What Nutrition Means To Your Health
We all know that the key to losing weight and getting in shape is to eat healthy and exercise. However, the benefits of nutrition on overall health go far beyond managing weight. Eating a nutritious and well balanced diet will have a positive impact on nearly every aspect of your life. Find out more about how nutrition can benefit your health and lifestyle, below.
Nutrition and Physical and Mental Health
Proper nutrition can make a huge impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. When you eat healthy, nutritious foods, you can reduce your risk of being affected by many different health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer, high blood pressure, and stroke. Those who are focused on getting into a healthy weight range will also normally get better results when adopting a healthy diet. Being in a healthy weight range will continue to decrease your risk of developing health problems.
An article from Health Line explains how nutrition can have a positive impact on mental health as well. It starts with avoiding those foods that you know will have a negative effect. Sugar, for example, can lead to energy crashes and bad moods. While sugar doesn’t need to be given up completely, limiting foods with a high sugar content will create a noticeable difference. Adding foods that are high in protein, fiber, and vitamin B12 will provide more energy and level out mood swings. You’ll probably also notice that you feel better throughout the day when you’re eating healthy, well balanced meals.
Nutrition Vs. Restrictive Diets
In an effort to lose weight, a common method is to cut out a specific food group. Some will try to eliminate fat from their diet, others will cut out carbs. While a restrictive diet might cause quick weight loss, it will most likely only be a short-term solution to a long-term problem. In fact, cutting out certain foods will often lead to overeating when the dieting period ends, or when the dieter begins to feel confined by the rules and regulations of their plan.
Variety is the spice of life and the key to good nutrition. Choose My Plate is a resource from the US Department of Agriculture that helps with meal planning and the basics of nutrition. The site focuses on the benefits of including every food group in your daily diet.
- Fruits are an excellent source of fiber which lowers the risk of heart disease and promotes healthy bowel movements. Generally lower in calories, fruits add some sweetness to a diet without the negative side effects of sweets and processed foods.
- Vegetables are the basis of many healthy diet plans because they’re low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The fiber in veggies help you feel full without adding extra calories.
- Grains get a bad name from low carb dieters. In reality, whole-grains can provide fiber, iron, and vitamin B. Those nutrients help with everything from weight loss to improving metabolism to preventing issues during pregnancy.
- Protein can come from meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, and beans. Adding protein to a diet makes bones and muscles stronger and improves the immune system, thanks to zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B.
- Dairy is incredibly important for supporting bone health. Low fat dairy can be a part of a healthy diet while working to prevent osteoporosis, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet with Age
Nutrition is important at every age. Living a healthy life starts with childhood when healthy habits are established. Familydoctor.org lists benefits to giving children access to good nutrition, including maintaining a healthy weight and height for their age, developing a strong immune system, and building a defense against disease in the future. Parents can help children develop good nutrition by being an example at home, as well as by providing access to healthy food at mealtimes.
As children get older, a healthy diet remains important as nutritional needs change while they get closer to adulthood. Teens who are active with sports and other activities will require more calories, and it’s important that they come from healthy foods rather than fast food, processed meals, and sugar filled snacks.
Metabolism slows down in the adult years, and nutritional needs will need to be reevaluated again. Depending on activity levels, health issues, and lifestyle changes, everyone will have unique needs that can be met with smart nutritional choices.
A guide from Tufts Health Plan explains why nutrition continues to be important as we age. Tastes can change, making favorite foods seem unappealing. As the body changes, older adults may also find it more difficult to chew and swallow, or digest food. Focusing on nutrition will help to maintain health and fend off common issues that affect older people, so it’s important to discuss dietary changes with a nutritionist.
With a well-balanced diet and knowledge of how nutrition can benefit the body, you can live a longer, fuller, and healthier life simply by paying attention to what you eat.