Whole Foods - Health Benefits of Eating Whole Foods
the market (grocery store, farm stand, etc.) typically do not contain added
ingredients.  When purchasing whole foods, it is best to avoid those with added toxic
chemical ingredients (additives and preservatives).  For example, packaged whole
food meats often contain added ingredients such as flavorings and unnatural
tenderizers.  Most foods that are canned or vacuum packaged are not considered to
be whole foods even though they may have whole food ingredients.  This includes
foods such as chili, soups, pasta meals, chips, etc.  The main reason for this is that
canned and vacuum packaged foods have usually been processed with high heat and
usually contain added chemical ingredients that may or may not be listed on the
labels.  The packaging itself contributes toxins to the packaged food.  This also
includes quick prepare foods and snacks that are packaged in boxes.  Whenever
possible, it is best to purchase organic whole foods that have little or no packaging.  
At the grocery store,  Whole foods are typically located on the outside Aisles.  


Canned Whole Foods

Although canned foods are considered to be unsafe due to toxins leaching from the
cans, there are some canned foods that are considered to be whole foods.  Fruits
and Vegetables such as diced pineapple, peas, and beans are considered to be whole
foods as long as no chemical ingredients have been added.  So diced fruit that's been
canned in syrup, is not considered to be a whole food.  Diced fruit that has been
canned in it's own juice, is considered to be a whole food.  Canned beans that
contain additives and preservatives, aren't considered to be a whole food.  Canned
beans that contain added herbs and spices or nothing but the beans and bean water,
is considered to be a whole food.  Some important things to remember about
canned foods is that aluminum cans are toxic and have been linked to several
chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's.  Also, canned foods are usually processed in
ways that destroy most of the nutrients.  There may also be added ingredients that
are not shown on the labels.  Chemical additives and preservatives in foods have
been linked to illnesses and conditions such as Cancer and Alzheimer's.  Overall, it's
best to avoid canned foods.  


Plastic-Packaged Whole Foods

Whole foods packaged in plastic bags and containers include "already washed"
salads, dried grains and legumes, and frozen fruits and vegetables.  Whole food
meats are also generally packaged in plastic bags or containers.   As long as there
are no added ingredients to these foods, and they were packaged when fresh, then
they are still considered to be whole foods.  Something to remember about natural
foods that are packed in plastic bags and containers is that research shows that
plastic does leach into foods.  Dried, uncooked foods such as dried beans and brown
rice are less likely to have residue from the plastic bags they're packaged in.  


Fresh Whole Foods

The best place to find fresh whole foods is in the grocery store's produce section and
at farmers' market stands.  In the produce section, you can find a vast array of
natural plant foods including fruits, vegetables, and sprouts.  The variety of plant
foods available depends on the season.  Some plant foods are available all year.  
Most plant foods are available unpeeled and either ripe or unripe.  Most grocery
stores also have a separate section in the produce deparment that contains fruit
and/or vegetables that have been peeled, sliced into sections, and packaged in
tupperware-like plastic containers.    


The Fiber in Whole Foods

With the exception of meat; fish; and milk, whole foods are an excellent source of
fiber.  All plant foods naturally contain fiber within the flesh and the peel or outer
covering.  Although drinking freshly squeezed juice is a great way to get a
concentration of nutrients, we still need to consume fiber by eating whole plant
foods.  Fiber is essential for good health and maintenance.  Fiber is the undigestible
component of all plant foods.  There are 2 types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble
fiber.  Soluble fiber is that which dissolves easily in water or other clear liquids such as
juice.  When soluble fiber is added to clear liquids, it turns into a gel-like substance.  
Soluble fiber is a natural stool softener and is essential for the proper elimination of
wastes and toxins from the digestive system.  Insoluble fiber is that which does not
dissolve into clear liquids.  Insoluble fiber is also known as roughage because it stays
intact, retaining its original rough texture.  Insoluble fiber is a natural broom that
sweeps wastes and toxins away from the digestive tract.   Both types of fiber work
together to clean the digestive system and improve the health of the body.   

The best source of fiber is whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts,
seeds, grains, and sprouts.   With physician's approval, juice fasting with fresh
squeezed juice for a few days is a great way to heal the body and maintain wellness.
Juice fasting allows the digestive tract to rest while the nutrients in the juice heal the
body.  Some naturopath physicians and health experts recommend going on juice
fasts occasionally, while others advise that it's not necessary.  After juice fasting,
whole foods should be consumed on a regular basis for the fiber and also for the
vast array of nutrients that they provide.  


The Nutrients in Whole Foods

Whole foods provide an incredible array of nutrients for general health, healing, and
rejuvenation.  Every whole food provides one or more of the essential nutrients
needed for proper growth, development, and functioning of the body.  Essential
nutrients are nutrients that are required by the body, but cannot be manufactured by
the body.  They can only be obtained by consuming natural foods and taking
supplements.  In some cases where there's severe deficiency of one or more
essential nutrients, the naturopath doctor or primary care physician may recommend
taking supplements.  There are natural supplements and synthetic supplements
available.  Due to their chemical structure, synthetic supplements are usually not
recommended by naturopaths or natural health physicians.  Although natural
supplements contain a great supply of nutrients, the best way to get adequate
amounts of essential nutrients is by consuming whole foods.  

Whole foods are also a great source of antioxidants.  Antioxidants are nutritionally
powerful nutrients that help to protect and heal the body from chronic illnesses such
as cancer.  The color pigment in most whole foods is also an indicator of that food's
largest source of antioxidants.  For example, leafy green vegetables are an excellent
source of chlorophyl.  Yellow and red plant foods are an excellent source of beta
carotene.  Foods that have a strong color pigment may have a large quantity of
another antioxidant, but that other antioxidant  may be hidden by the dominating
antioxidant's color pigment.  For example, spirulina and chlorella are both very high in
chlorophyll, but are also excellent sources of beta carotene.   The beta carotene
pigment is hidden by the green chlorophyll content.


Sources:

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia

Murray , Michael N.D. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods.
New York: Atria Books, 2005.

Bowden, Jonny, Ph.D., C.N.S. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.
Fairwinds Press, 2007

U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter Books.  Wellness Foods A to Z.
Rebus Inc., 2002

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention-5 A Day.gov

SustainableTable.org
Whole foods are natural foods that
are unprocessed and unrefined.  The
term "whole foods" also refers to
natural foods that have been
processed and refined as little as
possible before being consumed.
Whole foods provide every essential
nutrient that the body needs to
function efficiently.  Whole foods
include fruits, vegetables, legumes,
nuts, seeds, sprouts, grains, meats,
fish, and non-homogenized milk.  
Although when preparing whole
foods, additional ingredients can be
added such as salt; herbs; and
spices, whole foods purchased from
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
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