Choosing healthy foods is not always easy. Many foods are high in fat, calories and sugar, but end up as regular parts of your diet because they taste good. There are multiple reasons for choosing healthy foods instead of junk food, and knowing the most important ones may help you pass on foods with no nutrition and make wiser eating choices instead. Making the right choices now will help prevent problems in the future.
Prevents Weight Gain
Most junk food contains no nutrition and too many calories and fat. Walter Willett, author of "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating," believes that eating these foods is the primary reason why so many people are overweight or obese. Filling your diet with foods that are empty of nutrition leaves less room for nutrient-filled foods. Opt for fruits, vegetables and skim milk, because they are lower in calories and fat and higher in nutrients, which may help prevent unhealthy weight gain.
Improves Your Appearance
A diet that is filled with fast food, packaged foods and sweets leaves out fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods. The book "Dr. Perricone's 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity" notes that the foods you choose can influence your appearance. Fatty, greasy and sugary foods can cause dry skin, brittle nails and dull hair, while more nutritious foods can give you a youthful glow and keep you looking younger. Eating foods like olive oil, salmon, nuts, leafy greens and brightly hued produce will keep your skin, hair and nails looking healthy.
Improves Health and Prevents Disease
Junk food has little to no nutrition, and if you fill up on it, your health may suffer. Your body relies on vitamins and minerals to work properly; if you do not provide a constant stream of those nutrients, your health may decline. Eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy will help provide your body with exactly what it needs to maintain health. Eating foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal, apples and nuts, can also protect your body from damage as well. The book "Healthy Foods: Fact Versus Fiction" reports that certain foods, including almonds, blueberries and broccoli, may prevent many types of cancer.
Improves Your Mental Health
Junk food can impact your mental health because it contains little of what your brain needs to produce the chemicals responsible for happiness and productivity. Gary Null reports in his book, "The Food-Mood-Body Connection: Nutrition-Based and Environmental Approaches to Mental Health and Physical Well-Being," that the foods you eat impact how good you feel as well as your outlook on life. The antioxidants and nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables can influence the hormones responsible for mental health. The omega-3 fatty acids in foods like salmon and walnuts also impact the health of your brain and your mental well-being. Junk food does the opposite, Null notes, by robbing your brain of the nutrients it needs to work properly.
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating"; Walter Willett; 2001
- "Healthy Foods: Fact Versus Fiction"; Myrna Chandler Goldstein and Mark A. Goldstein; 2010
- "The Food-Mood-Body Connection: Nutrition-Based and Environmental Approaches to Mental Health and Physical Well-Being"; Gary Null; 2000
- "Dr. Perricone's 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health, and Longevity"; Nicholas Perricone; 2006