It is best to limit the use of processed foods to improve your health (processed meaning things were done to it, it is not directly or closely linked to the whole, natural food; usually these foods are in boxes or bags), unless the whole grain rice with spices, herbs and other food in a box with no unnatural additives is much better for you than the usual fast food.
Read those labels as well. If you cannot pronounce or understand what an ingredient is, do not consume it. If a product says ‘enriched’, this does not make it a better product.
In fact, things are enriched when they have had those enriching items taken away. Processing foods uses heat, cold, light, drying, or crushing which all serve to deplete vitamins and minerals in the food. To replace these essentials means the food was already compromised.
Look for foods that are as close to their natural state and as fresh as possible. The best foods are fresh straight from the earth. The next best is fresh from the produce or bulk section. Then comes frozen, dried, and canned, respectively.
You may wonder how the Standard American Diet (SAD diet) affects your health besides flavor and price. Processed foods, as mentioned above, typically contain less vitamins and minerals than the original foods that made them up.
If you eat food mostly from packages or boxes and are not reading labels, not only are you not getting valuable nutrients, but also you are consuming items that may be depleting nutrients in your body. Sugar uses B vitamins from your body. Preservatives and additives put an extra burden on your liver, whose job it is to break these compounds down so your body can get rid of them.
What your body cannot get rid of, it will store in fat, so these chemicals will not be running around causing harm where they do not belong. No where in nature will you find a body needs ‘blue dye 2′ or ‘propylene glycol’ necessary and good for survival.
Fat is the best storage place for these toxins. Fat is found not only right under your skin but also lining your nerves and in your brain. These may not be places you wish toxins stored.
We commonly hear that fat is bad and cholesterol is bad from the media. We do need fat and cholesterol to live. Fats and cholesterol are large components in healthy skin, all your cells, hormones, and your brain and nerves. They are also a good source of energy when needed. It is not good to severely limit these items from the diet.
It is the quality of the fats that you consume that makes the difference. Some fats that are good for your body are called essential fatty acids, or EFA’s. Your body cannot make these fats, therefore the essential aspect. You can find these helpful fats in flax seeds, fish, evening primrose oil, borage oil, and some other oils and foods.
If you eat fat mainly from grass-fed animals, butter, fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and get some EFA’s in your diet, you will do well. Margarine contains fats called ‘trans fatty acids’ which helps it stay solid at room temperature. These trans fats contribute quickly to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Trans fats are also found in many processed foods like chips, fries, and some diet foods.
Please read labels. Do not eat any foods that say ‘trans fatty acids’ or ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’. Hydrogenation is the process that forms the trans fats.