Your food choices each day have an impact on your health. How you feel today and how you would feel tomorrow all depends on your food consumption. Your health condition is determined by what you eat. Malnutrition follows when an individual does not get the right nutrients or calories necessary for optimum health.
A balanced diet or good nutrition means getting the right types and quantities of foods and drinks to supply energy and nutrition for maintaining tissues, body cells and organs. It is also important for supporting the development of our body and for optimal growth.
Good nutrition is an essential element of leading a healthy lifestyle. Together with physical activity, your diet can help you to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, reduce the possibility of chronic or other diseases and most importantly, better your overall health.
In United States, unhealthy eating habits are the major cause of the obesity epidemic. 33.8% of U.S. adults are obese and about 17% of children and youngsters aged 2 to 19 are obese. Even for people with a healthy weight, a poor diet is linked with major health threats that can be a reason to cause illness and in some cases death. Hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer are some of the major health risks. By making healthy food choices, you can help guard yourself from these and other health problems.
Recent studies have shown an increase of adult chronic diseases in younger ages. This is usually due to increased weight and unhealthy eating habits. Nutritional habits established in childhood often transfer to adulthood. Therefore, familiarizing children with good nutrition at an early age will help them stay healthy all through their life and the advantages will be greater and long lasting.
Unfortunately, nowadays thousands of people around the globe are not able to understand the right nutrition for them. Although there is abundance of healthy food available everywhere, in some way the association between good nutrition and health has been absent. Partly, this is due to lack of information about how to eat and what to eat?
How to get the right nutrition?
In order to get the right nutrition, you need to follow a balanced diet which has the following 3 main principles:
1. Diversity, moderation and balance: Variety or diversity means eating a variety of foods in and from the 5 basic food groups. Which are:
I. Fruit group
II. Dairy group
III. High fiber group
IV. Vegetable group
V. High protein group
Moderation means eating not too much or not too little foods and nutrients.
Knowing the right balance is as essential as following a diet centered on moderation and variety.
2. Follow the 7 basic nutritional guidelines: The following dietary guidelines explain the basic fundamentals of variety, moderation and balance:
I. Use minimal quantity of table salt
II. Follow diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grain products
III. Drink alcohol in moderation
IV. Use minimal amount of table sugar
V. Have variety of foods
VI. Pick a diet low in cholesterol and fats
VII. Sustain a healthy weight
3. Eat from the 5 basic food groups: Eating from the above mentioned food groups is essential if you want to get the right nutrition.
Similar to a finely-tuned car, your body is in need of the right fuel (food) and proper maintenance (exercise, mental and lifestyle attitude) to reach its true health potential. Nothing is more vital than good nutrition.
Impact of good nutrition on mental health: The chemicals in your brain and the food you eat interact to keep you going all through the day. It is important and beneficial to eat a variety of healthy foods because they have different effects on our brains. For instance, carbohydrates increase serotonin which is a brain chemical that has a soothing effect.
According to an article issued in American Psychologist in 2011, reducing extra calories may provide protection against obesity-related neurodegenerative processes and reduced brain function and volume.
Lack of a variety of healthy foods or poor nutrition can lead to depression by restricting the availability of certain nutrients.
Impact of good nutrition on social health: As unbelievable as it seems, good nutrition has a major impact on your social health as well.
Eating healthy food can lead to increased energy, improved mental health and weight loss. Feeling and looking good certainly impacts your self-confidence. Increase in self-esteem can make you more secured socially, strengthening your desire to develop romantic connections and new friendships.
Intake of good nutrition drops your risk for diet-related illnesses, stops weight gain and provides you the energy to have a complete and rewarding social life.
Impact of good nutrition on physical health: Endurance, coordination, strength, agility and level of performance are all driven by the food items you eat. What you eat determines how you handle your everyday physical activities, containing housework, your job, homework, caring for your family, shopping and exercise.
A diet enriched with fried foods soaked in unhealthy fats increases the risk for diseases that harm your physical well-being and threaten your life.
A good diet provides your body’s cells with the nutrients they require to perform their functions properly. Without good nutrition, metabolic processes slow down radically and your physical health declines.
Your mental, social and physical health is linked to your diet and to each other. Making an effort on your mental, social and physical health while you are improving your diet supports your efforts in each area, directing to an improved sense of well-being.
Impact of good nutrition on oral health: Poor intake of food can damage your tooth enamel and promote the growth of bacteria which in turn contributes to problems like tooth sensitivity and cavities. Consumption of a variety of nutritious food is good for your complete health, including your oral health. Calcium and vitamin C have shown benefits to building healthy teeth. So make sure to include food high in these nutrients in your diet. Milk, yogurt and cheese are the best sources of calcium.
A healthy diet with good nutrition may help your body to heal damaged bones and gums more quickly. Moreover, it can also help to fight infection but it would not fix existing problems like periodontal disease. That is why good dental care and oral hygiene are equally important.
Impact of good nutrition on intellectual health: Hunger has a negative impact on a child’s academic performance according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Missing out on healthy breakfast can direct to poor functioning at school.
When you lack good and adequate nutrition, you may not be able to learn new information. You may feel distracted or restless or get a headache, all of which can damage intellectual performance.
Having good nutrition and adopting healthy eating habits can make a major difference in helping you achieve a productive and healthy life.
The impact of good nutrition on your overall health and body are apparently endless. As the famous saying goes “you are what you eat”. Diets rich in processed foods, sugar and sodium promote obesity and disease. On the other hand, good diet high in nutrient dense foods supports energy, clear mental function and protection against disease.
Just hearing about the benefits and impact of good nutrition on overall health encourages some people to modify their eating habits and lifestyles. For others, following a healthy diet or good nutrition may be difficult as healthy food options are not easily available or accessible in their particular communities. Actually, scientific researchers have found that under developed and low-income communities usually have restricted access to stores that sell good quality and healthy food items.
Health, wellness and good nutrition are intricately inter-connected. Poor nutrition is likely to negatively influence on your well-being and overall health. Slowly, but unluckily, our eating habits have taken a turn in a significant way from their natural and usual pattern. With the days, several hazardous agents come into our body through our diet.
Modern food industry uses numerous artificial colorants, preservatives, chemicals and additives with the aim of enhancing the flavor, shelf-life and appearance of food we eat. But these compounds eventually wind up accumulating in our body, only to show their harmful effects in the form of cancers, diseases and genetic deformities in the newborns soon.
It is, thus, imperative to each one of us to understand the nutritional necessities of our body.
Benefits of good nutrition: Some of the major benefits of good nutrition are as under:
- Maintains weight
- Combats diseases
- Provides the body with the needed nutrients
- Strengthens up the immune system
- Improves mood
The connection between good nutrition and reduced disease risk, healthy weight and overall health is too vital to overlook. By adopting healthy eating habits, your body will get the required nutrients to stay active, strong and above all, healthy. As with physical activity, making slight changes in your diet can go far away and it is simpler than you think.