Depending on whom you ask, “healthy eating” may take any number of forms. It seems that everyone, including healthcare professionals, wellness influencers, coworkers, and family members, has an opinion on the healthiest way to eat.
Plus, nutrition articles that you read online can be downright confusing with their contradictory — and often unfounded — suggestions and rules.
This doesn’t make it easy if you simply want to eat in a healthy way that works for you.
The truth is, healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s entirely possible to nourish your body while enjoying the foods you love.
After all, food is meant to be enjoyed — not feared, counted, weighed, and tracked.
This article cuts through the noise to explain what healthy eating means and how to make it work for you.
Before we dive into what healthy eating means, it’s important to explain why it matters.
First, food is what fuels you and delivers the calories and nutrients your body needs to function. If your diet is deficient in calories or one or more nutrients, your health may suffer.
Likewise, if you eat too many calories, you may experience weight gain. People with obesity have a significantly increased risk of illnesses like type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and heart, liver, and kidney disease (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Additionally, the quality of your diet affects your disease risk, longevity, and mental health.
While diets rich in ultra-processed foods are linked to increased mortality and a greater risk of conditions like cancer and heart disease, diets comprising mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods are associated with increased longevity and disease protection (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
What’s more, if your current diet is high in ultra-processed foods and beverages like fast food, soda, and sugary cereals but low in whole foods like vegetables, nuts, and fish, you’re likely not eating enough of certain nutrients, which may negatively affect your overall health (10Trusted Source).
Healthy eating is important for many reasons, including fueling your body, acquiring necessary nutrients, lowering your disease risk, increasing your longevity, and promoting optimal mental and physical well-being.
Article by: Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash
Healthy Eating 101: Nutrients, Macros, Tips, and More (healthline.com)