Top 5 Healthy Habits to Living Young series second article – Benefits of Whole Foods. Check back for future posts to read more about my top healthy habits.
Whole Foods versus Processed Foods
So what are whole foods exactly? The definition is simple its food in its original state. It has all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants intact prior to being processed. Whole foods are unrefined and can be found in the produce section of the grocery store, farmer’s market, local orchard or your own garden. They have a shorter shelf life and may take longer meal preparation time.
Foods that are refined and processed lose some of their nutrients through the manufacturing process. They have a longer shelf life and can be prepared quickly allowing immediate consumption.
Ideally you want to decrease the number of processed foods you eat and increase the proportion of healthy whole foods. Eat a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit instead of reaching for cookies and potato chips.
Tip: Select antioxidant rich whole foods such as berries especially blueberries, apples, kiwi, carrots, peppers and tomatoes.
Benefits of Whole Foods
Are you looking to live a healthier life? A diet rich in unrefined whole foods will move you in that direction. Whole foods have less fat, decreased sugar, create fullness, less overeating and supply more nutrients to protect your body. Be sure to consume a healthy balance of carbs, fats and protein.
3 Key Nutrients to a Healthy Diet:
- Carbohydrates are converted into glucose supplying energy to the body’s cells and brain and may be stored for future use in the liver or stored as body fat.
- Fats are necessary to support growth and provide energy. Just be sure to consume healthy unsaturated fats.
- Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are broken down into amino acids providing energy and support for the organs.
Tip: Consume some heart healthy and cancer fighting whole foods such as; avocados, barley, nuts, beans, salmon, kale and squash.
5 of My Favorite Healthy Whole Foods
- Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat; the good fat that works to lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
- Berries are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients plus low in calories and high in fiber and water. Top 4 berries are; blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries.
- Kale a member of the cabbage family has more nutrients than any other green leafy vegetable. Packed with antioxidants, it is low-fat, no cholesterol and may prevent heart disease and cancer.
- Salmon is heart-healthy loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. It is a good source of protein, iron, low in calories and low in saturated fat.
- Sweet Potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A and C plus calcium and potassium. Skip the butter and cinnamon sugar topping for a low-fat and low sodium meal.
What are your top 5 favorite healthy whole foods? Always like hearing about new healthy whole foods to try!