Dr. Meghna Mevawala
Sports – Fitness – Nutrition & Dietetics Consultant
Hi listeners, we at Proholistic Health are very happy to have with us Dr. Meghna Mevawala who is an erudite consultant for fitness nutrition and dietetics. After her BSc in Life sciences from Mumbai, Dr Meghna received her diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics and a doctorate from Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine. She is also certified for Fitness nutrition by the International Sports Sciences Academy, California, USA. She worked with premier organizations in Bangalore & Mumbai. Her wide range of clients include celebrities, sports personalities, amateur sports enthusiasts and even senior citizen marathoners.
Here is the summary of my interesting conversation with Dr. Meghna
Dr.Meghna: This is the era of Functional medicine, we do not wait for disease to strike us, but you do whatever it takes to prevent. Modern medical sciences like Allopathy is good for lifesaving but a lot can be done in Preventive medical sciences domain. So if one is genetically pre-disposed to modern day ailments like diabetes, one can really work towards delaying its onset. Currently even people in their 30’s & 40’s are struck by these lifestyle diseases, that can be delayed to say the 60’s.
Even after onset one is well prepared to deal with it with the help of a balanced lifestyle and restricting to a minimal dose of medications and a few supplements that one would normally not get from their natural sources that one would get during earlier times, eg. Vitamin D. It is important to be able to metabolize D3 in the body which, these days does not happen on its own inspite of exposure to sufficient sunlight. D3 plays an important role in an efficient endocrine system. So, hormonal supplements can be brought in to ensure the balanced dose of Vitamin D3. Optimal Cholesterol levels are also important to be maintained, as it is now clear the not all cholesterols are bad.
It is imperative that cholesterols are maintained through our diet and lifestyle changes as any kind of intervention with things like statin will automatically block all cholesterols, including the good ones. Same example like with Chemo, one is exposing even the good cells to the onslaught of the harsh chemo drugs and these have a negative effect on the overall health.
So what we recommend is a good balanced dose of supplements like the Omega 3’s, it could be in the form of flaxseed oil or in the form of fish oil. It is important that one monitors this with regular checkups such that the body parameters are maintained well.
Then there is Vitamin B12, which is sourced from non-vegetarian food, diary products. When people have intolerance to dairy, they stop having dairy, they want to become vegan. so where do they too get the B12 from? Then that supplementation is also important because it works at the cellular level and B12 is very much required, so then you have problems. Things which cannot be got through diet you have no option but to take supplements to keep you healthy. These will help you maintain your overall health for a much longer period of time.
In fact, if these Omegas, B12 and D3 are optimised one will not have to take medication for very long period of time. Medications can be the last resort and as far as possible one can correct their cycles if you get them enough of D3’s if you give them enough of B12’s their nerve cells improve, The D3’s will help functioning of their other hormones that would give them battle insulin resistances that they start developing over a period of time.
With diet and exercise playing a major important role and some of these supplements there is definite push to improve the energy levels. A lot of chronic conditions can be addressed with this approach.
We recommend more and more of natural means to get body nutrients like Probiotics which help is battling even first stage cancer. After testing & checking the markers if there is a known history of cancer in the family, we recommend Probiotics either in diet or as a supplement.
I really believe that if one is diligent about it, certain supplements in the right formulation can definitely save one from the need for a lot of further medication.
I would say start with the younger age so that any deficiencies in D3, low Omega even in children, it helps to put them on a good diet or supplements, since it is also associated with one’s brain power. Omega is very good for the old because it helps them from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Regular screening at every point in your life is good, eg. for a girl I would say that you know at the age of say between 11 and 13 it is a time when she starts having a lot of changes in the body, a lot of hormonal changes are happening, so that point if you don’t check her hormonal levels a lot of problems that she would face later because of her menses and others, that may crop up as complications later on in life can be addressed at the starting point itself. Then there is no need to worry about artificial hormones therapy for PCODs or not-conceiving issues. Blocking your normal hormones that have been released on a regular basis and giving the artificial ones leads to too many avoidable complications later on in life.
Function medicine deals with your hormones, so what it is trying to do is to avoid the onset of disease. With Thyroid issue for instance in non-life threatening cases it is imperative that one makes lifestyle changes including diet, exercise and sleep. Only popping medications or supplements even, will not help.
A lot of our modern day health challenges are markedly different because of our increased life expectancy, also the drastically different lifestyle and less and less physical work. Today we need to worry about Alzheimer or Parkinson affliction simply because one may live upto the age of 100 and then you do not want to be dependent on your family.
Is it really that difficult to prevent modern day lifestyle diseases like diabetes?
I would say No, absolutely No. It is pretty simple.
On the Sports and fitness front, I would say, with people today giving a lot of emphasis and importance to sports and fitness regime one had to keep a watch on their diet and nutrient intake. Unlike earlier times when sport people used to retire at 40 and take up less rigorous activities, today some people take to serious sports like cycling and marathon after 40. Diet and vitamin supplements are very crucial to one’s health and long term sports performance with minimal injuries.
In fact today entrepreneurs, senior company executives, business owners who have anyway have hectic work life and are cramped for sleep, if they take to serious sports then there are whole lot of factors that are piling up against them. It is important that one counsels them on their diet, sleep, rest, exercise and supplements intake. Everything has to be planned and chalked out on the basis of their body structure, lifestyle and aspirations.
All of them have goals and they want to reach their personal best, but they have to initially concentrate on their muscle building, get rid of the fat, look at their lean muscle mass and improve that. As the marathon event date comes closer, maybe a month before the marathon change their diet by start to increase their carbs intake and teach them how to take care of all of these.
Every individual has a different need, maybe you are a runner, maybe a diabetic, also with thyroids issues. Issues like low D3, B12, so a blood test and body composition analysis are something which one should expect to get done. Them based on that the diet and their protein carb intake can be decided.
I feel that it is most important that you recognise your body symptoms because you know your body best, don’t ignore when you see something going wrong with your body. Most of the time we are so busy with our lives that we might have this dull headache, maybe you know it’s happening in the evening or early mornings and we don’t even bother about it, haan theek hai na! It will go on its own probably its some cold I’ve caught or something, but these are small things which could turn out to be such big things. If addressed at the right time it can be sorted, don’t ever ignore your body symptoms. The body gives you a signal, at every point before any major issues. It is up to us to recognise it and act on it.
You need to be sure that you have your formula, every person will have a different formula, you maybe a runner it’s great for you but it may not be great for me because my body just cannot take it. So, if I’m getting the signs that I cannot cope with it there is no point in me continue to doing it because I am going to get both physically and mentally stressed out and end up hurting myself.
We sometimes just follow blindly, maybe with anything, even with diets. Just following trends without realizing or understanding if that diet is good for us or will it suit our lifestyle and our goal. Just because a diet is good for your body builder friend, whose focus in life is to build muscles and nothing else, so then he has all that time and devotion that he can do it rigorously. But for a working person staying on that diet is so difficult and then you we can’t keep yo-yo’ing in these serious diets. This may cause more harm than taking it up in the first place.
Most of the latest diet fads are not bad, but need to be done the right way and done by the right person. If one is not into weight lifting, not doing the muscle activity that is required by that diet, its just that you punishing your kidneys. You may still get that weight loss that you desire, but in thre long run end up damaging your body.
With every diet that you are getting in to, understand how you are going to manage it and how easy or difficult it is for you to keep at it. Do something that is sustainable, that is easy on your body and you are not likely to give up because of too many challenges. People should really think before jumping into anything even though they hear a lot about it.
Thank you Dr. Meghna for the great information you’ve shared, thank you for your time.