It is currently the season of Lent, when Catholics cut down on their excesses and certain indulgences. Food is one of those things most people incorporate into their cleanse.
But you don’t have to be a Catholic to adopt a certain dietary regimen. Most people use this period as an opportunity to eat healthy and stay fit. Healthy eating doesn’t mean you deprive yourself of essential foods that get you through the day; it means having a good balance with the right vitamins, even though you cut down the quantity.
How a healthy diet improves your mental and emotional health
Everybody knows eating the right helps you stay fit and avoid certain health issues, but your diet can have a significant effect on your mood and general wellbeing. Eating unhealthy has been linked to certain conditions such as ADHD, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Including more fresh fruits and vitamin-rich vegetables into your diet, eating home-cooked meals and reducing sugar intake can improve your mood. They also reduce risk of exposure to mental health problems. While there are some foods or nutrients known to impact mood positively, your general diet pattern is what’s most important.
To sum it up, switching to a healthy diet shouldn’t be an all or nothing decision. You don’t have to be perfect, neither do you have to eliminate completely, the foods you love.
Eating for success
To adopt a successful healthy eating habit, think of a healthy diet as a number of small, adaptable steps. For example, including salad in your once a day, instead of making a significant change altogether. The longer you maintain these small changes, they become a habit, and you can begin to include more healthy options.
Here are some ways to maintain a healthy diet
Cook more of your own meals
With home-cooked meals, you take control of your diet and better monitor what goes into your food. It is also a way to maintain top hygiene conditions.
Make the right changes
When you cut off unhealthy foods, it is only right that you replace them with healthy substitutes. Consider replacing processed sugar with natural ones. For example, switching brown sugar for honey can make a positive impact on your health. Or opting for refined carbohydrates instead of animal fats. Say, a sugarless donut is more likely to reduce risk of a heart disease than a slice of bacon.
Rather than become obsessed with calorie counting, think of your food regimen in terms of colour, freshness and variety. Avoid packaged or processed foods, opt for foods with fresh ingredients.
Read the labels
Become label conscious. You want to know what manufacturers are putting in the foods you buy, so take some time to read their labels.
Focus on your mood after a meal
This will help encourage healthy new practices and tastes. The healthier you eat, the better your mood after you eat. Junk foods tend to make you feel less comfortable, nauseous or weary, while vitamin rich fruits reinforce you.
Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated flushes waste and toxins out of the system. Instead of sodas, try drinking more water (six glasses a day). Beware of mistaking thirst for hunger, so ensure you are well hydrated.
Your healthy food regimen doesn’t have to end after 40 days (or so). If you make it a part of your lifestyle, you’ll soon begin to see the benefits of your decision.