Odds-on you've had processed food today and got "hangry" when you didn't eat on time, leaving you irritated and conflicted. That's one of the many dangers of consuming processed foods daily.
Most people have busy schedules, some have four jobs, all in a bid to support their lifestyle, provide for the family, cover health insurance, and pay for mortgages. And it makes it difficult to have time to prepare good meals for themselves and for the family.
As busy as we may be, we don't forget to eat nor drink. How healthy are the foods we eat on a daily basis? Health is wealth as we all know, but when it comes to making money, our health takes the back seat. We ignore the health risks of consuming unhealthy foods until it's too late.
Close your eyes and imagine the best whole meal of your choice prepared and in front of you: I love roasted potatoes with bay leaf. They are simple to make, the flavor is irresistible, the texture of the potato is great when peeled. I can eat it with roasted chicken and my daughters love them a lot.
Did I leave you salivating? Now open your eyes and see the food you imagined in front of you. Your health is in your control if you take actions, ranging from little steps, such as not eating processed food, to cutting out carbonated drinks from the list of things you consume daily.
There is nothing worse than walking into the kitchen after a long day without finding what to eat or having a clue to what food to make. I make frantic efforts to practice what I preach, but whenever I have a tight schedule, I must confess; I hate it. I find myself struggling to make good homemade meals and consuming less processed foods.
To remain consistent with preparing healthy homemade meals and consuming less processed meals, I create a 25 minutes meal planning weekly. This saves me lots of time and simplifies my life and that of my family.
What Are Processed Foods?
One topic health experts seem to agree on is that we should all be eating less processed foods. What are processed foods, what are the dangers they pose to our health?
In Laborers' health and safety article, "processed food is food that is altered during preparation to make it more convenient, shelf-stable or flavor. Some foods are much more processed than others. A bagged salad or pre-cut green beans count as processed, but it’s only minimal because its natural state hasn’t changed.
A box of macaroni and cheese or a microwavable dinner, on the other hand, are considered heavily processed (also called ultra-processed) because they’ve been chemically altered with artificial flavors, additives, and other ingredients." Most processed foods are toxic and addictive.
Regulatory agencies such as the FDA, warns against consuming processed meals and outlines the dangers they pose to health, yet people go on to eat whatever is available, cheap, convenient, tastes good, and pay less attention to risks they pose unless it affects their health.
According to Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, processed foods are chemical-laden, addictive foods usually sold in jars, boxes, and bags, and armies of well-paid food scientists make it their goals to come up with recipes that appeal to your taste buds, even if it means causing harm to your health.
"These foods are so hard to say no to because they are rich with added sugars and fats, which without a doubt changes how they feel inside the mouth. The altered texture and taste make the body yearn for more of it." She says.
Examples of processed foods are:
These dangers of processed foods are outlined below:
Processed foods whether mechanical, chemical, or ultra-processed contain saturated fats, added sugar, and salt.
Added sugar contains no essential nutrients and they are high in calories.
Consuming an excess of added sugar is a prerequisite to obsessive overeating, which leads to obesity.
Studies show that most people are inclined to obesity but people are overcoming their genetic disadvantages by changing their lifestyles and what they eat. No matter how you look it, no matter how well it's packaged and highly publicized, processed foods aren't whole foods. They are designed to get you addicted. Once addicted, it takes strong willpower to get out.
These are dangerous to health when consumed in excess. Whole foods contain more fiber and vitamins than processed foods. Consume more of whole foods daily to stay healthy.
Most people struggle with addiction to junk foods, added sugar, and convenient foods. Foods such as burgers, fries, cookies, candy, ice cream, etc. Foods high on sugar only taste and look good. They have no positive impact on your health, nor provide your body with the right amount of calories it needs to function properly. Addictions to junk foods are the cause of obesity in most people.
Addiction is more serious than you think. There are several nutritional deficiencies when you get addicted to processed foods and don't consume the essential nutrients your body needs. Excess consumption of processed foods that are high in cholesterol and fat makes you prone to cardiovascular diseases.
The more processed food taken, the greater the danger of been addicted. Consuming too much of processed foods leads to overeating. Overeating can cause disturbing experiences such as panic attacks, high risk of cancer, and other chronic health issues.
The more food you eat, the longer it takes for your body to digest. If you overeat often, it slows your digestive process and the food you eat remains in your stomach for a longer period of time, and turn into fat.
Overeating has negative impacts on your sleep habits.
High Blood Pressure.
Consuming excess processed foods contribute to heart disease and, premature death. Eating foods full of chemicals and addictive leads to high blood pressure.
Novel studies show that the human body needs a certain amount of salt to function properly, but excess consumption of salty foods can elevate your risk of high blood pressure. Most processed foods contain trans fats, and trans fat increases your cholesterol level. High cholesterol level increases your blood pressure level.
Your health is in your hands. Invest more on whole foods and less on processed foods. Make sure you plan your meals ahead and keep a food journal to help you keep track of any negative eating habits.
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