Every day when you sit down to eat your meals or snacks, you might not think about the impact that particular food will have on your health 20 or even 10 years from now. However, what you put into your body, day in and day out, impacts your health and lifestyle for years to come. This is where the saying “you are what you eat” comes from – if you eat healthy, you will lead a healthy life. Otherwise, the consequences will also last a lifetime.
In fact, several lifestyle conditions – high blood pressure, diabetes, PCOS, etc. – are related to your diet. Your food choices affect all parts of the body, including the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. Interestingly, different foods can both cause and prevent disease, which makes good eating habits more important.
Eating healthy doesn’t just help you prevent disease or lose weight; it also has a direct impact on mental health. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help prevent problems like anxiety and depression. On the other hand, unhealthy foods like refined carbs (white bread, pasta, baked goods) can make you feel sluggish and less alert. Therefore, eating healthy can have a positive impact on the length and quality of your life.
So what should you eat?
When thinking about food, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as bad food, but excess of everything is bad. Strive for a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Avoid gorging yourself on baked goods, fried foods, and high-calorie desserts that have no nutritional value. Instead, practice moderation and stick to smaller portions when it comes to these foods so you can still enjoy them guilt-free. Finally, eat mindfully and don’t overload yourself even if you eat the healthiest meal.
Changing long-standing eating habits
If you have a habit of indulging in decadent after-dinner desserts or ordering junk food every other day, you might feel like it’s impossible to break those habits. You may have even tried and failed to quit your favorite foods in the past. Admittedly, it is not easy to break habits that have been formed over years, even decades, but it is certainly not impossible. Here are some steps that can help you adopt healthy eating habits for life:
Change your environment – If your kitchen shelves and cupboards are filled with crisps, chocolates and sugary snacks, that’s what you’ll be looking for when you get peckish. Replace the junk food in your immediate environment with healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, fruit, and low-fat alternatives to your favorite snacks. It will help you make better decisions when your hunger is at its peak.
·Learn to make your own meals – Just the basics will also do. If you know how to cook a few dishes you like, you can do it at home instead of ordering from there. When you go grocery shopping, choosing healthy ingredients will further encourage you to cook and eat healthy at home. It can benefit the whole family, from the oldest to the youngest.
· Drink more water – Many times when you feel hungry, you lack hydration. Yes, the body can confuse hunger with thirst. So the next time you find yourself craving a snack between meals, try drinking a glass of water – it just might do the trick.
Take small steps – When transitioning to a healthier diet, it’s best to take small steps to avoid overwhelming your body and mind. Aim to eat enough calories to sustain your daily activities while cutting out a few unhealthy foods at a time to build better eating habits in a sustainable way.
Filling the nutritional gaps – Often we can eat the healthiest diet and still lack essential nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, probiotics, etc. or natural supplements. When the body has enough nutrients, it reduces cravings and lowers the chances of consuming unhealthy foods, helping you stay on track with your healthy habits.
Your body works hard around the clock to keep you alive. Be sure to provide the proper nutrients to keep doing it optimally for years to come!
Warning: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise indicated, the author writes in a personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be taken to represent the official ideas, attitudes or policies of any agency or institution.