Fiber is one element of a healthful diet that is particularly important for managing weight. Plant-based foods contain plenty of dietary fiber, which helps to regulate hunger by making people feel fuller for longer.
In 2018, researchers found that a diet rich in fiber and lean proteins resulted in weight loss without the need for counting calories.
An unhealthful diet can lead to obesity, which may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Weighing within a healthful range may reduce this risk.
Also, in 2014, the American Society of Clinical Oncology reported that obesity contributed to a worse outlook for people with cancer.
However, diets rich in fruits and vegetables may help to protect against cancer.
In a separate study from 2014, researchers found that a diet rich in fruits reduced the risk of cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract. They also found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber lowered the risk of colorectal cancer and that a diet rich in fiber reduced the risk of liver cancer.
Many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes act as antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that can cause cancer. Some of these antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E.
According to figures published in 2017, as many as 92.1 million people in the U.S. have at least one type of cardiovascular disease. These conditions primarily involve the heart or blood vessels.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, up to 80 percent of cases of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented by making lifestyle changes, such as increasing levels of physical activity and eating healthfully.
There is some evidence that vitamin E may prevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks. The following foods contain high levels of vitamin E:
The medical community has long recognized the link between trans fats and heart-related illnesses, such as coronary heart disease.
If a person eliminates trans fats from the diet, this will reduce their levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This type of cholesterol causes plaque to collect within the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Reducing blood pressure can also be essential for heart health, and limiting salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day can help.
Children learn most health-related behaviors from the adults around them, and parents who model healthful eating and exercise habits tend to pass these on.
Eating at home may also help. In 2018, researchers found that children who regularly had meals with their families ate more vegetables and fewer sugary foods than their peers who ate at home less frequently.
In addition, children who participate in gardening and cooking at home may be more likely to make healthful dietary and lifestyle choices.
Emerging evidence suggests a close relationship between diet and mood.
In 2016, researchers found that a diet with a high glycemic load may cause increased symptoms of depression and fatigue.
A diet with a high glycemic load includes many refined carbohydrates, such as those found in soft drinks, cakes, white bread, and biscuits. Vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains have a lower glycemic load.
While a healthful diet may improve overall mood, it is essential for people with depression to seek medical care.