We all know keeping a healthy diet has many benefits: it improves your health, gives you more energy and it’s a long-term investment on your golden years. But did you know that not having a healthy diet can actually make you sick? You could be deteriorating your body as we speak simply by not being aware of what it is you’re putting in your body.
When you eat, you incorporate whatever is in your food, you make it a part of yourself. If your food is rich in nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants and the love and care of the people who grew it, then you’re incorporating all of that into your body and nourishing your health through your food. However, if your food has been processed with a series of additives like pesticides, preservatives, artificial coloring, flavoring and hormones, or if it’s filled with unhealthy fats then that’s what you’re bringing into your body as well.
What we need to remember is that our body is a system where everything is connected, just like we’re connected to the world outside. It means that whatever we feed into it, whether good or bad, has a direct impact on the system as a whole. The way we eat might be the most important aspect in maintaining our health, more so than exercise and definitely more so than medicine.
The negative effects of an unhealthy, unconscious diet are more real than we think. Let’s start with additives, for example. These chemicals, used to keep food fresh or to enhance their color, flavor or texture, represent toxins for your body, things it does not need, nor want. Additives can have effects in the very short term, like headaches, lack of concentration, low energy levels, altered behavior like mood-swings, and a severely diminished immune response. In the long-term you could even be dealing with higher risk of cancer, heart and circulatory problems and some degenerative conditions.
Hydrogenated fats or trans fats like the ones in frozen biscuits, deep-fried dishes and microwavable foods can cause cardiovascular disease and obesity when they add up. Artificial food colorings and artificial sweeteners, which are almost everywhere, can be a source of allergies, aggravated asthma, and hyperactivity, as well as possible carcinogenic agents. Next time you think you’re saving time by grabbing a snack directly from the shelf or opting for a microwave meal, remember that it’s taking quality minutes from your life span and instead choose organic products or look for healthier options and snack recipes.
A lot of processed snacks and frozen foods also contain MSG or monosodium glutamate which is known to cause strong allergic and behavioural reactions, like headaches, nausea, mood swings and even depression, especially in people with high sensitivity. There are some natural foods you should also avoid if you are particularly sensitive to MSG like chicken and beef broths, but if you go for convenience store products then you will definitely find it as an artificial additive in the form of yeast or soy extract.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the myth that healthy equals boring or bland. Just spend a few minutes browsing organic recipes and your mouth is bound to water. It really is an investment worth making if it means you can avoid degenerative diseases and low quality of life. It doesn’t take that much work. Just start by gradually changing your eating habits and being more conscious when deciding what to eat and what to leave on the shelf. No one will be more grateful than your body, and a grateful body means healthier living. Happy eating!