One of the saddest things about the food world today is that many people associate “healthy food” with “dieting.” In other words, many of us aren’t in the habit of eating healthy food on a regular basis unless we want to lose weight or reduce our health issues.
But eating healthy food is about much more than the number of calories you’re taking in: it’s about the lifestyle you’re creating for yourself, both physically and mentally. In fact, you might just be surprised at some of the crazy benefits that whole foods offer us! If you’re looking for more reasons to eat more nutritious foods, here’s where mindful eating can help.
Food fuels you—literally! According to research from the Harvard Medical Center, a healthy diet can boost your energy levels over time. Whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats can offer energy your body can process throughout the day, where processed sugary sweets provide a short-term spike and an energy crash instead.
Better Brain Function
Certain healthy foods can help you increase your brain function, both now and as you age. For example, the antioxidants in blueberries, the omega-3 essential fatty acids in salmon, the vitamin E in nuts and seeds, and the monounsaturated fats in avocado can promote overall brain health on a daily and long-term basis. Research shows that this impact on brain health may reduce the risk of cognitive decline through diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Better Heart Health
Heart-related conditions continue to be a major source of health problems across the US, which is why the right nutrition can be so critical. Real whole foods are packed with nutrients and antioxidants your heart needs, such as healthy fats and magnesium.
Our increased demand for food has wreaked havoc on our planet, and though it may seem there’s little one person can do to change this, even small choices can have a big impact over time. Opting for local, sustainable produce can decrease waste and carbon emissions—not to mention that fresh local produce is often more nutritious, as it reaches your plate more quickly than produce brought in over distances!
Few things contribute to higher self-esteem like a healthy body image, and that image often shifts in response to the food we’re eating. Creating a positive self-image is easier when you put in an effort to care for your body with nutritious food. (Fun fact: this is especially true for kids, which is worth noting if you cook for your little ones!)
Easier Weight Control
Fad diets can only get you so far. If your aim is to sustainably maintain a healthy weight for your entire life, there’s only one way to do it: a balanced diet rich in nutritious whole foods. Unlike short-term diets that encourage you to lose weight fast and then regain it (hence the slang “yo-yo dieting”), healthy eating is a lifestyle choice that you can stick with for good.
Dedicating yourself to healthy eating is a great way to see both immediate and long-term benefits—not to mention the fact that the right healthy food tastes good! If you’re ready to jump on the health food bandwagon but don’t know where to start, I’ve got you covered. Check out my recipes page for some easy and healthy recipes for beginners and beyond.