Healthy eating contributes to physical, mental well-being

Eating healthily is not only good for your body but for your mind as well. A well-balanced diet can provide you with energy, nutrients and health benefits that improve the overall quality of your life.

Eating healthily is not only good for your body but for your mind as well. A well-balanced diet can provide you with energy, nutrients and health benefits that improve the overall quality of your life.

Everything you eat has an effect on your body. Some foods can have long-term negative effects on your health, especially when consumed excessively. It is important, therefore, to always be sure that what you consume is healthy and will contribute to your well-being.

Heart health

Eating healthy foods can lower your risk of heart disease. Foods that are rich in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are key factors for the health of your heart.

Foods that are low in saturated and trans fats such as lean meats, fish, nuts and vegetable oils can also protect your heart from damage. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is an eating plan that has proved effective in helping prevent and treat high blood pressure and heart disease.

Cancer prevention

A healthy diet can also reduce your risk of some types of cancer such as colorectal, breast and prostate cancer. Foods that contain antioxidants such as berries, citrus fruits and green tea can help fight free radicals. These are molecules that can damage your cells and DNA.

Foods that are high in phytochemicals such as cruciferous vegetables, garlic and turmeric can also modulate your immune system and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Stomach health

Your stomach health, which is important for your digestion and immunity, can benefit from foods that contain probiotics, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, which help balance your gut flora, the beneficial bacteria that live in your intestines.

Prebiotics found in foods such as bananas, oats and asparagus can also feed your gut flora and help them thrive. Foods that are high in fibre such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains promote bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Weight management

Following a healthy diet helps maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese is a health risk for a number of non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

A diet that is low in calories and high in nutrients is the most appropriate for weight management. It should include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins which all help you feel full and satisfied without overeating.

Foods that are high in fibre, such as whole grains, beans and nuts can also slow down your digestion and keep your blood sugar stable, which can prevent hunger and cravings.

Mood enhancement

Healthy eating can boost your mood and mental well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds can help improve your brain function as well as your mood.

Vitamin B rich foods such as eggs, beans and leafy greens can also help regulate your nervous system and produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible  for your emotions.

Meals that are high in protein, such as those that include lean meats, dairy and soy, can also provide you with amino acids, which are the building blocks of neurotransmitters.

Memory improvement

Your memory and cognitive function can be enhanced by eating foods that contain antioxidants, which include berries, nuts and dark chocolate. These help protect your brain from oxidative stress, which can impair your memory and learning.

Foods that contain choline, such as eggs, liver and soy, help produce acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter that is involved in memory and learning. Foods that are high in iron such as red meat, spinach and lentils can also prevent anaemia, which can cause fatigue and poor concentration.

Diabetes control

Diabetes can be controlled or even prevented by consuming the right food. Foods that are low on the glycaemic index, such as whole grains, legumes and non-starchy vegetables, can help lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your insulin resistance.

This can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

High fibre foods can help regulate your blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity.

This can help you manage your diabetes if you have it.

Bone and teeth strength

Healthy eating can also strengthen your bones and teeth. This can prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay. High in calcium foods that include dairy and broccoli can help build and maintain your bone density and prevent fractures.

Foods that are high in vitamin D can also help your body absorb calcium and support your bone health. Vitamin D rich foods include fatty fish, eggs and mushrooms.

Meals that are high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, peppers and strawberries can also help produce collagen. This is a protein that supports your bones, teeth and gums.

Improved sleep quality

The quality of your sleep may also be affected by what you eat. Poor sleep quality can adversely affect your physical and mental health.

Foods that contain melatonin such as cherries, bananas and oats can help regulate your circadian rhythm. This is your natural sleep-wake cycle. Foods that contain tryptophan such as turkey, milk and cheese can also help produce serotonin. This is a hormone that induces sleepiness.

Magnesium rich foods such as almonds, spinach and avocado can help relax your muscles and nerves and promote restful sleep.

Baby’s health

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, healthy eating has benefits for your baby as well as for you.

Foods that are high in folate such as lentils, spinach and avocado can help prevent birth defects that affect the brain and spine of the baby.

Low birth weight and premature delivery can be caused by anaemia. Eating foods that are high in iron such as red meat, beans and dried fruits can help prevent anaemia.

Foods that are high in iodine can also support the brain development and thyroid function of the baby. These include seafood, dairy products and iodised salt.


To enjoy the benefits of eating healthily eat a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

Choose foods that are low in added sugars, salt and fats, especially saturated and trans fats. Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine.

Eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals or snacking too much.

Plan your meals ahead

and cook at home as much as possible. Read nutrition labels and choose foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Try to eat your meals mindfully, without distractions or stress.

  • The information in this article is provided as a public service by the Cimas iGo Wellness programme, which is designed to promote good health. It is provided for general information only and should not be construed as medical advice. Readers should consult their doctor or clinic on any matter related to their health or the treatment of any health problem. — [email protected] or WhatsApp 0772 161 829 or phone 024-2773 0663.

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