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 for great health and wellness, the exact definition is somewhat obscured. 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. Just remember that “whole foods” don’t come in a box or plastic wrap so there is no need to “read the ingredients”.
Eating More Whole Foods is not a “Diet”. It is a Lifestyle Upgrade
We are living in a world full of diets: keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, and many more. All of which have great health benefits. But, if you are simply trying to improve your health without the overwhelm, incorporating more whole foods is an easy way to get started. It’s not a diet that requires the stress of counting calories or macros. It’s more of an awareness of the foods you choose to nourish your body. It is a way of living or a lifestyle upgrade.
As a Society, We Have Strayed Away from the Basics:
The mainstream food habits of today’s society have significantly strayed away from this 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.
In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons why a lifestyle centered on whole foods is a hugely superior way of fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. As you will see these benefits go way beyond “weight loss”.
Are you ready?
- Awesome Nutritional Benefits
One of the detriments of overly processed foods is a significant decrease in the nutritional content available in a natural form. In order to increase shelf life and improve taste, valuable nutrients are stripped away.
Since 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 have been forced to increased their vitamin supplement consumption in order to fill this void.
- 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 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 many unwanted 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. Just sayin’.
- More Fiber, Less Eating
Overly processed foods have a tremendous reduction in fiber content. Since fiber has the ability to cause us to feel full more quickly, a lack of fiber is often responsible for overeating. Also, consuming a diet that is adequate in fiber is essential for digestive health.
By increasing the number of whole foods you consume, your risk of overeating can be reduced. Empty, processed foods are slower to trigger the brain into realizing you have eaten enough, which can quickly lead to overeating.
- Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is running rampant these days. However, 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 can have 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 thereby triggering the inflammatory process.
Eating a diet rich in whole foods is an effective way to avoid excess inflammation in your body and spare it from constantly feeling the need to protect itself.
- 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 wise decision. Since we have discussed the adverse effects of eating artificially processed food items on a regular basis, think about spending more on whole foods as a way of paying now instead of later.
While you might certainly save some money upfront by purchasing cheaper items at the grocery store, is the reduced price at the checkout worth the potentially enormous medical bills down the road?
Refocusing you food intake to incorporate more whole foods, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never eat anything processed. The take away here is to become more aware of the foods that you currently eat and to intentionally add more whole foods rich in nutrients to support your health and wellness goals. We are all on a journey to a better lifestyle. Examining our existing food choices and including some better ones is a great place to start.
Be well + prosper,