How to take small steps towards health?
Food consumption has multiple etiquettes to it, but do we actually realize the importance of good eating habits?
What you eat is, what you become. We all have heard of this statement multiple times by our elders, but do we get the actual essence of it?
One answer to all of these is big – No!…Why so?
Well, 90% of us are unaware of some major food consumption facts and how they actually affect our overall system. Even the ones who are aware, they’ll never consider implementing any of these. Again, why so..?
Because, we never faced any consequences, regarding eating habits..!!
It may seem normal to follow wrong eating habits, but they actually trigger your system like a “Slow Killing Poison” overtime.
Let’s take a look below, why we need to change our habits and what habits we should start following more often.
Why do we need to follow good eating habits?
Wrong ways of food consumption are the first and foremost reasons that can lead us towards various health issues like, slow metabolism, acne, weight gain, constipation, bloating, thyroid, PCOD/PCOS, cancer and the list is just never-ending.
Just fixing our way of food consumption can help us heal from such health issues instantly.
Hence, I want you to learn, understand and gain knowledge about good eating habits for a healthier lifestyle, according to ancient as well as modern food science.
Here we’ll discuss all of this one by one all good eating habits and understand how it affects your health, if not changed right away.
11 Good Eating Habits For Everyone
1. Swear by homemade food
The scarcity of time to cook is very prevalent among working adults these days. This consistent urban fight has lead us to compromise on efforts to cook and eat whatever is most conveniently available to us.
Current research trends have observed, people who eat home-cooked meals less than three times every week are at a higher risk to gain cholesterol, hypertension, and higher body fat percentage.
Anything enclosed within bottles, cans, or packets has been processed with artificial colors, sweeteners, and taste agents. Consuming such food items on a regular basis may increase your exposure to harmful cancer-causing chemicals.
While on the contrary, more frequent consumption of home-cooked meals like, fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables were associated with better dietary quality, lower adiposity, normal range BMI, higher HDL levels, and normal body fat percentage.
Those who consume home-cooked meals more than five times per week are less likely to be overweight in the future.
(Read detailed research paper, here).
2. Plan your meals before eating
Planning is an initial step for any long-term successful outcome, people with little or no knowledge about nutrition struggle a lot even after starting a diet plan. To maintain a healthy weight, you must plan and semi-prep your meals a day prior to eating;
Start by writing list of a healthy ingredients and a full-day menu, what groceries to buy. Pre-planning stops your brain to crave junk and eating anything which is low in nutrition. How to start planning…? Well, indulge in reading little every day about foods you love, learn what’s their nutritional value and be experimental with various styles of cooking.
This will help you to gain more knowledge about nutrition and indulge you in right balanced meals as well as mindful eating habits.
3. Drink water but, the right way
Our body is made up of 60% water and it’s highly recommended for an average adult to drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day for better functioning of their body.
Many of us know all of these basics, but do you know, how and when to drink water? let’s take a look,
The best time to drink water is early morning on empty stomach. As soon as you wake up, sip on at least 1 liter of water to flush out all the toxins.
Drink water that is at room temperature or slightly lukewarm. The worst time to consume water is a post having a meal.
We should not consume water 1-2 hours of post-eating because as per ancient food science, drinking water post-eating may disturb gastric juices from completing the digestion of food. Hence, this can result in weight gain and slow metabolism.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a total of 13 cups (about 3 liters) of fluid each day for an average man.
Whereas for women, they suggest 9 cups (a little over 2 liters) of fluid each day. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water daily. Those who breastfeed need about 12 cups.
4. Don’t go overboard with the idea of drinking
Aiming just to complete your water goal for the day will not make you fit. Forcing self to drink excess water at a time might cause unnecessary pressure on the urinary bladder as well as kidneys. So, drink water when you feel thirsty and drink patiently.
5. Eat more water-rich food items
If you feel, you can not drink 2 liters of water in a day then, understand that body becomes hydrated by fluids, be it of any kind.
Water is not the only source to feel hydrated, you must give emphasis on consuming water-rich foods like, cooling beverages, fruits, and vegetables.
Cucumber, spinach, celery, ash gourd, watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruit, honeydew, green tea, lemonade, buttermilk, etc are all the most water-rich food sources that aid hydration and keep you full for longer.
6. Chew and eat slowly
Sit back relax, chew and enjoy every bite you dig into. It may sound weird but when you chew your food properly, you make digestion easy for your digestive system.
Your mouth is the first place where digestion gets started. The more you chew the more digestive enzymes present inside saliva help you break down the food you eat.
The more you break down what you eat will help you gain whole nutritional value from that meal. It may take few chewing motions to break down soft and water-rich foods. Ayurveda’s good eating habits advice for ease digestion is, to chew every bite of food at least 32 times for complete absorption of nutrients from food.
7. Read your Labels
If you live in urban cities you have to be dependent on some staple packet food sources like milk, butter, grains, and flour. This doesn’t mean you have to compromise with your health.
In such cases, you must start indulging in a habit of reading your labels. According to the biggest food authorities in the world everything packed has to display, a list of ingredients used and what is the nutritional value per serving.
Always read and compare, if your daily packet food source is actually providing you for what you pay them. If no, then it’s high time to switch and look for better options in the market.
8. Eat seasonal and regional
Globalization has made it possible to get anything anywhere in this world. Many exotic fruits and vegetables that are not even grown in our country can be found in the market very easily like, dragon fruit, avocados, blueberries, asparagus, etc.
Do you know exported food items are not good for us..! Why…? Because, firstly they are overpriced, secondly most of these crops are harvested before their ideal ripe time due to which they are not even developed to provide their claimed nutritional benefits.
Whereas, local food in your region will be, less processed, completely ripe, and better for your health. So, eat what’s local and within your budget.
9. Leftover food is not good
Most youngsters these days, who live alone cook in big quantities to make life easier and reduce their cooking burdens at times.
Eating leftover food may cause ‘Food Poisoning’. Understand that leftover food has to be stored inside freezers and reheat every time you eat it, such miscellaneous steps promote the growth of bacteria and microbes in food and deteriorates the essence of the right nutrition.
Health requires little effort, good eating habits says, cook fresh in small quantity everyday.
10. Take a rest from eating
Fasting has been there in every culture and religion for ages, ancient food scriptures in Ayurveda have mentioned that our body has the power to heal any disease on our own if we just give it some time off from eating.
Fasting has helped people fight diseases like Acne, Cancer, Thyroid, and Diabetes with added benefits like fast metabolism and increased levels of immunity.
Just like you take rest from work once a week for better concentration and focus. Try to give your digestive system some rest from eating at least once every week.
Practices like Intermittent Fasting (IF), Juice Fasting or Full Day Fasting are getting really popular worldwide due to their major detox benefits.
11. Too much caffeine and insomnia
Caffeine is a ‘Natural Stimulant’ and a stress buster if consumed within limits. Around, 200-400 mg of caffeine (that is 2-4 cups of brewed coffee) is fine for an average adult daily.
Workaholics these days binge on a new snack called ‘Caffeine’, all the time. If you drink more than 700 mg caffeine daily, chances are that you may experience disturbed sleeping cycles or insomnia (no sleep cycles).
This further affects your brain functioning where you might feel, anxious, nauseous, stress, depressed, and constant headaches.
Caffeine is good to accelerate the rush of adrenaline and in your brain making you feel more alert, but only when you follow the recommended limits.
3 Good Eating Habits, To Teach Your Kids
12. Protein is a building block
Indulge your growing kids to eat a more protein-rich diet like lentils, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and seeds.
Consuming a high-quality lean source of protein will enhance their brain functioning, reduces symptoms of fatigue, and increases levels of immunity.
13. Feed your kid’s the natural sources of food
Stop serving excess poison from packets to your little munchkins.
Keep kids away from carbonated drinks and packet snacks as I’ve already mentioned above, carbonated drinks and packet food contains artificial sweeteners, preservative and harmful chemicals in them, which may hinder your kid’s growth years and brain development.
14. Sit down with your kids and eat with them
If your child doesn’t finish any of his/her meals properly. Then you must stop them from getting disturbed while eating.
Eating while playing or watching T.V can divert their brains from mindful eating. Start by serving small portions at a time.
Sit down with your kids while eating and introduce them to what you have served to them. Tell them encouraging good eating habits and food facts so, they start getting engaged in finishing their meals.
3 Good Eating Habits for Senior Citizens
15. Eat less to live more
Most elderly people find it difficult to digest food after a certain age. This happens because over time we tend to lose our strength over internal organs.
Eat less than the feeling of being full because excess food needs excess energy for digestion and due to this our digestive system constantly suffers from a slow metabolism and food sensitivity after a period of time.
In such cases, Ayurveda suggests eating 10-20% less than the feeling of getting full.
Please understand, eating less doesn’t mean compromising on nutrition. You just try to minimize your portions as you age.
Less eating or controlled portion will consume less energy for digestion of food and quality sources will help in better absorption of nutrients for energy.
16. Eat more Fiber
As you start to age, your digestive system starts getting weak with respect to your metabolism. In most such cases digestive tract starts to get blocked because of constipation.
At this point in time, the major emphasis for you should be on eating fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, and tender green vegetables.
All these foods are rich in roughage, which later helps in the smooth passing of stools from blocked or thickened digestive tracts.
17. Eat Your Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants
Aging is a part of getting mature, one can’t stop aging but we can always slow down this process with the help of proper nutrition and an active lifestyle. To look younger, make sure that your diet contains rich sources of essential:
Vitamins like A, B-complex, C, and D. will increase the longevity of your eye health, bones, skin, and hair. Minerals like Iron, Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium. These will help you fight anemia, osteoporosis, risk of kidney stones and increases your levels of immunity even when you age.
Antioxidants like, Retinol, Resveratrol, Flavonoids, and Polyphenols found inside berries, herbal tea and nuts will help you further to build collagen, fight harmful UV rays skin damage and accelerate the cell renewal process.
4 Good Eating Habits For Healthy Weight Loss
18. Eat salads first
Previously salads were known as a method to pickle green vegetables with salt and vinegar dressings, but these days most fitness enthusiasts love to eat salads as a complete meal replacement or a hunger suppressant prior to their main meal.
What’s the benefit of eating a salad before my meal…? Well, eating raw salads before any dense calorie meal will help you stop overeating more calories. Most of the raw vegetables are full of fiber and water, hence makes you feel fuller for longer.
So, always eat a big portion of your favorite veggies, with light salad dressings like lemon, salt, vinegar, and black pepper.
19. Cut down on Salt
Every meal will be absolutely tasteless without salts in it but, do you realize salts are leading you to gain ‘water weight’.
Salts or higher sodium intake especially, white table salt can cause higher water retention in your body.
Approx 60 percent of your water weight is a part of your total body weight but any higher percentage of water being held in your system can refer to as water weight or ‘Bloating’. To minimize water retention in your body, cut down on excess use of salts in your meals.
20. Stay away from refined sugar
For those who don’t know, white sugar is ‘Empty Calories’ meaning, it’s a source of nothing but even though it’s high in calorie content.
Most of the regular packet beverages and alcohol are full of fructose, a type of simple sugar. It provides no sustainable energy instead of high calories in them might lead to weight gain.
So, if you want to lose weight faster better to quite a sugar, and if you want to eat sweet but in form of quality calories, try to switch over healthy sweeteners like Raw honey and Jaggery but only in an ideal amount.
21. Track your meals
Tracking your meals can be super beneficial for all the newbies who struggle with portion control. Overeating and eating without realizing about their per day maintenance calories intake might be another major reason for obesity or malnutrition.
Average adult men need approximately 2000-2500 calories and average adult women need 1500-1800 calories for daily maintenance of their body. This maintenance number might be different for everyone as per their daily activity levels.
If you are eating more or less than this average intake, it will directly start affecting your body weight by making you Overweight or Underweight. Health and calorie trackers like, ‘HealthifyMe’ or ‘My Fitness Pal’ are such a blessing for all of us to track our meals and required calories for the day.
What you eat, at what time you eat and how you eat, is what you actually become..!!
Now, as you’ve finally managed to realize all the loopholes in your eating. Hence, you are ready to switch over to a healthier tomorrow.
This article contains general good eating habits for all so, don’t forget to share all of these good eating habits with your close friends and family for better health.