Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson, Associated Press
La Cañada High School

Opinion: We should choose our foods wisely

We have all heard of the statement at least once in our lives: “We are what we eat.” But, is that true? Sadly, the truth must be told, and yes, we are what we eat.

Like all living creatures, we need food to survive. We can eat what looks delicious or what can keep the stomach full, but in the end, those foods will mostly determine our appearance and health. We have seen it. We know it.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, unhealthy diets contribute to 678,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, as a result of nutrition and obesity-related diseases including cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Although people know what will happen when they constantly consume unhealthy foods, they do not bother to fix their poor eating habits. This is why poor diets are responsible for a large number of deaths.

We can slowly change our poor diet into a healthier one with mindful eating, which is paying attention to what we eat. Most of us do the complete opposite and are mindless when it comes to eating. We look at the savory cheeseburger in front of us, and we devour it in seconds without thinking about what we are putting in our mouths. We eat it because we are hungry, but there is a high possibility that the hunger is not real.

An average person takes approximately six to eight hours to digest what he or she ate. But sometimes we eat before digesting the previous food we ate, which means that we are eating for satisfaction. We can easily know if we ask ourselves a couple of questions: “Does the package of the food look appealing?” “Am I smelling something delicious?” “I am not planning on eating later, so should I eat more?”

If a person answers “yes” to at least one of the three questions, that person can know that he or she is eating to keep the stomach satiated. Therefore, we should try to eat when we notice physical signs in our bodies such as a grumbling stomach.

Another important way to improve our health is to have balanced meals. Vegetables are healthy, but we should not fill our entire plate with greens. Instead, we should incorporate foods from each of the food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and dairy. Eating from the five groups will lower the risks of developing diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Other ways we can take care of our health is to exercise, drink water, and get enough sleep. Keeping our bodies healthy should be our priority, and we should always make sure to give our bodies proper nutrition.