Years back I had to make some important changes to my eating habits. At first, it wasn’t so easy, and I just wanted to be like everyone else, not care so much and just eat, besides life no hard laidat abi? It took a lot of discipline and criticism, some people felt I was just being hard on myself, and others thought I was being picky with my foods. Today, I’m glad I made those choices, and my body is thanking me daily for it. And wait before you think that I’m very old, not a new start to healthy living isn’t just for the old to slow down aging process (although there are foods that can help slow down the process and keep you looking younger) but it’s for everyone who desires to live longer and not have to spend time and resources on drugs or hospital admissions.
Some of the changes I made were, I totally stopped taking carbonated drinks, yes this is almost everyone’s on-the-go drink. For some time prior to stopping them I noticed I was always gassed up (bloated), I used to endure severe stomach cramps like I was being pricked by a pin and so many breakouts (acne). Went on to stop eating white/refined bread and opted for healthier substitutes like wheat bread, brown bread and all the ones that still had fiber in them, I also stopped eating very late and became more active. These are just a few of the things I started to do but I don’t want to bore you with so many details and it’s like my system got a complete make-over.
You see, food is our body’s fuel to help us keep thriving; it provides energy, produces immunity cells to fight off infection, builds up muscle mass, helps repair worn out tissues and the list is endless. But…. energy or repair are not the only benefits we receive, did you know food can affect our mood, food can influence the look and feel of our skin, how healthy our hair will grow and how well our bodies will carry out some of its functions, so we need more than just any kind of food. We not only need food to stay alive but to live longer and healthy lives.
If you’re looking at joining the healthy gang, which I recommend you should, here are a list of five classes of foods you should avoid or limit their consumption and another list of foods you might think of adding to your diet to stay in charge of your health.
Are you ready? You asked for it and here we go….
Classes of foods to avoid/reduce:
- Refined Sugars: most of us love sweet foods but majority of them have been stripped of their nutritious value. Examples are white bread, carbonated drinks, pizza, cookies, energy drinks, pies, cakes, ice cream and the whole lot of them.
- Foods high in salt content: These increase your potential of getting hypertension and can affect your heart. The gang that loves adding salt even after the food is done, were watching you, lol.
- Canned products: Yes, these seem to be the best option in this paced world but fresh is always the best as canned products have so much added chemicals to increase their shelf life. Foods like baked beans, tinned tomatoes, sardines, canned vegetables and more.
- Processed meats and red meats: sausages, cold cut meats like ham and bacon used in sandwiches and burgers, corn beef, all these are a no-no. These can make you gain unhealthy weight and also harm your heart.
- Fatty foods: fats are also an essential part of our diet, but the quality, quantity and type need to be monitored to ensure one is not consuming unhealthy quantities. Examples are frosting used for cakes, margarine, potato chips, ice cream and milkshakes.
Classes of foods to add in your diet:
- Hydrating foods: I know you’d probably say we’ve come again but we’re stuck with this reality, water is life but if you can’t drink it, then eat it. You’d want to try out fruits like cucumbers, watermelons, tomatoes, oranges and spinach.
- Green leafy vegetables and fruits: classes of spinach, cabbage, lettuce, ugu, scent leaves, waterleaf and their whole family together with varieties of fruits (pineapples, avocados, oranges, bananas) are all sources of iron, components that fight off infections and antioxidants.
- Sea foods and fresh fish: these are good sources of omega 3, 6& 9 oils, selenium, zinc, and magnesium which are good for the eyes, skin, hair, nails and good muscle growth.
- Beans, nuts and whole grains: these are rich in proteins and fiber, so you might want to have a constant supply of peanuts, cashew nuts, beans, lentils, oats and wheat.
- White meat family and eggs: these are much cheaper substitutes for red meat and have high protein contents. Examples are chicken and turkey.
Healthy living is not difficult, it just takes getting used to it and that doesn’t mean you can’t spoil yourself on some occasions, but moderation and balance is the key. Need to talk to a health professional about your health and what options are available? HCI HMO has the best packages to suit your needs, we’re just a phone call away.
Try us today at HCI Healthcare.
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi, BSc. Nur., MA, Healthcare Mgt.
Health & Wellness Advocate,
HCI Healthcare HMO