There is a growing concern in today’s world as chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases have witnessed considerable growth.
This concern stems from the unhealthy lifestyles that people are leading due to excessive workload and their busy life and work schedules. On the other hand, thanks to modern science, there is an increase in life expectancy around the world today, as the World Health Organization, reported that “605 million persons (20%) are currently aged ≥60 y”. While, it is predicted that by 2025, this number will have grown to 1.2 billion (29%), it is essential, we realise that to live these years disease and disability-free, we must give attention to living a healthy lifestyle.
The increase in life span around the world has also increased morbidity and mortality. There is a drop in nutrient deficiency diseases and raise energy imbalances — the correlation between diet and chronic diseases and becoming more evident.
The rapid increase of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) worldwide witnessed an increase in premature mortality, co-morbidity, and increased healthcare costs. By 2030 it is expected that 1 in 10 people will have type 2 diabetes.
A few causes of T2DM is due to excess body fat, poor diet and sedimentary lifestyle. Research suggests that diet strategies focused around pre-diabetes and high-risk individuals, resulted in a significant reduction in T2DM incidence rate from 28% to 58% around the world. Therefore, it is essential to eat healthy because it is evident that healthy nutrients from food play a huge part in our health.
A term “functional foods” has been known scientifically proven to have potential health benefits. Functional foods are known to consist of biologically active ingredients that have physiological health benefits. They are known foods that can be eaten to prevent and manage chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thus, this highlights the importance of healthy eating to avoid chronic health conditions such as T2DM.
The recommended guidelines for consumption is five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day and avoiding or reducing intakes of saturated fat and the use of complex carbohydrates. Research suggests the average consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK is at only three portions a day.
One way to determine the overall quality of a diet is through the dietary energy density index. A diet that consists mostly of whole grains, lead meats, fresh vegetables and fruits tend to have low energy density as well as a high content of vitamins and minerals. World Health Organ Tech Rep in 2013 reported that the consumption of these foods could lead to better health.
On the other hand, foods that consist of high sugar levels, refined grains and added fats (high energy dense food) however lack nutrients. Consumption of these foods in large quantities comes with high energy intake however lower intakes of micronutrients. Such foods are linked with chronic diseases and can lead to mortality.
It is essential to take note that eating healthy impacts not only our physical health but also our mental health too. There have been several studies published before which study the inverse associations between the quality of food eaten and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety in adults. Recent studies have shown cross-sectional associations between diet quality and emotional and behavioural problems. Diet quality was strongly associated with adolescent mental health. The better the diet quality, the better is mental health. Poor diet was linked to a decline in psychological functioning during the follow up of the study.
In summary, a significant portion of a healthy lifestyle comes from healthy eating. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet is known to contribute to a sense of well-being. A healthy diet helps prevent numerous health conditions including heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, dental caries, etc.. It is critical for individuals from a young age to maintain a healthy intake as this has implications on their growth and cognitive development.
Few fundamental things in human life stay very strong. Food and culture are among those necessary things. Whoever moves to a foreign country for business, work or study any other purposes they will stay tuned with their food habits and culture even though they forget using their native language. Food got that strong importance in human life.