You are what you eat. Today, a lot of us have decided to conveniently ignore this line! With obesity and health-related problems and diseases all around us, we may need to take a step back and look at our dietary habits. Most of our diets are plagued with junk food and unhealthy eating habits. While in most cases we are unable to see the immediate effects of this harmful lifestyle, we see them when we’re older. Not only do they add inches to your waistline, but scientists and researchers have also indicated through various studies that junk food can actually cause serious damage to your brain and other parts of your body. Recently, the Delhi Government demanded a crackdown on junk food that is sold in schools and within 50 meters of them.
Most of us focus on eating what we commonly refer to as “weight loss foods” in order to lose weight, but the key to weight loss is healthy eating and awareness of our lifestyle.
Research has shown junk food to harm our body in the following ways:
1. It causes memory and learning problems
2. Increases the risk of dementia
3. Lessens our ability to control appetite
4. Makes you impatient
5. Leads to Depression
Another prevalent obsession of our generation is the use of canned foods regularly. Canned foods are derived of all nutrients that fresh food has to offer. That’s not it though, most canned foods contain preservatives and other substances that really harm our body. Bisphenol or BPA is one such plastic contaminant. BPA is the inner lining of most aluminium containers, and is extremely harmful even in small amounts. It causes a wide range of critical health issues ranging from cancer to heart diseases.
Just like pots and pans aluminum cans also leak. In fact, what most people are unaware of is that most often foods are put into aluminium, then seals, and then cooked, supposedly to “retain the freshness”. Well, it will certainly retain the aluminium free radicals hanging around after heating and contaminating the contents! Over a period of time, aluminium accumulation in the body can cause memory problems like Alzheimer’s.
Preservatives in food are designed to prevent bacteria growth and spoilage but sometimes they can also prevent you from enjoying good health. Preservatives are toxic for your body. They cause difficulty in breathing, behavioural changes especially in young children, and heart damage. The most potent risk of consuming preservatives is their ability to transform into carcinogens when ingested. The nitrates and nitrites present in these preservatives react with your stomach gastric acids to transform into cancer-causing agents.
To improve our lifestyle, one must look to the consumption of organic foods. The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the regulations vary from country to country, the common, accepted definition is that organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic foods must be included in our diet plan to lose weight. The benefits of organic foods are- their abundance in antioxidants which help in the prevention of ageing, vision problems, and cognitive abilities.
Canned strawberries are a trend that’s picking up in India since this fruit is not available throughout the year. Most of them are laden with a thick sugar syrup and added colour which is harmful for us. For example, improperly canned strawberries can cause botulism, a serious foodborne illness. It is important for us to be aware of what we eat and strive towards a healthy lifestyle. Instead of merely following our diets for weight loss, we must focus on leading an all-round healthy lifestyle.