How Do Whole Foods Boost Your Health?
Boosting Your Health with Whole Foods
Nutrition used to be the most neglected component of health.
It was partially due to the fact that there wasn’t much widespread knowledge about the subject, but it didn’t take long for dieting to join popular consciousness.
There are a variety of diets that have grown in popularity recently, but few are as simple or natural as the whole foods diet.
Whole foods might seem like a nebulous term, but upon further examination you might find that you’ll learn a few interesting and exciting things about how your diet can change, and how those changes can affect your health.
Why Whole Foods?
At this point you may be asking yourself, ” Why should I be so particular about my diet that I go out and only try to find whole foods to eat?” if so, and you’ll be happy to find that it’s relatively easy answer.
Whole Foods are important to your diet because a large number of health professionals understand that eating whole foods is just generally better for your health and can even help protect you against diseases.
That means that term whole foods has a lot more to do with what it is than being a part of some sort of fad or new marketing trend.
Mostly, this is due to the fact that these types of foods still contain the natural amounts of fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals which aren’t present in foods that are factory made.
1. How What You Eat Affects Your Health
Now that nutrition experts know that whole foods are important for your diet, many studies have been created to continue this valuable research.
Advancements in science and technology have made information available that can give new insights into why these types of foods are important for people.
In the previous section there are a few things mentioned that whole foods have and processed foods don’t, so the next few paragraphs will be concentrating on those details.
For over a decade, doctors have been doing their best to catalog important biological components that are known as phytochemicals.
These phytochemicals play an active and essential role in preserving health and preventing different types of diseases. One of the most notorious of these phytochemicals is the antioxidant lycopene which is found in tomatoes.
This type of phytochemical is a carotenoid, a group that is most notable for their appearance in vividly colored foods like tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots. They’re also known to increase in their intensity when they’re cooked.
Pterostilbene is a phytochemical that is found in blueberries and some types of grapes.
These various chemicals play a multitude of roles in the human body for protection, repair and communication between cells.
Antioxidants like lycopene are well-known because of their ability to fight free radicals that enter the body through various means.
Without these kinds of nutrients, people would be completely vulnerable diseases like cancer.
Some scientists have hypothesized that a deficiency of phytonutrients has contributed to an increase in these types of diseases, so you can conclude that making them a part of your diet is essential.
The only issue is that making sure you have phytochemicals in your diet can be difficult if you consume any foods that are outside of those classified as whole foods.
You’ve probably seen commercials advertising different types of ways to get fiber.
Some of these commercials show people stirring massive spoonfuls of powder or flakes into huge glasses of water, but is that really the right way to get your fiber?
The answer is no.
All kinds of plants are extremely high in fiber, but most people simply aren’t used to eating plants in this way.
Modern times have taught people to remove certain parts of plants so that they can eat their food more easily, but this has led to a deficiency in fiber for many.
Fiber is important because it’s essential for sweeping out your digestive tract, and a large portion of fiber even contains some of the rarest phytonutrients.
Science is still working to understand how fiber plays a role in fighting heart disease as well as diabetes, but most can be content to know that it simply works.
Another serious aspect of modern food habits has been seen in through the extreme decrease in the amount of nutrients taken in by the average citizen.
Some health officials have even reported that as many as a third of the population don’t get enough vitamin C, and an even larger number of people don’t get enough vitamin A.
Common deficiencies also include minerals like potassium and magnesium, which play a vital role in the construction of cells, and even your DNA.
Science hasn’t yet gotten to the point where it can pinpoint what kinds of things happen to the human body when it goes without almond vitamins for long periods of time.
Diseases such as scurvy, are well-documented, but scurvy is a disease that takes place in a shorter period of time.
What kind of effects would scientists see if they were to look at vitamin deficiency over a span of years and decades?
With these kinds of deficiencies being so common, it should be no surprise that there could ever be a rise in various types of diseases. The human body has little defense when it can’t even rebuild its own cells.
It’s easy to forget that plants produce fats that are very beneficial for humans.
These are exactly the kind of fats that people should be eating, but because of associations with negative food habits, people tend to shy away from learning about exactly how important fat can be for you.
Fats like Omega-3s that come from fish and plant sources are great for you and can help you to fight off different types of diseases.
Healthy types of fats are completely separate from those found in processed food.
Saturated fats found in processed foods can come together and cause serious health problems later in life.
Researchers have been able to prove that healthy monounsaturated fats can actually help remove saturated fat from your blood and help prevent heart disease.
2. What is Considered a Whole Food?
Fruits and Veggies
Now that you know what to avoid, it’s time to look at what you should eat!
One easy rule is that if it comes from the ground, like any sort of fresh fruits or vegetables, then you’re pretty safe to eat it.
If the fruits or vegetables are dried, but they haven’t had any ingredients of additives injected into them, then they should be in the clear as well, but you should always check the labels to make sure that you aren’t being tricked.
Lots of companies like to use the colors associated with organic labels to trick consumers.
Dairy products that haven’t been tampered with chemically can also be found in a variety of stores these days.
Products like these will usually display a label that says they are certified as organic, but you should always be sure to read specifics on how it was handled.
Not all definitions are completely laid out from start to finish.
When you come across grains, they should always be in their complete form. When they’re ground up into a powder, they no longer have the completeness of their form to support your biological action.
They should also be in their natural color and unbleached.
That means that white rice or white bread for example is not considered a while food.
Breads should have a hefty presence of their grains seen in them.
When you consume these grains, they will help clean particles from your intestines and help keep you more regular.
If they’ve been ground into a powder, they might form into a gummy substance that gets trapped in your digestive tract.
If you’re wondering but other beverages when you’re eating the whole food, then yes there are quite a few different types of drinks that you can have when you’re just eating whole foods.
It might be easiest though if you make your beverages yourself.
These can include coconut water, sparkling water that you flavored the different types of fruits, freshly ground coffee, different types of teas, smoothies with only natural, whole ingredients, almond or coconut milk, freshly squeezed and unsweetened juice.
There are even some types of alcohol that you can have.
The main criteria though is that it doesn’t include any sort of preservatives, extra added sugars or salts, or any other chemicals.
Most people stick to straight spirits and certain types of wine if they want to be able to enjoy any sort of alcohol. It might take a small amount of extra research, this is the sort of thing that you do you like to do then you might find it to be worth the extra time.
Things Which Are Not Whole Foods
Before you see exactly what whole foods are, it’s a good idea to take a look at what they aren’t.
Some food manufacturers will put bits of bogus info on the packaging of their products to draw the eye of an unaware consumer.
So some of the things you need to look for will be things like: long chemical names in the ingredients, many of which will be difficult to pronounce and repeat to others without writing it down.
Foods that come out of a box are usually highly processed, especially if they are dehydrated.
This should also include types of snack foods. Frozen food is particularly guilty of this, because they’ve had quite a few preservatives, and artificial amounts of salt added to them so they can retain their flavor under whatever circumstances.
Simply avoid things like those, and you should avoid nearly 90% of bad foods.
3. How to Add More Whole Foods to Your Diet
If you’re new to eating whole foods, then this information can be really beneficial to you.
You might even just be looking to expand the amount of whole foods that you include in your diet, so here are a few things you can try.
Adding whole foods also helps you to include many of the wonderful bits of nutrition that you read about earlier in the article.
- Begin to avoid foods that come from factories.
- When you make your own foods, it’s a lot less likely to contain things that will be contrary to your diet. You might even want to consider learning how to make home versions of the condiments that you like.
- A great ways to make sure that you’re getting a lot of those awesome phytochemicals, you can add lentils or beans to a lot of your meals.
- Beans are a great source of protein, and they can be prepared and flavored in a variety of ways that are delicious and full of the things you need.
- When you make breakfast and lunch, be sure to have them with some kind of vegetable, and you might even want to close with a piece of fruit.
- That can have a tremendous effect on your digestion, as well as the absorption of nutrients.
- When you go to buy breads, always opt for the ones with the most visible grains in them.
- Those can help you with health in a variety of ways. If you eat breakfast cereal, also be sure that they contain whole grains with no preservatives, sugars or sweeteners unless they are completely natural.
- Instead of conventional sweeteners, you can use juices, honey, nectars of various types and other similar items. You might find that you enjoy those even more.
When You’re Short on Time
People everywhere are busy because of work, family, friends and all sorts of life events.
When time runs that short, it can be hard to commit to a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Having a god plan in place can help you to stick to your health goals and stay on track with increasing your vitality.
Try picking up some of snack foods like hummus, trail mix, assorted nuts, yogurt, and fruit.
If you want to eat something along with the hummus, just make sure that it’s a whole grain cracker or bread.
Some people find that they have a lot of success with their diet if they make a small tub of tuna salad to take with them to eat at work.
You can chop celery and add a few simple seasonings without compromising the healthy nature of your meal.
If you have any whole food from meals that you’ve eaten during the week, then you can take some of those with you to eat, and that will save you money because you’re eating your leftover food instead of throwing it away.
With a little extra effort, you can bring some frozen fruits with you to make a nice lunchtime smoothie.