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8 ways to make self-care a part of every meal


One of the best ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine is to start with your plate. After all, we are what we eat, right?

A healthy diet can do wonders for your body and mind. Here are 8 eating habits that’ll help you lead a healthier and happier life:

  1. Load your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Many nutritionists recommend that half your plate should be fruits and veggies. To reap more nutritional benefits, try to make your plate as colourful as possible. Consuming blue and purple foods like aubergine and blueberries improve digestion, lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system and helps fight inflammation. Red foods like tomatoes and red carrots help fight heart ailments and certain kinds of cancers. Meanwhile leafy greens, an excellent source of calcium, iron, antioxidants which can strengthen bones, manage blood pressure and improve metabolism and cognitive function.

  2. Use herbs and spices. Herbs and spices help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, boost the immune system and improve brain function. Many herbs and spices have more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. Spices like cinnamon, for instance, have great health benefits from reducing blood sugar levels to fighting cognitive decline and improving heart health, while herbs like ginger and basil aid digestion and have great anti-inflammatory properties.

  3. Add nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds contain a host of nutrients. Seeds (including flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds) and nuts (like pistachio, walnuts, almonds and cashews) are a good source of protein, fibre and heart-healthy fats. To incorporate the goodness of nuts and seeds in your daily diet, we suggest sprinkling them over soups and salads.

  4. Increase the intake of healthy fats. Consuming more healthy fats (monounsaturated fats, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids) is crucial for your brain and heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids boost cognitive performance, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation. Monounsaturated fats or MUFAs lower the risk of heart diseases and strokes. While Omega-6 fatty acids improve brain function, regulate metabolism and promote hair growth. Foods like avocados, olives, nuts (pecans, walnuts and pistachios), seeds (sunflower seeds and flaxseed) and oily fish (salmon and tuna) are packed with healthy fats.

  5. Eat for your gut. Your gut or the gastrointestinal tract is home to 90% of your serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that affects your mood, appetite, sleep, memory, etc. It also acts as a barrier that keeps viruses and harmful bacteria at bay. When you’re stressed out, your digestive system may not work properly and may get inflamed. Try incorporating gut-friendly foods in your daily diet, like natural yoghurt, walnuts, almonds, oat bran and pumpkin seeds.

  6. Eat regularly. Eating small meals regularly throughout the day keeps your metabolism on an even keel, prevents overeating and regulates your blood sugar levels. The steadier your blood sugar levels, the more stable and balanced you will feel.

  7. Limit added sugars. Eating sugar-laden foods increases the risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Other than that, sugary foods trigger blood sugar drops which can make you feel jittery, anxious or even short-tempered.

  8. Eat foods that will help you sleep better. Adequate sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It elevates mood and helps improve your cognitive skills and cardiovascular health, among other things. Eating foods that induce sleep is a natural and effective way to fight insomnia. Consuming foods that are rich in tryptophan, such as bananas, potatoes, almonds, seeds, and whole-grain oats, is one of the best ways to promote good sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is involved in the synthesis of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

So the next time you find your hand reaching for the biscuit, just try out these healthy eating habits instead and feel the difference!

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