According to Vitallife nutrition expert, Dr Kamon Chaiyasit, the saying “you are what you eat” is more relevant and important today than ever before. “Many people ask me to list super foods to eat and the truth is, we can, and should eat everything, because variety is very good for our bodies,” said Dr Kamon. “The important thing is to distinguish the foods we should eat often, and others sparingly and on special occasions.”
According to Dr. Kamon, many of us need to reduce our energy intake by at least 20 percent. He points to studies that conclusively prove a calorie restricted diet help us live longer, look younger, and feel more energetic. An example of that is found in Japan. The people of Okinawa show a strong link between healthy diet and longevity (Okinawans have the highest life expectancy in the world). As well as leading active lifestyles, their diet is mostly plant based including many green and yellow vegetables, legumes and small amounts of rice, fish and meat.
Hold Back on the Sugar
When he creates personalised nutrition plans, Dr. Kamon begins by monitoring the amount of sugar intake. “As a society, we consume way too much sugar,” says Dr. Kamon, “and regrettably we aren’t aware of just how much we consumer because sugar is prevalent in most processed foods and the food industry goes to great lengths to hide sugar levels they put in food.” He recommends that a healthy daily intake should be six teaspoons a day. By comparison, a can of Coke has about 10 teaspoons of sugar!
“Because of lifestyle changes, we eat out more and consume more processed foods containing high levels of sugar,“ says Dr. Kamon. “This includes obvious products like candy, ice cream, sodas and cookies as well as less obvious ones such as sports drinks, yogurts, condiments and bread. If you want to avoid sugar, stop buying and eating processed food.”
As has been widely reported in the media, excess sugar in diets has been attributed to widespread rising levels of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These conditions are not only harmful in their own right, but significantly increase the risk of getting cancer.
Make Smart Choices
Dr. Kamon said people should make healthier decisions across all food groups. For carbohydrates, he recommends whole grain options such as oatmeal, brown rice or pasta, multi-grain breads, quinoa and bulgur. These are high fibre carbs that are slowly absorbed into our systems and do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. In terms of cooking oils, olive oil is a heart healthy fat containing antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. It is best used for salad dressings or low temperature frying.
For home cooks, Dr. Kamon suggests chopping garlic and waiting 10 minutes before adding to a hot pan or pot – this time enables the health promoting allicin in garlic to fully form. When it is time to plate up, a healthy plate comprises 50% vegetables 25% protein and 25% carbohydrates. While many refer to vegetables as ‘greens,’ Dr. Kamon says the more colour on a plate the better – so include red, yellow, blue, and other coloured vegetables to the mix.
Asked about the best diets to follow, Dr. Kamon says the fruit, vegetable, legume, olive oil and fish-based Mediterranean diet is heralded by many nutritionists. He added that the Thai diet was also healthy and nutritious. “Thai cuisine is very good as it uses many fresh vegetables, spices, fruits and herbs such as coriander, basil, ginger and garlic. We should however, moderate the use of oil, coconut milk, and sugar. “
In addition to WHAT we eat, Dr. Kamon said we should also pay close attention to WHEN we eat. He recommends eating breakfast within one hour of getting up, then wait three to four hours for lunch which is a good time to eat proteins. Dinner should be eaten about six hours after lunch.
Finally, if you enjoy an alcoholic beverage with your meal, Dr. Kamon said one unit per day is fine and red wine is the healthiest option. Red wine contains Resveratrol that helps prevent blood clots and is good for reducing inflammation and bad cholesterol.
The VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center located on the campus of Bumrungrad International Hospital is a global leader in the provision of scientifically-based integrated medicine. Its programs are managed and run by US Board Certified doctors specializing in the center’s Future Health concept, covering predictive, preventive, regenerative, and revitalizing health care.
It is the first medical wellness center in Asia to be accredited by the World Council on Clinical Accreditation (awarded in November 2007). It is also the first compounding pharmacy in Southeast Asia.
Vitallife is the first wellness center in the world to be accredited to DNV.GL’s International Accreditation Standard for Outpatient Specialist Centers. DNV.GL is a globally respected quality accreditation organization renowned for integrity in certification, standards development and risk management in many sectors including healthcare. DNV.GL International Healthcare Accreditation is based on standards approved by the U.S. Government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Vitallife is a 100% owned subsidiary of the publicly traded Bumrungrad International Hospital since 2001.
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