Most of us probably know that the benefits of a healthy diet are many – among them being a fitter and more attractive body. But did you know that the a healthy diet can offer more than just an outwardly attractive body; that it can help you live longer, be more mentally agile and help you steer clear of disease?
Before we weight in with the many benefits of a healthy diet, we should be clear about what exactly constitutes a healthy diet –
1. A healthy diet is not a fad diet that you observe for a while; which you abandon later on. A healthy diet is one that you should embrace for life.
2. A healthy diet is not that which is very low in calories or which cuts out entire food groups – a healthy diet includes fats and sugars as well, but in lower proportions, and in healthy forms.
Sugar is better when it comes from fruit than the sugar bowl for instance.
3. In order to get the benefits of a healthy diet, the diet should be balanced, varied and as little processed or refined as possible, with as few additives as possible.
Include a wide variety of fresh fruit and veg, seasonal and local produce as far as possible, brightly colored and packed with natural nutrition.
Now let us look at all the benefits of a healthy diet, some of which you may not have known about –
1. Fewer chronic diseases – Literally hundreds of studies have shown us that a healthy diet reduces risk of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure and has a very positive impact on overall health.
2. Fitter brain – There is a lot of evidence to show that when adequate nutrition reaches the brain, it remains more agile for longer and may keep cognitive decline at bay.
3. Lower Cancer risk – The modern diet that is lamentably high in fat, salt and sugar and which also undergoes much processing and refining thereby robbing the food of much of its nutritional value is known to raise cancer risk. A significantly lower cancer risk is one of the important benefits of a healthy diet.
4. More energy – Whereas simple (unhealthy) sugars will give you an immediate energy spike followed by a dip in energy, complex (healthy sugars) will give you sustained energy over a longer period.
5. Stronger bones – Too much salt in the diet is known to leach the calcium from the bones, and a healthier diet with balanced constituents means stronger bones less prone to breakage.
6. Better eyesight – When mother said eat your carrots, she had good reason. Nutritious food can keep deterioration of eyesight at bay.
7. Better skin – This benefit of a healthy diet should appeal to your vanity – better and younger looking skin, with greater elasticity.
8. Better body image and greater self confidence – The outer manifestations of a balanced diet can be better body image and higher self esteem because a person can feel fitter, better about themselves and more attractive – some not inconsiderable benefits of a healthy diet; wouldn’t you say?