By Chef K.T. Murphy
What we eat affects not only our bodies, but our mental health as well. If you constantly eat foods that are high in sugar, salt, processed ingredients, as well as saturated and trans fats, your physical and psychological states aren’t going to be too happy about it. And they’ll let you know every chance they get. On the other hand, eating a well-balanced diet that has a little bit of everything keeps chronic diseases at bay, allows your body to absorb the nutrients and minerals it needs for healthy development and functioning. The first step is to practice mindful eating.
So many of us are busy juggling responsibilities that we don’t stop to think what we’re putting in our mouths. We reach for the nearest, easiest, and most delicious thing available without thinking about the consequences of what we’re eating.
For mindful eating, you need to ask yourself several important questions:
• Are there healthier options available?
• How much should I eat to get the most benefits?
• What are my recommended serving sizes?
• When do I feel the most need to eat unhealthy foods?
Do you have bad eating habits if so the consequences
1. You’re moody. If you’re not getting enough calories, especially through carbs, this could lead to mood swings and that feeling of being down-in-the-dumps. This is due to reduced levels of serotonin being released in the brain. When we eat foods that contain tryptophan, like milk and corn, our bodies convert that tryptophan into serotonin – one of 5 “happy” hormones released by our brains to help reduce levels of depression and boost our ability to concentrate and focus. However, without carbohydrates, tryptophan can’t convert into serotonin, so the less carbs we consume, the more irritable and agitated we feel. On the upside, there are a lot of good-for-you carbs out there that you can eat without having to gain weight. For example, some good carbs are whole grain toast, brown rice, apples, and sweet potatoes, just to name a few.
Moreover, when you eat enough calories to sustain you throughout the day, your body will start breaking down muscle mass before your fat cells, because muscles have the protein that your body needs. So make sure your diet includes protein, which can be found in a whole lot of foods, such as beans, lentils, seafood, poultry, red meat, and eggs.
2. You’re constipated. By boosting your fiber intake, you add bulk to your stool, which helps move things along. Foods like beans, oats, citrus fruits, pears, avocado, strawberries, apples, lentils, and broccoli are all rich in fiber. Fiber also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and colon problems.
3. You’re exhausted all the time. This is a clear sign of not getting enough iron in your diet. Iron is a vital mineral that transports oxygen throughout the body to help keep it functioning and in tip-top shape. So when your body finds there aren’t enough red blood cells to carry around the oxygen it needs, it starts giving the signal that it doesn’t have the energy to keep you going all day long. Foods high in iron are beans, dark leafy vegetables, red, poultry, seafood, and iron-fortified cereals.
4. You’re increasing your risk of chronic diseases. Eating foods high in sugar, salt and fat increases your chance of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, gout, stroke, diseases of the liver, gynecological complications, and cancer. In addition, drinking beverages high in calories, like soda and artificial juices, as well as not getting enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber are all factors that increase the risk of chronic diseases.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep. Eating a heavy meal a couple of hours before bedtime can prevent you from getting the quality sleep you need. Heartburn and digestive problems make it difficult for your body to rest during the night, giving you a restless, sleepless night, which, in turn, affects your focus, concentration, memory, and energy levels. It’ll also eventually lead to weight gain and chronic diseases.