Eat a Plant-Based Diet
One of the best things you can do for yourself starting today is to work towards maintaining a healthy weight for the rest of your life. If you are already at a healthy weight, excellent! But do you know how to adjust your diet and lifestyle for your changing body? The first task is to make sure you are making healthy food choices. That means avoiding “junk” foods that are ultra-processed and embracing a more plant-based diet.
But why should you avoid ultra-processed things like white bread, soda, cookies, donuts, and coffee creamers? Take, for example, a study from 2019 that looked at how consuming 4 servings of processed foods affected the body. The end result was that, with just four servings, there was a 62 percent increase in mortality. Every additional serving increases mortality by 18 percent.
The reason for this spike is the effect junk food has on the body. Ultra-processed food increases inflammation, as well as the risk of cancer and heart disease.
There are plenty of options out there to help you cut junk food from your life and move on to a healthier relationship with food. It depends on what you struggle with and how your health is currently. Struggling with hypertension? Try the DASH diet. There is also the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND Diet) to consider. If you want to simply start focusing more on plant-based alternatives, consider going flexitarian.
The best diet, however, for overall health and wellness is the traditional Mediterranean diet. Countless research has proven that the Mediterranean diet, with its focus on healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables, can reduce the risk of stroke, dementia, diabetes, depression, breast cancer, and other diseases. It has also been noted to promote weight loss, a stronger microbiome, and healthier heart.
Of course, there is more to the Mediterranean diet than just cooking with olive oil and eating more plants. You have to make the appropriate lifestyle changes, too.
There is a reason why people who live around the Mediterranean are slim and live long lives. They focus on mindful eating, social meals, and plenty of exercise. Most meals take longer than 20 minutes to consume.
Practice some mindfulness while you are at it. Turn off the TV. Put away the phone. Start listening to conversations and focusing more on the flavors, smells, and texture of the food. Chew more between bites. Make dining together with friends and family or eating alone more of a journey than mindless snacking.