In the 21st century, poor dietary habits and practices have been at a high increase with adverse effects on well being and overall health. Hospitals are saturated with a lot of ailments without tracing the root cause. There is a popular saying, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”. It is a fact and a truth that you are what you eat.. You are a product of what you consume. If you consume healthy foods, you live a healthy life. If you consume unhealthy and unbalanced diet, it reflects on the outside of you.
Diet is the food that a person habitually eats. Whether a person makes good or bad choice in terms of what he/she eats, those things make up their diet. The overall goal of diet is to get people to choose the healthiest options that will improve their wellbeing.
A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy people get from the food and drink they consume, and the energy they use in physical activity.
Calories are listed in the nutritional information of most finished food packaging.
Nutrition refers to the quality of the food itself. Nutrition is food that our bodies need to consume daily for our bodies to function optimally.
This includes complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre. We need these foods in a balanced quantity and ideally, from the cleanest sources possible. The cleanest source is very important
Reasons why people eat
There are five basic reason why the average person eats food.
1. For Growth & Function
We need food to grow. What we eat must help us regulate and maintain our bodily functions. We carefully plan what we eat for different stages of growth to ensure the proper development and function of the body.
2. For Peak Performance Energy
Foods can be a valuable asset in how we process our emotions and use the power of energy for our physical well-being. Consuming healthy foods can boost how you feel on the inside and creating a positive mood on the outside. Good foods can enhance your body performance at its peak, providing the energy you need to work, exercising and doing the activities you enjoy . But if you choose the wrong food, they can decrease your energy level which will produce poor performance results at work, home and no energy to do all the things you do. This is called an internal Deposit into our Health Bank Account.
3. For Cleansing
When you eat, it is either you cleansing or clogging your body. You are either making an internal deposit or making an internal withdrawal. We really should be eating to cleanse the body not to clog the body. So we must make a conscious decision to begin each day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Our organs need to be clean in order to work efficiently. Cleansing foods will not only take care of us internally but it will also take care of our exterior body such as hair, nails and skin. Plus it will make you feel energetic and great.
4. For Maintaining our External Body
Everything grows from the inside out. What put into our bodies will affect our external body. Of course we need to eat to have our body function but nutrients also contribute to our physical appearance. An improper diet can cause us to look tired and fatigued, older, over weight and our hair, skin and nails look dried out whereas healthy foods can add shine to our hair, help our skin and keep us looking young and vibrant.
5. For Prevention & Fighting Disease
Taking proper food and nourishment helps us create a strong internal environment that helps prevent and fight disease. What you do in your twenties affects your thirties. What you do in your thirties affects your forties likewise what we consume too. “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”. The surest way to fight and prevent disease is by eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What are Dietary habits?
Dietary Habits are the habitual decisions of individuals or group of people regarding what foods they eat. Proper dietary choices require the consumption of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in human health.
POOR DIETARY HABITS
Poor nutritional and dietary habits affects how you feel, look, think and act. To mention but a few poor dietary habits.
1. Skipping breakfast: this is one of the most common bad eating habits. By skipping breakfast you slow down your metabolism, reduce your energy, concentration and productivity levels and sees you overeating later on in the day typically on the most refined, sweet carbs you can find.
2. Late night snacking: this normally comes from the fact that you ate too little at dinner or you’re bored. Eating directly before going to bed doesn’t give your body time to burn off all that energy so try sticking to eating a decent meal a little earlier and if the need arises, snack later on or some fresh fruit.
3. Not drinking enough fluid throughout the day – Skipping water can leave you feeling drowsy and can contribute to headaches, difficulty in concentrating and a worsened mood. Keep fluid on hand to drink when thirsty. Take note that thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger when you are thirsty, take water. Water is life.
4.Avoiding food the entire day due to time constraints or lack of resources and overindulging at night, this predominantly slows down your metabolism and results in your overeating right before you go to bed, leading to weight gain.
5. Exercising on an empty stomach: if you’re not providing your body with fuel it will start looking for alternative sources in your body, and while all of us hope that it’s the fat, very often our bodies are in actual fact breaking down muscle for energy. Without glucose we don’t have energy to exercise at the desired intensity.
Most people nowadays indulge in poor dietary lifestyle but there are ways we can curb them and live healthy lives
HEALTHY EATING HABITS
We’ve all been told that healthy eating can transform your life and help you live a longer and more active one. But what does healthy eating actually mean and how do you start putting this into practice and breaking bad habits?
For some, this may be a way to help them lose weight and for others, it may just be to have a healthier way of living.
This transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just wake up on a Monday morning and break all of your bad habits without the cravings. This is a gradual process. It takes discipline and consistency.
Here are some helpful dietary habits that will soon have you well on the way to bursting with health and vitality
Get more fruits and vegetables into you food.
Vegetables provides health benefits, people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Eat less salt.
Make a conscious effort to put less and less salt on your food, until just a dash is all you need.
Your sodium intake plays a major role in affecting your heart rate and blood pressure. By consuming salty foods, your body will retain water to dilute the blood volume. This causes more blood to circulate throughout your body and your heart to work harder.
The recommended sodium intake by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 180 – 500 mg of sodium a day
Drink more water
Drink more water to stay hydrated. Choosing water over sugary drinks sometimes can help you lose weight, clear your complexion, and, since our bodies are made up of 70% water, you may feel healthier all around.
Also, your body fluids transport waste products in and out of your cells, while your kidneys and liver flush those waste products and other toxins out of your body. However, this process can only work properly and efficiently if you are well hydrated. Always Stay hydrated
Eat less sugar
Restrict sodas and other sugar added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients. It is impossible to totally avoid sugar in our foods.
There’s also the fact that foods with naturally occurring sugar tend to contain less sugar overall.
We should consume foods with less sugar content
Eat less saturated and trans fats
Foods often have more than 1 type of fat. As a general rule, foods that have mostly saturated fat are thicker example butter, cheese, cream, while those that are mostly unsaturated are thinner (like oils). A healthy eating pattern limits saturated fats and trans fats.
Always Read the labels for the products you are purchasing.
Positive dietary habits has benefits just as poor dietary choices are detrimental to our health
BENEFITS OF EATING HEALTHY
1. Weight loss
Losing weight can help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions. If a person is overweight or obese, they have a higher risk of developing several conditions, including:
heart disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, poor bone density, some cancers
Whole vegetables and fruits are lower in calories than most processed foods. A person looking to lose weight should reduce their calorie intake to no more than what they require each day. When you eat healthy, it reflects on your outside.
2. Better mood
Emerging evidence suggests a close relationship between diet and mood.
In 2016, researchers found that a diet with a high glycemic load may cause increased symptoms of depression and fatigue.
A diet with a high glycemic load includes many refined carbohydrates, such as those found in soft drinks, cakes, white bread, and biscuits. Vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains have a lower glycemic load.
While a healthful diet may improve overall mood, it is essential for people with depression to seek medical care.
3. Reduced risk of having cancer
An unhealthful diet can lead to obesity, which may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Weighing within a healthful range may reduce this risk.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help to protect against cancer.
4. Diabetes management
Eating a healthy diet can help a person with diabetes to:
lose weight, manage blood glucose levels,
keep blood pressure and cholesterol within target ranges,
prevent or delay complications of diabetes.
It is essential for people with diabetes to limit their intake of foods with added sugar and salt. It is also best to avoid fried foods high in saturated and trans fats.
5. Strong bones and teeth
A diet with adequate calcium and magnesium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. Keeping the bones healthy is vital in preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
The following foods are rich in calcium:
low fat dairy products, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish with bones, tofu, legumes.
Also, many cereals and plant based milks are fortified with calcium.
Magnesium is abundant in many foods, and the best sources are leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
6. Improved memory
A healthy diet may help prevent dementia and cognitive decline.
There are foods and nutrients that protect against these adverse effects. The following is beneficial for improved memory.
D, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids.
You want an improved memory, eat healthy, stay healthy.
Written and compiled by: Victoria Idris Musa