People often assume that healthy eating is the same as dieting, but this is not the case. Eating healthy is not just about slimming down - it’s about feeling better both mentally and physically. By eating the right foods, you can make sure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Let’s cover five important benefits of healthy eating and how to make sure that you’re fulfilling your nutritional needs.

1. Improved Heart Health

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 700,000 people each year. Furthermore, the American Heart Association states that nearly half of U.S. adults live with some form of cardiovascular disease. Conditions like high blood pressure are a growing concern as well.

Fortunately, 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases are preventable. To lower your risk, you’ll need to exercise and eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins like grilled chicken.

2.  Reduced Risk for Cancer

One of the best ways to reduce your risk for cancer is by eating foods that contain healthy antioxidants. Free radicals in the body increase the risk for cancer, but antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables remove them to lower this risk.

Some of the best cancer-crushing foods to eat include berries, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, pumpkin and carrots because they have high levels of beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E.

3. Happier Mood

Researchers have found that diets high in refined carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, crackers, white bread, soda) have a high glycemic load that may trigger depression and fatigue.

On the other hand, people who eat healthy diets consisting of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins have a lower glycemic load, which results in a better overall mood. Plus, eating a healthy, well-rounded diet prevents sugar highs and crashes.

4. Set a Good Example

Children learn most health-related behaviors from the adults around them, so it’s important to ask yourself what example you are setting. Are you passing down healthy eating and exercise habits or is there room to improve?

Fortunately, it’s not too late to set a good example. Serve healthy meals, choose healthy restaurants when you dine out and eat together as a family as often as you can. These habits will make it easier for your children to eat healthy.

5. Boost Gut Health

The colon is packed with healthy bacteria, which play a role in digestion and metabolism. Certain strains of bacteria also fight harmful bacteria and viruses that can otherwise make you sick.

The best way to keep your gut healthy is by eating foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Inflammatory foods, however, increase inflammation and decrease the amount of good bacteria that live in the colon.

Healthy Eating is a Way of Life!

With a bit of practice and diligence, eating healthy is easier than you think! Make sure to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options, practice good portion control and eat your meals together as a family.

When you do dine out, try a healthy chicken restaurant like La Rosa Chicken and Grill. With our healthy salads, grilled chicken dishes and vegetable sides, you can enjoy eating out while staying on track with your nutritional goals.

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