World Health Day 2020: What is mindful eating and how to practice for better health? Health expert answers

World Health Day 2020: Today we have shared in-depth insight about what is mindful eating and how one can adopt and practice it on a daily basis.
Health & Fitness,World Health Day 2020World Health Day 2020: What is mindful eating and how to practice for better health? Health expert answers

World Health Day, a global health awareness day is being commemorated today, i.e. on April 7 across the globe. This year's theme is to honor the work of nurses and midwives and we all will agree on how the theme cannot be more apt amid COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors, nurses and health personnel have been risking their lives as they fight with this deadly virus for the safety of people. As mentioned, the day is celebrated to spread awareness around maintaining good health and a balanced lifestyle. And today, we are talking about a very lesser-known health aspect i.e. Mindful eating.

Eating has become a mindless act and we often do it quickly and the same has an adverse effect on our health as our brain takes up to 20 minutes to realize that we are full. When we are not mindful of our eating habits we tend to eat more than we need which can lead to health issues. After practicing it, you will soon see health benefits such as reduced stress, makes you feel better, better digestion, weight loss, less binge eating and reduced food cravings among others. 

Today on the occasion of World Health Day, we asked nutritionist Jinal Savla, Founder of Healthy Palate to share with us in depth information about what is mindful eating and how one can adopt and practice it on a daily basis. 

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is a method that involves conscious eating and paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment. It is an approach to food that focuses on an individual’s’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food.  The intention is to help individuals savour the moment and the food and encourage their full presence for the eating experience.

It is an ancient practice and our ancestors followed it to the T. They had some fresh fruits or would go out to hunt only when hungry, all animals & birds too follow mindful eating. They eat only when hungry no matter how much food is available to them. We humans have somehow forgotten to use this technique & end up fuelling ourselves with excess calories even when the body doesn’t need it.

How to practice mindful eating?

1. Recite a short prayer before your meal.

2. Take a small portion of the meal, for example, let’s say you’re eating an orange. Peel the orange skin.

3. Take just one segment of the orange, look at it, feel its texture, smell its fruity aroma & look at its freshness & bright colour, don’t eat it yet.

4. Next, take a small bite of the orange segment & slowly begin to chew, noticing what each bite brings.

5. Chew the orange segment until it is completely liquefied before you swallow.

6.   After swallowing, close your eyes for a few moments to notice the consequence of what you just experienced & savour the entire orange slowly one segment at a time.

She said, "The above process seems to be very time consuming & you may find it boring at the beginning but once you learn to ace it, you will be consciously aware of how much your body needs to fuel up & this will help prevent overeating & binge eating. So you don’t need to be told how much to eat & when to stop eating as your own body knows it the best."

Some points to remember:

1) Consume your meal slowly and without the distraction from television or Netflix.

2) Listening to physical hunger cues and follow the Japanese tradition Hara Hachi Bu, the principle of eating until you’re 80% full.

3) Distinguish between true hunger, non-hunger & thirst triggers for eating. More often one tends to confuse thirst with hunger.

4) Engaging your senses by noticing colours, smells, sounds, textures, and flavours.

5) Learn to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.

6) Notice the effects food has on your feelings and body.

7) Lastly, eat in order to maintain overall health and well-being and appreciate your food.

The Mindful eating method works for almost everyone. Also, with mindfulness, also consciously try to eat healthy food & see it working wonders for your body, mind & soul.  So, this World Health Day don’t just stay hangry, eat only when you're hungry.

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