How to Choose the Best Food Habits for Your Health

Nutritionists Rebecca and Reisha Harper say healthy food habits can be as simple as eating more plant-based foods, doing more home cooking, and eating the right portions.

Most of us have turned to emotional eating at some point in our lives, but especially over the past few months. It’s a real thing! When you’re at your weakest point emotionally, you’re often hit with the strongest food cravings. It can be easy to turn to food for comfort — at least momentary comfort. The problem is, if you’re not turning to healthy foods, the “comfort” you may experience from choosing carbs, high-sugar or high-fat pro­cessed foods, alcohol or even large portions lasts only a short time — with often hidden and damaging effects — and then the coping chal­lenge starts again. We want to feel better. We want to be happy. We want life to go back to normal. The truth? Life is not going to go back to what we once thought of as nor­mal. But maybe the old normal wasn’t working anyway? There’s a new beginning ahead, and it can be even better.

Food is medicine, and what we choose to consume on a daily basis definitely affects our overall health, both in the short and long term. What we know from these past months, in our arsenal of fighting COVID-19 (and other sicknesses and diseases), is that doubling down on nourishing our bodies is more important than ever. A key component that requires immediate attention in moving forward in our new way of life is getting real about our own health.

Do you have a condition like diabetes or heart disease? Are you immunocompromised or obese? These issues can put you at greater risk of further illness. We need to be honest with ourselves about our health status and take steps to improve our health and reduce our risk if some serious condition, disease or virus arises.

To drive home a heartfelt mes­sage, we are what we absorb. We need to absorb essential nutrients from healthy foods on a daily basis that will contribute to building a strong immune system. We need to make these essential nutrients available to our bodies every single day. We need to work toward achieving a healthier weight, man­aging blood sugar levels, improving heart health, decreasing visceral fat and building a healthy gut microbiome. (Did you know some nutrients may help ease anxiety symptoms?)

The great news is, you can get started on your own to build a stronger and healthier you by choosing to cut out or limit foods and beverages that your body doesn’t need. You can decide to start eating more whole foods, plant-based foods and home cook­ing. You can choose to take daily supplements (hello, omega-3, vita­min D, vitamin B complex and probiotics!). You can decide to eat smaller portions (and include a healthy protein) and then go out for a walk (even a brisk 15-minute walk) to help manage your blood sugar levels. If you need a custom­ized nutrition plan, we can help with that, too. Now more than ever before, people are beginning to understand the importance of managing diabetes, improving heart health, shedding unhealthy weight and building a strong microbiome, and those are all of our specialties.

In moving forward, a new beginning for your health is really up to you. Only you can make that choice, but we can help you get there.

Rebecca and Reisha Harper are twin sisters and registered dietitians with a special focus on nutrition for health, beauty and aging well.

Now that you know the best foods to eat for your health, check out the superfoods you can turn into scrumptious comfort food.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada