Commentary, J Food Nutr Disor Vol: 12 Issue: 4
The Importance of Consuming Whole, Natural Foods and Avoiding Processed Ones
Department of Nutrition, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
Received date: 25 July, 2023, Manuscript No. JFND-23-113096;
Editor assigned date: 28 July, 2023, Pre QC No. JFND-23-113096 (PQ);
Reviewed date: 11 August, 2023, QC No. JFND-23-113096;
Revised date: 18 August, 2023, Manuscript No: JFND-23-113096 (R);
Published date: 25 August, 2023, DOI: 10.35248/2324-9323.100367
Citation: Hassan S (2023) The Importance of Consuming Whole, Natural Foods and Avoiding Processed Ones. J Food Nutr Disor 12:4.
In a world that’s increasingly fast-paced, the allure of processed foods can be hard to resist. Their convenience, taste, and shelf-life make them a go-to for many people. However, this trend has major health implications that are worth considering. As obesity rates and lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension rise globally, a renewed focus has been placed on the importance of consuming whole, natural foods while steering clear of processed items. Whole, natural foods are items that are minimally processed and as close to their natural state as possible. These include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods are usually devoid of additives, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. When we consume whole foods, we getting nutrients in their most potent form, as nature intended.
Processed foods often contain high levels of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. They can be loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients that have little to no nutritional value. Consuming these foods regularly can lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and even mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Most processed foods have a high glycemic index, which means they cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, leading to a cycle of hunger and overeating.
Nutrient density vs. Caloric density
Whole, natural foods are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack a lot of essential nutrients and vitamins in relatively few calories. In contrast, processed foods are generally calorie-dense but nutrient-poor. This is problematic because it leads to consuming more calories than necessary while not meeting our body's nutritional needs, resulting in nutrient deficiencies over time. Whole foods are rich in phytonutrients bioactive compounds that have been shown to have various beneficial effects on health. Phytonutrients can act as antioxidants, improve immune function, and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Processed foods, unfortunately, are stripped of these valuable nutrients during manufacturing.
Besides health benefits, consuming whole foods often aligns with ethical and sustainable practices. Whole foods like fruits and vegetables usually have a lower carbon footprint compared to processed foods, which often require more energy for production, packaging, and transport. Supporting local farmers and agricultural systems that prioritize organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO options can make a big difference in the long run for both personal health and the environment. Making the switch from processed to whole foods doesn’t have to be daunting. Start small by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily meals.
Prioritize whole grains over refined grains, like choosing brown rice over white. Look for snacks that have minimal ingredients, or better yet, make own snacks from whole food ingredients. Whole, natural foods are not just a trend but should be a cornerstone of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. By choosing foods that are minimally processed and rich in nutrients, will help in the long-term health and well-being, while also making a positive impact on the planet. So the next time tempted by a packaged snack or fast-food meal, remember the myriad benefits that whole foods have to offer, everyone.