Processed foods. Those are two words we hear a lot. They are convenient. They make our lives easier. They save us time. We peruse the grocery store aisles filling out carts with them without giving it a second though most of the time. I've provided some helpful links to books and documentaries so you can learn more at the end of this post.
Once we know better, we can do better. Educate yourselves so you can be a better you!
What would life be like without them?
The answer? Better. Your health mood and appearance will improve - DRASTICALLY!
Processed foods are chemical-laden and often addictive foods usually sold in jars, cans, boxes, bags and other packaging. Food scientists are paid pretty well to come up with recipes that appeal to our taste buds, even if it will wreak havoc on your health. These foods are so hard to say no to because they are loaded with added sugars and fats which physically change how they feel inside your mouth. They FEEL good and they TASTE good, but they are far from it.
“The altered texture and taste actually make the body crave more of it.” - Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN
When we put these processed foods into our bodies and the bodies of our children and loved ones, not only are we choosing to fuel our bodies with nasty chemicals, we're also depriving ourselves of vital nutrients that we need. Processed foods are often times completely stripped of nutrients. Quitting processed foods can help with a myriad of health issues from weight-loss to migraine relief.
Here are 8 side-effects you are likely to experience after ditching the processed junk:
1. Fewer headaches.
Blame what you will but poor eating habits could very well be the culprit.
“A lot of the processed foods are actually triggers for migraines.” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, and founer of Isabel Smith Nutrition
2. Your hair will be healthier!Is your hair thinning? Is it dull? Are you noticing more hairs at the bottom of the shower? More on your brush that you used to? When we consistently opt for processed snacks, we are robbing our bodies of important things like omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy hair and rarely, if ever, found in packaged and processed foods. Instead, healthier options, like walnuts for example, promote hair strength and sheen.
3. More energy.
Who doesn't want or need more energy? We often rely on coffee or energy drinks to help us push through our days and tackle our never-ending to-do lists. Natural energy will comes easier when you swap the junk for more whole foods. Our bodies see these processed foods as something foreign, as unnatural and it spends a lot of time and energy just trying to break it down and process it all and that can really take a toll on your overall energy levels! That's a lot of wasted energy!
4. Fewer mood swings.
If you find yourself acting irritated and agitated for no real reason, take a closer look at your diet. What foods are you consuming regularly? Processed food chemicals can affect mood because the foods aren't actually giving your body adequate nutrition. Instead, you're getting toxic ingredients. MSG can make you depressed, saturated fats can make your brain foggy, sugar and syrups cause crazy energy crashes and the list goes on and on.
The answer to a better complexion may be checking in with your nutrition. Numerous studies have come out in the past year pointing to everything from daiy to zinc deficiencies for being reasons some people break out. Skip the dermatologist and expensive prescription and make an appointment with a qualified nutritionist instead.
5. Skin Improvement
“Better skin is one of the major benefits of forgoing processed foods, a lot of the preservatives and ingredients found in processed foods can often get in the way of clear, healthy skin.” - Isabel Smith
6. Falling and STAYING asleep could be easier
Fatty foods may disrupt the normal functioning of neurochemicals found in your brain. These neurochemicals are responsible for encouraging regular sleep. Sugar-heavy, trans-fat filled packaged and processed foods can also disrupt our sleep. The extra sugar in many of these types of producsts can keep us wired by spiking our blood sugar and making it difficult to wind down at night or causing us to wake up.
7. Balanced hormones.
We have so many things that are messing with our hormones, from birth control medications to our normal aging process. Cutting out processed foods can dramatically help us feel more balanced. Yes, saturated and trans fats should be avoided, but we need to regularly include healthy monounsaturated fats to help balance our hormones, specifically the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. According to published research in the British Journal of Nutrition, consuming too many calories from fat and simple sugars can really disrupt the proper functioning of these important hormones. This can get in the way of your body's ability to regulate weight and metabolism.
8. Boost in your immune system.
Fewer colds? No flu? Sign me up! Most fruits and vegetables are full of immune-boosting probiotics and vitamins which our bosies require to build up its defense system.
“Eating too many processed foods hurts our ability to fight colds because you’re not getting enough nutrition to fuel the immune system,” - Isabel Smith.
Food Inc. - documentary on Amazon Prime video
Forks Over Knives - documentary on Amazon Prime video
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead- documentary on Amazon Prime video