The added benefits of a healthy diet
Everybody knows that following a healthy diet is essential for weight loss, and that women hoping to lose weight need to first address what they are eating each day and how it may be affecting their chances of slimming down.
However, fast weight loss is not the only benefit of going on a diet, as a plethora of experts have offered their advice on how diet can help to prevent depression, joint issues and even female hair loss.
Beating depression through diet
According to Emer O'Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance, a healthy diet and lifestyle is "essential" for people with depression.
"For people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables it is fine. For people who are really stuck in a diet of unhealthy food, it can be quite difficult to make those changes. People need more information and more support to make those changes," she explained.
She noted that it is far better to follow a healthy diet than turn to antidepressants, particularly as recent research by Platform 51 showed that a third of women have taken antidepressants at some point in their lives.
Keeping joints healthy
Nutritionist Fiona Kirk says that an anti-inflammatory diet is "very important" for joint health, and anti-inflammatory products tend to be those that create alkalinity in the body as opposed to acidity.
She explained that if a diet is too rich in meats, junk and processed foods, it creates an "acidic environment" where inflammation is harder to control, which highlights the importance of fruits and vegetables being included in a dietary regimen.
The expert also noted that certain members of the nightshade family have been linked to joint inflammation – something which can be addressed through altering a diet as part of a with loss regimen, particularly as potatoes are a nightshade, and these are often absent from many diets.
"That is always something that we consider from a nutritional point of view for people who are suffering. It is very much a matter of getting the diet right for the person. The more fruits and vegetables the better because you are getting the antioxidants plus the nutrients," she noted.
Preventing female hair loss
According to Marilyn Sherlock, chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, many more women than you may think suffer from female hair loss, which can be an embarrassing and upsetting problem, but this can often be avoided, or at least delayed, through following a healthy diet.
She explained that going on "cuckoo diets" which involve taking extreme measures and cutting out plenty of essential foods is likely to do more harm than good, even it leads to weight loss.
It is best to follow a balanced diet which includes plenty of the major food groups so that hair has all the nutrients it needs, the expert noted.
"A balanced diet is what is required. If, for example, you're eating nothing but meat, your hair is made up of all sorts of things – but it relies very heavily on protein and iron. So, if you eat lots of meat, for example, you've got protein and iron in one package, so you would expect it to be good for hair growth," Ms Sherlock explained.
However, unless women also consume carbohydrates, those nutrients will go straight through because the hair cannot absorb it, she noted, which is why it is important to maintain a balance when trying to achieve weight loss goals.
So, it seems that following a healthy diet can not only help you to lose weight fast, but can also have a number of positive effects on your overall health, and that can only be a good thing, right?