When you think of whole foods, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the supermarket chain of the same name. In fact, Whole Foods has played a pivotal role in popularizing the whole foods diet movement and making it affordable and accessible to more people.
What differentiates the whole foods movement from other diet and nutrition trends is the fact that it is backed by solid medical research. So what exactly is the whole foods diet and is it a realistic lifestyle change for the average person?
Back to Basics – What are Whole Foods?
The whole foods diet is based on the premise, backed by numerous studies, that foods eaten in their most natural state provide the highest nutritional value. When foods are processed, they lose a fair amount of their component minerals and vitamins, making them less nutritious.
These types of foods also end up being lower in fiber content and natural plant compounds such as antioxidants, which help boost your immune system. Whole foods, on the other hand, are those foods that remain in their natural state until they are either cooked or consumed.
So foods like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables make up the core of the whole foods diet.
A Healthy Variety – Whole Foods for Whole Body Health
The whole foods diet aims to improve overall health by replacing processed foods with their natural counterparts. For instance, naturally made cheeses like aged cheddar or smoky brie are favored over processed cheeses, which include things like canned cheese and some types of pre-sliced cheese.
Foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, unprocessed seeds and nuts, whole grains, beans, lentils
Keep in mind that whole foods proponents consider salt and sugar to be additives as well, so it’s important to stay away from things like breakfast syrups and refined sugar. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy sweet treats,
Is it Worth It – The Whole Foods Difference
If you’re considering trying to live on whole foods, you might be wondering if it is really worth all the effort. The short answer to that is yes.
Generally speaking, the whole foods diet has a lot of short-term and long-term health benefits including a higher fiber content which is great for improved digestion and a stronger immune system.
The nutrient profile of the foods you eat is also more balanced and far more varied than the nutrient profile of processed foods. For instance, whole foods are packed with natural phytochemical compounds like antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals which are often destroyed when these foods are processed.
The net effect is improved general health, a greater resistance to disease and increased energy levels.
It also turns out to be cheaper
It can be tempting to dismiss the whole foods movement as simply the next fad diet in a long line of fad diets. But when you take a closer look at it, the whole foods diet is simply a reversion to the types of foods our grandparents used to eat.
In fact, you can eat anything you normally would on the whole foods diet, except that the nutritional quotient of your meal will be a lot higher. And given the fact that this is one of the very few food trends that is actually backed by medical research, it’s definitely worth giving it a try.
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