Many centuries ago, the crucial role of nutrition was recognized for achieving and maintaining optimum health and well-being. As declared by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” A healthy diet provides many benefits for our health; moreover it promotes a healthy weight.
Essential for growth and normal development
From the moment of fertilization, diet determines our anatomy, physiology and general health. Healthy eating is fundamental for pregnant women to give birth to a healthy baby. During infancy, there are periods of accelerated growth during which they will grow and the child develops diverse systems (digestive, nervous, skeletal, circulatory, excretory and immunologic).
A lack of nutrients during these critical moments can produce irreversible ramifications. For example, we can mention an iron deficiency that produces iron-deficiency anemia, which directs impacts the child’s cerebral development and mental performance.
Certain nutrients are considered to be essential because our body cannot synthesize them alone or is unable to produce them in large quantities, such as essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Preforms a main role in preventing and/or treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases
This pathologies include obesity, diabetes, arterial hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and strokes. In the majority of these cases the origin is related to lifestyle factors (eating habits, physical activity, smoking) that could be modified. Some of the benefits of a healthy diet are:
- Have a healthy weight
- Maintain normal blood sugar levels (glucose)
- Blood pressure control
- Prevent an excess level of total amount of cholesterol, including bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides
Conserve the integrity and elasticity of blood vessels and avoiding formation of athermanous plaque on the vascular walls, which could obstruct or break an artery that irrigates the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or a stroke.
Cancer is also a non-communicable disease and studies have proven that healthy eating helps to prevent various types of cancer, among which include colon, breast, stomach, and esophagus cancer.
Evokes a general sense of well-being
A healthy diet causes people to feel full of energy, revitalized and an overall sense of well-being. This leads to better work-performance, social life and state of mind.
A diet rich in complex antioxidants helps to improve the skin’s appearance, keeps the blood vessels healthy, protecting cells from oxidation, which normally accelerates the aging process and increases onset illnesses. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are: fruits (mostly citrus and red fruits), fresh vegetables, dried fruits, seeds, avocado, turmeric, green tea, rosemary, cinnamon and many others.
Moreover, a balanced diet can also help to have an active and healthy aging, which will protect physical health, reduce depression rates and improves social life. Well-nourished elderly adults have less risk of suffering a stroke, osteoporosis, cancer and becoming disabled.
Strengthens the immune system
The relation between food and immune system function are very close. A well-nourished person that has a healthy diet will be less propone to get sick and in most cases, if they suffer from some type of sickness, they mostly recuperate faster than others.
A malnourished person has a higher risk of getting an infection. If an obese person was to be in an inflammatory state, which predisposes them to complications or aggravating pre-existing conditions, even if the later is not directly related to the excess weight.
For example, if an obese person has a car accident and suffers trauma, they would have a greater risk of complications and recuperation will be more difficult, when compared to an individual that has a normal weight, in the same accident and lesions.