When it comes to eating habits, we all have different ones. But when our diet becomes disordered, it can cause serious health problems that affect mental and physical functioning. These are called eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex and treatable, but they may be difficult to diagnose because of overlapping symptoms. The six main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), pica and rumination disorder.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which people have severe problems with their thoughts and feelings about food and body weight. They often have a distorted view of their bodies and think they are fat, even when they are extremely thin. Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where the person has episodes of binge eating followed by purging, usually through vomiting or laxative use. It can be very dangerous and is the most common of all eating disorders. It is often found in young women, but it can affect any age or gender.
Another eating disorder is rumination disorder, which is characterized by obsessive or repetitive behavior like chewing and swallowing. People with rumination disorder may also experience anxiety and depression. People with rumination disorder are more likely to have depression and other mental health problems than those without it.
Eating well means eating a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy – in the amounts recommended. It’s important to eat a wide variety of foods because each food group provides different types of nutrients. For example, leafy greens and berries provide antioxidants, while beans and nuts provide protein.
Healthy eating includes beverages such as water, low-fat milk and 100% juice, but try to limit the amount of sugary drinks and desserts you consume. Many of these add extra calories that don’t provide much nutritional value.
It’s also important to eat a range of food colours to ensure you get a mix of vitamins and minerals. The colourful fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium, while the dark greens, legumes, seeds and nuts provide zinc and magnesium. Adding these foods will help your body function properly and reduce the risk of disease.