Healthy Food VS Unhealthy Food
You hear a lot of talk in the health and wellness community about eating clean or eating healthy foods and that can mean different things for different people. In the medical community, however, there are some universal rules that you need to apply to the creation of your meal plan.
There are food groups that you can indulge in each meal and the government has worked with doctors and nutritionists to create guides that will help you keep these food groups straight. However, these categories are not necessarily the definition of healthy foods!
For example, dairy is not bad for you and you can incorporate it into your daily intake of foods, but that does not mean that it is healthy. Dairy is heavy and high in both fats and calories, so you should really limit the amount of it that you ingest.
Why You Should Focus On Healthy Food
Healthy foods are typically defined as being natural or organic. They are usually not processed and do not contain any food additives or chemicals, Being low in fat is also important, especially when looking at avoiding health problems like heart disease and high cholesterol.
Although natural sugars are better than chemical sugars, healthy foods are considered to be low in any sugar whether natural or unnatural. That means that you should eat fruits, but do not eat them to excess because eventually the sugar intake could end up outweighing the benefits of the fiber. Avoiding an excess of sugar is crucial in the fight against diabetes and blood pressure issues as well as other internal diseases.
Not only does eating healthy stave off disease, but it also makes your body function better. It gives you more energy and a better sleeping schedule and it helps your digestive system function more regularly. A healthy diet will also improve your immune system through the vitamins and minerals that are important for building antibodies and maintaining a pH balance.
Why You Should Stay Away From Unhealthy/Junk Food
“Unhealthy food” can be defined in many ways, and sometimes it can be different from junk food. For example, eating grilled chicken is healthy, but eating fried chicken is unhealthy because the oil and breading add unnecessary calories that are harder for your body to process.
To call fried chicken junk food gives the implication that it is full of chemicals, which may be true at a drive-through but not necessarily if you fried the chicken at home with your grandmother’s recipe.
Junk food is more related to chemical intake and this is where indulging in cravings can get scary and even dangerous. Eating junk food can make you feel full, but it will simultaneously malnourish your body because it is preventing you from the vitamins and minerals in organic foods.
That malnourishment will make you feel sluggish and heavy, and that will make you feel tired and prevent you from the movement and exercise that is required for good blood circulation.
Homemade cookies can be high in sugar and starch, but eating Oreos will add things like high-fructose corn syrup that you wouldn’t be adding through the homemade route. There are food dyes, preservatives and artificial sweeteners that are dangerous for your health.
The preservatives in junk food have direct ties to diseases and the artificial sweeteners that exist in them have huge repercussions for your health. These chemicals can not only increase your chances for disease, but they drain your body and dehydrate you significantly.
We are not saying here that you can never eat junk food and be healthy simultaneously, but rather that you need to limit the intake of these junk foods in order to feel healthy and live a long life. You also need to consciously balance these junk foods with a very healthy diet for most of the week.
How To Avoid Unhealthy Food And Improve Your Diet
Meal preparation is the best way to avoid an excess of junk food because you know what to expect and can work the cheat snacks into your diet ahead of time. You can avoid the craving for Oreos on Tuesday if you know that you already have Oreos in your meal schedule for Thursday.
If you know that you have issues with grazing on unhealthy snacks, then be proactive in your meal prep. Set aside a small bag of sliced apples or grapes so that you have a healthy option to munch on when your sweet tooth is screaming at you. The natural sugar can help curb that desire!
Having small amounts of cheese as a snack can also help curb cravings because of the fat that is in dairy. Those fats can make you feel more satisfied than fruit and can be more effective in distracting you from the craving.
The most important thing in a healthy and balanced diet is to know what you are eating, but you also need to know your body. If your family has a history of diabetes, then you are probably more susceptible to it and need to be more cautious about your sugar intake than others do.
If you know that you have the breast cancer gene then you need to pay attention to the chemicals and preservatives that have been linked to a higher risk for developing cancer. If you have a slow metabolism then you need to be more careful about your fat intake and be sure to stick to healthy fats rather than the fats in junk food.
Everyone’s body processes foods differently and there is no cookie-cutter (no pun intended) option that will apply equally to every person. Your meal plan needs to be tailored to your health needs and also created in a manner that is realistic for your lifestyle. Do not make excuses to get out of setting boundaries for yourself, because being cautious with your foods could end up saving your life.