Eating a variety of whole foods is one of the best things you can do for your health. Whole foods provide important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that processed and refined foods often lack. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top benefits of incorporating more whole foods into your diet.
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins provide a powerhouse of nutrients. These foods contain dietary fiber, healthy fats, complex carbs, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Processed foods often contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium with fewer beneficial nutrients.
Eating a diet rich in whole foods ensures you get adequate amounts of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, and vitamin C and E. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to fatigue, poor immune function, and increased disease risk.
Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases
Studies show that eating more whole foods is associated with a lower risk for many chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. These protective benefits are thanks to the powerful combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and phytochemicals abundant in whole plant foods.
For example, the fiber in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes helps reduce LDL cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, antioxidants in foods like berries, dark leafy greens, and nuts fight inflammation.
Improved Gut Health
The fiber and antioxidants in whole foods support a healthy gut microbiome. Your gut contains trillions of bacteria that influence nearly every aspect of health, from your immune system to mental health. The diverse fiber found in whole plant foods acts as prebiotics to feed healthy gut bacteria.
Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kombucha are also considered whole foods that support gut and overall health. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to lower risks of gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune disease, obesity, and more.
Better Weight Management
Replacing processed foods with whole foods makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins are naturally higher in fiber and nutrients. This helps you feel full on fewer calories, promoting healthy weight loss.
Population studies show that those who eat a primarily whole foods diet have lower rates of obesity compared to people who eat a highly processed diet. The fiber in whole plant foods slows digestion, controls blood sugar and hormones that influence hunger and satiety signals.
Research reveals that following traditional and ancestral diets centered around whole foods, like the Mediterranean diet, is associated with longevity and healthy aging. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds abundant in whole foods help prevent cellular damage that leads to age-related diseases.
In fact, Balance of Nature is a whole food supplement company that makes it easy to get 31 fruits and veggies in capsule form. Their products can help fill nutrient gaps when getting enough produce from diet alone is challenging.
Transitioning to a whole foods diet takes commitment but pays off exponentially in terms of your short and long-term health. Focus on swapping processed snacks and convenience foods with simple whole food meals and ingredients. Your body will thank you.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt that emphasizing whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, legumes, nuts, seeds, yogurt, eggs, and lean protein offers tremendous health perks. Whole foods provide a variety of protective nutrients and compounds that boost energy, gut health, weight management, and longevity. While no one eats perfectly all the time, making whole foods the foundation of your diet sets you up for overall wellness.