You need a well-balanced diet if you want to get the nutrients and calories you need to fuel your daily activities and exercises. But when it comes to eating the right foods, it’s not as simple as choosing broccoli over sugar cookies. You need the right types of food at the right time of day.
The food we eat plays a significant role in how we feel and how we look. While regular exercise is important, nutrition has the most substantial impact on our fitness and health. Did you know that about 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese, and about 17% of children between 2 and 19 are obese as well?
Even for people with a healthy weight, having a poor diet can lead to health risks and illnesses, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Making smart food choices can set you on the right track and help prevent these health problems.
In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of a healthy diet and the benefits of exercise, along with some fitness foods and healthy eating tips!
Benefits of Healthy Dieting
1: Controls Your Weight
Studies have shown that people who eat a balanced, calorie-managed diet are able to maintain a healthy weight and are more successful in their weight loss journey than those who rely on exercise alone.
2: Increases Longevity
Healthy eating habits, along with regular exercise, can improve your lifespan.
3: Prevents Diseases
Healthy dieting can help manage or prevent several health conditions, such as arthritis, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and depression.
4: Boosts Energy
When consuming a bunch of unhealthy food, we tend to feel tired and lethargic. However, eating a balanced diet with vegetables, whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats, you’re providing your body with the essential nutrients to increase and maintain your levels of energy.
5: Improves Sleep Quality
Not only does nutrition affect your sleep from a comfort level, but it also affects it on a physiological level as well. If your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, crucial functions that happen when your body rests can’t take place. Your body tries to find other ways to make these functions happen, putting a strain on your organs and causing you to experience disrupted sleep.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
1: Controls Your Weight
Along with a healthy diet, exercise is important in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you consume must be equal to the energy you burn. If you want to lose weight, you must spend more energy than you eat or drink.
2: Improves Mental Health
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that make you feel more relaxed and improve your mood. This can reduce your risk of depression and help you manage your stress.
3: Strengthens Bones and Muscles
When children and teens participate in regular exercise, it can help them build stronger bones. Later on, exercise can slow the loss of bone density that happens with age. Muscle-strengthening activities can help you maintain or increase your muscle mass and strength as you age.
4: Improves Cognitive Function
During exercise, your body releases proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain. This will help keep your learning, thinking, and judgment skills sharp throughout your life.
5: Reduces Fall Risk
Participating in muscle-strengthening and balance activities, along with moderate-intensity aerobic activity, can help reduce your risk of falling.
Fitness foods are also known as superfoods, and eating a diet rich in these foods is essential to good health. Here is a list of some favorable fitness foods:
- Greens – These contain antioxidants and reduce inflammation.
- Oats – These are high in fiber, increase metabolism, and improve digestion.
- Lean Proteins – These contain amino acid, protein, and are great for muscle building.
- Eggs – These are a good source of protein and promote muscle building.
- Apples – These contain antioxidants, increase metabolism, and reduce inflammation.
- Peanut Butter – This is the number one fitness food. Peanut butter is nutrient-dense, high in fiber, contains healthy fat, and has been shown to provide long-lasting energy.
- Blueberries – These contain antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and are cancer-fighting.
- Yogurt – Rich in calcium, improves digestion and bone health.
- Beans – Contain antioxidants, are high in fiber, and improve brain function.
- Green Tea – Contains antioxidants, promotes weight loss, and reduces inflammation.
- Cinnamon – Contains antioxidants and is great for detoxing.
- Flaxseed – Contains essential fatty acids, reduces inflammation, and increases metabolism.
Eating a nutrient-rich and balanced diet is essential to your overall mental and physical health. We’ve gone over the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Now, let’s go over some tips on how you can get off to a good start with proper nutrition.
- Consume the right kind of carbohydrates. Rather than eating the simple carbs found in sugary snacks and processed foods, you need to eat the complex carbs found in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans.
- Pack the protein. Protein helps your body grow and repair. Protein is also important when it comes to building, maintaining, and repairing muscles that you gain from exercising. Protein can come from several different sources, such as fish, dairy, poultry, red meat, eggs, and legumes.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other compounds your body needs. Fruits and vegetables are also low in fat and calories. You should aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal and choose a rainbow of colors to help you enjoy the full range of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals they have to offer.
- Eat healthy fats. Unsaturated fats can provide calories and reduce inflammation. Some healthy options include olives, oils (such as olive oil), seeds, nuts, and avocados.
- Eat the right pre-workout snacks. Whether it’s before or after a workout, you want to make sure you’re consuming the right balance of carbs and protein. Here are some simple pre-workout snacks you might enjoy: berries, oranges, grapes, bananas, nuts, and nut butter. The nut butter can be spread on snacks like apple slices, a banana, a slice of whole-grain bread, or some whole-grain crackers.
Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is just as important as daily exercise. We hope you have found these lists of benefits, fitness foods, and healthy eating tips helpful. Good luck with your health and fitness journey!