Foods – the source of energy and health-boosting nutrients, responsible for nourishment and protection from common health issues.
If your current food choices don’t play the roles mentioned, then you should look over, what you are eating.
Every food you eat may not be healthy. Food that provides energy may not provide health-boosting nutrients.
Depending on the nutrient a food provides and the body absorbs will decide the benefits you receive from food or meal. There are a lot more issues to be glorified but for now, we will look at few practical strategies.
1. Eat Whole Foods
Whole-foods – A food from which nothing is removed is known as whole food.
One of the healthiest habit to adopt for a healthier and happier you – cut down the intake of processed and increase the intake of unprocessed whole-foods.
There are lots of food available those as claimed as whole-food or said to be made from whole-food. Yet there will be confusion, on the benefits of whole-food and processed foods made from whole food.
Let’s have a look at why you should eat whole foods…
1) Nutrient Dense
Whole-foods are provided by nature and packed with varieties of nutrients. These food are nutrient dense provide energy as well as health-boosting nutrients.
Whole-foods are the food in its natural state nothing added or removed, thus there is no change in its nutrient.
While considering the processed food, these foods start with whole-food but the nutrients which make them whole or healthy are removed.
Fiber, essential nutrients are removed to increase shelf-life of food and also likeability. With fiber, other health-boosting nutrients are also removed leaving the whole food as a simple form of carbohydrate or say white flour or sugar.
The purpose of eating food is to get nutrient from food that provides energy for daily activity and health-boosting nutrient that protect from any health problems.
The purpose is attained with whole-food while processed food lack health-boosting nutrients.
Eating whole food doesn’t mean to whole-grains foods, even there are many whole-foods that you should consider on the list.
It considers every food available from beans, pulses, vegetable, poultry, egg, nuts, etc.
Each food types are a great source of nutrient, and you should eat in its unprocessed state. Processing of food degrades the food and its nutrition profile.
2) Better Energy Supply Without Any Energy Crash
Foods are the source of energy and we prefer to eat them to get a continuous supply of energy.
Instead of eating continuously you might notice there is a drop in your energy faster than expected. When you eat food there will be a sudden boost of energy making you feel awesome, but all those energies vanish within a few minutes or an hour.
The above problem is due to processed food and it lost nutrients which control the digestion of food and release of energy – its the fiber.
Fiber or say fibrous carbs are present in whole food providing it lot more beneficial property instead of you can’t digest fiber. Whole-foods are loaded with fiber and it’s responsible to slow down the digestion process thus making sure energy releases slowly for few hours.
- The energy level will improve
- You will eat less frequently but there is a healthy energy supply
- No crash of energy, allowing to do any activity
- The body receives enough nutrients
It cuts one of the biggest risk, obesity, by preventing overeating and unhealthy eating
Your energy level will decide, how frequently you feel the hunger pang, craving, willpower to resist, and finally obesity.
Obesity is considered the biggest issue these days and surely it is.
The problem is not obesity, but the health problem that follows it. The solution to prevent obesity is to avoid overeating and unhealthy eating.
The two solutions: Avoid overeating and unhealthy eating, both and connected with your energy level.
When you eat whole food loaded with fiber and other satiety nutrients you won’t be able to overeat while compared with processed food. A whole-food contains fiber, protein, and fat, all are satiety nutrient and cut the risk of overeating.
If you eat processed food, these satiety nutrients mostly fiber and healthy fats are removed. As your food lack satiety nutrients that signal the body to stop eating, you keep on eating, thus you tend to overeat which is a reason for weight gain or obesity.
Let’s focus on how low energy can make us eat unhealthily. The body needs a continuous supply of energy to carry out the daily function smoothly. If there is a sudden drop in the energy or blood sugar, it feels the need of energy reserve or food.
To control all these functions, hormones come into action. Leptin hormone is a hormone that can make you eat when there is a drop in energy level.
You can control your eating habit but if there is extreme hunger, you will lose your ability to make the right food choice. You prefer the food that provides quick energy boost thus choosing calorie dense.
All these can be avoided when you eat whole-food loaded with enough energy, slow digesting and satiety nutrient. There won’t be a drop in energy and you won’t make an unhealthy food choice.
3) Loads Of Health Benefits
The rate of health problem increased with the dependency on processed food.
In the past few decades look at the changes in eating pattern, food choice, and rise in health problems.
It’s not tough to conclude that major of the problem started with upcoming processed or the food choice.
“We are what we eat” as said by Cameron Diaz in her book “The Diet Book”, explains how she had negative impacts on health due to eating processed food in her teens. As she was dependent on processed those loaded with empty calories and full of chemicals, artificial color, and preservatives, she had a major health issue and skin had the major impact.
Food choice has a direct impact on health energy and skin. Processed food disrupt hormones and natural body functions.
Quicker a food digest, there will be sugar rollercoaster in blood. A quick rise in blood sugar is responsible for the health complication, so pancreases release insulin to bring down the blood sugar to a healthy level. While the daily burden is responsible for pancreas burnout, degrading its function. Also, there is the development of insulin resistance where body cells don’t respond to insulin normally. Pancreas burnout and insulin resistance both are responsible for Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is just the start; when unhealthy eating continues, it even promotes cardiovascular disease.
All these conditions are due to a lack of fiber which slows down the digestion and other vital nutrients that a whole food provides.
Better the food you eat; better protection you will receive.
Our body is intended to work for us – to keep our energy optimum to do any task we want, and its role is even to protect from diseases. The body needs a healthy amount of nutrients to carry on the function. When the body receives all nutrient, it starts to play its role in processing and supplying those nutrients where intended.
4) Good For Gut Health
Gut health – a missed yet important task.
Gut wasn’t considered important until it was found to plays a lead role in keeping us healthy. A gut is the place were good bacteria thrive. In exchange for a place to thrive and nutrient supply, they provide benefit to health.
Major of carbohydrates and proteins are absorbed in the large intestine. About 85% of carbohydrate, 65-95% of protein and all fat are absorbed in the large intestine. But large intestine has a limited digestive capability. The remaining indigestible carbohydrate and protein (10-30% of total ingested energy) that the colon receives are absorbed by the colonial gut bacteria. (1)
Several bacterial genes are found to synthesize vitamins. Thiamine, folate, biotin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid are water-soluble vitamins which we receive from our diet are also synthesized by gut bacteria. It is also estimated that half of Vitamin K is provided by gut bacteria. (2)
Gut bacteria is also found to increase the absorption of antioxidant in food. (3)
Gut bacteria have lots of benefits and function which is still to be explored, thus it’s important to take care of gut bacteria health. Major of immunity we pose is said to be provided by gut bacteria.
There are many thing gut bacteria do for us, for the exchange of healthy foods. When you eat healthy whole food, it receives nutrient to feed on and grow their population. Gut bacteria need soluble fiber which we can get from whole foods.
The preservative in processed food isn’t good for gut bacteria. The preservative role is to kill and prevent bacteria growth in food so it can stay eatable for long. But these preservative aren’t able to differentiate between good and bad bacteria, thus impacting gut health which impacts our health.
2) Prefer Combination
The next strategy – Eat combination to get maximum from food, allowing the body to access multiple nutrients in each meal.
Let explore why these strategies in one of the healthiest eating habit.
Why Should You Prefer Combination?
1. Complete Amino Acids Profile
Amino acids are divided into three types: Essential, non-essential and conditionally required.
The body needs all essential amino acids for complete utilization of protein. Essential amino acids are the amino acids that our body can’t prepare, while non-essential amino acids can be prepared by the body.
We are completely dependent on food to receive all nine essential amino acid. Without complete amino acids, the body is not able to synthesize cell and use it properly, thus dumping all the amino acids you eat. It doesn’t matter how much protein you eat if your diet doesn’t contain complete amino acids, every protein turns out to be a waste, as it is not usable by the body.
A non-vegetarian source is the best source of complete protein. Vegetarian food also contains complete protein but only a few of them are a source of complete protein, while major of them have few amino acids missing.
You need to eat varieties of food to form a better combination. Adding a few servings of non-veg and veg will provide quality and quantity. While adding a few complete protein foods with an incomplete protein food will also cover up the missing amino acid. While there are few combinations followed by tradition, where two incomplete protein food are combined to make a complete protein food.
Some of the International buffets that maximize the benefits of plant-based proteins are
- peanut stew,
- Cajun red beans and rice,
- Indian lentils served over rice (dal),
- Chana Masala(Indian chickpea eaten with rice),
- Gallo Pinto.
That’s a great list of healthy food combination to meet daily protein need. You should always take care of what you eat and check out that you eat a combination of food to cover up the missing amino acid.
2. Healthy Fat
Fat is also an important nutrient required for health benefits, satiety, taste, and flavor.
Most of the food that provides fat aren’t equally healthy.
We get omega 6 and saturated fat from food, but the most required fat is Omega 3 fatty acid.
Omega 3 required in large quantity to cope with inflammation and for healthy brain development.
When you focus on adding fat, you should choose food rich in Omega 3 fatty acid foods like fishes, nuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, olive oil, etc. Better the combination, more omega 3 you will receive while cutting down Omega 6 and saturated fat intake.
Another reason to include fat in each meal is to absorb fat-soluble vitamin better. When you include fat rich food you receive fat-soluble vitamin as major of fat rich are rich in fat-soluble vitamin. But there is some food rich in fat-soluble vitamin but no fat. If you don’t eat fat with those vitamins, the body won’t be able to absorb it.
3) Taste, Flavour, and Satiety
Food is a source of nutrients and provides health-boosting nutrient, but during the past few decade foods were just looked as a source of taste and flavor, or a medium to cut hunger.
Foods are the source where can get taste, flavor, and satiety – get them from unprocessed food, and you won’t look for processed food.
The unprocessed and right combination of food is more tasty and flavourful than processed foods. They not only meet the body need to fulfil hunger but also body nutrient requirement.
A combination of food that includes fat, protein, spices, herbs, are more flavourful and are hunger buster. You are able to fill the craving of taste bud, stomach, and cells.
Taste craving: By providing rich taste and flavor the taste buds demand
Stomach: When you eat fat, fiber, and protein you provide it food that keeps you full for long
Cells: Cells or body demand health-boosting nutrients which are supplied with a healthy combination of foods
You meet every demand and it’s what referred to as healthy eating that will nourish and fulfil the taste and nutrient need.
4) Varieties of Nutrient
As you have seen some food contain complete protein while some don’t, it same for other nutrients.
Every food group doesn’t provide equal nutrients, some contain high to low content of each nutrient.
Food rich in antioxidants doesn’t need to be rich in protein.
Apple, oranges are a great source of antioxidant but don’t provide protein.
Or a food rich in protein doesn’t need to rich in fiber.
Eggs and liver are high in choline, a nutrient required for the development of the brain. It is also a great protein and other nutrient but doesn’t provide fiber.
Each food has its unique nutrition profile, so it’s our responsibility to make food choice depending on its nutrient content, thus building a healthier food combination to get enough nutrient we require.
How to Make a Perfect Combination?
The perfect strategies to get maximum nutrition benefits and variety of taste, – eat every type of food.
Let’s look over what you can add in your diet
Beans: Beans are among the superfood that you shouldn’t miss from your diet. They are a source of good carbohydrate, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Vegetable: Rich in antioxidants, fiber and other health-boosting nutrients, they should be a major part of the meal with beans.
Fish– Fishes are a great source of lean protein and Omega 3 rich fatty acids. They are better and healthier replacement for beef other high saturated fat food.
Nut– A great source of protein, and other minerals, the best food for snacking.
Whole-grain– whole-grains are a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
Fruits – Good source of antioxidants, fiber, and other minerals. They also satisfy our sweet tooth craving.
Egg, turkey, lean chicken- Good source of protein still better than high saturated and preservative loaded meat.
Herbs, spices– They also contain antioxidants, flavonoids, other health-boosting nutrients. They are a great medium to add flavor in meal cutting the need for any artificial flavorings.
Combining each food in a daily meal will allow you to receive the taste and nutrient. Eating healthy is not about any compromises as said by many when they asked to start eating healthy. When you start eating varieties and learn the right combination to eat, eating healthy becomes more fun.
3) Never Forget To Enjoy
The final strategy in the list is to enjoy whatever you do, whenever you get the chance.
Life is tough and for many foods is the escape point to find something new and food stand up to the promise. The food aroma, taste, and flavor act as an escape from a tough life. When we are with the food, we feel the worth of the effort and struggle we go through life.
Food is a moment to escape for many and it’s not a problem until we make it. Even I also love to eat food and find a moment of joy and escape, but it doesn’t mean I give myself the freedom to eat anything.
You can enjoy food outside when you go for dinner with family and friend, but it doesn’t mean you should overfeed or eat more than usual. When you go for dinner eat slowly and enjoy every bite with conversation. By following this step your will enjoy the meal and even don’t create a negative impact on health.
That was about the dinner with friend and family for outside food, what about daily eating routine. Healthy eating shouldn’t come between the moment to experience a rich taste of food or meal.
When you stop eating processed food for the meal and make time to cook food, soon you start to find better recipes to enjoy. You don’t need to stick to any one or two recipes, there are lots of recipes that need to explore.
If you are fond of food, then give time to explore and experience great taste a healthy food is meant to provide. As you start exploring such recipes, soon you realize that healthy eating doesn’t need to be a sacrifice it should a choice to eat the taste natural food hold.
The processed and convenience food provided with lots of artificial flavors that we thought is the real taste. As you move out of convenience and search for healthy food you will find lots of healthier food and even long range of benefits.