Whole Foods For Health
What are Whole Foods and Which Ones Are Best For Health?
Whole foods are becoming more and more recognized for the nutritional and health benefits they can give.
In terms of stress management eating foods which have not been processed can be tremendously beneficial in reducing the stress placed on the body by eating poorly.
By eating well, and by eating the correct diet you help to keep the body healthy and balanced. The body's energy reserves are being replenished and food is properly digested so the full amount of energy is extracted from the food eaten.
When a diet lacking sufficient vitamins and minerals is consumed e.g. one without fruit and vegetables then the body's energy reserves are depleted. And when those energy supplies are used up you can feel tired, lethargic and low on energy.
So what you eat is important.
What are whole foods?
These are foods which have not been processed, refined or contain no other ingredient. Examples of whole foods which have not been processed are:
• Whole grains like - wholewheat pasta, brown rice, barley, lentils or pulses.
Whole Foods For Health
It is best to eat as many whole foods as possible in a day. If you eat white rice change it to brown rice, if you eat normal pasta change it to wholewheat pasta.
In the UK, there is a scheme called 5-a-day which says that you need to eat 5 different portions of fruit or vegetables a day to be healthy. You can find this information on most packaging to see what constitutes as one portion e.g. 1 apple, 2 kiwi fruit, 1 banana, 4 prunes, 1 heaped tablespooon of raisins, 1 orange etc.
By doing this it helps you to get the sufficient vitamins and minerals that fresh fruit and vegetables give.
Super Foods For Health
What foods can you add to your diet to increase your health and decrease your stress? According to Geddes and Grosset in the Guide to Natural Health these of some of the foods which are considered super health foods:
• Avocado: An avocado is nearly a complete food in itself. This means that it contains nearly all the food groups the body needs in order to be healthy. In certain countries avocados are mashed and fed to babies as baby food due to their high nutritional value.
• Apricots: Apricots are high in vitamin A.
• Beetroot: Beetroot is excellent for the digestive system. One way of getting the most nutrition out of a beetroot is to grate raw beetroot and carrot and mix it together as a salad.
• Brocolli/ Cabbage/ Cauliflower/ Brussel Sprouts: All these vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. The best way to cook vegetables is to steam them as this helps to keep as much of the nutrition as possible. You can also buy a juicer and juice vegetables and fruit together to get a high energy and vitamin drink.
• Brown rice/ pasta: Brown rice and whole wheat pasta are whole foods which have more vitamins and minerals than their white counterparts. White rice is polished in order to get its whiteness which means that a lot of the vitamins and nourishment from the outside part is lost.
Brown pasta is also much better for you than the normal pasta and contains more fibre than everyday pasta.
• Carrots: One carrot a day is said to contain all the vitamin A needs you would require. It is also said to have a protective effect against ultra violet rays so this means this it helps you to look younger for longer.
• Cider Vinegar: Cider vinegar helps to increase blood oxygenation, helps to strengthen your digestion and helps to increase blood clotting ability. Two teaspoons of cider vinegar in a glass of water on an empty stomach is said to be helpful in losing weight. Add cider vinegar to a grated beetroot and carrot salad for extra flavour.
• Garlic: Garlic has been popularized for centuries as keeping away evil spirits especially vampires. One of it’s properties is helping to clean and anesthetize wounds. In the Second World War garlic was used for exactly this purpose as an antiseptic on wounds.
Garlic also helps to clear fat accumulations from blood vessels, lower cholesterol and protect against bacteria and viral infections.
• Molasses: A surprise to people but a tablespoon of black strap molasses contains as much calcium as a glass of milk. It is an alkali forming food which means that it helps to balance out foods which cause acid in the body.
• Oats: Oats are high in calcium, potassium and magnesium. They are also a good source of protein and they also help to lower cholesterol. Having a healthy breakfast of porridge oats with fruit, nuts, seeds and dried fruit is a great way to start your day.
• Potatoes: Potatoes actually make the body sleepy as they contain a chemical similar to chloroform – think how you feel about a good plate of homemade mashed potatoes? They are also full of vitamins and help you to lift your mood.
• Seeds and nuts: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are all high in vitamins and minerals. They are also excellent for hair and skin. Sesame seeds have been used for generations to treat fatigue and insomnia and they have more calcium in them than milk or cheese.
Nuts like brazils nuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts are a high source of protein and a good way of getting a quick energy boost – choose nuts over a bar of chocolate and you will get a sustained energy release rather than a quick high and a long low.
• Spirulina: Spirulina is a form of microscopic algae which under the microscope is spiral shaped hence the name. It thrives in warm alkali lakes like in Mexico and was so highly sought after by the Aztecs that they used it as currency.
It is helpful with liver disorders and has many healing properties.
• Sprouted Grains & Seeds: These are a form of super food. They have been used for thousands of years, especially by the Chinese (think of bean sprouts), due to their high levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
They are high in vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B complex, in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, high quality protein and enzymes. Enzymes are especially important for your digestion and as you get older the body finds it harder to produce these. Eating sprouts therefore helps to improve your digestion and improve your metabolism for turning food into energy.
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