Updated: Nov 21
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
Namaste, dear readers! In the heart of our diverse and culturally rich nation lies a tradition as old as the Indus Valley Civilization—vegetarianism. While vegetarian diets are celebrated for their ethical and environmental advantages, how do they fare in ensuring a robust Resting Heart Rate (RHR), peaceful sleep, and unflagging energy? Let's take a flavorful journey through the lanes of Indian vegetarian cuisine and wellness.
Vegetarianism and Vitality: The Indian Context
Being vegetarian in India isn't just about food; it's a lifestyle, interwoven with spirituality, tradition, and, yes, health. But, in the wake of modern dietary influences, it's crucial to ensure our vegetarian plates are balanced, providing all the necessary nutrients for a hale and hearty life.
Balancing the Plate: Nutrients, Sleep, and RHR
Pulses and Legumes: The backbone of Indian vegetarian protein. Lentils (dals), chickpeas (chole), and kidney beans (rajma) are not just delicious, but are also packed with protein and fiber. A study from the Nutrients journal suggests adequate protein intake is critical for the maintenance of optimal health during normal growth and aging.
Whole Grains: Move over white rice! Embrace grains like millets, quinoa, and brown rice. They have a low glycemic index, ensuring steady energy release, curbing those mid-day energy slumps.
Greens and Veggies: Spinach (palak), fenugreek (methi), and mustard greens (sarson) are rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium, essential for good sleep and overall vitality. Research cites that magnesium plays a pivotal role in sleep regulation.
Incorporating Superfoods and Spices
Turmeric (Haldi): A golden touch to most dishes, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and can be a boon for heart health.
Moringa (Drumstick leaves): These humble leaves are a powerhouse of nutrients, boosting energy and vitality.
Tulsi (Holy Basil): Revered in Indian households, tulsi not only has spiritual significance but also aids in stress relief and better sleep.
The Bigger Picture: Longevity and Ageing
Adopting a balanced vegetarian diet, enriched with the goodness of nature, can be a step towards better health metrics and, by extension, longevity. A team of researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men — 83 years compared to 73 years. For women, being vegetarian added an extra 6 years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.
Conclusion: From Plate to Heartbeat
In the rhythm of our heartbeats, the tranquility of our sleep, and the zest in our steps, lies the testament of our dietary choices. Embracing the vegetarian legacy of India with a touch of awareness ensures not just a celebration of tradition but a toast to health and longevity.
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- Carbone JW, Pasiakos SM. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients. 2019 May 22;11(5):1136. doi: 10.3390/nu11051136. PMID: 31121843; PMCID: PMC6566799.
- Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Jan;201(1):121-128. doi: 10.1007/s12011-022-03162-1. Epub 2022 Feb 19. PMID: 35184264.
- Fraser GE, Shavlik DJ. Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? Arch Intern Med. 2001 Jul 9;161(13):1645-52. doi: 10.1001/archinte.161.13.1645. PMID: 11434797.