Eating for the Here and Now

Reasons for healthy eating are often connected to preventing disease sometime down the road. Often times it’s hard to imagine or care about “down the road.” We’ve got things going on and the possibility of a heart attack or life-threatening diagnosis can be too abstract and far off to influence our day to day routine. To most people, the here and now is top priority.

So what would it look like to eat for the “here and now” rather than for the “down the road?”

For starters, decreased muscle pain is often one of the first benefits that people notice when they start eating more whole plant foods and less animal products. This makes sense as animal products are inflammatory while plant based foods are anti-inflammatory.

Feeling anxious, stressed or sad? Eating plants, especially greens, beans and tomatoes, has been shown to enhance mood and decrease feelings of sadness.

Legumes help to regulate blood sugar. Trying to stay focused in the afternoon? Add beans to your lunch or made your afternoon snack veggies with hummus.

If you’re looking to have dramatic mood swings, soda would be your go to. It will give your blood sugar a huge spike and offer a burst of energy, but the over stimulation of insulin will eventually lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and then the body will dump fat into the blood stream causing all kinds of problems.

For a long term energy source that will bridge the gap between meals or fuel you during an active day, reach for whole grains such as oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes or barley.

Needing help falling asleep? Tart cherries and goji berries contain melatonin and have been shown to improve sleep.

Kiwi is another fruit that can support sleep but it’s also great for promoting regular bowel movements. There’s nothing that can ruin the here and now like clogged plumbing.

Living in or taking a trip to an exhaust fume-filled city? Studies have shown that broccoli can help your body defend against pollutants.


Trying to impress a hot date this weekend? Creative researchers had participants rank the attractiveness of individuals and found that those eating sweet potatoes, tomatoes and leafy greens were found to be the most attractive. Research has also found that green and yellow veggies can lead to less facial wrinkling.

Wanting to get the most out of your workout? While fat and protein are hard to break down and use for energy, complex carbohydrates are premium fuel for the body. Think fruits, starchy veggies and whole grains.

While the long-term health benefits of the choices we make every day are important, we can enhance the here and now with every bite we take.

Fruits and vegetables

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