• Coach Toya

5 reasons why eating healthy is important and how you can get started today

You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of healthy eating but you just don't have time to stick to a healthy diet. As a result, you have the takeaway on speed dial and your freezer is filled with microwave meals.

What you may not realize is that by eating this way, you are depriving your body of many essential nutrients and missing out on a number of important health benefits. In this article we'll explore the value of healthy eating, and discuss some of the main benefits it can have on your body

1. Eating Healthy Gives You Energy

One of the main reasons to eat healthy is because it gives you energy. Healthy foods contain complex carbohydrates that digest slowly in the body releasing a steady stream of energy. This allows you to have more consistent energy levels which last for the full day when you eat healthy.

In contrast, unhealthy foods generally contain high levels of rapidly digesting carbohydrates. These get digested very quickly and the energy they provide is released into your blood stream at a much faster, less stable rate. As a result, your energy levels generally peak and then crash when you eat unhealthy foods (hello mid-afternoon slump!).

2. Eating Healthy Ensures That Your Body Works Properly

Healthy foods are packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to operate at peak performance. These nutrients support almost every bodily function you can think of! For example, vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, chloride helps keep the fluid levels within your body balanced, and potassium helps keep your blood pressure under control.

Eating unhealthy foods deprives your body of these nutrients and prevents it from functioning properly. For example, a vitamin A deficiency can cause eye dryness, corneal damage, and lead to blindness if left untreated. Not getting enough sulphur can prevent your nerves from functioning properly.

3. Eating Healthy helps prevent Chronic Disease

Eating a good diet is an excellent preventative against chronic disease. Eating a healthy diet is associated with a decreased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. A healthy diet can also help individuals with a chronic illness manage symptoms and prevent complications.

Consuming unhealthy foods has the opposite effect and can increase your risk of developing a chronic illness. For example, according to this article from Medical News Today one third of all cancers are linked to poor dietary choices.

4. Eating Healthy Reduces Your Chance Of Illness

Another key benefit of following a healthy diet is that the wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in these foods help keep your immune system strong. Your immune system is what keeps you safe from disease, infection and foreign bodies. If you have a strong immune system, then your chances of getting sick are much lower.

However, following a limited, unhealthy diet means that your body does not get all of these immune system boosting nutrients. As a result, your immune system becomes weak and your body becomes much less effective at fighting disease, infection and foreign bodies. This leaves you much more open to illness.

5. Healthy Eating Improves Your Physical Performance

Eating the right foods doesn’t just benefit you internally - it also greatly improves your physical performance. For example, the protein in healthy foods ensures that your muscles have the fuel they need to repair themselves after exercise and grow back stronger. The vitamins and minerals in healthy food keep your blood healthy and ensure that it can quickly transport oxygen to where it is needed when you exert yourself.

Following a poor diet has the opposite effect and can actually hinder your performance during exercise. For example, eating poor quality, rapidly digesting carbohydrates (think donuts and white breads) will not give you the steady release of energy that is required to complete a grueling workout. Failing to get enough protein will prevent your muscles from fully recovering after a workout.

Wrapping It Up

There are many reasons to eat healthy. The reasons listed in this article are really just scraping the surface. The bottom line is that eating healthy is one of the best things you can do for your body. So if you are currently living off fast food, microwave meals and pizza then you should really consider making a few changes to your diet.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Grabbing a piece of fruit instead of a bar of chocolate, drinking a glass of water instead of a glass of soda or cooking up some chicken and vegetables instead of having a microwave meal are all quick and easy ways to eat more healthy. Making smart choices such as these will do you a lot of good in the long run and help you live a much fuller, happier and healthier life.