And so began my lesson on eating healthy. Dharma explained to me that there are ten good...no great...reasons for eating better. Healthy eating provides us with many benefits...and not one of them is about have a better beach body, although that could happen as a result of choosing foods that are nutrient-rich.
1. You'll be more productive. Just like your car, your brain needs good-quality fuel to make it work at peak performance. Eating unhealthy foods puts us at a 66% increased risk of productivity loss. Eating a healthy, balanced diet to make sure your brain has the fuel it needs means more energy and increased productivity at work.
2. You'll be happier. The foods we eat have an impact on our brains and how they function. I bet you didn't know that bananas contain 10 milligrams of dopamine which is one of our brains' chief mood boosters. And who says eating healthy can't taste good? Did you know that dark chocolate is packed with polyphenol which is known to boost serotonin levels, a key ingredient in many anti-depressants. And chocolate tastes a whole lot better!
3. You won't be as stressed. Certain foods have the ability to moderate the body's level of cortisol, the stress hormone. Some research suggests that foods packed with vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium help to reduce cortisol levels in humans. When the body is in a chronic state of stress, it breaks down protein to prepare for battle. Eating a protein-rich diet, including fish and dairy, can help replenish protein stores and keep cortisol levels at bay.
4. You'll control your weight. Replacing soda with water, replacing chips with a few carrots, and ordering a side salad instead of fries are easy, healthy, and yummy ways to cut back on calories without feeling deprived. Did you know that the average household spends $850 a year on soft drinks when they could be replaced with healthier (and free) water? Even if you drink bottled water, it's less expensive than soda. Especially when you factor in trips to the dentist to get those cavities filled!
5. You'll eat less. When it comes to good quality food, less is more. Fresh foods contain fewer low- (or no-)nutrient fillers that the body burns through very quickly. If you are buying, and eating, less food that's more money in your pocket!
6. You'll think it tastes better. Who wants to trade in a Big Mac hamburger for, say, a beet burger? Not many of us. But, really, if healthy food is prepared well it can taste delicious...even better than greasy fast food. One study has shown that healthy food is perceived as tasting better even if it doesn't. It's all in your head. So now's the time to retrain the brain.
7. You'll age better. You can improve the look and texture of your skin simply by eating better...no costly (and painful) surgical procedures or injections required! Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants can protect your skin. Those antioxidants found in fresh berries and the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon both help to improve the health of your skin cells and slow down the aging process.
8. You'll be healthier. Eating a diet that is low in nutrients can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. If you don't eat enough lean protein, your muscle mass will decrease as your fat stores increase. There's even some research that suggests that 30% of all cancers can be linked to poor diet.
9. You'll live longer. Eating healthier cuts back on the risk of certain diseases that lower your life expectancy. There is now good scientific evidence that vegetarian, or low-meat diets, can help you live a longer live (and it lengths the lives of those animals, too!) Another study suggests that eating nuts can also help you live longer. But no matter how you slice it, eating a healthy diet can help you live longer.
10. You'll save money. If you eat healthier, you cut back on medical bills. You eat less, so you save money on food. And when you eat more fresh foods, you have less trash...which can mean a saving in your trash collection bills. Plus it's good for the environment when you don't dump a lot of Styrofoam and plastic into the landfills.
Who doesn't want to feel better, look better, live longer, save money, AND help the environment? These are all great reason to begin eating better in 2018, am I right?
Dharma didn't eat much of the greasy spoon breakfast I prepared. And to tell you the truth, I kind of lost my appetite for it, as well. So after he left, I boxed up the leftovers and gave them away. When I got home, I vowed to eat healthier and began by cleaning out my food pantry. Next, I made a shopping list then headed to the store to stock up on fresh, wholesome foods. It may be a long time yet until "beach body' weather, but I will look good when spring finally does arrive. And even better than looking good, I'll feel better and have more energy. Dharma's lesson was just the kick in the pants I needed to start my new year off in healthy style!
See you all tomorrow! Peace.