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You might be well aware of the saying, ‘you are what you eat.’ That implies that the health of our body depends on what we feed it. That’s the reason why doctors and other healthcare professionals always put a particular emphasis on healthy eating. A proper nutritious diet helps us perform well, whereas our health suffers from a poor diet.
The definition of a healthy diet may be different for everyone. For instance, it may mean shunning carbohydrates such as white bread and sugar in favor of extra cheese, avocado, or eggs for a ketogenic diet follower. While for some, it may mean eliminating sweetmeats such as candies or chocolates at any expense. And others may think that avoiding gluten and dairy products helps maintain a healthy diet.
These back-and-forth dietary viewpoints create a great deal of uncertainty and confusion about healthy eating. Not to mention how such differing opinions may cause people to opt for unreasonably restrictive or unsustainable diets just in the name of a balanced diet.
The truth is, there’s no standard dietary recommendation that everyone must follow. Primarily, a well-balanced diet is often rich in nutrient-dense food, unsaturated fats, and low-fat dairy.
Most people believe that adhering to a healthy diet plan is far too cumbersome. However, it is way too easy than you even realize. Balanced eating offers numerous benefits that will convince you to alter your eating habits. Let’s dive into some of those benefits:
Better gut health
If the idea of bacteria in your gut gives you the creeps, think of them as beneficial bacteria. These bacteria assist in digestion and metabolism processes. Diet replete with legumes, yogurts, fruits, whole grains, and fermented food provides you with the probiotics and prebiotics - bacteria that keep your gut healthy.
Other than this healthy diet, you can take probiotic supplements for the natural balance of your gut microbiota. These probiotic supplements prove beneficial for treating gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. However, it is recommendable to consult a doctor to speak about the correct dosage of these supplements.
A healthy diet coupled with probiotic supplements flushes out the excess water in the gut that causes the belly to expand and thus, lessens the bloating.
Maintain healthy weight
Some, if not many, people have a misconception that fad diets are the quickest technique to lose weight. However, the key to maintaining a healthy weight mainly depends on a varied and healthy diet. A nutritious diet with the perfect distribution of macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrate can help you drop and maintain weight.
Besides, excess body weight and obesity can substantially increase the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart issues, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. Therefore, swap the junk food with fish oil, mushroom, lentils, seeds, and nuts to keep your body mass index (BMI) within the safe range. Also, try to include various spices and herbs in your diet. That’s because these ingredients aid in lowering calorie levels.
And another piece of the puzzle – you should always eat mindfully. Stop eating when you are full and avoid eating quickly for psychological reasons. That way, you can maintain your weight within the healthy range without the need to hop on the fad diet bandwagon.
Improve heart health
According to WHO, the leading cause of death worldwide is cardiovascular disease. Most of these diseases are preventable with a healthy lifestyle, thus, giving all the more reasons to make a well-balanced diet a part of the routine.
Excessive intake of highly processed junk foods can spike up the triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the body. Not only this, but smoking and alcohol can also increase blood pressure. And this, in turn, leads to plaque forming around the arteries. Over the years, the condition may get worse and can cause cardiac arrest, heart blockage, heart diseases, or strokes.
A healthy diet that encompasses vegetables, nuts, and fruits provides monosaturated fats and benefits heart health. Also, eat oily fish such as trout or salmon since these offer greater omega-3 fatty acid levels and mitigate the risk of heart problems.
Good mental health
Individuals who struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety resort to destructive habits. These habits may include using drugs to keep the mind sane, too much smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. Or they make a turn to junk food items routinely whenever they feel low. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that these bad habits and unhealthy obsessions can increase the probability of stroke and dementia.
However, the good news is that your physical health isn’t the only one that gets a boost with a well-balanced diet. The fact is, your mental well-being improves with healthy eating, and thus, this promotes overall health.
A diet full of protein and good fats that contain nutrients - omega-3 acids and iron, maintains the cell membrane’s health and keeps the brain functioning properly. Likewise, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, and chia seeds are good-for-mood food. Therefore, stick to a healthful diet and sign yourself up for fewer mood swings and a happier you.
Keep the sugar levels in check
As per the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 463 million people were living with diabetes back in 2019. And this figure will reach a whopping 700 million by the year 2045.
Although genes play a crucial role in developing type-2 diabetes, other factors may also lead to such a condition. Insulin resistance, unhealthy eating patterns, and obesity are some of them. Therefore, try to control the intake of sugary food items in your diet. You don’t need to cut back on sugar entirely; however, avoid drinking soda, juices and eating ice-creams frequently. Instead, go for brown sugar, oatmeal, dark chocolate, low glycemic index food, and whole-grain bread.
These components of a healthy diet discharge sugar in the blood at a relatively slower rate, thus keeping the blood sugar levels in control. Moreover, people at an increased risk of developing diabetes should include unprocessed animal food and fibrous plant to lessen the sugar levels in the blood.
A healthy and balanced diet doesn’t have to be an all-of-it or none proposition. It isn’t necessary to overhaul your diet completely, nor do you need to exclude the food items from your diet that you enjoy eating. Since such habits eventually lead to cheating or abandoning the idea of switching to a healthy diet. A better approach is to take small and manageable steps, such as eating salad only once a day or lowering the intake of highly processed foods. And as you continue to make wise, healthy choices, you will be well on your way to accomplishing more in the long run.
Remember, our body’s motive is to keep us healthy and alive. And we can do so by providing our body with vital nutrients. Therefore, fill your platter with fresh fruits, green vegetables, seeds, lean meats, and whole grains to reap positive results.