Whether it’s the goal to lose excess body weight, resolve your metabolic abnormalities, or begin your health journey, getting started can be overwhelming.
Having said that, metabolic abnormalities are the first signs your body shows when there is a disruption in the body’s functioning. It’s your body’s way to tell you something is going wrong and ask for your attention. Most commonly reflected through changes in body weight & shape.
In this blog, we share with you 3 simple steps to start your health journey & improve your health trajectory. Ready? Let’s begin!
3 Simple Ways to Start Your Health Journey
1.Chewing your food thoroughly
You might wonder what effect chewing has on improving your health since digestion begins in your gut but it’s not true at all. Digestion actually starts with the first bite of the food you take and here’s why:
- Chewing is an important part of digestion, perhaps why we are given teeth in the first place. Nature expects us to break down the food by chewing and make it softer by combining it with saliva before you swallow. The mouth is a good place to start the digestion process since the saliva in your mouth is mixed with the food not only to keep it moist but also has enzymes that help to break it down.
- Besides digestion, chewing also affects your hormones. As you chew, signals go down through your Gastrointestinal (GI) tract to your pancreas that produces insulin and informs that food is coming down so make sure it has enough insulin to tackle the glucose that’s going to come out of this food.
The first hormone that the intestines produce to inform the pancreas that food is coming down is Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 or GIP1. The lack of GIP1 hormone is one of the hallmarks of people with Type 2 Diabetes when they cannot control their blood sugars either very early in the morning or soon after a meal. So GIP1 is a very important hormone that not just helps to control your blood sugar but also helps to control your hunger.
So how you chew your food perhaps has a significant impact on improving your overall health.
There is also an ongoing debate whether you should go for foods requiring more chewing eg. nuts as a measure of consistency or eating softer foods eg. smoothies etc., which is better?
Here’s the difference between the two:
Pros of Picking food that need more chewing
- You get full faster
- You stay full for a longer time
- You eat less frequently, snack less frequently
- There is less increase in blood glucose level therefore insulin
- It helps you lose weight
Pros of softer foods
- You tend to not feel hungry later
- Easier to digest
- Takes less time
Cons of softer foods
- Can cause more increase in blood glucose level thus more hormonal fluctuation since triglycerides goes up, insulin goes up, glucose goes up.
Based on our analysis, we recommend having a balance between picking food requiring more chewing and softer food. However, if we have to pick just one between the two, we would go with chewing given it’s more beneficial in the longer run.
How can you adapt to chewing?
Here is one great tip to help you adapt to healthy chewing as a part of eating habit:
Have chewing gum between your meals. Having chewing gum three times a day between your meal & snack helps in boosting the habit of chewing.
2. Optimizing deep sleep
Deep relaxing sleep is the most powerful active inactive state in our lives. What do we mean? When you are sleeping, your body is not just taking rest but in fact, your body is doing a very deep cleansing activity.
When you are sleeping, the body releases its internal vacuum cleaners called Lysosomes, which remove the dead cells and replace all the nutrients.
40-60 mins of deep sleep is a must for the deep cleansing work that’s needed.
Lack of sleep causes:
- Hedonic eating (or Emotional eating) eventually causing weight gain
- Eating mindlessly
- Excess calorie intake causing weight gain
- Lack of energy, again triggering overeating
At the hormonal level, lack of sleep:
- Increases Ghrelin: Stay hungry constantly
- Decreases Leptin: Don’t feel full easily
- Decreases Insulin Sensitivity: Leads to excess weight gain
- Increases Cortisol: Triggering stress and anxiety
Factors that affect your sleep:
- Marital Status
- Work hours
- Lifestyle habits
4 categories of people who are commonly observed to struggle with disruptive or improper sleep:
- People struggling with Sleep related disorders like Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, or other sleep related disorders: In fact, it’s observed that obese people who have high Blood Pressure are usually at a high risk of having Sleep Apnea and should visit their primary care doctor for a check-up.
- People working in shifts
- People who watch late night news
- People working late at night
5 Simple ways to help you sleep faster and better
- Avoid watching late night news
- Try to keep fixed working hours: Stop any intense mental work 3 hours before bedtime
- Do some physical activity every day: Eg. Exercise, running, etc.
- Take a hot water bath with epsom salt before sleep
- Dim the lights in your home after sunset: Preferably orangish or reddish as it increases Melatonin and decreases Adenosine, thus promoting sleep
1 Tip for people working in shifts: Keep your last meal low in carbs and high in fat & protein.
3. Avoid daily drinking
Perhaps this is the most debated and unpopular healthy living choice of all. It’s being argued that drinking small quantities of beer or wine is good for improving overall health. This is a myth. In fact, studies show, if you drink very small quantities of alcohol occasionally, once or twice a week, it does induce a process called Thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process of production of heat in the body due to an increase in metabolic rate, it may facilitate weight loss. However, drinking every day is in every way hugely damaging to your health.
Below are some of the negative effects of drinking every day:
- Drinking suppresses hunger, also suppresses GIP1 (that helps in regulating blood glucose level) as well as another enzyme called CCK (which helps with digestion of fat, so decrease in fat oxidation, therefore, increase in the fat content of the body)
- Drinking heavily on a regular basis where more than 25% of caloric intake is coming from the alcohol i.e. when you are eating very little because you are already full, the chances are you will begin to gain weight
- In women, it disrupts your metabolism of your Estrogen. You may not have the right kind of Estrogen particularly important if you are in the reproductive age group. It might interrupt or disrupt your productivity.
- In men, 70% or higher is the incidence of obesity if they are moderate-drinkers
- If you are obese, the more you drink, the more weight you will gain
- Frequent consumption of alcohol makes you feel bloated
- In the longer, regular drinking is seen to have a negative effect on memory and impact cognitive abilities
- Can be addictive
Empty stomach drinking is even more harmful than if you drink while having something to eat with it.
This is why it’s so important to avoid drinking alcohol frequently. If you are someone who is facing a challenge in overcoming the urge to drink every day, we suggest you visit your primary care doctor at the earliest for consultation and get a check-up.
Hope you found this blog helpful. This blog is based on the recent episode of Chilling with Dr. Chellam published on YouTube. To get a more in-depth view on this topic, please see the full video by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/ZeAgKGLbBPs