We hear all the time about how it’s important to eat healthily and exercise regularly, but what exactly is it that eating healthy and exercising does for our bodies? Well, one of the most well-known benefits is that it helps you maintain a healthy weight, as eating junk food and being sedentary contributes to weight gain for many people. Losing extra weight and maintaining a healthy weight is very beneficial to overall health, but a healthy lifestyle offers many more benefits that aren’t weight-related.
Your Risk of Disease Decreases
You may have heard the expression “food is medicine” and there’s actually a lot of truth to this statement. Diseases of all types can be caused in a number of ways, and one of those ways is from inflammation. Inflammation is actually our body’s way of attacking bacteria and healing damage, but chronic inflammation is linked to asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is why eating an anti-inflammatory diet (i.e., leafy greens and oily fish) is always a good idea.
This is why diet is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle because eating fried and processed foods can increase inflammation. They can also increase blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, which leads to many other health issues. Other healthy diets to consider include:
- DASH diet
- Mediterranean diet
- Paleo diet
- Vegan diet
Remember that you should check with your doctor before starting any diet.
Your Mental Health Improves
Living a healthy lifestyle has a great impact on mental health— something that’s important for everyone at all ages. When you’re physically active, your brain releases all of the feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. While exercise doesn’t cure serious mental health issues, it does help increase feelings of self-worth and happiness.
Healthy eating also has an effect on mental health. The guy contains neurons responsible for secreting these hormones. When the gut microbiome is thrown off balance, so are the hormones. Foods for gut health include foods high in fiber and foods high in probiotics (sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha).
You’ll Save More Money…
…in the long run. Most people are aware that making healthier food choices at the grocery store is going to cost them a lot more money than buying processed and packaged/frozen foods. However, eating unhealthy foods and being sedentary can lead to a laundry list of health ailments— ailments that may require expensive doctor’s visits and even more expensive medications. And it’s not just internal medicine doctors you’ll have to visit; bad eating habits can also lead to tooth decay and expensive dental procedures to fix it.
Another price you may have to pay for an unhealthy lifestyle is the thousands of dollars a month required for residency in a nursing home. As we age, we’re more prone to these diseases, so it’s important to start living a healthy lifestyle now. If we choose not to, age-related illnesses can lead to you requiring round-the-clock care that is given in nursing homes.
You’re Able to Remain Mobile
Diseases such as diabetes can result in the amputation of limbs, limiting mobility, but lack of exercise can also result in limited mobility. Our bones, joints, and muscles all start to weaken in our late twenties/early thirties, and exercising regularly helps us keep them strong. On the other hand, lack of exercise can make conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (brittle bones) worse— resulting in limited mobility.
Limited mobility is another reason many elderly individuals have to move into nursing homes, because it’s no longer safe for them to remain living in their own homes. Unfortunately, abuse and negligence are common in homes, but these homes are the only place where these people can receive round-the-clock care. Luckily, there are quality nursing homes out there, but these tend to be the most expensive ones. Besides, retaining mobility in later life is linked to an increased quality of life.
So as you can see, there are many reasons why you should live a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and staying active. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, you also maintain your mobility in later life, you save more money by avoiding various doctor’s visits and medication, and you decrease your risk of both physical and mental illnesses. A healthy lifestyle provides you with lifelong benefits. Of course, there are some exceptions (such as hereditary illnesses), but it’s still more beneficial to pursue a healthy lifestyle in the long run.