The first thing that comes to mind when we think of eating healthy is how fantastic our bodies will look and feel. But did you know our mental health is affected just as equally by the food we consume? You should always eat nutrient-rich foods to help the mind in addition to the body!
These are five ways to improve your diet to enhance more than just your body:
Commit to meal prepping
The first step to staying committed to any diet is to prep and plan your meals every week. You will never have to think about what to eat throughout the day nor cook when you get home after a long shift! What’s more, meal planning and prepping enable you to make healthier food choices, thus keeping you consistent with a healthy diet every day. Being tempted to munch on office snacks and buy random take-out will become a thing of the past! But most of all, staying on top of eating your pre-made meals encourages the habit of discipline and self-control which can be translated into other actions, such as refraining from going out every weekend in order to save money.
Say goodbye to processed food
While we all love our fair share of dessert and fast food, it’s better to cut them out from our diets completely or indulge in them every once in a while. Processed food has no inherent nutritional value and is in fact, hazardous to our brain health. According to a study at Brown University, it was found that lab rats who were subjected to a processed food diet had significantly lower levels of insulin, the chemical necessary for proper neurological function in the brain. Without sufficient amount of insulin, the rats were more susceptible to suffering confusion, and their brains also developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease – especially, excess levels of amyloid plaque.
Practice mindful eating
Since we live in a world that thrives on technology, we’re mostly glued to our gadgets almost 24/7. However, when sitting down to eat a meal, technology or any other distraction should be silenced and put away – in other words, we must mindfully eat. Mindful eating is essential to improving one’s diet because it approaches the emotional relationship one has with their food. When implementing this technique, we’re able to taste, savor, and truly experience food, rather than offhandedly eat it while we multitask; additionally, we learn to tell the difference between eating when we’re actually hungry and emotional eating. This is important because doing so prevents overeating. The awareness of such an action can translate into other areas of your life, such as completing projects at work; when you learn to stay in the present moment, you can focus on accomplishing a task with more efficiency.
Be conscious of how you prepare food
The way you prepare your food is just as important as the food itself. For example, deep-frying a protein source and glazing vegetables in butter is not a healthy meal, despite using wholesome ingredients. But have no fear, healthy food does not need to be bland. In fact, it’s even more delicious than process food! The two main options you should take to jazz up your meals is utilizing spices and cooking food in a nutritious manner. There are hundreds of spices in the world; in other words, you have a more than a hundred flavor combinations to try out! On the other hand, the best healthy cooking methods that won’t compromise the nutritious value of your meal are broiling, grilling, and stir-frying.
Keep your eating schedule consistent
You burn more calories the more you eat! Every three to four hours, you should eat a full meal. Doing so prevents hunger, helps speed up metabolism, and even improves overall digestion. However, make sure that breakfast is eaten within the hour you wake up, lunch is served four hours afterward, and that you eat dinner than three hours before bed. An eating schedule promotes the habit of organization and consistency. This is a major plus since eating is a part of your daily routine already. Naturally, you will stay on the path towards maintaining your health as well as stay responsible with obligations in everyday life.
Your diet affects more than just your body and weight loss goals. It influences your mental health! But as long as you stay consistent and conscious with eating healthy and maintaining mindfulness, all you have to look forward to is feeling fulfilled, energetic, and fantastic inside and out.