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7 reasons to eat better

By Morenike Taire
Lose your Gut

Year after year, you make that resolution to lose your gut, amassed by years and years of sitting at a desk, having a baby or drinking too much booze. And you still don’t.

Studies show that excess weight in the mid section is one of the strongest indicators of heart disease and strokes, and the best way to get rid of belly fad is a radical change of diet. Oatmeal, olive oil, some legumes, green leafy vegetables and-yes- eggs are all foods that would help flatten your tummy in record time, provided you stick only to them.

Live Longer

Needless to say, better eating would improve your body functions and when they improve, it will definitely slow down the ageing process. Yoghurt, garlic, shellfish, sweet potatoes and mushrooms are believed to boost immunity in no small way. Foods rich in antioxidants will also reverse the effects of years, wears and tears on the length of your years.

Boost Fertility

The link between fertility and food has been scientifically established a long time ago. Foods such as brown rice, salmon, broccoli, sunflower seeds and yes, red meats have been identified as good foods to get pregnant and stay that way, at least until the baby is born.

Brown rice in the diet is believed to maintain a normal blood-sugar level, which  is important for fertility as big bursts of insulin can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Broccoli and other dark green, leafy vegetables are high in phytosterols, which support our hormone system and are especially important for women wanting to conceive. It is also important for preventing oestrogen overload in the body, a condition more common in women wanting to conceive once they are in their mid-30s or older.

Get more active

It’s not easy getting eight hours of sleep per night. For those of us who are overstressed and sleep-deprived, there’s a healthy way to boosts energy and fuels workouts without the pending sugar crash that comes along with energy drinks. The first thing you will actually notice when you start eating healthy is how energetic you are all of a sudden. You wake up in the morning and you’re ready to go, plus you’ve dozed off the second your head touched the pillow.

Egg yolks are naturally rich in B-vitamins, which are responsible for converting food into energy and they also have Vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Plus, they’re one of the best sources of protein, which is essential particularly after an intense training session when muscle breakdown occurs the most.

Other energy booster foods are cereals, dry fruits and mixed nuts.

Improve your Skin

It’s been said that what we ingest is far more important to the skin than what we apply to our skin. As much as we try to resist it, our skin does age. Wrinkles and age spots are the result of gradual, accumulated damage from the sun, strong soaps, chemicals and poor nutrition. Include antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables containing beta carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds – provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E, which will help protect against free radical damage.

Spend Less

If nothing else inspires you to change your eating habits, this surely must:  it actually saves you money.

While losing the calories, you will be retaining something much more valuable- cash. This is because in third world countries such as ours, local, unprocessed and organic food is actually cheaper.

It’s true, that agelong saying- the best things in life are free

Think Clearly

Better nutrition does not only ensure all your body systems work optimally, the brain function is also enhanced for longer.

The brain is the most energy greedy organ in our bodies, weighing only 2% of our total body weight but consuming more than 20% of our caloric intake.

There are also other nutrients the brain uses, though not as fuel. Our brains are made up of 60% fat and low levels of fats in food and the body can contribute to depression, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. You do have to choose good, healthy fats though, like those found in seeds, nuts, algae, coconut, and avocados. These contain the essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that we require for health, along with nonessential fatty acids that are also beneficial.

Saturated fats should be used in moderation, but can still be a part of a healthy diet, especially coconut oil which has shown some promise in raising good cholesterol levels, weight loss, and combating brain disorders and degeneration. Avocadoes, dark chocolates, coconuts and beans.

7 ways to eat better

Know your Nutrition
It’s all well and good to want to eat well, but first you must know what that truly means. Get yourself on nutrition 101, read up everything readable about nutrition and keep up with new advances. Could be fun.

Plan
Clichéd, but it’s true what they say: to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail. Not only must you have clear meal plans, a lot of the planning must be psychological to start with.

Get recipes
Precisely because you are not in the habit of eating well, most of the food you know how to prepare are with materials that are not good for you. To spice up your new habit, find new recipes that are to your taste, but actually different from the usual trash.

Do Local, but not Always
It goes in line with common sense to always choose foods that are locally available or that are in season. However that can make for a very boring diet all round. Looking for material for your food can be as much fun as shopping for a dress, when you’re into it.

Plant a vegetable garden
Grow organic crops yourself, this being the best way to obtain organic food always and at a cheaper price. You can start a small backyard garden and will be amazed at the amount of money you will save. Get seeds from agriculture shops which sell organic seeds. If you want to grow your own

Exchange ideas
So, they say show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are and you think that’s a dated idea? Think again, because nowhere is this saying true than in the area of eating well.

Seek to acquire converts and disciples from work, club or the gym just so you can exchange ideas, goals or even just to spur one another on. Someone might just know where to get that purple cabbage you need to complete your upcoming Sunday recipe, or save you from cheating when you’re starving and there’s no healthy food in sight.

Be realistic
Don’t bother seeking to change your eating habits overnight, because we all know that’s simply not going to happen. Rather, what you need the most is to first of all begin. Like for all huge accomplishments, making small changes periodically would carry you much further than one massive big change.

All you really need to start is a short pencil and a long will. First, write down all the incriminating foods you presently consume on a daily basis including snacks. Particularly snacks!

Next, pencil down all the places that trigger off your bad habit. Like an addict, get off the habit one food at a time. Record your victories and celebrate- with more healthy stuff.
Fortunately there is a good alternative to every bad food.

Statistics

200 million
200 million acres of genetically modified insect-resistant, herbicide tolerant corn have been cultivated worldwide.
50%
After GM soy was introduced in the UK, allergies from the product skyrocketed by 50 percent, and in the U.S. in the 1980s, a GM food supplement killed dozens and left five to 10 thousand others sick or disabled
2.9
Fruit and vegetable consumption is falling. The lowest
10% of households by income purchase the least fruit and vegetables at an average of 2.9 portions per person per day in 2011, 14% less than in 2007.

500,000
In some parts of Africa, 500,000 go blind each year. If rice can be modified to contain more vitamin A, the number of people going blind will decrease according to GM promoters.

11Million
Globally, Nigeria faces one of the largest burdens of malnutrition. Out of the total 165 million chronically malnourished children, Nigeria accounts for over 11 million.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.