Fresh vs. Processed Foods and Your Health

The phrase “you are what you eat” was coined in the early 1800s, by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer, politician, and famous gastronome, but didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1920s after a doctor strongly believed that food influenced health.

Eating fresh, whole or minimally processed, nutritious food will help you stay in good health. A diet of highly processed convenience foods will actually harm your health.

Whole foods or fresh foods are packed with all the essential nutrients our bodies need and provide us with the necessary energy to carry out our daily activities. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, meat, fish and eggs. Think of food that you look at and recognize as something that exists in nature, like broccoli, a fish or a potato.

Processed foods are foods that have undergone substantial modification, transforming them away from their original form. This process strips them of nutrients, bleaches them, combines chemicals, and other unnatural additives. As a result, the look, feel, and the taste is different from their natural form.

Processed foods are created solely for convenience. The processing methods that are used to create them destroy vital nutrients and add unnecessary additives and preservatives. This practice leaves food nutritionally deficient and high in calories. They often include chemicals that allow large meal prep companies to keep their meals in storage longer, but could harm your health.

Because of the synthetic materials used in the foods creation, they are extremely hard for the digestive system to break down. Overloading the body with processed foods can cause the liver to become sluggish. This eventually results in the digestive system slowing down and less nutrients being absorbed into the body. Over time, energy levels drop and fatigue prevents a person from exercising effectively. It can also cause overconsumption of calories, often causing you to gain weight. For example, the removal of bran and germ in white flour also removes fiber. Without fiber to aid in digestion, you feel hungrier faster and trigger higher fat storage.

That’s not the purpose of eating. Food is not only for energy, it also has medicinal properties that are key to fight against illness and achieve optimal wellness.

People who are interested in regaining their health through exercise and positive lifestyle changes must take a good look at the foods they eat.

Fresh foods help health conscious individuals get positive results. They add nutrients to the diet that the body needs to function efficiently. When it comes to providing energy, fresh fruits and vegetables break down quickly and completely giving the body extra energy instead of consuming more than is needed. Protein rich foods offer sustained levels of energy as well as work within the body to build new muscle tissue. Because fresh foods break down so completely and have such a wide array of nutrients, they are able to help the body rid itself of toxins and wastes.

Eating processed foods occasionally will not have a dramatic impact on a person’s health. Making them the main staple of a person’s diet, however, can lead to disaster in the way of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

And, incorporating some minimally processed foods can actually help individuals eat healthier overall. Dried beans or frozen vegetables are minimally processed but still very nutritious. The best way to get an idea of the amount of processing a food has undergone is by looking at the ingredient list. A list with one or two ingredients may indicate a less-processed food, and a longer ingredient list typically means more processing.

As a person begins to alter their lifestyle to include healthier habits, the hardest one to break has to do with convenient foods. It is easier to warm up a meal in the microwave and eat on the go than make a healthy dinner.

Gradually incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into the diet is a start. Gluten free granola and fresh fruits make excellent snacks that can take the place of potato chips and other unhealthy foods.

When it comes to larger meals, it is sometimes easier to cook large amounts of foods like lasagna and casseroles and then freeze them in single serving containers. This provides nutritious wholesome meals that are quick and convenient when a person is in a rush. Breaking the fast food habit takes time and considerable effort, but the health benefits that are gained will help a person live a full, more active life.

I am passionate about helping people learn how to eat in a way that supports their health and longevity. When you find it challenging to regularly consume these foods, a nutrition supplement can help increase your intake. I always recommend starting with the BeWell Superfood Greens. Just one scoop delivers a blend of 36 fruits and vegetables in each serving, along with prebiotic fiber and phytonutrients. Mix it with water (it acutally tastes really good!) or add to a smoothie. I use it daily and can tell the difference it makes in my health and energy!

Do you have anything that you do regularly to help support a healthier lifestyle? If so please share, I’d love to hear from you!


get on the list