“Healthy Eating” is a term you always hear about. But are you aware what it actually means or how is it important to have a healthy diet? Read on to know why eating healthy is important for you.
What is Healthy Eating?
Eating healthy simply means having foods that
- Aid in the growth of the body
- Improve functions of the body
- Provide protection from diseases
- Help in building a strong immune system
Everyone, from a little kid to a mature adult, requires a healthy eating habit to be physically in peak form. A healthy body helps you live a longer and better life. Most people know about the importance of healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, only a few care enough to follow them.
What Is the Importance of Eating Healthy?
Ever heard of the term – “You are what you eat?” Queer as it may sound, it is true nonetheless. People always have a different notion on healthy eating. It actually does not mean staying away from your favorite food but following a nutritious diet to remain energetic and healthy. A healthy diet plan provides the human body with greater energy and helps keep it active for longer periods. Such a diet typically consists of foods like:
Why healthy eating is important? The answer is not one but many. A balanced, healthy diet helps maintain an ideal body weight. It consists of healthy balance of meat or milk alternatives and is low in sugar and fat. Such a diet comprises of a wide variety of foods that supply the body with all the essential nutrients and adequate amount of fiber, minerals and vitamins. It also supplies the right amount of fat and sugar that is essential for the functioning of the body.
The Importance of Healthy Eating For Children
A proper diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. The origin of a healthy constitution begins from the time you are in your mother’s womb. However, it is the diet in childhood and teenage years that has the most impact on the development and growth of a human being. A healthy eating habit during the formative years of childhood builds the organ tissues, muscles, teeth, bones and heart of a person. Lack of enough nutrients in the diet stunts the growth of a child. A good supply of nutrients does just the opposite. This underlines the importance of eating healthy for kids.
A healthy diet builds up a strong immune system, protects kids from childhood obesity and helps maintain a healthy weight. Healthy diet is also important for would-be mothers. This is because their breast milk should comprise of essential nutrients that an infant needs for proper growth and development. Once an infant grows up a little, it can find these nutrients in foods.
Some important nutrients required by children are:
It builds bones and improves their strength. Low calcium level and weak bone strength can lead to osteoporosis in future.
Iron is an essential mineral required by the human body. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to acute effects and result in constant fatigue, irritability, lack of appetite and more.
It is one of the foods that are bad only when eaten in excess but good when consumed within limits. Potato has rich doses of fiber and vitamin C with only about 110 calories.
Vegetables, such as red cabbage, comprise of essential nutrients called antioxidants. Consumption of high amount of antioxidants can help lower the risk of cancer.
Importance of Healthy Eating For Teenagers
Teenage refers to the adolescent years when an individual goes through a period of mental and physical development. A healthy diet helps promote this development and satisfies the increased nutritional requirement of the age. The foods that are consumed during teenage years have an impact on the health when the person reaches adulthood. A healthy diet supplies the body with:
A teenage body requires more calories due to its rapid growth. Teenagers require more calories on a daily basis than at any other time in their lives. The average daily calorie intake should be 2,800 for teenage boys and 2,200 for teenage girls. The calorie intake should be higher for teens indulging in sports or anything that demands intense physical activity.
Teenagers should consume foods in right amounts which supply carbohydrates, proteins, fat and lipids in appropriate quantities. Carbohydrates and fat are rich sources of calories and protein for teenagers.
Minerals and Vitamins
Teenagers also require ample vitamins, fibers and minerals in their diet for formation and development of body tissues. Various foods, particularly vegetables and fruits, supply essential vitamins (such as A and D) and minerals like calcium that are needed for bone growth.
Many children and teenagers fail to see why it is important to eat healthy foods. It is the responsibility of parents to make their kids see the significance and make them habituated to a diet that includes foods which are great in taste and also contributive to their overall wellness.
Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast
Many people have a habit of skipping breakfasts when in a hurry. Studies, however, have shown the benefits of a healthy breakfast again and again. A healthy breakfast, comprising of essential nutrients, takes only a few minutes to eat but provides with immense benefits. Some of the main health benefits of a good breakfast are:
Supplies essential nutrients
A proper breakfast supplies all important nutrients and minerals to the body. A healthy diet consists of cereals that bolster the physical system with additional minerals and vitamins.
A good breakfast promotes better metabolic function in the morning. Skipping breakfast leads to a sluggish metabolism. However, having a proper breakfast speeds up the metabolism and makes the body burn calories while digesting food. Breakfast provides the human body with the first rich source of energy of the day that helps the metabolism function to its best.
Elevates Energy Level
Studies show that people having a good breakfast have a higher energy level than those who go without breakfast. Children who have breakfast are found to be more energetic and performing better in school.
Decreases Cholesterol levels
People having a diet comprising of foods like oat bran, oatmeal, strawberries and citrus fruits helps lower cholesterol levels due to the presence of soluble fiber in them. Low cholesterol helps reduce the risk of heart disorders.
A good, nutritious breakfast also improves concentration and memory, helps in weight loss and maintains stability of blood sugar levels.
A healthy diet is said to promote a lifetime of good food habits. A daily intake of foods that have little or no health benefits will not do you any good. On the other hand, healthy foods actually contribute to your well-being and promote physical wellness. This also serves to keep you in a healthy mind-frame and provides you with the necessary energy and vitality to perform daily functions.
Written by Dr Praveen Sivaraman
on June 11th, 2010. The article was last updated on September 26th, 2011