conflicting diet theories confuse us more often than not. Ultimately, we are left behind with some basic, yet crucial questions: Are we eating the right kind of food? Should we eat this or leave that one out? While one answer (or solution) doesn't fit all, there are some basics that we all need to follow in terms of the nutrition that our body is supposed to get. The nutritional principles that are outlined in naturopathic medicine will shed light on those basics. Here is all you need to know about naturopathic diet.

The guiding principle of a naturopathic diet

Naturopathy believes in retaining the natural state of any food to the maximum possible extent. So, a typical naturopathic diet will include raw and organic seasonal veggies and animal meat sans those hormones or antibiotics. Going by these principles, the meal plan prepared by your naturopath will have 50 per cent organic vegetables, 25 per cent whole grains and 25 per cent protein. It will ban refined grains, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and processed foods loaded with chemical preservatives and additives. Fermented food and fish high in mercury content, caffeine and alcohol are also not encouraged.

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All that you should avoid

Here are five food groups that your naturopath will ask you to avoid. We tell you why.

Trans fats

They are always in the bad book of nutritionists and naturopaths alike and the reasons are valid enough. Trans fats increase the risk of coronary heart disease by elevating the levels of your LDL or bad cholesterol and bringing down your good cholesterol (HDL). They are found in hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils. But you will also find them in margarine, packaged cookies, crackers and even pasta. Something you didn't know: They can impact your behaviour too, making you irritable and aggressive! This is the finding of a University of California research.

Wise move:Check the food labels while buying these foods. Do so even if the package says 'trans-fat free', because in that case also the product is permitted to have up to 0.2gm of trans fats.

Meat cooked at high temperature

Who doesn't love a good barbeque or grilled meat? But they can produce cancer-causing agents or carcinogens if cooked at abnormally high temperatures, if the flames end up touching the meat or in case the fat drips into the flames and produce smoke. The smoke goes up and coats the food.

Wise move:Marinate your meat in advance and set your grill to low heat. Also, greasing your grill rack with oil will prevent meat from sticking and burning. Keep the meat and fire at a distance in case of charcoal grills and opt for smaller cuts. Wrapping the meat in a sheet of foil will also help.

Canned foods

Apart from additives and sodium, there is something else in those cans that you should stay away from. BPA. This 'everywhere' chemical is found in the inner lining of cans, to preserve the food inside. BPA is known to wreak havoc with your hormones.

Wise Move:Make your own soup and store it safely in a glass container. This way, you will be able to skip the extra sodium and unnecessary additives too!

Microwave-heated foods

Heating in microwave depletes the nutritional value of your food. A study published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that microwaved broccoli loses up to 97 per cent of its beneficial flavonoids, apart from other useful nutrients. This defeats the whole purpose of eating vegetables.

Wise move: Use your stove for heating foods. Avoid reheating your food.

Foods containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

It is generously used in cough syrups, processed and baked foods, salad dressings and tomato-based condiments. Too much of HFCS, or any high sugar item for that matter, overloads your liver and the extra glycogen gets converted into fat. This may lead to obesity and insulin resistance. HFCS also get into your bloodstream and take your bad (LDL) cholesterol up, thus increasing the chances of your heart disease.

Wise move:Make sure that you don't skip reading the ingredient label. Keep your eyes open for this ingredient before putting that salad dressing in your shopping cart.

Read:3 healthy snacks that'll satiate your 5 pm cravings this monsoon

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