Work On Your Wellness: Eat Right
No matter how busy the average workday is, it's imperative to take care of one's health. An unfit mind and body not only affects productivity, it can make life difficult. Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential part of staying fit, active, and happy. It's not an option — it's something we can't do without.
Eating for wellness
Keeping to a balanced diet can help maintain physical and mental health. Those who ensure they eat healthy food and get enough exercise are less likely to develop chronic lifestyle diseases, such as heart ailments, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Benefits of eating healthy food on a regular basis include (but are not limited to) the following:
Weight Loss: Eating less high-fat and high-sugar foods and more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, fish, and other lean protein can help maintain a healthy weight. Exceeding one's recommended calorie range regularly can cause weight gain and other health problems.
High-fiber foods help you stay full over a longer duration than sugar and other refined carbohydrates. A low-fat, low-sugar, and high-fiber diet will keep you from craving food at short intervals, so you'll be more likely to stay within your recommended calorie limit.
Diabetes Management: Regular consumption of high-carb foods, such as white pasta, bread, sodas, fries, ice cream, cakes, white rice, and junk food, which are believed to cause blood sugar spikes can lead to type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, complex carbs, such as whole-wheat breads and pasta, brown rice, pulses, and oatmeal, help to keep blood sugar levels under control. It's advisable for those with diabetes to also reduce the amount of saturated and trans-fats in their diet.
Increased Energy Level: A balanced diet with all the required nutrients provides adequate energy. Eating nutritious food regularly helps maintain healthy energy levels, which in turn keeps you motivated and active through the day.
Heart Health: A diet low in saturated and trans-fats helps prevent high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and the risk of clogged arteries. Replacing unhealthy fats with olive, sunflower, and peanut oils, reducing sodium intake, and eating more fish, whole fruits and grains, vegetables, and legumes is believed to promote heart health by keeping cholesterol and blood-pressure levels under control.
According to the American Heart Association's "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2019 Update," 121.5 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.
Decreased Risk of Tooth Decay and Osteoporosis: Ensuring adequate intake of calcium- and magnesium-rich foods can help keep teeth and bones strong, and prevent osteoporosis later in life.
Better Digestion: A high-fiber, low-sugar, and low-fat diet can improve digestion and metabolism.
Brain health: Studies have linked B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants to maintenance of brain health. So including adequate amounts of fish, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and berries in one's diet might help slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.
Reduced Risk of Cancer: Antioxidants are known to counteract free radicals, which can potentially damage healthy cells. Phytochemicals, such as vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, and lycopene, function as antioxidants.
A diet rich in fruits, legumes, nuts, and vegetables, which are sources of phytochemicals, can help reduce cancer risk. It's also important to minimize consumption of processed food.
Better mood: Some studies have found a link between a balanced diet and better state of mind. Eating enough fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, can help combat depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Processed foods, which are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, might worsen anxiety and depression.
Time to Shop and Cook
It's not difficult to make time to eat right once you decide that healthy meals are an essential part of daily life. You need balanced food to stay fit and productive. Even 30 minutes each evening can be adequate for a quick one-pot meal.
Try to keep some time free from checking e-mails and answering calls each evening, so that you can get your cooking done. Teaming up with a friend a few times a week is also a good way to ensure you prepare or purchase meals of your choice. When you make an appointment, you're likely to try and be there on time.
Meal Planning Apps and Tools
Apps and tools are a quick and convenient way to plan and shop for food if you are pressed for time. There are a number of free and paid options available online, which include:
Mealime is suitable for those who don't have the time to look for recipes online or spend much time cooking. It enables you to add your food preferences, based on which the app will curate recipes for you.
Paprika is an interactive meal-planning app that offers some degree of customization. It has a recipe clipper that enables you to save recipes from other websites. You can scale recipes up or down as well as customize ingredients.
AllRecipes Dinner Spinner is a great resource for recipes. They have an extensive database from which you can select recipes according to your dietary needs and time available for cooking.
Pepperplate is a popular app that enables you to save and organize recipes, based on which you can plan meals. It also provides guidance on how to cook.
Cooksmarts is an annual fee-based meal-planning tool that offers four new recipes, instructions, a grocery list, and videos per week.
There are many more. What suits you best will depend on your needs and priorities.
Learn to Cook
The healthiest and most palatable meals can be yours if you manage to prepare your own meals. Cooking gives you full control of your diet. You have the freedom to eat only what suits you and what you like. You can enjoy freshly cooked food every day, which is way better than refrigerated or processed food.
If you enjoy cooking, the possibilities are endless. You can try all kinds of combinations of different cuisines. Cooking is an art, which offers much creative satisfaction for those who are so inclined. Cooking your own meals is also a more economical option than ordering in or eating out. A little time spent shopping and cooking can save a large amount of money.
Can't/Won't Cook? You Still Have Options
If you just can't bring yourself to prepare your own meals regularly, don't worry. There are a number of options available.
Those who like cooking occasionally can cook for a week over the weekend and freeze single-serve portions, which just need to be heated at mealtime. This is a healthier and more palatable option than frozen meals available at supermarkets.
Healthy convenience meals and snacks are an option if you prefer not to cook. Canned fish, frozen vegetables, cooked beans, hummus, yoghurt, and wholegrain bread and crackers are more nutritious than junk food.
You can also check out the nearest health food shop for fresh salads, wholegrain and protein snacks, and other healthy food. Ordering in once in a while from organic and healthy meal providers is another option.
If you experience any of these signs on a regular basis, it's best to consult a doctor to see whether you need to be treated for a sleep disorder.