Good Nutrition- The essence of a healthy life
The importance of nutrition in our lives can never be undermined. Good nutrition starts right from the age of infancy until old age, playing a crucial role at every moment in the overall development of an individual. Proper nutrition should be emphasized in all phases of life and at the same time, it must be stressed that good nutrition can be practised at any time.
In a country like ours, where there are issues of poverty as well as lack of education, it is important that awareness regarding the benefits of a balanced diet and proper nutrition reaches out to our public. Our Indian Society is at a peculiar point where our generations are also feeling the weight of the double burden of Malnutrition- our patients are both obese and nutrient deficient at the same time.
With nutrition playing such an important role in one’s health, it is indeed imperative that proper awareness is made to each individual regarding the optimal nutrition required by them.
Medical Practitioners, who are often focussing on the diagnosis and treatment of the disease that is presenting with the patient, need to also give the certain time of their consult explaining a patient about the benefits of a balanced diet and answering the quintessential question of the patient. “Doctor, What should I Eat?”.
Not just this, it also has to be kept in mind that each patient is a separate individual and there is no common prescription when it comes to nutrition. At different stages of life, people have different requirements and there is no single shoe with one size that fits all. While a growing child may require a high energy diet in terms of carbohydrates and proteins, the same may not be true for an elderly patient who may need a diet to take care of his vitamin deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances.
Indian women, more than 50% of which are anaemic (1), need to be guided to take a diet rich in iron, while an average Indian adult, who stand at a higher risk of atherosclerosis, needs a diet low in fat, and high in fibre.
Some patients can meet their nutritional needs from within their diet, while others may have to be given supplementation keeping in mind their requirements as well as their restriction. Besides spreading awareness, it is hence important to realise that Individualised, not random prescriptions are to be recommended when it comes to diet, keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the patients.
This World Health Day, let’s pledge to make a consult on nutrition part of every prescription to ensure that our patients remain aware of what’s right for them and are able to rightfully make food their first medicine!