Proper nutrition plays a vital role in obtaining and maintaining overall health and quality of life. Our bodies must have quality fuel to function at an optimal level. This includes physical, psychological and intellectual health. They are all interconnected and the improvement of just a single element, will have a positive impact on the others.

Regardless of whether you are an athlete seeking to improve your performance, or recovering from a disease, adequate nutrients through healthy eating are an absolute necessity.

Physical Health

This is the most obvious benefit of healthy dietary habits. An active person must have adequate fuel through good nutrition to execute daily chores and increase moderate to intense exercise performance. Consumption of complex carbs such as vegetables, nuts, whole grain breads and beans, are best because the body takes longer to digest, versus simple carbs.

Our cells need the macronutrients in complex carbs to perform everyday functions. Foods in the simple carb category include candy bars, pastries, white bread, sodas and ice cream. Over-consumption of the latter category dramatically slows down the body’s metabolic processes and may become more susceptible to weight gain, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Psychological Health

According to the Mayo Clinic, a lack of certain nutrients such as folate, calcium and vitamin B12 can adversely affect your mental health. Depression, anxiety and mood swings are the main side effects of a diet lacking in nutrient dense foods.

A poor diet can cause lack of energy to perform basic tasks and a greater predisposition to illness. In turn, the inability to complete simple errands due to physical health, can cause one to feel depressed and have a decreased self-esteem and sense of self worth.

Cognitive Function

In addition to the mental health aspect, the ability to learn and acquire information more readily increases significantly with a healthy, balanced diet. For adults, alertness and good performance on the job are a crucial part of everyday life. For children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that a poor diet may result in lower functioning in school related activities such as learning new information, focusing on tasks at hand, tiredness and headaches. All of the aforementioned symptoms impair intellectual performance.

How They’re All Related

It is easy to see where all of the health related issues correlate. One deficiency may lead to another and vice versa. One of the best ways to fit a healthy diet into your lifestyle is to avoid going it alone. Make dinners with family and friends a priority. It strengthens bonds and permits you to hold one another accountable.

When you are by yourself, it is too easy to succumb to hitting up the drive thru at that fast food place, over and over again. Not only do you form social bonds with others, your physical health can improve and make you less vulnerable to all types of mentally and physically debilitating diseases.