How Eating Healthy Now Affects Your Body in the Future

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Ever toyed around with the idea of eating any ol‘ way now and leaving healthier options for “when you get older” and really need the health? Don’t you wish it worked that way?

Think of your health as the amount of money in your bank account. Just as you’d like to have more money and keep growing, it’s also wise to have more health in your body and keep that growing as well.

And while maintaining a balanced diet may not always be convenient or cheap, it’ll definitely pay off both in the short and long-term health plan you intend to have for your body.

A healthy diet means you’re doing the following on a daily, or in some cases weekly, basis:

  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Eating foods rich in folate, as dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers
  • Balancing your intake of macronutrients according to your preferred way of eating healthily (based on your chosen diet)
  • Cut back on sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and alcohol
  • Eat fish 2 or 3 times a week
  • 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Drink caffeine in moderation

Eating Healthy on The Standard American Diet

“I would say that the most important thing [in keeping one’s heart healthy] is a well-rounded diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains and fiber,” says Sally Barclay, a registered dietician at the Nutrition Clinic for Employee Wellness at Iowa State.

If you’re following the Standard American Diet, a good trick to eating healthy is to divide your plate. Mentally visualize your plate divided into 4 quarters.

One quarter should be lean protein the size of your palm; one quarter should be complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice or pasta; the last 2 quarters should be fruits and/or vegetables.

The more colorful your plate, the healthier it is for you.

Choosing the High Fat Low Carb Diet

You plate will look a little different if you’re following emerging high fat low carb diets such as the ketogenic diet. 

Research shows that consuming high amounts of healthy fats, moderate protein and very low carbohydrates improves your overall health and well-being. 

This type of diet is perfect for those wanting to lose weight or prevent/control certain chronic illnesses. Read more about this and learn how to start a ketogenic diet here.  

Reasons to Eat Healthy Now

Here are a few reasons why it would be beneficial to begin eating a healthy diet now and maintaining this throughout your life. 

Your Diet Affects Your Emotional State

For a quick pick-me-up, the first thing we crave is pastries or some French fries. But the truth is those foods contain refined carbs which even though they may help the brain produce serotonin, they also cause a quick crash.

Serotonin is also known as the “feel good” hormone which your brain secretes when you feel pride after hitting a milestone or reaching a goal.

On the healthy side of the spectrum, healthy fats produce a more lasting effect on your mood and sustain the levels of serotonin in your body.

A Healthy Diet Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight

Staying within your recommended daily caloric intake and eating moderately sized meals are two ways you can be in control of your weight.

Having a healthy weight means you’re reducing your risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes just to name a couple.

A Healthy Diet Boosts Your Energy Levels

Eating foods high in iron sustains your energy levels throughout the day since the mineral iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body.

Examples of food sources rich in iron are spinach, Swiss chard, almonds and quinoa.

Also, snacking on nuts and fruits, and drinking water helps maintain your energy levels.

This is what happens to your body when you start eating a healthy, nutritious diet:

After 1 day:
Less hunger pangs
Boost in metabolism
Increased focus and clarity

After 1 week:
Increased energy levels
Better sleep
Decreased bloating
Emotional stability

After 1 month:
Youthful skin
Eating healthy becomes a lifestyle choice
You save money on soft drinks, fatty junk food and snacks

After 6 months:
Boost in self-confidence
Better sex
Lower blood pressure
Stronger bones

After 1 year:
You’ve reached your goal weight
You’re smarter about your food choices
You feel stronger and more alive
You get sick less often
Your concentration and memory have increased

In their book Perspectives in Nutrition Gordon M. Wardlaw and Paul M. Insel state that “…nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions.

The essential meaning is that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop.

If you think about it in that perspective, you’ll realize that food is much more than just counting calories or reading food labels. It makes us look at food as the sustenance we need to keep going strong for many years to come.

If living life fully well into the golden years is an objective you have, eating healthy now is essential. The food you eat now dictates the quality of your life to come. 

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