10 Reasons to Improve Your Eating Habits
Did anyone else ask “why” all the time as a child? Does anyone’s child ask “why” about every tiny thing? Anyone still asking, “why”?
Why should I improve my eating habits? Life is fine just the way it is…
Well, there are many, many reasons to eat a healthy, balanced diet. And doing so doesn’t have to be complicated, restrictive, dull, or expensive. The body needs nutritious, real food to function properly, and cutting back on processed foods and foods with higher fat, salt, and sugar comes with many benefits. Here are 10 key reasons why striving for a healthier diet is worth it.
Helps You Manage A Healthy Weight
Whatever your goal weight is, eating healthy is probably the key to reaching it. Crash course diets, weight loss pills, and restricting calories may seem like a quicker, easier fix for weight loss, but they can often cause more harm than good. Rather than seeing food as the enemy, see it as an essential aid for maintaining a healthy weight and getting necessary nourishment. If the idea of eating healthy (especially to lose weight) makes you think about food you CAN’T have, try refocusing your thoughts on the foods you CAN have. Instead of completely giving up your favorite comfort food, try putting a new spin on the recipe to make it a little healthier.
When trying to lose weight, be sure you’re enjoying a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, high-fiber whole grains and legumes, and lean protein.
Clean eating is also important when you need to gain weight. If this is you, be sure your diet is full of healthful, energy-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
If you need a little support and guidance, check out Clean Food Crush’s 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge.
Reduces Risk of Health Problems
Unhealthy eating habits can heighten the risk of many different health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Increasing your intake of nutritious foods may help reduce your risk.
In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, a clean diet can help you manage blood glucose levels, maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and provide necessary nutrients to your body so it can fight disease.
To target (or help prevent future) health problems pay attention to specific parts of your diet.
- Diabetes – limit foods with added sugar and salt and avoid fried foods high in saturated and trans fats.
- Heart disease – enjoy a diet rich in fish, nuts, fruits, grains, and veggies that provide your body with omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that are good for your heart.
- Cancer – avoid alcohol, processed and fried foods, and processed meats. Instead, add more fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber to your diet.
It’s important to mention that while eating healthy will not erase all cancer risk, it can help lower the risk of cancer tremendously. It’s also difficult to positively say which foods best prevent cancer, so eating a healthy diet overall is important.
Sets a Great Example
Most dietary habits are established in childhood and then are carried into adulthood, which means it’s crucial to teach children the importance of a healthy diet. Kids learn by watching the adults in their life, so if you want your children to live a healthy lifestyle, you should be too. If you never eat anything green, your kids aren’t going to want to either. You will be the inspiration to your children to eat clean and healthy.
Clean eating can also be a great way to spend time with your children. Preparing family meals at home rather than ordering take out is a fun opportunity to cook with the kids. Plus, children are more likely to try new foods if they helped make it. When exposed to clean eating, cooking, and gardening at an early age, children are more likely to make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices in the future.
Here are some awesome school lunch ideas for your kiddos, so they’re eating healthy all day!
Yes, healthy foods like fruits and veggies tend to be more expensive than a bag of chips, but the big picture of a healthy, balanced diet is often cheaper. When your diet provides you with all the essential vitamins and minerals you need each day, you won’t need to buy dietary supplements. And when you’re overweight or obese, you’re much more likely to have higher medical costs and spend more money on doctor’s visits and medications.
Additionally, a healthy diet will help you feel full quicker and longer, which means you won’t be eating as much or buying as much. So, the chips may be cheaper than the veggies, but you’ll need many more chips to satiate your hunger than carrots. Eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall, eventually spending less on your groceries.
The best filling foods will be high in protein, fiber, volume (like water and air), and low in energy density (meaning low in calories for its weight).
Your Health is an Investment Worth Making and Will Pay Off.
Gives You More Energy
While exercise is important, eating right is the most important thing you can do for your overall fitness and energy levels. A healthy diet will provide nutrient-dense foods needed for energy.
B-complex vitamins and complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread and starchy vegetables are the best for prolonged energy since they are digested slower. You can also give a natural boost to your energy by starting the day with a healthy breakfast. Also, be sure you’re drinking a lot of water, which your body needs to transport the nutrients. Yes, coffee and other drinks with caffeine will give you energy, but they will also sap it later on, negatively impact your sleep, and cause dehydration, accompanied by a lack of energy.
Diets with a high glycemic load and low iron can cause increased irritability, depression, and fatigue. So, avoid foods like soft drinks, white bread, cakes, and candy that give a sugar spike of energy, because you will crash later. Instead, be sure your diet is full of veggies, fruits, and whole grains with lower glycemic load and foods rich in iron like seafood, poultry, peas, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach. (Also, be sure to have plenty of vitamin C in your diet to help absorb the iron, such as broccoli, kiwi, peppers, leafy greens, and tomatoes.)
If you need a bit of a boost, try one of CFC’s delicious, energy-boosting recipes.
Improves Mental Health
Poor diets and low-active lifestyles will reduce your physical and mental health in many ways. As I’ve said previously, an unhealthy diet can cause health issues, weight gain, low energy, and money problems. Each of these things can negatively affect your mental health. And in the same way that food affects our mood, mood affects our food choices, creating a vicious cycle. I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to choose unhealthy foods when I’m feeling sad, anxious, or depressed. And those unhealthy foods will cause more negative feelings, thus beginning the cycle.
Improving your eating habits to have a diet full of necessary nutrients, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals will help break that cycle. To protect your mental health, be sure to get enough protein, fruits, and veggies.
Helps Keep Your Hair, Skin, Teeth, and Bones Stronger and Healthier
Looking your best doesn’t just mean losing weight or defining your muscles. Thankfully, a healthy diet will supply your skin, hair, and bones the nutrients they need to stay strong, smooth, and shiny, helping you look and feel your best.
A diet with adequate calcium and magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, which is vital in preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis later in life.
The following foods are rich in calcium:
- Low-Fat Dairy Products
- Canned Fish
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole Grains
Improves Memory and Concentration
When the body is low on glucose, the brain does not receive the energy it needs to remain focused. And too much fat and cholesterol in your diet can damage the brain tissue (which can cause strokes). If your brain cells are deprived of the oxygen needed to function normally, thinking and memory will be compromised.
Foods rich in vitamin C, D, and E, Omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, and polyphenols are best for improving memory and concentration. To keep your mind healthy and engaged, be sure you’re getting plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids!
Aids in Better Quality Sleep
A poor diet with too much sugar, refined carbs (white bread, white rice, pasta, etc.), caffeine, and alcohol can disrupt your sleeping patterns. And sleep is essential when it comes to living a healthy life.
If you notice you’re tired during the day a lot but not getting enough quality sleep at night, try cleaning up your diet. Also, consider cutting out alcohol and caffeine, as this can help ensure restful sleep.
Future-you will thank you for that healthy diet when your skin is still smooth, and your bones are strong. Vitamin C rich foods, like tomatoes, help build collagen, which makes your skin look firmer and slows premature aging. Additionally, berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins, and eating them promotes cell regeneration for new skin. A healthy diet can also prevent other aspects of aging, such as dementia and cognitive decline.
Not only can a healthy diet delay the effects of aging, such as keeping your skin healthy, avoiding wrinkles, and keeping your bones strong, it can also lengthen your lifespan. The process of breaking down foods and metabolizing them can cause stress on the body, which means overeating could actually lead to a shorter lifespan. Plus, obesity or other long-term health issues (like those mentioned on reason number two) can shorten life.
That’s why improving your eating habits and maintaining a healthy, nutrient-rich diet can positively affect life expectancy.
Whatever your reason is to improve your eating habits, I promise it is a good choice, and your body, mind, heart, family, and future will be grateful. When you find what motivates you to reach your personal health goals, you can get started on this clean eating journey! And we’d love to partner alongside you.