What Is Whole Food?
Whole food refers to food that is as close to its natural form as possible. These foods have gone through little to no processing or refining as well as contain minimal additives and preservatives.
There are a number of processes that foods can go through and still be considered under the whole food banner. These include fermentation/cultured, dehydration, sprouting and cooking. For example the drying or dehydration of fruits, fermented/cultured foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut, sprouting of grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.
There is some information that suggests that pasteurisation is an acceptable process for dairy products to go through without damaging the nutrients. Pasteurisation can be defined as the process of heating a liquid to below the boiling point for a short period of time to destroy kill pathogenic bacteria. Milk is pasteurized at 72°C (161°F) for 15 seconds. For me personally, I believe that this process would destroy a portion of the nutritional value of the product. I am going to allow you to make up your own mind on this one. It may be in many cases necessary. If you decide to go down the raw milk path, I urge you to do your research. Go to the source and ensure that they are adhering to strict processes ensuring that their product is safe for human consumption.
Can You Tell Me What Would Be Considered A Whole Food?
Whole foods include a variety of foods such as, fruit and vegetables; wholegrains such as millet, brown rice, oats, rye, whole wheat, buckwheat, quinoa and cornmeal; beans and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans; nuts and seeds. Wholefoods that are of animal origin include eggs, dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and milk; small whole fish, seafood (including crustaceans), poultry, pork and red meat such as beef, lamb, and veal.
They can include foods that are organic, pesticide free or locally grown. Though these are the ideal ways to source your whole food produce, it does include items that are grown using pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. We will discuss in another post about ways you can reduce your exposure to these things if you do not have access to organic and pesticide free produce.
So what’s all the fuss about whole food?
Whole foods are better for your health than processed and highly refined foods. The concept behind this is that when you are consuming whole foods you are eating the food as close to how nature intended, therefore making the nutrition from these foods more readily available to your body. The processing and refining of whole foods disrupts the natural balance of the food and often removes or destroys important components of the food needed by the body. For example whole wheat is refined into white flour. During this process, many of the nutritional components are removed. Unprocessed whole wheat is a very good source of dietary fibre and manganese, and a good source of magnesium.
Processed foods are laden with preservatives and additives to make the food taste better and last longer. They are also typically loaded with salt and sugars and because processing changes the composition of the food, it affects how it is digested an assimilated into the body, thus causing issues with the body systems. For a great article that goes more into food processing and the effects on the body click here.
The Benefits of Including Whole Food In Your Diet.
- Increases your nutritional intake.
- Nutrients in whole food is more readily available for your body to use.
- They are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as antioxidants.
- There are many studies that have found a diet high in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains are linked to a reduced risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. (http://www.webmd.com/diet/the-benefits-of-healthy-whole-foods).
- You will start to experience personal health benefitssuch as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
- You’ll find that because you are consuming less high density calorie foods, you won’t need to count calories.
- I feel it is also common sense to know what is going into your food and ultimately into your body.
I hope this article has been helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts. There is so much information to cover on the whole food area. I am excited and looking forward to sharing more information soon on christeneshealthyfood.com