Top 5 Reasons to Eat Healthy

A diet built on a foundation of healthy food choices has plenty of benefits including weight loss, more energy and disease prevention. A healthy diet allows you to eat unhealthy foods sometimes, provided you make the right choices most of the time. A healthy lifestyle is about balance, not deprivation.

1. Lose Weight. Eating healthy encourages weight loss because switching from unhealthy junk to healthy alternatives reduces your calorie intake. Junk food is made up of empty calories: foods high in energy but low in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Making smarter food choices (replacing doughnuts, soda, candy, fruit juice and fast foods with healthier choices such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lean meats and whole wheat bread/pasta) reduces calorie intake leading to weight loss. Replacing bad foods with good foods is the easiest way to lower calorie intake; no calorie counting is required.

2. Energy. Healthy foods provide long lasting energy that helps you perform optimally throughout the day. Junk food creates a big spike in energy levels followed by an equally big crash. Foods high in sugar cause these crashes because they are digested very quickly. Quick digestion floods the body with a lot of energy in a short period of time. Healthy foods offer a much longer digestion time giving you a slower, more stable release of energy without the crash.

3. Gain Muscle. Too often, gaining weight/muscle is seen as a blank check to eat everything in sight. Gaining weight requires a combination of more food (calorie surplus) and strength training. Eating too much junk leads to excessive fat buildup. Eating bigger meals is another bad way to increase calorie intake. Instead, add small, healthy snacks into your diet throughout the day. Smaller more frequent meals allow your body to better utilize energy. Stay away from junk food and focus on filling your diet with healthy options such as unsaturated fats, lean proteins and complex carbs.

4. Look Good. Junk food causes unsightly fat buildup because it is higher in calories and sugar than healthier options. A large meal or high amount of sugar gives the body an unmanageable amount of energy in a short period of time which gets stored as fat. Smaller more frequent meals allow the body to more efficiently manage energy leading to less fat buildup and a more toned appearance.

5. Health. The most important reason to eat healthy is to keep your body in peak condition. The type of food you eat has a big impact on your overall health. Unsaturated fat protects you from cardiovascular disease. Fiber lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure and prevents certain types of cancers. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which also protect against a wide variety of cancers.

The Bottom Line

Eating healthy food prevents disease, improves your appearance and helps with weight loss/gain. Do not confuse a healthy diet with depriving yourself of the foods you love. A balanced diet can occasionally include unhealthier options some of the time as long as you make the right decisions most of the time.