Eating a healthy diet is more often than not conveyed as a gateway to a ‘beach body’ or weight/fat loss. However, there are so many other benefits to eating a balanced diet which has nothing to do with weight, and in my opinion, this is what we should be shouting about. It is so easy to get caught up in demonising certain foods, especially when articles like this are circulating the internet daily, however eating is much more than the fat content. Eating is also about enjoyment so don’t feel like you need to avoid certain food because someone on the internet told you to. As long as you have a balanced diet and eat your favourite junk food in moderation there is no problem.
Below are five reasons we should be eating nutritious foods which have nothing to do with how you look or your weight:
YOU WILL FEEL HAPPIER
You may think that chocolate covered everything and fast food makes you feel happiest, in actual fact, the high sugar and fat content can alter your brain’s mood-regulating hormones making you feel low in the long run. Nutrient-dense foods can increase dopamine and serotonin which are mood-boosting chemicals, resulting in a happier mood.
Scientifically, nutrient-dense food is better for you, but sometimes all you need is a burger, fries and chocolate to make you feel good and that is totally fine too! Moderation is key and you should eat what you want, not what Sally on Instagram tells you to.
YOU WILL FEEL LESS STRESSED
A selection of healthier food has the ability to regulate the body’s production of cortisol which is the stress hormone. Eating a protein-rich diet can also help to moderate the stress levels in the body. Foods high in protein include chicken, eggs, nut butters, pulses and green vegetables.
Stress, however, does make us crave certain foods, so if you’ve had an awful day at the office and you fancy pizza for dinner, eat the damn pizza! Sometimes we just need that extra cheese or ice cream to make us feel better and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
YOU WILL HAVE A STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEM
Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals will, of course, help to keep your immune system healthy. This doesn’t mean however that salad should be on the menu for every dish within your day. A varied diet is as important as eating veg. I don’t know about you, but eating salad all the time wouldn’t make me very happy or leave me feeling satisfied. Get those greens into your diet but don’t think you have to be eating them 24/7.
YOU WILL HAVE IMPROVED GUT HEALTH
The bacteria living in your gut consumes whatever you eat, so in order for your gut to keep healthy, it is beneficial to make sure you eat fibre-rich food such as fruit and veg, and probiotics such as Greek yoghurt. Fried foods are deemed to be ‘bad’ for your gut health, but it comes down to the individual at the end of the day. Of course eating veg is ‘healthier,’ however everything in moderation won’t do much harm to your body so eat the fries if you want to!
YOU WILL HAVE MORE ENERGY
Eating a balance diet will provide you with the carbohydrates you need to produce enough energy for everyday life. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast will set you up for a productive morning and you will fuller for longer. Carbs get an incredibly bad rep and certain diets actually advise you to avoid carbs altogether, however they are the best way to keep your energy levels up without having to resort to caffeine or sugar.
It is recommended that 45 – 65% of daily calories come from carbohydrates, so eat the bread if you want to, because bread is not the devil, it’s bloody delicious!
Photo – Fordtography