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251212 Suggestions for healthier eating

 

Healthier eating doesn’t have to be boring. There is a tremendous selection of high quality foods just waiting in the grocery stores of our nation. Include in your daily diet all of the different colored foods, that way you are getting the best of all of them.

If you eat not more than two thousand calories a day put an emphasis on produce and get at least two and a half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day. Naturally, if you eat less than two thousand calories a day then a reduced amount of these foods is in order.

Start eating more whole grains. Look for the seal of the Whole Grain Council[1][1] on the packages. This seal identifies good sources of these whole grains.

Cut back on the highly refined carbohydrates. These are the ones on the baker’s shelves such as the white breads. Avoid using the normal non-whole grain pastas and most of the snack foods that we feed our kids. These foods have little to no dietary fiber and are lacking in nutrients. Furthermore, a limitation on sugary foods and drinks will go a long ways in improving your health. In fact, these feel good foods may be addictive to some people.

For some people, this intense craving for sugary sodas, ice creams and those overly salty french fries along with the numerous food additives may actually be a result altered brain pathways. In some respects, these alterations are similar to the changes found with those who are addicted to opiates and other drugs.

There is evidence suggesting that sugar, specifically, stimulates a larger release of the pleasure molecule chemical dopamine in the brain. This increase is larger than those triggered by fruit and vegetables. (Any parent with children knows this.) As the brain continues to receive these messages over time, its circuitry shows changes.

These changes indicate that the brain is being rewired in response to these high calorie, artificially flavor enhanced foods. On the surface, this may seem to be good. However, just as the drug addict needs more to achieve the same high, the same is true of those were becoming addicted to the junk foods. In an effort to achieve the same good feeling from eating the foods, more is necessary.

This craving for these highly processed foods has a drug like effect in the brain, which causes compulsive overuse and food addiction.

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