Articles & Recipes

The Healthful Benefits of Wholesome Foods

September 21, 2018

The strategy for healthy eating is quite simple: eliminate processed foods from your diet and habitually eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, including an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. That’s the way to ensure that your body is provided with the broad mix of essential nutrients it needs: vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and dietary fiber.

In other words, it’s not difficult to tap into the healing power of food. And once you commit to consuming a diet of nutrient-dense whole foods, improvements may occur in unexpected ways because all the nutrients in foods work together to create synergy in the health benefits they produce. Just to provide one example, studies show that the lycopene in red tomatoes and the glucosinolates in green broccoli are far more formidable cancer fighters when combined than is either component on its own.

So at mealtime, make sure you see a kaleidoscope of colors on your plate. That signals you are consuming a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all of which team up to keep you healthy. Making good food choices also means avoiding junk foods and those that are highly refined. These types of foods tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients. Instead, it’s important to choose foods that are “nutrient dense,” those that deliver optimum nutrition for the calories they provide. These include sustainably caught fish and seafood, pasture-raised meat and poultry, red and orange vegetables, dark leafy greens, pulses, whole grains, nuts, seeds and deeply colored berries, among others.

Seasoning your food liberally with spices and herbs is also recommended because recent research has identified many beneficial compounds in these foods. This means you won’t find recipes in this book that focus on being low‑fat, low-carb or low-cal. Instead, you’ll find recipes that are nutrient-dense. While they tend toward being balanced in terms of the macronutrients (about one-third each), there is no need to be doctrinaire about these relationships.

Sunday dinner might provide a higher percentage of fat, meatless Monday might be overloaded with carbs, and your finally‑it’s-Friday-night meal might be protein-heavy, but so long as you are eating nutrient-dense foods with adequate dietary fiber and varying these ratios throughout the week, you will be on track toward physical well-being.

Discover more tips and healthy slow cooker recipes in Judith Finlayson's The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition

 

 

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