A healthful diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables of many colors, whole grains and starches, good fats, and lean proteins.
Eating healthfully also means avoiding foods with high amounts of added salt and sugar.
Maintaining a healthful diet free from processed foods can help a person to stay within their daily limit without having to count calories. Fiber is one element of a healthful diet that is particularly important for managing weight. Plant-based foods contain plenty of dietary fiber, which helps to regulate hunger by making people feel fuller for longer. In 2018, researchers found that a diet rich in fiber and lean proteins resulted in weight loss without the need for counting calories.
An unhealthful diet can lead to obesity, which may increase a person's risk of developing cancer. Weighing within a healthful range may reduce this risk. Also, in 2014, the American Society of Clinical Oncology reported that obesity contributed to a worse outlook for people with cancer. However, diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help to protect against cancer. In a separate study from 2014, researchers found that a diet rich in fruits reduced the risk of cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract. They also found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber lowered the risk of colorectal cancer and that a diet rich in fiber reduced the risk of liver cancer. Many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes act as antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that can cause cancer. Some of these antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E.
According to figures published in 2017, as many as 92.1 million people in the U.S. have at least one type of cardiovascular disease. These conditions primarily involve the heart or blood vessels. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, up to 80 percent of cases of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented by making lifestyle changes, such as increasing levels of physical activity and eating healthfully. There is some evidence that vitamin E may prevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks. The following foods contain high levels of vitamin E: almonds peanuts hazelnuts sunflower seeds green vegetables The medical community has long recognized the link between trans fats and heart-related illnesses, such as coronary heart disease. If a person eliminates trans fats from the diet, this will reduce their levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Emerging evidence suggests a close relationship between diet and mood.
In 2016, researchers found that a diet with a high glycemic load may cause increased symptoms of depression and fatigue.
A diet with a high glycemic load includes many refined carbohydrates, such as those found in soft drinks, cakes, white bread, and biscuits. Vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains have a lower glycemic load.
While a healthful diet may improve overall mood, it is essential for people with depression to seek medical care.
A healthful diet may help prevent dementia and cognitive decline. A study from 2015 identified nutrients and foods that protect against these adverse effects. They found the following to be beneficial: vitamin D, C, and E omega-3 fatty acids flavonoids and polyphenols fish Among other diets, the Mediterranean diet incorporates many of these nutrients.
The colon is full of naturally occurring bacteria, which play important roles in metabolism and digestion. Certain strains of bacteria also produce vitamins K and B, which benefit the colon. These strains also help to fight harmful bacteria and viruses. A diet low in fiber and high in sugar and fat alters the gut microbiome, increasing inflammation in the area. However, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains provides a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that help good bacteria to thrive in the colon. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir, are rich in probiotics. Fiber is an easily accessible prebiotic, and it is abundant in legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements, which can help to prevent bowel cancer and diverticulitis. Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements, which can help to prevent bowel cancer and.