10 REASONS TO EAT REAL FOOD
Real food is whole, single-ingredient food. Easy, right?
It is mostly unprocessed, free of chemical additives and rich in nutrients. No labels to read. No ingredients to try to pronounce or attempt to say!
In essence, it’s the type of food human beings ate exclusively for thousands of years. Think caveman……or, cavewoman.
However, ever since ready-to-eat foods became popular in the 20th century, many people have been eating them as a dominant part of their diet.
- REAL FOOD = BETTER NUTRITION
While processed foods may be more convenient in some ways, it’s hard to make a case that they have made us healthier or happier.
In fact, following a diet based on real food may be one of the most important things you can do to maintain good health and high quality of life. This becomes a huge factor in an aging population.
Unprocessed animal and plant foods contain the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
For instance, one cup of red bell peppers, broccoli or orange slices contains more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin C. Eggs and liver are especially high in choline, a nutrient that’s essential for proper brain function.
And just a single Brazil nut provides all the selenium you need for an entire day! Wow.
There are many other examples of this. In fact, most real foods are good sources of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients.
Unlike supplements, it’s nearly impossible to overdose on most nutrients from real food.
2. REAL FOOD = LOW IN SUGAR
Some research suggests that eating sugary foods can increase your chance of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease.
Generally speaking, real food is low in sugar and isn’t very sweet. Which may help to keep sweet cravings under control.
Even though fruit contains sugar, it’s also high in water and fiber, so it’s much less concentrated than sugar in soda and processed foods.
3. REAL FOOD = FIBER
Fiber provides many health benefits. These include helping you feel more satisfied with fewer calories, as well as improving digestive function and metabolic health.
Foods such as avocados, chia seeds, flaxseeds and blackberries are particularly high in healthy fiber, along with beans and legumes.
Getting fiber as it naturally occurs in real food is much better than taking a fiber supplement or eating processed food with added fiber. REAL is ALWAYS better!
4. REAL FOOD = CONTROLS BLOOD SUGAR
According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 400 million people have diabetes worldwide.
That number is expected to surpass 600 million within the next 25 years.
Eating a diet high in fibrous plants and unprocessed animal foods may help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and people who are at risk of developing the disease.
In one 12-week study, people with diabetes or prediabetes followed a paleo diet containing fresh meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs and nuts. They experienced a 26% reduction in blood sugar.
5. REAL FOOD = GOOD SKIN
In addition to promoting better overall health, eating real food helps protect your skin from the inside out.
For instance, dark chocolate and avocado have been shown to protect skin against sun damage.
Studies suggest that eating more vegetables, fish, beans and olive oil may help reduce wrinkling, loss of elasticity and other age-related skin changes.
What’s more, switching from a Western diet high in processed foods to one based on real food may help prevent or reduce acne.
6. Real Food = Lower Triglycerides
Blood triglyceride levels are strongly influenced by food intake.
Because triglycerides tend to go up when you eat sugar and refined carbs, it’s best to minimize these foods or cut them out of your diet altogether.
In addition, including unprocessed foods such as fatty fish, lean meats, vegetables and nuts has been shown to significantly reduce triglyceride levels.
7. REAL FOOD = VARIETY
Eating the same foods over and over and over is just plain boring. It’s also healthier to include many different foods in your diet.
There are hundreds of different real food options, including a wide variety of meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and seeds.
Make a point of trying some real foods you’ve never eaten that look or sound interesting, such as kiwi, chia seeds, organ meats, kefir or quinoa.
You might just find a few new favorites.
8. REAL FOOD = LOWER COST
I often hear people say that buying REAL FOOD is more expensive. In some cases, that may be true.
A 2013 analysis of 27 studies from 10 countries found that eating healthier food costs about $1.56 more than processed food per 2,000 calories.
However, in the long run, this difference is minimal compared with the cost of managing chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
For instance, a 2012 study found that people with diabetes spend 2.3 times more on medical supplies and health care than people who don’t have diabetes.
So real food is more expensive in the short-term, but cheaper in the long run — because junk food costs you twice.
9. REAL FOOD = GUT HEALTH (TMI??)
Eating real food may be beneficial for your gut microbiome, the bacteria that live in your digestive tract. We’ve chatted about this in a couple of our blogs and podcasts……hope this is NOT overload!
Indeed, many real foods function as prebiotics — food that your gut bacteria ferment into short-chain fatty acids. In addition to promoting gut health, these fatty acids may improve blood sugar control and provide other health benefits.
Real food prebiotics include garlic, asparagus and cocoa.
10. REAL FOOD = LESS OVEREATING
A high intake of processed and fast foods has been linked to overeating, particularly in those who are overweight.
By contrast, real food doesn’t contain the sugars and flavorings found in processed foods that help drive overeating.
DO YOU FIND YOU CONSUME MORE “WHOLE” “REAL” FOODS THESE DAYS?