Eating a healthy and balanced diet has a positive impact on your health in the long and short term. Eating a balanced diet includes eating from the 5 major food groups; vegetables, fruits, grains, meats and dairy (with alternatives where necessary) and limiting the amount of food that contains high levels of saturated fat, added salt and added sugars. Eating from these food groups everyday gives the body a range of nutrients which it needs for you to perform at your best both physically and mentally.
There are several positive short-term health effects from eating a healthy diet, it helps to increase your energy levels, physical function, and concentration throughout the day. Allowing you to perform all the tasks that you want and need to achieve, with a reduced feeling of fatigue and sluggishness. Helping to boost your mood and can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has also been shown to improve sleep quality which is an important factor for physical and mental recovery, with diet also playing a large role in recovery.
With a healthy diet our body can be equipped with the nutrients needed to rebuild and recover from exercise and other challenges throughout the day. It also helps to maintain gut health, providing the gut with nutrients and bacteria for it to thrive. These are just some of the positive effects of eating a healthy diet with a large range of health benefits both short and long term.
When referring to a balanced diet it is important not to forget about staying hydrated and ensuring you are drinking enough water regularly throughout the day. It is recommended that men drink around 2.5L and women 2L of water per day, however this varies for each person.
Some helpful tips to stay on top of your healthy eating!
- Eating regular meals throughout the day, including breakfast! Skipping a meal may make you more likely to overeat or indulge in unnecessary foods later in the day
- Ensure you are hydrated and drinking enough water throughout the day, using a water bottle throughout the day can be an easy way to keep track of how much water you are consuming
- Having a range of different meal options which will allow you to eat from all 5 of the major food groups each day
- Reducing your alcohol consumption, this may be reducing the amount of days per week or the amount you have each time you drink alcohol
- Eat with other people if possible and avoid sitting in front of the TV whilst eating, as this will help to keep meals balanced and avoid overeating
- Switching the sugary drinks with water or other lower sugar alternatives such as tea
- Planning your meals for the day or for the week may make you less likely to consume unhealthy food options and more likely to adhere to the healthy options
- You can still eat those other fun foods but just keep them in moderation and try to find some healthy alternatives if you are eating them a little too often
If you are struggling with keeping a balanced diet or don’t know where to start see a local dietitian and they can help you with what you should be eating and help you find ways to achieve these goals.