What are the benefits of eating healthily?
We all know that the advice is to eat a well-balanced diet, but why is that? To be able to do something that may not come naturally, or easily, to people, I think it is important to understand the reasoning behind it. Healthy eating is not purely based on what we eat, it is instead about how we feel overall, how much energy we have, boosting our mood, and improving our health.
There is so much information in existence about healthy eating that it can be overwhelming to understand exactly what is recommended. The above is important to understand because it can therefore be different for every person, but the end goal is the same. The main element of a healthy diet, for example, is the amount of calories people consume each day, but this can vary from one individual to another, based on a variety of factors.
Calories are the measured units of the amount of energy a food or drink item contains. The factors that can influence how many calories a person needs to consume per day are to do with how old they are, their current weight, and how much physical activity they take part in, among others. However, the base guide for how many calories are needed to be consumed per day is around 2500kcals for the average man, and around 2000kcals for the average woman. This should allow for a healthy body weight to be maintained. However, when people consume more calories than the body uses up, the body stores the excess as body fat, and this is how weight is put on.
Due to calorie consumption only being one factor of keeping to a healthy weight, it is important to also look at how active people are, and the calorie consumption can therefore be altered if it needs to be due to the amount of energy that is used. However, calorie consumption is often focused on when it comes to healthy eating, weight management, and how well we look after ourselves, but it is not the only element that should be focused on when looking at how we take care of our bodies and ultimately how we feel in general.
The food we eat, and therefore goes into our bodies, is the key to how many and what nutrients we receive. Nutrients are vital for good health, growth, prevention, and disease. Essential nutrients are compounds that our bodies can’t make, or can’t make in the amount that is needed, and they therefore need to come from the food we consume. Essential nutrients can be put into two categories; macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are eaten in large amounts and provide our bodies with energy – these are carbohydrates, fat and protein. Micronutrients are made up of vitamins and minerals, and are needed to support the functions of our body. Vitamins, for example, are essential for having healthy skin, vision, and bones, while minerals are essential for building strong bones and teeth, and staying correctly hydrated.
The benefits of eating healthily are part of an overall lifestyle that is advised upon having, including staying active, but our eating habits are a huge part of many people’s daily lives, so is a good place to start when looking at maintaining or changing how we live. Being in good health and feeling the best we can are just two benefits of eating healthily, but it is part of something much more. Knowing that we are doing the best we can for our bodies can also give us piece of mind. Healthy eating guidance contains general information and it is therefore always important than anyone with special dietary needs to consult with professionals. However, this guidance does give an important overview for anyone who is wanting to make sure they are getting exactly what they need from their diet and lifestyle, and there is more information the links under the references section.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons) Cert HE
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