How Beneficial is a Whole Foods Diet?
We are living in a fast-paced world that has led us to look for quick and easy solutions. We want the fastest way to clean, travel and even eat. It is this fast lifestyle that has us grabbing our phones and ordering fast food for dinner or buying pre-packaged meals that will be quick and easy to prepare. And all the while, we tend to ignore our health.
Did you know that most fast or easy meals are highly processed and contain a variety of artificial ingredients? This means that if we keep consuming them, it will affect nearly every part of our body in the long run. If you are looking for ways to improve your health and vitality, then one of the best places to start is with your diet. More specifically, it’s often best to focus on eating more whole foods, which many people refer to as following a whole foods diet.
What is a Whole Foods Diet?
The term ‘whole foods’ means just that—foods that are unprocessed or only slightly processed before being consumed. Generally, whole foods are plant or animal based, and since they haven’t gone through much, if any, processing, they don’t contain the extra fat, sugar, or salt that is often added to highly processed foods. When you decide to follow a whole foods diet, you are taking a big step that will help ensure your body gets plenty of the vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients it needs to function properly.
So what foods are considered whole foods? These include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, eggs, some cuts of lean meat, and fish. As you can see, many of these are rich in a variety of nutrients like fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins, which are all nutrients that your body needs to achieve optimum health.
When you start following a whole foods diet, you will start noticing positive health changes in a matter of days, with your health significantly improving over time. For example, in only a few days, you may notice that you have more energy and are generally in a better mood. And that’s only the beginning of the benefits that come with adding more of these body-nourishing foods to your meal plan.
The Benefits of Eating a Whole Foods Diet
Adopting a whole foods diet can lead to several different health benefits. Here are just a few.
Improved Nutrient Intake
Whole foods are rich in natural nutrients which means that living a whole foods lifestyle will be beneficial for your overall health. For example, fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals which will boost your health and reduce your chances of facing serious health problems. At the same time, animal proteins and some plant-based foods are rich in fatty acids and proteins which also help various organs to properly function.
One common reason for weight gain is consistently snacking on ultra-processed food items. While those items may taste good or satisfy some kind of craving, the fact of the matter is that filling up these items makes it hard to maintain a healthy weight. Meanwhile, plant-based or whole foods diets have been proven to help to manage overall body weight.
Improved Gut Health
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is important for your health. It is responsible for breaking down the foods you eat and pulling out the nutrients so your body can absorb and use them. With such an important role to play, keeping your digestive system healthy is of the utmost importance, and the best way to do that is to make sure you are providing it with everything it needs to thrive. This includes things like fiber, probiotics, and key vitamins and minerals that can be found in whole foods and are vital for your gut to function properly.
Increased Energy & Better Mood
As we already mentioned, you will notice a change in your mood and energy levels fairly quickly after switching to a whole foods diet. When you fuel your body with healthy whole foods, you will be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to create energy and avoiding the energy-killing, unnecessary ingredients that are often added to processed food items.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it needs proper care to do its job. Just like every other organ in your body, your skin relies on certain nutrients so it can function, and many of those nutrients are easily found in whole foods like fish, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. By nourishing your body with whole food goodness, you can provide your skin with everything it needs to protect it from damage and age as gracefully as possible.
Sleep and diet go hand in hand. When you don’t get enough sleep, you will be more likely to fall back on poor diet habits, and when your diet is poor, your sleep quality will suffer. Researchers have found that people who consume large amounts of processed carbs, sugar, and saturated fats are more likely to experience disrupted sleep. Cutting out highly processed foods will help make a difference in the quality of your sleep, which will then encourage you to eat healthier. As a bonus, some whole foods like eggs, fish, and mushrooms naturally contain melatonin, so when you consume them in the evening they can aid in regulating your sleep cycle.
Eating A Whole Foods Diet
So what would a typical day of a whole foods diet look like? You may start your day with a whole grain cereal or oatmeal paired with a side of your favorite berries. For lunch, you could choose to enjoy a salad made with your favorite vegetables and topped with some salmon or another type of healthy fish. As you prepare dinner, you can steam or roast some vegetables to be paired with chicken breast or some lean beef and maybe some whole wheat pasta or quinoa as well. As far as snacks go, rest assured they aren’t out of the question, they may just look a little different than what most people are used to. You could prepare a quick smoothie, a handful of your favorite nuts or seeds (preferably unsalted), or make a snack platter with your favorite fruits or veggies to grab from throughout the day.
Make the Switch to a Whole Foods Diet
Your health is your wealth, so protect it by adding more whole foods into your daily routine. There are plenty of healthy, nutritious plant and animal-based foods out there to choose from, which means there is a lot of room for you to experiment and create delectable meals that are filled with body-nourishing goodness. Once you make the switch and see how good it can help you feel, you will never look back.
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