“Health is wealth” is what we learned in our school days. But, it seems like most of us have forgotten about our true wealth. With our busy lifestyles, our food habits have deteriorated drastically. We have forgotten what healthy eating is all about!
Eating a balanced diet has umpteen benefits. These benefits are exceptional and long-term. That is why it is vital that we understand the benefits of eating healthy and the impact it has on our well-being. Read on to know what they are…
Top 15 Benefits Of Healthy Eating
1. Helps Lose Weight
Obesity and excess body weight are global health issues. Thankfully, healthy eating can help reduce this problem. Consuming more green vegetables, whole fruits, healthy fats (olive oil, fish oil, nuts, and seeds), lean protein (skinless chicken breast, fish, eggs, mushrooms, tofu, and lentils), and whole grains helps lower calorie intake, increase satiety, and lower BMI (1), (2), (3), (4).
Healthy eating also helps balance the hunger hormones, improves insulin sensitivity, and maintains normal thyroid function, which aids weight loss and helps you live a healthy life.
2. Helps Manage Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes affects millions of people worldwide, irrespective of age (5). Unhealthy eating habits, obesity, insulin resistance, and genetic factors may lead to diabetes type 2 (6).
Changing your eating habits and lifestyle can certainly help reduce the risk or type-2 diabetes and related complications. Avoid consuming sugary and junk foods. Eat healthy greens, beans, low-glycemic index foods, dark chocolate, and healthy snacks to keep your cravings and hunger pangs at bay (7).
3. Improves Heart Health
Excessive consumption of unhealthy foods, alcohol, and smoking leads to an unhealthy heart. The cholesterol and triglyceride levels rise and cause heart blockage, ultimately weakening the heart muscles. Eating healthily by including fresh green vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, and plant sources of protein in your diet, limiting the intake of meat, and avoiding junk food, animal fat, and sugary foods helps reduce cholesterol and improve heart health (8).
4. Decreases Cancer Risk
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide (9). An unhealthy lifestyle and genetic factors can cause the cells in your body to divide exponentially, leading to abnormal cell functions (10).
Researchers have found that consuming organic and unprocessed foods is the best way to keep cancer at bay. There are certain foods that have nutrients that may inhibit cancer progression. These include berries, watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, tomato, garlic, turmeric, ginger, and leafy greens (11).
5. Increases Immunity
A healthy immune system helps keep infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and the common flu at bay. It aids faster recovery and healing. Consume foods that are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Eating healthy foods like blueberries, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, leafy greens, carrot, tomato, cheese, milk, fatty fish, herbs, and spices help improve your immunity (12).
6. Boosts Brain Health
Healthy eating boosts brain health and elevates your mood. Foods loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (olive oil, fatty fish, fish oil, nuts, and seeds) help maintain the cell membrane and normal brain function and facilitate synaptic plasticity. These foods are used as “diet therapy” for people suffering from dyslexia, attention deficit disorders, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder (13).
7. Improves Digestion
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and probiotics are essential for maintaining good gut health and improving digestion. Dietary fiber is found in fruits and vegetables. Dietary fiber cannot be digested by humans, but the good gut bacteria ferment it, which helps them thrive and survive (14).
Dietary fiber also adds bulk to the stool and improves bowel movement, thereby reducing constipation (15).
Probiotics like yogurt, buttermilk, kimchi, probiotic drinks, and sauerkraut help add more good gut bacteria, which, in turn, help improve digestion (16).
8. Strengthens Teeth And Bones
Eating healthy also helps strengthen bones and teeth. Fish, milk, tofu, soy, leafy greens (except spinach), oranges, soaked beans, and nuts are a great source of calcium. You must also get morning sun or eat egg yolks, liver, and saltwater fish for vitamin D (17).
9. Delays Aging
Eating healthy foods has a direct impact on how fast you age. Fresh greens, fruits, lean protein, fatty fish, whole grains, green tea, herbs, and spices are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids that help flush out the harmful free oxygen radicals from the body. This, in turn, helps maintain the DNA structure and slow down the aging process (18).
10. Improves Skin Health
Unhealthy oily junk food leads to breakouts and acne. The key to getting healthy skin is drinking water, green tea, and coconut water and eating fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (19).
Consume foods loaded with vitamin A, C, D, and E and omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid trans fats and sugary foods. Also, maintain good hygiene, and you will start to see an improvement in your skin.
11. Reduces Stress
Vegetables and fruits are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress in the body, thereby reducing inflammation (20). Unhealthy foods do just the opposite. They have no nutritional value, and the trans fats and high sugar increase inflammation in the body, leading to an increase in oxidative stress (21), (22).
Avoid eating heavy, unhealthy, fat-loaded foods. In the long run, eating light and healthy foods is the best solution to physical and mental stress.
12. Improves Sleep Quality
Healthy eating also helps improve sleep quality. Late-night snacking on junk food or ice cream, having dinner at an odd time, and consuming oily and heavy foods disrupt the normal biological cycle. This increases the chances of obesity and metabolic syndrome (23). It leads to poor digestion and concentration and leaves you feeling uneasy.
Eating healthy and at least three hours before you go to bed aids digestion, lowers stress, and helps you get sound sleep.
13. Increases Productivity
Light and healthy food helps keep your energy levels high and your brain alert and makes you more active. This, in turn, helps increase your productivity (24). Try consuming superfoods that can help you lose weight, improve your energy levels, and keep your brain active.
14. Increases Longevity
Eating healthy has a direct correlation with living longer and your quality of life. Healthy foods decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of various diseases (25).
15. Good For The Environment
The less processed a food is, the less impact it has on the environment and climate. Eating organic, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant proteins, farm-raised chicken and eggs, and wild-caught fish and avoiding dairy (as much as possible) is a smart way to contribute toward sustainability.
Eating healthy has a number of health benefits. So, stop consuming unhealthy foods today and improve your life by choosing to eat healthy foods. You will not only get in shape but also feel mentally better and calmer. If you found this post helpful, click the smiley button on the right. Share it with a friend who needs a major intervention. Comment below if you have any questions. Take care!
- Sartorelli, Daniela Saes et al. “High intake of fruits and vegetables predicts weight loss in Brazilian overweight adults.” Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.) vol. 28,4 (2008): 233-8.
- Albracht-Schulte, Kembra et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids in obesity and metabolic syndrome: a mechanistic update.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry vol. 58 (2018): 1-16.
- Leidy, Heather J et al. “The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 101,6 (2015): 1320S-1329S.
- Maki, Kevin C., et al. “The Relationship between Whole Grain Intake and Body Weight: Results of Meta-Analyses of Observational Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrients 11.6 (2019): 1245.
- Diabetes, WHO.
- Type 2 diabetes: Overview, InformedHealth.org, National Institutes of Health.
- Ley, Sylvia H., et al. “Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: dietary components and nutritional strategies.” The Lancet 383.9933 (2014): 1999-2007.
- Casas, Rosa, et al. “Nutrition and cardiovascular health.” International journal of molecular sciences 19.12 (2018): 3988.
- Cancer, WHO.
- Koriech, Osama M. “Diet and cancer.” Journal of family & community medicine 1.1 (1994): 2.
- Donaldson, Michael S. “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet.” Nutrition journal 3.1 (2004): 19.
- Corley, Douglas A., and Detlef Schuppan. “Food, the immune system, and the gastrointestinal tract.” Gastroenterology 148.6 (2015): 1083-1086.
- Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. “Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.” Nature reviews neuroscience 9.7 (2008): 568-578.
- Dhingra, Devinder, et al. “Dietary fibre in foods: a review.” Journal of food science and technology 49.3 (2012): 255-266.
- Yang, Jing, et al. “Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta analysis.” World journal of gastroenterology: WJG 18.48 (2012): 7378.
- Ercolini, Danilo, and Vincenzo Fogliano. “Food design to feed the human gut microbiota.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 66.15 (2018): 3754-3758.
- Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age, NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center.
- Boccardi, Virginia, Giuseppe Paolisso, and Patrizia Mecocci. “Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy aging: the telomerase challenge.” Aging (Albany NY) 8.1 (2016): 12.
- Pappas, Apostolos. “The relationship of diet and acne: a review.” Dermato-endocrinology 1.5 (2009): 262-267.
- Harasym, Joanna, and Remigiusz Oledzki. “Effect of fruit and vegetable antioxidants on total antioxidant capacity of blood plasma.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) vol. 30,5 (2014): 511-7.
- Mozaffarian, Dariush, et al. “Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.4 (2004): 606-612.
- Della Corte, Karen W., et al. “Effect of dietary sugar intake on biomarkers of subclinical inflammation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies.” Nutrients 10.5 (2018): 606.
- Yoshida, Junko, et al. “Association of night eating habits with metabolic syndrome and its components: a longitudinal study.” BMC public health 18.1 (2018): 1366.
- Sutliffe, Jay T., et al. “A worksite nutrition intervention is effective at improving employee well-being: a pilot study.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism 2018 (2018).
- Marsman, D., et al. “Healthy ageing: the natural consequences of good nutrition—a conference report.” European journal of nutrition 57.2 (2018): 15-34.
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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.