Personality types are genetically determined for the most part and then shaped by the environment and conditioning. In the Type A and Type B personality type theory, each group behaves in predictable patterns or displays a certain type of temperament. In addition, lifestyle choices that most urbanites face also lead to a lot of stress. Type A personalities are more likely to miss meals, binge at some meal times, and consume large amounts of alcohol.

The calmer temperaments of the Type B personalities ensure they remain patient, objective and easy-going. Type B people seem to find time for regular exercise, work at improving their nutrition intake and better sleep. Type Bs also seem to know how to deal with racier lifestyles without exciting the body’s stress response.

Type A rules: Include an oat-based cereal in your meal.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Are you always in a tearing hurry to get things done?

• Are you a high achiever, very competitive and a workaholic?

• Do you stress a lot over deadlines?

• In your quest for perfection do you rub associates the wrong way?

u Do you anger easily at the slightest provocation?

• Do you find it hard to relax even on holiday?

• Do you need a lot a stimulants, tea, coffee and cigarettes, to keep you going?

• Are you skipping meals because you have no time to eat?

A Type A personality has most of the above traits, is a stress junkie, and very different from his/her more pleasant, adaptive and uber cool Type B counterpart. Type As naturally find Type Bs apathetic, and annoying because of their laid-back attitude.

An extreme Type A person is more likely than a Type B to be apple-shaped, have hypertension, diabetes, psoriasis and impaired immunity because he or she is also likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies caused by stress. Stress makes a person use as much as 1,000mg of vitamin C daily, almost 15 times more than the suggested daily intake of just 60mg. Stress also induces the body to use up much more vitamin B and increases abdominal obesity. Irregular meal timings cause impatience, irritability and disturbed sleep.

So if you are a Type A personality, include some of these ideas when you plan your daily meals:

• Breakfast should always be substantial, eaten at the same time every day; include an oat-based cereal or muesli, with a dash of cinnamon, fruit and eggs or cottage cheese for the vegetarian for improved concentration and mood.

• Regular tea/coffee should be replaced with green tea.

• Healthy snacks, kept handy in the cabin or car, help you focus on always eating healthy.

• Fruit and nuts, a jar full of mixed seeds, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame, multigrain crackers and chilled vegetable soups in the refrigerator or a small tub of yogurt at work are some healthy snack ideas.

• Avoid biscuits and sweets. Their sugars keep you feeling hungry all the time.

• Fix a time for lunch away from your desk at work at least three times a week. Announce to colleagues and clients that you are not available, say, on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 1-1.45pm, except for emergencies. You will find that very quickly people begin to work schedules around this timing.

• Ensure that you exercise or take a brisk walk at least three times a week. Use weekends for a relaxing swim and walk a lot through the day—tell yourself that you will only take the elevator from the second or third floors. Exercise lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

• Focus on one-dish meals for maximum nutrient density and convenience. Multigrain wraps with paneer and veggies, or a brown rice pulao with more beans or chicken and 500g of mixed multicoloured veggies, build immunity and prevent sweet cravings.

• A glass of warm semi-fat milk with half a scoop of protein shake powder (recommended by a sports doctor/dietitian or nutritionist) at bedtime improves sleep and increases the level of energy in the morning.

Madhuri Ruia is a nutritionist and Pilates expert. She runs InteGym in Mumbai, which advocates workouts with healthy diets.

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