Benefits of Healthy Eating
Maintaining an overall healthy diet not only offers your body the energy and nutrition that it needs to function, but offers several health benefits as well. Below is a list of those foods that are part of a well-balanced diet, and the health benefits that those foods provide.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables as an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Healthy carbohydrates, especially whole grains, can provide several health benefits. Whole grains are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. They provide many nutrients such as dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals. B vitamins are essential for your metabolism by helping your body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Protein gives us energy and the amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth including cell and tissue maintenance. It is particularly important for children whose bodies are growing and changing. Try different types of protein and focus on the healthier choices such as fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, beans or nuts.
Fats and oils are necessary nutrients for our bodies used for example to metabolize certain vitamins. Some fats are more healthful than others so it is important to know the difference. Avoid saturated fats found mostly in animal foods and are usually solid at room temperature. Deadly trans fats are chemically altered unsaturated fats and are found in many processed foods. The preferred or good fat option is unsaturated fats found mostly in plants and is liquid at room temperature. Another group of good fats are omega 3’s found in foods such as salmon, trout, wheat germ and walnuts.
Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese supply essential vitamins and nutrients that play a pivotal role in maintaining good health. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium keeps bones healthy and strong, helps prevent high blood pressure and may make it easier to lose weight. Calcium also helps your blood to clot and keeps your muscles and nerves working properly.