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
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
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
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?