Given how much we eat throughout the day, we should all be food experts by now. Right? As it turns out though, most of us don’t know much about the food we consume — including where it comes from, how it’s prepared, and its nutritional value to our bodies. In fact, most people don’t even bother reading the nutrition facts that researchers and universities like Oregon State are trying to implement.
Throughout the years, we’ve grown increasingly disconnected from the food industry, a fact that can affect not only our health, but the health of other animals as well. So, if you’re one of those people who believes that eating healthy is a foreign policy that only athletes should follow, you’re wrong. We should all try to learn more about the food we eat on a daily basis and have a better understanding of how it impacts our health, and quality of life.
Our lack of knowledge about the food we consume on a daily basis has been replaced by a heightened awareness about other supplements — like vitamins and minerals. But although there are a number of people of think following a strict diet is beneficial to their bodies, it isn’t. Nevertheless, as we turn more towards supplements – like cod liver oil, fish oil, and calcium – we prevent our bodies from getting the nutrients needed to function correctly.
To clarify, cod liver oil, calcium, fish oil, and fibers are all good for us and beneficial to the body — especially when it comes to raising good cholesterol. However, it does not mean that taking calcium will have the same benefits as eating almonds, cheese, or broccoli. If you think there’s a relation between those breakfast fiber bars to fruits and vegetables, there isn’t one. In other words, don’t expect to get the same amount of nutrients from processed food either. They contain a lot more sodium, sugar, and wax that the body simply doesn’t need.
Another reason to eat healthy involves oral health. Maintaining good oral health means eating the right food. In order to maintain a balanced diet, it’s important to eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups and minimize the number of snacks you eat. So if you do snack, choose snacks that are high in nutrients such as cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, or plain yogurt. Remember, foods eaten as a part of meal can cause far less damage since the saliva released helps break down food and limit the amount of acid exposed to the teeth.
Aside from the individual nutrients, the food we eat has also changed and evolved over time. Think about it: the idea of a home cooked meal is so foreign now that most people have to be reminded why a home cooked meal is better than eating out. That being said, it should come to no surprise to hear that most consumption of food prepared away from home has started to play a significant role in the American diet. To make matters worse, when most families do decide to stay at home and eat, take-out and packaged food are usually the go-to meal. Fortunately, there are companies — like Hello Fresh — that offer monthly subscriptions to receive detailed instructions on how to make cooking a meal for yourself at home a reality again. Although going back to the basics of preparing a home cooked meal might feel old fashioned, it’s becoming increasingly popular in the 21st century.
If possible, you should always buy food that’s locally grown. For one, they taste better and although they might be a little more in price — depending on the farmer — the products are usually healthier since they’re organically grown. The key word in growing locally grown fruits and vegetables is “fresh.” In other words, since the product is locally grown, it’s more likely to be fresher than produce in a grocery store. Fresher simply means more nutrients and better quality. Buying locally grown produce also means you’ll get your fruits and vegetables at their peak state.
Moving forward, instead of focusing on nutrients, focus on the food you’re eating. In doing so, you’ll provide your body with the nutrients it needs the right way — through food consumption. Your wallet will also appreciate this approach as you start to notice just how much you’re actually saving by staying home instead of eating out. You should also make yourself more aware of where your food is being produced and where it’s coming from. That way, you’re actually eating real food and not something that’s been processed and covered with chemicals.