If you’re looking to be as healthy as possible and your diet isn’t currently comprised of whole foods, it’s time to make some changes!
If you’re not sure what exactly constitutes whole food, here’s a brief primer.
Whole food is a real, single-ingredient food item. They are usually unprocessed and are free of additives and chemicals that are often associated with processed foods.
An easy way to think of it is that whole food usually has only one ingredient listed on the label. So, if you look at the “ingredients” label, you should only find 1 or 2 items there.
Processed food items may be more convenient in the short term. However, whole foods (also called real foods) offer you so much more! To give you an idea of why you should center your diet around real foods, we’ve brought together 21 good reasons. Continue reading to learn more:
21 Reasons To Eat Whole Foods:
1. They Are Packed With Vital Nutrients
Where most processed foods go through a variety of mechanical processing steps which strip them of many of their vital nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, real foods are left intact. Real foods are exceptionally high in the nutrients your body needs in order to thrive! Examples of whole food that is high in nutrients include liver, eggs, and nuts.
2. Reduce Your Daily Intake of Sugar And Refined Carbs
Compared to their processed counterparts, whole food will typically be much lower in sugar. As a part of processing, many food manufacturers add extra sugar to foods to make them more appealing to people. But, this ends up costing us in the long run.
3. Improve Your Heart Health
As was previously mentioned, real foods are chock-full of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins which all go towards improving our health! One way in which your health may be improved by incorporating more real foods in your diet by reducing inflammation, which is purported to be one of the leading causes of heart disease.
4. Real Food Is Better For Our Environment
During the manufacturing and processing of processed foods, greenhouse gases are often emitted and excessive amounts of fuel are consumed. Also, the packaging that you usually see come along with processed food will eventually end up in a landfill. Whole food will not typically result in such negative impacts on our environment.
5. Real Food Is Higher In Beneficial Fiber
During processing, most foods end up being stripped of their beneficial fiber, as well as the vitamins and nutrients. Real foods leave the fiber intact, which provides you with increased satiety and can improve both your metabolic and digestive health!
6. Real Food Helps Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Estimates by the International Diabetes Federation peg the number of people suffering from diabetes to be at over 400 million currently! In the next 25 years, it is estimated that this number will tip past 600 million! When you eat whole foods that leave fiber intact, your blood sugar levels will likely remain lower. This choice goes far to reducing your risk of developing diabetes.
7. Real Food Is Beneficial For Your Skin
Due to the vitamins and minerals left present in real foods, your skin will be much better off as well! real foods such as avocados and dark chocolate have the amazing ability to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. If you consume real foods such as a fish, vegetables, olive oil, and beans, you’ll likely enjoy a reduction in wrinkles, and may preserve the elasticity of your skin.
8. Real Food May Lower Triglycerides
It is said that blood triglyceride levels are heavily influenced by the foods you eat. When you consume refined carbs and excess sugar, your blood triglycerides are likely to increase. Opting for the unprocessed, whole foods will result in better triglyceride levels overall, which will pay dividends in the long run!
9. Real Food Provides You With A Variety Nutrients
If you find yourself eating the same old processed food over and over again, it can get old fast! Aside from this simply being a bore, eating a larger variety of foods is just healthier overall. There are so many different options for whole foods available to you, that you’ll likely never run out of new ideas for things to eat! real foods provide you with the opportunity to change things up regularly with your diet.
10. Save Money In The Long Run
When you look at the price tags on food, it’s easy to think that processed food is more affordable than whole foods. In the short-term, this may be so, but when you factor in the added costs of dealing with chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, whole foods can end up looking a lot more frugal before long!
11. Real Food Is Higher In Beneficial Fats
Lots of processed foods contained added processed fats and trans fats which can be incredibly detrimental to your health! real foods will usually contain much healthier forms of fat. Examples of healthy fats include coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil, which contains medium-chain triglycerides, and oleic acid respectively. Both have many purported health benefits. Benefits of these healthier fats include reductions in inflammation markers and better overall heart health.
12. Real Food Can Reduce Your Disease Risk
When you eat whole foods you stand to reduce your risk of developing a whole host of chronic diseases! Diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on consuming healthy whole foods, has been shown to reduce the risk of followers developing diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome! Additionally, studies have shown that a diet of mainly real foods is associated with reduced rates of heart disease and cancer.
13. Real Food Has Many Antioxidants
Many real foods contain beneficial antioxidants. These compounds help your body combat the damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants can be found in nearly all real foods, such as from fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Other foods that contain beneficial antioxidants include egg yolks and berries.
14. Improved Environment For Your Gut’s Microbiome
Consuming healthy amounts of real foods is especially beneficial to the bacteria that your gut microbiome is comprised of.
Plenty of real foods are prebiotic in nature, which means that the bacteria in your gut ferment it into short-chain fatty acids. Besides just offering you improvements to your gut health, these acids are purported to improve your body’s ability to control its blood sugar levels, which provides you with many health benefits.
15. These Foods Help to Minimize Overeating
Compared to its processed counterparts, real foods contain healthy amounts of fiber, without the unnecessary additions of sugar and flavorings which can drive you to overeat! Maintaining a diet that is high in fiber will go a long way to preventing you from overeating and may result in weight loss in the long run.
16. Enjoy Improved Dental Health
Because of the lack of refined carbs and added sugar that is often found in processed foods, real foods are much better for your teeth. The aforementioned sugars and refined carbs can increase the rate of tooth decay and also provides the plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth with the food that it needs to thrive.
17. Real Food Can Reduce Your Sugar Cravings
When you eat whole foods, after a while you’ll likely find that your cravings for sugary processed foods start to wain. By limiting your intake of highly processed and sugar-laden foods, your taste for sweets will likely reduce, making you far less likely to consume these unhealthy foods. You’ll find that you also begin to appreciate the real foods you are eating more, as time goes on.
18. Your Food Choices May Inspire Those Around You
Aside from just improving your own health by focusing on a diet rich in real foods, you’ll also likely inspire those around you to follow suit. Take the opportunity to improve the health of those around you by eating and advocating for a real food diet.
19. Eating Better Takes the Focus off Dieting
For many people, trying to stick to a rigid and structured diet can be a drag. Having a hyper-focus on the foods you eat and the numbers on the scale can be daunting, and depressing. People often lose sight of the fact that a healthy diet should make you feel good, and provide you with sustaining energy throughout the day. When you focus on eating whole foods, maintaining good health and a healthy weight comes much easier.
20. Show Your Support of Local Farmers
By avoiding processed food options and sticking to real foods, you’ll be supporting local farmers! By heading out to the local farmers’ market and shopping there for real foods, the local economy will take a positive hit, and you’ll be contributing to the prosperity of your local community! An additional benefit of shopping at the local farmers’ market is that the foods they offer are often much fresher than what you’ll find in your chain grocery store.