Often, we are only concerned about pleasing our taste buds and not caring about our health and nutrition. But unfortunately, the unhealthy and convenient food that we consume daily to cut down cooking time and effort from our busy schedule poses an unimaginable threat to our bodies, fitness, and wellness. That is why, in this article, we want to discuss the importance of consuming healthy food for vitality and longevity.
It might be a tad bit difficult for you to switch to a healthy diet altogether after consuming unhealthy food for a long time, but with some patience, mindfulness, self-care, and effort, you will get used to it and eventually lead a healthy life. Scroll down to find out what these foods are and how they benefit you by making your body healthy and fit. Go on!
In This Article
Effects Of Wrong Eating Habits
An immediate effect of the wrong choice of food on our health is excessive weight gain within a short span of time or obesity. Next in line are problems like diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, weak bones, or maybe even slow brain development, memory loss, etc. Your well-being depends on the food you consume. So, it is imperative to eat healthily and eat right in order to stay healthy (1), (2).
What Is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating does not mean having only boiled meals, eating less, or saying no to fat. Healthy food habits involve switching to a well-balanced, nutritious diet, i.e., eating everything in the right amount and at the right time and with the right combination. Maintaining a balance in your food consumption and eating in moderation will help you in the long run. Don’t completely exclude fats or overdo the fibers and proteins! Also, remember that children should be given a mix and match of all types of food because this is the age for physical and mental development (3).
Why Should We Eat Healthy Food?
- What we eat provides all the essential nutrients to our bodies. This supplies our body with the right amount of energy to do our daily work. And all these nutrients come only from healthy food, not anything and everything we eat.
- Healthy food is needed to stimulate the growth hormones that will increase our height gradually with age.
- Healthy and nutrient-dense food is also needed for the functioning of our system and proper nourishment. All the nutrients derived from healthy food trigger body cells and brain cells to actively run and perform their task.
- Healthy food improves the immune system, helping in disease prevention. A strong immunity fights against all disease- causing bacteria and viruses.
- It is generally advised to cut out fat from our diet. This is often mistaken as entirely excluding even healthy fats. The unhealthy fats that should not be eaten are called saturated, and trans- fats. Monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids are very important for our health, just like proteins and vitamins. These fats get stored under skin cells which get transformed into energy required for physical and mental activities. It is important that we include these in our daily diet.
- Healthy food can help you maintain a well-shaped body without falling into the evil trap of lifestyle issues like weight gain or obesity.
Alisa Burke, an author and blogger, shared that cutting back on sugar and processed food and eating healthily for 10 months made her body feel better. She said, “My headaches are gone but they will come back if I make bad food choices or go overboard with sugar. I continue to have more energy throughout the entire day and gone is the crashing (i).”
Here is a list of all the different elements of food and their importance for our health.
Different Nutrients And Their Importance:
By eating a balanced diet, we get all the nutrients that are necessary for healthy living. These include macronutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber.
Let’s see in detail the importance of all these nutrients in our diet:
A very important nutrient that should be included in our daily diet (6).
- Proteins are needed to build up new tissues and renew old tissues.
- It protects the muscles which are non-fat tissue mass.
- Proteins are also needed for the production of enzymes and hormones that control the various functions of our body.
People on a diet often end up avoiding protein intake in their diet without proper awareness and education. This is not very healthy as it may weaken the muscles, making them prone to injury.
- All dairy products
The ultimate energy sources for your body, carbohydrates are the power suppliers to your body (7).
- Energy is needed in large quantities in adolescents and adults.
- It is essential for your growth and development, to increase the metabolic rate and helps you remain active throughout the day.
- Intake of sufficient amounts of carbohydrates in food prevents the conversion of proteins into fat.
- Various grains and cereals
Get rid of the misconception that you don’t need fats in your diet.
Fats are very important in your diet, although they should be only the unsaturated fats and omega-3 and 6 fats. Below are some reasons why fat is so important for us (8) :
- Fats provide energy
- They form cell membranes
- Some vitamins like vitamins A, E, D and K need fat to get absorbed.
- They produce hormones.
- Fats form a layer beneath our skin protecting muscles and at the same time provide warmth to our body.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Replace your normal cooking oil with olive oil or canola oil.
4. Vitamins And Minerals
These nutrients are essential for our body although in smaller quantities compared to proteins and carbohydrates. Although in small amounts, they should be a part of our daily diet, and deficiency of any of them may lead to serious health problems (9).
To promote healthy eating by incorporating all these nutrients, you need to follow a few tips. These are listed in the section below.
Healthy Eating Tips
- Balanced Diet: Incorporate a variety of food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, to your meal plan.
- Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating. Use smaller plates to help control portions.
- Hydration: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Limit sugary beverages.
Alisa Burke further added, “As I have gotten older, I’ve noticed that drinking water and a lot of it is key to my daily survival. I feel better, my skin looks healthier and I am able to keep my headaches away if I stay hydrated.”
- Fiber-Rich Foods: Include beans, lentils, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables for better digestion and prolonged satiety.
- Lean Proteins: Choose lean protein sources like poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. Limit red and processed meats.
- Healthy Snacking: Replace calorie laden snacks with nutritious snacks like nuts, yogurt, or fresh fruit to curb your snack cravings.
These healthy eating tips help you in sticking to your eating pattern and help reap the benefits of healthy eating.
Infographic: The Importance Of Essential Nutrients In Our Daily Lives
Eating a balanced diet rich in all the necessary nutrients is essential for healthy living. Incorporating them into your daily diet can help your body carry out important functions properly. Check out the infographic below to learn more about different nutrients and their importance.
Many of us often eat high-calorie junk food after a busy schedule. But in the long run, this may negatively impact our overall health. However, it is never too late to start the habit of healthy eating. Eating a well-balanced diet provides the required nutrients, improves the immune system, cuts down the risk of obesity, and ensures proper functioning of the body. A well-balanced diet includes balanced amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Hence, try including foods rich in these nutrients to make your diet healthy and balanced.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does eating healthy reduce stress?
Eating a balanced diet may help improve the immune system and provide the extra energy needed to cope with stressful events. Polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 fats and vegetables, may help to regulate cortisol levels that helps control the body’s stress response (13).
Is milk healthy to drink every day?
Yes, drinking milk daily is healthy as it may help improve bone mineral density, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (14).
Is green tea healthy to drink every day?
There are many health-promoting components in green tea. It can help you lose weight and lowers the risk of developing diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. You can consume 2-3 cups a day daily.
Why is healthy food so expensive?
Healthy food tends to be more expensive as it is made with natural, organic ingredients. However, you can try making healthy food at home as a more cost-effective option rather than buying commercial health food or going to restaurants daily.
Why do I feel better eating healthy?
A healthy diet is loaded with nutrients that leave you energized for the day. These nutrients keep you in shape and good health, making you feel better.
Is it healthy to drink coffee every day?
Even though coffee has many health advantages, excessive consumption can be harmful. High levels of unfiltered coffee consumption may be linked to a slight increase in cholesterol levels. Additionally, coffee can occasionally lead to anxiety and insomnia. Avoid drinking more than two cups of coffee a day.
- Eating unhealthy food may lead to excessive weight gain, diseases, weak bones, and memory loss, among others.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet in the right amount to practice healthy eating.
- The important nutrients in healthy food boost energy and the immune system and improve body and brain functions.
- Avoid eating saturated and trans fat food as they are unhealthy.
Understand how to make slow and steady healthy dietary changes. Check out this video to discover simple tips and tricks to help you make healthier food choices.
Personal Experience: Source
i. My journey with healthy eating
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- Healthy eating habits protect against temptations
- Obesity eating habits and nutritional knowledge among school children
- Public health policies to encourage healthy eating habits: recent perspectives
- Eat Healthy to Live Healthy: Habits and Trends
- Economic Costs and Benefits of Healthy Eating
- Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults
- Fats and Other Lipids
- Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements
- The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
- Dietary Iron
- Calcium Intake and Health
- Diet Quality for Sodium and Vegetables Mediate Effects of Whole Food Diets on 8-Week Changes in Stress Load
- Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence