As health experts like to put it, we are the food we eat. Ingesting a healthy diet is a simple task that many people tend to overlook. In many instances, humans eat food with the thought of fueling their bodies but what they forget is that they choose their food based on various environmental factors. Eating is such an enjoyable task that people end up eating food that tastes good and not those that are beneficial to their bodies. Some enjoy this sweet food that they eat more than their bodies can hold resulting in them gaining weight. However, the food we eat varies in various aspects such as diseases, and the environment among others. The core objective of this paper is to analyze the food an individual experiencing acid flux can ingest as well as discuss the food a person on a paleo diet can avoid.
Eating healthy is proportional to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle prevents us from various illnesses and health issues. Healthy habits are not easy to adapt and often need a changed mindset. However, if one becomes ready to make sacrifices to become healthy both physically and mentally, the results are far-reaching irrespective of sex, physical ability, or age. Eating healthy is one of the healthy habits which benefits our emotional, mental, and physical health improving our overall well-being and making us feel good. Before going into depth, we first need to know what does actually ‘healthy eating’ refers to. Eating healthy means having different food items which provide us with nutrients required for the maintenance of health, and energy, and make us feel good. These nutrients are proteins, water, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats. They are essential for everyone as they have a major role in our growth and development. To become physically active and maintain a healthy weight, eating healthy is the first and foremost step toward the goal. A healthy eating plan consists of the following characteristics:
- The focus is on the intake of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.
- Fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, and poultry are also included.
- Added sugar, Trans and saturated fats, and sodium are limited.
- Portion sizes are controlled.
Eating healthy has been an old issue and one of the major concerns universally. Currently, it has become a generalized label. And it has been defined differently for different individuals. People define it according to their perceptions and experiences. One such definition is “Eating healthy is eating food that is enjoyable to you in the quantity that is good for you” (huffingtonpost.com). These definitions must be assessed keeping in mind that food nutrients affect every person in a different manner. These differences may exist due to age, sex, hormonal changes, environmental conditions, etc. Willet et al. (1995) presented a food pyramid that mirrored Mediterranean dietary customs and traditions which at that time were linked with good health. Fila et al. (2006) applied the theory of planned behavior for the prediction of healthy eating behaviors. Graca et al. (2001) examined how the elderly European population approach the idea of eating healthy, nutrition, and health, and define appropriate strategies for health promotion.
Importance and effects of eating healthy
Consumption of healthy food items is necessary and important for all individuals. It prevents a variety of treatable and untreatable illnesses and diseases, and also the occurrence of malnutrition in every form. However, dietary patterns have changed a lot due to the enhanced production of processed food, modifying lifestyles, and rapid urbanization. In today’s time, people are more inclined to take foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates, salt or sodium, and do not have a sufficient amount of vegetables, fruits, and fibers. Due to this, the issue of diabetes and obesity have increased remarkably irrespective of age. “Poor nutrition and obesity are among the most important health issues facing society today, not only in terms of health but also health care expenses” (Deshpande et al. (2009), pg.145). Apart from the effects of an unhealthy diet, Deshpande et al. (2009) also account for genetic factors and physical activity being the factors contributing to the problem of obesity.
Many studies linked healthy eating with physical activity such as Blair, Jacob, and Powell (1985) suggested that individuals often engaged in physical activities, and lessened their intake of sugar, meat, coffee, and salt. According to Muecke et al. (1992), low physical activity and a high-fat diet enhance the risk of obesity by 38%. Obesity leads to problems such as muscle-skeletal problems, high blood pressure, and different types of disturbances in the mood (Shephard et al. (1994)). Physical activity produces the brain chemicals known as endorphins which leave a person feeling relaxed and happier (healthline.com). A healthy diet combined with physical activity improves the physique and makes one feel confident about him or herself. The cognition process becomes much improved, and the level of stress decreases.
A healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, fibers, and whole grains is also significant for a healthy heart. It reduces the risk of heart problems and diseases through the maintenance of blood pressure and levels of cholesterol. High cholesterol and blood pressure are caused by excessive amounts of saturated fats and salt in the body. Having a diet rich in calcium keeps our bones and teeth strong and makes the process of bone loss slow as we grow older. Calcium is mainly found in dairy products such as milk, eggs, and meat. Besides this, it can also be found in foods like fish (tinned salmon, pilchards, sardines), dark green vegetables like broccoli and kale, and calcium-fortified foods like cereals, fruit juices, and soya products. A healthy diet also reduces the risk of certain cancers and kidney stones. People often skip breakfasts due to various reasons. This raises their blood sugar which in turn enhances the storage of fat in the body.
All of our bodies respond to food differently
We are aware of how some food items help improve our health. However, the extent or level of this improvement is dependent on each person’s body. For instance, we are often told that salt isn’t healthy for us, but the reality is that the excessive amount or the least amount of salt is unhealthy. Hypertension patients are advised to reduce their intake of salt. Similarly, the diabetic patient is advised to reduce their intake of sugar. Similar is the case with foods containing gluten in them. Individuals having the celiac disease are asked to avoid foods having gluten. However, for people who have no such disease, whole grain bread has comparatively more protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins than a slice of gluten-free bread. People also go through specific food allergies which means that not every food will be healthy for them. For instance, walnuts are considered healthy overall as they possess health-enhancing characteristics.
They’re full of antioxidants and are a source of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These properties tell that they’re healthy and everyone must eat walnuts. But, anyone who is suffering from a severe allergy to walnuts cannot eat them as they aren’t healthy for allergic people. These are some of the instances which indicate that something known or labeled as healthy may not be healthy for the other person. The healthiness of a food item depends on how it’s going to affect the person eating it. We can also say this about water which is considered the essential thing for life. An individual can survive without food, but not without water. However, even the amount of water if reached its limits can be unhealthy and harmful to one’s health.
Recommendations and solutions
As a society, we must ponder upon the fact that where are we heading in terms of diet and food? Since our living and lifestyles depend on the choice of food, it is important to take the issue seriously. Apart from the people who are suffering from disease or illness, individuals must eat all kinds of foods but in a balanced amount. Excess to everything is dangerous. Sugar, salt, proteins, minerals, and fats, must be taken in equal or balanced amounts. These diseases and illnesses we suffer from are the results of an unbalanced diet. People taking more sugar and carbohydrates become obese or suffer from diabetes, people who take more salt become patients with high blood pressure, etc. All the nutrients if taken in complete equilibrium will lead to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
A balanced diet helps the individuals become physically active which in turn enhances the rate of metabolism. We all must move towards changing our lazy habits and mindsets, and sacrifice for the attainment of a healthy life. A healthy lifestyle and diet make a person live longer and in a healthy way. High cholesterol, heart diseases, and obesity are so common nowadays which lead to psychological disturbances such as low self-esteem, depression, mood swings, etc. All are the consequences of an unhealthy diet. We must not skip any meal at any cost. In fact, eat everything, fruits, vegetables, foods full of fiber and minerals, drink eight glasses of water per day, and along with this, exercise regularly for at least 20 minutes a day. A healthy lifestyle starts at home. Children observe and learn from their parents. If parents take a healthy diet at home and exercise regularly, the same will be learned by the children.
Ultimately, a healthy society will be established. Parents and teachers must make children aware of the harmful effects of junk food and the benefits of a healthy diet. The increased production of processed foods must be restricted since they are addictive, and make people want more once they eat it. This then leads to an unhealthy diet pattern and an unhealthy lifestyle. Consumption of junk food makes a person lazy and reduces the rate of metabolism. Consequently, the risk of diseases and illnesses increases.
Blair, Steven N., David R. Jacobs Jr, and Kenneth E. Powell. “Relationships between exercise or physical activity and other health behaviors.” Public health reports 100.2 (1985): 172.
Deshpande, Sameer, Michael D. Basil, and Debra Z. Basil. “Factors influencing healthy eating habits among college students: An application of the health belief model.” Health marketing quarterly 26.2 (2009): 145-164.
Fila, Stefanie A., and Chery Smith. “Applying the theory of planned behavior to healthy eating behaviors in urban Native American youth.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 3.1 (2006): 11.
Graça, P., et al. “Healthy eating in European elderly: concepts, barriers, and benefits.” The journal of nutrition, health & aging5.4 (2001): 217-219.
Marshall, Margaret. “Define Healthy Eating.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-marshall/define-healthy-eating_b_7851076.html.
Muecke, Lee, et al. “Is Childhood Obesity Associated with High‐Fat Foods and Low Physical Activity?” Journal of School Health 62.1 (1992): 19-23.
Shephard, R. J. “Physical activity and reduction of health risks: how far are the benefits independent of fat loss?” The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness 34.1 (1994): 91-98.
Willett, Walter C., et al. “Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 61.6 (1995): 1402S-1406S.