Wednesday, Dec 21, 2022 | Last Update : 06:50 AM IST
Junk food has become an indispensable part of our lives. We all know the harmful effects of pizzas, burgers, pasta, and cold drinks, yet we love to grab bites of these foods every now and then. Every time you throw a party, you order the best junk food. People love it. And we are so used to eating these foods that imagining a life without them seems impossible. Despite the growing craze over junk food, people often wonder why healthy food vs. junk food has become a hot topic. By the end of this article, you will get the motivation to give up junk food and embrace a healthy diet. We’ll show you what clean eating vs. junk food does to your health and how it affects every part of your well-being. Read on.
Before we discuss the difference between healthy food and junk food, let’s understand the meaning of each in brief.
Healthy food consists of vital nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals, that are good for your health. These foods contain good fats and nutrients that give your body strength to fight diseases. Simply put, healthy food keeps you fit. They are low in sugar, carbs, calories, and elements that are harmful to your health.
Junk food, also known as fast food, tastes delicious and is easy to prepare. They are rich in calories, sugar, and other ingredients that increase your weight and put you at a higher risk of developing physical and mental illnesses. The easiest way to determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy food is by counting calories and knowing the fat content. Here are a few factors that will help you understand healthy food vs. unhealthy food.
Many companies advertise their oil as the best on the market, but the key to identifying the best one is calculating the amount of saturated and unsaturated fats in it. Olive and sunflower oil are the most sought-after choices, as they contain a high amount of unsaturated fats, which are considered healthy. Other oils rich in saturated fats, such as palm and butter oil, are unhealthy. Junk foods are cooked in oils containing a high amount of saturated fats, which makes them unfit for your health.
Healthy food contains nutrients that provide energy to your body. This includes vitamin D, fiber, potassium, calcium, etc. A few examples of healthy food are nuts, eggs, fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. Relying too much on junk food can lead to nutrition deficiency in your body, as these foods are only high in calories.
Refined foods are unhealthy because the process of refining leads to the loss of good enzymes, essential vitamins, and nutrients from the food. For example, refined coconut oil doesn’t have the good properties of healthy, unrefined, and virgin coconut oil. Refining increases the shelf-life of a product, but it makes them less healthy. Processed or refined ingredients have a negative impact on your health in the long run, which is why you should always count on healthy and unrefined foods to maintain your health.
Another factor that sets healthy food apart from its unhealthy counterparts is the antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your body from free radicals that increase your risk of developing cancer. Vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are rich in antioxidants and are therefore considered safe for your physical and mental health. Junk food doesn’t have antioxidants.
A common way to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy food is taste. It’s obvious that refined oil and many unhealthy ingredients make junk food scrumptious, while healthy food is bland. Of course, there are dozens of ways to make healthy foods tasty, but these are often not as delicious as unhealthy foods because of fewer ingredients.
Everyone craves great taste, which is why junk food has become people’s go-to choice for lunch, dinner, and evening snacks. The biggest problem with junk food is that it’s addictive. Because of so many spicy and sweet flavors, people eat junk food in large amounts. For example, you can easily eat a full bowl of noodles or a full pizza, but the same amount of salad seems too much. One of the reasons is that healthy foods contain fiber, which promotes the feeling of fullness. So, you tend to eat small amounts of food and feel full.
Our dependency on junk food has become a cause of concern. Globalization is the reason to blame. People are adding foods famous in foreign countries to their routine diet. This lifestyle has increased the risk of obesity and other critical diseases, like cancer, heart attack, kidney stones, etc. We aren’t saying you should stop eating junk food altogether. That’s not possible for someone who’s become extremely dependent on fast foods, but limiting your consumption can go a long way in keeping you fit and healthy.
You should try to replace junk food with healthy foods. The reason is simple. Adding healthy foods to your diet will help you shed extra pounds and get fit easily. Most importantly, it reduces your risk of diseases like cancer, heart problems, and more. Healthy foods are rich in unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals that are known to improve your overall well-being. Let’s check out why healthy food is better than junk food.
It Aids in Weight Loss
Healthy foods are high in fiber and nutrients that promote the feeling of satiety and aid in weight loss. Foods like leafy green vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, chicken breasts, whole grains, and legumes reduce your calorie intake. Healthy eating helps you balance your hunger hormones. As mentioned above, junk food is addictive. Once you take a bite, you will want more. It increases your calorie intake rapidly.
Helps Diabetic Patients
Type 2 diabetes has become a common problem in people of all ages. The most common factors to be blamed are genetics, obesity, and unhealthy eating habits. Unless it’s caused by genetics, there are many effective ways to lower your risk of developing diabetes. For example, switching from a sedentary lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle with healthy food choices can bring a significant change in your health. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, eating low-sugar and low-glycemic-index food is an effective way to keep your blood glucose levels in check.
Healthy Food Boosts Immunity
Healthy foods are loaded with antioxidants and vital nutrients that boost your immune health. And a healthy immune system keeps infections and the risk of catching flu at bay. People with good immunity are highly likely to recover faster and live healthy and happy life. To boost your immunity, add green vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, foods rich in vitamin C, and essential herbs & spices to your diet.
Improves Your Mental Health
Lean meat and nuts contain proteins that are known for improving your brain function and uplifting your mood. Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants have the same effect on your mental health. In addition to these nutrients, you should add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to improve your physical and mental well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids maintain a healthy body.
It Keeps You Energetic
Healthy foods are high in nutrients and low in calories, which makes them an excellent choice for people who want to keep their weight in check but without starving. Refined carbs spike your sugar levels, so you feel extremely fatigued when the sugar level drops. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will give you the nutrition your body needs from the food. Especially the fiber content is known for boosting your energy levels while keeping your hunger pangs at bay.
Improves Your Heart Health
Unhealthy foods combined with excess alcohol and smoking have detrimental effects on your cardiovascular health. As the bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase in your blood, it causes blockage in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease. Medication alone won’t help boost your heart health. Besides, prevention is better than cure. So, why wait till your heart muscles are weakened to stop eating junk food? If you want a healthy heart, you need to stop or, at least limit the consumption of junk food.
Decrease the Cancer Risk
Cancer is associated with genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, and other factors. Unhealthy food choices increase the risk of cancer or aggravate the condition. While food can’t prevent cancer, it can reduce the risk greatly. Experts believe that the nutrients in food boost your immune system, which fends off cancer cells and stops them from progressing rapidly.
Gas, heartburn, gastrointestinal reflux, and upset stomach are common problems that people who eat too much junk food are likely to experience at some point. Your body needs healthy food and probiotics for easier digestion. Dietary fiber, especially, is crucial for good gut health. They might not necessarily be digested, but they promote good enzymes that, in turn, improve your digestion. Dietary fiber can also regulate your bowel movements, reducing constipation or diarrhea.
Good for Your Teeth and Bones
Your bones and teeth need calcium for strength. And healthy foods are a good source of calcium and other nutrients that promote good bone and tooth health. Foods like fish, nuts, oranges, green vegetables, tofu, and milk contain calcium that keeps your bone healthy. You also need vitamin D for bones and teeth. The above foods and the morning sun give you that.
Your skin and hair are what you eat. The food doesn’t only affect your cardiovascular and digestive health, but it has a great impact on your skin too. To fight free radical damage and prevent premature aging, you must eat foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole grains, green tea, fatty fish, and spices are great for your skin. These foods maintain firmness and elasticity on your face, giving you a fresh and youthful appearance and slowing down aging. On the other hand, junk food causes acne breakouts and uneven skin tone. Oily food, especially, causes pimples.
It Lowers Your Stress Levels
Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can fight inflammation and lower oxidative stress in your body, helping you deal with mental and physical stress effectively. Junk food has the opposite effect on your health. The increased level of trans fats and sugar and zero nutritional content increase inflammation, which eventually leads to oxidative stress. Instead of foods rich in saturated fats and calories, you should go for their unsaturated and healthy counterparts. Not only will they satisfy your craving, but healthy foods will keep your stress levels at bay.
It Improves Your Sleep Quality
Another benefit of healthy eating is that it helps you enjoy a good night’s sleep. Eating right before you go to bed, eating too much oily food, or having late-night snacks can all disturb your sleep cycle. It negatively affects your digestive system, which in turn, makes it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep. If you want to improve your concentration and sleep cycle, you must fix your dietary choices. Eat healthy and nutritious food at least 2-3 hours before sleeping. And don’t smoke or drink during bedtime. Your diet plays a very important role in your sleep cycle.
Hope you understand the difference between healthy food and unhealthy food. Healthy eating has many positive effects on your physical and mental well-being. From improving your sleep cycle to reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, your diet can help improve your quality of life in many ways. To understand healthy food vs. junk food, you need to check the ingredients on the label before buying food. The unpackaged and unprocessed foods are mostly healthy. Check if they are refined or have saturated fats. These few things will help you know whether the food is healthy.