5 Crucial Reasons to Eat a Whole Food Diet
The term “whole foods” is thrown around with wild abandon these days.
But what does it mean to us personally as well as to our long term health?
While most of us are aware that whole foods are the way to go as it pertains to health and wellness, the exact definition is somewhat obscured.
Some might simply say it is the opposite of Junk Food.
But in real terms, whole food is any food product that remains in its natural form, free of any artificial additives, preservatives, or other man-made ingredients.
What you might call “Clean Food”. Follow this link and find out all about Whole Food vs Refined Food.
Easy examples of clean foods include organic fruits and vegetables.
With the advent of fast food outlets, the mainstream diet of today’s society has significantly strayed away from a whole foods approach to our lifestyle and diet.
Many of the food products we consume today are a far cry from their original form. They are now loaded with harmful preservatives and added sweeteners. This is why you need to know the difference between whole food vs refined food.
There are many scientific studies out there now stating that there is undoubtedly a clear correlation between this type of diet, coupled with a lack of exercise, and the prevalence of many chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Here are the 5 reasons why a diet centered on whole foods is a vastly superior way of fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
1. Getting Full Nutritional Benefits with Whole Foods
Two of the main detriments of overly processed foods are a significant reduction in the full nutritional content available in their natural form and to lengthen shelf life and improve taste, valuable nutrients are stripped away.
Given that whole foods are consumed in their purest form, they provide your body with a multitude of vitamins and minerals you would otherwise be deprived of by opting for the convenience of processed alternatives.
Because of the inferior state of food today, many individuals rely on vitamin supplements and pharmaceutical products to fill the void. In reality, these nutrients are meant to be provided by diet alone and not come in pill form.
Whole foods are the best way to avoid this reliance.
Here is a short guide for you on How to Get Started Eating More Whole Foods.
2. Natural Whole Foods have Significantly Less Sugar
As a society, we have an inherent dependence on sugar, many of us without even realizing it.
And sugar is our enemy when it comes to food additives.
Many food products today contain a huge amount of added sugar; this is accomplished by using any number of overly complicated names often found on the label.
Just because a product may not specifically list sugar within the ingredients list, it is still most likely present under a different name.
It is common knowledge that sugar is a key player in the development of numerous life-threatening diseases and related health conditions.
While even foods in their natural form can still contain sugar, the actual amount is significantly reduced. People often compare fresh fruit here but the other benefits associated with fruit such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants far outweigh the natural sugar content. Consumption in moderation is the key.
When comparing a whole food to its processed counterpart, it is easy to identify a difference in taste. A good example is a low-fat yoghurt. Stripping fat strips out flavor as well so it has to be replaced.
How do they do that…….usually by the addition of sugar and salt.
Food manufacturers use our sugar addiction to their advantage, knowing that the sweeter and more satisfying they make a product, the faster it will fly off of the shelves. Unfortunately, this ends up with kids having a life-long sugar addiction.
Here is a quick tip for you when buying packaged goods. On the information panel on the side of the packet or box go to the right-hand column which should be grams per 100 gram. Four grams of sugar is one teaspoon so try to buy products that have 4 grams per 100 grams or less.
A good example of excess sugar content for you, next time you are shopping have a look at the sugar content in boxed breakfast cereals – they are Cereal Offenders when it comes to sugar overload.
3. Whole Foods have a Much Higher Fibre Content
Another negative aspect of overly processed foods is that they experience a marked reduction in fiber content.
Bowel cancer, which has the second-highest cause of death by this disease, is closely related to a lack of fibre in our modern diets. So this is something worth thinking about for you and your family.
Given that fiber has the ability to cause us to feel full more quickly, a lack of fiber is often responsible for overeating which often results in obesity.
Also worth noting is that consuming a high fibre diet that is essential for good digestive health.
By sticking to whole foods, your risk of overeating and excess caloric consumption is greatly reduced.
The upshot is, empty processed foods are slower to trigger the brain into realizing you have eaten enough, which can quickly lead to weight problems.
4. Whole Foods Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Inflammation is an interesting topic and to the uninitiated, it can take a bit of understanding so you do need to recognize what causes inflammation.
Here’s some sage advice about foods that fight inflammation from Harvard Health Publications: “Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.”
You can learn more here about What is Inflammation – Symptoms and Types.
In short, inflammation is a process by which your body’s white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. It is a natural response of the body to heal damaged tissues and defend against various infectious agents.
But unfortunately, chronic inflammation has a devastating effect on overall health.
Chronic inflammation is linked to an enormous number of diseases including diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and much more.
Many of the artificial additives present in today’s food are clinically proven to cause an exaggerated inflammatory response in the body that’s why we all need to be eating more natural and whole foods.
While we may be unaware that these additives are not meant to be consumed on a regular basis, the body inherently realizes the issue right away and responds the only way it knows how triggering the inflammatory process. If you eat much Chinese food and have a reaction to it then they have added MSG. It affects my sinuses dreadfully so beware.
Eating whole foods is an effective way to avoid excess inflammation in your body and spare it from constantly feeling the need to protect itself.
5. Pay the Grocery Store, Not your Doctor
Quentin Regestein once said, “The patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don’t take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop.”
In other words, you are what you eat.
A common, and warranted, complaint of whole food products is that they almost always come at a steeper price compared to processed options.
It is somewhat ironic that buying something in its natural form is more expensive than other products that have basically gone through a genetic mutation before reaching the grocery store.
However, looking further ahead than your next grocery bill, it is a worthwhile endeavor to change your shopping habits by choosing healthier foods for your family.
Given that we have discussed the adverse effects of consuming artificially processed food items on a regular basis, think about spending more on whole foods as paying for your good health now instead of having to pay for your bad health later because that’s when it becomes very expensive.
While you can certainly save some money upfront by purchasing cheap heavily processed items at the supermarket, do you really think the reduced price at the checkout is worth the enormous cost to your health, especially in later life? This is well worth thinking about because when you get older your good health is your greatest asset over all else.
And just before I go here is a great Active Ageing quote from Helen Mirren: “I eat everything, but I don’t eat a lot of everything. I exercise, but I don’t do a lot of exercise. I like a glass of wine, but I don’t drink a huge amount of wine.” A lady who is in a class of her own. Check out Helen’s 12-minute secret to staying fit – her story is HERE.
Stay well – Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend to better health – like and share. Thanks.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn