“You are what you eat,” and to be well in body and mind you need to restore your body with fresh nutrients. A balance diet will ensure that your body is strong, and your brain is energised for that all important ability to focus on study.
Ready-made meals and takeaway food seem an easy option, but they often lack the balance of nutrients so important in sustaining a sound body and mind. Investing a little time, thought and effort into your meals will increase your energy levels, enable you to concentrate fully on your studies, and allow you to be the best you possibly could be.
Healthy eating self-assessment
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A well balanced diet
Balance in all things is important in life, and no more so than in choosing the right food to eat. Eating well means finding the right balance of carbohydrates and protein to enable your body to function efficiently and fuel the brain for study. The food and drink you choose to eat can play a huge part in looking after your heart health.
Our heart is the power house of our bodies, and the food and drink we choose are its fuel. For the body to work with maximum efficiency, the fuel must be of the highest quality possible. To find out what types of food and drink enable you to lead the healthiest of lifestyles, refer to the information given by the Heart Foundation.
“Everyone needs to be active and eat well to be healthy. Being healthy increases your quality of life and your sense of wellbeing”.
Eating for Healthy Adults - Ngā kai tōtika ma te hunga pakeke
Buying and preparing healthy food on a budget
You can still eat well on a limited budget if you follow a few simple rules.
- Thinking ahead and shopping around can cut the cost of your weekly shopping bill, and still allow you to enjoy delicious food.
- Cooking your own meals is the cheapest option, so it maked sense to buy produce in season or buy frozen or canned food, choose cheaper cuts of meat, look for durable bargains and discounted items where the shelf life is about to expire.
Preparing healthy food
Feeding your body and mind with nourishing meals is easy when you keep it simple by taking a few quality ingredients and following a recipe. In no time at all, you will feel confident in cooking not only for yourself, but also in sharing your gift of food with your friends.
Make mealtime a social time
It is all too easy to grab a takeaway, to eat a bowl of instant noodles followed by a block of chocolate in front of the computer as you move from one task to the other. However, eating is a special activity in itself, and one that should be honoured in the same way as you should honour your body. Make eating nutritious meals a priority, even if you are on your own, and set aside time to eat leisurely, enjoying the food in front of you. Eating with friends and family is one of the best social experiences, enabling you to relax, to communicate and release tension. Try and do this regularly for your physical and mental health. Your body and those around you will thank you for it.
An eating disorder is an unhealthy relationship with food, where the nutrients which sustains the body are refused, expelled or eaten voraciously, to the detriment of body and mind. 90% of sufferers are female.
- Anorexia Nervosa: a distorted view of body image leading to a refusal to eat food, and therefore starving.
- Bulimia Nervosa: a purging of food after it has been eaten due to the guilt of consuming too many calories.
- Binge Eating: overeating over a short period of time and repeating the process often, or continuously grazing on food.
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What are the causes?
An eating disorder has no single cause, but research has found certain links.
- Genetics: If a close relative has or has had an eating disorder, you are 10 times more likely to develop anorexia.
- Unhealthy eating and dieting: those with an eating disorder began with a diet and lost the ability to eat “normally.”
- Personality traits of those afflicted tend to be: kind and caring, self critical, intelligent and deep thinkers, anxious, sensitive, fearful about sexuality, with low self esteem, self conscious, unprepared for adulthood
- Triggers: some kind of life change where increased demands are made on a person, e.g. starting a new school, break up of a relationship, death, family problems, rape or incest.
- Society and media: influenced by a preoccupation with thinness as a sign of success and happiness, a striving for the “ ideal” thin body as the only area in which there is any sense of control.
- Psychological: perfectionists who set unrealistic expectations for themselves and others, and hence feel inadequate in spite of their many achievements. They may appear strong but inside they feel weak and powerless. Those who are unable to repress anger may turn it onto themselves by starving, purging or binging.
Understanding that you have an eating disorder is the first step on the road to recovery. For loved ones, it is difficult to understand how food could become such a destructive force, but understanding the disorder is important in being there for support.
Know that there is always help out there if you are suffering from an eating disorder or you know of someone who is battling alone.
Colourful photo of vegetables. Jane Fresco. Image retrieved from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Colorfull.jpg Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.