The Amazing Ways a Healthy Diet Can Benefit Your Body
Every day we’re faced with making choices about what to eat and drink, how much to exercise, and how we can be healthy. These decisions can seem overwhelming at times, but they don’t have to be. A healthy diet can benefit your body in all kinds of ways, from lowering your blood pressure to keeping your skin looking young and fresh. By eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on meat and dairy products, you’ll start noticing the benefits of a healthy diet in no time!
What’s more, it may reduce your risk of developing certain diseases. Multiple studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop allergies. For example, one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that infants who ate bananas as an infant were significantly less likely to develop a latex allergy. This is because banana contains a protein called chitinous, which protects against inflammation caused by latex proteins. Other research has shown that eating green leafy vegetables can help protect against food allergies.
A key benefit of eating healthily is a healthy heart. A high-cholesterol diet can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can actually help to reduce your cholesterol levels naturally.
Try replacing foods such as butter with healthier options like olive oil and aim for at least five portions of fruit or veg per day to help improve your blood cholesterol. these are high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to help lower triglycerides (another type of fat found in your blood) and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
A healthy diet is great for your heart since it’s generally rich in antioxidants and low in trans fats. Trans fats not only lower good cholesterol but also raise bad cholesterol, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. These days, nutritionists recommend avoiding fried foods and getting most of your fat from fish, nuts, and olive oil.
That said, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes—or are at risk for either—you should speak with your doctor before making any dietary changes. And if you’re concerned about gaining weight on a healthy diet, remember that eating more fruits and vegetables can actually help fill you up without adding too many calories.
Getting moving is more than just burning calories and boosting your heart rate—it’s also one of the easiest ways to help prevent disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or about 30 minutes on most days of the week.
Moderate exercise can also help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase bone strength, maintain healthy body weight, and control blood pressure. Exercise can even lift your mood! walking, gardening, and other low-impact activities are great ways to get moving every day. If you need some extra motivation, consider these health benefits of physical activity
One study that followed more than 1,000 children for 20 years discovered that healthy eating helped protect against depression. The study found that children who consistently ate well-balanced diets were less likely to suffer from depression than those who rarely ate balanced meals. Additionally, participants with healthy diets reported lower levels of daily stress and anxiety and felt better overall.
If you’re looking to reduce stress and boost your mood, consider adopting a healthier diet. Choose whole grains over refined grains, load up on fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar and processed foods as much as possible—and don’t forget about fiber! Studies show that fiber is an important part of mental health; research suggests it can help prevent certain mental disorders like schizophrenia by balancing neurotransmitters in your brain.
Food is fuel for our bodies. Without it, we can’t survive. But some foods and habits promote healthier, more beautiful skin than others. Eating well promotes good circulation, which means your blood is pumping more efficiently around your body—including to your skin! This delivers vital nutrients to cells and helps eliminate waste from your pores.
Combine that with an excellent exfoliation routine, and you’re golden on that front. Also, certain vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables are great for nourishing your skin, so eating them regularly will keep your complexion looking healthy. (We know what you’re thinking: I don’t want wrinkles!) The best thing about healthy eating? It tastes great! So while promoting healthy skin may be one of its perks, being delicious is certainly another reason to try a clean diet.
The old recommendation of eight hours of sleep per night for adults remains true, says sleep medicine specialist Dr. Neil Kline. We now know, however, that there are many subtypes of insomnia and that each requires different treatments and medications to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that middle-aged people get 7 to 9 hours per night; in general, older adults require less sleep than younger ones, as do men compared with women. If you’re not sleeping well, it’s going to affect your health and your work performance, says Dr. Kline. It’s going to make you cranky.
A healthy diet can do wonders for stress reduction. Eating right can help reduce your risk of depression, anxiety, and even certain mental illnesses. That means you’re less likely to turn to comfort food when stressed out about work or something else in your life.
A healthy diet may also provide more energy—which leads to less fatigue—so you can take on everyday tasks with ease. Even if you eat fast food every day, though, there are ways to make healthier choices that can still satisfy your cravings without sabotaging your health.
For example, try ordering an apple pie instead of fries at McDonald’s or asking for a side salad instead of fries at Burger King.