1. Weight Loss
Losing weight can help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions including heart disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes, poor bone density, some cancers.
Whole vegetables and fruits are lower in calories than most processed foods. A person looking to lose weight should reduce their calorie intake to no more than what they require each day. 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.
2. Reduced cancer risk
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. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help to protect against cancer.
Many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes act as antioxideants which protect cells from damage that can cause cancer. Some of these antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E.
3. Diabetes management
Eating a healthful diet can help a person with diabetes to lose weight, manage blood glucose levels, keep blood pressure and cholesterol within target ranges, prevent or delay complications of diabetes.
It is essential for people with diabetes to limit their intake of foods with added sugar and salt. It is also best to avoid fried foods high in saturated and trans fats.
4. Heart health and stroke prevention
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, and 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. This type of cholesterol causes plaque to collect within the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Reducing blood pressure can also be essential for heart health and limiting salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day can help.
5. The health of the next generation
Children learn most health-related behaviors from the adults around them, and parents who model healthful eating and exercise habits tend to pass these on. Children who participate in gardening and cooking at home may be more likely to make healthful dietary and lifestyle choices.