We hear it all the time: proper and balanced nutrition is essential for our health. Yet many people don’t take it seriously. So, let’s see what are the health risks of poor nutrition.
Importance Of Good Nutrition
Your food choices each day affect your health – how your body functions, how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.
Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity and taking care of your mental health, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
To put it simply, without the proper nutrition, your body is unable to function at its best.
Good nutrition allows you to fuel your body and nourish it for growth and repair. When you’re eating a balanced range of vitamins and minerals – this is good nutrition. Eating foods from all the food groups is the best way to ensure a balanced, nutritionally rich diet.
These food groups include:
- Vegetables and legumes
- Lean meat, seafood, eggs and meat alternatives
- Dairy products and alternatives
- Fruit, and
- Healthy fats.
What Causes Poor Nutrition?
Poor eating habits include under- or over-eating, not having enough of the healthy foods we need each day, or consuming too many types of food and drink, which are low in fibre or high in fat, salt and/or sugar.
These unhealthy eating habits can affect our nutrient intake, including energy, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and fluid.
Risks And The Harmful Effects of Poor Nutrition
Poor nutrition can impact our daily health and well being and reduce our ability to lead an enjoyable and active life. As well as create long term problems and diseases.
In the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as:
Overweight and Obesity
Eating a healthy diet, along with getting enough physical activity and sleep, can help children grow up healthy and prevent overweight and obesity. Around 20% of young people aged 2 to 19 years and 40% of adults have obesity, which can put them at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Two of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Over 70% of the sodium that people eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Eating foods low in saturated fats and high in fibre and increasing access to low-sodium foods, along with regular physical activity, can help prevent high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Type 2 Diabetes
People who are overweight or have obesity are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those at a normal weight because, over time, their bodies become less able to use the insulin they make.
An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of some cancers. Overweight and obesity are associated with at least 13 types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed.
Deficits in Brain Function
The brain develops most quickly in the first 1,000 days of life, from the start of pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. Having low levels of iron during pregnancy and early childhood is associated with mental and behavioural delays in children. Ensuring that iodine levels are high enough during pregnancy also helps a growing baby have the best brain development possible.
Steps to Good Nutrition
- have a good variety of healthy foods from the five food groups each day.
- aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day
- only occasionally eat sugary, fatty or salty food, and then only in small amounts
- drink fresh, clean water instead of sugary drinks
- switch over to healthy recipes that look and taste good
- plan your meals ahead and shop for healthy ingredients
- enjoy cooking and eating healthy food with family or friends and without distractions such as the television.
Your nutritional requirements are unique to your body — especially if you have food sensitivities or intolerance to consider.
Many health conditions are caused and/or affected by food and nutrition. Some are directly caused by food, such as “food poisoning” or bacterial infections from contaminated food. Some people can have severe allergies to foods like peanuts, shellfish, or wheat (celiac disease). Gastrointestinal ailments—such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—are also directly affected by the consumption of food.
For other diseases and conditions, the type or quantity of food can influence the progress of the disease. Diabetes mellitus, for example, which results in the inability of the body to regulate blood sugar, is drastically affected by the types and quantities of food eaten. Carbohydrate intake has to be carefully monitored if you suffer from diabetes, or blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Other conditions affected by food and nutrition include:
- hypertension: Salt intake affects blood pressure.
- heart disease/high cholesterol: Fatty foods and partial hydrogenated oils can create plaque in arteries.
- osteoporosis: Low calcium, low vitamin D and excess fat can result in fragile bones.
- certain cancers: A poor diet and obesity are associated with increased risk of breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, and kidney cancers.
Your food choices and nutritional status can influence your overall health over the entire course of your life. So, If you have some food allergies, underlying health problems or disease(s) you must pay additional care to your nutrition. Besides advices, you got from your physician, it would be smart to consult a nutritionist. That’s my advice to you.
Take care of yourself and your families!