Let’s be completely honest, when it comes to food, we all have a personal relationship. For some, the deep seated emotional connection to food is positive, beneficial and healthful. However for the majority, food can be the constant spark that sets off negative emotions and reliance on very unhealthy habits. Our so called ‘disease care system’ is a direct result of ultra processed food and poor eating habits, however amidst the barrage of being a fast food nation, there are simple dietary changes you can make now to help you live healthier and longer.
1. Add in one healthy food every day
For most, being told you have to abstain from, eliminate, or flip your current eating habits upside-down, isn’t an easy feat for anyone. Rather, adding in a healthy food amongst a not so perfect eating routine gives you the ability to still eat what you want while finding room for an extra dose of health in your day. For example, if you eat a high sugar muffin and coffee for breakfast, a fast food meal for lunch, and a frozen microwaved meal for dinner, you’re certainly not advocating a health promoting lifestyle for yourself. Begin adding in an organic apple, a ginger tea, a small dose of organic peanut butter (on your muffin), or a handful of berries while on the run, and you’ll be instantaneously doubling or tripling your antioxidant intake for the day all while slowly setting the stage for a more healthy eating routine, one small step at a time.
2. Drink more water
Regardless of what you eat, drinking more water will only be of benefit. Dehydration is one of the top insults to general health, and being dehydrated tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually hungry when you’re not. Many people underestimate the power of water and consider it an inert substance. Little do many know that water is powerful and active and ensures thousands of chemical reactions in your body works the way they should. Water is, of course, the one substance on earth vital to life. Aim for half of your bodyweight in ounces per day as your ultimate goal (if you weigh 150lbs, then consume 75 ounces of pure filtered water per day).
3. Eat less
The science is firm on this one. Eating less, whether healthy foods or not, only benefits your overall health. Chronically consuming high amounts of calories consistently throughout the day doesn’t give your digestive system a moment to rest. Moving your body into a fasting state (such as overnight when you’re sleeping) allows your physiology to focus on repair and regeneration. Excessive intake of calories is directly linked to chronic disease, accelerated aging, reduced longevity, not to mention obesity. Reduced caloric intake, on the other hand, is strongly correlated to improved blood sugar control, healthier cellular chemistry, more energy, better mental clarity, increased lifespan, and a reduced risk of acute and chronic disease. Ultimately, aim to eat until you feel no more than 80% full during each meal or snack.
4. Eat more fat
Although many people still hold the perspective that all fat is bad, the science is firm on this one too; there’s a clinically relevant difference between healthy and unhealthy fats, and regularly consuming healthy fats will improve your health and help you live a more robust, longevity focused life. Consuming a moderate intake of healthy fats over the course of the day greatly helps sustain blood sugar levels, improves digestion, supports immune system function, and because every cell in your body requires fat to function, will globally provide the proper nutrition needed to optimally function and survive. Watch out for my upcoming blog post on cholesterol levels and fat intake for more information on specifics with respect to healthy fats.
5. Pull out your blender
Jumping into the world of smoothies can majorly help propel your current health forward. Because smoothies allow for a combination of so many healthy foods, are convenient, and taste so good, those who consume smoothies have an accelerated leg up on those who currently don’t include smoothies as a dietary option. Read more about smoothies on one of my previous blog posts “Smoothie Bowls: Why I Consider Them A Necessary Medicine”.
Let’s be up front when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and diet; what you eat can either make or break your health, however regardless of where your current dietary standards are now, the above recommendations, although simple, can have massively positive effects on living a healthier lifestyle, longer.