Approximately 2000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, uttered a simple truth when he said that all disease begins in the gut. It was merely an idea back then, but nowadays we have medical evidence to support this statement. It appears that 70% of the body’s immune system is formed in the gut, meaning that the gut microbiome plays an essential role in our overall health.
It’s pretty obvious that in order to improve gut bacteria and strengthen our microbiome, we have to pay great attention to what we put on our plates. The problem is that healthy eating is not exactly something that the modern man is particularly good at. On the contrary, our eating habits are worse than ever. A lot of people these days skip breakfast, snack several times a day, and have a diet that is mostly made up of processed foods. Fruits, vegetables, and fresh produce are way down on their priority list.
Letting go of bad eating habits and replacing them with healthier choices is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it’s not impossible either. So, if you want to make a meaningful change in your life and become a healthier person, here are six eating habits that will help you achieve your goal.
Cut back on processed foods
Highly processed foods are convenient, affordable, tasty, and heavily marketed. That’s what makes them such a popular option among consumer, albeit not a very healthy one. It’s hard to resist the temptation of buying ready-made meals when you’re always on the run and cooking is not your strong suit, but the unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium, fat and preservatives that most of these foods contain should get you thinking.
Obviously, if they dominate your fridge and pantry, it’s not going to be easy to get rid of them. The key is to start slowly and eliminate them gradually. Start with the most heavily processed foods and replace them with healthier alternatives. Taking things one step at a time instead of going cold-turkey gives you the opportunity to adapt to these changes and make it less likely for you to go back to your old eating habits.
Create a daily schedule for meals
Having a busy schedule often leads to chaotic eating, meaning that you have no set times for meals and snacks, and you eat at variable times of the day. a lot of people skip breakfast and eat considerable amounts of food late at night, when their bodies are supposed to be resting. Even if the foods you eat are healthy, not having a consistent meal schedule will have a negative effect on your health, often leading to weight gain or blood sugar spikes and crashes.
That’s why it’s important to create a healthy eating schedule and sticking to it. Try to eat your meals around the same time every day for a while, and at one point it will turn into a habit. Your body will naturally let you know when it’s time to eat and you’ll stop having random food cravings.
Eat in moderation
One of the reasons people give up on their diets is because they impose too many restrictions. That’s why most diets don’t work well as a long-term plan. But what might work is practicing eating in moderation. Allow yourself to eat everything you want in moderation and you’ll feel less tempted to overeat.
Planning your meals, using smaller plates, following portion-size guidelines, having a varied diet and treating yourself every once in a while, can help you become a moderate eater. The idea is to avoid excesses and become more aware of what and how much you put on your plate.
Choose healthy snacks
When food cravings kick in, it can be hard to resist. The good news is that you don’t actually have to fight these cravings, but look for healthier ways to satisfy them. You don’t always have to reach for that ice cream bucket when you feel the need to snack on something. There are much healthier alternatives to consider.
Have a stash of healthy snacks nearby at all times, so when you get hungry or have sudden food cravings you don’t revert to old unhealthy eating patterns. You can include fresh fruit, olives, nuts, or dark chocolate on the list, or if you want to enjoy some extra health benefits you might want to give CBD cookies a try.
Learn to read the labels
If you really want to become a smart eater, you have to know what you’re actually eating. The only way to do that is by learning to decipher food labels. A lot of the foods you find at the store have a list full of strange-sounding ingredients.
Figuring out what those ingredients are all about and whether they’re healthy or not can help you make better food choices. It might take a while for you to become proficient in reading food labels, but checking sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and trans-fat amounts is a good starting point.
Take your time
How you eat is just as important as what and how much you eat. This is an aspect that a lot of people tend to ignore since eating on the run has become a common habit. Well, it’s time to press pause and slow down when eating.
There are many benefits to eating slower. For starters, taking the time to chew your food properly allows for better nutrient absorption. Research also shows that people who eat slower are less likely to overeat and they’ll feel less hungry later. What’s more, this will also stop you from mindless eating, which means you’ll be able to enjoy your food more, noticing all the flavors and sensations while you’re eating.
Building healthier eating habits is a journey that implies both ups and downs. So don’t get discouraged if you’re not able to do things properly all the time. Patience and perseverance will get you there in the end.