20 Reasons to Eat Better
Why should you eat healthy? Because our bodies are something God’s given us to steward. In light of this, we’re going to look at 20 reasons science says we should eat healthy. We’ve got 9 negative and 11 positive things food can do.
I’d prefer to just write about healthy food and the amazing things it does but…I realize we’ve gotta look at the ugly side of things too.
Sometimes we don’t realize how bad something is or we choose to ignore what we know cuz:
“I don’t feel bad now”
“It won’t happen to me”
“My doctor says I’m healthy”
“I don’t have anything wrong with me yet” etc.
This isn’t the way God’s children should be thinking.
Instead, you and I should be asking if we’re stewarding what God has given us well. Ready to look at the negative so we can finish with the positive?
What are Processed Foods?
Science says processed foods are: “foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready meals containing food additives, dehydrated vegetable soups, and reconstituted meat and fish products — often containing high levels of added sugar, fat, and/or salt…”
The National Institutes for Health (NIH) says foods are processed “if they have ingredients predominantly found in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.”
If you summarize the different processed food definitions from scientific research studies here’s what you get:
- ready-to-eat foods with five or more ingredients
- foods including flavor-enhancing additives, dyes, or stabilizers
- food with any added sugar, oil, or salt
- foods containing hydrogenated oils (think most oils except for avocado, olive, or coconut)*
- foods with added flavoring agents or emulsifiers
- foods containing syrups, concentrates, or artificial sweeteners (‘ol’s)
- foods with added vitamins or minerals
- food that is pasteurized, vacuum sealed, cooked, frozen, fortified, and mixed with preservatives and flavor enhancers.
Wowzers! That’s most of the food in grocery stores, convenience stores, and a good bit of the food at restaurants. Ever wonder why so many Americans seem to be sick, overweight/obese, or generally miserable?
Not all processed food is unhealthy though. Food’s complicated.
Here’s what processed food has been found to do to us.
The Effects of Processed Food
- Processed food can cause people to eat more food.
- Processed food can cause people to gain weight.
- Processed food can decrease the appetite suppressing hormone, PYY.
- Processed food can increase the the appetite stimulating hormone, ghrelin.
- Processed food can increase the risk of getting high blood pressure.
- Processed food can increase the risk of developing high cholesterol.
- Processed food can increase the risk of getting some cancers.
- Processed food can increase the risk for heart disease.
Last but certainly not least…
- Processed food has been found to increase the risk of “all cause mortality” aka death of any kind.
I’m guessing you’re not wanting any of those things to happen to you or your loved ones. Right?
So what in the world are we supposed to eat? Is it okay if we occasionally eat these foods? Check out this post if you’d like a bit more guidance on what we should eat.
Let’s answer those questions
What is Unprocessed Food?
Last weeks Wisdom Wednesday post began to answer this question. You can listen or read it here.
Today we’re going to look at how science defines unprocessed food and what science says happens when we eat it.
A researcher at Yale was asked to answer this question because he didn’t care what diet was best, only what the science said. His review of scientific literature found: “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention”
As long as the food you eat fits into that “box” then it’s good. This means
eating can all be ‘a good for you unprocessed food diet’.
To make it simpler unprocessed food includes:
- whole grains
- fresh or frozen single ingredient protein sources
- beans (dry or canned without salt)
- fresh or frozen vegetables
- fresh or frozen fruit
- nuts, seeds or their butters (single ingredient)
- herbs and spices (without added sugar or salt)
The Effects of Unprocessed Food
As you’re reading this list ask yourself, “Would eating healthy, so these things are more likely to happen, mean I’m stewarding my body well?“
Here’s what healthy eating does for us (the research links are below):
- Eating healthy costs up to $1.50 less per day than eating processed foods.
- Eating more vegetables and fruits can improve your mood and mental health.
- Healthy foods can increase your energy and improve your athletic ability.
- Healthy foods reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- People who eat healthy foods tend to live longer and with fewer health problems.
- Eating healthy reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, developing heart disease, or getting high blood pressure.
- People who eat healthy are less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- The healthier you eat, the longer and better your sleep may be.
- Eating healthy boosts your immunity and could keep you from getting sick.
- Your risk for some cancers could be reduced by eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits.
- Eating low glycemic foods such as whole grains, whole fruits, beans, and vegetables could improve your skin (aka less to no acne).
I don’t know about you but that list is pretty motivating. If only we’d remember everything on this list every time we get hungry or have a food decision to make.
We created this grocery list to make healthy eating a bit easier: Grocery List. Print the list and use it when planning this weeks meals. It’d also work great with our meal planning sheets. You can grab the entire template pack here:
Based on the things you read today,
- What will you do differently?
- Will you change the way you’re stewarding the body God gave you?
- How might these changes impact your health? You life?
We’d love to know what challenges you have with eating healthy? Knowing this would allow us to better serve you.
We’d also love to know what healthy eating tips and tricks you use.
Leave a comment below or contact us here.
*The above list is not complete but is an example of the better oil choices. There are many oils used in food manufacturing and most of them are highly processed.