Food makes up for the most important factor when it comes to our health.
As people strive to be healthier and live a better quality of life, they try to make small changes in the variety of food they eat, the food items they consume, and how they consume them.
This has led to the popularity of various types of foods. One such type of food is called the ‘real foods.’ But what are real foods? What are their health benefits? Let’s find out.
What are real foods?
You can understand the concept of real foods in the context that they are the opposite of processed foods.
As the name suggests, real foods are foods that actually nourish the body and provide it with the right nutrients and minerals that it needs to be healthy. They are available in their most naturally edible form.
In a world where fad diets, fasting, and various other diet trends have become really popular, many experts still advocate the consumption of real foods, because depriving the body of nutrients and minerals to be fitter or leaner, is not the right approach.
Real food comes in 11 different categories. It includes fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry.
It may not be possible for everyone to eat all of the above-mentioned real foods. For instance, vegetarians may not be able to consume meat or fish. Similarly, someone who is allergic to certain nuts or seeds may not be able to eat them. However, one must strive to include as many real foods in their diet as possible to have a balanced meal and diet.
10 health benefits of Real Foods
Here are 10 points that highlight the health benefits of including real foods in your diet.
1. Contain the necessary nutrients
Real foods contain the nutrients that our body needs to perform various functions. These nutrients are present in the most natural state and are not forfeited. For instance, vegetables and fruits contain various vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Meat and poultry contain protein, which is a very important requirement of the body. Dairy provides the body with calcium, and so on.
2. Do not contain processed sugar
Processed sugar, in the form of sugar crystals, or desserts, is not healthy for the body. It leads to weight gain and obesity, which in itself is a risk factor for many health concerns such as heart disease, and even cancer.
One health benefit of real foods is that they contain only natural sugars, which are also easier for the body to break down. Lower consumption of processed sugar can help you improve your health and fitness significantly.
3. Real foods are fibrous
Fiber plays a very important role in our health. Fiber is that part of the food that does not get digested but helps in the smooth digestion of the food. Real foods such as fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Consumption of food high in fiber helps in weight loss and helps control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, especially.
4. You are what you eat!
Real foods are super-rich in nutrients that our body needs. When you eat healthily, it shows in your body. Real foods can help you get glowing, healthy skin, and thicker, shinier and healthier hair.
5. Helps reduce bad cholesterol
Cholesterol can become a common reason for poor heart health. Real foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains help reduce the bad cholesterol in the body (LDL and triglycerides) and boost the production of good cholesterol (HDL).
6. Adds more value to your diet
Real foods add more value to your diet. They fill you up while providing you with essential nutrients and minerals. They do not contain empty calories, which may only add extra weight to your body without providing any nutrition.
Real foods are also environment-friendly, especially when you compare them to processed foods.
Producing food for a population of billions around the world can come with its own cost to the environment. Processing food can lead to pollution of various kinds, and harm the environment in the long run.
8. Real foods contain healthy fats
We have been told all our lives that fats are unhealthy. However, there are some types of fats that are not unhealthy, and in fact, should be a part of your diet.
To be more precise, there are two types of fats: Saturated Fats and Trans fats.
Trans fat: Avoid it when possible:
These are the worst fats for you. You might find trans fat in:
- fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
- margarine (stick and tub)
- vegetable shortening
- baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
- processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
Saturated fat sources include:
Most saturated fats are animal fats. They’re found in high-fat meats and dairy products.
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
Fats present in real foods such as extra virgin olive oil, and some fatty fish such as salmon benefit heart and skin health.
9. Real food act as a probiotic
It has been found that real foods help to keep the gut healthy and act as natural probiotics. A healthy gut means that there is the right amount of presence of good bacteria. The good bacteria in the gut help aid digestion and keep the body healthy.
10. Helps you be healthy without starving yourself
We have been made to believe for the longest time, that in order to be healthy, we need to starve ourselves, stick to a strict diet, and whatnot. However, consumption of real foods helps you stay healthy, fit, and nourished, without starving yourself.
Sometimes, it is best to go back to basics. Real foods have been around for the longest time, but people’s focus has dwindled to fad diets and fancier ways of eating.
Going back to real foods can help you stay healthy and fit while providing your body with the right nutrition that it needs to function properly.