Are you interested in improving your cholesterol level, lowering your risk of developing type-2 diabetes and losing your excess body fat? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then this blog post is for you.
As a “whole food junkie” (at least 95% of my food come from whole food), I wanted to experiment the impact processed food has on my body. So this is what I did. During my recent getaway, I chose processed food (pizza, burgers, instant foods, etc.) at every meal and noted down how I generally felt, what my energy level was and most importantly how productive I was.
And the result was scary. I had the worst mood, lowest energy and was least productive in years! And most importantly, I’ve gained 1 kg of pure body fat within just four days, although I was physically active on those days.
This experiment helped me to understand two most important facts:
- The negative impact processed foods have on my health
- And more importantly, how whole foods have been defining my overall success up to now.
I understood what it really means behind the saying of “you are what you eat”. And that’s the food I eat has an enormous impact on my physiology and psychology.
What are Whole Foods?
Whole foods are foods that are close to their natural form.
I guess this table helps you to understand it better:
In short, whole foods are closest to its natural state and only minimally refined to make it consumable. And they usually don’t come with fancy packages and don’t have any ingredient lists. Examples of whole foods are fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, fish, whole grains, legumes, etc.
5 Reasons Why Whole Foods are Good for You
Listing the incredible benefits of eating whole foods will, hopefully, convince you to eat more of them at every meal.
Whole foods are full of beneficial fibre:
Eating whole foods also means that you are taking in a lot of dietary fibre.Dietary fibre is an incredibly important ingredient for a lean and healthy life. Eating fibre rich foods is linked to the control of blood sugar, blood lipids (fats), and weight in adults.
And on top of that, dietary fibres help you to maintain a healthy gut too. They play a critical role in your regular bowel movement. And I guess you’ll agree with me, that “emptying your stomach” at a certain interval is more important than “filling up your stomach” frequently.
Whole foods have abundance of vitamins and minerals:
Most processed foods (pizza, burger, doughnuts, instant foods, etc.) you eat are basically empty calories. They are high in calorie but low in nutrients. This is because most of the vitamins, minerals and other goodness that are contained in whole foods are lost during processing.
So choosing whole foods mean, you are also increasing the number of nutrients your body desperately needs.
Whole foods contain “the-good-for-you” phytonutrients:
The science behind phytonutrients is quite recent. In last 10-15 years, scientists have been identifying the excellent source of phytonutrients (aka phytochemicals) that can even inhibit tumour cells, bi’idnillah!
These phytonutrients are essential for optimal cellular function and communication. So increased intake of them means you are fortifying your “protection wall” against many of the modern diseases.
The potential health benefits of phytochemical compounds are really long. From reducing your LDL cholesterol to neutralising free radicals that cause cell damage, it has many important roles in protecting your health as well as improving it. To ensure you get the best result, try to increase the amount and variety of vegetables and fruits you eat every day.
Whole foods provide the natural synergy of all of the nutrients together
Sometimes we become so focused on the health benefits of a particular vitamin or phytochemical that we miss an important point: different components in a single food can work together to benefit our health, and so can components in various foods that are eaten together.
We know that when a number of antioxidants, selenium and vitamin E are eaten together in a whole food, it give us all sorts of health benefits. But studies of these single vitamins and minerals in supplement form have not shown the same success. So, researchers say that it’s the combination and interaction of all of these different phytochemicals and proteins that give food its health benefit.
So enriched white flour with various vitamins doesn’t really give you the health benefits you may get from whole-wheat flour!
Whole Foods Burn More Calories
A study conducted in 2010 found that the ‘processed-food’ meal required nearly 50% less energy to digest compared to the similar ‘whole-food’ meal.
In other words, your body spends more calories digesting whole foods. So eating whole foods is a win-win situation for your body – it gets all the nutrients it needs while spending more calories to digest it! Alhamdulillah!