If you're looking into how to improve your health, have you considered processed foods? Processed foods are often considered unhealthy because of the ingredients they contain. They are also usually loaded with fat and sugar and low in nutrients, but what exactly makes something processed?
In this blog on processed foods, you'll learn some healthy eating tips on how to recognize the signs of processed food so you can choose healthier options instead of those offered by mass-produced companies. You'll also learn whether or not eating processed foods will affect your health and how much you should limit your intake.
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What is a Processed Food?
Processed food, in simple terms, refers to any food that changed from its natural state through a manufacturing process. In other words, if you cannot make it or find it in nature, it's probably processed.
Common Processed Foods You Eat Every Day
The truth is, processed foods are probably in your kitchen cabinets right now, and they, unfortunately, aren't part of the best kitchen must-haves. That box of cake mix or frozen dinner you've got in there? It's probably on the list. This isn't necessarily bad; food processing allows us to eat out of season and to consume foods we could never possibly cook or grow for ourselves (and that would take all day). However, it does mean we need to pay attention to healthy diet needs and be smart about how much processed food we eat.
How Many Preservatives Are Too Much?
When it comes to processed foods, be aware of additives. We now know that chemicals such as trans fats are bad for us, but there are many other ingredients we eat that we may not fully understand. One of these can be preservatives, which keep food fresh (and tasting) for longer. These days, most food contains some level of preservative.
But how many preservatives are too much? Or even more pertinent: When do they cause health problems? The tricky thing about preservatives is that when consumed at low levels over time, they appear safe; however, when consumed in excess or all at once, they can lead to various health issues, including asthma, skin allergies and infections, headaches, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that long-term consumption of certain preservatives might also lead to hyperactivity in children or behavioral changes similar to ADHD.
Read Food Labels
If you don't know what ingredients are in your favorite healthy diet foods, it's time to start paying attention. Some ingredients may seem harmless at first glance, but they could be increasing your risk for some health problems.
Start Eliminating Processed Foods
The average American consumes about 50% more calories than they did in 1970. A primary reason for that? Increased consumption of processed foods. If you're looking to lose weight safely, start by trimming back on your intake of these less-than-nutritious meals, and replace them with more natural products.
Do you have any insight on how to avoid processed foods? Let us know in a comment!
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"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)