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When life and work have our heads spinning in 20 different directions, it’s common for health and wellness to get pushed to the back of our minds. The catch-22 is that a balanced diet is vital to an overall balanced life.

The nutrients provided by our diet is what allows us to function at an optimal level throughout the day. Whether you’re using brain power in the office or physical energy for your workout routine, your body needs fuel to keep going.

For a truly balanced diet, you should vary your food choices. By implementing fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, diary, healthy oils and lean meats into your diet, your body will have what it needs to build and maintain healthy cells. Here are just a few of the ways a balanced diet can impact your overall health.

Brain Health

An article from Nutrition and Health indicates that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like nuts and fish) can influence brain function. Vitamin E and curcumin were also shown to help your brain, while a diet high in saturated fat decreases learning and memory.

Immune Strength

Our immune system protects our body from illness, and consuming adequate nutrients is an important factor for maintaining a healthy immune system. Skipping lunch might seem like the best way to stay on top of your work, but ensuring a healthy immune system can help you in the long run by minimizing sick days and sluggishness.

Weight Management

Exercising regularly won’t make much difference in your weight if you’re not eating properly. Besides weight gain itself, unhealthy choices can contribute to sluggishness and tiredness, making you less motivated and active throughout the day.

Disease Prevention

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, four of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are directly influenced by diet. They are heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. In addition to protecting you from everyday illnesses, a balanced diet could also prevent these more serious conditions that develop over time.

If you’re concerned about your diet, talk to your doctor. They can point you in the right direction for what to eat, and even tell you what nutrients you’re missing in your current diet. Even just a few easy changes could significantly improve your energy and health, leading to a better life.