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Eating healthfully also means avoiding foodswith high amounts of added salt and sugar.
In this video, we look at the top 10 benefitsof a healthful diet, as well as the evidence behind them.
Weight loss! There are many benefits to eating healthfully.
Losing weight can help to reduce the riskof chronic conditions.
If a person is overweight or obese, they havea higher risk of developing several conditions, including:heart disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, poor bone density, some cancers.
Whole vegetables and fruits are lower in caloriesthan most processed foods.
A person looking to lose weight should reducetheir calorie intake to no more than what they require each day.
Maintaining a healthful diet free from processedfoods can help a person to stay within their daily limit without having to count calories.
Fiber is one element of a healthful diet thatis particularly important for managing weight.
Plant-based foods contain plenty of dietaryfiber, which helps to regulate hunger by making people feel fuller for longer.
In 2018, researchers found that a diet richin fiber and lean proteins resulted in weight loss without the need for counting calories.
Reduced cancer risk! An unhealthful diet can lead to obesity, whichmay increase a person's risk of developing cancer.
Weighing within a healthful range may reducethis risk.
Also, in 2014, the American Society of ClinicalOncology reported that obesity contributed to a worse outlook for people with cancer.
However, diets rich in fruits and vegetablesmay help to protect against cancer.
In a separate study from 2014, researchersfound that a diet rich in fruits reduced the risk of cancers of the upper gastrointestinaltract.
They also found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber lowered the risk of colorectal cancer and that a diet rich in fiber reducedthe risk of liver cancer.
Many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes act as antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that can cause cancer.
Some of these antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Trials in humans have been inconclusive, butresults of laboratory and animal studies have linked certain antioxidants to a reduced incidenceof free radical damage associated with cancer.
Diabetes management! Eating a healthful diet can help a personwith diabetes to: lose weight, if required, manage blood glucose levels, keep blood pressure and cholesterol withintarget ranges, prevent or delay complications of diabetes.
It is essential for people with diabetes tolimit their intake of foods with added sugar and salt.
It is also best to avoid fried foods highin saturated and trans fats.
Heart health and stroke prevention! According to figures published in 2017, asmany as 92.
1 million people in the U.
have at least one type of cardiovascular disease.
These conditions primarily involve the heartor blood vessels.
There is some evidence that vitamin E mayprevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks.
The following foods contain high levels ofvitamin E: almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, green vegetables.
The medical community has long recognizedthe link between trans fats and heart-related illnesses, such as coronary heart disease.
If a person eliminates trans fats from thediet, this will reduce their levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
This type of cholesterol causes plaque tocollect within the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Reducing blood pressure can also be essentialfor heart health, and limiting salt intake to 1, 500 milligrams a day can help.
Salt is added to many processed and fast foods, and a person hoping to lower their blood pressure should avoid these.
The health of the next generation! Children learn most health-related behaviorsfrom the adults around them, and parents who model healthful eating and exercise habitstend to pass these on.
Eating at home may also help.
In 2018, researchers found that children whoregularly had meals with their families ate more vegetables and fewer sugary foods thantheir peers who ate at home less frequently.
In addition, children who participate in gardeningand cooking at home may be more likely to make healthful dietary and lifestyle choices.
Strong bones and teeth! Children learn healthful behaviors from theirparents.
A diet with adequate calcium and magnesiumis necessary for strong bones and teeth.
Keeping the bones healthy is vital in preventingosteoporosis and osteoarthritis later in life.
The following foods are rich in calcium:low-fat dairy products, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, canned fish with bones, tofu, legumes.
Also, many cereals and plant-based milks arefortified with calcium.
Magnesium is abundant in many foods, and thebest sources are leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Better mood! Emerging evidence suggests a close relationshipbetween diet and mood.
In 2016, researchers found that a diet witha high glycemic load may cause increased symptoms of depression and fatigue.
A diet with a high glycemic load includesmany refined carbohydrates, such as those found in soft drinks, cakes, white bread, and biscuits.
Vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grainshave a lower glycemic load.
While a healthful diet may improve overallmood, it is essential for people with depression to seek medical care.
Improved memory! A healthful diet may help prevent dementiaand cognitive decline.
A study from 2015 identified nutrients andfoods that protect against these adverse effects.
They found the following to be beneficial:vitamin D, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and polyphenols, fish.
Among other diets, the Mediterranean dietincorporates many of these nutrients.
Improved gut health! The colon is full of naturally occurring bacteria, which play important roles in metabolism and digestion.
Certain strains of bacteria also produce vitaminsK and B, which benefit the colon.
These strains also help to fight harmful bacteriaand viruses.
A diet low in fiber and high in sugar andfat alters the gut microbiome, increasing inflammation in the area.
However, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains provides a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that help goodbacteria to thrive in the colon.
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir, are rich in probiotics.
Fiber is an easily accessible prebiotic, andit is abundant in legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements, which can help to prevent bowel cancer and diverticulitis.
Getting a good night's sleep! A variety of factors, including sleep apnea, can disrupt sleep patterns.
Sleep apnea occurs when the airways are repeatedlyblocked during sleep.
Risk factors include obesity, drinking alcohol, and eating an unhealthful diet.
Reducing the consumption of alcohol and caffeinecan help to ensure restful sleep, whether or not a person has sleep apnea.
Quick tips for a healthful diet! Exchanging soft drinks for herbal teas isa positive change in a person's diet.
There are plenty of small, positive ways toimprove the diet, including: swapping soft drinks for water and herbaltea, eating no meat for at least 1 day a week, ensuring that produce makes up about 50 percent of each meal, swapping cow's milk for plant-based milk, eating whole fruits instead of drinking juices, which contain less fiber and often include added sugar, avoiding processed meats, which are high in salt and may increase the risk of colon cancer, eating more lean protein, which can be found in eggs, tofu, fish, and nuts.
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