Eat Better, Live Better
Eating well can bring so many benefits, booth physical and mental. Here are just a few you can enjoy
A well-balanced diet has an abundance of benefits. Consumption of the right foods can affect your levels of “happy hormones” such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as lower your levels of stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In fact, a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study found that people who ate flavonoid-rich dark chocolate before going through a mock interview, experienced lower levels of adrenaline.
Research has shown that eating a Mediterranean diet rich in veggies, legumes, nuts, and fish, in the years before you fall pregnant, reduces your risk of developing hypertensive disorders like pre-eclampsia by 42 per cent. According to 2015 ob-gyn guidelines from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, your diet (right down to what you ate during your childhood), can also affect your fertility and your future baby’s health.
At the onset, buying fresh produce may cost more per day than junk food, but think about it in the long term – choosing healthy foods will save you more money by preventing diet-related diseases (and potentially hefty medical expenses). Here’re more reasons why it’s important to eat well:
IT’S BETTER FOR YOUR SKIN
“Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin,” says Dr Jessica Wu, the author of Feed Your Face. “If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be. For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, you are depriving your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen (which makes your skin strong) and elastic tissue (which makes it supple). If you struggle with acne, your skin may also benefit from a Low-GI diet of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and beans. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, breakouts can be triggered by high-GI foods like chips, potatoes, and white bread.
IT’S HEALTHIER FOR YOUR BRAIN
If you want to be more productive, increasing your daily servings of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits can improve your mental wellbeing (researchers say the optimum intake is four to five portions of fruit and four to five portions of vegetables). Adding plenty of omega-3s to these antioxidants will also boost your smarts and protect your brain from age-related disease. In fact, a Brigham Young University study of 19,800 workers, found that people who ate well daily were 66 per cent more productive than those who consumed junk food regularly.
IT HELPS YOU TO SLEEP BETTER
A study published in health journal, Appetite, found that people who ate a wide variety of foods, consumed high amounts of anti-oxidants, and drank the most water every day, enjoyed better quality of sleep and slept for longer durations, when compared to those with poor dietary habits. Short sleep was associated with increased energy intake and decreased food variety, especially those who consumed less relative protein and carbohydrates than normal sleepers. If you’re really crazing for those Zs, eat right to sleep better.