Becoming healthy means eating fresh, non-processed foods, but what exactly is a non-processed food?
By definition, processed means to perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it. In other words, processed food undergoes a change in formation, altering its entire design, causing it to deviate from is natural form. While being processed, there are unhealthy ingredients put in the food, such as sugar, sodium, and fat.
Processing food does change the nutritional value.
Factories process foods to enhance the flavor, lengthen the expiration date, and to make the item more appealing. To accomplish this, factories use unnatural chemicals that could potentially harm the human body.
Start to read the ingredient lists of the main food products you buy, how many ingredients do you recognize? These ingredients, unable to be pronounced, are artificial flavors and colors added through the system of processing, causing reactions in the digestive, immune, and nervous systems. Processed foods exchange nutrients for artificial ingredients, causing your body to have a shortage of beneficial nutrients to keep it healthy.
When shopping for food, the real, non-processed food items will be located on the outer regions of the store, such as the store packed meats, the fresh produce, and eggs. The fake, processed foods will be located down the isles of the grocery store, packaged on the shelves.
Common highly processed foods include bleached or highly refined grains, trans-fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils, and pre-packaged meat.
Refined grains are missing the fiber, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep your body healthy. White bread and snack cakes are the main items you need to avoid when it comes to refined grains. Highly refined grains are immediately digested, causing your blood sugar to rise, a spike in your insulin level and your body to store the food as fat.
A hydrogenated oil is created when the oil goes through a chemical process that turns liquid oil into a solid at room temperature, creating trans fat. Hydrogenated oil is also called trans fat. Not only does trans fat not occur naturally, but the chemists use Nickel (or another heavy metal) as a catalyst in the manufacturing process.
Trans fat is one of the major causes of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Since it is not produced naturally, our bodies are not equipped to ingest it, that is a big part of the reason why trans fat is not good for us.
Hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are used in most fast foods, take outs , and are in your home ingredients such as margarine, frosting, and frozen products.
Processed meats contain a high amount of sodium and preservatives. Too much sodium in your diet can cause high blood pressure and increase inflammation which can lead to serious heart problems. When processing meat, the manufactures also typically add preservatives and artificial flavors, changing everything about the natural meat, such as the look and texture, making what was once a natural meat just a slice of sodium.
Although the majority of items in the grocery store are processed in one way or another, it is better to purchase products that are as close to their natural form as possible. Fruits, vegetables, and store packaged meats have the least amount of processing and are more beneficial than any boxed or canned foods.
We love the taste of salt and sugar, but learning how they affect your body changes the whole viewpoint on what you should, and shouldn’t eat.
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