Keeping ourselves healthy is about more than doing just one thing – we have to exercise, get plenty of sleep, keep our stress to a minimum, and eat a healthy diet…just to name a few. Easy, right?
Now that the holidays have ended, resolution making has kicked into overdrive. With that in mind – and knowing how many people are making vows to “eat healthier in the new year” – we decided that NOW would be a great time to review all the benefits of that come with following a proper and balanced diet.
Maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet is something that can help keep you both physically and mentally well. This means eating a balanced diet that consists of lean proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 45 to 65 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, with protein comprising 10 to 35 percent, and 20 to 35 percent being derived from fats. However, these ratios may change due to your body type and other dietary restrictions.
So, how, exactly does a healthy diet benefit a body? Well, let’s start with your heart. A diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium is one that can help to lower your risk of heart disease. But, it’s important to note that the type of fat you’re eating is also important – for instance, trans fats and saturated fats, which are found in fried foods, snack foods, margarine, and red meats (to name a few) should be limited as they can actually increase your risk of heart disease when not eaten in moderation. Foods that can help reduce your risk of heart disease are fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
Maintaining a proper diet is also a great way to increase blood flow to your brain! Increased blood flow leads to healthy, protected brain cells and is also thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s prevention, as well. And, while fried foods may be tasty, they’re not good for your brain – steamed, grilled, and baked foods are all much better choices. Dark fruits and vegetables – like kale, broccoli, blueberries, spinach, raspberries, and cherries are all great “brain health” foods. Nuts are other good choices as they’re rich in vitamin E which, when combined with other vitamins, can help to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
What about energy? Honestly, switching up your diet to be more healthy and balanced is a great way to feel more energized – and the effects of such a switch are seen pretty darn quickly, too! This would involve cutting out excess sugars and fats, as well as refined carbohydrates as these can all lead to lots of highs and lows in our blood sugar levels. By switching to whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, our blood sugar will remain much more consistent, which REALLY helps with energy levels (no more mid-afternoon slumps for you!). Keeping our blood sugar nice and steady also involves remembering to eat breakfast!
When it comes to healthy bones (and teeth), calcium is key. That’s why dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are all great dietary choices, as are dark green vegetables (think broccoli and bok choy). Many other foods – such as juices and cereals – are fortified with calcium as well. Vitamin D is also important, as it helps your body absorb calcium; many foods are fortified with vitamin D as well and, when combined with getting adequate exposure to sunlight, can help our bodies put that calcium to work!
And, of course, we can’t talk about eating a healthy diet without talking about the effect it can have in helping us to maintain a healthy weight – or even lose weight, if that’s the end goal. By consuming foods that are nutrient-dense (vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains) and foregoing fried foods, processed foods, sugary treats and sodas, pounds can be shed and help stop (or reverse) diseases like type-2 diabetes and thyroid disorders.
As you can see, following a healthy, balanced diet benefits your body and mind in so many ways. If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition – or are wanting help revamping your diet – give us a call! The providers here at Fletcher Chiropractic are committed to helping our patients achieve total health – from head to toe!
source: cdc.gov; mayoclinic.org; sfgate.com