As waistlines grow and health declines, there is a new trend for eating healthy food developing. This growing trend could help to avoid food related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as help to trim down the ever expanding waistlines of the populations of developed countries.
What Is Healthy Food?
It seems like a simple question. What is healthy food? The answer, it seems, isn't quite so simple and may depend on the individual. What may be simpler when examining the trend for eating healthy food is to ask, "What isn't healthy?" There are a number of foods that fall into the category of "not healthy." Almost everyone agrees that cutting back on these foods can vastly improve your health.
The following are foods that are generally recognized as not promoting good health. Moderation - or avoidance - is advised.
- Processed foods: Foods that contain chemicals you can't pronounce are probably not terribly healthy for your body. While quick and convenient, processed foods don't promote health and may be detrimental to it.
- Sugar: Sugar consumption contributes to a number of diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, sugar in its many forms is nearly ubiquitous in processed and prepared foods.
- White flour: White flour behaves exactly like sugar in the human body, and the effects of eating white flour is virtually indistinguishable from the effects of eating sugar.
- Artificial sweeteners: While these products are generally recognized as safe, the truth is that not much is known about the long term effects of artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame on human health. There is mounting evidence that some people tolerate these substances poorly, leading to degenerating health.
- Trans fats: Trans fats are created by partially hydrogenating (adding hydrogen) to oils in order to make them more solid at room temperature. Recent research has shown that trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and high cholesterol.
- Pesticides and hormones: While pesticides and hormones are not foods in and of themselves, they are additives in foods. High pesticide and hormone intake can lead to a number of health conditions and toxicities.
While different people consider different foods healthy, there are some that are generally considered healthy by just about everyone. These foods include:
- Organic fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides are nutritional staples and can be a party of any healthy diet. Not only that, but fruits and vegetables are believed to actually promote good health because of the activities of phytonutrients and antioxidants in the body.
- Fish: Barring an allergy to fish, seafood and fish are lean, healthy foods that promote health and good nutrition. Seafood contains varying amounts of omega-3 oils, which are essential to fight inflammation and promote overall health. A caveat - some fish, especially deepwater fish, contain high amounts of mercury. The US government has a web page that describes this threat and which fish to avoid.
- Antibiotic and hormone free lean meat and poultry: Lean meats and poultry that are raised free of antibiotics and hormones are another healthy source of protein.
Controversial Healthy Foods
There are a number of other foods that some consider healthy, while others consider them unhealthy. For instance, many consider lean dairy products to be an essential part of the diet for promoting bone strength. However, dairy is one of the most common allergens to people. The other highly allergenic foods include: gluten, wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn and sugar. Some consider complex carbohydrates to be an essential source of fiber and nutrition, while others believe that human beings have not evolved to eat these foods and therefore, they wreak havoc in the human body.
Other Food Trends
- Homegrown: While you may want to visit your local farmer's market to get locally grown produce, you might also be able to find it in your local grocery store as well. Foods grown from nearby farms are finding a market for their produce without having to ship across the country. Ask your grocer what local foods are available in your store
- Friendly bacteria: Not all bacteria is harmful, and the news is filled with information on probiotics. Friendly bacteria, which can help with digestion, is often associated with foods like yogurt, but this "good bacteria" continues to be added to a variety of other foods as well.
- Food safety: Not only is the type of foods people choose to eat important, but the safety of those foods is just as imperative. With reports of tainted foods in the news, the issue of food safety is becoming a major issue that continues to be addressed.
- Lower sodium levels: It's no secret that healthier living includes watching salt and sodium intake. Food manufacturers are beginning to listen as well, as they lower the sodium in many processed foods.
- Whole grains: No longer are consumers relegated to limited whole grain choices. There are numerous new choices available in grains that might have been virtually unknown until now. Millet, quinoa, and teff are just a few of the more exotic whole grain choices on the market.
Trend for Eating Healthy Food
Eating a healthy diet is a growing trend. Many consumers are reading labels and avoiding foods that contain chemicals, trans fats and sugar. If you'd like to participate in a growing trend that will help you to feel better, look better, and live a healthier life, then there are a number of resources available to help you get on the nutritional track to vibrant health and abundant energy. No matter what your limitations as far as food - whether you don't eat carbohydrates, can't have dairy or are a vegetarian, there is a way to eat a diet that is healthy for you. Talk with your personal health care provider or make an appointment with a nutritionist to discover how you can cash in on a growing trend - and give yourself a health makeover in the process.