If you would like to improve your lifestyle, get to know the benefits of natural food.
The definition for unprocessed food refers to food in its most natural state. These are products with no labels or packaging.
“A day full of vegetables”
“A day full of vegetables” is an activity worthy of our attention – it originated in France (Jour du Legume) where it functions within the Louis Bonduelle Fund. Its purpose is to increase the vegetable consumption in restaurants and to change eating habits.
Some examples of unprocessed, nutritious products:
- Wholemeal grains – wheat, millet, rye, pigweed, brown rice and their products e.g. cornflakes, whole-wheat bread, cereals, rye pasta
- Vegetables and fruit
- Proteins – most of all in legumes (beans, lentils), nuts, seeds, full milk dairy products, eggs, seafood, and sporadically: meat. Meat or animal products should come from organic farms.
- Fats and oils – unrefined oils, cold pressed, such as: linen, canola, olive oil, and butter
- Natural spices, herbs, unrefined salt, sea salt
The benefits of food with no additives
Fresh unprocessed vegetables and fruits are best and they can’t be replaced by any other food product. They are a rich source of vitamins, mineral salts and fibre. Because of their composition and minimal fat level (except for coconut and avocado) the caloric value of unprocessed vegetables and fruit is low in comparison to other foods.
Raw or little processed foods also mean higher nutritious values. We need to eat more cooked meals than raw ones, in order to provide our bodies with the same amount of vitamins and microelements. Cooking and high temperatures destroy vitamins (especially foods that dissolve in water), they obliterate proteins and fats as well as the enzymes that are helpful to digestion. Natural food protects us from many diseases, like cancers and heart conditions. The fibre present in unprocessed food causes proper digestion; it lowers the blood’s sugar level and protects our large intestines from ailments.
Unprocessed food is also more aromatic than cooked food. It doesn’t require much salt, spices or sugar. The spices mix up the digestion process and sharpen the appetite.
How to prepare meals with unprocessed food?
- You need to buy unprocessed food quite often and store it properly. You also need to plan ahead for this type of food preparation.
- Prepare fruit and vegetable salads from products that are accessible and in season – at the peak of their freshness. Create mixtures of totally raw or cooked products. You can add beans, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables.
- Cook soups. Add some wholemeal grains, such as barley, wheat, rice and colour vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, spinach and beets. Do not overcook the vegetables, or they lose their nutritious properties.
- Chop vegetables and fry them with a little bit of meat, eggs or tofu. Serve them with rice or pasta.
- Season dishes with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Grill fresh fish and vegetables with a bit of olive oil, with seasonal fresh herbs, or lemon juice.
- Make your own tomato sauce, salsa and salad dressings. You will be sure of what’s in them.
There are over 2,600 additives used in food processing and new ones are being created all the time. These additives are used in order to stabilise, give colour, enhance flavour and to strengthen the food. They are created and produced by the food industry and also aim to lengthen expiry dates and to make storing easier.
Nowadays there is more processed food than ever before. Each new product is a reason to take a healthy decision. Reading labels, sensible choices of portions, or reading out the names of additives takes away the pleasure of eating. With the help of a good cookbook and a little bit of cooperation on our side, we can easily improve our healt.
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