Typically, there are different varieties of food available in the modern world. There is a lot of advice out there on how to eat healthy food whereas healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, or depriving of yourself of the foods you love.
Eating healthy food to stay healthy is easier than what we think, a lot of people out there believe it doesn’t matter what they eat as long as they are able to satisfy their urge for food. Yes, it doesn’t matter if you are eating the right food in the right way; but it matters when you are eating the right food in the wrong way. Healthy meals make us stay healthy, healthy meals make us feel great, give us awesome energy; it serves as a mood booster and most of all secure us a healthy living.
Eating a healthy meal doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are some specific foods or nutrients that have a beneficial effect on mood; what is important is your overall dietary pattern. Avoiding processed meals is the cornerstone of healthy living. Trying your possible best to stick to food that nature made can make a huge difference to the way you feel, think and even your physical appearance.
WHAT IS HEALTHY LIVING?
Before we define “Healthy Living”, I will like to first define the term “Health”. Health is not simply defined as the absence of disease. Health is a state of complete emotional, complete physical, mental and social well-being. While “Living” is the state of being alive; having the characteristics of life breathing in Oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.
Healthy living is a state of taking healthy meals, taking responsibility, eating right, getting physically fit, spiritual wellness; and making smart health choices for today and for the future. Having a healthy lifestyle helps to improve people’s health and well-being. Healthy Living is a lifelong effect.
Eating healthy food is a state whereby an individual take nutritious meals in other to maintain life, growth, social and physical well-being. The way to being healthy includes healthy eating, physical activities, stress management, and weight management.
Healthy Eating is Healthy Living. Healthy eating is a state of eating a variety of foods; which gives you the nutrients you need in other to maintain your health, getting physically fit, energy, emotional wellness, and ability of your immune system to fight against foreign bodies.
Healthy Eating habits also help to prevent some certain health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure. When you take good care of yourself, this will help to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure level within a safe range. This allows your blood to flow smoothly; and also helps to decrease your risk of having cardiovascular diseases. Engaging in regular physical activity and a proper diet can prevent or help manage a wide range of health disorder problems which include: metabolic syndrome, depression, diabetes mellitus, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
There are certain categories of nutrients that must be included in our everyday meals in other to have well balanced diets. This includes:
Proteins are essential component of every cell in the human body for healthy living. Hair and nails are mostly made up of proteins. Proteins help to build and repair tissues. Your body also uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and other compounds. Protein is said to be an important building block of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Proteins are macro-nutrients along with fat and carbohydrates; this means the body needs a relatively large amount of proteins in other to achieve a healthy living. However too much of protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease; but the least research suggests that majority of us need more high-quality proteins; especially as we age because it is good for our health. Proteins give you the energy to get up and go i.e it helps you to carry out your daily activities perfectly.
Proteins are made up of different amino acids. The body can also create some amino acids on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food. It is important to have a variety of amino acid for the proper function of your body. Proteins are not used to fuel the body unless there is a need for it.
Sources of Proteins
Some sources of dietary proteins include: lean meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids. Dairy products like milk, and cheese are also sources of proteins. You can also get proteins from plant sources like beans and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas), soy, nuts and some grains. Some grains and cereal-based products are also sources of proteins; but are generally not as high in protein as meat and meat alternative products.
The amount of proteins you need daily depends on a variety of factors including how active you are, and your age.
It is unarguable that one of the main sources of energy for your body is carbohydrates. They are necessary for a healthy body. Also known as carbs, they are are sugars or starches. They are a major food source and important form of energy for most organisms including human for healthy living. Carbs fuel your body especially your central nervous system and brain; and protect against disease for the purpose of healthy living.
Sources of Carbohydrates
Most carbohydrates come from complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, and fruit) rather than sugars and refined carbs. However, before you reach out for white bread or pasta, keep in mind that the type of carbs you eat matters for healthy living. Some carbs are healthier than others such as bread, pasta, beans, potatoes, bran, rice, and cereal are carbohydrate-rich foods. Cutting back on white bread, pastries, starches, and sugar can prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, fluctuation in mood and energy which is not so good for healthy living.
Fat is one of the essential sources of our diet and is important for good health. There are varieties of fats, with some fats being healthier than others. Bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases; whereas eating less saturated fat may help lower the risk of heart disease. Good fats protect your brain, heart and help you stay healthy. It is important to eat unsaturated fats in small amounts as part of a balanced diet. When you include more healthy fat in your diet it can help improve your mood and as well boost your well-being.
In fact, a diet with healthy fats such as Omega -3 is vital to your physical and emotional health. This means a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats; but also includes a moderate amount of unsaturated fats will give you a healthy living.
Fats provide long-term energy for your body because of the high level of calories, protection, and insulation.
Sources of Fats
The most popular source of unsaturated fats is omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, especially oily fish and omega-6 fatty acids which are found in some oils such as safflower and soybean oil, along with some nuts which include brazil nuts.
An essential part of a healthy diet is the fiber. Eating food high in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) helps to keep your digestive system in good working order. It helps you stay regular and lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus.
Fiber has many other important health benefits such as; it also helps to improve your skin and even help you to lose weight.
Sources of fiber
Fiber is commonly found in many plant-based, carbohydrate-rich foods, such as fruits, wholemeal bread and vegetables, and pulses which is good for healthy living.
Vitamins are not a source of calories or energy but are essential for the maintenance of good health and efficient metabolism. They do help you to stay healthy. Vitamins cannot be made, but you get them from the food you eat. Vitamins are vital for warding off disease and staying healthy. Our body needs these micro-nutrients to support its function for healthy living. Vitamins are only needed in small quantity and most people meet their vitamin needs by eating healthy food. There are 13 essential vitamins needed by the body to function properly; which includes vitamins A, C, B6, and D.
Vitamins are important for healthy bones, skin and vision. Vitamins like vitamin C boost the immune system and help the body to heal. Each vitamin plays a major task in the body and not getting enough of them can cause health problems and disease.
There are two types of vitamins. They are:
- Water-soluble vitamins which consist of Vitamins B and C. Vitamin B and C cannot be stored in the body; which means they have to be constantly supplied in daily diet.
- Fat-soluble vitamins which consist of vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins can be stored in the body fat.
Vitamins are powerful antioxidant and they may lower the risk of prostate and lung cancer.
Sources of vitamins
Eggs, milk, carrot, and papaya are an important source of Vitamin A which promotes healthy skin and for good night vision. Green vegetable, tomatoes, and lime are an important source of vitamin B which increase immunity against diseases.
Essential source of vitamin D which includes egg, milk, and cod liver oil, helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the small intestines.
Minerals are essential nutrients that are needed in small amounts for healthy living. They help our bones, muscle, heart, and hormones function properly. The human body uses minerals to carry out different functions from building strong bones to transmitting impulses. Just like vitamins, minerals help our body to grow and develop and stay healthy. In some cases, some minerals are even used to provide hormones and maintain a normal heartbeat.
There are five major minerals in the human body, which are calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.
Sources of Minerals
When you eat a variety of well-balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits, and you have a healthy and normal functioning digestive tract; there is no need for you to take a vitamin supplement. Food source of vitamins includes e.g milk, cheese, liver, egg, sea food and milk.
Water is very essential to healthy living and is the main principal constituent of the human body. Without food, you can survive for weeks, but same can’t be said in the absence of water. Water is very important for the proper functioning of our body. It dissolves and transport nutrients during digestion. Water helps to get rid of waste products and toxins.
Water improves our brain function and mood, control our body temperature, control the concentration of blood and it also acts as a shock absorber and lubricant.
It constitutes about 60% of our body weight but the proportion of total body weight contributed by water varies with the age and sex of an individual. Water constitutes about 60% in normal healthy adult males body weight and 51% in normal healthy adult females as women of the same age have more adipose tissues than men. However, by 70years the body water accounts for about 50% of body weight in male and 45% in females.
Water requirements depend on body size, specifically on body surface area as this determines the extent of water loss via the skin and lungs. However, this loss together with the water loss in the urine and feces is replaced by water in the diet.
This is why staying well-hydrated is good for your health as it helps your body function properly.
- Some of the health benefits of eating right or healthy eating include:
HELPS MAINTAIN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Eating excellent meals gives you good health. Our immune system is our defense against diseases which can only be efficient by taking nutritious meals. However, poor nutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide. Poor nutrition makes our body defenseless and which makes us irresistible of the attack launch by foreign bodies. Maintaining your immune system is a very easy thing to do, it only requires proper intake of vitamins and minerals. For example, vitamin E supports immune function and prevent inflammatory. Eating a well-balanced diet, which includes vegetable fruits and food low in fats, will help maintain a healthy immune system.
HEALTHY FOODS GIVE YOU ENERGY
Since we know that our bodies derive energy from the foods and liquids we consume in other to achieve a healthy living. The main sources of energy in our body are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Examples of carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread and starchy vegetables are good for prolonged energy since their digestion takes place at a slower rate. Also, water as a universal solvent is necessary for the transport of nutrients, and dehydration can result in lack of energy. Not getting enough of iron in our body may cause fatigue, low energy, and irritability. Eating food rich in iron will prevent fatigue and also boost our energy. Seafood, peas and dark green vegetables such as spinach are an essential source of iron for healthy living.
EXCELLENT HEALTH MEALS MAKE US YOUNGER
Eating foods like tomatoes, avocados, nuts, spinach, and fish all contain essential vitamins and minerals that are the best for the skin. For example, spinach contains vitamin E which is an essential source of iron which is an antioxidant that protects body tissues from damage and prevents coronary heart disease. Vitamin C also helps to build collagen which in turn makes our skin look firmer and slow premature aging. Also eating berries is good for healthy living because they are full of antioxidants and vitamins and eating them helps promotes cell regeneration for new skin.
HEALTHY MEALS HELP MANAGE A HEALTHY WEIGHT
In other to maintain healthy body weight, you have to eat a nutritious diet filled with lots of fruits, whole grains, dairy, vegetables, and proteins. Healthy weight is healthy living because maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risks of some disease condition such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and high blood pressure. Eating less saturated fats can also help you to achieve a healthy weight. Drink water instead of sugary drinks as it helps to cut calories and try to stay away for sugary drinks, for good health. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly is all it takes to have a healthy weight because engaging in different exercise makes you physically fit.
EATING HEALTHY POSITIVELY AFFECTS YOUR MOOD
A diet rich in protein, moderate in carbohydrates and low in fat will have a positive effect on your mood because it gives an adequate supply of iron and omega fatty acids. Diets low in carbohydrates tend to increase some certain feelings such as tension whereas diets high in carbohydrates have a way of uplifting our mood positively. Eating a balanced breakfast regularly helps to improve mood along with better memory, gives more energy throughout the day, and the feeling of calmness. However, if breakfast is missed, would lead to the opposite which is fatigue and anxiety.
EATING HEALTHY FOOD INCREASES FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
Generally, food has an impact on the way we think or handle situations. Food is the fuel that regulates our energy and mood, both of which have a high effect on our focus. When the body is low on glucose, the brain is not receiving the energy it needs in other to remain focused. Food has an incredible ability to affect our mental clarity, memory, mood, and ability to focus. Diets high in fats and cholesterol can have a negative effect on the brain by building up plaque in brain vessels, causing strokes and damaging brain tissue. Eating some certain vegetables such as blueberries, avocados, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish and water throughout the day helps keep mind healthy, engaged, increases our focus and concentration.
HEALTHY EATING HELPS REDUCE THE RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE
Healthy living is healthy eating. The more you consume healthy food the better your cholesterol level will be which will, in turn, prevent disease. Unhealthy diet leads to obesity which in turn can contribute to the development of different diseases such as diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, and some certain cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and increased physical activities play a major role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Eating fruits, vegetables, skim, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and low-fat meat or meat alternatives are the beginning of a heart-healthy diet and consuming healthy meals will help you maintain a healthy weight and healthy living.
HEALTHY EATING IMPROVES WELL- BEING
Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of your daily lifestyle may reduce the risk for heart disease; which includes heart attack and stroke. Poor nutrition can contribute to tiredness, stress and our capability towards work. In fact, eating a poor diet reduces physical and mental health because eating healthy food allows people to be more active. If you take care of your cholesterol and blood pressure is within a safe range, this allows your blood to flow smoothly and also decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily reduces your risk of having mental complication. In other to live healthy without health complication eat a lot of vegetables and fruits they are good for your physical health and mental health.
HEALTHY EATING MAY INCREASE YOUR LIFE SPAN
Food is an essential part of everyone’s lives. Our body needs food in order to survive, but the process of metabolizing or breaking down of food nutrients causes stress to the body. In fact, overeating causes more stress on the body and can cause a shorter lifespan. However, if you are eating the right food and keeping fit, your body will be strong and help you to fight illness and cope with stress. Eating well and exercising frequently will help you stay healthy and have a positive effect on life expectancy.