Foods – the source of energy and health-boosting nutrients, responsible for nourishment and protection from common health issues.
If your current food doesn’t play the roles mentioned, then you should look over, what you are eating.
Every food you eat doesn’t need to be healthy. Food that provides energy doesn’t need to provide health-boosting nutrients.
Depending on the nutrient a food provides and nutrient your body absorbs will decide the benefits you receive from a food or meal. There are lot more issues to be glorified but for now, we will look over a few of the strategies that you can take away and apply to get benefits.
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 packed in each food. These food are nutrient dense and 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 food starts with whole-food but the nutrients which make them whole or healthy are removed.
Fiber, one of the most important 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 these fiber is responsible to slow down the digestion process thus making sure energy releases slowly for few hours.
When you start eating whole food in your diet, you will find a change in your energy level. You find out that you eat less frequently but the energy level is better. There is no crash of energy and you are able to do things you want.
As major of time you eat whole food, the body receives enough nutrients and slow release of energy is responsible for continuous energy supply throughout the day.
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 the 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 are both 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. Without satiety and slow-digesting nutrients, you feel the need to eat frequently thus you eat and overeat which is a reason for weight gain or obesity.
Unhealthy eating can be into two, it’s can be a habit or craving /addiction that makes us eat unhealthy food.
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 a 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 body won’t feel the need to eat frequently and you won’t overeat, thus avoiding unhealthy weight gain or obesity.
3) Loads Of Health Benefits
The rate of health problem increased with the dependency on processed food.
In past few decades look over the change in eating pattern, change in food choice, also the 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 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 health had the major impact.
Your health, energy, skin all have a direct impact with your food choice you eat. Eat processed food and it will disrupt your hormones and natural body functions.
The benefits mentioned earlier has related to the health benefits that whole food provide.
When you eat whole-food you get all the nutrient. These nutrients prevent unwanted weight gain and it is one reason that protects from many of health problem.
Quick a food digest, there will be sugar rollercoaster in blood. Blood sugar rises quickly which is not a good thing, to prevent any health complications, pancreases release insulin to bring down the blood sugar to a healthy level. When this process continues for an extended time period, pancreas burns out and are not able to function properly. Also with lots of insulin release, there is even insulin resistance, where body cells don’t respond to insulin normally. This both condition leads to Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is just the start when unhealthy eating continues, it even promotes other health problems like 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. The better the food you eat better will be the protection.
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
One of the most important parts missed is, taking the right care of the gut health.
Gut wasn’t considered much 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 have a limited digestive capability. The remaining indigestible carbohydrate and protein (10-30% of total ingested energy) that the colon receives are absorbed due to 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, on the exchange of healthy foods. When you eat healthy whole food, it receives nutrient to feed on and grow their population. Soluble fiber is a most important nutrient that gut bacteria feed on which we can get from whole-foods.
Preservative in fast food or processed food isn’t good for your 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 to get maximum from food is to eat a combination, allowing the body to get access to 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.
To get protein for complete utilization of protein body need all sets of essential acids. 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 the cells and use it properly thus dumping all the amino acids you eat. It doesn’t matter how much protein you eat if your diet has complete amino acids, every protein turn 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 few servings of non-veg and veg will provide quality and quantity. While adding few complete protein foods with 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 tacos, succotash, sushi, peanut stew, Cajun red beans and rice, Indian lentils served over rice (dal), Chana Masala(Indian chickpea eaten with rice), mujadara, Gallo Pinto, etc.
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 prefer food that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acid foods like fishes, nuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, olive oil, etc. Better the combination you choose, more you will receive omega 3 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 and end up as a waste.
3) Taste, Flavour, and Satiety
Food is a source of nutrients and provides health-boosting nutrient, but during past few decade foods were just looked as a source of taste and flavor. It is also been looked as a medium to cut hunger.
Foods are the source where can get taste, flavor, and satiety – get all of these and you won’t look for a processed food.
Unprocessed and right combination of food is more tasty and flavourful than processed foods. They not only meet the body need to fulfill hunger but also body nutrient requirement.
A combination of food that includes fat, protein, spices, herbs, are more flavourful and hunger buster. You are able to fill the craving of taste bud, stomach, and cells.
Taste craving: By providing rich taste and flavor that taste buds demand
Stomach: When you eat fat, fiber, and protein you provide it food that keeps it 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 said as a healthy eating that will nourish and fulfill 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 a low content of each nutrient.
A 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 their unique nutrition profile, so it’s our responsibility to make food choice depending on its nutrient content thus binding 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 every day 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 rich 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 you 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 can 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 foods that you can 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 wasn’t a sacrifice it was a choice.
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.