The problem has its roots in many sources—foods that are overflowing with unhealthy chemicals, foods that are served in large proportions, a lack of regular exercise among the majority of people, and the rising rates of obesity are among a few causes.
Drugs, diets, and exercise regiments have been flooding the market as the problem has grown. Each one seems to promise ever faster and even greater results, and just like all the other fads, they come and go. Research has found an answer that has been with us for centuries—mindful eating.
Mindful eating may be a powerful tool in the fight against diabetes and heart disease.
A study done at University of California at San Francisco has found that anyone who is contemplative about the types of food they eat tends to consume foods that are healthier. As a result, these very people tend to have better general health in the long term.
Mindful eating is the practice of being focused on the present moment during our meals. What this practically looks like is, bring our attention to the type of food that we will select for our meal and then eating that meal with full awareness. It may sound simple, but this subtle shift in consciousness can make a world of difference.
Instead of eating on auto-pilot, where we are more likely to consume whatever happens to be nearby or looks the tastiest, mindfully eating will cause and introspective process that generally results in us making optimal choices.
The study lasted five months and involved using 194 overweight volunteers. The volunteers were placed on a diet and an exercise regimen—all aimed at helping them lose their weight. The control group only got this program where as the variable group was given mindfulness training and information on nutrition.
It was shown that a year and a half after the study, this extra-informed group lost 3.7 lbs more than the control group. Although the findings do not bear out to be statistically significant, they are indicative of the power of mindful eating.
However, and perhaps more importantly, the scientists observed that the second group demonstrated superior health outcomes with regards to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This study is yet another drop in the growing mound of scientific evidence that supports positive benefits being derived from mindfulness practices.
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