Often we forget the true purpose of food, which of course is to nourish us with important vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, so that we can build and maintain a strong healthy body. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating and choosing foods based simply on taste, emotional and social situations, disregarding how it actually impacts our body and health.
Every day your body is replacing cells with new ones. Indeed, after only 7 years your whole entire body has been replaced with a new one. Even your bones are new! Where does your body get all the building materials to carry out this transformation? From the food you eat, hence the saying “You are what you eat”. If you provide your body with all the vital building materials (vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients), then you will be rewarded with a strong healthy body. However, if the building materials (from the food you eat) are of low quality or perhaps some are missing, then you cannot expect a strong building (body).
So how can we ensure that our body is getting all the nutrients it needs? Well, there are several things that you can do, and we’ll go over many of the key principles of health and nutrition in the coming issues. The great thing is that it does not have to be complicated, time consuming nor expensive. For instance, one of the fundamental principles of good nutrition is to eat whole foods.
What do I mean by whole foods? Basically foods that have not been overly processed, hence they are as close to their natural state as possible. As soon as you start processing foods you start loosing all the vital qualities of the food, such asvitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, fibre and even the vitality (lifeforce) of the food. Examples of processed foods are white bread, biscuits, crisps, breakfast cereals, breakfast meal, white pasta, etc. The supermarkets (even here in Zambia) are packed with all sorts of processed foods! We buy them because they are convenient, relatively cheap and we’ve gotten used to the taste. But have we considered the implications of eating these foods on our health?
When you digest food, your body uses various enzymes, vitamins and minerals. If you eat processed food, that no longer contains such elements, then your body has to use its own supply of stored vitamins and minerals. This means that after eating the processed food you’re actually worse off nutritionally than when you started.
Another thing to consider is that when you process and refine food, stripping it from many of its vital elements, the food tends to become quite tasteless and not longer very appetizing. To counteract this, food manufacturers add lots of salt, sugar and fat in order to make it more appealing. In addition, artificial flavourings, colorants, odorants, emulsifiers and preservatives are often added. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that consuming all these chemicals and added sugar and salt, is not good for us. You may not notice the effects immediately, but over time the damage accumulates wearingdown your body, immune system and overall health.
“As a nutritionist, the simplest and best advice I can give anyone is to avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible, and instead choose whole foods. That means eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, nuts & seeds, and of course choosing wholegrains like brown bread and rollermeal, instead of their refined white counterparts.”
Namwila Sikasula – Natural Health Therapist Ndichete Health Hub.