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Most people want to develop healthy eating habits.
Good dietary choices can result in feeling more energized, thinking more clearly, and/or enjoying heightened feelings of well-being.
And the news gets better. You do not have to be “perfect” in order to reap these benefits. Any healthful changes will make a difference.
And, as the saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success.”
Fruits and vegetables eaten in their “natural” state are greatly beneficial to our bodies, as well as our mental health.
Our Western diets are filled with processed foods, sugary snacks and soft drinks, and fast food.
As a consequence, we have significantly higher rates of obesity, depression, anxiety, and stress-related illnesses than most other industrialized countries.
Add Some Variety to Your Diet
If you have been eating the same few foods every day, switching things up could reduce your cravings.
In a 2000 study in Physiology & Behavior, young adult participants were given a plain liquid diet, and they reported more food cravings when on the liquid diet than they did during a baseline period.
In particular, participants craved foods that were different from the liquid diet. Feeling bored with your diet could therefore lead you to give in to cravings.
Add more variety to your meals to keep yourself satisfied.
Make Time for Exercise
Adding exercise to your routine could reduce the temptation for sweet snacks.
In a 2015 study in the journal PLoS ONE, overweight subjects either walked briskly for 15 minutes or served in a control group.
Afterwards, they completed a stressful psychological test and were required to handle sugary snacks.
Study results showed that walking reduced the participants’ cravings for the snacks.
While cravings did increase after touching the snacks and being exposed to the stressful testing, exercise weakened this effect.
So, if you find yourself craving ice cream after dinner, head outside for a walk around the block instead of giving in to your desire for a sugary treat.
Get Enough Sleep
Skimping on sleep can make you more susceptible to cravings.
In a study in a 2014 publication of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects spent 10 to 12 hours per night in bed for two nights, and then they were restricted to four hours of sleep per night for five nights.
During the period of sleep deprivation, study participants took in significantly more calories and fat, and they increased their consumption of condiments, sweets, and salty snacks.
Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep every night, so you are not tempted to overeat.
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