Balancing your diet is important

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

Understanding the value of food and a healthy balance of certain foods can offer more benefits than some might realize.

Health can be affected by many aspects of one’s life from genetics to environmental to lifestyle.

However, health and more specifically mental health can also be affected by what one eats.

Without question, food is a significant part of the human experience and human life. Whether someone can sit and savor their meal or simply grab a quick bite, it might all seem the same. 

However, despite food being a necessity to fuel the body, its importance can sometimes get lost during the hustle and bustle of life when it shouldn’t.

While some people might attempt to eat well or be conscientious about the foods they are consuming, many Americans are not getting the proper nutrients in their diets which includes fruits and vegetables. 

Nonetheless, changes can be made to the diet to better incorporate the proper foods but one should know it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before changes are noticed.

College students are known to be on the go along with many other people in the world, but it doesn’t have to be a chore to be healthy and it can potentially help with one’s day.

There are links to how fruits and vegetables, and eating a well-rounded diet can positively contribute to limiting inflammation and lowering depression and anxiety in young adults. 

Similarly, complex carbohydrates are believed to offer calming effects and protein is believed to also affect motivation, as one example.

This only adds to the reasons to want to pursue healthy eating and maybe skip the fast-food joints when one can help it. 

However, it is the combination of foods, not just fruits, vegetables, protein or carbs alone which can contribute to a well-rounded diet.

Food options like lean meats, whole grains, lower fat dairy products, leafy greens and other vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes such as but not limited to soy products and others foods are options rich with minerals or vitamins.

However, excessive amounts of minerals and vitamins can be toxic, despite the health benefits they offer so keep that in mind.

Fruits and vegetables, among other dietary changes, also are believed to be connected to lowering the risk of cancer, blood pressure and heart disease.

Still, managing one’s diet and knowing how much to eat of certain foods can add to the challenge of eating well. 

According to Harvard University’s Healthy Eating Plate, it is recommended to eat half a plate of vegetables and fruit, one quarter of both protein and whole grains, and incorporate healthy plant oils, such as, but not limited to sunflower or olive oil into one’s meals and liquids like water, tea, or coffee.

Having a general guide to go by can be a nice, quick reference when meal prepping or even making or purchasing a bite. Yet, there are different meal plan options out there so find which works best for you. 

While eating a balanced diet is important, it is equally important to mention that not everyone can necessarily afford or find accessible ingredients to always make a healthy meal. 

When it is possible, consider slowly incorporating certain foods into one’s diet. This can also apply to people who want to gauge how different foods might affect them.

All this to say, one’s mood can be affected by what one eats and affect the quality of one’s life. 

Understanding the value of a balanced meal, and if able, making attempts to create a healthy balance of food and meals can potentially offer physical and mental health benefits.

Katherine Graves is a junior strategic communications major who can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment