The basics of what it means to live a long, happy life seem simple: exercise and proper eating. Yet, people can’t be relied on to take the initiative to make themselves fit or to eat well. Considering how much of our lives is spent studying or working, it’s not surprising people can’t find the time to go to the gym or perform basic exercises. While not everyone exercises, you still need to eat. Therefore, to at least make some attempt to improve your life, why not focus on your food choices? And as the year has come to an end, you can use next year as a fresh start, making sure your plates of food are greener than ever. Students are notoriously lazy for eating badly, because they can afford to be. Students’ bodies are more capable of dealing with bad ingredients in cheaper, but tastier, food. But the time to start being smart about food is now, not later. You can make healthy eating into a habit that you live with for the rest of your life.
Replacement not rethinking
One of the difficulties you might have in trying to go healthy is thinking you have to sacrifice your enjoyment of food. But this isn’t true at all. For every craving you have, there are healthy alternatives. For example, everyone loves the savoury taste of potato crisps. Giving that up is not easy, considering how easily they’re available, the cheap price and variety of flavours. Yet, it’s possible to easily find an alternative. Time Magazine even listed a series of alternatives, such as taro or apple, which make for healthy options that can fulfil your craving. You can even trick yourself by switching to sweet potato, which is “packed with vitamin A and the essential mineral manganese, sweet potatoes make surprisingly tasty, crunchy, reduced-fat chips. They’re most delicious when baked with a spice blend.”
Similarly, you can begin cutting out your sugary drinks entirely. Simply don’t buy any. If you’re thirsty, keep a glass of water in the fridge. When you drink it, the water will be refreshing and be so much better for you than any other liquid refreshment. As the Daily Mail summarised, replacing sweet drinks with water could help prevent metabolic disorders, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Dr Hu’s study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that unsweetened coffee or tea might be a good alternative to sugary beverages.
The researchers estimated that replacing one cup of a carbonated drink or fruit juice with one cup of coffee or tea could reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 12 to 17 per cent.
Dr Hu said the study is important in pointing out that fruit juice is not an optimal substitute for soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks.”
Cut out alcohol
Alcohol is also another type of drink to reconsider. While many enjoy these to help them relax after a hard day’s work, it might be better for your health to cut them out entirely. Indeed, one way to think about cutting out alcohol is to view it as a wonder drug. As the Independent.ie notes:
“If a tablet was developed that reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of several life-threatening diseases, while at the same time helping people to lose weight, sleep and concentrate, it would be hailed as a new wonder drug. While no such drug has yet been developed, it seems that exactly the same effects can be achieved by stopping drinking alcohol for a month.”
Research from University College London (UCL) even found some participants lost 6lbs, reporting improvements in concentration and sleeping.
Why healthier is better
One question you should also confront is why exactly eating healthy is better. After all, why can’t people enjoy the foods they eat? As the President’s Council on Fitness notes:
“Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.”
This will have an effect on health care offers for hospital plans. Insurance companies will be less happy to have you on their schemes, if you aren’t prioritising your health. You could end up being a burden to your loved ones or losing out on work, due to complications from illnesses arising from poor health.
It’s time to reconsider your approach to a healthier life, since everything will be affected by how you handle what goes into your body.