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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Well

Healthy eating does a waistline good, but it also improves your life in many ways beyond losing weight.

By Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D.

Yes, our goal is to help you lose a pound or two this month. But as a health professional, my primary mission is to help you optimize your overall wellness. There are plenty of reasons to eat healthfully that have nothing to do with shedding pounds. Here are five.

Reason #1: You’ll Boost Your Mood

Studies have found that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are calmer, happier, and have more energy. The effects are seen not only on the day more produce is consumed, but also the following day. Other studies have found that eating more fruits and veggies improves creativity and productivity.

Reason #2: You’ll Sleep Better

People who eat more fiber-rich foods (produce, whole grains, pulses, nuts) and less saturated fat spend more time in deep, restorative sleep, research has found.

Reason #3: You’ll Feel Stronger

We use food to fuel physical activity. We also use the building blocks from healthy foods to heal the wear and tear exercise puts on our bodies. That recovery is crucial for maximizing the positive impact of workouts.

Reason #4: You’ll Boost Your Brain

Studies show that people who follow the Mediterranean diet maintain healthier brains over time. This can translate into better memory and a lower risk of age-related cognitive impairments.

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A Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, pulses, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. It also limits fatty meats, dairy products, refined grains, and sugar.

Reason #5: You’ll Look More Attractive

When volunteers were asked to rate pictures of strangers, people who ate three more portions of produce daily were regarded as more attractive. Turns out, the compounds that give fruits and veggies their hues also change our skin pigment in ways that really do create a natural glow.

Note: If you have a chronic condition or dietary restrictions, please consult your physician or dietitian before beginning a new eating plan to make sure it’s safe for you.

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