The Term”whole foods” is quite popular these days. You probably have heard it in numerous places, on Tv or magazines where experts are expressing different topics about food and nutrition. In general, whole foods are those that contain more nutrients than other foods with fewer calories. You can eat these foods a lot for maintaining a healthy diet. While the concept seems simple and easy, most of the straightforward details that surround the choices of consumables go unexplained. So, what are “whole foods”? and why are they so important for a healthy diet?
A whole food is a food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Examples of whole foods include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
Different people speak about whole foods in a number of ways. However, in general, they refer to foods that remain close to their state in nature. Those foods do not have a high amount of sugar, flavorings, starch or other manufactured ingredients. These foods are primarily not from factories, in this sense, they are the opposite of processed foods. As there is no factory manufacturing involved, there is no way of manipulating or adding additives to them.
Whole foods are good for you!
Choosing whole foods will ensure you more nutrients and probably, higher in fiber. If you are planning to eat the optimum amount of carbohydrate for your body, eating whole foods can provide just the right amount. In cases, you may also hear that the whole food is regarded as “real foods”. Really, that sounds pretty logical in the case of nutrition. There is a variety of benefits from whole foods. Principally, eating them ensures that you get the most nutrient out of your meal. When you consume the items in their most natural state, your body receives all the nutrients in that food and it is free of any additives and preservatives.
This is eventually better for your health than eating foods that have undergone processing with ingredients, colors, and flavors. For instance, processed foods with extra sugar often contain more calories and such condition leads to high blood pressure and obesity. In the case of “whole” foods, that is not the case. These foods only contain natural sugars and sodium that often contributes to lower calorie count and better vitamins and other nutrition properties. That is why you should consider getting the whole foods for your weight loss regime. As they are low in calories, they are also a perfect supplement for your exercise to lose weight. Again, the foods provide a huge amount of natural fuel that your body loves without those extra health hazards.
What to eat on a Whole foods Diet
Let’s clarify what foods are the whole foods. Whole foods include vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, and beans etc. However, fruit rollups, bean chips, fruit drinks don’t count as whole foods. Milk is an ideal whole food, but cheese isn’t. A grilled chicken leg can also be counted as a whole food whereas chicken nugget isn’t. Potato is also a whole food but not the flavored, spiced potato chips.
There are a number of other foods in the category of whole foods. For example, corn on the cob is a whole food but corn flakes or anything including corn with high fructose corn syrup or even derived from corn isn’t. Quinoa, brown rice and barley can also be whole foods. In a word, foods containing added sugars (including any of the hidden sugars) and other processing ingredients are not counted as whole foods. However, honey can be a whole food (arguably).
Tips to improve nutritional health
Use the best foods grown organically if possible. Your body absorbs vitamins and minerals found in foods more easily than those found in vitamin pills.
Whole grains: Research has shown that people who ate the most grains (about 4 servings per day) had a lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease compared with people who ate small amounts of whole grains. Choose foods high in whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, that have at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving.
Whole grains not only have fiber but also have more micronutrients, like folate, magnesium, and vitamin E, than white-flour. Eat whole grain products such as brown rice, whole wheat or whole grain bread, whole wheat flour, whole grain, and multigrain cereals, oatmeal, oat bran, whole wheat pasta, whole grain, and rye crackers. Research states that high intakes of refined carbohydrates and sugar are the main sources of calories in the diet, and is also a major contribution to being overweight.
Vegetables, fruits, and grains provide more than low-fat calories, they also provide fiber. Foods high in fiber and low in fat include whole-wheat bread, popcorn, raisins, peaches, apples, spinach, and kidney beans. For extra fiber, include a few teaspoons of bran with every meal. Fiber also helps move other food out of the body before the body absorbs them.
Add more fiber to your diet: Most people eat 13 grams of fiber a day, but if you eat 3 times that amount, you could block the absorption of about 160 calories a day. Studies found that people who had eaten high-fiber oatmeal for breakfast ate 30 percent fewer calories at lunch than people who had cornflakes for breakfast. Beans are a good way to get fiber, you can add them to salads, soups, chili, and other dishes you love. Chili has nearly 10 grams of fiber per servings, and red beans and brown rice has about 18 grams.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, low in fat and calories, and full of healthy nutrients and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E which are very important in preventing heart disease and cancer. Studies found that people who doubled their fruits and veggies in a meal ate fewer calories and were more likely to leave calorie-dense foods on the plate.
Eliminate all foods containing partially hydrogenated oils as it is stated that, there is a growing evidence that unnatural fats are not good for us and avoiding them and the processed foods they come in would improve our nutritional health.
A whole, plant-based diet is always welcome for celebrating the plant foods and cut out unhealthy items like refined grains and added sugar? There are a number of benefits to plant-based diets including the reduction of the risk of heart diseases, certain cancers, cognitive decline, obesity, and diabetes. Moreover, the transition toward a plant-based diet is also helpful for us and the entire planet. Regardless of what whole, plant-based food you choose, it’s going to boost your health and save the planet at the same time. What is a whole food should help you to make the decision you need to start you on your journey to eating more whole foods. What do you think about it?
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and wellness, Success, and to help others succeed as well. Believe in yourself and you will succeed!