19 Oct Is Your Food REALLY Healthy? 3 Questions to Ask
Nutrition can be a bit of a headache on times. There’s so much conflicting info out there, often it can be hard to navigate through the dogma and find out what foods are actually best for you or your family.
Sometimes it’s so hard to determine if we’re eating healthy food, so some people just give up. Ask these three questions to see if your food is really healthy.
Now, this isn’t a definitive guide to healthy eating, but the following questions might help you make a little more sense out of the madness, and allow you to deduce whether or not something really is health promoting.
Let’s take a look…
1. Is it Nutrient Dense?
Does the food you’re about to eat contain a high concentration of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) compared to the overall number of calories?
Although it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough calories throughout the day to survive, it’s the micronutrients that can allow you to thrive.
Some examples of nutrient dense foods include leafy greens, seaweed, berries, dark chocolate, fish and organ meats. Things that are pretty nutrient poor include oils, many desserts and baked goods, and fast foods. They’ll provide you with your energy requirements, probably won;t move the scale when it comes to most of the important vitamins and minerals your body needs.
2. Is it Easy to Digest?
Digestibility is another important factor to consider. If your body can;t break the food down effectively and use it, then it’s probably not that useful to you.
Digestion can vary from person to person, but in general foods like greens, sweet potatoes, oats, pumpkins and avocado are full of soluble fibre that improves digestion and promotes healthy bowel movements. On the other hand, fast food and sugary snacks are usually devoid of fibre and contribute to poor digestion.
Then there are foods that can go either way. Legumes like beans and lentils can be health promoting, but only if they are soaked and rinsed thoroughly to remove anti-nutrients that block nutrient absorption. Similarly with grains and pseudo grains like quinoa and amaranth.
3. Is it Close to Its Natural State?
Last but not least – how processed is the food you’re eating?
A certain level of processing is often necessary – refrigeration and cooking are both forms of it. But if a food is wrapped in bright packaging, has a shelf life of years, and is full of artificial colours and flavourings, it’s probably not going to do you much good…
In general, the more processed a food has become, the further from it’s natural state it now is, and the less we know about how that can effect the body long term.
Where possible, it’s probably best to opt for organic, locally grown foods that are close to their natural, wild state – things like berries, dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, quinoa and wild rice.
What are your criteria for determining whether a food is healthy or not? Let us know in the comments section below!
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