Every year, we celebrate International Day of Yoga on 21st June to promote better awareness around the need to lead a holistic lifestyle, while stressing on the many benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that originated in India that incorporates a balance of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Over the past few years, International Day of Yoga has been celebrated with great gusto and mass demonstrations in different countries. However, the ongoing Covid19 pandemic has altered the way of life for many. In sync with the current situation, this year the theme is ‘Yoga at home and Yoga with Family’, focusing on the need for families across the world to incorporate yoga into their daily lives, to lead a healthier, fitter and more relaxed lifestyle.
This International Yoga Day let us look at the best way to stay fit by practicing yoga and supplementing it with the most important element – a healthy and nutritious diet. Families can begin their journey to holistic health by making small yet impactful changes to every member’s diet and daily routine.
Adding a handful of almonds to the diet is a great first step, as they make for a nutritious snacking option and eating them regularly can offer multiple benefits across heart health, diabetes and weight management, skin health and also help keep the immune system healthy.
Speaking about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, Leading Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan, said, “I love practicing yoga, and believe it’s the fusion of science and spirituality. But I also understand that a key factor that helps achieve this unison is a healthy diet. Eating balanced and nutritious meals have always been a top priority for me, and I ensure my family does too. I make it a point that I start my day with a handful of almonds as they are nutrient dense and known to provide energy. Besides that, almonds are known to contain various nutrients such as copper, zinc, folate, iron and vitamin E that contribute in supporting the immune function, which makes them a must have for me.”
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, said, “Over time, Yoga has become a very popular form of exercise, and every day we hear of new variations or combinations that people are trying out. Yoga can also be a great addition to the routine of people suffering from type 2 diabetes, as it can help in attaining glycemic control and help to reduce the risk of complications. But this is likely to have a better impact, if this routine is accompanied with a nutritious meal plan. Be sure to add fresh fruits, green vegetables and nuts like almonds to the diet. Research shows that almonds, which are a source of protein and are high in dietary fiber, can help in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, may help improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes and help to lower the blood sugar impact of carbohydrate foods, which affects fasting insulin levels .”
Emphasizing on the need support one’s yoga routine with mindful snacking, Fitness Expert and Celebrity Master Instructor, Yasmin Karachiwala , said, “Staying fit is an important part of achieving overall health, and a practicing Yoga asanas and breathing exercises everyday can be a great addition to one’s workout routine. But the most important thing to remember is to complement your yoga and fitness regime with mindful and nutritious snacking. Almonds are a rich source of protein, a nutrient which is known to contribute to growth and maintenance of muscle mass, which makes them a great snack to munch on before or after a workout. Besides that, their satiating properties help in keeping hunger in check between meals, which may help with weight maintenance.”
Commenting on the need to make informed lifestyle choices, Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant, “As we continue to spend most of our times indoors during the ongoing pandemic, Yoga can be a great way to maintain a person’s fitness levels and alleviate stress. But along with practicing Yoga, it’s important to include healthy foods like almonds to the diet to optimize one’s fitness routine. Almonds make for a tasty and nutritious snack that can be eaten anytime during the day. Besides that, they are also known to aid in better weight management. In fact, as per a study in heatlhy adults, snacking on 42 grams of almonds every day helped reduce belly fat and waist circumference.”
Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, said “For people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, practicing a combination of Yoga and healthy eating can be very beneficial. Yoga is known to improve heart health by increasing circulation and blood flow. Additionally, it’s important to combine the yoga routine with a daily dose of almonds, as clinical studies amongst Indian populations specifically suggest that almonds can be beneficial in helping to manage heart disease risk factors . And according to a recent study in the UK, participants who had been replacing typical snacks with almonds saw improved measures of heart rate variability (HRV) in response to mental stress, which is a key indicator of how well the heart adapts to environmental and psychological challenges. Impaired HRV is linked to cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death.”
This International Yoga Day, pledge to embrace a healthier lifestyle including a mix of yoga and healthy dietary interventions.