We all know that we’re supposed to eat healthily, but this is often much easier said than done. Sometimes picking up a pizza is just more convenient than cooking a nutritious meal at home. And do we even need to mention that delicious taste? Yes, eating healthy can certainly be a challenge, but many find that it’s worth it at the end of the day. The short-term effects of improved digestion, energy, and sleep are certainly nice. However, it’s really the long-term benefits that lead to some of the greatest health outcomes. What are those outcomes, you ask? Good question! Here are 3 long-term benefits of eating healthy.
1. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke While many may not think about it while they’re young, heart disease is a real problem in Canada. An astounding 90% of Canadians have 1 or more risk factors for stroke and heart disease. That is indeed a high number, but there is some good news here: you actually have control over some of these risk factors. In fact, nearly 80% of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes. For example, an unhealthy diet is considered a lifestyle risk factor. Therefore, by focusing on healthy eating, you can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
2. Better Memory One of the most frustrating things about getting older has got to be memory problems. You may gradually begin to lose the memory of what went on in the past, plans you’ve made for the future, and perhaps even what’s going on in the present. It can be upsetting for both the patient and everyone around them, and is one of the things that may scare people most as they get older. If you are particularly worried about a declining memory, then you may be interested in yet another long-term benefit of a healthy diet. Research shows that nutrients such as flavonoids, polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D, C, and E may help protect against dementia and cognitive decline. Fortunately, these nutrients can be found in many different types of healthy foods, like fish and various vegetables. However, if you’d prefer a whole diet plan that incorporates them, then consider looking into something like the Mediterranean diet.
3. Strong Teeth and Bones It’s important to do what you can to keep your bones healthy as you get older, as their gradual decline may begin sooner than you think. In fact, bone mass stops increasing in your thirties, so your body goes into maintenance mode pretty quickly when you consider the average lifespan. Those who don’t take steps to protect their teeth and bones may be at risk of osteoporosis when they’re older, a disease that weakens the bones to the point where they can easily break. Therefore, if you want to hold on to your strong teeth and bones as long as possible, you should try eating healthy. More specifically, you should be consuming foods that are rich in nutrients like magnesium and calcium. For example, some excellent sources of calcium include cabbage, broccoli, legumes, tofu, and canned fish with bones. Looking for some delicious, healthy meal options? Check out our menu at Sõl Kitchen here.