In addition to sleep and physical activity, a balanced diet is one of the key elements of health and well-being. Healthy eating not only makes you feel good but also has a variety of physical health benefits. Since food fuels bodily processes, it makes sense that good food encourages optimal overall function. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, for maximum health benefits.
Healthy eating prevents a variety of chronic diseases. Emerging research and laboratory studies have shown that a balanced diet may even reduce the chances of developing cancer. Eating a balanced diet with an emphasis on plant sources for optimal cancer prevention benefits. Likewise, plant sources for optimal cancer prevention benefits. Likewise, the diet plays an important role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes and obesity are other chronic diseases that may be prevented with the aid of a healthy diet. Eating well also boosts the immune system and fortifies the body against other types of communicable diseases.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, may result in heart failure and premature death. A diet high in whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts but that limits red meat, fats, sweets and sugary drinks reduces the risk of developing hypertension. Salt and sodium intake is also a primary contributing factor in heart disease. Many processed and prepared foods have high sodium levels; avoid these products if you have any heart problems. For optimal results, combine a heart-healthy diet with regular aerobic exercise, which helps keep blood flowing and the heart pumping.
A healthy diet provides adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients, which are essential for growth, energy and proper development. When vitamin levels are inadequate, serious health problems can result. Vitamin A deficiency, for example, can cause blindness in children and is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Vitamin deficiency anemia is caused by insufficient vitamin C, folate and vitamin B12 levels, leading to extreme fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, weight loss and other undesirable symptoms. If you think you might have a vitamin deficiency, see your doctor for some dietary suggestions, and consider taking a daily multivitamin.