Tags: Health Topics | diet | eating habits | stress | meditation

DR. Oz: How to Practice Mindful Eating

fruits and vegetables shown

Thursday, 24 January 2019 09:26 AM

We often talk about the power of mindful meditation to ease stress, improve sleep, and reduce emotional issues like depression, anxiety and anger — and to help preserve cognitive function as you age. But another untapped power of mindfulness is its ability to transform your eating habits. 

You can use mindfulness to increase your sensory enjoyment of food's smell, taste, texture, and umami (that elusive quality that provides pleasure when eating). When you do, you will automatically upgrade your nutrition by exploring the flavors of more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while dumping the artificial, toxin-laden ingredients that are shoved into fast and processed foods.

Like mindful meditation and deep breathing to help you focus and relax, mindful eating calls for a calm, focused, respectful relationship with food. This focus lets the food tell you about its qualities and benefits to body and mind. 

As Dr. Mike and Dr. Michael Crupain say in their new book, “What to Eat When,” eating has unfortunately become a vacuum-like process. The sensory experience that should accompany eating is generally lost on 99 percent of people 99 percent of the time. We can help you change that.

A lot of mindless eating happens because we eat on the run. No time to savor anything. And that doesn't just mean you miss out on the sensory pleasures of food, but you also cause yourself health problems. 

One 2017 study found that those who eat quickly (and quickly pretty much equals mindlessness) were two to five times morelikely to develop metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease and diabetes, over a five-year span than folks who eat more slowly. 

So how can you bring mindfulness to your daily intake of food?

  1. Step back. Try not to eat at your desk or in your car. Sit at a quiet table, undistracted, except by good conversation, while you eat. Down with the digital, up with digestion.
  2. Wait for it. Take slow, purposeful bites. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your body that your hunger has subsided. If you chow down food too quickly, you'll eat until you're full, which really is overeating. 
  3. Experience it. Try this experiment. Put a raisin on your tongue. Don't chew it. Notice the texture, the flavor. Then start chewing it, slowly. Pay attention to your jaw, tongue, teeth, saliva. Apply that approach to each forkful or spoonful that you take.
  4.  Now try this. Smell your food before you put it in your mouth. Compare the differences between what you smell and what you taste. Then look for the overlap, the similarity. Exercise your smell muscles whenever possible. Your enjoyment of subtle, natural flavors will increase.
  5. Crank it up a notch. When trying to focus on food's many qualities, it can be helpful to increase your use of spices. They provide a festival of flavor and change the experience of eating almost any food. 

When traveling the spice route, engage your senses. Smell the food first, then enjoy the new tastes. You can't do that smell test if you shop on the Internet, so take this spice adventure when you shop locally. 

Flavors like citrus or herbs (parsley and cilantro) can transform a simple sandwich or a roast chicken. We suggest you try rosemary, garlic, basil, and some off-the-radar options like harissa (hot chili pepper paste), za'atar (a blend of hyssop, sumac, sesame and salt), Aleppo pepper, merken (a dried, smoked, red pepper that is sometimes ground with toasted coriander seed and salt), and shichimi togarashi, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seed, ground ginger, seaweed and poppy seed. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of the popular TV show “The Dr. Oz Show.” He is a professor in the Department of Surgery at Columbia University and directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Mike Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, an award-winning author, and has been the doctor to eight Nobel Prize winners and more than 100 Fortune 500 CEOs.

© HealthDay

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We often talk about the power of mindful meditation to ease stress, improve sleep, and reduce emotional issues like depression, anxiety and anger — and to help preserve cognitive function as you age. But another untapped power of mindfulness is . . .
diet, eating habits, stress, meditation
Thursday, 24 January 2019 09:26 AM
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