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Why healthy eating is important (even for skinny people)

Why it's important to maintain a healthy diet (Getty Images)

If you're one of those people who do not put on weight easily, you're probably the subject of envy of your less-fortunate friends. You might not think twice about eating a bag or two of chips or bars of chocolate as they don't show up on the scale anyway.

But there are other reasons for maintaining a healthy diet apart from weight-loss. Even if you have a naturally high metabolic rate, unhealthy foods you eat now can still affect your health later in life. For example, even if you are not overweight, eating large amounts of saturated fat can increase your risk for heart disease.

Maintaining healthy eating habits is essential to a stronger body and sharper mind. This article discusses how anyone can benefit from switching to a healthier diet.

You are what you eat

The old adage holds true in the long run. Eating healthy food leads to a healthy heart, brain, digestive system and overall body wellness. Furthermore, the human body houses extremely complex processes that require a wide variety of nutrients to function properly. Thus it is important to be aware of what you are consuming and to ensure that your diet contains a large variety of foods.

Cancer prevention

Many research studies have shown that your diet can affect your risk for cancer. Diets high in animal fat and meat have been linked to increased risk for various cancers, such as cancers of the stomach, esophagus, colon and breast. Additionally, a diet high in vegetables and fruits may actually be protective against some cancers, particularly lung, oral, stomach and colon cancers.

A healthy heart

Thin people can be at risk of heart disease too. A poor diet and physical inactivity will increase the risk of heart problems for any person, regardless of their body type.  Specifically, diets high in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans-fat and meat can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, while diets containing large amounts of soy protein, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber can decrease the risk.

Good digestion

An unhealthy diet can often be the cause of indigestion, constipation and bloating. Including plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your diet helps to add fiber and increases the ease of digestion and the movement of food through the digestive system.

A healthy glow

Even if your main motive for healthy eating is to lose weight, an improved diet can make you look better in more ways than just a slim body. A healthy diet will make your skin, nails and hair look healthier. With proper hydration and intake of the right types of protein and fat, you can minimise acne and achieve glowing, healthy skin. A proper diet will keep you looking young and fresh.

Brain boosters

While Alzheimer's has traditionally been thought of as an inevitable effect of old age, recent research has shown that certain diets can help to reduce the chances of getting this disease.

The risk for Alzheimer's disease can be decreased by adopting a diet aimed at reducing the occurrence of long-term inflammation, which is linked to the development of Alzheimer's.

Increased immunity

A diet that lacks certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and zinc, can weaken your immune system. Additionally, unhealthy processed foods often contain added chemicals and ingredients that may be harmful to your body. Adopting a healthy, well-balanced diet with all the essential vitamins and minerals will ensure that your immune system is at its best. Try to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

More energy

We know the feeling of returning home after a long day at school or work, when you're reluctant to do anything but eat and sleep. Improving your diet can help you by giving you more energy, allowing you to engage in other activities when you get home. Foods such as whole vegetables and fruits, lean protein and whole grains will help energise you, making you more productive both at home and at work or school.

A healthy mind

Feeling good about what you eat can help you feel good about yourself, as well. A healthy diet can improve your mood, decrease your level of stress or anxiety, and help you sleep better.

A healthy diet is thus essential for everyone, not just people seeking to slim down. Furthermore, metabolism can slow with age, thereby slowing the rate at which you burn calories. While a slowing metabolism is not a primary cause of weight gain, people who continue unhealthy eating habits and consume too many calories can gain weight over time.

Do you have tips for maintaining a healthy diet? Share them in the comments below!

Edited by Registered Dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide "Eat Your Way to Health — Secrets of a Healthy Diet".

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