Impacts of Healthy Eating on Humans' Life

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We live in a world where food is very easy to access. Stores and restaurants are in all towns and cities. Super markets and fast food restaurants provide unhealthy, processed foods that are quick and require little clean up. After a long work day or week, it’s easier to buy these foods for more time to relax. Taking the easy way out can start a habit which can turn into a problem. Following a strict healthy diet is a habit that will lead to positive results. The environment would experience positive effects with reduced pollutants, physical and mental health risks would be reduced and positively impacted, and children would experience beneficial outcomes from eating healthy. Although it can be difficult to stick to a healthy diet, dedicating to one has beneficial outcomes. If everybody stuck to a healthy diet, it would have positive effects.

Healthy eating positively affects the planet. Consuming too much food has negative repercussions. 20% to 30% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions is from food production. This includes livestock raised, crops grown, fishing, and transportation of all food to our plates. To grow our food on Earth, 33% of “ice-free” land is used. Greenhouse emissions can be reduced between 13% to 25% if citizens follow their governments dietary recommendations. The land that is used can be reduced by 17% (Netburn, 2017). Protein is the largest type of food consumed but causes the most harm. Livestock emissions for the high, upper-middle, and lower-middle income nations total to 70%, 65%, and 22%. Reducing American beef consumption to half the amount will environmentally sustain the beef industry (Pereira, 2017). With the high emissions, people have removed protein from their diets. Mike Tidwell was raised in the South and loves his barbeque foods. After learning meats bought from local farmers or from far away use many resources, he decided to become a vegetarian. After 10 years, his only exception of being a vegetarian is having an American Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings (Cohn, 2009). Large amounts of protein are still ingested and require a lot of water. In 2017, 26.5 billion pounds of beef was consumed. ABC News indicated that one quarter-pound hamburger needs 14.6 gallons of water to be made. Vegetables, like broccoli, need¬ less than 13 times of resources than beef to be grown and harvested (Ortiz, 2019). Plants use less resources and provide the same nutrients in a carnivorous diet. Gidon Eshel, a research professor of environmental and urban studies at Bard College, studied crops that provide the same nutritional value if meat was removed or lowered from people’s diets. Then, Eshel and his colleagues calculated how the environment is impacted from those crops. The algorithm they built analyzed 73 plant and animal-based foods that could replace poultry, pork, and/or beef. The results showed squash, green pepper, soy, and asparagus can provide the same proteins, vitamins, and fatty acids in a carnivorous diet. The professors were thrilled that the results also showed this change can clean the waterways. The plants need a much smaller amount of nitrogen fertilizer compared to crops for livestock. 4.5 billion kilograms of nitrogen can be prevented from being washed into the U.S. waterways by using the plants. In the Mississippi River currently, there is less than 4.5 billion kilograms of nitrogen within the water (Hall, 2019). It is possible to benefit the environment. The large amounts of protein ingested creates a higher need for livestock and resources. Emissions can be reduced, and nutrients needed can be received by eating the correct amount of healthy foods.

Besides the environment, eating healthy benefits human health physically. Like protein, people are ingesting too much unhealthy food. 70% of all sodium that is consumed is from processed and packaged store-bought food and restaurants. Consuming too much sodium leads to high blood pressure causing heart disease. American guidelines recommend less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but Americans eat more than 3,400 milligrams per day on average (Poor Nutrition, 2019). Many people are dying from these health risks. Unhealthy diets contribute to health issues and cause millions of deaths. In 2017, 10.4 million people died from high blood pressure and 11 million people died from Type 2 diabetes (Galvin, 2019). It’s not only ingesting high amounts of unhealthy foods that are causing health problems. Dr. Ashkan Afshin, an assistant professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics, explained why the cause for diet related health problem. Majority of the top dietary issues is because there is a lower intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats and high intake of sugar, salt, and saturated fats (Ducharme, 2019). People are changing their diets before illnesses get worse. Eric Adams was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at a health checkup. Doctors were surprised Adams wasn’t in a coma because his blood glucose levels were triple the amount they should have been. Adams adapted to a vegan diet and reduced his levels to the normal range in three months. He lost 30 pounds and reversed his diabetes. With the new diet, he also reversed a pancreatic disorder which could have led to strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, and nerve damage (Brody, 2017). Not only do healthy foods impact organs in the torso but also in the skull. Meike Vernooji is a professor in the Netherlands at Erasmus University. She studies epidemiology and radiology. Vernooji and her colleagues studied how products that people ate affect the brain. Their results come from over 10 years of analyzing 4,000 geriatric brain scans. The scans show individuals diets high in healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables have higher total brain volume. The hippocampus, the part processing memories in the brain, is bigger and the white and grey matter have a higher nerve density (Park, 2018). Millions of people are dying because of their diet. Large amounts of unhealthy food and small quantities of healthy food cause health risks and diseases. Eating the correct nutrients can not only benefit organs, but the nutrients can reverse illnesses as well.

Eating healthy positively affects physical health as well as mental health. With the proper nutrients, the brain can function correctly. CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula said, “The idea that food plays an essential role in our mental health {should be} the same way that we think about it playing a role in cardiovascular disease, in our blood sugar management, in our gastrointestinal health.” She also indicates a healthy diet relates to a reduction of mental health problems like anxiety and depression. She explains the building blocks for neurotransmitters, enzymes, and cellular structures need the correct vitamins, sources of protein, and nutrients. If they are incorrect, the brain will not function as sufficient (Welch, 2017). With brains working how they need to, self-esteem is boosted. Heather Francis, Australia’s Macquarie University’s neuropsychologist, conducted a study with teenagers and what they ate. It lasted three weeks and the teenagers could continue for three months if they desired. Participants reduced their intake on sugar, soft drinks, carbohydrates, and process or fatty meats. They were asked to eat two or three fruits, five servings of vegetables, three servings of lean meat, and three servings of grains each day. After the three week and month study, depression symptoms were improved and outlook on life was enhanced (LaMotte, 2019). A temporary diet can decrease depression, but a healthy permanent intake can change a life. Shannon Drenick suffered from anxiety and depression for years. Her healthy diet of rich greens, healthy fats, and proteins has helped her mental health and kept her off medication. Drenick says when there is no depression, there is more energy, happiness, and more positivity. With her healthy new diet, she hasn’t had a panic attack in years (CBS News, 2018). Shannon Drenick is not the only person whose mental health has been benefited. 33% of 36,556 adults who ate a Mediterranean diet were less likely to become depressed. The diet contains vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts, and whole grains (Gander, 2018). Instead of medications, patients are prescribed to eat fish to help minimize their negative thoughts. Assistant clinical professor Dr. Drew Ramsey of psychiatry at Columbia University prescribes his patients to eat 3 dozen oysters. Dr. Ramsey is a huge fan of them because they are high in vitamin B. He prescribes them because they make him feel better and the vitamin B connects to the deficiency of depression and suicide (Schiffman, 2019). Healthy nutrients work wonders on the brain. Structures are built, moods are lifted, and lives are changed from healthy eating. With diets working on the mind and boosting confidence, people are sharing their own food knowledge to help others.

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In addition to mental health, positive changes in dieting would especially help children. From eating unhealthy, kids are at higher risk for developing ADD or ADHD. Maria Izquierdo-Pulido - PhD and PharmD from the University of Barcelona’s department of food science, nutrition, and gastronomy – conducted a study how children were affected after they ate unhealthy food. In the 120 children study, those who consumed foods high in saturated fats and sugary soft drinks showed a higher risk of being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADD or ADHD. The study also showed the children who consumed fewer fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans were more likely to have symptoms of ADHD (Clay, 2017). All the sugar and saturated fats are impacting children’s weights also. In the last 25 years, American youths’ obesity rate has tripled. About 18% of youths are overweight and the amount of obese preschool aged children is increasing at a frightening speed (“Promoting Healthy Behaviors”, 2009). The repercussions for children who are obese impact them later in life. Children who are obese are 10 times more likely than children not obese to be overweight adults. Serious health consequences like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and chronic diseases are health risks of adult obesity (Haynes-Maslow, 2015). With the risks, children are working on their diets to benefit them now and later. 14-year-old Paris Woods was overweight. Classmates called her fat and it lowered her self-esteem. Woods, her family, and doctors were worried about her higher risk for the potential development of diseases once as an adult if she remained overweight. For a year, Woods met with a nutritionist and an exercise trainer to decrease her size. With dedication, she reduced her weight and the inches around her waist (“Teen Battles Obesity,” 2010). Children’s weight is not the only thing affected by their diets though. Osteoporosis, from the National Institutes of Health, is a pediatric disease that has consequences for the geriatric. The bone mass established in childhood and adolescence is an important element for lifelong skeletal health. Without the proper nutrients and minerals, like protein, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, the bones are not constructed to have the proper strength in elder years (Seidenberg, 2018). Unhealthy diets are impacting children and their health as they become adults. Proper nutrients need to be ingested in aid to reduce health risks and increase lifespans.

Along with the importance of children eating healthy, dedicating yourself to a healthy diet has positive effects. Sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult though. 40% of people quit a diet within the first week, 20% quit after a month, and only 20% of people stick to their diet for three months (Sass, 2013). To make it more likely to commit to the diet, it helps to focus on a few things at a time instead of everything at once. PhD and MPH Nicole Bereoles is a certified educator for diabetes and clinical health psychologist. She helps her patients make dietary modifications that address chronic illnesses and psychological issues. The patients stick with the changes because they are small and achievable. For one of Bereoles patients, she was instructed to monitor her own steps, calories ingested, over a dozen micro and macronutrients, exercise, and water intake from a dietitian. Bereoles discussed with the patient to focus on two instead of all of them. She was able to achieve her goal for both items and her confidence was increased (Greenbaum, 2018). One gentleman found it easier to focus on his cravings instead of planning every meal out. Daniel J. Green dedicated himself to the federal dietary guidelines and started to plan his meals out each day on an Excel spreadsheet. He realized instead of planned meals, he wanted to eat the foods he was familiar with, craved, and that were on his healthy foods list. Green also found a healthier substitute for the treats he wanted, like the ice cream sandwich he has each night (Green, 2017). Others find planning treats out will represent small rewards and make adapting to the new diet easier. At Simmons College, professor of nutrition Teresa Fung understands in order to stick with a diet, the treats are vital. Fung explains it is important to limit and plan when the treats can be eaten. When the time to have a treat is set during the week, it is easier to stick to the diet because it is known for when the treat is coming.

Overtime slowly reduce the amounts of treats or stretch out the time between each treat. Fung explains the slow reduction or stretch of the sweets won’t feel so sudden and the dieter is more likely to reach the goal (Chodosh, 2018). Over time, dedication to a diet can turn into a lifestyle and expand your lifespan. Nancy Stohs talked with her Aunt Glady how she got to be 94 years-old and is healthy as she is. Glady explained she ate healthy and stayed away from greasy junk food. Oatmeal with nuts and fruit for breakfast, vegetables with potatoes for lunch, and soup with fresh fruit for dinner are Glady’s go-to meals. Her treats she limits herself to are Fritos or Dove Dark chocolate with green tea after dinner. Aunt Glady explained there are large amounts of preservatives in so many products and instructed Stohs to cook her own food (Stohs, 2018). The beginning can be the most difficult part with the change to a new diet. It can be easier to cook healthier recipes that are familiar then to expand to other healthy recipes or foods. Also, treats can make it easier by representing as small rewards for eating healthy. After the dedication, it can pay off and get you to be almost 100 years-old.

Positive effects occur if everybody stuck to a healthy diet. The greenhouse gas emissions would decrease, resources won’t be used on large amounts of livestock, and water would be cleaner. Health risks would be reduced physically in addition to deaths. With the correct nutrients, building blocks can be made for the brain to function properly. Children eating healthy prevents obesity, adult health risks connected to obesity, and increases their bone strength. Dedication of sticking to a diet with healthier substitutes and treat planning can bring positive benefits. With stores and restaurants providing foods harmful to humans and the environment, more people need to eat healthy. We live in a world with access to processed foods, but nobody said we must eat it.

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Impacts of Healthy Eating on Humans’ Life. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
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