Some people may question why practicing proper nutrition is so important. Exactly what are the benefits of following a balanced diet and choosing foods high in nutrients and low in calories? Well, there are a variety of major health benefits, and one of them is preventing disease. Here are a few reasons why nutrition can impact your health.
1. Cardiovascular disease
According to The Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are various types of cardiovascular conditions, but coronary heart disease is the most common. Luckily, proper nutrition can reduce a person’s chance for developing this disease, the World Health Organization noted. Unbalanced diets or diets high in fats and cholesterol can largely contribute to a person’s risk. People can avoid heart problems by staying away from foods containing saturated or trans fat and cholesterol, and instead choosing foods high in polyunsaturated fats, such as those with omega-3 fatty acids. Opting for plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-sodium foods is also a good idea. Avoiding salt can lower a person’s blood pressure, which is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.
Certain types of cancer can be prevented with the proper diet. Keeping your body at a healthy weight may greatly reduce the risk for specific cancers, including those related to the breast, kidney, esophagus, uterus, colon and rectum. The American Cancer Society noted that in 2015, 1,658,370 new cases of some form of cancer will arise. Ensuring that you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet will help lower your chances of getting cancer. Focus on foods such as soy beans, which have been credited with lowering the risk of breast cancer, according to Helpguide.org.
Osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become porous, is one of the main causes for bone and fragility fractures. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, this disease causes 8.9 million fractures annually. Luckily, eating right can improve bone health and reduce the risk of fracture. Older adults should make sure that they get the daily recommended amounts of vitamin D and calcium, two nutrients that contribute to the building of healthy bone. Take in at least 500 milligrams of calcium a day and 600 international units per day of vitamin D, the National Institutes of Health advised. Get your vitamin D by talking a stroll around the retirement community on a sunny day. Aside from a healthy diet, regular physical activity can contribute to strong bones.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 33 percent of people in the nation are obese. Obesity is directly correlated to diet, and has been linked to an underlying factor in many other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These rates can mainly be attributed to high-calorie meals and sedentary lifestyles. Obesity is a major concern among older adults, who tend to become less active over time. However, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can easily be accomplished with the help of the right nutrition. Avoiding foods high in saturated and trans fat, as well as dishes with a lot of sugar, can prevent weight gain. People should also focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods.
According to the WHO, the rates of Type 2 diabetes are also increasing worldwide, which may also contribute to the development of other conditions such as kidney and heart disease. Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by an ingestion of too much sugar, which can throw off a person’s glucose levels. According to Helpguide.org, people can lower their risk for diabetes by avoiding processed baked goods, desserts and sugary beverages such as soda and fruit juice. Instead, choose fruits, whole grains cereals low in sugar and dark, leafy greens.