Few days ago, it was early in the morning, I was in deep sleep (as I was very tired because of my previous day hectic routine) and everything around me was quite and peaceful.
I was in zen state. But suddenly everything around me started changing, I remember, that something that was happening around my building was really disturbing my sleep.
I told myself to concentrate on my sleep and—closed my eyes tightly and plugged my ears with pillow so that I can sleep for some more time.
But the place around my building was getting loud, noisy and chaotic. I was not able to tolerate I couldn’t sleep peacefully, so I woke up from my sleep and went to my balcony to look around what was happening, all I could see were people, some were entering and some were leaving my neighbours house in the other building.
I did not understand, why?
Then I called my mother to balcony and asked her as to what really happened, why there are so many people here and what really happened.
She answered, “I think someone must have passed away”. I asked her, “who passed away?”. She said, “no idea, may be some elderly person”.
After hearing my mother’s answer, I said “umm, that’s very sad, mom” and moved into the room from balcony and started my daily routine.
Time passed and after sometime I accidentally went to the balcony to pick up something, I heard a loud cry so I peeped out of my balcony to see who that was.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was shocked (my mother was shocked too) I saw a young woman who must have been in her 30s passed away.
They were performing her last funeral rites and were about to take her to the crematorium. And that was devastating.
She was married and left behind her 2 young boys and her husband. It was painful to see everything that just happened to her and her family.
As this incident hurt me a lot, I was constantly asking myself that, “why did she die so young and what was the reason?”
After few days, when I was talking with my other neighbours I gently asked as to, “what happened to the woman who passed away before few days?”
One of them said, it was “heart attack”. After hearing this answer I got even more shocked. I again asked, what “heart attack”? She replied, “yes”. I said, “okay and left”.
The answer, “heart attack” was disturbing. I was not able to accept that heart attacks can affect even young people.
To get some more clarity I consulted few doctors regarding heart attack and other diseases that affect even young.
They all said, in the current time, even young adults in their 20s get heart attack, hypertension, diabetes and coronary diseases, and the numbers are increasing everyday.
I asked, “why?” I got different answers from different doctors and I did my part of research, and the information was eye opening.
I believe it is important for every single individual to know this as it can save their lives. Here I am listing importance of 3 things, that we consume every single day that have massive effect on our body and it could be the root cause of many diseases.
2. Salt and
All recent studies suggests “Refined Sugar” and it’s other forms are detrimental to our health. Refined sugar is a recent addition in our food.
In ancient times, our ancestors used raw sugar or jaggery to make sweet only during special occasions. It was rare to see them consuming sugar on daily basis.
On the other hand, now refined sugar is being consumed everyday, and it is even consumed more than the recommended levels.
Consuming sugar more than recommended level affects our body metabolisms which in turn leads to obesity, type II diabetes, insulin resistance and fatty liver diseases. (As this post might get lengthy if I explain more about how sugar affects us, I have attached a link below, where I have explained how sugar affects us and causes diseases in detail.)
If you don’t want to know the mechanisms of sugar and are only interested as to know how much amount of sugar can be consumed then— here it is.
American heart association has recommended an adult male to consume not more than 9 teaspoons(~38g) and an adult female to consume not more than 6 teaspoons (~25g) of ”added sugar” per day.
If we consume more than recommended level it will be considered as excessive sugar and remember, excessive sugar can cause many diseases in our body.
Salt is a chemical compound than has sodium and chloride molecules bound together. Both these molecules are important for many functions in our body without which our body would collapse.
High and low levels of salt in our body affects our blood pressure. If we consume high levels of salt continuously it might lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), hypertension may affect heart and increase the chances of heart attack and also causes cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Whereas consuming low levels of salt for long period may cause low blood pressure (hypotension), which can make us weak and cause headache, chest pain and also make us faint often.
World health organization (WHO) has recommended an adult to consume less than 5g of salt per day and that is equal to 1 teaspoon of salt per day. And for children it must less be than 5g (less than 1 teaspoon) per day.
Level of sodium in blood determines high or low blood pressure. If sodium is consumed in excessive amount it can cause high blood pressure.
If it is taken below required level it can cause low blood pressure therefore it is important control the intake of sodium in any form.
The daily recommended value of sodium is 1500mg and 5g of salt will already have recommended levels of sodium. But, we unknowingly consume excessive sodium when we eat processed food.
Processed food will always have sodium in the form of additives or preservatives in the name of sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, sodium carbonate etc.. all these extra sodium gets added up when we consume them.
Over a period of time when we keep on consuming high levels of sodium, it causes hypertension and other related problems in our body.
Oil is pretty much the first component we use for cooking in the India subcontinent. About 90% of all our dishes has oil.
Yet, we are largely unaware of its importance, it’s impact and it’s correlation with health in our body.
Back in those days the oil we used was unrefined, it did not have much additives, it did not undergo various chemical processes, it was not bleached, rather it was raw from the nature and it had its own benefits.
But these days refined oil has become the norm. And it undergoes various physical and chemical process before it is made available in the market to be consumed.
During these processes the oil undergoes certain chemical reactions and produces undesirable compounds that has carcinogenic effect and the oil is also void of taste, flavour, colour, odour and any natural antioxidants.
Refined oil and hydrogenated vegetable fat (vanaspati) has high trans-fat, which is linked to breast cancer.
As people are consuming more oily or fried food these days, consumption of oil per individual has increased from 21g in 2000 to 54g in 2010 (it has doubled in one decade).
According to research, consuming excessive refined and hydrogenated oil increases rate of cardiovascular diseases by increasing the level of bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)) and decreasing the level of good cholesterol (High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)) and it also increases inflammation and promotes endothelial dysfunction. People who tend to consume more oily food are prone to heart related diseases.
With increasing rate of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and increased consumption of sugar, salt and fat.
It is immensely important for us to check and control the intake of the above 3 products. An individual who controls his intake and doesn’t consume more than recommended levels, he is less likely to suffer from above diseases.
As India has 2nd highest population and has more millennials than any other country, and the culture of consuming processed foods and fast food is increasing among us, we millennials are more likely to consume all 3 products in more than recommended levels.
As we all are interdependent on each other for some reason, we must take care of ourselves and others and live a healthy life. Therefore, to live a healthy life it is necessary to take little steps towards a better choice.
Thank you for reading!