"When you truly understand that your food choices are powerful and life affirming, you can exercise control and restraint without deprevation." -Marlene Adelmann
Adopting a healthy diet and eating well is easier said than done for many people. According to a recent study conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, 1 in 5 deaths is related to a poor diet.
This global study found that people are living longer but they are indulging in a diet that is detrimental for good health. Eating a diet that is high in salts and sugars but low in grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins is the key to a premature death.
The benefits of a healthy diet are numerous. Not only will you live longer, prevent deadly diseases and have a higher quality of life but you will also experience the positive effects of healthier eyes, hair, skin and a more productive digestive system.
If that won't convince you to adopt healthy eating habits, I don't know what will!
Many are reluctant to embrace a healthy lifestyle because they feel they will have to abandon their delicious guilty pleasures such as crisps, milk chocolate, greasy hamburgers and chips, fried chicken etc. This may be true but there are also numerous food items equally delicious and a lot more beneficial to your overall health.
Saying goodbye to wagon wheels and sausage rolls from Gregg's and saying hello to an overall healthier life will be easier than you ever thought!
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Benefits of a Healthy Diet for the Eyes
All across the UK, there are many who suffer from seeing impairments. Adopting a healthy diet at a young age with the correct vitamins, minerals and nutrients can prevent you from seeing double in your later years!
To improve eyesight and chase away eye-related conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration, look for foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E. Beta-carotene, that turns into vitamin A when inside your body, is also great to consume.
Alright, so now you might be asking, in what foods do I find these brilliant minerals and vitamins?
Here is a list of foods to consume to improve overall health:
- Leafy Greens: kale, collard greens and spinach are full of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that prevent eye deterioration such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Salmon: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that humans do not get enough of in their regular diets but contribute to overall eye health.
- Eggs: with nutrients like vitamin A, eggs protect against night blindness and dry eyes contributing to healthier eyes.
- Legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils are not only great vegetarian options but they also protect the retina and lower the risk of potential eye diseases.
- Citrus Fruits: oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are great sources of Vitamin C reducing the chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
A well-balanced diet of healthy foods can combat potential eye issues. Ingesting the correct vitamins whether through food or dietary supplements (capsules, pills or liquids) is surprisingly easier than you think.
- Grilled Halibut Nicoise Salad,
- Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Portobellos,
- Real Man Quiche.
These recipes are extremely easy to reproduce and have what you need to keep your eyes in perfect health!
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Benefits of a Healthy Eating for the Hair
Men and women alike are proven to be more confident if they have healthy, strong, luscious and glowing hair.
If you want a shinier mane, a healthy diet is key.
Not many people know that the condition of your hair is a sign of your internal health.
There are certain foods with essential nutrients that will cause your hair to shine like a star. Here are some of the best aliments to include in your healthy diet:
- Whole Grains: rich in biotin, iron and zinc. Biotin is an ingredient you may have seen advertised on one of your shampoo bottles. This is because it produces amino acids and enables cell proliferation both essential for stronger hair.
- Greek Yoghurt: delicious and can be eaten at any time of day, a great source of vitamin B5 or also known as pantothenic acid which helps blood flow to the scalp, crucial for hair growth. So that's why the Greeks have always had enviable mops!
- Almond Butter: as delicious as it is effective. This smooth spread is a great source of healthy fats, proteins and essential vitamins like vitamin E. A recent 8-month trial revealed that those who supplemented regularly with vitamin E saw an increase in hair growth by 42%!
- Cinnamon: provides oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.
- Carrots: a glass of carrot juice every day will you keep bad hair at bay! Carrots have high levels of vitamin A, essential for the growth of all cells especially hair ones.
Premature hair loss and brittle hair can leave ones feeling self-conscious about their looks. Some studies have proven that loss of hair and unhealthy locks are the signs of a poor diet.
Nutritional meals and snacks can create stronger hair follicles and prevent hair loss. Eat the aforementioned food in order to have healthy and enviable locks!
The Effects of a Healthy Diet for the Skin
Healthy, youthful and glowing skin is one everyone's wish list. Many are concerned about the appearance and health of their skin since the epidermis is the largest organ making it the easiest to notice.
A dry, wrinkly and acne filled skin is often the result of a poor diet and stress.
A healthy diet with the correct nutrients can turn back the clock and give you a desirable complexion. Taking care of your skin during your youth will pay off in the future when you will have fewer wrinkles.
Here are a few well-chosen, quality foods that will result in healthier and younger looking skin:
- Broccoli: the florets contain a composite called sulforaphane that has cancer-fighting properties even able to battle against skin cancer!
- Tomatoes: contain high levels of carotenoids (yellow, orange or red pigments from plants) which are brilliant for maintaining healthy and youthful skin. They need to be absorbed with healthy fats so why not make a delicious bruschetta?
- Dark Chocolate: the effects of cocoa on the skin are extremely impressive! When consuming high-quality cocoa powder, on a regular basis, the skin becomes less scaly, dry and rough which contributes to better blood flow and absorption of nutrients that are necessary for healthier skin. However, we're not talking about any kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa level is what you need.
- Sweet Potatoes: contain high levels of beta-carotene which converts into vitamin A in the body. This is great because it acts as a natural sunblock protecting skin cells from the sun's harmful UV rays. Skin cells die when they are exposed to too much sun and the threat of wrinkles heighten.
- Red Bell Peppers: recently discovered as being one the highest sources of vitamin C, which is essential for maintaining high levels of collagen in old-age. Eating as much bell peppers as you can, results in less dry skin and wrinkles.
All of the above foods are delicious, simple to combine in new recipes, and easy to find in any supermarket near you.
Because adolescence is a vulnerable stage all teenagers want a pimple free skin. Therefore, in order to avoid acne, young adults need to avoid greasy foods that clog pores. Eating healthy as a teenager is not always easy but if the right foods are consumed, a clearer skin will be the end result!
Benefits of a Good Diet for the Digestive System
Tummy issues are all too common in the world today. When suffering from digestive issues, gastronomy becomes a negative experience because one finds himself watching what to eat in order not to wake up with stomach pain in the early hours of the morning.
Problems in the digestive system stem from a poor diet, therefore eating well and adopting a healthy diet can reverse these issues.
One thing is certain, good digestion improves your health and overall well-being.
It is very important to find foods that are a great source of fibre. Luckily, there are many savoury options to choose from such as:
- Beetroots: great source of fibre, magnesium and potassium all important for restoring a healthy digestive system. Best consumed raw in a salad than cooked.
- Blueberries: a superfood that is as delicious as it beneficial. High levels of fibre and vitamin C make this little berry beneficial to the digestive system.
- Dried Prunes: rich in soluble and insoluble fibre and they act as a natural laxative making you go very quickly if you are having constipation issues.
- Cucumbers: a fantastic source of fibre and very watery both advantageous for softening the stool leading to smooth bowel movements. Fresh and readily available in most areas. A cucumber water with lemon and mint is refreshing and healthful.
Just as there are helpful foods for a good digestive system and healthy diet, there are also foods to avoid that can make going to the bathroom long and painful.
If you are dealing with a sensitive stomach due to recent digestive issues do not consume spicy, processed or fried foods. Also, try to stay away from caffeine and dairy, both equally as detrimental to healthy digestion.
Drinking plenty of water, approximately 2 litres per day, is highly recommended to help your digestive system. During, before or after meals there really is no inappropriate time. Liquids aid your body to break down foods and prevent constipation.
Healthy Diets Can Prevent Diseases
It is positive to note that men and women in the UK are enjoying longer lifespans, however, these extra few years are spent suffering from many health problems and diseases caused by poor diets and eating habits.
Many life-altering diseases and serious conditions can be treated and prevented by a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Eating well can prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
A regular intake of these certain foods filled with powerful nutrients, minerals and vitamins can avoid the spread of harmful diseases in your precious body:
- Pumpkins: beautiful, orange and filled with beta-carotene which greatly reduces the risks of lung cancer.
- Apples: the highest source of pectin available in a fruit. Pectin is a soluble fibre that has many health benefits that include reducing the risk of colon and breast cancer.
- Papayas: even a small portion of papaya exceeds the required daily amount of vitamin C. Filled with other powerful antioxidants that prevent potential heart disease.
- Quinoa: known as the "mother of all grains" by the Incas and for good reason. Quinoa is a complete protein and great source of dietary fibre which can fight against blood pressure and heart attack.
- Green Tea: many research studies have shown that inflammation from fatty foods can be reduced through regular green tea drinking. This is because green tea is filled with flavonoids that fight against inflammation. This should be taken highly into consideration by those at risk of diabetes because high-inflammation prevents the body from absorbing blood sugar.
- Legumes: chickpeas, lentils and other beans are rich in fibre and slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream which prevents sugar spikes and irregularities.
There are many things that can be done to attain a healthy lifestyle but the most important is adopting a healthy diet. As now seen, a healthy diet is not that difficult to achieve and has a plethora of benefits. Choosing to implement certain foods in your daily diet can result in a healthier body and a happier life!