The benefits of a healthy diet are about choosing the right nutritional foods for your individual needs.
And you need to maintain a healthy diet every day of the year for a balanced nutrient intake (balanced diet) from those foods.
The reason for doing this is to ensure (in this order):
- Sustainable satiety
- Nutrient intake
- Absorption of nutrients
- Production of energy
- Optimal cellular function at a metabolic1 level
- Prevention of disease
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What else do you need to know about the benefits of a healthy diet?
All of the above processes play a role in the proper functioning of all metabolic processes in the body.
Here is a breakdown of what benefits to look for in a healthy diet.
Store the right kind of energy for exercise
Besides that, you need to sustain physical activity irrespective of the degree of intensity or age.
The older you get, the more you need a good store of energy to enable a degree of exercise. Blood needs to circulate properly, and aging bones need to maintain strength. And mental health needs to be looked after.
A healthy diet affects mental health
Mental health issues among the aged are a topical issue that has long gone unnoticed or played down. So you want to be mindful of this in terms of your aging process. You cannot avoid it, so you may as well be proactive about it.
You can avert triggering an allergy
If you maintain a balanced healthy diet you will possibly alleviate or heal symptoms of allergies or diseases if you have it. You can test yourself for an intolerance of Amines, Salicylates or Glutamates. These are very common allergies, especially in some children.
Amines and Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals in the skins of fruits and vegetables. If you have an intolerance, you can eliminate these temporarily to avert triggering and allergic response.
A healthy diet builds immunity
A balanced eating plan should incorporate foods that target its healing properties. You can build up immunity this way and ensure the faster healing of wounds (tissue) if you are recovering from illness or a post-operative process.
It will aid in reducing chronic inflammation
When you eat a balance of antioxidant-rich foods and ingredients, you prevent creating an environment for chronic inflammation to persist.
In other words, you prevent creating an environment for bacterial growth to thrive.
Use a healthy diet to build up your gut microbiome
If you have gut health issues, lots of (healthy) nutritional foods can provide adequate nutrients for healing. These nutrients can promote good gut health without needing to supplement.
For example, if you like cooking from scratch, you can take cabbage and make it into Sauerkraut and Kimchi. These can provide good gut bacteria up to 1 million to 1 billion CFU per gram/milliliter (measured in colony forming units, CFU).
Healthy foods are a mine of potent antioxidants
So many healthy foods naturally contain a high level of antioxidants. A vital compound in preventing cancer because they fight off damage caused by free radicals to all cells in the body
After that, you can calculate how much more you need to target specific dietary needs.
It pertains to managing disease or healing chronic conditions if that’s relevant to you.
What does a healthy diet look like?
I prefer the term eating plan as opposed to a diet.
To reap the benefits of a healthy diet, here’s an example of what it should look like:
If you’re already eating Tomato, Cucumber, Lettuce, Bell Pepper, and Carrot. These are great.
Now add in some veggies that have more Iron, Vitamin C & K, and Calcium:
Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Red / White Cabbage, Celery, and Beetroot.
If you’re already cooking with Carrots, Lentils, Oatmeal, and Brown Rice, you are consuming a good amount of fiber.
Now add a couple more that are alkaline and a source of Folate (Vitamin B9). Plus, you’ll have more to vary your meal/recipe options:
Mung Beans (gut health), Cannellini beans (source of folate), Broccoli, Eggplant, and Beets.
Always keep a container filled with freshly squeezed lemon juice in the fridge. It saves you time and effort when you need it for nutritional cooking. Instead of squeezing by hand, you simply squeeze and rotate. I use this version at home and I promise you don’t need a fancy mechanical one as this one works perfectly!
This gadget helped me ditch gluten-loaded pasta. It’s so easy to create vegetable spaghetti (zucchini) and it’s really changed my life. It also does so much more – see the features for spiralising cucumber, onions, cabbage, carrots and beetroot.
You might be consuming at least one or two of these already: Chickpeas, Cottage Cheese, Black Beans, Lentils, or Sunflower Seeds. These are good sources of protein. You can add to this list to give more meal options:
Red Lentils (has the same amount of protein as red meat), Mushroom (low-calorie protein), Nutritional Yeast (great as a dairy cheese alternative), Quinoa, Chia Seeds, Almonds, Cashews and Walnuts (brain health).
Not all fats are bad. You need a good amount of healthy fats every day for their Omega 3 content. It is essential for heart and mental health, and has many other nutritional healing qualities:
Ghee, Coconut Oil, Avocado, Pumpkin Seeds, Salmon (any fatty fish), Walnuts and Sesame seeds.
Herbs and Spices
Add to as many dishes as you like because they have ‘zero calories’. They are nutrient powerhouses. Perfect for elevating dishes when the ‘healthy ingredients’ get mundane. Add fresh herbs to all salads and hot dishes, even tacos and smoothies:
Mint, Basil, Coriander/Cilantro, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary (fantastic in roasts), Sage (amazing in a roasted butternut salad), Ginger, Garlic (immunity), Cinnamon, Cayenne and Mustard seeds.
Natural flavourings are a brilliant way to incorporate their nutritional benefits alongside their incredible aromas and taste profile:
Vanilla bean, Cinnamon, Organic Maple Syrup, Carob and Dark Chocolate (Magnesium).
These are great for managing stress and fatigue. It brings your body back into its natural alignment when you are dealing with stress during the day. Add in small quantities to drinks, smoothies, and bowls:
Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Goji berries, Maca powder.
Your goal is to get an overall balance of macro and micronutrients. Find ways of including foods with healing benefits – it’s beneficial for healing gut health and alleviating the effects of allergies.
The idea to tick all the boxes, even if you only choose one food from each category. This is just an example.
Besides what is obvious, a healthy diet is the best foundation for building health and well-being. Make sure it includes a good balance of macro and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids) in a ratio that is right for you.
It’s the foundation from which all metabolic processes required for optimal health (and survival), pivot.
It all works in tandem, so it must also work in harmony. If you’re not eating healthfully, your body will soon be at war with itself.
And no matter how much you exercise or how to fit you think you are, you must complement that with the right foods. Consume them sustainably and regularly.
A diet is not something that should restrict. It should enhance. If you are losing weight, your body is being enhanced by selectively omitting foods that most likely cause chronic inflammation leading to bloating or weight gain. Or simply over-consuming.
It should not be an eating regimen that restricts through permanent elimination (unless medically necessary). We are supposed to enjoy food. That’s why conscious and mindful eating could not be more relevant.
A healthy diet should be a way of life. Consuming nutritious foods in a regular effortless fashion must naturally allow metabolic processes to follow suit and function optimally. Without the interference of unnecessary supplements or restrictions.
Eat good food, in the right amounts, at the correct times. Make it delicious too.
Do you want to learn healthy cooking, but don’t know where to start?
If you found this post helpful, leave a comment, I value everyone’s feedback.
*cravenutritionalcooking.com does not give medical advice. Where there is reference to it, the phrasing is merely used to illustrate a point or give context to food and cooking for nutrition information. It is not related to a specific condition or to any specific individual. Always consult your healthcare professional for medical and dietetic advice before embarking on any type of eating plan or ingesting nutritional supplements.
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