Healthy Eating - What Does It Means?
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Everywhere we see blogs, posts about nutrition nowadays. We are getting bombarded with new diets, new types of diet and plans everyday. I will try to break what healthy eating means to me, as a medical doctor and a lifestyle medicine advocate, but also as a just an ordinary person.
Eating healthy - means eating by listening your body. Eating healthy means incorporating healthy habits.
First of all, we consume a healthy diet everyday in our life to prevent malnutrition. Secondly, we must be careful of the selection of the food we are eating in order to prevent the most common non communicable diseases and conditions such as (diabetes type 2, hypertension, obesity). Thirdly, we are eating because we enjoy sharing meals with our loved ones or alone, we enjoy in the spices and taste the food has.
Before the industrialization era, people were more healthy and the incidence of chronic cardiovascular, obesity and diabetes type 2 was much lower than today. With increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyle - this led to shift in a dietary patterns. The influence the big food companies had on us, the development of fast food and its marketing - led to much higher incidence of chronic noncommunicable diseases. Also, people nowadays are obsessed chasing their dreamy workplace, to work hard, study hard - that they don't have time to even think what to eat, to prepare their meal and to enjoy in it. Instead, they are rushing to get the job done, order something that it is going to satisfy their hunger pretty fast (foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium). All of that shift in the food industry and in the man's psychology and disbalanced healthy habits, led to a new next pandemic of obesity, diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular diseases. Many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and other dietary fibre such as whole grains. The more scary thing is that because of more young people and young parents are not eating vegetables and fruit, they are teaching that pathway to their children. That is how we are continuing to create more unhealthy nation and we are going in a circle over and over.
But, let's be optimistic! This change is very easy to do. It requires only our will to change.
Hippocrates - the father of medicine, said: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”. So it is pretty clear that what kind of food we eat is very important.
We should define and understand that healthy eating needs to be adjusted and depending of our individual characteristics ( age, gender, lifestyle and degree of physical activity), where we live and available foods and dietary customs. Also, it depends and you should be careful if you have inflammatory disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes.. Or you are in your teenage period, pregnant, breastfeeding, in menopause... So every period of the life - has some variations in the overall healthy eating. But, what it's important is that the basic principles and structure of the healthy diet remains the same.
In a conclusion, I listen to what my body needs and craves for. So giving the situations I am in - I eat based on that. It is very important to be in a balanced and harmonious relationship with your body. My advice for you is to educate yourself, read more about food, analyze yourself, set goals if you have any, talk with a health consultant if you have a chronic disease and want to change your lifestyle or simply you want to prevent and stay healthy, see locally what foods there are in your region. And be consistent with incorporating new healthy food habits. Give a chance to the broccoli, they are delicious with little salt and lemon ;)