Most people tend to think of disease in terms of absolutes – either you absolutely have the disease (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorder, etc.) or you are perfectly healthy - but it is usually a long journey between not having a disease and having it. Healthy eating habits may help prevent or reverse disease processes that begin long before the actual manifestation of the disease. Here’s a look at some healthy eating habits that can change your life:
- Eat More Plant-Based Food: Plant-based foods are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are naturally high in fiber and low in saturated fats and sugar. They help prevent chronic disease, improve your mood, protect your heart, and keep off the excess weight.
- Avoid Refined Sugar: According to the World Health Organization a person should consume no more than 25 gm of sugar a day. On average, most Americans consume 125 gm a day, most of it is in the form of refined sugar. Despite the numerous diets in the market that sometimes give contradictory advice, most agree that refined sugar has hardly any nutritive benefit and is best avoided.
- Practice Portion Control: Controlling your portion sizes can be hard when eating out or even eating at home. Use portion control tricks such as eating in smaller plates and fill up half the plate with vegetables and salads.
- Variety is the Spice of Life: Healthy food does not to have to be bland or boring. Visit a dietician or buy a good cookbook to find out about exciting ways to cook healthy food. The new flavors and combinations of food will keep you hooked on the healthy lifestyle.
- Enjoy Your Meal: Eat slowly and relish the taste of every bite. If possible have your meals with enjoyable company. This gives you time to register signals from your brain that you are full. It’s much easier to overeat when you are eating fast.
In the old days, 3 meals a day was the norm. Later, the trend was to have 6 small meals spaced every 3 hours to maintain stable energy levels. The newer diets include intermittent fasting or eating all your food in a narrow 8-hour or 6-hour time window every day. Each of these diets have their pros and cons; however, more important than when you eat is what you eat. Consistently following the healthy eating tips mentioned above for just a couple of months should bring about a marked improvement in the way you look and feel.