Processed V Natural
I try to eat a tasty, nutritious, and natural diet that is as good for my mental health as it is for my physical health.I think it’s so easy for people to get caught up in the physical aspect of food, but not often enough do we consider how it affects our mental health; how does what you eat make you feel?
Whole foods represent foods that retain their natural composition as well as contain no artificial additives or preservatives and have gone through little or no processing (i.e. cooking, grinding, or blending). Whole foods contain vitamins, minerals, water, fatty acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre and much more.
Each whole food, be it a nut or apple, oats or banana, contains more nutrients than we are currently familiar with. In other words, we do not yet have a complete list of all the nutrients inside whole foods that are essential to human nutrition. Which is only good news!
Our bodies have been in a tight relationship with whole foods for as long as we have been on this planet. We require the full spectrum nutrition for optimal functioning, which only whole foods can provide.
Processed foods have their natural composition altered in some way. First of all, not all processing is unhealthy, of course. Light processing like cooking, freezing, blending, soaking, fermenting or drying can be quite healthy if done using whole foods and avoiding heavily processed ingredients.
Some dried herbs are high in antioxidants and beneficial to our health. Also, fermented foods have shown to be highly beneficial for our gut as well as brain health and are being used in nutritional psychiatry. Sprouting grains increases their digestibility, improves amino acid profile, B vitamins and sugar composition.
Foods with heavier processing, or added ultraprocessed elements is usually what we have in mind when we speak about processed foods.
So, what food should we eat?
What you should eat is completely dependant on the lifestyle you lead. Living in a modern world we can’t always avoid some heavily processed foods on our plates, however having whole, natural food’s as a staple is the surest way to regain not only our waistline, but also our health.
What should we avoid?
Avoid empty calories- foods that are empty of any nutritional benefit and heavily processed foods. Avoid crash or binge diets; ask yourself what you’re cutting out and why?