Being healthy is a goal for many people. According to research published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports, what type of diet a person eats affects their quality of life.  Scientists and doctors explain the risk of having a poor diet and how you can use your diet to live a healthy life.

Health Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  The CDC also states that one in ten Americans have diabetes.  The National Cancer Institute reports that over 600,000 people die of cancer each year.

And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80 percent of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes, and up to 40 percent of cancer would be prevented if people lived healthier lifestyles, including diet and exercise.

A healthy diet is essential because your body needs the proper food and nutrients to function well.  Aging and environmental factors like stress and pollution can affect how your body works.  A healthy diet fights the effects of aging and the environment.  Your diet can also support good immune health, muscle strength, and brainpower.

Cut Down on the Carbs

Carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your body.  But too many carbs can lead to added weight and an unhealthy life.  Examples of food that contain carbs include:

  • Bread
  • Vegetables
  • Raw and Refined Sugar
  • Fruits
  • Soft Drinks
  • Pasta

When planning your diet, include carbs from foods that offer additional nutrition, like the vitamins in fruits and vegetables.  Soft drinks, desserts made with refined sugar, and junk foods usually contain many carbs but have few vitamins.  You can also choose healthier whole-grain versions of bread and pasta.

Eat Lean Protein

Protein in your diet helps build and repair muscle tissue.  Eating protein can also make you feel fuller and curb cravings and snacking.  Eating more lean protein instead of empty carbs helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  Examples of lean meat and other healthy protein sources include:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Tofu

Use Healthy Oils

According to the American Heart Association, using healthy oils as part of your diet helps reduce heart disease risk.  Healthy oils can also reduce inflammation that accelerates the aging process and can lead to arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.  Examples of healthy oils include:

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Flaxseed Oil

Drink More Water

According to a study in Nutrition Reviews, water is essential for human life.  By staying hydrated, your body functions work correctly.  Your body is up to 75% water, based on your age.  Infants have more water, and the elderly have a little less water in their bodies.

Water helps move nutrients, supports healthy cells, and is part of how your body removes toxins. You get thirsty when your body senses a need for more water.  Replacing soft drinks, fruit juice, and other high sugar, high-calorie beverages with water is key to a healthy life.

A Healthy Plate for Your Diet

The Harvard School of Public Health suggests a healthy plate plan to help you create a diet that provides a healthy life.  The plan includes:

  • The more vegetables, the better.
  • Eat plenty of fruits of all colors.
  • Eat a variety of whole grains and limit refined grains like white bread and white rice.
  • Chose fish, poultry, and nuts for lean protein.
  • Use healthy oils for cooking and at the table.
  • Drink water, tea, or coffee with no sugar.

Portion Size

Another aspect of diet and healthy living is how much you eat.  Many foods have a suggested serving or portion size listed.  Eating more than the recommended serving, especially snack or junk foods, can add additional calories without adding nutrients.  While it’s okay to indulge once in a while, keeping to the portion size will improve your diet and provide a healthier life.