Let’s start by understanding what healthy eating means it indicates a balanced diet with an adequate amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat (read healthy fats), fibre, vitamins and minerals along with drinking enough fluid.
A healthy meal should include:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables & Fruits
- Good fats
- Protein sources like pulses, curd, milk, eggs, meat, fish, etc
- Cut down on the amount of salt and sugar
Well if you expect having just one health drink burn all your fat while you keep binge eating all those fries, burgers, and pizzas, then let’s face the truth… that is not going to happen. We’ve heard about the saying - “We are what we eat”, so if you want to be fit, healthy and strong with a glowing skin start by eating healthy as dietary patterns shape your health profile. And remember, our goal should be to get fit not thinner.
Eating unhealthy food leads to memory, and learning problems which can cause uncontrollable cravings, depression, lessen the ability to control appetite, dementia, etc.
Now you know why eating healthy is so important for your health & wellbeing while you get to rock any outfit you wish. Let’s look at some other benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet:
- Prevents obesity
- Heart Health & Stroke Prevention - Studies have shown that omega-3 has a protective effect against heart diseases, diabetes & other inflammatory conditions. Sources of omega-3: flaxseeds, walnut, chia seeds, fatty fishes (tuna), mustard oil, soybean oil, etc.
However, having a combination of nutritional components in proper amounts can have a far greater effect than the individual components.
- Prevents chronic diseases like cancer - E.g. Research shows that 30-40% of all cancer cases are the result of poor nutrition and the condition of being overweight. Different nutrients protect against different types of cancers. E.g. a positive correlation is seen between the protective effects of folic acid against bowel cancer. Sources of folic acid: green leafy vegetables, liver, yeast, etc.
- Diabetes Mellitus/Type II Diabetes - This is generally related to obesity.
- Ageing Healthily - One of the results of the research was that a healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition, can reduce the chance of dying by 65 percent, and can extend one's life by two years. Vitamin D is important in preventing osteoporotic fractures in old-age. Another study shows the positive effect of a protein-rich diet in combination with power training for muscle mass and muscle strength at an older age.
- The healing function of food - The best treatment for any disease is a combination of medicine and healthy nutrition.
- Protects against infections
- Other Benefits - Higher energy levels, better mood, self-esteem, improved memory, strong bones, improved gut health, sound sleep, etc.
Quick tips to improve your diet habits:
- Have real foods i.e. the ones that are closest to the natural state
- Avoid processed foods
- Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices
- Swap soft drinks with water or other healthy drinks like buttermilk, green tea, honey mint ginger lemonade, etc.
- Swap sugar with jaggery, honey, dates, etc.
Basic idea is to swap the unhealthy part of your meal with a healthy alternative.
So, good luck with getting healthier and fitter because change doesn’t happen overnight but if you give up, it won't ever happen at all !!!
- VELINOVA, I.D.(2011). Encouraging healthy eating behaviours through healthy eating environments. Case of Durham University, Durham theses, Durham University.https://core.ac.uk/reader/108035
- Martin Kropff. (n.d.).Food, Nutrition & Behaviour: Research for healthy eating, healthy living.Wageningen Yield.https://core.ac.uk/reader/29235638
- Greenwood, J. L., Lin, J., Arguello, D., Ball, T., & Shaw, J. M. (2012). Healthy eating vital sign: a new assessment tool for eating behaviors. ISRN obesity, 2012, 734682. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/734682
Written By: Gargi P. Shah