What we eat is probably the most talked about factor in health and equally the most confusing. There is an abundance of information available on the internet, a lot of which can be inaccurate at best, harmful at worst.
One of the most inaccurate message that we have been receiving since the 1980’s is that we should be eating a low fat diet. It’s become clear with recent research that this message was misguided and unfortunately has led to some very negative health consequences. One of the main consequences when reducing fat intake is it usually has meant an increase in processed and refined carbohydrates. Carbohydrates quite simply will do one of two things when consumed; they will either be used as energy in the form of glycogen or, they will be stored as fat through the signalling of insulin. This has several negative effects, number one is obviously weight gain. The continual signalling of insulin can lead to our bodies becoming insulin resistant, meaning that we need more and more insulin each time we consume carbohydrates to lower our blood sugar level. We can then reach a point where we are unable to produce enough insulin to manage our blood sugar level appropriately, this is known as diabetes.
Blue zones are areas of the world where people who live past 100 are 10 times more common than standard western societies. People who live in these blue zones have incredibly diverse diets (vegetarians, meat eaters, high fat, Mediterranean) but there are some common features of the blue zones when it comes to their diets.
- They eat fresh, unprocessed, local food
- They sit down and enjoy meals together as a family/group
- They eat what is available in season
- They have treats, but only special occasions (every Friday is not a special occasion)
Tips to improve your diet:
- De-normalise sugar
- Eat 5 vegetables every day
- “eat the rainbow”
- bake vegetables in the oven for dinner
- Eat all your food within a 12-hour window
- Avoid late night snacking
- Eat breakfast at the office
- Drink eight glasses of water per day
- Start your day with 2 glasses of water straight out of bed
- Drink some water half an hour before each meal
- “Un-process” your diet
- avoid packaged items
- the majority of your food should be fresh