Psycho-physical well-being is the driving force of our lives, so we must take care of it without thinking that health can only depend on the drugs we take or the medical treatments we undergo. Our main ally must always be prevention, mainly physical activity and a healthy and correct diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
If it is true that taking care of your body is a form of love towards yourself and your loved ones, let’s discover together how to follow a balanced diet, which foods are recommended, and which ones to avoid to feel good. We will also give you some curiosities about the nutrients and properties of foods so that they can help you in times when you are sad. Every food has a solution for your problems, from anxiety to depression, from unhappiness to a bad mood.
Why Follow A Correct Diet
We already knew a lousy diet was closely linked to various health problems. Still, according to the World Health Organization, terrible eating habits cause many more psycho-physical disorders than we could imagine, in addition to being now clearly associated with chronic and metabolic diseases, to the point of stating that approximately a third of cardiovascular diseases and tumors could be avoided thanks to a healthy and balanced diet.
Bad eating habits in industrialized countries, particularly Western ones, as well as malnutrition in underdeveloped countries, cause the onset of serious pathologies every year that are increasingly plaguing our time. We are referring above all to increased cholesterol, hypertension, food intolerances, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity and, more generally, overweight, liver disease, and some forms of cancer, all linked to an incorrect, sedentary lifestyle and the abuse of sugary, salty, and fatty substances.
A balanced and varied diet can help prevent these diseases and improve the appearance of the skin, hair, and nails. Among the best allies are whole grains, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, nuts, beans, lentils, salmon, flax, seafood, onions, and parsley. Furthermore, good physical activity is always recommended, which does not necessarily have to be exaggerated with exhausting sessions in the gym but rather with simple, brisk walks. Little by little, your body will also require more of you, and you can move on to running.
Foods That Are Bad
As in many other Western countries, the diet has been invaded in recent decades by packaged foods and industrial products of various types, apparently healthy but in many cases real calorie bombs, whose quality and nutritional intake are often questionable. These are foods that are stuffed with long-life products to last longer.
Although they will give you an initial feeling of satisfaction, they will weigh down your day. Confirming this growing trend at an international level are the rankings relating to the obesity rate in the world, where, fortunately, Italians are still in last place. But for how much longer?
So what are the foods to avoid? It is, therefore, necessary to take action and begin to prevent or at least considerably reduce the consumption of certain foods that are not exactly healthy and beneficial, such as sugary drinks and alcohol, fatter cheeses, sausages, fried foods, flours, and refined cereals, canned meat, foods of animal origin rich in saturated fats and proteins, refined sugars, industrial sweets, and refined and processed foods whole of sugar, fat, and salt. Be careful, though: we often associate a healthy diet with simple calorie reduction or a slimming diet, but this is only sometimes the case.
Reducing calories while continuing to consume refined and processed foods will not automatically improve the health of our bodies. We must slowly change our eating habits so that our body gets used to it. The first step will be eliminating or replacing sugar in tea and coffee. Among the main food doubts is that regarding coffee, which Italians so love.
Consuming it in moderation, without exceeding three cups a day, can even be good for the muscles and the heart, helping to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Still, it is better to avoid it if you suffer from anxiety, and above all, it is advisable to drink it bitter.
Sugar should also be taken in moderate quantities—no more than 25 g per day, to be precise—and should never be added to foods and drinks for young children. This is due to the fundamental principle that the foods ingested and appreciated by children in the first year of life will likely become the most loved foods. So let’s always remember that sweet food can be lovely even without adding sugar and that it is essential to accustom our children and re-educate ourselves about the natural flavors of our foods.
There are many healthy alternatives to sugar, such as maple syrup, fructose, or honey. If you use fructose, drastically reduce the doses you usually use. Fructose sweetens twice as much as classic sugar. Among sugars, cane sugar is preferable, but be careful to choose the correct one. The best cane sugar is whole sugar, which, at first glance, does not seem like the classic granulated sugar we know but instead appears in many pieces of sugar cane.
Then there is the classic one made up of grains, which are not uniform but roughly cut. And finally, there is “fake” brown sugar, which is white sugar that has been caramelized and sold as such. The latter is very often found in bars inside brown paper sachets, and a trick to notice whether it is made of cane or not is to place it a little in a saucer and try to break it with a spoon. If you find white residue, you have regular sugar that has been caramelized.
What To Eat To Feel Well
Suppose there are many foods to avoid or consume in moderation. In that case, fortunately, there is even more to eat to feel suitable, capable of improving our diet and bringing significant benefits to our health. But what does our body need to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases? These are twelve rules collected by experts at the invitation to eliminate and minimize food products and carry out various activities to reduce the possibility of contracting tumors.
A healthy diet aimed at preventing health problems should, first of all, include a high daily consumption of whole grains, rich in fiber, and seasonal fruit and vegetables, both cooked and raw, while also consuming bread and baked products made with refined flours, always trying to choose wholemeal ones.
Unlike bread, pasta, especially wholemeal pasta, releases sugar slowly, avoiding excessively raising the blood sugar level in our blood, and is, therefore, an excellent food for our diet, together with the valid alternative constituted by unpolished rice, that is, not deprived of the germ.
Among the actions recommended against cancer is eliminating smoking from one’s home and limiting the hours spent sitting in front of a PC or monitor. It is, therefore, essential to implement a healthy lifestyle change that, in addition to eating healthy foods, includes daily physical activity to breathe fresh air deeply.
Since, as we have seen, sugar must be taken in small doses, it is advisable to replace sugary drinks, even fruit juices, with seasonal fruit and vegetable juices, rich in vitamins and minerals, and infusions and herbal teas, which help digestion, promote rest, and often have anti-inflammatory effects.
Reducing the consumption of cured meats, rich in salt and fat, and meat, especially red meat, which is rich in iron and therefore oxidizing, can also have favorable repercussions on our health, particularly for pregnant women. The same principle also applies to meat broth.
It is better to prefer white meat when and as much as possible, including it in your diet at least twice a week, especially oily fish rich in omega-3, without forgetting eggs, at least once a week, and legumes. If you consume raw fish, ensure it has been adequately chilled at the right temperature.
Try to alternate whole milk with skimmed milk, but never give up this precious drink. Consume at least 220 ml a day from childhood to enjoy its benefits throughout life.
Milk is not only essential for the growth of children but also helps older people to keep bones healthy, and muscles toned thanks to calcium, as well as providing athletes with a critical energy supply thanks to the proteins and sugar it contains. Finally, reduce the consumption of packaged and canned industrial products, notoriously rich in fat, sugar, and salt, and adopt a varied daily diet.