10 Reasons to Eat a Healthier Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn't need to be all that complicated—or restrictive. Start by choosing a variety of foods from all the major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, lean meats or protein sources, dairy or calcium, grains and cereals, and healthy oils and fats. It's OK to have occasional treats, but cutting back on less healthy, high fat, processed foods can help you maintain a healthy weight—and is better for your heart and body in general.

Sometimes, though, the question isn't just about what makes up a healthy diet but why a person should aim to eat one in the first place. So, in case you're wondering, here are 10 key reasons why striving for a healthier diet is worth it.

1

It Makes Losing Weight Easier

Dad Snacking With His Son While Preparing Healthy Lunch

Tom Werner / Getty Images

It's possible to lose weight by eating highly processed, low-calorie foods or by following the latest restrictive fad diet. However, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it's just not the ideal way to lose weight, keep it off, or improve your health.

Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, high-fiber whole grains and legumes, and lean protein sources will help you lose weight and supply you with all the nutrients you need. 

2

It Makes Gaining Weight Easier

While weight loss attracts a majority of the headlines, there are a number of people who need to gain weight due to illness or other reasons. Choosing healthful energy-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can help you gain weight healthily without resorting to calorie-dense foods that aren't nutritious.

3

It Reduces Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A history of less healthy eating habits and obesity are two major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. On the flip side, increasing your intake of healthful foods and losing excess weight (if you're overweight) may help reduce your risk of having type 2 diabetes in the future.

4

It's Good for Your Heart

A diet rich in fish, nuts, fruits, grains, and veggies, such a Mediterranean-style diet, provides your body with omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that are good for your heart. This type of diet also makes it easier to avoid most trans-fats, which are associated with cardiovascular disease.

5

It May Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Eating an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, gaining too much weight, and heavy consumption of red and processed meats are associated with a higher risk of some forms of cancer. Although it's difficult to say with certainty that any particular foods prevent cancer, eating a healthy diet overall may decrease your cancer risk.

6

It Sets a Good Example for Your Kids

It's unrealistic to expect your kids to eat broccoli (at least happily) if you don't eat anything green yourself. Setting a good example for your child when it comes to healthy foods shows them that you value good nutrition and lets them see what healthy eating really looks like.

And the more foods you expose your child to, the more likely they will be to find healthy ones they want to eat. Bringing kids into the kitchen to help prepare these meals is one great way to get them motivated to try new foods.

7

It Can Save You Money

Eating a healthful, balanced diet can provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals you need each day—and may eliminate the need to buy dietary supplements. While it's usually OK to take a multi-vitamin to ensure an adequate intake, it might not actually be doing anything to improve your health.

Research is inconclusive about the benefits of supplements and indicates there are far more health benefits associated with simply eating a variety of healthful foods. Additionally, in some cases, taking supplements can be risky.

If your healthcare provider has advised you to take supplements, consult your provider before you stop taking any prescribed supplements.

8

It Can Give You More Energy

Eating a healthy diet provides you with the carbohydrates you need for energy, along with enough B-complex vitamins to help the process along. Don't forget to start with a healthy breakfast, which will help keep you alert all morning and set the stage for a day of healthy eating. The bottom line is that eating right is the most important thing we can do for our overall fitness and energy levels.

9

It's Good for Your Skin and Hair

Eating a healthy diet helps you look your best by supplying the nutrients your skin needs to stay supple and smooth and may even stave off wrinkles. Also, your hair needs good nutrition, including plenty of protein, to be soft, shiny, and healthy. 

10

It Keeps Your Digestive System Happy

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most Americans eat far less dietary fiber than they should. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system and helps to maintain normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Eating right for your digestive system includes lots of fiber sources, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

A Word From Verywell

There are broad scientifically-based guidelines on what healthy eating looks like and why it's important. But it's also key to define what healthy eating means for you and to follow your inner wisdom on what will best motivate you to reach your personal health goals.

This might mean making a big overhaul to your diet or starting small with more manageable changes. However you choose to start making your diet healthier (even with just a few tweaks), your body will thank you.

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