It is no secret that America has a serious problem with health. I’m not just talking about health care, which is a whole other ball of wax. In general, Americans are out of shape. In another post on here, I talked about the recent study indicating that U.S. adults are shorter and fatter than they were a decade ago. Obesity is at an all-time high, with close to 70% of Americans falling in the range of being overweight or obese. That’s not good.
Despite all of this, and with all the resources that we have, losing weight is still a challenge to many. They hop around all the new diet fads that they hear about from friends or see on social media. They stick with it for a while, get bored and quit, and yo-yo back up to their previous weight (if not heavier).
However, a lot of people have the solitary goal of weight loss. They just care about what the number is on the scale. While that can be great motivation, the real goal should be better health in general. There are a lot of benefits to following a healthy diet that has nothing to do with weight loss!
Why a Healthy Diet is Important
Researchers at Harvard examined a few of the popular diets that are trending these days to see what kind of benefits they provided the body, beyond just losing weight. The first that was examined was the DASH Diet. This stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and as you can guess, they found that blood pressure was dramatically reduced in diet participants.
A second study took the DASH Diet and added a limitation to sodium intake.
At the end of this study, it was found that it provided an even bigger drop in hypertension and produced effects that are similar to that of blood pressure medication. It reminds me of another post I wrote about the effect of exercise on blood pressure.
It is clearly evident that a healthy lifestyle, combining a smart diet and physical activity, can do as much good as prescription medication.
In the end, the main finding to come out of these studies is that for people who are overweight or obese, you can improve your health in more ways than just losing weight. Following a healthy diet, making smart choices in the kitchen, avoiding unhealthy snacking, etc. can a world of difference in so many ways.
Reducing blood pressure can minimize the risk factors of so many more serious issues, such as the risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems. If you are afflicted with this condition and simply just taking medication to alleviate the issue, it’s time you start eating better and getting more exercise.
You can start by limiting your sodium intake. Eliminate, as much as possible, any canned, packaged, or processed foods. Try to work more whole foods into your meals, and choose healthy snack options like veggie sticks instead. Every little bit of positive change makes a huge difference for your health!