Having a healthy diet isn’t just about weight loss – it’s also about improving your overall health and wellbeing, and ultimately allowing you to have an improved quality of life – because the more unhealthy foods you eat, the less nutrients your body is getting, and therefore the more unhealthy you will be, which ultimately increases your risk of developing potentially serious illnesses later on in life (such as heart disease and diabetes, for example.) Having a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is important because those nutrients are what enable our cells to perform indispensable functions – including immune function, the formation and repair of tissues, nerve impulses, and metabolism.
One of the biggest problems with standard diets today is the fact that many of the foods we so often enjoy aren’t actually contributing to our health in a positive way. This is because many of the foods we like are heavily processed. This is done in effort to make foods more appealing in both appearance and taste. Examples of heavily processed foods include those containing things like artificial colouring and flavouring, chemically-altered sweeteners and fats, and additives – and it is during this refining process that many of the important, natural nutrients are either significantly decreased or removed all together. Furthermore, research has also shown that we’re eating less variety of foods, which is something that also needs to change in order to get the most out of your diet and your health. While certain illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers were once thought to be caused by a single gene mutation, researchers are now under the belief, more than ever, that diet also plays a significant role in one’s risk of developing each of these conditions – and the connection between food and your health is not something that should be ignored.
While this might seem like a lot of information to take in at once, and may even make you feel like you have to completely and suddenly revamp your diet in order to get your health back on the right track, it’s actually a lot easier than you think – and even making a few tiny changes, to start, can be enough to start impacting your health in a positive way, such as:
– Eating the correct amount of food in order to maintain and/or achieve a healthy weight.
– Eating at least 5 servings and fruits and vegetables each day.
– Including more high-fibre foods, such as whole grains, in your diet each day.
– Eating a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting adequate vitamins and minerals.
– Avoid consuming foods high in saturated or trans-fats.
– Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
– Limit your intake of salt and sugar.
– Avoid eating to relieve stress or anxiety.
– Resist the temptation of quick and easy foods (i.e. microwavable dinners, salty snacks.)
If you have certain medical conditions, you may also need to alter your diet in a specific way. For example, if you have osteoporosis (loss of bone mass, which results in bones becoming more fragile), you’ll want to include more foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, as well as vitamins D and K – while avoiding things like alcohol, caffeine, and foods high in sodium. Inflammation is another common problem people suffer from, and it can occur in many forms – such as in the skeletal system (arthritis), gastrointestinal system (irritable bowel syndrome), respiratory system (asthma), and cardiovascular system (heart disease.) In order to reduce inflammation, you should consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such a salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, flaxseeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds) – while avoiding bad fats (such as trans-fatty acids or vegetable oils tht are partially hydrogenated), as well as avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars.