There are three things that wreak havoc on human health. They are: a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet choices and bad habits, such as smoking. In fact, these three things alone are typically causal factors to developing chronic health issues, such as diverticulitis. The most difficult part of giving yourself a “health” overhaul is simply, getting started. The central focus of this post is diet choices. Consider it a basic food guide that helps differentiate the good from the bad.
The content you’re about to read isn’t intended to be medical or health advice. It’s just a sharing of information, backed by encouragement for you to do your own research. By making healthier food choices, you lay the groundwork for strengthening your immune system. In fact, consistently eating healthy food can reduce the risk of disease and improve quality of life. If you start eliminating bad food from your diet, you’ll undoubtedly notice a difference in everything, from hair and skin health, to sleep patterns, mental well-being and more.
A food guide to identify bad foods that may be part of your diet
Americans suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other adverse health issues at an alarming rate. The following list is a basic food guide that identifies three main culprits that often cause these conditions:
- Processed sugar
- Greasy and deep-fried foods
- Highly processed foods
Sadly, for millions of people in this country, these three types of food comprise their main diet. There’s ample evidence to show that processed sugar causes acne. It also causes the body to flare with inflammation, which is the primary cause of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in America. A recent post here on the Hot Mess Press explained how dangerous sugar addiction can be. For some folks, hardly a day goes by that they don’t consume some type of candy, soda, dessert or other food loaded with added sugars. Highly processed foods like hot dogs and deli meats, as well as pre-packaged meal items are disastrous to human health. Yet, in the name of convenience, flavor and lower cost, millions of people get hooked.
Kiss the deep-fried pickles and Oreos good-bye
Especially during spring sports season, lots of families eat at concession stands, several times per week. This typically means a substantial increase in the amount of deep-fried foods they consume. Yes, a deep-fried pickle dipped in ranch dressing is delicious. Many roadside vendors at spring festivals serve deep-fried fare, including the popular Oreo-cookie-on-a-stick. If you normally eat a healthy diet and only have deep-fried food on rare occasions, it might not be so bad. The trouble is that the majority of people make deep-fried food a staple in their diet. If you love deep-fried foods, try adapting some recipes to make in the air fryer instead!
Replace bad foods with good choices from this food guide
Eating healthy foods doesn’t necessarily mean your meals will lack flavor. There are many delicious ways to prepare healthy food. Regardless of taste, however, think of the food you put into your body as medicine, because it truly is. You can improve overall health by making sure the majority of foods you consume come from this next list:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Foods rich in vitamin B6
- Fatty acids
- Moderate amount of grass-fed beef or poultry
- Real butter and whole dairy products
A rule of thumb for a healthy food guide is to eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. If something has been manufactured, it’s no longer fresh. Because it’s no longer fresh, preservatives and other chemicals are added to it to extend its shelf life. Eating a food one time that is laced with toxins might not do a lot of harm. However, eating those same foods day after day, month after month and year after year begins to take a heavy toll on the body.
Conduct careful research to wade sort out misguided information
Through the years, a lot of misinformation has been published and promulgated regarding diet choices and health. For instance, there was a big push, at one point, to get people to avoid fats in their diets. The problem with that is that we NEED to consume fats in order to be healthy. Fats are what our bodies “burn for fuel,” and if our diets are sorely lacking, then our bodies suffer negative effects.
The human body has no way to produce essential fatty acids (EFA). We get EFAs through food consumption. The fats you intake through food help your body absorb vitamins. In fact, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin D are “fat-soluble,” which means that they can only be absorbed in your body through the assistance of fats. (Getting the picture yet for the potential adverse effects of a low-fat or no-fat diet?)
Low-fat diets lead to inflammation and increase risk of disease
Carbohydrates are also needed in the body. However, if your diet contains an overload of carbs but is lacking fats, it can spark severe inflammation in your body, particularly in the liver. Inflammation throughout the body causes disease, especially heart disease. Yet, you’ve probably read something or heard someone promoting a low-fat diet to ward off heart disease an other illness. In fact, the opposite is true. Inflammation is the cause of heart disease and other chronic illness, and insufficient amounts of fat in the body causes inflammation.
Try to swap out bad foods for good ones
A basic food guide for improved health should simply include daily intake of healthy foods from all “food groups.” Remember, the toughest part of improving your diet and lifestyle is getting started. Early efforts to make healthier food choices, kick bad habits and get more exercise might include several setbacks. It’s okay. Just stick with it, and keep going. If you keep your commitment for two or three months, you’ll reach the “tipping point.” Think of the tipping point like struggling to climb a steep hill. It’s difficult. You get tired and feel sore. You might want to quit. There might have to be a few pit stops along the way (which is fine). Finally, you get to the peak and can start down the other side. What a relief!
When you’ve set goals to improve your health through dietary and lifestyle changes, you’ll reach the tipping point after several months. If you stay with that long, the changes you’re making will become habits. You won’t feel so challenged anymore. It will be easier to maintain. It’s getting to the tipping point that’s the tough part. Don’t give up. Keep moving toward your goal. Enlist the help of a close friend. Use phone apps or other tools to hold yourself accountable.
Future quality of life hinges on food guide choices you make today
The thing about poor food choices, bad habits and a sedentary lifestyle is that you may not realize the negative effects they are having on your body. As time passes, however, symptoms will develop. Perhaps you’ll lack enough energy to carry out your day or have digestive problems. You might develop obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer. Bad foods and poor lifestyle habits can also negatively affect cognitive function and mental health. Making a concentrated effort to improve your health may help you to improve your quality of life. Spend some time thinking about changes you might be able to make to become stronger and healthier. And, if you have helpful tips and ideas to share, we’d love to hear about them!