Eating healthy food supplies your body with all the nutrients it needs for proper growth, maintenance and development. Due to busy schedules and the easy availability of processed and junk foods, however, bad eating habits can develop. Unfortunately, a nutrient-poor diet can have far more serious consequences than gaining a few pounds. The good news: Embracing lifestyle habits that include eating healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats, supports ongoing good health and helps you avoid health problems and chronic diseases.
Obesity occurs when you take in more calories than your body needs on a regular basis. The body stores excess calories as fat, which accumulates over time. The types of food you eat, however, can also make a difference. Consuming a standard American diet, which consists of large portions of unhealthy foods high in saturated and trans fat, refined grains and sugary beverages plays a large role in obesity. A diet consisting of healthful foods -- in controlled portions -- can help prevent obesity, as well as chronic health problems.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that results in high blood sugar levels because of the body's inability to use insulin properly. Long-term complications related to diabetes can lead to health issues like blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, amputations and nerve damage. Poor diet has been clearly linked to Type 2 diabetes. According to University of California's Department of Surgery, approximately 80 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. An unhealthy diet, along with excess weight around the waist, increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease and its variety of symptoms can result from a diet lacking in healthy foods. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men. Processed and junk foods are typically high in sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure. They are also high in saturated and trans fats that raise LDL -- bad cholesterol, which can clog arteries -- and reduce HDL -- good cholesterol. The good news is that you can lower your risk of developing heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes, which include healthy food choices.
Making a commitment to eating a healthy diet is a lifestyle change that can help you lower your risk of developing cancer. Consuming a diet rich in vitamins like A, C and E provides your body with powerful antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage, which is associated with cancer. Eating a healthy, cancer-preventative diet means focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, while cutting back on high-fat foods, especially those from animal sources.