This article is the second issue of a series on healthy food habits. Click here to read the first issue: Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?
“The food we eat can either be the safest and the most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.”
Along with clothing and shelter, food is one of the three essentials for the survival of all living beings. Therefore, drastic changes in our lifestyle in the past few decades have necessitated urgent discussion on our dietary habits.
When we talk about healthy food, we also note other factors apart from balanced nutrition, such as freshness, and hygienic conditions for the preparation and consumption of food. Now, in the midst of our busy lives where a thousand things simultaneously pull at our attention, why discuss something as mundane as the importance of dietary habits and healthy food, a topic that was covered in the 6th standard? Well, because our food choices are dictated by our demanding lives– most of us are always late for work, and so prefer something that is quick to make and easy to eat. We even tend to skip proper meals at times, and instead opt for fast food. And while this may start as exceptions, they soon become habits and disrupt our meal cycle. Eventually, before we know, consuming processed food on a daily basis affects our health, and may even lead to the development of diseases like hepatitis, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
Every food item has a certain nutritional value. Our body requires nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals to serve various purposes and needs of the body. These nutrients are present in different food items in varying proportions, and a healthy diet effectively combines these nutrients in a balanced manner. As a large portion of our body is composed of water, it’s also important that we keep it hydrated. Therefore, a healthy, balanced is an important part of life as it provides the energy required to perform life activities, and impacts our everyday strength, performance and recovery.
Further, according to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the food we eat has an effect on both our mental and physical health; negligence here proves to be severely detrimental for ambitious people, as to meet challenging commitments one needs that the mind is healthy and well. A healthy mind does not merely prosper at work, but understands the value of maintaining a balance between personal and professional life, and as a result, excels at both. A composed mind is better at analysing and solving hurdles during social interaction. A healthy diet is also crucial for overcoming depression and anxiety.
A healthy lifestyle has short term as well as long term benefits. In the long term, combined with physical activity, a balanced diet can reduce the risk of having certain diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and so on. In the short-term, it can make us feel and look our best, give us more energy and help maintain a healthy weight.
Moving on, I would also like to emphasize on the endless benefits that healthy food habits have on one’s environment. Primarily, one’s socio-political environment refers to the everyday interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and even with strangers in public places. As we know, healthy food and metabolism play a vital role in influencing a person’s temperament– a happy and relaxed mind enables social interactions to become more active and positive. This also ensures that others involved in the process take away something positive and remain in a good mood, as opposed to the irritation caused by a frictional interaction. Moreover, a healthy and happy body that does not tire quickly is also more active during social interactions, and takes initiative to become the centre of social gatherings.
The other aspect concerning the effects of healthy food on the environment corresponds to the natural environment we inhabit. We are all well aware of the fact that the natural resources are rapidly depleting because of the abusive manners of humankind. Exploitative development with little regard for long-term sustenance is causing environmental problems like global warming, mass extinction of species, and is degrading the quality of resources like land, water and air. However, since we have a vast population to feed, it would be impractical to suggest that we completely abandon the process of development, industrialization and the use of modern methods. Yet, the heavy usage of harmful chemicals to increase production only caters to quantity, and not quality. And therefore, a gradual switch to organic food that is healthy will also support the regeneration of the natural environment.
While our lives may get busier in the pursuit of success, health is indeed a wealth we cannot afford to neglect at any point in time. It is not merely from the perspective of self-interest, but also as a responsibility one shoulders towards the society and the environment. Every time we eat something, it changes our lives a little. That change can either be one of the best things to happen to us, or it could be our downfall– the choice is ours.
**Indianfolk provides to you a new series on healthy food— a set of articles that guide you through the steps of a moving towards a healthy life, inspiring you to stay committed to a goal that will make you as well as the world you live in better. Stay tuned to the site for our next issue**
Picture Courtesy- Dr. Kellyann