For those struggling to keep up with their New Year diet resolutions, Dr Earim Chaudry, Medical Director at Manual, shares 8 hidden health benefits to why sticking to a diet may do wonders for your body.
Forget the shampoo and conditioner – the cells that make up each strand of hair depend on a regular supply of key nutrients to maintain its health and strength.
As hair is made up of protein, a diet that is rich in protein sources such as chicken, fish, beans and legumes will enable your hair to maintain its shine. Also, as Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, the incorporation of fruits such as blackcurrants, guava and oranges into your diet will benefit your hair massively.
High sperm quality
Interestingly enough, a good diet is also correlated with good sperm quality. Research shows that foods rich in fiber and antioxidants – vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole cereals – have a positive effect on sperm quality. This is alongside fish, seafood, shellfish and poultry.
Studies have also indicated a link between diet and erectile dysfunction. A 2018 review found that ED is less common among those who stick to a Mediterranean diet, which favours fresh, plant-based foods with fish and small amounts of meat.
Your colon is made up of naturally occurring bacteria which help aid digestion and metabolism. Speaking of which, foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains allow the good bacteria in your colon to thrive. This good bacteria is known to produce vitamins K and B, which help fight harmful bacteria and viruses.
Your diet may also limit your risk of developing heart disease. According to the DASH diet, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as choosing to consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products can help you reduce your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
Strong bones and teeth
A diet that is rich in calcium and magnesium sources is going to help maintain strong bones and teeth. These foods include your all-important vegetables, as well as canned fish, tofu, nuts and whole grains.
It goes without saying that a diet will have highly beneficial effects for your skin. In particular, diets that are packed with vitamin C sources (fruits and vegetables in particular) are linked with fewer wrinkles and age-related skin dryness. As well as this, diets high in vitamin A (eggs, oily fish, low-fat spreads) play a crucial role in skin maintenance. Skin health also relies on adequate water consumption (approximately 2 litres) throughout the day.
Improved mood and cognition
Last but not least, a healthy diet means a healthy mind. Research has found that diets with high glycemic sources (refined carbohydrates, cakes, biscuits) may heighten symptoms of fatigue and depression. That said, consuming foods which have a lower glycemic load (vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains) may help to make you feel your very best.
As well as this, what you eat is going to impact your cognition. Studies have identified that the foods that protect against cognitive decline and dementia include; omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and polyphenols, fish, as well as vitamins D, C and E.
Dr Earim Chaudry added: “Tremendous changes can happen to your mind and body when you stick to a healthy and balanced diet. However, changing your diet does not have to be such a regimented process – rather it’s all about the small changes you choose to make.
“Simple things such as swapping your fizzy drinks for water and herbal tea will do wonders for your health, as well as doing meat-free days and incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your meals.”
“All of these facts just go to show that sticking to a diet all year round is so beneficial for your overall health and it’s not just about losing weight. Here at Manual, we support you through every step of the way with our fantastic supplements and clinical support.”