The term “whole foods” is thrown around a lot these days. 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.
A whole food is any food product that remains in its natural form, free of any artificial additives, preservatives, or other manmade ingredients. Examples include organic fruits and vegetables.
The mainstream diet of today’s society has significantly strayed away from a whole foods approach. Many of the food products we consume are a far cry from their original form, loaded with harmful preservatives and added sweeteners. There is undoubtedly a correlation between this type of diet and the prevalence of many chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
In this article, we will discuss 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. Full Nutritional Benefits
One of the detriments of overly processed foods is a significant reduction in the full nutritional content available in their natural form. In order 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 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. Whole foods are a great way to avoid this reliance.
2. Significantly Less Sugar
As a society, we have an inherent dependence on sugar, many of us without even realizing it. Many food products today contain a huge amount of added sugar; this is accomplished by using any number of the 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 health conditions. While even foods in their natural form can still contain sugar, the actual amount is significantly reduced. When comparing a whole food to its processed counterpart, it is easy to identify a difference in taste. 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.
3. More Fiber, Less Eating
Another negative aspect of overly processed foods is that they experience a marked reduction in fiber content. Given that fiber has the ability to cause us to feel full more quickly, a lack of fiber is often responsible for overeating. Furthermore, consuming a diet that is adequate in fiber is essential for digestive health.
By sticking to whole foods, your risk of overeating and excess caloric consumption is reduced. Empty, processed foods are slower to trigger the brain into realizing you have eaten enough, which can quickly lead to obesity.
4. Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Inflammation is an interesting topic. At the appropriate times and for short durations, inflammation is a natural response of the body to heal damaged tissues and defend against various infectious agents. However, chronic inflammation has a devastating effect on overall health. Chronic inflammation is linked to an enormous number of diseases including diabetes, obesity and even cancer.
Many of the artificial additives present in today’s food are clinically proven to cause an exaggerated inflammatory response in the body. 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.
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 The Doctor
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 farther ahead than your next grocery store bill is a worthwhile endeavor. 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 now instead of later.
While you can certainly save some money up front by purchasing cheap items at the supermarket, do you really think the reduced price at checkout is worth the enormous medical bills down the road?