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19 May 2014   04:50:06 PM   Monday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

Eat less meat, live longer


An alarming research conducted few weeks ago claimed that a diet high in animal protein can increase the risk of dying from cancer or diabetes by almost four times. More recently another study by a group of scientists recommends you to keep your hands off the red stuff.  It transpires that red meat does not only raise bad cholesterol but it also contains a type of iron that may work as a catalyst in developing coronary heart disease.

On the flip side, University College London dished up a report on how consuming seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day could make you live longer by lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke or cancer. All this science behind what we choose to eat got me, a voracious meat eater, trying to turn green, wondering if vegetarianism is the way to go?

Of course, eating less meat for environmental reasons and doing our bit for the planet, is how the fundamentalists would convince themselves. But should meat lovers be worried? Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath, says, "From an Ayurvedic perspective it is advised to avoid meat from larger animals like beef and mutton. It is best to opt for organic poultry or seafood and pay heed to the quality of meat before purchasing. Meat forms a part of a high-fat diet and therefore its consumption should be limited. Ayurveda is all about balance and anything in excess is never good."

Recently, lot of talk about a flexitarian diet has popped up. A flexitarian concentrates on a largely vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat. Some might call this way of being obscure and insist that you`re either a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. But, I found myself instantly driven to this concept as it`s all about flexibility, options and one simple rule - eating what does you good. And who can argue that a healthy step forward is always welcome.

Tapasya Mundhra, Nutritionist and Health Counsellor, says in agreement, "Numerous studies are being conducted these days in every part of the world but the prime point is how you eat meat, the quantity, the combinations and the quality all matter. A flexitarian diet is a much healthy way of living. If your menu consists of meat day in and day out then there won`t be much nutrition that you would be gaining. You need to absorb different types of nourishment from different food groups and fibre from vegetables and fruits is most important."

"But you don`t have to give up on meat completely. To start off with, limiting it to about three times a week could help. For non-vegetarians, an ideal meal should have about 30 percent of meat and 65 percent of vegetables." she adds.

"I can safely conclude that the thumb rule is to eat everything in moderation. So guess what? For all you committed carnivores, nothing is off limits but it is a good idea to add more freshness on your plate while cutting back on meat. If you feel inspired to take the plunge, hop on to our veggie bandwagon. These vegetarian versions of the much-loved meaty dishes will totally sway you." --NDTV

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