One of the most beneficial reasons to add variety to your diet is to keep your body fueled with an array of different nutrients, but there are many other reasons to consider as well. If you eat the same foods day in and day out, you are hindering your body’s ultimate energy and nutritional needs. I used to eat the same foods every single day, simply because during a very busy lifestyle I had at the time, it was easier for me to prep the same meals for one week at a time than worry about five or six. However, what I learned was that no matter how healthy tuna, oats and salads may be, they aren’t meant to be eaten every single day without any variation or diversity. If your meals look the same throughout the week, consider some of these reasons to add variety to your diet. I hope that not only will you enjoy your food more, but you’ll also feel much better by switching up your diet.
1. Nutrient Overload
One of the main reasons to add variety to your diet is because, if you’re eating the same things each day, you’re getting the same amount of concentrated nutrients from those foods. This could lead to nutrient overload from one food, and deprivation of nutrients from other foods. Even taking a good multivitamin won’t give you the same variation benefits as if you ate different foods. For instance, tuna is a healthy, lean source of protein, but it’s also concentrated in selenium, and one of the fish highest in mercury. Studies have shown that too much selenium can be detrimental to health, and fish higher in mercury like tuna shouldn’t be eaten more than once per week. Or, for instance, spinach is a great source of iron and Vitamin A, but it is also high in oxalic acid, also known as oxalates. Oxalates can cause your bones to leach calcium, and have been linked to kidney stones when eaten it excess. Spinach is also a goitrogenic green vegetable, which means in overload, it can cause low thyroid function. You should eat healthy foods like spinach and tuna if you like them, but simply not every day to avoid overloading on them.
2. Digestive Benefits
Another reason to add variation to your diet is for digestive benefits that different foods have in them. For instance, if your diet is lacking fiber or healthy fats, you could be missing out on digestive benefits of both. Fiber helps slow blood sugar and keep you regulated. It also helps lower cholesterol and remove harmful fats from the blood stream. Healthy fats from a variety of foods can help your body absorb more nutrients from your foods when you eat, directly through the lining of your digestive tract. Healthy fats also increase digestion and elimination, along with lower your blood sugar and provide satiety. Not eating a variety of healthy fats can deprive you of all these wonderful benefits.
3. Less Boredom
Many people find that they get quickly bored with healthy meal plans or everyday foods without variation. One of my favorite things about keeping variety in your diet is that boredom rarely happens. Let’s say you still keep the same basic principle of meals, like hot cereal, smoothies, salads or lean protein, but you change up the ingredients to prevent boredom. That’s a great way to still keep easy, healthy meals in your schedule without getting bored. If you often eat fast food out, or restaurant meals a little too much, trying cooking at home some. You’ll be so pleasantly surprised how much more you’ll appreciate and connect with your food, and it’s much healthier for you too. Cooking at home is also an easy way to provide variation to your diet, since simple seasonings can completely change the flavor of everyday meals.
4. Avoid Health Issues
There are actually many health issues that can be caused by too much of one certain food. For instance, some foods in excess can cause low thyroid, achy joints, acne or even insomnia. Others can cause adrenal fatigue, headaches and higher levels of stress. The best way to prevent health issues that can be caused by too much of one food is to simply eat different meals. It’s fine to have the same breakfast a few time a week, or even every other day, but don’t have it day in and day out for months on end. Nightshade veggies like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers have been linked to arthritis in excess, while legumes and beans have been linked to decreased mineral absorption in excess. Some foods like spinach, kale, soy and broccoli have been linked to low thyroid in excess, and too much Vitamin A from foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and squash can cause your skin to turn orange. While this isn’t a health issue, it can be annoying, nonetheless. Avoid all these issues by simply switching up your foods. I think you’ll find it’s quite simple and very easy to do once you get the hang of it!
5. Weight Gain
If you’re eating healthy and gaining weight, it’s probably due to you eating too much of the same foods and not enough of others. For instance, if you eat mostly whole grains, nuts, healthy fats and starchy veggies, you’ll probably gain a little weight. Even though these are healthy, your diet needs to be varied with low calorie vegetables, lean protein and leafy greens. It’s easy to reach for heavier, denser foods on the go, and leave the veggies, greens and lean protein in the fridge at home. Don’t make this mistake if you want to manage your weight. Whole grains, nuts and seeds, starchy veggies and healthy fats like avocado, dark chocolate and olive oil are all great, but they don’t need to comprise 75% of your diet. Keep denser foods to ¼ - ½ cup or less per meal for the best weight results. Bulk up the rest of your meals with lean protein, non-starchy veggies and leafy greens.
6. Sodium Balance
Most all processed foods are high in added sodium, and one of the reasons to add variety to your diet is to make sure you’re not getting too much sodium from processed foods. Always add in variation to your diet with fresh foods and non-processed foods to avoid excess sodium in your diet. Excess sodium has been linked to dehydration, along with high blood pressure and heart disease.
7. Slow Metabolism
If you’re feeling a little tired lately and have been eating the same things most days, it’s time to take a look at your diet. Try changing up your foods and even trying new healthy foods. Doing so can help your metabolism pick up the pace a bit and it can prevent you from feeling draggy all day! It will also do wonders for your mood, workout and your weight, as a bonus.
Don’t be overwhelmed when trying to add variation to your diet. Take it one step at a time, and just buy five new foods this week and challenge yourself to do different things with them. If you need ideas, check out our food section on All Women Stalk. It’s excellent and filled with so many delicious recipes and ideas. You can find all the food articles here: food.allwomenstalk.com. Do you eat the same foods each day?