Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. There are a lot of different food philosophies out there and hundreds of different diets, at the end of the day, we need to eat to survive and if you don’t put the right things into your body, eventually your body will cease to function properly.
Why we need to eat healthily
If we eat healthily it provides the necessary nutrients that your body needs to create new cells, clean toxins, and to just function every day! If we can do that we will all feel happier because the body will have the correct balance of nutrients to boost our mood and combat depression. We will have better brain function giving us better cognitive abilities, making it easier to perform any tasks, remember things, solve problems and pay attention generally. A good diet keeps us strong, not just physically but also mentally.
Food is fuel, so we need to eat enough food to give us the energy for our bodies to function every day. Not only to move our muscles but to keep our hearts beating, digestion working, lungs breathing and our brains co-ordinating. Certain foods are also good at reducing inflammation, so if you’ve got aches and pains or swollen joints, diet could be a good place to start to alleviate them. The risk of osteoperosis is also reduced with a healthy diet as preventative nutrients are more readily available.
Your body regenerates while you sleep, so a healthy diet not only helps you fall asleep, but the right amount of sleep also keeps you happy, your brain sharp, immune system strong and gives you more youthful skin. Good sleep also helps to lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
A good diet can reduce the risk of cancer – eating a lot of processed food, red meat & salt can lead to increased risk of cancer because some of the ingredients added to these foods increase the risk of cancers, whereas, increasing fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet helps prevent cancers through the increase of nutrients with anti-cancer properties and fibre to keep everything moving along.
Diet plays huge part in stress and immune regulation as certain foods help to produce serotonin and dopamine – the feel good hormones, whilst inhibiting cortisol and adrenalin – hormones which induce stress. If you find you’re prone to colds and illness, it’s your bodies way of saying there’s it’s lacking or has an imbalance somewhere.
How to decide if you have a healthy diet – a good way to start is to keep a diary of all the things you have eaten over a week. You could also lay your shopping out before putting it away and take a picture of it. Take a good look at what you have actually bought and separate all the manufactured things to one side – that’s all the packets, bottles & tins and see how that looks. You are looking for a high proportion of fresh ingredients and a low proportion of processed food.
When it comes to the quantities of carbohydrate, protein & fat in the diet, approximately ¾ of what you eat should be carbohydrates with ¼ divided into meat, dairy and a small amount of fat.
Coming up next …. What are Carbs, Protiens & Fats and How Do They Work Within My Body