Food is energy and fuel for our body and so much more than that. Many people see food in numbers, counting calories, paying attention mostly to how much food and calories they consume in order to not gain weight or lose weight. Others do not pay attention to what they eat at all, just feeding themselves with what is in front of them or seems like the tastiest or easiest in that very moment. If we do that we forget to pay attention to what we are eating in terms of nutrients and deprive ourselves of an important quality of food: nourishment. In this post I will explore why we should not only look at how many calories we consume, but at what we eat and why this is so important on a physical level for our health in the here and now and later in life.
Our diet strongly influences mind and body and our mind also influences our nutrition. In some of my older posts I have already addressed the connection between mental well- being and nutrition (here and here for example). This post focuses on the physical benefits of providing your body with a nutrient dense diet.
Many people only truly start caring about their health when they are sick, but we should do so when we are healthy in order to stay healthy. Caring about health is being expressed differently in different people. Some start to actually take care of themselves once they have experienced not being healthy. Some tend to complain when they are sick or not feeling well without truly reflecting on their habits and lifestyle. Others simply accept the given situation without acknowledging the amount of influence they can have over their health. The truth is we do have a lot of power over our well- being and health. There are of course things and developments, which we cannot influence but to a large extend we can influence our health. In order to do so we must want to care for ourselves, spend some time and effort on it and implement healthy habits on a daily basis as a lifestyle and not just temporary short-lived changes.
What we eat today not only influences our health in the here and now, but also later in life. Our body doesn’t forget. Luckily though it has a natural capacity to revive. The reason why even people who constantly feed their bodies toxins do not immediately get sick is because our body is strong and has its own detoxification system. It has the capacity to recover even from the strongest diseases or toxins. Our bodies naturally repair what is broken. If we constantly get in the way of this amazing system and block it by feeding our body with unhealthy food and drinks it cannot refer to its natural system of recovering, but has to focus on eliminating the toxins we put into it. Over time these toxins accumulate and may overwhelm our system with the possibility of eventually leading to a crash.
Not all bodily problems are caused by our choices. Certain things are pre-determined by genes. As research shows though we even have a lot of influence on that. Our lifestyle can determine whether certain genes are being activated or not. So excuses that certain problems run in the family are not enough, because we can still to a certain degree influence in what way these genes are being expressed with our choices.
Besides not only eating unhealthy foods it is also important to eat a variety of different nutrient dense foods. Different kinds of food have different properties, vitamins and minerals. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients on a regular basis.
The old sentence ‘eat the rainbow’ is very true. If our diet includes all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains we will definitely be on the safe side.
Eating healthy is not difficult it actually is very simple. The closer the food is to its natural state the denser in nutrition it is. However, it might require some time and effort to develop healthy eating patterns if you are not used to it. The reward is the biggest you can get: health and well- being.
Part of a healthy diet definitely is cooking and preparing food by yourself. This is not necessarily time consuming as believed by many. There are so many ways of preparing food, which are fast and easy. If you have an intense and busy daily life you can always pre- cook or pre- pare on the weekend or during the week when you have some free time.
Our bodies and fresh foods are smart and work well together. All we have to do is to understand that and not mess up our well functioning system with overloading it with sugar, unhealthy fats, preservatives, food coloring, taste enhancers and depriving it of the nutrients needed. Most of us can enhance our way of eating. Even if it is small changes our bodies and health will already be thankful for it. Maybe you could take some time today or tomorrow to reflect on your eating habits and see what small (or big) changes you can make.
Wishing you a healthy and happy rest of the week,