Research shows that mindfulness exercises benefit the mind and body, but when you incorporate mindfulness into your eating habits, you achieve the highest benefits for your body.
Eating intentionally means selecting foods mindfully for their whole health value. Strive to eat with purpose by considering what foods have the best impact on your body.
Studying How Diet Can Affect Genes
When it comes to the study of the human genome, an interesting concept arises — genes themselves don’t create disease. The reality of disease in the body centers around genes generating this due to submergence into a harmful environment specific to an individual.
Nutrigenomics is a growing field of study that analyzes how various foods interact with particular genes in the body with the idea that diet can modify the risk levels of chronic diseases, such as certain cancers, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. On the genetic level, nutrigenomics identifies the molecules that alter gene expression from food consumed in one’s diet. One study revealed that 76 percent agreed that a genetic-specific diet would benefit their whole health and lower risks for common diseases.
What genes cue Type 2 diabetes onset? Nutrigenomics may provide the answer. By including certain types of foods in your diet, you can lower the risk factors of disease onset, potentially those specific to your family history. Food is medicine, and what you eat influences gene expression in your body.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables likely reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and for decades, health providers pointed out a healthy diet is important. Families should consume fruits and vegetables as a part of a balanced diet to source vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Current evidence reveals that a complicated group of nutrients could interact with specific genetic factors to cultivate CVD in the body, but researchers need a clearer picture of the relationship. Here’s what to focus on:
• Vitamins and minerals: Consume vitamins A, C, E and selenium, along with antioxidants in fruits and vegetables to assist with metabolic processes. Eat those leafy greens, carrots and eggplant.
• Phytochemicals: Produced by plants, phytochemicals help fight off pathogens and possess antioxidant properties that may fight off cancer. Researchers seek to understand how phytochemicals interact with other food compounds and in the body, so it’s advisable to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
• Fiber: Fiber is a digestive aid that allows you to build good gut health. No one likes being constipated! Fiber acts by slowing down carbohydrate absorption, and it makes you feel more full. Celery is a great example of a vegetable with fiber. Whole grains also contain fiber.
Word of caution: Fruits are very healthy for your body, but you need to brush after eating them due to their acidic nature since the citrus makes your teeth more prone to decay and enamel erosion — exposing the yellow dentin underneath. Too much citrus in your diet can lead to receding gum lines. When you consume fibrous vegetables, it’s also important to brush, so the fibers don’t get stuck between your teeth. The mouth is the place digestion starts!
Whole grains benefit the body in a number of ways, offering fiber for good gut health and a source of healthy carbohydrates. Here are the other benefits of whole grains:
• Blood sugar regulation: Complex carbohydrates take longer to process.
• Appetite control: Fiber makes you feel full. Whole grains also improve your digestive health by “exercising” it.
• Reduce cholesterol and remove toxins: They bind to the toxins in your gut and hang on until it’s time to visit the restroom.
• Neurotransmitter synthesis: Complex carbs are important for these chemical messengers created by your body, such as serotonin, so eat complex carbs and potentially get better sleep. At least you’ll have a better shot.
Reduce your intake of refined grains and look for “whole grains” on the box. Examples of whole grains include oats, brown rice, wild rice, whole rye, whole wheat, cornmeal and quinoa. Look out for mixtures, and opt for ingredients that don’t intermix the refined with the whole grains to pass for healthy food sources.
Protein, including beans, fish and various meats, provide amino acids and regulate several messengers that keep the body functioning. Protein also assists the body with these essential functions:
• Balancing insulin and regulating blood sugar.
• Regulating sleep and mood through the production of hormones.
• Generating connective tissues for cartilage, skin and bones, building muscle and promoting wound healing.
• Detoxifying the liver by escorting waste molecules out of the body by attaching to them.
• Thyroid and adrenal functioning.
• Making you feel full!
Look for lean cuts of meat to focus on the healthier aspects, and fish also offer omega-threes to the body. Various legumes, such as black beans and chickpeas are a great source of protein, but other vegetables contain protein, too, such as cauliflower.
Most assume that fat is bad for the body, especially when you’re on a diet, but the opposite is true. The body needs fat to stay healthy. That means the consumption of healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado, are essential to reducing the risk for disease and boosting brain health. Fats assist with insulating your organs and more including:
• Lubricating skin and mucous membranes and keeping joints healthy.
• Giving materials to make hormones.
• Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
• Boosting gut health and glucose efficiency.
• Raising or lowering inflammation levels, depending on which fat.
Balanced Diets Are Key
Food is medicine, and your body depends on specific foods and their combinations to maintain your whole health by producing hormones and regulating particular messengers in the body, for example. A balanced diet is important for the whole family to lead a healthy, long life and may reduce risk factors for chronic diseases that run in the family.
Consult with your doctor or pediatrician to create a more specialized diet for the best impact on your body and longevity. Prevention is key.