A healthy lifestyle means good nutrition, regular exercise, weight and stress management, and adequate sleep. Proper nutrition is a key element in staying mentally and physically healthy. Eating the right food in the right proportion will provide the fuel needed to perform daily activities. Experts say that a healthy body system depends 80% on a nutritious diet and the rest on genetics and exercise. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines good nutrition as an adequate, well-balanced diet and stresses that poor nutrition can result in reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.
Proper nutrition means a balanced diet with lean proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fat and water. Maintaining a nutritious diet offers many benefits:
- Weight Control: Eating nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats and other proteins is important for weight management. Including more of these foods in your diet will fill you up and help keep obesity at bay. Of course, you need to include physical activity in your everyday routine. Losing weight and keeping it off depends on eating fewer calories and burning more energy. A healthy lifestyle will reduce your risk of obesity-related conditions such as type-2 diabetes, clogged arteries, and thyroid dysfunction.
- Energy Booster: Following a balanced diet will help your body to get the fuel it needs to maintain your energy levels. In fact, unhealthy foods such as those loaded in sugar and fat cause fatigue and make you feel sluggish.
- Strong bones and teeth: Include sufficient calcium-rich foods in your diet as it will keep your bones and teeth strong and help prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, dark green vegetables, and fortified foods such as soy products, fruit juices and cereals. Vitamin D is important to help your body absorb calcium from foods, sunlight and supplements. As it is better to get this vitamin through foods, choose items fortified with vitamin D.
- Healthy brain: Proper nutrition increases blood flow to your brain and protects the brain cells, which helps prevents Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. Eat dark fruits and vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, prunes, raisins, blueberries, raspberries, plums and cherries. Almonds, walnuts, pecans and other nuts are also great sources of vitamin E, which along with other vitamins, also helps fight Alzheimer’s disease.
- Fight against disease: A healthy diet reduces the risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
When it comes to nutrition, one golden rule is to never skip meals especially breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast helps keep you energized throughout the day. The American Council on Exercise recommends breakfasts such as oatmeal with fruit or a light sandwich. Make wise choices when eating out.
You should have a good idea about what proper nutrition is and how to best incorporate it into your life. Finally, remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle means being consistent with nutrition and fitness.