Why You Should Add More Healthy Whole Foods To Your DietAugust 1 2017
You have probably heard people talking about changing their diets to focus on healthy whole foods. But do you really know what they are?
In a society where eating processed and manufactured food is the go-to option, there may be some genuine misunderstanding as to what exactly qualifies as whole food. Even for the health fanatic, this phrase may be confused with organic, pesticide-free or locally grown. The definition is, however, much simpler: Whole foods are eaten in their natural state. With all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that are in the food. Rather than bits and pieces that remain after processing and refinement, they are eaten whole. It is the difference between orange juice and an orange or a baked potatoes and mashed potatoes.
A diet in healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are associated with the management and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Types of cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
Whole foods are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which are the natural compounds in plants. Phytochemicals are yet to be fully explored, but some are antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Examples include lycopene, flavonoids, and carotenoids.
Whole foods have been found to be more nutritious than supplements that seem to contain the same nutrients. We simply cannot know all the nutrients present in food nor the effect they have in their different combinations.
Benefits of whole foods
- They contain no added properties such as preservatives and chemicals, salt, sugar or saturated trans fats. These lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and numerous other health problems.
- The more processed things are, the higher the cost. Whole foods are generally cheaper than processed food. They can also be found everywhere.
- More fiber and beneficial fats can be found in whole foods
- They contain more minerals and vitamins compared to processed foods
It may be hard to cut out all processed foods from your diet, especially when it comes to snacks. However, you can start by increasing the number of whole foods in your diet. Doing this may actually help you maintain or lose weight. Also, you may not need to snack as much as whole foods contain the natural fiber in fruits, vegetables, and grains which may fill you up for longer, without adding many calories.
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