The Importance of Healthy Eating Habits
Life is all about compromises, right? Well, if you think you can ignore your bad eating habits just because you exercise regularly, think again. A mistake that many people make is thinking that if you burn off a ton of calories at the gym you can eat whatever you want. Or, if you’re “naturally” thin you don’t have to watch what you eat. Unfortunately, trading an hour in the gym for a greasy double cheeseburger or relying on a good metabolism to take the place of healthy eating habits completely misses the point of living a healthy lifestyle…
Eating a healthy diet is far from simple, simply because humans are very complex beings. We may have it in the back of our minds that we are eating to fuel our bodies, but we actually make the majority of our food choices based on their enjoyment factor. In fact, eating is such an enjoyable experience that we often choose to eat foods that taste very good, but that don’t make us feel very good afterward. We also enjoy these foods so much that we eat more than our bodies actually need, which in turn makes us fat, unhappy and depressed. Many people do not even know how great it feels to eat a healthy meal, because they have been making bad food choices for too long. If this sounds all too familiar to you, let’s answer some basic questions about why it’s so important to eat healthy:
Why Should I Make Healthy Food Choices?
To truly understand the importance of establishing healthy eating habits, you need to ask yourself a very simple question: “Why do humans need to eat?” (Note the use of the word “need,” not “want.”) Simply put, humans need to eat to supply their bodies with nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) that then supply the body with fuel for energy, aid in tissue growth and repair, act in various biochemical reactions, and much, much more. The basic need for food is pretty simple and could be compared to putting gas in your car. If you put the right fuel into your car, it will spring to life with a single turn of the key and run smoothly for many years, but if you put soda pop and sugar in your gas tank, it’s going to ruin your car. In this sense, your car and your body are very much alike. They both run well on the right kind of fuel, but will deteriorate over time if you neglect their basic fueling needs.
Why Should I Strive for a Healthy Lifestyle?
It’s a lot of work to eat healthy; it takes discipline and isn’t always fun, so why bother? At some point in your life, you will be faced with the realization that the health of your body is the determining factor for what kind of lifestyle you can lead. Just like a smoker faces a possible future of emphysema and lung cancer, if you neglect healthy eating habits you not only face a possible future of being overweight or obese, you also run the risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, bowel complications and much more. The choices you make each day – from what to eat for breakfast to whether or not to have that extra slice of pie – affect how you feel and how you perform, which as you may be able to guess, affects everything you do. Choose wisely, and you will soon find that feeding your body well translates into a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.
Once you decide that learning healthy eating habits is worthwhile for you, it’s time to make some changes to your diet. Challenge yourself to come up with some new healthy eating habits every day and put them to good use, like drinking more water or using mustard on your sandwiches instead of mayo. Instead of trying to cut out all the “bad” foods you currently eat, like any processed foods, sweets, soda, candy, and other junk food, it’s much easier and safer to start by adding more healthy foods to your diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, nuts, and legumes. This way, you will slowly be replacing your bad diet with a good diet and won’t be left with a huge, gaping void where your bad foods once were. As you start filling up on healthier foods, you’ll have an easier time letting go of some of your most coveted unhealthy foods.
How we eat food is as important as what we eat. Here are 5 simple food tips that can serve as a guide to healthy eating, and help a person get the best out of the food they eat.
How we eat food is as important as what we eat. These 5 simple food tips that look at how to eat properly can serve as a guide and help a person get the best out of the food they eat.
# 1: How Much To Eat?
Studies have found that the human brain works best when the stomach is empty. Researchers found that an empty stomach produces ghrelin, a hormone that carries the message to the brain that the stomach is hungry. The interesting thing is that this hormone seems to perform other functions as well. Ghrelin stimulates and heightens the performance of the hippocampus, the region in the brain that handles learning, memory and spatial analysis, keeping us alert, active and focused. This of course doesn’t imply that we should never eat, but rather points to the fact that we should be conscious of how much we eat. Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, elaborates on how we can get the best out of our day by optimizing our consumption of food.
“You shouldn’t keep eating through the day. If you are below thirty years of age, three meals a day will fit well into your life. If you are over thirty, it is best to reduce it to two meals a day. Our body and brain work at their best only when the stomach is empty. Be conscious and eat in such a way that within two-and-a-half hours, the food moves out of the stomach bag, and within twelve to eighteen hours, it is completely out of the system. If you maintain this simple awareness, you will experience much more energy, agility and alertness.” – Sadhguru
# 2: Chew On This!
The second of our food tips for healthy eating is something you’ve probably heard your parents tell you a million times as a kid: Chewing your food properly plays an important role in digestion. Studies show that for starchy foods, 30% of digestion happens with saliva. After a meal, give a break of at least two hours before going to bed. Digestion raises your metabolic activity. If you sleep in such a state, you will neither sleep well nor digest well! Depending on what you ate, a large portion of the food can go undigested if you sleep immediately after eating.
The yogic perspective on chewing your food.
“In yoga we say, ‘If you take a morsel of food, you must chew it twenty-four times.’ There is a lot of science behind this, but essentially, one thing is your food gets pre-digested in your mouth and will not cause dullness in your system. Another thing is, if you chew twenty-four times, the information of that food gets established in your system and every cell in your body will be able to start judging as to what is right and not right for you – not in terms of the tongue but about what is appropriate for the whole system. If you do this for some time, every cell in the body will have the education as to what it likes and does not like.” – Sadhguru
It is also advisable to avoid drinking water during meals. Drink a little water a few minutes before the meal or thirty to forty minutes after the meal. Drinking water can be left standing overnight in a copper vessel. This destroys bacteria, and energizes the water powerfully. Copper surfaces tested in hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have been found to kill 97% of the bacteria that are capable of causing hospital-acquired infections.
# 3: The Right Food For The Right Time
Sadhguru elaborates on the tradition of eating different foods in different seasons, and how this practice helps the body cope with changing weather.
“In India and especially in South India, during summer, the food is cooked in one way, during the rainy season in another way and in winter another way, according to the vegetables available at that time and what is suitable for the body. It is good to bring in that wisdom and eat as per the needs of the body and according to the weather or climate we live in.
For example, when December comes, there are certain foods which produce heat in the body like sesame and wheat. In winter, the skin usually breaks because the climate becomes cold and people don’t traditionally use creams and things like that. So, everyone ate sesame on a daily basis. It keeps the body warm and the skin clean. With lots of heat in the body your skin won’t break. In summer the body gets hot. So, cooling foods were eaten. For example, in Tamil Nadu, they eat kambu (pearl millet). These things were fixed so that the body is able to adjust itself for that season.” – Sadhguru.
# 4: A Balanced Diet
Number four among our tips on how to eat properly is a pretty obvious one: maintaining a balanced diet. But you needn’t get caught up in the confusing maze of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and what not, and try to balance it all out. Sadhguru explains a few basics that will help maintain a balanced diet. He looks at the importance of bringing in enough vegetables, lentils, pulses and multiple types of grains in our diet.
“Today, doctors are saying that nearly 80 million Indians are heading to be diabetic. One of the reasons for this is because most Indian people are on a single-cereal diet. People are eating either only rice or only wheat. This can definitely cause health problems. It is important to bring in a multigrain diet in one’s life.
Traditionally, people always ate lots of grams, pulses, legumes and many kinds of grains. But slowly those things have gone away, and if you look at a South Indian’s plate today, there will be so much rice and just a little bit of vegetable. This is a serious problem. This shift to a total carbohydrate diet that has happened in the last twenty-five or thirty years needs to be reversed because a person’s long-term health will be seriously affected if they just eat lots of carbohydrate and very little of other things. This is a basic conceptual change which needs to happen in people’s minds. The majority of the diet should not be rice but all the other things. Rice is your choice – whether you want to eat or not, you decide according to your hunger levels.” – Sadhguru
# 5: There Are No Good Food Habits!
In the last of our food tips for healthy eating, Sadhguru reminds us that food is about the body, and the best way to decide what to eat is to ask the body. He explains that rather than developing eating habits which only make us function repetitively, it is better to decide on our food consciously through our intelligence.
Do You Need to Take Vitamins?
Vitamin and mineral supplements can be costly. Taking them regularly might make you feel like you’re leading a healthier lifestyle. But a number of research studies suggest that supplements aren’t always beneficial. Taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements may even do more harm than good.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. If you have certain health conditions or needs, your doctor may suggest adding a supplement to your daily routine. But people who take supplements as an “insurance policy” against poor eating habits might increase their risk of health problems.
So how do you know what’s right for you? The best way is to talk to your doctor before taking dietary supplements. If you’re already taking supplements, ask them if it’s a good choice to continue. On top of raising your risk of certain health problems, some supplements may interact with medications that you’re taking.
Take a look at this collection The Lost Book Of Remedies, taken word for word out of a circa 1845 manual.
What is The Lost Book of Remedies? The Lost Book of Remedies PDF contains a series of medicinal and herbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs. Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remedies outlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taught herbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war two and that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures.
Some studies have linked iron supplements to a higher risk of death.
Vitamin E supplements may increase your risk of heart failure.
Too much vitamin A may be bad for your bones.
If a small amount of something is good, you might think that a larger amount would be even better. But that formula doesn’t always work when it comes to vitamins and minerals.
Researchers from the Iowa Women’s Health Study followed over 38,000 women, aged 55 and older, for a period of 20 years. According to results published in the Archives of Internal MedicineTrusted Source, they found that most vitamin and mineral supplements weren’t associated with a lower risk of dying during the study. Calcium supplements were associated with a slightly lower risk of death. But a number of other commonly used supplements, especially iron, were linked to a higher risk of death.
This research doesn’t mean that iron and other vitamins and minerals are bad for you. You need to have iron in your diet and body to be healthy. And for people with certain medical conditions, such as anemia, iron supplements are often vital. But this study does suggest that for healthy people, taking extra iron in supplement form may cause harm.
Other vitamin and mineral supplements may also do more harm than good. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that taking vitamin E supplements may raise your risk of heart failure and premature death. The Mayo Clinic also warns that taking more than 200 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day may cause nerve pain and seizures. Recent research reported by the National Institutes of Health also suggests that too much vitamin A may be bad for your bones.
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