Mindful Eating: a new commitment to food

Nowadays, we are always rushing into something or somewhere. When it is time to pause for having a meal, our brain keeps connected to everything around us: we constantly check our phones, we are absorbed by social media news, and stressed by work and life issues. Amidst such turbulence, how can we be aware of the compromises made in our relationship with food?

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Inverting old and bad eating habits

Cultural, economic and marketing practices affect the way we buy and use food. Labour, leisure, preferences and lifestyle changes have made us increasingly sedentary also jeopardizing our eating habits. In the hope of contradicting these paths, many new diets have emerged, offering a range of ways to lose weight and improve our health. All these new solutions are nonetheless focused on cutting and adding nutrients to our meals, forgetting an essential part of the process: our eating behaviour.

Mindful eating cuts across this boom of trendy diets to alert us that healthy eating also included rethinking our eating habits and our relationship with food. This bond with what we eat derives from the awareness taste, smell, colour and texture of food. According to the Centre for Mindful Eating, “pausing and becoming curious focuses the mind. Mindful Eating cultivates becoming grounded in the present moment’s awareness of eating.”

This complete awareness helps us to focus or thoughts and feelings in those physical sensations related to eating, and to identify the true origin of hunger – whether if it is a physical hunger or if it is a consequence of an emotional cause.

Mindful Eating has been helpful in treating many conditions, including eating disorders – like binge eating -, depression or anxiety, and addressing various erroneous food-related behaviours.

How to practise Mindful Eating

Practising Mindful Eating may not be an easy task since it usually contradicts our normal eating habits, simultaneously demanding total concentration. According to the Harvard Health Publishing, there are a few steps that can help us improve our Mindful Eating.

First, the shopping list. We should consider the health value of every item added, preventing us from impulse buying at the supermarket. A second step is discipline.  We should avoid skipping meals and thus prevent seating at the table with excessive hunger. Meals should be taken with an appetite but in appropriate portions.

The third step involves the essence of Mindful Eating. “Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings” as advised by Harvard Health Publishing.

The following steps involve taste and chewing. It’s easier to taste food completely when our mouth isn’t full. So taking small bites and putting down utensils between bites could help. Chewing thoroughly and eating slowly are other techniques that improve our experience in tasting all the flavours that are released.

Final advice: “Devote at least five minutes to Mindful Eating before you chat with your tablemates.”

 

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Foods to make you happy

Dieting can be frustrating and often put people in a bad mood. Changing eating habits isn’t always an easy task and is common for dieters to feel anxious. The good news is that if we consume foods that not only are good for a healthy diet but also make our brains healthy it will lead to a better mood.

Eating is a substantial part of our lives. Food gives us comfort when we are hungry and joy when sharing a meal with the family. New eating trends emerge everyday, some of them are intended to make us feel better about our choices, others to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

There are seven healthy kinds of foods that will boost your mood while playing an important role in a diversified and healthy dietary regime, according to the healthy lifestyle blog Noom.

1. Seeds

Pumpkin and chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseed are rich in Omega-3, which improves healthy brain communication, protects against free radicals, and have anti-inflammatory properties. We have previously written about the benefits of seeds, here.

2. Fatty fish

Salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout are examples of fatty fishes rich in Omega-3 that “help fight many chronic diseases, including depression”, according to Noom. Besides they positively affect the pathways in the brain that communicate with the body, which regulate the mood.

3. Healthy carbs

Although carbs are usually the first thing that comes to mind to cut off when starting a diet, they are very important in regulating mood. According to Noom, “carb-rich foods trigger the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan which promote feelings of well being.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all carbs that can boost your mood and leave a lasting satiate feeling.

4. Vitamin D

The benefits of vitamin D for the body is a topic we discuss often (click to read our previous post about vitamin D benefits) because Portugal enjoys plenty of sun throughout the year. When the body needs more vitamin D apart from sun exposure, few foods can provide it. Mushrooms, fortified milk and cereals are examples. Vitamin D boosts the mood and reduces the risk of depression.

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great source of vitamin B6, the one “(…) responsible for helping the body make several chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another” influencing the brain development and function, according to Noom.

6. Spinach

Spinach intake provides the body with folate, which supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin regulates mood and social behavior so consuming spinach can be the mood booster you need to keep your healthy diet.

7. Nuts

Nuts provide magnesium to the body, which contributes to bone and dental health, energy production and serotonin. Eating almonds, cashews, and peanuts regularly provide the body with the right nutrients, energy and also boosts good mood.

Eating healthy can be hard sometimes when there are so many alternatives that provide an instant good mood but are the opposite of healthy food. Keep these seven foods in mind so that you can grab one of them when you look for foods that can make you happy.

Read the original Noom post, here.

 

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The 3 key factors to an effective weight-loss plan

Weight-loss is always a hot topic, new diets appear every day promising fast results. Because most diet plans overpromise results, the word “diet” often has a bad connotation and seems something very difficult to do.

Many people try several diets only to find out they gain weight shortly after. And then they get upset. Others don’t do diet because don’t know where to start. There are 3 key components of an effective diet: health, nutrition and exercise.

Health

Before starting any diet, everyone should check with their doctor if they are healthy enough to start loosing weight. Starting a diet without a doctor’s advice can lead to poor results and even diseases.

Nutrition

Trendy diets often don’t take into account the different nutrition needs each individual has. No two people are alike, so diets shouldn’t be the same for everyone. A nutritionist evaluates a person eating habits, tastes and weight loss needs to create a tailor-made diet plan, customizable to the various stages of weight-loss.

Exercise

Whoever wants to lose weight exercise is key. Exercise will make the body to burn calories and get rid of excess fat. No one should start exercising without assessing their health conditions first and the proper advice from a doctor.

These 3 components need to work in an integrated and combined way that is different for each of us.

Start your weight-loss journey
Start your weight-loss journey

Medical Port developed a weight-loss program, combining the 3 key aspects, for those who would like to start loosing weight but don’t know where to start. In a 15 day program, individuals assess their initial health condition, get a personalized diet and a personalized exercise plan. The main goal of this program is to provide the necessary tools and guidance for a weight loss start and to maintain the results. The program also entails a 1 year follow up with remote consultations with the nutritionist to assess the progress and give the individual all the confidence he or she needs to keep going.

If you would like to know more about our weight-loss programs, please visit our website here or use the form to contact us.

 

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New medical tourism programs for Arabic countries

Following, Medical Port’s presence in the Saudi Arabia Medical Tourism Fair in the end of 2014, and due to the large interest demonstrated ever since, the company is launching special programs for countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, among others.

The 4 specific programs are: health check-up, obesity diagnosis assessment, weight-loss, and physical therapy and rehabilitation.

The health check-up is a week long program to reinforce the commitment to healthy living by undergoing a thorough health examination while enjoying cultural activities with Mediterranean style cuisine. Health prevention is important to reduce health risks and also improve the length and quality of life. This program assesses how good your health is and advises on lifestyle improvements and can be done in Lisbon or Oporto.

The obesity diagnosis assessment program lasts 15 days in Lisbon, and is for individuals previously diagnosed with excess weight or pre-obese by medical standards. Allows for the adequate understanding of the origin of the condition and approaches it in a holistic way to achieve positive long-term results.

The weight-loss program lasts 15 days in Lisbon and is target at individuals who would like a diet plan for weight-loss and don’t know where to start. It helps to understand lifestyle habits and changes necessary to lose weight. Combining exams, consultations, nutritionist advice and exercise for a great weight-loss start.

For physical therapy and rehabilitation, there is a 15 day program in Lisbon or Oporto. For individuals who seek to recover from surgery, a bad fall, a work accident or an orthopaedic injury. The program follows a careful decision making process, and proper and thorough rehabilitation so that individuals can recover their natural movements and mobility.

Medical Port has plans to expand the medical tourism offerings to the Arabic speaking world in the next few months.

If you would like to know more about Medical Port’s offerings to the Arabic countries, please contact us by phone (+351 220 973 151), or click here to send us an email.

 

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