We often talk about food as though it’s merely a necessity – something to avert hunger and help us get through the day – rather than appreciating its medicinal benefits. We all know that eating processed foods can cause us to gain weight and that not eating our 5-a-day fruit and vegetables can affect our health, but we don’t often consider that our social lives could also be impacted.
The foods we eat can affect us in a myriad of ways, from lowering sex drive and destabilizing mood to making us tired and lethargic. Here’s how making a few simple changes could improve your social life and give your overall health a boost.
Enjoy higher energy levels
If you feel tired and sluggish, you probably won’t feel like socialising. Avoid a mid-afternoon energy crash by eating slow-release carbohydrates like oats, sweet potatoes and brown rice. These foods will keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent you from feeling too lethargic.
Stabilise your moods
According to the Live Strong website, following a diet that is low in processed carbohydrates and refined sugars can reduce mood swings and make you less irritable. This is because the high glycemic index of these foods can cause spikes in blood sugar, causing changes in mood and temperament.
Fight illness and infection
Nothing impacts your social life more than frequent spells of sickness, so build your immunity, and you’ll never miss a party again. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. If you’re already nursing a cold, drink plenty of clear fluids such as hot lemon tea and take a teaspoon of honey to soothe a sore throat. In the UK, official guidelines also recommend that you take a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter to help boost immunity during the cold months of the year.
Eat for sleep
Although your diet has a significant impact on your health, sleep is another factor that should be taken seriously, particularly if you’re trying to avoid an energy slump. Not only will getting a full eight or nine hours allow you to feel awake and alert during the day, but it will also boost your immune system and help your body fight off diseases.
As with all areas of mental and physical health, diet can affect your sleep. So, for a restful night, eat melatonin-rich foods (such as bananas, honey and oats) close to bedtime, and avoid high-fat foods that take the body longer to digest.
If your friends need a little more persuading, you could host a dinner party once a week to encourage them to embrace healthy eating.
Use a free online invitation maker (it’s easy – I created this example in just a couple of minutes!) and invite your friends over to sample healthy treats.
You could try making your own hummus from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and just a pinch of sea salt, or create a healthy chocolate pudding with bananas, avocado and raw cacao. Learn the nutritional benefits of each dish and surprise your friends with your knowledge.
Embracing a healthier way of life doesn’t need to feel like a chore. Avoid crash diets and experiment with fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried before.
You don’t have to ditch all the junk, just try to enjoy treats like crisps and chocolate in moderation. By embracing new foods and making eating fun, you’re less likely to give up on your new, healthier lifestyle and go back to your old ways.