Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly helps ensure that the body has enough nutrients and energy to perform daily tasks without experiencing pain or getting quickly fatigued. Proper diet and exercise reduces the risk of developing health problems. Eating an ample amount of fruits and vegetables is especially important as they contain antioxidants that protect healthy cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is described as the damage that foreign or toxic substances can cause to healthy cells. It is believed that this type of cell destruction is one of the main reasons that the body becomes susceptible to various illnesses.
Fortunately, the antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetables provide protection from oxidative stress by targeting harmful substances in the body and facilitating their removal before they can damage healthy cells. For instance, blueberries, cantaloupe, and sweet red peppers, for example, are rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and beta-carotene, all of which are antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress are scientifically known to prevent damage to cells that can potentially cause illnesses such as heart disease.
Certain types of nuts (e.g., walnuts) and fish (e.g., salmon, rainbow trout) contain omega-3 fatty acids, which research indicates that they can dramatically reduce pain and inflammation. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids boost energy, mood, mental performance, and memory function as well as reduce symptoms of fatigue and depression. Rich sources of iron and antioxidants such as spinach and lean pieces of red meat also have the potential to greatly improve energy levels. In other words, to boost both your physical and mental health as well as your body’s ability to fight off harmful diseases, the following types of foods should be consumed regularly:
There is also evidence which suggests that exercising regularly benefits the body in a similar manner as maintaining a healthy diet. More specifically, research shows that regular exercise slows the signs of aging and reduces the risk of developing common conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, and heart disease. These types of conditions make cells in the body vulnerable to oxidative stress. In addition, regular exercise is associated with improved longevity as people who are physically active usually demonstrate lower rates of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, than sedentary individuals. Additional benefits of regular exercise include: improved weight control; low depression and anxiety levels; as well as enhanced energy, mood, lung function, and endurance.
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• Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. (2001). Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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