Everyone knows that proper nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that the foods you buy and keep at home can also reflect your self-image? Healthy eating may seem difficult and expensive at first, if you are accustomed to eating packaged meals with processed ingredients, fast food, and foods loaded with additives, sweeteners, and preservatives. However, making a few simple changes to your fridge’s usual contents can be more beneficial (and cheaper) than you may expect. Consider looking inside your fridge to see if there are changes you could make to improve your overall health.
Foods That Support A Healthy Lifestyle
It is important to set goals for yourself in terms of your eating habits and spending habits for food. You may decide to eat healthier and buy a refrigerator full of fresh produce, but if you don’t eat it in time, it will just go bad, potentially making you sick and basically being a waste of money. Instead of trying to do a complete overhaul of your food routine all at once, most people find it more effective to make smaller changes over time to progressively improve their eating habits.
Making Better Food Choices
It’s difficult to abstain from some of your favorite unhealthy foods. It may also be hard to adjust your eating habits, even in small ways. For example, coffee has several health benefits for your brain and heart but adding creamers with artificial flavors and sweetening coffee with refined sugar dilutes the healthy aspects of coffee.
Look inside your fridge. How many foods contain artificial ingredients? How many include preservatives? How many foods purport to be low fat or sugar-free but contain artificial sweeteners and other harmful additives? Making healthy food choices not only means cutting out bad foods, but also including more healthy foods in your regular diet.
Cancer Prevention Foods
Cancer is a significant risk for countless Americans, and while it can be impossible to predict who will develop cancer and when, you can reduce your risk of certain cancers by choosing healthy foods that have cancer-fighting qualities. The American Institute for Cancer Research* recommends several foods to help you limit your risk of developing certain cancers, including:
- Berries, such as acai berries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
- Spinach, kale, and other dark, leafy greens
- Papaya, pomegranate, and melons
- Whole grains
- Beans and lentils
These are just a few foods you can try that have cancer-fighting qualities. Experiment with new recipes using these foods or replace ingredients in your usual recipes with a few of these foods for a healthy twist on your favorite meals.
Immune System Boosters
The human body is very good at repairing itself and fighting disease, but only when you support it with a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and limit your exposure to harmful substances and diseases. Some of the foods you may want to add to your diet for a stronger immune system** include green tea (which can provide a caffeine boost similar to a cup of coffee), turmeric, and garlic. Shellfish, poultry, and citrus fruits also have dense nutrient content and the vitamins your body needs for a strong immune system.
Quelling Cravings For Unhealthy Foods
Many foods the average American eats include substances that can be addictive. The main culprit is sugar. Any processed or refined sugar can be habit-forming and damage your overall health. Taking the time to explore healthier snacking options and replacing sugary foods in your fridge with organic fruits and other healthy treats is a great way to curb your cravings from sugar.
Eventually, healthier diet choices start feeling less like a chore, especially when you notice the benefits of making better choices. After a few months of cutting sugar from your diet, you will likely lose more weight than you may expect, even without exercising. Sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity, not fats as most people assume. Obesity causes a host of health issues, including a weakened immune system, increased chance of infection, joint and muscle strain, heart disease, and increased risk of certain cancers.
Foods To Avoid
If you plan to make better eating decisions, sugar should be the first thing to eliminate from your diet. While eating red meat is not inherently a bad thing, it’s important to limit your intake of beef and other red meats and choose poultry, shellfish, or wild-caught fish instead whenever possible. Finally, it’s a very good idea to limit packaged or processed foods. Avoid packaged foods that have lots of ingredients, frozen meals, and frozen meats.
How Your Diet Influences Your Self-Image
Diet has a profound psychological impact. A person may feel terrible in general most days without realizing that his or her poor diet choices are affecting mood and mental health. Eating habits invariably lead to changes in a person’s physique, so consistently eating fast foods and refined sugars will inevitably lead to gaining weight and eventually obesity.
Taking care of yourself can be a challenge if you don’t know where to start or if you feel guilty or ashamed of your past eating habits. Don’t let these feelings deter you from making better dietary choices. It is never too late to eat better, and the sooner you make these changes, the sooner your overall health and outlook will improve.
Food And Mood
A few of the core principles of healthier eating*** that will have a profound effect on your mood include:
- Planning meal times. Avoid snacking between meals and eat nutritious meals that give you energy and make you feel full.
- Eating easy-to-digest foods with healing properties.
- Avoiding harmful foods with unhealthy ingredients.
When you feel good physically, it can easily translate to a better overall mood and a stronger resistance to everyday stress. The foods we eat ultimately influence our sense of self, so remember that it is never too late to start with a clean slate and make better eating choices.