What you eat has a profound effect on your overall wellness. Eating well is arguably the single most important thing you can do for your body and long-term health: It contributes to whether you are at a healthy weight, your likelihood of developing disease, your mental health, your self-confidence and your ability to have a family.
Keeping a Healthy Weight
Diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Keeping a healthy weight means that you are less likely to experience complications such as high blood pressure and irregular blood sugar, and you are at lower risk for diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related illnesses. You are also likely to have a higher quality of life and greater self-confidence when you are at a healthy weight.
What you eat has a direct correlation with your likelihood of developing diseases. An unhealthy diet — one that is high in salt, sugar, trans fats, saturated fats, additives and preservatives — can lead to a variety of serious illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these can include heart disease, stroke, a range of cancers, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Maintaining a Healthy Mind
According to a review published in the “Proceedings of the Nutrition Society” in February 2001, what you eat can also determine your state of mind. A diet high in refined carbs and fat impairs cognition, according to an animal study published in “Plos One” in November 2013. However, a diet high in antioxidant vitamins, folate, vitamin B-12 and polyunsaturated fats can improve cognitive function, according to the 2001 “Proceedings of the Nutrition Society” review.
What a Healthy Diet Looks Like
Clearly, eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods can have significant protective effects on your long-term health. Include two to three servings of protein per day, such as lean meats or eggs, along with a couple of servings of healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil and nuts. Have small servings of carbohydrates — fruits, vegetables and whole grains — along with small servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy — natural yogurt, milk and cottage cheese. Include a few cups’ worth of colorful fruits and vegetables and at least 8 ounces of water each day.