Whole Foods Diet

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The Benefits of a Whole Foods Diet

The Benefits of a Whole Foods Diet

Smoking is the 1st actual cause of preventable death in the US. Do you know what the 2nd one is? Poor nutrition and physical inactivity together. The US Department of Health and Human Services states 6 out of 10 Americans are overweight. If we do not change our diet and exercise habits, they predict that by 2035, 9 out of 10 men and 7 out of 10 women will be overweight. Did you know that if you are overweight, your chance of dying of cancer is increased by 50-60%? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers obesity a full-blown epic with rises in illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and certain weight related cancers.

So what can we do about it? One of the major factors contributing to weight gain in America is our personal decisions we make about diet and exercise. Everyone panics and feels a sense of dread at the word “diet” and “exercise” but, in reality, diet just means literally “the usual food and drink of a person or animal” and you’d be surprised how little exercise you actually need for good health and weight management.

I have been reading about various nutrition topics and exercise for so long that I feel I could practically be a nutritionist. I have read about and tried every diet and exercise plan known to man. I finally personally discovered that just sticking to the basics of a real whole foods diet and getting regular exercise makes me feel really good and healthy.

We all know that there are plenty of good diet and exercise regimens out there to choose from. Today I’m going to present some very simple and very basic information on a whole foods diet and exercise regimen that can make a substantial difference in your health and weight management.

I. A whole-foods diet provides nutrients and health benefits that the typical American diet does not provide.

A. The typical American diet is high in processed foods like white bread, white rice, potato chips, hot dogs, and desserts made with white flour and white sugar. Basically anything boxed, canned, bagged or put in a carton. The term “whole foods” refers to foods that have not been processed or refined. They are as close to their “whole” or natural state as possible and are free from all processing additives such as salt, sugar, or excess fat. Types of foods included in a whole foods diet are:

1. Whole Grains such as rolled oats, barley, brown rice, cornmeal, buckwheat, millet, spelt, and simple whole wheat.

2. Fruits and Vegetables: Basically any fresh fruits and vegetables are great choices. Color variety is the key. Dark green, purple, red, orange. Try to get organic if at all possible.

3. Beans and Legumes: Black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, lentils, and soybeans.

4. Nuts and Seeds: such as brazil nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, soybeans, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds.

5. Dairy and Meats: Try and stick to fresh lean meats instead of canned or processed. Again try to stick to organic in both dairy and meat whenever possible.

B. Research has shown that eating more whole foods is our best preventative measure for improving health and preventing disease. According to nutrition experts, studies consistently show that diets rich in whole foods:

1. Reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases as well as fight heart disease and diabetes

2. Are generally low in fat and calories but are filling and provide essential vitamins and minerals

3. Increase energy, improve sleep quality, and help regulate weight
Whole foods retain their fiber as well as most of their beneficial nutrients that are often removed in processed foods. Making a few small changes to your diet with whole foods along with regular exercise will make a significant difference in your health. Did you know that studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association offer even more evidence that 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise both aids in weight loss and improves health?