Habits keep us on track-they help us maintain routine, make things easier and even help us remember better. But when bad habits invade our lives, they can be difficult to change. One of the most important habits we can control that impacts our body and mind wellness is our eating habits. Lately, mine haven’t been the best and now I’m paying the price.
Stress, a busy schedule, life events, and let’s just say a bit of laziness has led me to not always make the best food choices lately. It’s a slippery slope and often one not so great choice leads to another and soon weight gain, lack of concentration and overall malaise is the result.
What we feed our bodies is what we feed our brains. Research has shown those who eat healthier often have better cognitive recall and function as they age. There are a myriad of reasons why this occurs and they probably work in tandem for our overall health. The bottom line is if we eat well, we think better.
Many of us know what good food is-fresh, less processed and includes a variety of good fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Yet convenience often trumps healthy. So let’s review some options to make healthy food choices easier to benefit our memory wellness.
Fresh and whole over processed. When on the go, this isn’t as simple a choice. But if we can plan ahead a bit, it becomes a bit easier. Stop at the store instead of the drive through. Go to the produce section rather than the frozen food aisle. Often fresh food doesn’t take much more time to prepare than the processed kind. Choosing whole grains over processed gives us more of the beneficial vitamins and fiber. Food stores and buffet lines often have salad or other fresh options right next to the unhealthier options. Choose well.
Good fat over not so good fat. Olive oil, less saturated oils like canola or sunflower give us a better option for fats. Butter is a staple in my home too, but when possible swap it out for other healthier options or minimize its usage. Our bodies and brains need fat to function well, but too much of the wrong kind can be detrimental to our wellness.
More dark fruits and vegetables! Half our plate with each meal should be fruits and vegetables. Instead of chips or convenience snacks, reach for an apple or some carrots. Add healthy almond butter or hummus and it’s suddenly a much healthier and satisfying snack. Instead of extra potatoes or meat, fill up by eating the veggies first. The healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables are winners for our brains.
Even though we know how to eat well, we often don’t. But in the long run, convenience causes more problems than it solves. I’m going to rededicate myself to eating healthier for my body, brain and overall wellness, using these healthy habits as a guide. Hope you’ll join me!