Many adults will struggle with a health condition in their lifetimes. However, many chronic illnesses are influenced by lifestyle choices. While that men’s you are at least partially to blame for a worsening condition, it also means you have at least as much power to remedy the situation.
In many cases, poor food choices and low fitness levels are the driving factors behind faltering health. Unfortunately, the dieting that people often turn to can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and destroy body image. Instead of turning to fad diets that can actually make your condition worse, try adopting these five eating habits for better health.
1. Listen To Your Body
Humans evolved to eat a wide range of foods in order to meet nutritional needs. Your body will often tell you what is missing by craving certain types of foods. Sadly, if you ignore these impulses, it can be harder to recognize them. You may even confuse impulses for certain foods (like sugar when you are stressed) as these types of intuitive cravings.
Don’t let that happen. Instead, learn to listen to what your body is telling you about what it needs and when. This can help you develop more natural eating patterns. Do a quick search for what is intuitive fasting?” to learn more about the benefits of listening to your body.
2. Restrict Eating To Specific Times
Speaking of fasting, this is a hot area that researchers are starting to focus more attention on. Intermittent fasting in particular has drawn a lot of praise from many medical experts. There is some evidence that they can help regulate blood sugar, manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and possibly slow cognitive decline in later years.
There are several approaches to intermittent fasting, and they all involve limiting your meals to a restricted window of each day. For example, with the 16/8 method, you fast for 16 hours and then eat during the other eight. This is a popular choice for many since you tend to eat in the same window that you are most active. Plus, it helps limit late-night snacking, which is often fueled by boredom or stress instead of hunger.
3. Cut Out Ultra Processed Foods
Current dietary guidelines strongly suggest eliminating processed foods from your diet. Unfortunately, that is a lot easier said than done for most people. If you cannot completely eliminate processed foods, try to get rid of the worst offenders — those items with ingredient lists so far removed from natural ingredients that they are barely recognizable.
One good strategy to employ to help with this is shopping the perimeter of the grocery store while skipping most of the interior aisles. In many stores, this will limit you to the produce, dairy and fresh meat sections, which all have whole food ingredients to prepare snacks and meals.
4. Address Any Health Conditions With Your Diet
Some foods directly impact certain health conditions. For example, eating a lot of sugary foods will affect blood sugar levels in the same way that excess sodium can contribute to elevated blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor about what dietary changes will have the most positive effect. These are the ones you should start with.
5. Eat Seasonally-Available Foods
Another approach is to eat seasonally available foods. This has several advantages. First, it encourages you to eat fresh, whole foods. Additionally, these are more likely than other foods to be produced locally, meaning they will retain more nutritional content than items shipped great distances. Finally, eating seasonally available foods gives you a chance to try new things you might have never noticed.
While changing your eating habits will not magically cure chronic health conditions, it can help improve outcomes. Start small by restricting the window of time that you eat each day and listen to your body for cues. It can also help to limit processed foods and stick with seasonally available ones.