Why should you eat 5-7 small servings of fruits and vegetables a day to lose excess fat?

In today’s hectic life, staying fit and healthy is a top concern for many. Excess fat accumulation in the body is one of the main signs that you might be about to face the big O – obesity.

A National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) study finds that the prevalence of obesity among Indians increased in 2019-21 compared to 2015-16. Data further shows that one in four people are overweight in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of obesity almost tripled between 1975 and 2016. Once a major problem in wealthy countries, obesity is now a concern for developing countries in 2022.

A recent study by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) reveals a more worrying trend and indicates that approximately 5.02 million people died prematurely in 2019 due to obesity, almost six times the number of people who died of obesity. more serious illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. It is undeniable that when it comes to obesity, “time is running out” and nations around the world are introducing several measures to deal with the problem.

What is obesity and how do you know if you are obese?

In medical science, obesity is calculated based on the body mass index (BMI) of an individual. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women and is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in square meters. When your BMI is over 30, you are considered obese while someone with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. There is a very thin line between being obese and overweight, and people who are on the verge of having a very high BMI ranging from 27 to 29.9 are more prone to obesity. Anything over 30 is definitely not good news. For Indians, fat around the waist is a concern and they should measure the waist-hip ratio. This is calculated as waist circumference divided by hip circumference (W⁄H). For example, a person with a waist of 30″ (76 cm) and hips of 38″ (97 cm) has a waist-to-hip ratio of about 0.78. Anything over 0.9 is high risk.

Obesity increases the risk of several diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. It impacts your body in a variety of ways, some of which include the mechanical stress of carrying extra pounds and others involving complex changes in overall metabolism and hormones. This is one of the main reasons for the decrease in life expectancy and the increase in healthcare costs worldwide.

Obesity prevention strategies

“Prevention is better than cure” sticks to obesity, as it is a process of getting rid of it. If you feel like you are on the verge of being obese or are already coping with it, some thoughtful changes in your lifestyle are very much needed.

First, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet and incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine. It is very important to choose healthier food options such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and protein sources.

More attention to fruits and vegetables

Focus on eating at least five to seven small servings of whole fruits and vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Being rich in nutrients, they are associated with a lower risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. The excess fiber content found in fruits and vegetables keeps you full longer and helps prevent weight gain.

Big no to processed foods

Highly processed foods like white bread, processed cheese, hamburgers, and packaged foods are common sources of empty calories that lead to weight gain. Several studies have found that increased consumption of processed foods is directly linked to an increased risk of all-cause mortality rates.

Skip saturated fats

Saturated fat is a major contributor to obesity and even healthy people should avoid consuming it in their diet. Instead, focus on healthy fat sources like avocados, olive oil, and nuts.

Forget fattening sugar

Various research has established a link between sugar consumption and excess weight. According to researchers from the University of Reading, University of Cambridge and Arizona State University, “people who actually ate the most sugar were 54% more likely to be overweight than those who were objectively shown to eat the least amount of sugar in their lifetime”. diet.” Therefore, one should focus on consuming less sugar and replacing sugar cravings with consuming fresh fruits, cinnamon yogurt, dark chocolate, etc.

Make exercise a part of your daily life

Experts recommend that the average adult invest at least 150 minutes in low-to-moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per week. This largely means at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can opt for running, brisk walking, yoga, Pilates or any other form of exercise that suits your body. Remember that “consistency is key”.