Why Do We Need Food
The question why do we need food should not arise if there was no existence of human beings. Our existence would be impossible because without us, animals will not survive too long. Animals have their own source of nutrition which they can use to keep themselves alive. However, it takes a lot of time for them to digest what they eat which causes slow digestion process and this requires more energy which is provided by eating something else. This way, the cycle continues and so does animal’s existence.
However, when we are born, we do not have any kind of food inside our stomachs but we still need some sort of nourishment. The reason behind this is that we are not fully developed yet. As soon as we start moving around and exploring the world, we begin to search for things like grass, trees, water etc. to fulfill our nutritional requirements. In fact, even before we are able to walk or talk we start searching for food to satisfy our hunger pangs. At first, we may find these foods easily but later on we realize that finding food becomes difficult. For example, while looking for green leaves to provide ourselves with energy, we might also end up getting hit by a car or a bus. Thus, the best thing to do in such situations is to look for other options to supply us with enough energy to carry out our daily activities.
As we grow older, our taste buds change. Now instead of grass we prefer sweets or potato chips. Water turns into soft drinks or sweetened tea. And when we go shopping, we spend our money on different kinds of processed products rather than fresh fruits and vegetables. This has become an everyday routine and most people don’t think about how unhealthy this lifestyle really is. A balanced diet consists of all necessary vitamins and minerals along with complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It allows you to feel energized throughout the day and helps your body burn fat effectively.
Nowadays, many people lead a fast-paced lifestyle where they hardly take time to sit down, relax and enjoy the moment. They just rush off to work, school, college or office and then try to come back home late at night. When they reach home, they either cook dinner straightaway or pick up something from one of those restaurants nearby. If the person works in an office then he/she probably grabs a quick bite to eat during lunch break. What happens after taking such meals? Most likely, the person gets full and feels bored. He/she doesn’t know how to adjust his/her mood. That is why; we need to make sure that we maintain a proper balance between work and play. Only then can we lead a happy and peaceful life.
A balanced diet includes all types of food. It ensures that we receive adequate amount of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibers. Since each type of food contains its unique set of nutrients, it plays a specific role in keeping our health intact. Proteins help in building muscles whereas carbs provide energy for our body to function properly. Vitamins and minerals help in maintaining our blood sugar level, digestive system and immune system. Fiber keeps the digestive tract clean and free from harmful bacteria. Healthy fats act as natural lubricants for the nerves and brain cells.
There are many benefits of having a healthy diet. Eating right gives us glowing skin and strong teeth. Good diet protects us against diseases and premature aging. Having a good diet also makes us live longer. A healthy diet prevents obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, senility and so forth.
Since everything changes over time, it is important to follow a healthy diet plan. There are certain tips which can help us stay fit and healthy. Following are few easy steps to get started:
Start early – Start your day right away by including a glass of water followed by a bowl of oatmeal and fruit. You can also include milk in your breakfast. Milk is full of calcium and vitamin D which are essential for bone strength. Calcium deficiency leads to osteoporosis, kidney disorders, muscle cramps, tiredness, depression, anxiety, poor memory, reduced immunity, high cholesterol levels and a host of other problems. Oatmeal is also loaded with magnesium which is crucial for the functioning of kidneys and nervous system. Magnesium deficiency results in severe headaches, fatigue, irritability, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, seizures and spasms. Fruits contain lots of antioxidants, phytonutrients and polyphenols which protect your body from damage due to oxidation. Antioxidant activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancers, eye disorders, age related ailments, strokes, inflammation, infections, allergies, asthma, arthritis, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, weight gain, osteoarthritis, gout, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, atherosclerosis, dementia, osteoporosis and so forth. Phytonutrient intake boosts immunity and fights infection. Polyphenol intake strengthens capillaries and arteries. These substances also prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
Eat small meals regularly – Eat five or six smaller meals spread through the day rather than three big ones. Your metabolism slows down when you gorge yourself on heavy foods. Instead of junk snacks, choose healthier alternatives like raw veggies and nuts. Avoid skipping meals altogether. Skipping meals disrupts the normal hormonal pattern of the body and puts you at higher risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, cancer, osteoporosis and so forth.
Choose healthy oils wisely – Choose cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for your salad dressing. Olive oil is made from the crushed olives and it contains monounsaturated fatty acids which lower cholesterol levels. Avocados are excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and it is also helpful in fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, inflammation and arthritis. Sesame seed oil is another great choice. It is packed with omega 3 fatty acids which fight cancer and osteoporosis. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which boost metabolism and burns fat. Such oils also reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Almonds are another great option. They are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and magnesium. All these components help in reducing the risk factors associated with coronary artery diseases, strokes, type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, osteoporosis, psoriasis, eczema and multiple sclerosis.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco – Drinking alcoholic beverages increases your chances of liver cirrhosis and lung cancer. Smoking harms your lungs and damages blood vessels leading to various complications. Tobacco contains nicotine which affects the functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain. Nicotine acts as addictive substance and it increases your dependency towards cigarettes.
Be active – Exercising regularly helps your body burn calories and lose unwanted pounds. Exercise stimulates production of endorphins which enhance your mood. Regular exercise enhances your immunity power and improves sleep quality. Exercise releases endorphins which improve your mood and relieve pain. It also lowers bad choleseterol levels and prevents strokes. Aerobic exercises are beneficial in strengthening heart muscles. Weight bearing exercises strengthen bones and joints. Resistance training builds lean muscles, improves flexibility and promotes overall fitness. Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, dancing, hiking, climbing stairs, gardening, playing sports, walking pets, gardening, riding a bike are examples of light exercises. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Qigong are forms of meditations. Meditation improves concentration, memory, creativity, reduces stress and calms your mind.
Get enough rest – Sleep is vital for both physical and mental health. During sleep, the body heals itself and regenerates. Sleeping less than 6 hours per day can cause serious health problems. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and impairs the ability to concentrate. Sleep deprivation leads to increased susceptibility to illness, accidents and mistakes. It also makes you sluggish and dull. Insufficient sleep causes overweight, obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, strokes, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, senility and so forth.
Drink plenty of fluids – Drink eight glasses of water every day. Water flushes toxins from your body and cleanses your colon. Make sure that you drink water immediately after waking up in the morning. Water also regulates your appetite and controls your cravings. Water also hydrates your tissues and removes waste materials from your body. One glass of warm water with lemon juice before meals can control hunger pangs. It is always advisable to add salt to water since sodium chloride balances fluid volume within the body. Tea, coffee, milk, juices, sodas are all dehydrating and unhealthy substitutes for water.
Do not skip meals – Eat 5-6 small meals per day instead of 3 large meals. Skipping meals disrupts the normal hormonal pattern of the body. It causes hunger pangs and makes you overeat. Hunger pangs are signals sent by the hypothalamus region of the brain.
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