Why is nutrition important for digital wellness? Well, in the digital age, striking a balance between technology and well-being is challenging.
Sometimes, all it takes is to start with positive changes, and proper nutrition is the first significant step to improving your well-being.
In the following paragraphs, you will learn about the role that food plays in our daily functioning, the problems that may accompany an improper diet, and discover three proven ways to take the first step towards proper nutrition.
The Importance of Good Nutrition
Nutrition, as a field of study, is the branch of science that deals with nutrients and nutrition, primarily in humans. It is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.
Your body uses what you consume to fuel its daily activities, from your morning workout or late wakeup to working from home in the afternoon or reading your newest novel before bed. Even when you aren’t being physically active, your body still needs the necessary nutrients to maintain proper functions of all your bodily systems, including your brain, cardiac vascular, and respiratory system.
The human body requires six essential types of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and water. Each nutrient supports a human’s health, growth, and reproduction in their own way. Poor nutrition can lead to an imbalance or lack of necessary nutrients, which in turn leads to health problems.
Over the years, scientific understanding and public perception has shifted around diets. Since 1943, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created nutritional guides to help inform the public what and how they should be eating to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With the depth and breadth of nutritional sciences advancing in modern times, there is now a more comprehensive understanding of what you need to consume to fuel your body.
So, What Should You Eat?
The USDA encourages consumption of fresh foods over processed alternatives. When you think of fresh foods, fruits and vegetables immediately come to mind.
The Pew Research Center has found that the American public is paying more attention to healthy eating now than 20 years ago. In recent years, there has been a steady increase of plant-based diets not only for the health benefits, but also for ethical reasons and dietary needs.
As society became focused on health during a global pandemic, more people began to adopt plant-based diets. During 2020, the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global market revenue of plant-based meat reached 6.7 billion USD.
A common misconception is plant-based is associated only with veganism. But, there are many different types of diets that have a focus on plant-based foods, including semi-veg or flexitarian, pescatarian, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and veganism. Plant-based diets focuses on consuming foods from plants, which doesn’t always mean cutting out meat and seafood.
Problems Caused by a Digital Lifestyle and Poor Nutrition
A healthy diet can help address plenty of issues issues associated with the modern digital lifestyle.
Having a diet consisting of predominantly plant based food helps your immune system and decreases inflammation. Exposure to EMF radiation is linked to increase inflammation in your body because your cells are put under stress. An anti-inflammatory diet can help counterbalance the state of stress EMFs induce in cells.
The brain is the most crucial organ in the body. As EMF radiation stimulates cellular stress in brain tissue and disrupts the natural processes, it can cause neurological issues, from minor headaches to brain tumors to cognitive impairment. One longitudinal study found a connection between EMF exposure and higher risk of dementia or cognitive impairment.
It is not all bad news, though. By monitoring your exposure to EMF radiation and consuming more plants, you can help your brain health. A review of nine studies found that eating an extra 100 grams of fruits and vegetables per day decreases your risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia by 13 percent.
Healthy Eating and Your Mental Wellbeing
Overall mental wellbeing also benefits from a nutritional standpoint, as there is a proven connection between proper nutrition and mental health.
Research shows that a person is more likely to be at risk of developing psychiatric symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, if they eat a highly processed diet.
On the contrary, the more plant-based a person eats, the less likely they are to develop mental problems.
A lot of research has focused on the Mediterranean diet benefitting mental health because that diet is rich in fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and other micronutrients needed for brain health. In a longitudinal study of 10,000 Spanish adults, researchers found that consuming a Mediterranean diet helped protect against major depressive disorders.
The key to maintaining a healthy brain, and overall health, is having a diet that is rich in micronutrients.
New Diet and Physical Activity: Beat a Sedentary Lifestyle
Another consequence of a digital lifestyle is a sedentary lifestyle. This in turn has led to increased rates of obesity, to the point that it has been deemed an epidemic in the United States.
Due to the increased financial burden of the obesity epidemic on the U.S. healthcare system—one study found that the rising rates of obesity in America accounted for over $200 billion USD in health care costs—physicians are trying to find low-cost solutions to deal with the high rates of obesity and the other negative health effects associated with it.
Research has found plant-based diets to be cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lead to lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. A healthy diet, combined with regular physical activity, can help mitigate the negatives of a sedentary lifestyle.
Other health benefits from a balanced diet include lower blood pressure and increased heart health (also, you can reduce the risk of heart disease), decreased risk of cancer or type 2 diabetes, minimized risk of stroke, increased longevity, and boosted immunity.
What Can You Do to Start Eating Well Today?
Fortunately, there are methods to incorporate healthy eating habits into your daily routine. We’ve chosen three that are proven and that we have successfully implemented ourselves!
- Lower the sugar content in your daily diet and instead take advantage of our plant friends and whole grains. That doesn’t necessarily mean go full on-vegan but try to increase your daily fruit and veggie intake. Incremental changes can lead to big results. The CDC recommends 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day.
- Begin a supplement regimen. Supplements help address gaps in nutrients that your diet may not fulfill, whether that’s because of personal preferences to food, an allergy or intolerance that prevents you from eating something, or lack of access. It is important to consume all the necessary micronutrients, which supplements can help achieve.
- Challenge yourself to Veganuary or Whole 30, which emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed food. If you are feeling up to it (and have consulted the necessary nutritionist or doctor), a short-term food challenge offers the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone to find new and different foods you may not have tried before. It creates the chance to integrate more natural and whole foods, which are the type that have the most micronutrients, into your diet to seek out the health benefits associated with them.
Embark on a journey towards better health by making simple changes and introducing new habits. Small steps today can lead to significant improvements in your long-term health!
**Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or starting a supplement regimen**