5 Facts Science Says About Eating Right

Written by Lea Riemeier

It’s common knowledge that giving a machine the right fuel is necessary for it to work at its best without collapsing. Our body is a machine too, but I’m wondering – why are we not making sure that it gets the best fuel too?

Many people nowadays do not believe that feeding our body right and healthy can actually have an impact on how we feel in general? But guess what – it does! Why else do many of us feel so crappy sometimes when we had fast food for a few days? “I don’t have time.” 

That is one of my ‘favourite’ excuses… You don’t have time to grab a piece of fruit or vegetable, but you have time to make a stop at McDonald’s Drive Through? 

I am not saying you should never eat fries again – hell no! It’s all about balance, isn’t it? Small changes can make a huge difference and it’s a start. If you want McDonald’s then get it, but if you’re just hungry and want a snack maybe you could try an apple or a banana instead? And you will see, they won’t kill you. Here are five facts on why healthy food can make you feel better or happier 🙂

  1. Eating fruits and vegetables increases people’s life satisfaction

A study from Australia from 2016 found that people who switched from eating almost no fruit or vegetables to including eight portions a day in their diets felt an overall increase in life satisfaction that is comparable to the feeling an unemployed person has after finding a job. Everyone knows studies that show an improvement in people’s health when they eat more fruits and veggies.

What I find interesting though is, that the effects it has on our life satisfaction seem to happen much faster.  

  1. Eating healthy prevents mood swings

We all know that feeling when we are really energy depleted and just need a quick snack to get that blood sugar up again. What’s a faster way than having a piece of chocolate or a candy bar?

Yeah, we will feel better for a bit, until the blood sugar drops down super fast because of how fast our body digest and absorbs these simple refined sugars and we will feel tired and crave more and the circle starts again.

There is nothing bad about sugar; it’s definitely the fastest source of energy. Just try combining it with fibres instead of having it by itself. Fibres are complex carbohydrates, found in fruits and vegetables, especially in the peel, but also in oats, peas, beans, etc.. The complex carbohydrates will slow down the sugar absorption into your bloodstream, will cause an increased release of Serotonin, the “feeling good” chemical and by that prevent these mood swings, which suck not only for you but also for the people around you.

  1. Feeling more comfortable in your skin

We all want to feel comfortable with our physical appearance, but nowadays that is hard for many of us.

On the one hand, there is all that influence from social media on how we should look like and on the other hand all these super fancy unhealthy food trends we all HAVE to try and take a cool photo of to post it on Instagram (No? It’s just us girls? Oh.).

I can’t tell you to not listen to that and it doesn’t matter what social media says and you are all beautiful as you are, because why would you believe me? You have no idea who I am. But what I can tell you is: ‘Listen to your body. It tells you what to do.’ If you don’t feel good in your own skin, because you are obese or you have bad skin then no one can help you, but YOU

You can make healthy food choices and you will see how it will make you feel better, look better and it will keep you motivated to make healthy choices in the future. 

Most change is slow and gradual but is entirely worthwhile. What matters more in the end? Social media and trying every food trend that already won’t matter anymore tomorrow or how happy you feel with yourself? 

  1. What you eat can improve your mood and energy levels

Many of us are having a hard time eating enough protein throughout the day. Most of our foods contain lots of carbohydrates and fats but they lack the amount of protein we should eat. Protein is great to improve your mood and energy even for several hours after eating. They slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream and increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are also used to treat depression.

Examples of protein-rich foods are:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Soybeans or tofu
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Greek yogurt
  1. Keep those bowels moving

This might not be the nicest topic to talk about but whether we like it or not it’s important and everyone has to go to the toilet.

Nowadays many of us suffer from constipation and can’t empty ourselves regularly and that obviously makes us feel bad, bloated, and just somehow heavy. A very simple explanation of why we feel like that is that we are not getting enough water and fibres in our diets, which are the essentials for our gut system to work properly and get everything moving.

Once you’ve experienced how great it feels to have regular bowel movements, and how much lighter and comfortable you feel, you won’t ever want to feel differently and you’ll probably prioritize water and fibres.

Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/55407-eating-more-fruits-veggies-linked-with-life-satisfaction.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/mood-food-can-what-you-eat-affect-your-happiness#mood-foods

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/foods-feel-better#1

https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2019/07/18/15/istock-855098134.jpg?w968

Why the Link Between Your Body and Self-Image Is So Important

We live in a society where we tend to mainly focus on, and be concerned about our physical health; our appearance – how we look, or maybe more importantly how others look at us. We tend to measure and base our health, and sometimes-even worth, on numbers. Numbers coming from a scale, measuring tape, a calculator or likes on our last IG picture. We want to fit in so bad, whether it be in a certain BMI box or amongst the bikini pictures we see on social media, that these numbers, and how others see us become what’s important. And we forgot to focus on how we feel about ourselves, and how we make others feel. 


But what about what’s hidden underneath those numbers? I believe that is important too. I believe that health is not just determined by what we see on the outside; my weight or my body fat percentage. It’s also how I feel about my self and my body. What is a ”perfect” body worth if you’re not happy? 
I think the mental aspect is equally as important – that we’re happy with ourselves and how we look. 
This is not saying it’s ‘not okay’ to want to work on your body, become stronger, faster or lose weight – but do it for you. Because YOU want to, and not because others make you feel like you should to “good enough” or to “fit in”. 
Magazines and social media constantly influence us when we create body images or body ideals. But some of what we see and strive for is unreal – and yet we still judge others and ourselves by them. Leaving some people thinking “if I don’t look like that – I’m not good enough”. Some people dedicate their lives to work and on their bodies. To improve strength and minimize fat, and as a result they are amazingly fit. I think it’s impressive, and if that’s what makes them happy that’s great, but it doesn’t mean that’s the right way to live or that’s the way you have to look to be ‘good enough’. 
Healthy and being healthy is not as black and white is we want it to be. Like everything else in life we all have different preferences, and the same goes for what works for us to stay, or become healthy. Of course our bodies have some physiological needs in order to function properly for as long as possible, and that’s why we have some guidelines for nutrition as well as physical activity. But based off of these we still have freedom to choose what kind of physical activity we want to do, and what we prefer to eat. Some people choose to minimize certain food groups, other leave them entirely out, and others eat a whole variety of food groups  – we all prefer different things, and doing one thing is not necessarily better than the other. The same goes for physical activity. 
I think what’s important is that the choices we make regarding physical activities and what we eat, are based off of what gives us joy, rather than what we read, or was told was right for us. My personal experience is that joy builds and strengthens motivation. And I believe that motivation is the engine behind most things we do, and helps us to achieve goals and feel successful. I bet, if you base your health related choices off of what YOU want, and what makes YOU happy, they’ll last longer, and you’ll find more joy in doing so. 
I think being healthy is about balance. Balance between doing what physiological serves your body and what gives you joy, and strengthens your mental health and wellbeing. And I think as part of finding that balance, happiness is an as important part of being healthy as the physical side is. And I know happiness and wellbeing are not constants; we all have ups and downs – it’s part of life, and expressing those feelings are important too. But I strongly believe, we have the power to influence our own happiness – and others’. 
Liking your body, enjoying what you eat and the physical activities you do is not the key to happiness and wellbeing. But I believe it’s a good place to start. So let’s quit the unreal ideas of a perfect body and the mentality that we all have to look the same. And instead of judging and defining ourselves and others based on numbers and physical appearance, let’s start supporting each other in habits that not only increase our physical health but our happiness as well.

Eva is a student-athlete for the Red Deer College Queens women’s basketball team. Despite her first language being Danish, Eva is a terrific writer in English as well. She has a passion for intellect and depth, and the support for The Five You Need runs both ways- as Eva continues to demonstrate her obvious talent for creative writing. 

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