One of the great things about the human body is that it is an excellent communicator. As you eat, drink, move, and engage with the world around you, your body responds. If something isn't quite right, your body will find a way, whether subtly or dramatically, to let you know about it.
This is excellent news, as it provides you with an opportunity to assess what is happening and make changes to improve the situation.
One of the areas where your body sends clear, unmistakable messages to you is pertaining to your diet. Here are 5 ways your body will let you know that your current diet isn't working for you and needs some changes.
1. You're dealing with digestive issues like heartburn, excessive gas, bloating or constipation.
Healthy digestion is comfortable and pain-free. If you're regularly dealing with uncomfortable digestive issues, that's a sign that what you're eating doesn't agree with you. Everyone is different, and even "healthy" foods can be a problem for some people. Therefore, it's important to allow yourself to be guided by the needs and preferences of your body in particular.
Note that beyond the actual food itself, factors such as when you eat a particular food, how you prepare it, and what you combine it with can all impact the digestive process. Look for repeat offenders in your diet that consistently lead to issues.
2. You experience frequent headaches.
A wide variety of foods, and specific food ingredients, can trigger headaches. Some common triggers are excess sugar, chocolate, the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), alcohol, cheese, and processed snack foods containing artificial flavouring and colouring. If you find yourself experiencing frequent headaches, take note of what you ate in the 24 hour period prior to the headache. Tracking this in a food journal will allow you to see if a particular food or food group is consistently triggering headaches.
3. You're developing new skin issues, or existing issues are flaring up.
Do you have a skin condition that seems to be getting worse? Is it getting harder to keep your symptoms under control? Food sensitivities can exacerbate existing skin issues and trigger flare-ups, e.g.: eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. Take note of which foods you're consuming (or consuming more of than usual) when your skin condition starts acting up. Some of the most common culprits are fast food, rich fatty foods, and excess sugar (soft drinks, sweet snacks, cookies, cakes, etc.)
4. You're gaining weight.
Has your weight has been stable for the longest time, and suddenly it's changing, even though you're eating the same way you always have? As you get older, your body composition changes and your metabolism starts to slow down. If you're not as active as you used to be, it's easy for the pounds to start creeping up.
Try cutting back on high-calorie processed foods and snacks, and replace them with natural, nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables. The decreased caloric intake and additional nutrient intake will both help to keep your weight stable. Cutting back on alcohol, which is relatively high in calories, can also help when you're trying to avoid weight gain.
5. Your energy is running low from day to day.
The right diet is essential for keeping your energy up. Otherwise, you'll feel as if you're dragging yourself to get through each day, and you'll be exhausted long before the day is over.
When it comes to snacking throughout the day, chocolate bars, potato chips, donuts, and sugar-filled baked goods taste good, and they provide an immediate energy boost. But they offer little in the way of nutrition, and the quick energy boost is often followed by a crash. Whereas fresh fruit, snack vegetables like baby carrots or celery sticks with peanut butter, yogurt, and raw nuts are all healthy choices that will keep your energy stable for a longer period of time.
Don't ignore what your body is telling you; pay attention to how you feel and what you're experiencing, especially if you notice a pattern where certain issues seem to be triggered by specific foods. As you make changes in response to your body's needs, your body will communicate its appreciation with health, energy, and vitality.
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