Are whole foods a part of a healthy diet plan?
Are whole foods a part of a healthy diet plan? These are foods in their most natural form. Whole foods are unprocessed or very minimally processed foods i.e. they have “nothing taken away or added”, including chemicals.
Whole foods include whole grains but not refined grains, and vegetables and fruits that provide vitamins and minerals but not supplements. A baked potato chopped with fresh onions and sour cream is an example of a whole food recipe.
Fresh berries taken with breakfast as an alternative to toast pastries makes up a great whole food addition to your breakfast. These are just a few options available in a healthy diet plan with whole foods.
A healthy diet plan includes essential nutrients
Nutritional density is a measure of the quantity of essential nutrients contained in food compared to the amount of calories. A food with high-density nutrition, contains high levels of essential nutrients in comparison to amount of calories, making this type of food an essential part of a healthy diet plan.
Whole foods contain many essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids among others.
A healthy diet plan without processing whole foods should be natural and have not undergone any unnecessary processing. For example, brown rice is a whole food but white rice is not.
White rice has undergone processing by being stripped of its bran and germ. Breakfast cereals that contain sugar, white bread that is enriched, and packaged meals fall in the same category as white rice.
These foods have undergone refinement, fortification, or enrichment. These processes, strip foods of essential nutrients and increase levels of calories per essential nutrient in them. Does this sound like a healthy diet plan to you?
A healthy diet plan includes phytochemicals
Whole foods including whole grains, beans and legumes, seafood, poultry and lean meat among others retain phytochemicals and other nutrients beneficial to the body.
Processed foods do not contain these essential phytochemicals and nutrients because they are removed when the food is being processed. Phytochemicals are plant-food components that are biologically active.
To mention, a few common appearance of phytochemicals is in tomatoes. The carotenoid that is red colored, found in tomatoes, is a phytochemical.
Anthocyanins that give berries the blue color is a phytochemical. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant, an important component used in breaking down cholesterol and fats in the body.
Many whole foods contain large quantities of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and Magnesium among others.
Foods that are processed contain less of these essential vitamins and minerals. Whole foods contain healthy fats including omega-3 from fish, plants, and monounsaturated fats.
A healthy diet menu with whole foods does not have added sugar or fats, which are commonly found in processed foods. Whole grains have added benefits as whole food besides containing fiber.
Whole grains contain phytochemical and variety of minerals. Eating whole foods could be the answer to a stable and a healthy diet plan leading to a great lifestyle. All the above are a good addition to a healthy eating plan.
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