“We would have listened to these kinds of dialogues at least once in a day, ‘No time to have food in the morning’, ‘Had very little this afternoon’ and ‘I’m quite used to late food during night’. Even it could also be from our mouth. Food is essential to keep our body healthy and vibrant. Eating right food at the right time is benefits our health.
Delaying of food has an equally detrimental effect on one’s health as not having or avoiding food. Let us look further into the details of eating the right food at the right time.
It should happen between 7 and 8 am, not delaying beyond 9.45 am. It is because of the long gap from the time of dinner the previous day, keeping the stomach empty overnight which necessitates early breakfast, as the name connotes. So breakfast provides energy to start the day afresh. This also supports proper functioning of internal organs, starting from the brain to circulatory systems in the body.
The UNESCO has certified Idly-sambar combination as the best food item for breakfast. One can also have rice gruel by soaking the previous day rice in water overnight. It keeps our body energetic throughout the day and also prevents us from infectious diseases as well. Other food items good for breakfast are Dosai-chutney-sambar, Poori-urulaikizhangu-kuruma, Pongal, Chapathi-subji, Vegetable upma, Puttu-kondaikadalai and Nutritive kanji.
The mid-morning time between breakfast and lunch is 10.45 – 11.30. You can have fruit juice or healthy snacks. Coffee and tea can be consumed giving at least one hour before taking lunch.
It is better to have lunch between 12 – 2 pm, should not delay it until 3 pm. Lunch is the only time we take more quantity of food in a day. It should be rich in nutrients necessary for the bodily function. It is better to have egg added to it, which will provide protein required for the body. Whatever the combination of food items, even variety rice items such as tamarind rice, tomato rice or lemon rice, it is better to ensure those items contain ginger and garlic.
Any type of green leaves, gram varieties, legumes and vegetables can be added to the plate for lunch.
Hand pound rice can be taken in for lunch. It is better to have more amount of gourd varieties having more water content, such as bottle gourd, ash gourd and pumpkin.
Food varieties with fish, meat or Biriyani are suitable for lunch so that there will be adequate time for the gastric tract to have them digested. Whatever the type of food meant for lunch it is better to have Rasam at the end. It helps proper digestion of food. Soup can also be an alternative during lunch.
Evening snacks can be taken between 4 and 5 pm. Smoothies, healthy snacks, fruit juices, vegetable salad and snacks made of nutritive grains can be the choice.
Dinner should be between 7 and 8 pm and it should not be beyond 9 pm. Late food at dinner will lead to indigestion and sleeplessness.
Dinner should be taken two hours before to bed and one can have any of the following, Idly, Sambar, Upma, Wheat based foods, gram varieties, Ragi, Maize, honey and milk.
Caffeine-containing drinks, carbonated drinks, non-vegetarian food, greens, spicy fast foods, maida products, snacks, food items with excess carbohydrate should be avoided at dinner.
Do’s and Don’ts immediately after food
Eat only when you are hungry. Do not dump in forcefully just because it is time to eat. Food should be crushed and chewed thoroughly while eating. Don’t drink water while eating and can have it half an hour before and after food.
Do not smoke. It will reduce digestion rate, leading to constipation.
Do not drink fruit juice. It will prevent generation of digestive juices in the stomach. It will lead to indigestion.
Do not sleep immediately after food. Sleeping will reduce the time for digestion process, leading to obesity.
Do not do exercises. Exercising immediately after food leads to abdominal cramps and pain.
Do not take bath after food. It will make blood circulation irregular, especially in the limbs. It will also disturb the functioning of the digestive tract.
Do not drink coffee or tea. The oxalates and folates present in them will prevent iron being absorbed in the body.
(This article written in Tamil by Mohanapriya has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)