Health practitioners always emphasize eating whole foods while avoiding processed foods. But what do we mean by processed food? Any kind of food that has been altered in some way during preparation is technically processed. However, at times this term can be confusing because most foods are processed in some way. For example, mechanical processing could involve grinding beef, heating vegetables, or pasteurizing foods, which doesn’t make food unhealthy. Alternatively, chemical processing reaps off food nutrients with some manufacturers adding artificial substances to enhance the taste. So, what happens to you when you stop eating processed food?
Your Digestive Health Improves
Processed food doesn’t contain the natural fiber found in whole grains. Our body requires this fiber to have a healthy digestion system. Fiber is said to bulk up stool and helps it travel through the intestines, preventing constipation. Natural fiber also acts as food for the ‘good’ bacteria, which contributes to improved overall digestive health.
So eating whole foods as opposed to processed food could help improve your digestive health.
You Feel More Energized and Focused
Interestingly, our bodies react quickly to anything we eat, therefore, the benefits associated with cutting out processed food can be experienced immediately. Eating healthy makes us feel energized, improves our mood, and your body feels refreshed. Also, you stay focused during the day, which motivates you to continue making healthy food choices every day.
You Might Lose Some Weight
Processed foods pack a lot of ‘empty’ calories that contribute to weight gain. Eliminating processed food in your diet could lead to weight loss. Processed food also lacks fiber and nutrients that help to fill you up, which makes you eat more. One study found that cutting out processed foods, sugar, and refined grains can lead to a significant amount of weight loss. Eat more vegetables and whole foods, plus you don’t have to limit calories or portion sizes. Additionally, whole foods nourish and fuels your body efficiently.
Your Sleep Improves
Processed foods have been found to disrupt the sleep cycle. These foods cause a negative impact on your blood sugar levels. Keep your blood sugar steady by avoiding processed and refined foods like cereals and soda. The National Sleep Foundation reported that eating more sugar during the day makes you wake up in the middle of the night. What’s more, heavily processed foods are higher in fat, and consuming them near bedtime could contribute to indigestion or heartburn and the two are a major sleep disruptor.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, heavily processed foods contain high amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Instead, artificially added sugar can throw your brain off balance affecting your concentration. Although our bodies do require some sugar for the brain to function properly, eating processed food will not provide you with that sugar. We obtain natural sugar from fruits and vegetables. Having a low blood sugar, which is common after a sugar crash, results in anxiety, heart palpitations, and fatigue leading to low concentration. Avoiding refined or processed foods can keep your mind clear.
Balance Hormones in The Body
From birth control to anti-aging meds, there are a lot of things messing up with our hormones. Ditching processed food help bring balance to your body. We all know that saturated and trans fats should be avoided, but regular inclusion of healthy monounsaturated fats can help balance hormones, specifically the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. A publication on the British Journal of Nutrition said that consuming processed foods disrupts the proper functioning of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which affects the body’s ability to lose weight.
Your Skin Improves
Following your dermatologist advice and prescriptions might work miraculously for some people, but the answer to better skin complexion comes from what we eat. A lot of studies have been done on skin health and all agree that eating processed or refined foods lead to a breakout. The ingredients and preservatives found in these foods get in the way of clear skin. Forgoing these foods can benefit your skin tremendously.
If your body is already used to being fed processed foods, adjusting to healthy eating can be hard at times. Lack of sugar, salt, and other added ingredients found in processed food can make your body feel low before eventually reaping the benefits of eliminating them. Generally, processed foods aren’t healthy for your body, thus you should start slowly doing away with them, and eventually, you’ll be able to lead a healthy lifestyle. A lot of people have reported to snack less after cutting out processed foods. Switch your unhealthy snacks with fruits or nuts. It’s worth noting that what you’ll experience when you ditch processed foods depends on how much you were consuming before.
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