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Beyond Nutrition: The Reasons We Eat For

Nipa Asharam

Nipa Asharam
29 May 2020

This article is authored by Nipa Asharam. Nipa is a full-time practising life coach and wellness coach under the brand 'Eat.Breathe.Smile'.

We think ‘excess appetite’, ‘being a foodie’ and ‘yo-yo weight issues’ are normal behaviour but we never wonder if it is unnatural. Why did our ancestors from thousands of years not have these issues as a common phenomenon?

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There is so much of food stimulation all around us and with our given mindset, we probably do not even realize when our inner balance is out of whack! When we are connected to our inner selves the most, we won’t be able to even accept some of these habits because our body is so in tune with our mind. I am sure some of you must have experienced this like I do now. There are times when I am not feeling connected to my inner self and I do see my brain communicating with me differently about food.

We need to identify the cues that create the craving that lead to the body’s response, which in turn build these habits.

Here are some cues when we eat even when we aren’t actually hungry:

1. Stress: The number one reason for most people! There is acute stress, such as when we work out, that is good for us - because at that point, the body works with cortisol (stress hormones) to burn fat. However, if the body is in constant stress mode such as meeting deadlines, relationship issues, negative state of mind and so on, what do you think happens? It floods the body with negative emotions and now to combat it and feel good, food becomes the answer. The cue here is the situations in our life that can give us stress. We need to note them down and identify the patterns, so we could work on them through a different response.

2. Fatigue and lack of sleep : I have read several articles where people are proud of the fact that they do not sleep more than 4 hours! Ayurveda, one of the most ancient schools of wisdom in this area, too, states the importance of 7-8 hours of sleep. This is a pattern I have identified in myself too! If I don’t sleep well then I tend to feel tired and think I need food to give me energy. The hunger hormone (ghrelin) shoots up and the appetite control hormone (leptin) goes down. It’s the wrong response which turns into a habit. We sleep less and feel fatigued that makes us go towards food consumption beyond our needs.

3. Peer pressure: Radish Here is an interesting one. Being around good friends makes us really happy! Then how did we develop a habit of eating beyond our requirements while in company? This is because as a part of our growing up process, eating during get-togethers was seen as a joyous moment. We were wired to feel that celebration of any form means celebrating with food! Isn’t that insightful?! Our brain removed this thought process from the pre-frontal cortex and made it an automated decision. The minute we hang out, we do not even reflect if we are actually hungry. We pull out all the stops when it comes to over-eating. The only way to change this is awareness and also having different kind of plans with our friends such as a sport or fun activity or going for a stroll. It starts giving another message to the brain, which will then rewire the response.

4. Alcohol: Booze lowers your inhibitions, and that includes good judgment about when and how much to eat. It also makes you more likely to eat less healthy foods, like ones full of fats and sugar. Studies show that drinking affects the part of your brain that monitors self-control, making it much harder to resist a tasty snack.

5. Pictures of food: There is a reason images on social media do so well and so do television shows around food. While it might be enjoyable, we are unconscious of the fact that it can trigger the desire to eat any junk around. This is another cue to observe and if you see this pattern, then it’s time to make some changes in your digital consumption habits.

The reasons we eat foods that aren’t natural to us is not given as much importance as it should be given to understand ourselves better. It is much deeper and can offer an insight into your bio-individuality and emo-individuality. So do not ignore the cues.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Pregnancy’s effect on blood pressure and how a healthy diet helps

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

It is no mean feat to grow another human being inside oneself. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnancy has several profound impacts on the body.

Plasma volume increases progressively through pregnancy. Cardiac output increases by 20%. The mother’s body requires more iron to produce foetal haemoglobin and certain other enzymes, as well as folate and B12. Her glucose metabolism undergoes changes to provide the foetus with sufficient glucose and energy and fuel its development. And the growing uterus causes mechanical changes to the digestive tract, pushing the stomach upwards and increasing gastric pressure.

Pregnancy and blood pressure

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Among these many changes, one significant shift that women should watch out for is a change in blood pressure. The pregnancy causes blood pressure to decrease in the first and second trimester but increase in the third. This increase in blood pressure can have a significant effect on the foetus if care is not taken.

It can cause a decrease in blood flow to the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen the baby receives. This can, in turn, lead to intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, or premature birth. High blood pressure can also cause the placenta to be separated from the uterine wall, causing severe bleeding.

There are several factors that contribute to increases in blood pressure during pregnancy. The risk increases if women are overweight or obese, over 35 years of age, not getting enough physical activity, carrying more than one child or have a family history of hypertension.

How a healthy diet can help

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Pregnant woman must also look into their iodine intake, as deficiency of iodine in the mother can lead to congenital abnormalities and decreased intelligence. Supplementation of iodine in severely deficient mothers is likely to increase the IQ of the infant. In severe cases of deficiency cretinism could precipitate. Iodine deficiency also leads to hypothyroid issues in the mother and infant. The easiest and best way to ensure that the required iodine reaches the mother is through iodised salt.

However, one of the main contributors to high blood pressure is dietary sodium. Sodium levels in the diet increase from added salt as well as from processed or ready-to-eat foods. Hence, pregnant women should highly restrict the consumption of foods high in sodiumsuch as pickles, papads, and preserved food. Store-bought sauces are also another prominent contributor of sodium and should be avoided as far as possible.

One good way to do this is to replace salty tastes with tangy or citrus tastes. For instance, pregnant women require a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to ensure adequate micronutrients. A good way to achieve this without adding more salt to the diet is through fresh salads seasoned with lime juice or coriander.

Another clear contributor to high blood pressure is bad cholesterol. When the arteries get clogged due to cholesterol, this forces the heart to pump harder, which increases blood pressure. Thus, women should also stay away from unhealthy cooking such as fried foods and dishes containing trans fats. What’s more, fried foods also often contain high levels of sodium, which increases sodium intake.

Sweets and desserts, particularly those prepared outside the home, can also be red flag. Such preparations often contain unhealthy fats, which again contribute to bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

While it might seem like that cravingsareundeniable, all our cravings are learnt and we do get used to a variety of tastes over time. So, when eating while pregnant, it’s time to cut down on sodium-richand fatty foods, and experiment with more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a range of other spices and herbs. This will ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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