Eating healthy provides your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function properly. Nutrients provide the necessary energy to keep your brain active, your heart working properly and for your muscles to function. They also assist in building strong bones and body tissue and to regulate breathing, the circulatory system and other body functions.
Consuming a healthy diet means maintaining a balance of foods from a wide variety of sources. Consuming food from all food groups, while practicing moderation with high fats, refined sugars and salt, assures you of receiving adequate amounts of nutrients to maintain optimum health.
Essential nutrients in foods consist of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Carbohydrates found in cereal, grains, pasta, fruit, vegetables, milk and rice provides energy for your body to function. Proteins found in meats, poultry, cheese, fish, peanut butter and legumes provide energy and repairs body cells. Fats in the form of animal or vegetable fats like butter or margarine, dressings, fatty meat products, cheese and nuts and seeds are necessary in moderation to carry vitamins and to strengthen cell membranes.
Micronutrients, namely vitamins and minerals, play an important role in building new cells and promoting healing. Other non-nutrients found in plants like fiber and phytochemicals protect against disease. Antioxidants like lycopene (found in tomatoes), protect cells from damage.
Eating a healthy diet also fights disease. Fruits and vegetables lower blood pressure and may lower the risk of certain cancers. Less saturated fat in your diet lowers the risk of cancer, heart disease and lowers high cholesterol
Calcium and vitamin D, found in dairy products and green leafy vegetables, protect against osteoporosis.
Eating healthy assists in managing diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure decreasing the risks of complications and the need for mediation.
Junk foods and foods high in fats and salts may be tempting, but are low in nutrient value. Although they may fill you up, they do not serve to fuel your body and may contribute to diseases like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Preventing the onset of these conditions by eating a healthy diet and maintaining regular exercise not only prevents the devastating effects of these diseases, it creates a healthy well functioning body that is able to fight off exposure to viruses and to combat exposure to illness, too.
Many people mistakenly believe that taking a multivitamin is all that is needed to provide their body with the necessary nutrients for optimal functioning. Although vitamins may be solution when vitamin intake is insufficient, it is always preferable to consume healthy foods filled with vitamins and minerals.