by Claudia Jones
We all know that we should be eating a healthy diet but how many of us actually make it a part of everyday life? Modern living means we are often too busy to prepare meals from scratch and admittedly it does take some time and effort to shop and plan for healthy meals but the rewards far outweigh the preparation involved.
Here are 5 reasons why eating a whole foods diet is good for your health and can assist with weight loss.
A whole foods diet increases the amount of dietary fiber you take in every day making you feel more full and satisfied after meals and less likely to overeat.
To help increase your fiber intake always choose whole meal breads over white, brown rice over white, whole rolled oats over instant porridge and so on. Eat plenty of vegetables with every meal and remember that the fiber content of a food diminishes the more you cook it as does the nutritional content. Note that animal products, meat, fish and dairy do not contain any dietary fiber.
A diet high in fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, keep your colon clean and reduce risk of intestinal disease
Modern diets are really low in dietary fiber and contribute to bowel disease over the long-term. You should aim to consume around 40grams of dietary fiber every day that can only be achieved through eating a wholefoods diet or through supplementation.
Eating a nutritious whole foods diet reduces your intake of unhealthy fats and sugars
Most processed, pre-packaged foods contain high levels of added sugars, fats and sodium which consumed over the long-term have a damaging effect on your health. Low in nutritional content and fiber, packaged foods leave the body craving nourishment so you feel the need to eat more.
Consuming whole foods helps to regulate your blood sugar levels
By eating a balanced, whole foods diet you will avoid the blood sugar highs and crashes that can occur as a result of eating refined sugar, white flour, white rice, overcooked white pasta and so on. For example a whole foods meal of, brown rice, chick peas or lentils, steamed vegetables, nuts and seeds with a light dressing will give you sustained energy over a longer period compared to a sweet chocolate muffin and a white bread sandwich. As well as being by far the healthier choice, eating in this way also reduces the need to snack in between meals.
By eating a nutritious whole foods diet unhealthy food cravings disappear
We crave sweet, salty and fatty foods when we are low on energy and when our body needs certain nutrients. A balanced wholefoods diet is naturally rich in vitamin and mineral content, contains healthy fats and natural sugars and is nutritionally satisfying, therefore you are less likely to experience cravings for foods that can damage your health.
What makes up a wholefoods diet?
A healthy wholefoods diet includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. To take in the broad range of nutrients our body needs our diet should be varied to include different fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and grains every day. Contrary to popular belief, protein can be obtained from plant as well a animal sources. Legumes are an excellent source of protein, lentils, beans and bean soy bean products such as tofu and tempeh all count as legumes.
Of course how you prepare your foods is important too. Avoid frying foods and overcooking them instead choose to steam, boil, bake or where possible eat them raw. Use a juicer or blender to create delicious and nutritious juices and smoothies… and have fun!