How Do Eating Patterns Affect Your Health?
Your parents were right: you are what you eat. Healthy eating is a choice you make every day. It’s always the right choice.
Poor eating patterns and habits result in nutrient-deficient food choices that can contribute to a range of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Adopting healthy eating patterns and making wise food choices plays a significant role in promoting good health and preventing chronic diseases, not to mention contributing to just feeling better, day in and day out.
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), a healthy eating pattern consists of nutrient-dense foods in recommended amounts within calorie limits.
Let’s look at how certain eating patterns can affect your health.
Get a Variety of Nutrient-Rich Foods
Healthy eating patterns include foods rich in essential nutrients. These nutrients are carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and believe it or not, water (because most of your body is made up of water). Nutrients provide energy, regulate various body functions, and build and maintain your body’s tissues and organs. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients can lead to health problems.
Improve Your Gut Feeling
Eating food with a high content of fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics, as well as avoiding foods high in sugar content, promotes good gut health, the balance of trillions of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. When things go out of balance, you don’t feel so good. And you are potentially damaging your body, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
How Sweet It Isn’t
Eating patterns that include excessive consumption of sweets can cause both spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes. And if you think substituting artificial sweeteners is a healthy alternative to sugar, thing again. Studies show that artificial sweeteners increase blood sugar levels despite not actually being sugar.
We’re not suggesting you avoid eating sugar all the time. We are suggesting eating patterns avoid sugar most of the time. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself now and again. There’s something wrong with your eating patterns if sweeteners are required at every meal, and every meal in-between.
If you’re eating balanced, nutrition-rich meals throughout the day, you aren’t feeling hungry. When we’re stressed, feel anxious, experience that “empty feeling deep inside” that is emotional rather than nutritional, we tend to overeat. Overeating leads to unwanted gain, requires your organs to work harder to break down the excessive food, and your metabolism speeds up, making you feel hot, sweaty, or even dizzy.
Healthy eating patterns help resist this urge. In addition, stress-reducing activities such as regular exercise and meditation support healthy eating patterns and resist overeating.
Meal-Timing Eating Patterns
Another healthy eating pattern is to consume food at regular times. Changing mealtimes from day to day can compromise physiology, like the way disruptions in sleep patterns can affect mood and even cognition. According to one study, irregular eating habits are associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It goes on to conclude, “Having a consistent daily eating time may be beneficial for health…our best available research suggests that meal-timing habits are likely important for good health.” The study also recommends eating most calories in the earlier part of the day, as well as avoiding eating close to bedtime to minimize weight gain.
The Five Food Groups
Also, according to the DGA, “All five food groups are important. They all provide a variety of important nutrients that make up healthy eating styles. This means there’s no need to eliminate food groups or conform to a single eating style – there is flexibility through moderation, variety, and balance to enjoy foods and eat well.”
The five food groups are:
Of course, substitutions are at times required for certain needs. For example, there are dairy alternatives for the lactose intolerance, and vegetarians and vegans can obtain proteins from non-meat sources such as beans.
Avoid Processed Foods
Healthy eating patterns make a point to avoid processed foods, which contain added sugars or sweeteners, added sodium and other preservatives. Indeed, according to one heart health organization, “About 70 percent of the sodium in the typical American diet comes from commercially processed and restaurant foods. Manufacturers use sodium to preserve foods and modify flavor, and it’s included in additives that affect the texture or color of foods.” Unfortunately, high sodium intake over time increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Prepare Home-Cooked Meals
Here’s another thing your mother was right about. Preparing food at home using fresh ingredients gives you better control over what you eat, ensuring you eat healthier. And it can save you money!
How to Achieve Healthy Eating Patterns
Daily Nourish is committed to helping you achieve healthy eating patterns by providing you with delicious nutrient-rich food that you can prepare using fresh ingredients provided in simple recipes that are easy to follow.
There’s no better eating pattern than a Daily Nourish eating pattern.