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A Finer Figure Flatters Your Health

(This article was contributed by a free-lance writer)

Sport, Outdoors, Nike, Just Do ItIf you’re dreaming of a new outfit, or getting back into your favorite jeans, changing to a more healthy diet can work wonders. But, beyond the new flattering figure, and perhaps more importantly, adapting healthier eating habits can significantly improve both your physical and mental health.

Your Diet and Physical Health

Poor eating habits can significantly impair your daily health and wellbeing. Diseases and health complications from poor food choices can include:
·   Obesity
·   High blood pressure
·   High cholesterol
·   Diabetes
·   Heart disease
·   Stroke
·   Osteoporosis
·   Some cancers

Your Diet and Mental Health

The connection between physical health and diet has a long history, but less so is the connection between our eating habits and our mental health. However, more and more research points to a clear correlation between the two.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, food choices have both a long-term and short-term impact on our mental health, “the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.”

At first glance, one might think that better nutrition won’t help their mental health because they don’t have schizophrenia, depression or other mental disease, but one of the key concepts in nutrition and mental health research is the ability of food to STOP the disease process from occurring.

The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry studied this directly, and determined that nutrition played a critical role in the “prevalence of and incidence of” mental disorders. They suggested that proper diet modification in a clinical setting was as important in psychiatry as it was in “cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.”

Your Diet and Addiction Recovery

If you’re in addiction recovery, your diet can play an important role in your recovery. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medical Encyclopedia reports that, “when a person feels better, they are less likely to start using alcohol and drugs again. Because balanced nutrition helps improve mood and health, it is important to encourage a healthy diet in a person recovering from alcohol and other drug problems.”

So, how do you go about it? Here are some tips to help you modify your eating habits.

  1.   Adding fruits and vegetables to your snacks and your meals is a
    great way to fill you up with few calories.
  2.   Monitor what you eat. In Linda W. Craighead’s book, The Appetite
    Workbook, she encourages breaking mindless eating
    habits by recording your food intake as well as your feelings
    before and after meals and snacks.
  3.   Drink plenty of water, and steer clear of beverages with sugar.
  4.   Eat more protein to boost your metabolism.
  5.   Swap your favorite comfort food cookbook for a healthy recipes
  6.   Exchange bad fats for good fats. Trans fat is something you
    should steer clear of as it has a clear link to inflammation,
    and in turn disease. Try healthier fats found in nuts, avocado,
    and olive oil.
  7.   Add at least eight ounces a week of seafood, such as salmon or
    tuna. Seafood is rich in protein, minerals, and heart healthy
    omega-3 fatty acids.

BONUS TIP: Incorporate exercise with your new eating habits. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that modifying your diet and exercise simultaneously has more effects than doing one or the other alone. Further, they found that working on diet first, may, in fact interfere with establishing a routine exercise program.

It’s important to remember, that you can control your risk for disease without simple diet modifications. You’ll not only be sliding into those old jeans, or that new outfit, you’ll be guaranteeing yourself a longer and healthier life.

by Kelley Coleman

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