It is no big secret that good nutrition provides good health. Although most people are aware of the health benefits of eating nutritious food, many individuals still continue to neglect their choice of food and end up causing themselves unnecessary harm. Here’s a list of how good nutrition can be beneficial for your body and mind: BETTER PERFORMANCE To perform even the smallest task, the body needs to have energy. The proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the food you eat contribute to the energy that your entire body needs. But to conserve this energy you require certain vitamins and minerals, which can be obtained either from foods or supplements. If your diet does not contain any of these integral vitamins and minerals, you could face serious health problems. By ensuring proper energy through the vitamin and mineral intake by means of the foods you eat, you’ll provide your body with the necessary fuel needed to do all the tasks required to maintain a healthy life. These include the production and maintenance of body tissues, the electrical conduction of nerve activity, the mechanical work of muscle effort, and heat production to maintain body temperature. GOOD FOR CELLS The body functions through a very a synchronized intricate system. The cardiovascular, reproductive and respiratory systems can be broken down to a cellular level where hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters are constantly interacting through complex processes to make the body function. These processes are all made possible by the nutrients that we ingest every day. A diet deficient in vital nutrients will soon lead to disease. By eating foods from a variety of different sources — both animal — and plant-based — you will provide your body with the essential nutrients without which its cells cannot function properly and effectively. TISSUE GROWTH Good nutrition has the advantage that it ensures growth, healing and the maintenance and build-up of muscle mass. For these essential processes to take place, the body needs energy, certain vitamins and minerals, but especially protein on a daily basis. Protein can be obtained primarily from animal products such as meat, eggs and milk. Most plant foods are relatively poor in protein, with the exception of legumes and beans. Although the non-vegetarian diet generally incorporates enough protein, vegetarians may be getting too little of this vital nutrient. If you’re a vegetarian, it is important that you make a point of including protein-rich foods in your diet. The advantage is that, should you suffer an injury, your body will be ready and able to repair the damaged tissue. You will also be able to maintain your muscle mass and increase it when you exercise. BETTER IMMUNITY Foods and nutrients can play an immune-boosting role. The key is to optimize your intake of plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes. Including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating more fish is also helpful. AVOID CHRONIC DISEASES Good nutrition can be used as a tool to combat chronic diseases of lifestyle. It is a well-known fact that obesity and overweight can lead to chronic diseases, like diabetes type 2, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and some cancers. Make a point of including more plant-based foods in your diet. Plant-based foods generally have a lower fat content, are rich in fibre and are also excellent sources of phytochemicals. SOUND MENTAL HEALTH The most basic principle in preventing depression and mood swings, is to eat a balanced diet that contains foods from all the different food groups — fruit and vegetables, unprocessed grains and cereals, lean meat, eggs, milk and dairy products, legumes and nuts, poly or monounsaturated margarine and oils. A good diet and sufficient intake of the omega-3s, can also help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease later in life. The only person responsible for your health is you. If you take the initiative to maintain good health, it will only benefit you.