when it comes to diets, people often gravitate toward those that feature a strict set of rules about what you can eat, how much, and at what time. instead, it’s an overall approach to eating that can be used to guide your food choices over the long term. rather, a whole foods–based approach to eating is designed to be a long-term, sustainable plan. it’s about as self-explanatory as possible: you fill your plate with whole foods and, as much as you can, avoid those that are processed. “the whole-foods diet is not closely defined — there’s a big gray area,” says caroline susie, rdn, a spokesperson for the academy of nutrition and dietetics in dallas. “the idea is to consume minimally processed foods as close to their natural state as possible.” “i think we need education around the term ‘processed foods,’” says susie.
research suggests that there are many reasons to consider making the move toward eating more of this nutrient-rich fresh food and less heavily processed fare, including: generally, there are few downsides to a whole-foods diet, as long as you maintain perspective. “it’s important to realize that this does not have to be all or nothing. “tread lightly if you have a history of disordered eating,” adds susie. if you have become obsessed with food choices in the past, reach out to a registered dietitian who can help you adjust your diet in a safe way. a whole-foods diet may be beneficial to your health because it focuses on types of foods (such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds) that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. the premise behind this diet can serve as a guideline for how to choose the most nutritious foods, but it won’t provide you with a set of rules to follow, and it is meant to be done as a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a short-term fad diet. here’s how to dip your toes into this way of eating.
whole foods – like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes — retain their fiber as well as the whole portfolio of beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients that are often removed in processed foods. whole foods is now the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with 184 stores in north america and the united kingdom. they include the powerful antioxidant lycopene, a red-colored carotenoid found mainly in tomatoes; anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that gives deep blue color to berries; and pterostilbene, which appears to turn on a “switch” in cells that breaks down fat and cholesterol, and is found in blueberries and the gamay and pinot noir varieties of grapes. yet, according to the american institute for cancer research (aicr), these particular nutrients help lower the risk of our major health problems: cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. when you eat a diet made up mostly of whole foods, it’s easier to decrease the bad-for-you fats (trans fats and saturated fats) often added to processed foods and fast food.
most whole plant foods are rich in fiber; many processed foods, junk foods, and fast foods are not. eating fiber-rich foods is linked to control of blood sugar, blood lipids (fats), and weight in adults, according to researchers from the georgia prevention institute who recently did a study on whole-grain foods and abdominal fat in teenagers. eating more whole foods will help you cut down on calories from the added fats and sugars we get from processed and fast foods. you might think the benefits of whole grains have mostly to do with fiber, but there’s so much more than that. and according to liu, research consistently supports the premise that eating more whole-grain foods can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. sources: journal of the american dietetic association, august 2005; vol 105: p. 67. american journal of clinical nutrition, march 2003, vol 77: pp 527-529. american institute for cancer research press release, may 2006. webmd medical news: “fiber good, and not just for your gut.”
a whole-foods diet is full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and it limits the amount of processed foods you eat. whole foods – like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes — retain their fiber as well as the whole portfolio of beneficial phytochemicals and a whole foods diet is closely aligned with federal dietary guidelines with a focus on consuming real, unprocessed foods and avoiding additives, .
a whole foods diet is not a specific eating plan and can be interpreted in many ways. in general, the idea is to favor whole foods as much as you can: potatoes instead of potato chips, grilled chicken breast instead of chicken nuggets, and so on. a whole food diet is one that consists of eating unprocessed or unrefined food including grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables. a whole-foods, plant-based diet is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts out unhealthy items like added sugars and refined grains one easy way to eat more whole foods is to make more of your meals and snacks from scratch. make hummus from scratch to pair with vegetables as, . 6 ways to add whole foods to your dietchoose products with 100% whole grains whenever possible.replace half the white flour called for in your baking recipes with whole-wheat flour. eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. include beans in your meals and snacks more often. eat fewer convenience and processed foods. tips to begin eating whole foodsbuy bagged vegetables. look for frozen vegetables that come in microwavable bags that only take a few minutes to heat. make use of nature’s fast foods. purchase pre-cuts. think simple. when baking swap sugar and fat for fruits and vegetables.
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