The Benefits of Whole Foods

The benefits of whole foods are being studied more today than ever.

Have you ever wondered if there is more to a carrot than beta carotene? Is lycopene the best we get from tomatoes? And when we heap our plates with salmon, are we serving up something other than omega-3s?

For years the scientific community has viewed individual vitamins and nutrients as the best that food has to offer. Nutrition studies have isolated beta carotene, calcium, vitamin E and lycopene, among other nutrients, in order to study their health benefits in the body.

But now, after several vitamin studies have produced disappointing results, there is a growing belief that food is more than just a sum of its nutrient parts. In a recent commentary in the journal of Nutrition Reviews, University of Minnesota professor of epidemiology David R. Jacobs argues that nutrition researchers should focus on whole foods rather than only on single nutrients.

Dr. Jacobs believes that nutrition science needs to consider the effects of food synergy,' the notion that the health benefits of certain foods aren’t likely to come from a single nutrient but rather combinations of compounds that work better together than apart.

Whole foods are foods that nature provides with all their edible parts. They are fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as millet, brown rice, oats, rye and cornmeal.

Also included are beans, legumes, and nuts. Whole foods of animal origin are eggs, small whole fish, and seafood; such as shrimp, oysters and soft shell crabs. Eating whole foods is a great way to make sure we are receiving the right portions of natural nutrients.

The benefits of whole foods is that they are much more likely to protect us from disease than foods that are processed and missing some of their natural parts.

Whole grains slow down the digestive process, allowing more time and a better chance to absorb more nutrients. Whole grains allow healthy bacteria in the intestines to keep disease causing bacteria down, and provide antioxidants.

Most whole grains are cholesterol free and high in both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber bonds to carcinogens and toxins in the large intestines, and they come out as waste. It is necessary for a healthy intestinal tract.

Resistant starches, a unique class of carbohydrates, undergo fermentation in the large intestine. This produces things called short chain fatty acids. These are helpful in preventing colon cancer.

Whole grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, and B-complex vitamins including Folate. They are a great source of minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. They also contain great antioxidants including Vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients, which help lower blood cholesterol levels.

The benefits of whole foods

Here are some interesting facts:

Researchers have found that people who eat whole grain breakfast cereals 7 times or more a week have a 28% lower risk of developing heart failure.

The cereals made of whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are essential to our health. They are low in saturated fat, but a good source of polyunsaturated fats, including Omega 3 lineloic acid.

Refined cereals, due to the process of refining them, and the removal of the bran and germ layers, contain up to 66% less fiber than whole grain cereals. They also have a 92% loss of selenium, a 62% loss of folate, and up to 99.8% loss of phytochemicals.

1 out of 3 people will get cancer at some point in their life. Eating five or more fruits and vegetables per day will cut the risk of cancer in half!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and people who eat eight fruits and vegetables a day have a thirty percent less chance of a premature heart attack than those who just eat one or two a day.

The benefits of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables also keep blood sugar down and may control diabetes.

Some research has shown that antioxidants in certain vitamins may help ease certain symptoms of osteoarthritis. In general, vitamins from whole foods are believed to be better absorbed by the body than vitamins.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that can accumulate to unhealthy levels when nutritional status is compromised. Elevated homocysteine is a risk factor for developing blocked blood vessels that can lead to adverse effects such as heart attack and stroke.

A clinical study of whole food supplements at the University of Sydney in Australia found a reduction in homocysteine in subjects whose levels were already within an acceptable range, while another study from Foggia, Italy found an even greater reduction in subjects with elevated homocysteine levels.

Poor nutrition and lack of exercise combined are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

The benefits of whole foods also reduce the risk of cataracts, which is a cloudy covering on the lens of the eye, and is found in over half of all people over the age of 75. They help prevent arthritis and cardiovascular disease as well as premature aging.

The benefits of whole foods also include antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to be one of the main things that fight unhealthy conditions. This is partly due to their ability to stop free radicals and other unstable oxygen molecules that are present in our cells. These can damage the cells membranes, and altar genetic material if they are not neutralized.

Different antioxidants provide protection to different parts of our bodies. Therefore, we need more than just a healthy amount of one type of antioxidant. We need the entire spectrum of them, and that's one reason it is important to have a healthy and varied diet.

The benefits of whole foods also include Phytoestrogens. These are a special class of Phytonutrients. They include isoflavones and lignans. These are found in plant-based foods like flaxseeds and berries. People who eat these have a decreased risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers.

The benefits of whole foods are just massive. At least 70 to 80 percent of the foods we consume should be whole foods. The problem is we all lead busy lives. Between jobs, kids, and all the stresses of life, we simply don't make the time to eat as healthily as we know we should.

That's why whole food supplements have experienced such incredible demand. A whole food supplement is a product in which only the healthiest of foods are compressed and then encapsulated.

Much more than the benefits of whole foods discussed back at the home page

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