When we think of whole foods, what comes to mind? “The whole enchilada?”
A “whole” food is defined as eating minimally processed or non-processed foods so that we get the “whole” of that food. What this means is that we are eating the most natural form of the food that we can to gain the maximum health benefit. When food is processed, each level of processing removes valuable nutrients and fiber.
A whole food is rich in a long list of nutrients, plant compounds and fibers that make the food highly beneficial. Each natural, plant-based food has thousands of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibers that are designed to work together in synergy to meet our nutritional needs on a daily basis. Whole foods meet the needs of our body in the best way, making our body function optimally and reducing our risk of disease.
This goes for animal-based foods, as well. Choosing those that do not have added hormones, antibiotics, and grew in a better environment will make the food healthier. Also having no added ingredients to the product such as sugared fruit in yogurt or chocolate syrup in milk makes the product more “whole” or natural.
Choose natural and less-processed whenever possible. When we occasionally choose a moderately processed food, check the nutrition label and choose an item that has a short ingredient list and that doesn’t contain any chemical names, added fats or added sugars in that list.
Think whole, natural and fresh whenever possible when planning and purchasing food items, and we will have whole health benefits, as well.