Importance of mindful eating

Importance of mindful eating

Publication date: 15-09-2022

Updated on: 28-04-2023

Topic: Nutrition

Estimated reading time: 1 min

The pandemic has brought an increase in cases of eating disorders. The trend that is still growing especially among young people. We've decided to delve into a topic that underlies these diseases, investigating our relationship with food. 

In such a hectic life dominated by speed, do we really pay attention to what we eat? More importantly, why is it so important to not only pay attention to what we eat, but especially how we eat? We spoke to Dr. Stefano Erzegovesi, former Head of the Center for Eating Disorders at the Ospedale San Raffaele, about mindful eating.

Mindful eating: what is it?

Mindful eating, or conscious nutrition, is a technique that involves more awareness and listening to our needs and can lead us to a new way of being at the table. 

The idea is that, in a daily act such as feeding, it matters not only what you eat, but more importantly how you eat. In fact, today too often we are eating without even realizing it, distractedly and especially quickly.

"The practice of mindful eating works in exactly the opposite direction: with this approach we focus on the quality of the eating experience, making more room for slowness, activation of all the bodily senses and, as a result, improving the sense of satiety.

In fact, you can think of mindful eating as an application of mindfulness to eating: being present to yourself, moment by moment, even while eating, not being distracted by thoughts and emotions, with a peaceful and balanced mental attitude," explains Dr. Erzegovesi. 

Why is it important?

"Mindful eating can also be regarded as a preventive nutrition tool that, through the adoption of a plant-based Mediterranean diet and a healthy lifestyle, can contribute to:

  • achieve and maintain proper weight;
  • improve health;
  • improve energy level;
  • improve mental clarity;
  • improve stress resistance;
  • learn to eat mindfully," says the expert.

In addition, eating consciously can bring great satisfaction and benefits: it helps to limit off-meal bingeing, get rid of emotional hunger, and process appropriate portions more easily. All this is mainly because we become aware of the actual feelings of hunger and satiety.

Mindful eating, how to do it? Useful tips for eating well and mindfully

Starting with the basics: awareness, precisely, is the first step; wanting to devote your time (at least half an hour for each main meal) to the act of eating is essential. It is then essential to adopt a "poor" Mediterranean diet through the consumption of:

  • seasonal vegetables and fruits;
  • whole grains;
  • legumes;
  • walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds;
  • extra virgin olive oil;
  • small amounts of fish, eggs and cheese and occasional consumption of other animal proteins, e.g., red meat or cold cuts.

In addition to product selection, it is also important to treat foods properly while cooking so that people are happier eating them, preserving colors, scents, and pleasant textures.

"Just as it is crucial to focus on the moment of the meal, sitting at the table, without distractions, focusing on the food on the plate and paying attention to your moods during the meal," Dr. Erzegovesi concludes. 

Find out how to adopt a healthy and conscious diet thanks to pathways designed by specialists at RAF Points and San Raffaele.

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