We all know that a healthy balanced diet is key in reducing our risk of problems such as heart disease and diabetes. But what is a healthy diet and how do we know it’s working?
Generally, a healthy diet incorporates lots of fruit veggies along with lean meats and fish and you’ll know it’s working because your body will start acting and looking very different fairly soon after you make the change.
So, whether you’ve decided to eat a more nutritious diet because you want to look good or because you’re thinking about long term health, your body is gonna love you for it. Here’s our list of some of the amazing things that happen when you choose a healthy diet.
While dermatologists tend to agree that great skin can be achieved through a healthy diet, anecdotal evidence in the form of the people around you (i.e. what they eat and the state of their skin) which is the best indicator of what you can expect to see, which we hope is flawless, glowing skin. The best diet for the skin should include a variety of fruits and vegetables in as many different colours as possible.
It’s generally acknowledged that avocado as part of a healthy diet is particularly great for your visage thanks to all of the good fats and phytonutrients but don’t forget all those reds, yellows and leafy greens too. Tomatoes are extremely high in the antioxidant lycopene, which helps fight free radicals and is easily absorbed by the skin when tomatoes are cooked. It’s also easier for your body to absorb lycopene when tomatoes are consumed in combination with some healthy fats, such as avocado or olive oil.
As a rule of thumb, the richer the colour, the more lycopene a tomato contains and this works the same way when it comes to our green and yellow vegetables. Don’t forget to add some arugula or dandelion greens to your healthy diet too because these vegetables fight the free radicals that break down collagen, helping to promote the delicate skin around the eye area.
The right amount of carbohydrates and protein will help repair and build muscle and don’t forget to drink lots of water because good hydration will help flush out those toxins. Diet can have a profound effect on our skin, some research even suggesting that certain food can actually affect, not only the tone and texture but the colour too.
Especially combined with regular physical activity, a healthy diet can really improve body composition and some weight loss will happen fairly quickly once you change your dietary habits.
Don’t do anything drastic like give up all carbs though, just be smart about which and how much you eat. Remember, you’ll need a certain amount of carbohydrate and protein for energy, particularly if you’re going to be exercising too.
Speaking of the dreaded carbohydrate, maintaining steady insulin levels can aid with weight loss as well. For instance, if you consume too many refined carbohydrates, your body won’t be able to keep up with the amount of insulin it needs and so will store the excess carbohydrate as fat. Swapping these types of carbohydrates for complex carbs with sources of vitamins and minerals like fruits, veggies and whole grains plus and healthy proteins like lean meat and fish, will be an integral part of any healthy weight loss goals. Again, this doesn’t mean you need to avoid all carbs just chose those with a low GI that take longer to digest and help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
It may be, if you stick to a healthy diet long term, that you’ll lose a significant amount of weight but are still unhappy with the shape of your body. In this case, there are other options for you to consider. For instance, you might contemplate a cosmetic procedure such as a tummy tuck. The abdominoplasty can help repair stomach muscles and get rid of loose skin which can be a consequence of weight loss.
Your brain needs a lot of nutrients to function and keeps you well and what you put in your body can affect how sharp your mind is. If you look forward to tackling the future with more energy and focus on a healthy diet is going to be key.
Life is busy, with a million things going on around us and lots of distractions on a daily basis; Sometimes the mind can feel a little foggy and unfocused. Certain foods included as part of your healthy diet can help with concentration, mental agility and finding your flow.
Oily fish, for instance, is not only good for the heart but the omega-3 fatty acids are also crucial for brain health. Some studies also suggest that omega-3s may be helpful in the treatment of depression. Lots of research has shown that eating fish regularly can reduce the risk of dementia, stroke, and age-related mental decline. Don’t forget that fresher is better, so, source sustainable, local produce whenever possible.
Adding berries to your diet will not only help satisfy those sweet cravings but thanks to high levels of antioxidants, particularly in blueberries, they can help prevent free radicals from damaging our brain to0. Eating berries regularly as part of a healthy diet is thought not only to reduce the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s but improve cognitive functions as well.
But it’s not all about berries and oily fish, any food high in antioxidants can help support brain function which means you can treat yourself to a little dark chocolate n’ nuts and not feel guilty.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains have high amounts of folate too which is thought to lessen the risk of depression as well as promote healthy hair, nails, eyes, liver and red cell production.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression and associated with heart disease and increased risk of heart attacks. Generally, we get our Vitamin D through fatty fish like salmon and tuna though other foods are fortified with it. Beach lovers will be happy to note that we can get a natural dose of Vitamin D through sensible sun exposure.
Healthy Bones & Teeth
Depending on your age it may not be a priority at the moment but a diet rich in calcium will keep your teeth and bones strong, primarily helping to slow the onset of osteoporosis.
Traditionally people got their calcium through a high dairy diet but there are many healthy alternatives such as dark green vegetable, soy products, fresh fruit juices and cereals.
Vitamin D aids the body in absorbing calcium so it’s really important to incorporate it into your diet and reap the benefits of all that calcium. The statistics on osteoporosis, particularly in women, are pretty confronting so make sure to get some of that precious sun on your face from time to time.
As well as the calcium you’ll be adding to your healthy diet through a range of foods, getting rid of all the unhealthy processed foods that are full of sugar will be great for your teeth. But it’s not only your teeth, your gums will also be in much better shape so expect a great smile to be a side effect of your healthy diet in the not too distant future.
Weigh It Up!
The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends drinking plenty of water and eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins for really good dental health. That advice isn’t so very different from any of the other advice related the benefits that come with eating a healthy diet (and trust us, there are many more that we can’t quite squeeze in here).
You could even conclude that the benefits far outweigh the cost, which in the end is just about changing your eating habits. So, there isn’t really much to think about, other than supermarket versus farmers market and that’s a whole other story!