how small switches in what you eat can really boost your health
Ever heard of the saying “you are what you eat”? In many ways, it’s true. The food you eat can affect your health and even risk for certain diseases. It can determine whether your skin looks drab or dashing, and even impact your moods. In other words: a good diet could well be key to a good life (or a healthier one, at least!).
That doesn’t mean you should drastically change the way you eat, of course. And you don't have to change your habits all at the same time. Instead, try to set small goals and switch things up gradually -- they say it takes three weeks to turn anything into a new routine -- so that you won’t even realise you’re doing it.
Overtime, your health and body will thank you. Not sure where to start? Below, we’ve rounded up seven changes that can make a regular diet a little bit healthier.
Get your five a day
Vegetables are a great source of healthy nutrients like fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. They also play a big role in helping people lose or maintain weight, and great little ways to help fill you up. Plus, when you're eating more low-calorie vegetables, there's less space for eating less higher-calorie, less-healthy foods. So keep more fruits and vegetables at home and at work. Focus on adding healthy food to your diet, rather than just taking unhealthy foods away.
Choose whole grain-bread over refined
Say goodbye to your white sandwich bread and opt for whole grain loaves instead. Not only does whole-grain taste better (in our humble opinion), but it’s also been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer; and it’s a good source of fiber, B vitamins and several minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Want to make your switch extra healthy and delicious? Choose breads that contain whole seeds and grains.
Eat with others
In a world where we’re constantly rushing about or, let’s face it, glued to our devices, it’s easy to forget that eating is a pleasure, not a chore. So find time to appreciate just that. Eat your meals with others when you can -- Regularly eaten meals that are prepared and/or eaten in company tend to be more nutritious and healthier. People who eat meals together have been shown to eat more fruit and vegetables as well as more dairy and fibre than those who eat alone, not to mention forge better relationships with people. This, in turn, has a positive effect on our health and happiness.
Eating together is about coming together; about belonging. In our new normal, that’s more important than ever before.
Drink more water
You know about this one already: Many studies have shown that drinking water may benefit weight loss, weight maintenance and even slightly increase the number of calories you burn daily, not to mention improve your skin, keep things moving digestion-wise, and even improve your moods and state of mind.
If you live in a city as hot as Bangkok, water is all the more important, as it helps replace the fluids we lose through sweat.
Swap your sugary drinks for infusions and teas
Once you’ve upped your water intake, this should be next on the list. Swap Coke and tonic water (their amount of sugar is among the unhealthiest things you can ingest) for sugar-free alternatives -- sparkling water, sugar-free beverages or, even better, good-for-you teas and infusions, like those you can make from Moringa leaf powder.
Our beloved miracle plant contains high concentrations of polyphenols to reverse oxidation in the liver, and preliminary research has shown moringa consumption to reduce liver fibrosis and protect against liver damage. With a whopping 30% of fiber, most of it insoluble, it also helps improve digestion and has shown to help with digestive disorders like colitis thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Need one more reason to go make yourself a little extract now? In a series of lab studies, the leaf powder has been effective at reducing lipid and glucose levels and regulating oxidative stress -- meaning it helps balance blood sugar.
Eat from smaller plates
It has been proven that the size of your dinnerware can affect how much you eat. Serve dinner in a large plate and your portion might look smaller, which in turn might make you want to eat more of it (studies have supported this, showing that people tend to eat as much as 30% more when their food is served in a large bowl or on a large plate).
On the contrary, pick smaller dinnerware and you’ll trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more, making yourself less likely to overeat.
So simple, right?
Take the right supplements
Many of us don’t get enough nutrients and vitamins from the food we eat. A case in point: studies have shown that almost 42% of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D -- a fat-soluble vitamin that is very important for bone health and the proper function of your immune system. The same goes for Omega-3s, which help fight inflammation and keep the body in a more balanced state, yet are hard to come by in the food we put on our tables.
The solution: supplements. Omega 3s, Vitamin D and even Moringa supplements can all give your body the boost it needs to ensure it functions properly.
Moringa supplements, in particular, have been shown to lower fasting glucose levels in postmenopausal women, increase dopamine and serotonin (the "happy hormones") levels, and significantly lower inflammation in cells.