It is no news that changing to a healthy diet has a whole host of significant health benefits for your body. According to Diet Fitness King, a healthy diet includes a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, whole, unprocessed cereals, nuts, grains, and starches, healthy fats, and lean protein. A healthy diet excludes fatty foods loaded with unhealthy amounts of salt, sugary foods and snacks, and carbonated drinks. Moreover, there is no healthy diet without the recommended 8 glasses of water. Below is a list of all the benefits you stand to enjoy from choosing a healthy diet:
Helps you maintain a healthy weight
Having a healthy weight is crucial, and choosing healthful foods is the best way recommended by nutritionists to lose and maintain it. Being overweight and obese predisposes you to:
- Cardiac events/heart disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Low bone density
- Increased risk of stroke
Determining your daily calorie needs and eating a healthy diet to keep your caloric intake at or below that figure is a far better approach than crash diets. If you would like to reduce or maintain your weight, include whole vegetables, cereals, and other high-fiber foods in your diet. These low-calorie foods will enable you to keep a caloric deficit while enjoying your daily serving of food. Fiber is especially helpful as it makes you feel full and less likely to grab an unhealthy snack.
A healthy diet is critical for mental health
Do not be tempted to binge on a huge pile of fries the next time you feel under the weather, because that will make things worse. A healthy diet is crucial for emotional well-being. A study by Professor Felice Jacka from Deakin University confirms the hypothesized theory. Her research confirms that indeed, people that indulge in foods with high salt and sugar will most likely develop depression.
Meeting the daily dietary requirements, which includes five-six servings of vegetables per day, is a sure way to keep your brain and gut healthy for optimal emotional health. Besides, the awareness that you are eating well to better your health also boosts self-esteem. Fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, plant protein, and foods loaded with Omega-3 like fish are known to reduce one’s chances of mood disturbances.
Reduces your risk of getting cancer
A healthy diet is one of the proven ways to reduce your predisposition to developing cancer. Studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits reduces your risk of developing esophageal and other upper gut cancers. A diet rich in fiber will also reduce your risk of developing colorectal and liver cancers.
Cancer is often triggered by the accumulation of toxic substances and free radicals. Eating fruits, vegetables like purple lettuce, and nuts like cashew nuts supply your body with phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.
Antioxidants like lycopene, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene inactivate with these toxins, thus protecting your cells from their damaging effect.
Improve the health of your circulatory system
According to statistics published in 2017, over 92 million Americans are living with at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which are conditions that affect the blood vessels or heart. 80% of these incidences can be prevented by making total lifestyle changes, which include exercise and a healthy diet. The relationship between your dietary habits and heart health is significant. Some studies suggest that consuming foods rich in Vitamin E reduces the risk of blood clot formation, which causes stroke or heart attacks. Such foods include
- Sunflower seeds
- Green vegetables
You also need to reduce the quantity of trans fats in your diet. Trans fats have a high concentration of unhealthy fats (Low-Density Lipoproteins). These tend to accumulate in the arteries, cause plaque, and cause arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Reducing salt in the diet to a daily intake of 1500mg also helps in reducing hypertension.
Builds strong bones and teeth
Building strong bones is crucial for improved quality of life, especially in old age. Eating foods rich in Calcium and magnesium will help avoid the risk of slow bone loss (osteoporosis) and osteoarthritis later on. Such foods include:
- Low-fat milk
- Sardines or canned salmon with bones
- Dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli
Magnesium is usually present in leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Also ensure you get adequate Vitamin D, as it helps your body absorb Calcium from the diet.
Improves memory and cognitive function
A healthy diet may be all you need to jumpstart your brain and eliminate brain fog, exhaustion, and memory loss. Studies have shown that a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is critical in boosting brain tissue development and reducing the risk of diseases that cause cognitive decline. Other nutrients you want to include in your diet include:
- Vitamins C, D, and E
- Flavanoids and polyphenols found in green teas
Improves the microbiome and Gut health
The gut is home to plenty of healthy fauna that plays crucial roles in digestion and metabolism. Some of the bacterium strains produce Vitamins K and B and fight off harmful bacteria. A healthy diet sees to it that the concentrations of these bacteria are maintained. Foods that enhance the gut microbiome include yogurt, miso, kefir, and other fermented foods plus whole grains, fruit and vegetables. They supply the body with pre and probiotic components that facilitate the growth of healthy bacteria. Diets high in fats and sugar affect the microbiome, leading to possible inflammation.
Consuming fiber is also crucial in ensuring a healthy gut. Fibre loaded foods facilitate easy, regular bowel movements which reduce the chance of developing colon cancer, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids.
Facilitates ample, healthy sleep
Having at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night is critical for optimal physical and mental health, and a healthy diet is one way of ensuring that. Sleep disturbances like sleep apnea, which occurs when the airways keep getting blocked, can be reduced by reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine altogether.
The short term benefits of a healthy diet coupled with exercise are countles. Choosing health is as easy as having healthier snack alternatives, feeding habits, and opting to consult a nutritionist for better advice.