I get this complaint a lot “I eat healthily but still fall sick often, what should I do?”
Or “I am on a diet but still not losing weight, what do I do?”
And as the case is with most health challenges, they only ask what they should do without asking what caused it, not knowing that it’s from the cause you can get the cure.
Then when I start asking questions, I see many faults including what they call healthy. What some people think are healthy foods are laughable if you are a nutritionist.
Do you also “eat healthily but don’t see results? Then this post is also for you.
Well, let’s go straight to the point of see some of the reasons why people eat healthily and still fall sick regularly, show signs of malnutrition, or have one nutritional deficiency or the other.
Reasons Why You Fall Sick Even When You Eat Healthily
1. You don’t eat the right foods
This generation is illiterate food-wise. Other species/animals in nature know their foods and won’t eat or drink anyhow except being forced to (Conventional animal farming methods) but humans who should do better don’t know what real food looks like.
When I ask people (adults) to list the healthy foods they eat; I hear funny things like:
- Spaghetti (those made with bleached flour),
- Bread (when asked which type, I will hear it’s white bread and they add that they don’t like the taste of whole wheat bread)
- Breakfast cereals (I am still surprised that some adults take that. that is not heavy enough to qualify as breakfast then at night, when their dinner is supposed to be the lightest, they take a very heavy meal and go to bed.
- Refined grains (white rice)
- Foods made from white flour (cakes, cookies, etc.)
- Fried foods (a plant food is no more healthy when fried and then you are introducing hydrogenated oils into your system)
- Margarine, butter, and hydrogenated oils
- Soft drinks, commercial fruit juices (very dangerous), etc.
The list goes on and on. And when I ask how frequently, I get to know that these are things they take daily.
Then the teaching part of natural medicine has to come up. I then go on to explain why all these are no more natural foods.
Someone asked me when we were talking of soft drinks; he said” “If this soft drink (he mentioned the name) is dangerous, why did the government allow it, they should have banned it”.
I told him that the government and regulating agencies are not out to protect his health but to protect big organizations who pay huge taxes and royalties.
So for the fact, something is on the shelves of big stores and supermarkets don’t mean they are healthy.
Check out our posts on the characteristics of foods to see what healthy foods are.
2. You don’t chew your food
Nigerians are guilty of this, most of our traditional foods are called “Swallow” and so we swallow without chewing forgetting that digestion begins in the mouth.
And to make matters worse, most of our foods are starch and starch needs to be broken down by the amylase in the saliva (ptyalin) which converts it to maltose before it gets to the stomach.
From the stomach, this maltose gets to the small intestines where maltase works on it before converting it to glucose for absorption.
So, if you don’t chew that eba, fufu, akpu, and pounded yam, how can the ptyalin in your saliva break down the starch. When it gets to the intestine, your body won’t recognize it because you skipped a process.
And the food just comes out like that without being absorbed.
If you want to benefit from the foods you eat, chew them properly and mix them well with your saliva before swallowing.
Chewing foods make your body release more digestive juices.
3. Wrong combinations
Some people combine foods wrongly and that will affect digestion and absorption. For instance, you don’t take fruits and vegetables together, you give a space of 2 hours apart.
You don’t combine fats and proteins, starches and proteins, and fruits and proteins.
If you want our quick meal plan guide, click here to get it.
4. Having digestive or absorption problems
If you have digestive problems like ulcers, food allergies, IBD, IBS, Crohn’s disease, and others, you have to treat these conditions holistically if not your digestion and absorption of food will be affected.
5. Eating at the wrong time
Eating late at night and going straight to sleep can affect digestion. Make sure you eat your dinner three hours before bedtime and your dinner should be the lightest meal of the day while your breakfast should be the heaviest.
6. Unhealthy habits/lifestyle
You can’t expect to be healthy when your lifestyle isn’t healthy. Drop unhealthy lifestyles like smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, avoiding physical exercises, etc.
The Harvard Medical School reveals that our first line of defense against diseases is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle must be balanced and they go hand-in-hand in ensuring you stay healthy.
7. Mental or emotional problems
Your emotions and thoughts can affect the digestion and absorption of foods you eat.
Don’t eat food when you are stressed, angry, tired, and sleepy.
For most people, these are their default states. If you are affected by any of these, you need emotional detox and learn to include mindfulness and meditation in your daily life.
Check out our posts on the wrong times to eat food.
Living in a state of constant stress can affect your digestion. When you are stress, your body releases huge amounts of cortisol and adrenaline preparing you for the fight-or-flight response.
This is good if done on a short-term basis to allow you to escape from danger or threat. And when you are in this state, all your major and important body functions like reproduction, digestion, and absorption, detoxification, etc. all shutdown.
All the energy you’ve got is channeled into escaping from the danger you are in.
Now, imagine allowing yourself to be under a stressful situation, in a stressful relationship, or putting yourself under avoidable stress by holding on to grudges, anger, fear, and other negative emotions.
Your body will think you are under threat and enter this fight-or-flight mood for as long as you permit it. Imagine your body thinking that you have been running from a lion for the past 20 years.
As important activities shut down in your body, digestion and absorption will also be affected. This is why stress is considered by many health experts to be a silent killer.
9. You’re not eating according to your body type
Each blood group has the food that suits it. There are also foods that individual blood groups should avoid.
So, this means that eating right to see results demands you to know your blood group and the right foods that suit you.
If you follow the right diet for your blood type; you won’t be suffering from weight issues or having signs and symptoms of deficiencies and malnutrition.
I am putting together a post on eating right for your blood type. If you want to get notified when it goes live, subscribe to our once-a-week newsletter.
10. You don’t drink enough water
Water is highly important in the digestion and absorption of food. Your saliva and all the enzymes and digestive juices are made of water.
The blood that carries these absorbed nutrients and oxygen to all body parts is made of water.
Not drinking enough water can affect the production and functions of these powerful fluids.
Listen to your body daily and drink enough water that your body needs.
11. Drinking water while eating and immediately after eating
Don’t drink water while eating and immediately after meals because it will dilute the digestive juices and enzymes and that can affect the digestion and absorption of foods.
Before you start eating, just by inhaling the aroma or knowing that food is ready, your stomach starts producing digestive juices, taking water before meals, with meals, and immediately after meals will dilute these juices thereby preventing the proper breakdown of food.
And this, in turn, means that the nutrients your body need will not be gotten or absorbed.
Please note that this is a principle in natural medicine and not allopathic medicine, hence you will hear doctors tell you that you can drink water with meals.
However, in natural medicine, this is a dangerous blunder. We believe that it will reduce your digestive powers and also cause your levels of insulin to fluctuate.
When foods are not properly digested, they will leak into your system and cause heartburn or acid reflux. Taking water with meals can also cause a surge in your insulin levels and acts just like glycemic foods.
This is why diabetic people shouldn’t take water with meals. It increases their sugar content. In non-diabetic people, taking water with meals will cause more insulin to be released in the bloodstream thereby increasing your chances of storing fats, thereby making you fat or obese.
So, it’s best to drink water 30 minutes before meals and two hours after meals.
If you want to avoid drinking water during or immediately after meals, employ these tips:
- Don’t eat too salty foods, salt increases thirst
- Don’t eat in a hurry, you may choke and need to gulp down water
- Then remember to chew your foods properly, you produce a lot of digestive enzymes when you chew and this will make digestion easy for your stomach.
So, before we go to the next point, here are the important reasons why you shouldn’t take water with your meals and immediately after meals.
- It will wash away digestive enzymes in your mouth
- It will dilute your stomach acid and digestive juices. Your stomach needs to maintain a pH of 1 to 2 (highly acidic) and at this pH, proper digestion takes place, proteins break down digestive enzymes are released, nutrients like vitamin B12 are absorbed, and your foods will turn to a slurry solution that makes digestion easier.
- It will increase your insulin level and increase fat storage
- It will make you bloated
- If you are choking, just take small sips of water
- The best time to hydrate is in between meals and you should aim to drink half of your body’s weight. This will eliminate cravings which are just signs of dehydration. If you are well hydrated, you won’t drink water when eating.
- Avoid cooking with excess salt as it increases thirst. Also, add bitter foods to your meals, examples are mustard greens and acids like ACV. This will increase the flow of digestive enzymes and stimulate the production of bile. All these boost digestion and absorption.
- Never take cold water with meals.
- Don’t drink soft drinks or commercial juices with meals
- However, you can make homemade vegetable smoothies or fruit juices along with meals. These are liquid foods.
12. You’re not physically active
Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle go together. Being sedentary affects all areas of your life, including digestion and absorption of foods.
Exercise regularly and don’t go to bed immediately after meals. You can make it a habit to walk for at least an hour every day.
13. Having underlying health conditions
A lot of people with this complaint of eating well and not seeing results or battling with stubborn weight gain have an undiagnosed or untreated health condition.
This can be diabetes, hypertension, leaky gut, and others.
If you keep all these rules mentioned above and the condition persists, meet a naturopathic doctor. Tests will be carried out on you to know the root cause so that proper holistic treatment can start immediately.
Conclusion On How To Eat Healthily
I hope you’ve learned a lot from this post, and I feel you will learn more by checking out this other post: What not to do after meals.
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