Eating a healthy diet means eating a wide variety of foods and eating the right foods to help maintain a healthy body weight. The NHS advises people try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta, and have some dairy or dairy alternatives.
It adds “eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein”, “choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts”, and “drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day)”.
Failing to eat a healthy diet can result in a number of health problems.
Pippa Hill, founder of The Weight Loss Guru and author of Reclaim Your Life, shared details on six ailments that can occur, including joint pain.
If your diet is high in sugars, including hidden sugars such as those in pizza, it can contribute to joint pain, said Pippa.
She continued: “You may also be carrying excess weight in the joints, leading to further joint pain. In order to reduce joint pain including arthritis, you should reduce processed sugars in your diet which can be linked.
“Some of nature’s anti-inflammatory ingredients can support joint pain including turmeric, black pepper and ginger, nature’s anti-inflammatory.”
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
It’s suspected that as many as 75 percent of the UK population who are overweight and 90 percent who are obese, suffer from NAFLD.
Pippa said: “The common symptoms are fatigue, bloating, brain fog, dry skin and brittle hair. The good news is NAFLD is reversible with healthy eating, meaning eating a more balanced diet and avoiding refined sugars and processed foods.”
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
The common symptoms of IBS include bloating and stomach pain.
Pippa explained: “IBS can be reversible or reduced with a healthy diet.”
It’s advised to cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients when you can, to keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you get, avoiding things that trigger your IBS, and to try probiotics for a month to see if they help.
Bloating is caused by water-retention from not drinking enough water, said Pippa.
She advised: “To counteract this, if you drink more water, your liver and kidney will work better, and the more water you drink, ironically, will in turn lead to less bloating. For every one gram of processed, complex carbohydrates, you should ingest three grams of water to help digest it.
“If you eat healthy, plant-based carbohydrates which carry water, your water levels will be higher. So, whilst you might think you drink plenty of water and you’re still bloating, you should look at your diet as you may need to up your water consumption to support digestion.”
Extreme tiredness/fatigue can be a sign that your diet is unhealthy.
Pippa said: “If you eat late at night and give the body an insulin high making you more alert, it’s also worth remembering that it takes four hours for the food to digest. If your diet is lacking vitamin D, it’s now believed that 50 percent of the population have a vitamin D deficiency (as we’re not all labourers living in the sunshine or eating raw fish out of the river anymore), it can make you feel more tired.
“Another diet deficiency causing tiredness can be from a lack of B12. A lot of vegans lack this, and it can cause chronic fatigue. Luckily you can reverse these with vitamin D and B12 supplements or B12 injections.”
Eczema can also be related to your gut health.
Pippa said: “If you want to cure your skin, look at your gut. If you eat a healthier diet with less dairy and processed foods, it can help reduce signs of eczema or reverse it entirely. It’s worth noting that everyone’s body is unique, and certain foods can work better for some people than others, but by cutting out certain foods, you will be able to see what works for your overall health, and what may be causing the ailment.”
The NHS recommends: “If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.
“Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients.”
The five main food groups:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
- Dairy and alternatives
- Oils and spreads
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