There’s a lot of confusion surrounding whole foods as they’ve become more popular. From what actually qualifies as whole foods to how beneficial they are to your overall health, the many rumors and misconceptions surrounding the topic of whole foods certainly makes it difficult to find reliable research.
Through this article, we’ll clean up a few of the misconceptions and provide you with 10 great benefits of switching to a diet of whole foods.
What are whole foods?
In order to share with you the benefits of eating more whole foods, we have to nail down the definition. Despite popular opinion, whole foods don’t have to be organic or pesticide-free.
Whole food is food that is eaten in its natural state without any processing.
According to Tara Gidus, RD, whole foods are foods “in [their] natural state” that are “intact, with all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are in the food.” WebMD simplifies it with a helpful example: “it’s the difference between an apple and apple juice, or a baked potato and mashed potatoes.” Switching to a diet comprised of mostly actual whole foods can improve your overall health.
1) Improve your mood
Beyond just affecting weight, eating highly processed foods or those with trans fats can have negative effects on your energy, mood, and the functionality of your brain. Eating a diet primarily composed of these foods can cause you to lose energy and become stressed, irritable, or angry. Cutting these foods out and replacing them with whole foods can help to provide you with more energy and improve mood.
2) Lower your risk of heart disease
Replacing highly processed foods in your diet with whole foods can lower your risk of heart disease. By consuming more vegetables, whole grains and fruit, you can introduce more fiber in your diet, which researchers have found to greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
3) Lower your risk of developing diabetes
A diet rich in grains, fruit, and vegetables can help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is at epidemic levels and primarily caused by poor diet and obesity.
In addition to that, eating whole foods can help those who already have Type 2 Diabetes manage their blood sugar.
4) Strengthen your bones
Your body needs vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium to help nurture your bones. And those found in whole vegetables absorb into the body faster and enter your system quicker. Vegetables high in these minerals are also a good option for vegetarians that choose not to eat the meat containing these minerals.
5) Easier to eat a balanced diet
Eating a diet rich in whole food makes it easy to eat well-balanced diet, which promotes good health and vitality.
6) Healthy weight management
Eating a diet rich in whole food eliminates processed and junk food that is loaded with added fat, sugar and calories. Eating clean with whole food allows you to enjoy lots of nutrient dense foods versus energy dense foods (high calorie) and therefore manage your weight, lose weight and eat better on the whole.
7) Improve your sleep
Eating highly-processed foods can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and actually get quality rest. Introducing more whole foods into your diet can help you achieve quality sleep each night and wake up feeling well-rested and ready to face your day.
8) Improve skin health
Highly-processed foods and foods high in grease, fats, or sugars can cause your complexion to worsen and can actually cause you to break out more frequently. Introducing more whole foods provides you with key nutrients for all-natural skin health.
9) Increase your energy
Whole foods have all the nutrients you need to thrive and have loads of physical and mental energy throughout your busy days.
10) Lengthen your life
Highly-processed foods aren’t good for you and can, little by little, harm your health, cause obesity and various diet related chronic diseases. Introducing more whole foods into your diet can help to lengthen and improve your life by improving your nutritional profile and therefore greatly improving your health.