As a country, America is facing a monumental crisis and it is getting worse every year. Currently, about 300,000 people die each year due to causes related to poor nutrition. Another 80,000 cancer cases are diagnosed each year and these are related to the nutrition choices people make. 1 out of every 5 dollars of GDP is now spent on healthcare, and the cost is spiraling.
While the federal and state governments need to enact and implement the right policies to stem this growing epidemic caused by lack of ample attention given to nutrition, you as an individual need to do what you can so that proper nutrition becomes a bigger priority than it has so far been in your life.
Below are some key benefits that you will enjoy when you make proper nutrition a priority in your life.
The body was designed to work efficiently and also heal itself when faced by illness. However, due to inadequate attention to nutrition, our bodies have become deficient in a number of vital nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins.
As these deficiencies worsen, our bodies pay the price by becoming susceptible to a number of diseases. For example, a lack of ample magnesium in the body is linked to the onset of heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as mental health problems like anxiety.
As nutrient deficiencies pile up, we are likely to develop a wide variety of diseases and these compromise our health and wellness. It therefore follows that when you make nutrition a priority, you actively ward off many diseases and enjoy better health and wellness.
Who wants to spend the last 30-40 years of their life battling a variety of chronic ailments? The choices you make regarding your nutrition early on in your life can be a predictor of how long you will live as well as what quality of life you will have as you grow older.
Herein lies the crux of the problem; it isn’t immediately apparent to us how harmful certain dietary choices are until years or even decades later. For this reason, people tend to be, shall we say, more reckless or not mindful about their nutrition in the earlier years of their lives, only to regret and try to make amends later on when the manure hits the fan!
If you want to enjoy a long and healthy life, be mindful about your nutrition. You are what you eat, after all. If you are constantly eating junk food, it may be hard for you to enjoy good health as the years go by. For proof of this, think about the obesity pandemic facing America today and its associated problems of diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on.
Improved mental health
Making nutrition a priority also has positive effects upon your mental health. We have already mentioned that some minerals, such as magnesium, are vital in enhancing mental health. What you also need to know is that your gut health (microbiota) is pivotal to your mental health.
Research shows that people with a healthy balance of gut microorganisms enjoy better mental health, and that some mental health conditions are directly linked to imbalances in the gut microbiota.
Here is the kicker; what you eat and drink directly influences the types and numbers of microorganisms in your gut. If you are constantly eating processed foods and junk in general, a lot of the good gut bacteria will die off due to the excessive acidity created within your gut. As they die off, undesirable ones will overgrow and prevent vital nutrients from being absorbed in your small intestine, and that nutrient deficit will predispose you to mental health conditions like depression and mood issues.
Making nutrition a priority is therefore an act of self love with respect to your mental health.
Boosting energy levels
Have you ever wondered why the intake of energy drinks and stimulants is so high in modern society? Lots of people are depending on copious amounts of coffee and other energy drinks just to get through their day. Why is this so? Why is it that nearly 9 in 10 Americans confess to taking coffee or another stimulant daily?
When you prioritize nutrition, your body and mind receive the nutrients that they need to function optimally. Your energy levels will be high, and you will get through your day without crashing.
Contrast that with someone who takes a high-energy drink for a boost; the empty calories do cause a spike in blood glucose levels, and the person feels energized for a while. Once those empty calories are removed from the blood and stored as fat, they experience a dip and have to reach for another energy-boosting drink. The cycle of blood sugar level spikes and dips goes on and go.
The more sustainable solution is to eat right so that your body has a constant supply of energy for most of the day, if not throughout the day.
Enhanced sense of self-worth and independence
When you make nutrition a priority, you are likely to sleep well (your body has the nutrients needed to recharge, repair and grow), feel energized, keep your weight within the right range for your height (if you watch the portions you eat), and have fewer health complications.
All these benefits make you feel good about yourself, and the enhanced health quality allows you to avoid having to be helped to perform basic tasks. For example, a person with severe arthritis may find it hard to go shopping for groceries or clean their house, thereby needing help with these tasks. As you become increasingly unable to do the things you want to do, your independence shrinks and that has an adverse effect on your sense of self.
It is therefore in your best interest to make nutrition a priority so that you can boost your sense of self-worth while also retaining your independence for as long as is possible.
Setting the right example for those around you
Whether you have a family or are the owner of a business, the decisions and actions you take send conscious and unconscious messages to those around you. For example, a manager who respects and coaches their team indirectly influences those people to act in the same way towards all they interact with.
In a similar way, making nutrition a priority sends the right message to those around you. If you have kids, minding about proper nutrition sets them up to make the right dietary choices as they grow and have their own families. Since we are here to leave a better world than we found, prioritizing nutrition helps us to make a positive contribution in several ways, such as buying locally sourced natural foods and reducing the carbon footprint inherent in buying processed foods.
In closing, you don’t need to adopt a fad or extreme diet in order to be healthy. Place emphasis on a balanced diet featuring plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, unprocessed carbs (whole grains, for example) and moderate amounts of protein. America is largely suffering from over-nutrition, so moderation is vital here. How you allocate your time and other resources depicts what is important to you; allocate time, energy and focus upon your nutrition so that you can enjoy the benefits above, and more!
To Your Success,