At some point, we’ve probably all asked ourselves – how important is healthy eating? The quick answer to that question – it’s REALLY important. Food is fuel for your body, it works best with premium fuel and not so great when you fill it up with rubbish.
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What defines healthy food?
Food is generally in its healthiest form when it’s totally unprocessed. Think along the lines of a ripe organic apple hanging from a tree. That’s as unprocessed and healthy as an apple can be.
For every stage of processing done to that apple, it becomes less healthy than it was before. By the time that apple ends up as the filling of an apple pie much of its healthy properties will have been lost. It’s from the same apple but the good nutritional content will be vastly lower than when the apple hung in the tree.
Now, it’s not always realistic for us to have totally unprocessed foods all the time. Also, many foods do need a minimum amount of processing for them to be edible.
For example, you can’t really eat a raw potato. It needs to be boiled, roasted, steamed or fried. Again the amount of processing will affect the good nutritional content. A steamed potato will be miles healthier than a bag of crips/potato chips with many more processing stages.
In summary, a less processed food is healthier than a more processed one.
What defines unhealthy food?
Generally speaking packaged foods with a long ingredient list is what I would class as unhealthy. Also, if I see numbers relating to artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in the ingredients I’m most likely dropping it.
It just so happens that these types of foods are going to have many more stages of processing than healthy food. In other words, they’re highly processed.
The longer the ingredient list and the further the food is from its natural state the less healthy you can consider it to be.
Why is healthy eating important?
The human body is one of the most amazing and complex organisms there is. To say it’s a finely tuned machine is an understatement. That finely tuned machine needs the right fuels to keep everything in tip-top condition.
All the nutrients we need are provided for us in the form of fruits, vegetables, and meats. The meat one is debatable (even by me) but let’s leave it for now. As long as we eat those we should get everything we need for our body to function correctly.
The problem is that overprocessing of these foods removes much of the nutritional content. To the point where we no longer receive the nutrients we really need. This can happen slowly, unnoticed over a long period of time. That leads to a slow deterioration of our body’s optimal state.
Unhealthy food provides your body with empty nutritionless fuel. It gives your body the energy to function and little if anything else. We need more than that to maintain our bodies.
If some part of your body can’t find the nutrients it needs in food it will look elsewhere. It’ll start pulling those nutrients from another part of the body that doesn’t immediately need it. This is normally okay on a short-term basis but not for long-term nutrient starvation. That’s why always eating unhealthy foods is so bad for our bodies
I’m sure by now you can see where I’m going with this.
The list of consequences and problems from long-term, constant eating of unhealthy foods is endless.
EVERY part of your body depends on the nutrition that comes from healthy foods. And that’s why we need to eat a healthy diet on a very regular basis.
Why have our eating habits become mostly unhealthy?
There are many debatable reasons why our diets are now mostly unhealthy but I’m going to give my own view on this. I blame advancements in technology, money, and addiction to technology.
Reason #1 Advancements in technology
Technology advancements mean foods can be mass-produced and processed on a scale never before seen or imagined possible a century ago. What that means for us is that these unhealthy foods are now everywhere you go, always there to tempt you. Mass production also means things become less expensive, one less reason not to buy.
Reason #2 Money
It’s in the interest of the companies making these foods to make them as appealing as possible to you and me. Their goal is to get you to buy their product, to make more money, it’s not to make you healthier (for most anyway). If that means putting more sugar, sweeteners, fat, colors, preservatives, etc. into their product then that’s what they’ll do.
It sounds harsh but that’s the reality, that’s the real world. Those massive companies don’t give a crap about your health. They care about the health of their wallet, their bottom line.
This isn’t the case for all food-producing companies of course. There are definitely are more health-focused ones out there. The trouble is they are vastly outnumbered. Generally speaking the smaller and more local they are the better. Trust your own judgment, gut feeling, and ability to interpret ingredient lists.
Reason #3 Addiction to technology
For most of us, our time has become consumed with everything around us. Suddenly we’re too busy and don’t have time anymore for preparing healthy meals. But wait shouldn’t the technological advancements of the last century have made us far, far less busy? The reality for most is that we have become spoiled AND addicted to things like phones, TVs, and computers. Those are the things that are consuming our time.
How to start eating healthier?
This will be obvious if you read the section above about why our diets have become unhealthy. To start the process of eating healthier a change in current lifestyle is required. For most of us, change is hard and we don’t much like it. Remember that last statement, it’s important.
So, what are the changes required?
Firstly, more time and effort must be found and devoted to healthy eating. That’s pretty obvious.
Secondly, some of the time spent on things that don’t benefit your health must be sacrificed. I don’t need to tell you what these things are because I know you know.
When you start down the path of change (for anything) it’s difficult, it always is. It’s important to not expect it to be easy. Knowing so means you’re less likely to give up when things get tough.
Things like learning how to find, prepare, and adapt to the taste of new foods will be difficult for some.
What I can tell you though is that the changes you make will become easier. Soon they become part of your everyday routine and eventually become a habit.
Remember that statement I told you to remember earlier? That “change is hard and we don’t much like it” one. Well, pretty soon your healthy eating habits become that thing you don’t want to change.
I’ll use a recent example of my own here. About a month ago I started having a mint tea with my breakfast. It annoyed me at the start because of the extra preparation time in the morning. However, fast forward a month and it now annoys me when I can’t have it with my breakfast. Its become a healthy habit that will be hard to change for me now.
How much healthy food do I need to eat?
I would say about an 80:20 ratio of healthy to unhealthy is fine.
It doesn’t have to be a case of all or nothing. Many people fail using that mentality. Going good for a few weeks then have a few unhealthy meals or a bad day and thinking to themselves ‘I’ve failed, what’s the point, I’m giving up now!’. Try your best to steer away from that way of thinking, it’s destructive, to say the least.
And remember anything is better than nothing, and the more the better.
Is healthy eating worth it?
I think you know the answer to this. Healthy eating is undoubtedly one of the best investments you can make in terms of improving your health. It’s definitely worth it! As the saying goes – “You are what you eat”. That statement is 100% true. We are literally made up of the nutrients contained in the things we eat. I can’t understate the importance of this concept. You simply can’t have a healthy body while constantly eating unhealthy food.
Can healthy eating taste good?
Absolutely 100% yes healthy eating can and should taste good. Once you decrease your unhealthy intake and increase your healthy intake something rather strange happens. It’s like your taste buds were dead and then they come back to life.
Nothing tastes as good as freshly prepared healthy food. Try comparing a microwave dinner with a tomato, basil, and buffalo mozzarella salad seasoned with a little salt and pepper. In terms of taste and nutritional value, there are absolutely zero comparisons.
Healthy food doesn’t mean bland and tasteless. Quite the opposite in fact. It makes the extra time and effort it takes to prepare healthy food so worth it.
Related healthy eating articles
I’ve recently done some articles about the following healthy foods.
Check them out to get an idea of the kind of health benefits those simple foods can provide you with.
This only scratches the surface of what is the many healthy foods available to us all. We just need to educate ourselves as to what they all are.
The purpose of this blog post wasn’t to give you a list of healthy foods you can eat. That information is everywhere if you want it.
The purpose is to spark an awareness in you of how important healthy eating is. And how beneficial it’ll be for your health. It should also make you aware that you’re in control of what you eat, and that you can have a healthy diet. It just takes a little effort and commitment to get started.
Also, please don’t think it has to be healthy food all the time, or no point in doing it. That is pretty much a guarantee to set yourself up for failure. I certainly don’t eat healthy food 100% of the time. I just try my best to stick to that 80:20 ratio.
As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, advice, questions, or opinions related to this article.
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