Food provides essential building blocks for our body necessary for supporting life. However, having too little or too much of particular foods can lead to serious health complications. A diet that is high in processed foods and fats and low in natural foods such as fruits and vegetables is likely to cause many adverse health effects in your body, some of them chronic. Any diet that may prove harmful to your well-being is a poor diet.
Risks of a Poor Diet
It is commonly (and truthfully) said that you are what you eat. The nutrients you get from your food dictate how active you will be, how sharp your mind will be, and how often you will fall ill. If you eat more than what you need, your body will store the surplus as fats and this will increase your Body Mass Index (BMI). A high BMI leads to being overweight and obese and can result in the following health complications:
- High Blood Pressure (HBP)
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Non-insulin dependent diabetes
- Tooth decay
How Poor Diets Affect Health
A poor diet will increase your risks and susceptibility to most common ailments and also chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. This will be due to:
- Increase in Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is bad cholesterol.
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in risk of thrombosis
- Increase in the risk of developing diabetes
- Degradation of the functioning of blood vessels (arteries and veins)
- Decrease in the functionality of the immune system
Ingredients of a Poor Diet
Almost everything we eat is good because almost every kind of food has some nutritional benefits for our bodies. However, what makes some ingredients bad for us is the amount of the particular ingredient. Consider the following food groups:
Our bodies require a little bit of animal fat for optimal performance. However, meat from cows, sheep, pigs, and most other animals contain high levels of saturated fats which may cause obesity and coronary heart disease. Limit your use of meat products such as bacon, beef, sausages, beef burgers, and meat pies to only small portions per meal. When shopping for beef and other meat products, opt for lean meat rather than fatty meat.
Unsaturated fats are much better for the human body compared to saturated fats. These are found in eggs, chicken, fish, duck, and turkey. They are also found in plants such as beans, pulses, and lentils. Liver is also highly advisable since it increases your iron intake. Avoid using cooking oil or just use very little and avoid the ones made out of animal fat. Avoid spreading butter on your bread.
Milk and most other dairy products have a high concentration of animal fats. Nevertheless, they are also very good sources of essential proteins, minerals, and vitamins necessary to keep us healthy and strong. If you can get skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, that will be more beneficial to your body. Babies and toddlers need breast milk and that should be a main part of their daily diet until they are at least 6 months old.
Foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, and cereals are great sources of proteins, starch, vitamins, and minerals and are high in fibre. They are not fattening unless cooked in fat and should form a major portion of your meals. They prevent most bowel disorders, especially constipation. Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C especially when they are unpeeled and thus, help prevent anemia. A poor diet is one that lacks a good portion of starch.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most people have a poor diet since they do not eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as they should. These are our main sources of vitamins and minerals. Green vegetables are especially important due to their high iron content. A good diet will consist of at least 5 portions of fruit every day.
Salt and Sugar
Sugar is sweet and makes some foods delicious. However, it adds no nutrients in our bodies yet fattens the body and causes tooth decay. Avoid sugar as much as possible. Limit your salt intake too and only use iodized salt.
A good healthy diet will keep away common ailments, boost your immune system, and reduce risks of chronic diseases. Avoid poor diets as they are not only unhealthy, but in the long run they are very expensive in terms of the care and health management services you will require.