Healthy Eating Habits

The most important healthy eating habits


 

 

"Life is short, (the health) art is long, .... It is not enough for the physician to do what is necessary, but the patient and attendant must do their part as well, and circumstances must be favorable."

 

- Hippocrates circa 431 B.C. 

 

Eating is the biggest stress we put on our body and that is why in caloric restriction experiments that people can extend life as long as they just eat enough to maintain nutrition, therefore putting less stress on the whole body system. Life is just like a candle, it will burn longer if you will use it sparingly. 

Proper diet and healthy eating habits are extremely important in nourishing the body systems, regenerating new cells and slowing down the aging process. The followings are among the most important ones.    

Eat Slowly

Some people like to eat slowly to enjoy their food, to appreciate the cooking and the tastes. But far too many people who are leading very hurried lifestyles are eating their food far too quickly. Not everyone understands that digestion starts from the mouth. The process of chewing and mixing foods in our mouth with saliva is the necessary first step in breaking down food. The more time we spend on chewing our food, the easier it is for our body to process it. 

Once food reach our stomach, they have to be broken down into molecules that the small intestine can absorb, allowing essential nutrients to enter our bloodstream to fuel every cell in our body. Our gut also houses 75% of our body's immune system cells and is responsible for directing our body's immune defense against bacteria, poison and harmful materials. This simple chore of digestion depends on a finely orchestrated series of muscular contractions, chemical secretions, and electrical signals all along the 30-foot-long gastrointestinal tract can take between 9 hours to a day or two to complete. 

A rushed meal is out of sync with the creeping pace of the gut. It will cause bloating, stomach pain and heartburn and will make us feel gassy, irritable and miserable. It is because our gut manufactures about 95% of our body's supply of serotonin, which regulates mood and sleep. So when our gut is out of whack, it communicates its unhappiness to the brain and we feel out of sorts and sleep poorly.

A well-chewed meal will require less time to pass through the digestive tracts which can prevent foods from decaying and breeding bacteria and cancer. It will also help to move toxins out of our body quickly without giving it time to be reabsorbed back into the body. The lesser burden we put on our digestive system, the longer it will last to serve us because after all, it is a mechanical part that has a limited life span. 

The other most important benefits of eating slowly is to prevent overeating. It is because when we eat slowly, it allows time for foods to reach our stomach and signal the brain to stop eating before we have eaten too much.  It is a very effective approach for people who want to eat less and yet not feeling hungry and deprived.  

Eat On Time

Many people only eat when they are hungry in order to lose weight but will end up only eating more and gaining weight. It is because when our body is not receiving food on a regular basis, it will behave as in famine by storing up everything that passes through, especially fat. The worst thing is our brain, which has no storage for oxygen and nutrients, has to rely on our body to feed it continuously from food. When the supply of energy from food stops, the body breaks down muscle and fat to produce the needed energy. This metabolic process produces toxic free radicals that are harmful to the body and may cause mood swings, fatigue, headache, forgetfulness and brain cells damage.

When people resort to snacking to fill hunger in-between meals, they are pumping in a high concentration of empty calories which are most fattening and unhealthy. Eating regular meals at regular time with the right portion is best for health and for controlling weight.

In Chinese medicine, the practice of three meals a day at specific time is in tune with our natural body clock and has been proven to be effective for optimal health.  

Breakfast should be eaten between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. It is the most important meal of the day and should be of good portion and lots of variety (eat breakfast like a king). This is the time when the stomach meridian is most active, therefore, most efficient in digestion and absorption. The nutrients being absorbed prepare the body well for the rest of the day. People who are skipping breakfast will experience lower productivity and less mental power throughout the morning.

Lunch should be eaten between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the hours of the heart meridian. The portion should be generous (eat lunch like a commoner). Nourishing the heart well at this time could promote better blood and qi (energy) circulation. It is important not to engage in vigorous activities at this time because it will over burden the function of the heart.

Dinner should be eaten between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the hours of the kidney meridian. Kidney is the source of life because it controls our hormone production (the fountain of youth), sexual ability, reproductive functions and the building of strong tendons and bones. Nourishing it well can promote kidney health and slow down aging. Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day (eat dinner like a beggar). It should consist of mostly easy-to-digest foods so that digestion can be completed when we go to sleep. Nothing is worst than sleeping with a full stomach of undigested food. It will generate bad and stagnant energy from food fermentation, which is the source of most health problems.

If we want to have good health, eating three meals a day on time is vital. Eating irregularly is most damaging to health and is least effective in losing weight. 

Eat for Quality and Not Quantity

Many people like to eat cheap and for convenience rather than eating for health. Fast foods, convenient foods, preprocessed foods are causing obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems in too many people. 

Bad food choices and overeating is the most deadly combination. We should not eat more than 70% of our capacity because overeating will overwork our vital organs and shorten our lives. Since we have limited capacity for food, we should always use our quota for quality nutritional foods for better health. Quality foods with high nutrient density, such as onion and sweet potatoes, do not have to be more expensive . We just need to know what to choose. 

If we want good health, we should eat only fresh, unprocessed, whole and nutrient dense food but not calorie rich. Focus on foods that offer plenty of antioxidants and do not eat too much. 

Eat Seasonal Foods

All fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds are blessings from our creator. They are to enable life for all living organisms on earth. Each plant grows and matures under the timetable of the universe and delivers what nature has installed for us. 

When foods are in season, they are at their best and lowest price because of abundant supply. Seasonal foods are also nature’s plan to take care of our needs. For example, in spring, there are more sprouts, leafy greens and flowering vegetables to provide us with good nutrition to support new growth. In summer, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables with high fluid content, such as oranges and watermelons to cool us down and quench our thirst. In autumn, root vegetables, nuts and grains are plentiful. They are filling and can last us throughout the winter months. 

Eating seasonal foods is not only cheap and delicious; it is the best way not to miss out on what nature has planned for us and to counter the adverse effects of seasonal extreme climate on our body.

Make Your Own Food

There is nothing healthier than eating your own home cooked meals made from scratch because you are more likely to give yourself higher quality ingredients and the cooking process will be more hygienic and healthy. 

Research statistics have confirmed the exponential increase of modern health problems with the increase of out-of-home dining. People who are eating out a lot of or eating too much preprocessed foods are more likely to be malnourished and overweight due to low nutritional content, too much bad fat and plenty of food additives and preservatives.  

Eating your own cooking is not only healthy, but the process of preparing food is fun, therapeutic and rewarding. Cooking can take you and your mind off stressful work and it is a very caring act for yourself and your family. For families with children, getting them involve with meal preparation can train them on this important life skill early. The aromas of home cooked foods filling the kitchen and the house is magical in promoting love and harmony in a home.  

Drink More Clean Water

Most people are drinking too much soft drink, sweetened beverages, coffee and tea, and not enough water. All the sugar and caffeine are taxing heavily on their spleen, liver and heart, and are affecting their normal metabolic functions.  

Pure water is needed by our body to keep every cell alive. With 70% of our body being fluids, it requires eight glasses of water per day to keep our cells fully hydrated. The lack of water can lead to skin eruptions, bad breath, constipation, dehydration and kidney stones. 

A glass of water in the morning before breakfast is necessary to rehydrate every cell after a whole night sleep and to flush out the excessive acid in the stomach. Sipping water frequently throughout the day is healthier than drinking large quantity all at once. Drinking ice cold water or drinks is harmful to our health especially right before a meal. It is because our stomach is like a furnace which needs to raise the temperature to 2 degrees above normal in order to digest food. The cold drinks will lower the temperature making it harder for the stomach to work properly. Too much water before meal can dilute digestive enzymes and cause indigestion. All these can cause stomach pain, acid reflex and bloating. Warm water throughout the day is easier on the body than cold water. Hot water or hot tea after meals are more effective in flushing out oil and fat accumulated in the stomach. We should stop drinking water one hour before bedtime to prevent waking up at night for bathroom trip and to prevent baggy eyes in the morning.

Good quality, filtered, clean and safe water is most essential in protecting our health. Investing in good drinking water is more urgent nowadays because of wide spread environmental pollution. We should avoid drinking bottled water because of toxin in plastic bottles. Fountain water in public places is highly contaminated due to lack of use and bad hygiene. High lead content in underground piping is also a big concern. It is much safer to bring your water from home when going out.   

Eat for Variety and in Moderation

Each food in whole has its unique nutritional contents and health benefits. Some foods are good for promoting blood. Some are perfect for brain health. Some can build muscle and some are excellent for boosting energy. It is better for our health if we can eat a large variety of foods for nutrient diversity by rotating our food choices frequently. A fixed and repetitively diet is not only boring; too much of the same thing can create imbalance in our body and cause sickness.  

Overeating is the main factor causing obesity. The excesses force the body to work overtime and use up its life span early. It is important not to eat over 70% full. Many researches have confirmed that eating slightly less can lead to a longer life than eating too much. Eating less does not mean calorie counting because empty calories are bad for health. Eating in moderation just requires constraint, common sense and knowing when to stop.   

A Soup a Day

Soup is easiest for digestion and absorption. The slow simmering process breaks down foods and the best nutrients are in the broth. Soup is good for everyone and in particular, the very young and old, and people who are sick or with poor digestion. Soup is also ideal for people watching their weight because soup is nutrient dense and filling without having to eat too much. 

For foods that are nutritious but hard to eat such as root vegetables, animal bones, beans and hardy herbs, cooking them into soups is the only way to retrieve their nutrients. Many Chinese therapeutic soup recipes are using combinations of foods and herbs to create synergistic nutritional effects to benefit health.   

Making home-made soup is real easy. You can make soup ahead of time and in batches, each can serve up to several meals. All it takes is putting water and the ingredients in a pot, bring to boil and let it simmer. Commercially made soups in a can and restaurant soups are laden with salt, fat and additives. They are unhealthy for health and should be avoided.  

Taking soup after the main course is better for digestion because the stomach enzyme will not be diluted so that it can work on the harder to digest foods first. Hot broth after meal can help foods to travel faster while cleaning out oil and fat along the way. 

 

8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

1. Spinach

This muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Folate also increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration. Yogurt

Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body. That helps boost your immune system and provides protection against cancer.

2. Tomatoes 

Tomatoes packed with antioxidant lycopene and are better for absorption when cooked. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

3. Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoid - a fat-soluble compound that is associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Blueberries

Have most antioxidants. Help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes. Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, also boost cardiovascular health.

5. Black Beans

All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans that are full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. Low in calories and free of saturated fat.

6. Walnuts

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken.   

7. Oats

They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed down by the fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, they deliver steady, muscle-friendly energy.

8. Water

(see below)


The Health Benefits of Water

1. Water prevents and cures heartburn

Heartburn is a signal of water shortage in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a major thirst signal of the human body.

2. Water prevents and cures arthritis

Rheumatoid joint pain - arthritis - is a signal of water shortage in the painful joint. It can affect the young as well as the old. Intake of water and small amounts of salt will cure this problem.

3. Water prevents and cures back pain

Low back pain and ankylosing arthritis of the spine are signs of water shortage in the spinal column and discs - the water cushions that support the weight of the body. These conditions should be treated with increased water intake.

4. Water prevents and cures angina

Heart pain - angina - is a sign of water shortage in the heart/lung axis. It should be treated with increased water intake until the patient is free of pain and independent of medications.

5. Water prevents and cures migraines

Migraine headache is a sign of water need by the brain and the eyes. It will totally clear up if dehydration is prevented from establishing in the body. The type of dehydration that causes migraine might eventually cause inflammation of the back of the eye and possibly loss of eye sight.

6. Water prevents and cures colitis

Colitis pain is a signal of water shortage in the large gut. It is associated with constipation because the large intestine constricts to squeeze the last drop of water from the excrements - thus the lack of water lubrication.

7. Water and salt prevent and cure asthma

Asthma, which also affects 14 million children and kills several thousand of them every year, is a complication of dehydration in the body. It is caused by the drought management programs of the body. In asthma free passage of air is obstructed so that water does not leave the body in the form of vapor - the winter steam. Increased water intake will prevent asthma attacks. Asthmatics need also to take more salt to break the mucus plugs in the lungs that obstruct the free flow of air in and out of the air sacs.

8. Water prevents and cures high blood pressure

Hypertension is a state of adaptation of the body to a generalized drought, when there is not enough water to fill all the blood vessels that diffuse water into vital cells. As part of the mechanism of reverse osmosis, when water from the blood serum is filtered and injected into important cells through minute holes in their membranes, extra pressure is needed for the "injection process." Just as we inject I.V. "water" in hospitals, so the body injects water into tens of trillions of cells all at the same time. Water and some salt intake will bring blood pressure back to normal!

9. Water prevents and cures early adult-onset diabetes

Adult-onset diabetes is another adaptive state to severe dehydration of the human body. To have adequate water in circulation and for the brain's priority water needs, the release of insulin is inhibited to prevent insulin from pushing water into all body cells. In diabetes, only some cells get survival rations of water. Water and some salt will reverse adult-onset diabetes in its early stages.

10. Water lowers blood cholesterol

High cholesterol levels are an indicator of early drought management by the body. Cholesterol is a clay-like material that is poured in the gaps of some cell membranes to safeguard them against losing their vital water content to the osmotically more powerful blood circulating in their vicinity. Cholesterol, apart from being used to manufacture nerve cell membranes and hormones, is also used as a "shield" against water taxation of other vital cells that would normally exchange water through their cell membranes.

11. Water cures depression, loss of libido, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy

These conditions are caused by prolonged chronic dehydration. They will clear up once the body becomes well and regularly hydrated. In these conditions, exercising one's muscles should be part of the treatment program.