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Wellness Tip: Real Food Is The Key To Health

Many experts believe that a proper diet is the key to a healthy mind, body, and spirit operating at its fullest capacity. Seems simple? Often personal circumstances (financial, geographical, or health-related) or “I’ll start Monday” excuses create the wiggle room to push off better food choices. While dietary habits will not change overnight, the fix to poor dieting is to eat real food. 

According to Centrum, the number one pharmacist recommended multivitamin brand, Real food can be defined as “whole, single-ingredient foods that are unprocessed and free of additives.” Substituting processed foods for single-ingredient foods has been shown to be helpful for managing weight loss or gain as well as providing energy boost throughout the day.

Those who aim to make real food a part of their primary diet can begin by avoiding processed foods, or foods that contain significantly modified ingredients such as added sugars, salts, and flavorings. This includes fast food, chips, and frozen meals. These added substances can contribute to long-lasting health conditions such as diabetes and clogged arteries. 

“Ultra-processed foods are highly palatable, meaning they are easily overeaten and activate reward-related regions in the brain, which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain,” Kris Gunnars, BSc wrote for Healthline.

However, instead of focusing on the issues behind eating processed foods, it is more beneficial to re-learn what foods will promote better health. Four Wellness Co. makes a distinction between real food and healthy food to provide a better understanding of how simple it is to take processed foods out of your diet. 

“This is a little different than suggesting you eat only “health foods” (many of which are increasingly processed!),” the article said. “In other words, aim for foods that could be reasonably made in your own kitchen and avoid foods that can only be made in a lab.”

Here are three changes experts suggest to move towards eating real food:

The most obvious (and hopefully easiest) change to make is eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have beneficial health effects.

They also lower the risk for obesity and other illnesses. Four Wellness Co. suggests that the easiest way to increase your vegetable intake is to make half of your plate vegetables (or fruits) at every meal.

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When cooking different meals, the seasonings are just as important as the ingredients. Using fresh or organic herbs and spices helps avoid making real food taste salty and processed. There are a number of spices such as ginger or turmeric, that have proven health benefits that help with health issues that cause inflammatory pain and other complications. Extra virgin olive oil is also considered the healthiest oil to cook with – and in moderation, it benefits heart health in the long term.

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When choosing what meals to cook, think of proteins that pair well with fresh vegetables. Having enough protein is extremely crucial for your health. Protein has the ability to boost metabolic rate, reduce cravings and keep people feeling full longer. According to Healthline, “Fish is a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fat. Studies show that people who eat fish regularly have a lower risk for several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and inflammatory bowel disease.”

Image provided by Harris Vo on Unsplash.

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