Nutrition Basics 10 Reasons to Eat a Healthier Diet By Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 02, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Mia Syn, MS, RDN Medically reviewed by Mia Syn, MS, RDN Mia Syn, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a master of science in human nutrition. She is also the host of Good Food Friday on ABC News 4. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn't need to be complicated—or restrictive. Start by choosing a variety of foods from all the major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, dairy products, grains and cereals, and good oils and fats. Cutting back on less nutritious, higher fat, processed foods (there's no need to eliminate treats completely) can help you maintain a healthy weight—and is better for your heart and body in general. Here are 10 key reasons why striving for a healthier diet is worth it. 1 Weight Loss Tom Werner / Getty Images It's possible to lose weight by eating highly processed, low-calorie foods or by following a restrictive fad diet. However, this is 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. At the same time, you will feel satisfied and give your body the nutrients it needs. 2 Weight Gain While weight loss attracts a majority of the headlines, some people need to gain weight lost due to illness or for other reasons. Choosing healthful, energy-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can help you gain weight without resorting to foods that offer calories, but little or no nutrition. 7-Day, 1,800 Calorie Meal Plan: Recipes & Prep 3 Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Obesity and a history of less healthy eating habits are two major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Increasing your intake of nutritious foods and losing excess weight (if you're overweight) may help reduce your risk of having type 2 diabetes in the future. 4 Improved Heart Health 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. 10 Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Boost Heart Health 5 Reduced Risk of Cancer Eating an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, gaining too much weight, and heavy consumption of red and processed meats are all 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 Role Modeling It's unrealistic to expect your kids to eat broccoli 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 meals is one way to motivate them to try new foods. 7 Money Saving 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 with them before you stop taking any of these supplements. 8 More Energy Eating a well-rounded diet provides you with the carbohydrates you need for energy, along with enough B-complex vitamins to help the process along. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will help keep you alert all morning and set the stage for a day of healthy eating. While exercise is important, eating right is the most important thing you can do for your overall fitness and energy levels. Why Nutrition Is the Most Important Part of Fitness 9 Healthier Skin and Hair Eating a nutrient-dense diet helps you look your best by supplying the nutrients your skin needs to stay supple and smooth. It may even stave off wrinkles. Also, your hair needs good nutrition, including plenty of protein, to be soft, shiny, and healthy. 10 Improved Digestion 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. It also helps you feel full, so you're less likely to overeat. Eating right for your digestive system includes lots of fiber sources, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. 7 Tips For How to Use a Printable Meal Plan Template, According to Dietitians A Word From Verywell Experts have created broad, science-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 what will best motivate you to reach your personal health goals. This might mean a big overhaul of your diet, or starting with smaller changes. However you make your diet healthier, your body will thank you. 6 Tips to Create Healthy Eating Habits That Help You Feel Your Best 12 Sources Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Back to basics for healthy weight loss. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Healthy weight gain. Wu Y, Ding Y, Tanaka Y, Zhang W. Risk factors contributing to type 2 diabetes and recent advances in the treatment and prevention. Int J Med Sci. 2014;11(11):1185-1200. doi:10.7150/ijms.10001 Martínez-González MA, Gea A, Ruiz-Canela M. The Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health. Circ Res. 2019;124(5):779–798. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313348 Donaldson MS. Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr J. 2004;3:19. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-19 Savage JS, Fisher JO, Birch LL. Parental influence on eating behavior: Conception to adolescence. J Law Med Ethics. 2007;35(1):22–34. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2007.00111.x Van Horn L. Inconclusive supplement benefit, but undisputed advantages of healthy foods. JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(6):625–626. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0217 Slavin J, Carlson J. Carbohydrates. Adv Nutr. 2014;5(6):760–761. doi:10.3945/an.114.006163 Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Easy ways to boost fiber in your daily diet. Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH Jr, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009;67(4):188–205. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 8th Edition. Additional Reading National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Type 2 diabetes. By Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. These partnerships do not impact our editorial choices or otherwise influence our editorial content.