My tiny little blog is just about one year old now and the fantastic thing I've discovered through it is the new people I get to meet and share excitement and interest in health and food with.
So I was delighted when writer and health enthusiast Emma Lawson got in touch to see if we could do a guest blog post exchange on topics that really interested us.
Emma's suggestion I thought fitted perfectly with what I'm all about here at The Flourishing Pantry - healthy eating and how it can affect our bodies and minds. Over to Emma for more!
Healthy eating isn’t just a buzz of the moment as new evidence emerges that it can have profound effects on both the body and mind. Long gone are the days when dieting meant simply cutting sugar and fat in order to shed a few pounds. Nowadays health experts from various fields urge people to turn to healthy food because it’s of vital importance for their overall well-being. Let’s examine how a diet change affects your body and why you should carefully reconsider what’s on your plate.
It’s common knowledge that your skin can reflect what you eat. Various skin conditions including acne, eczema, rosacea, or discoloration can be triggered by food, so it’s important to start nourishing your skin from within.
Refined sugar, pasta, and white bread can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for a string of skin-related issues, so it’s recommended to try switching to whole grains if you're wanting to maintain a clear complexion.
Antioxidants are essential anti-aging ingredients, which is why it’s recommended to increase the intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, or resveratrol. In other words, eat more vegetables, seeds, lean meat, red fruits, grapes, and nuts for potentially younger-looking skin.
However, if you want to help those antioxidants to be properly absorbed, make sure to eat enough good, unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocado, or salmon.
When you eat unhealthy food, your mental health suffers, too.
First of all a diet formed of mainly processed food, sugar and fast food can lead to becoming overweight and obese, which in turn can cause people to feel bad about themselves and can destroy their self-confidence. Not to mention that these disorders could trigger type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and a number of other potentially life-threatening diseases [Vicky: have a read of the Association of UK Dietitians Fact Sheet on Sugar for more on this].
On the other hand, in an attempt to control their weight many people, especially teenagers can potentially succumb to equally dangerous eating disorders such as anorexia, binge eating, or bulimia. Secondly, diets based on sugar and high-fat foods can cause and aggravate inflammations, by disrupting some people's intestinal bacteria balance.
According to recent research, there’s a strong link between our gut and nervous system, which basically means that inflammatory high-fat foods and sugar can indirectly affect our mental health and cause brain fog, depression, fatigue, and mood swings. By eating food that contains good bacteria, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, or kombucha, you may be able to keep various mental issues at bay.
A pearly smile
Even kids know that sugar is bad for their teeth, but there’s much more that you can do for the health of your teeth apart from eliminating candy.
First of all, you may need a clarification regarding sugar. Many foods contain sugar: it's something that can be found in fruits, vegetables, or milk, too. But it’s processed, added sugar that is bad for teeth and that results in tooth decay [Vicky: we're talking free sugars here, check out this useful info graphic from The Rooted Project for a clear explanation]. Brushing at least twice a day and regular flossing are a must for healthy teeth and gums, and good hygiene should be combined with appropriate nutrients for the best results.
Australian Dental Specialists recommend that you should include foods from each of the five basic food groups in your diet, so make sure to eat whole grains, vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, poultry and other lean meat, as well as dairy. A low intake of essential nutrients can make it difficult for tissues in your mouth to fight various infections, which results in periodontal disease, one of the most common reasons for tooth loss in both children and adults.
Changing your diet can completely transform your body and mind, and improve the quality of your life. It’s never too late to start following a healthy lifestyle regimen and improve your overall well-being.
Thanks Emma! You can read more from Emma on her collection of articles across the web on her clippings.com portfolio.
Next week I'll be back with a blog post about Kitchen Staples. Having just moved from London to Dublin I've been really thinking about what's essential to my pantry stocks. I'll open up the cupboards (or the "press" as they're called in Ireland... yes really!!) and show you what's in mine next Friday.
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