As we head into the new year, we’re all very aware of new beginnings. Many people take this time of year as an opportunity for a fresh start, sometimes quite literally in terms of healthier eating with food that’s better for their bodies. While we all know that certain foods are better for us than others, do you really understand the impact a healthy diet can have compared to unhealthy foods?
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” – Bethenny Frankel
The importance of good nutrition
The key word to good health and diet is balance. Ensuring that what you consume is good for you will have huge advantages in the long run, in terms of your body weight, energy levels, how your body deals in certain situations and more. Here are 3 advantages of eating healthily:
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates
1. Managing a healthy body weight
A nourishing diet filled with a range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein in good measure will ensure that you manage your body weight. Incorporating exercise into this will mean that your body is working at its optimum levels to keep you fit and healthy.
2. It’s cheaper to be healthier
Have you ever noticed that prices of junk, convenience and pre-packaged food are much higher than fresh foods? There are, of course, occasions where convenience foods might be necessary in your lifestyle, but generally these are not only more expensive, they also contain a higher level of preservatives such as salt which can have a negative impact on your body when eaten more often.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
In addition, the conditions that more unhealthy diet choices might result in cause more medical expenses in the long run, whether that’s for you personally or for the country you live in. The rule of thumb is generally that prevention shouldn’t be the second option but the first choice, so take the first step by eating healthily where you can.
3. Maintaining a healthy gut and better immune system
Many people don’t realise that a large part of our natural barrier against diseases and health conditions begins in our gut. Keeping a balance of good bacteria is key to building a good immune system and having good digestion. A balanced diet is the first step in this, meaning that with the right levels of all the essential vitamins and minerals you need in addition to prebiotics, your body can be at its best to avoid many common viruses and health conditions.
What impact does an unhealthy diet have?
In general, a diet which is high in foods that are unhealthy will cause you to feel generally lethargic, fatigued and unwell at a low level. It may not cause specific symptoms that you can pinpoint, but your energy levels will be lower, meaning that your health slowly spirals – you might end up exercising less, eating more junk food or feeling far more stressed, all of which acts as a vicious circle that it’s hard to escape.
More specifically, an unhealthy diet might cause you to experience the following conditions:
We all know that eating solely junk food or not properly controlling our portions of foods can result in an increased body weight, but it’s not easy, particularly when unhealthy foods often taste so good. It might help to understand some of the science behind this – such as why fat, sugar and salt may not be so appealing alone, but taste fantastic when in combination with one another – to help you break the habit, or simply understanding the range of health conditions and unpleasant that go hand in hand with obesity such as coronary heart disease, certain types of cancer, an increased level of stroke, type 2 diabetes and more. Here are some tips from us on how to have a healthier relationship with sugar if this is your area of weakness.
Not only does eating a diet high in unhealthy foods increase your risk of unpleasant physical symptoms on your body, it can also cause increased stress and anxiety. The addition of caffeine in your diet is one big culprit for this – many use it to stimulate their central nervous system to boost their energy in the short term, but in the long run, it can be addictive and can stimulate nervous symptoms including panic attacks and increased heart rate.
Other health issues
An “unhealthy” diet may be something quite specific to your body. For example, where we know that high levels of salt and sugar are bad for anyone, you specifically may have a sensitivity or intolerance to a certain food type. Ignoring the signals your body is giving you around these foods, common ones include dairy products and gluten, can result in anything from bloating and abdominal discomfort to more serious effects like anaphylaxis in the case of a severe allergic reaction. Keeping an eye on how your body reacts to certain foods can help you avoid any issues with techniques like food diaries, but a DNA nutrition test like NutriQlu can give you an insight into your personal sensitivities.
There is some discipline involved in maintaining a good diet that keeps your body working at its best, but in general, eating healthy foods doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice everything you love. Check out some of our healthy snack ideas that are not only tasty and filling, but will also help you avoid the impact of an unhealthy diet. And always bear in mind that a balanced diet for you might mean incorporating some of these “unhealthy” foods every so often, even if that’s only for your mental health – after all, what’s life without enjoying your food?
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