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Benefits of a Whole Foods Diet

March 3, 2023

Our National Nutrition Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting nutritional health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of March. Each article will cover different aspects of good nutrition and diet, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize healthy eating habits and diet.

Have you been thinking about changing up your diet to include more whole foods? If you haven’t you may want to consider it. Choosing a whole foods diet comes with a ton of health benefits, including improving both your physical and mental health.

Considered a lifestyle versus a diet, the goal of a whole foods diet is to limit the number of processed foods you consume each day. Instead, it focuses on incorporating whole foods, such as fruits (we recommend berries only lowest in sugar), vegetables (green preferred), nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. These foods are encouraged to make up most of your diet along with some minimally processed food items and very few highly processed foods.

An example of minimally processed (and minimal in nutrients)foods includes canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, pre-cut produce items, roasted nuts, etc. These are considered acceptable on a whole foods diet however, highly processed foods such as chips, cookies, crackers, and frozen or ready-to-eat meals, are limited to moderation.

Although processed foods are convenient, they are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, sodium, and artificial coloring and flavoring. The goal of a whole foods diet is to choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For example, fresh strawberries, which is a whole food, versus strawberry jam which is highly processed.

A whole foods diet includes many nutrient-rich high fiber foods. Consuming a high amount of these foods is associated with a decreased risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer [1,2]. Additionally, we recommend  Ortho Digestzme to help break down food to get all the nutrients possible out of our food.

Ortho Digestzyme is a full-spectrum enzyme strategically designed to support each phase of digestion.

  • Supports Healthy Digestion and Maximizes Nutrient Absorption
  • Supports Gastric Acid Balance and Digestive Function
  • Provides Protease-Rich Digestive Enzymes for Improved Protein Breakdown
  • Helps Maintain Healthy Gastrointestinal Flora

Another great product we recommend to our patients is Juice Plus+, a supplement containing the juices of many fruits and vegetables, and sold in capsule form. You can speak to your healthcare provider about implementing this in your diet.

Consuming more whole foods is also budget-friendly. Although it may seem like whole foods are more expensive, several studies have found this to be untrue. In fact, the medical cost alone for managing chronic diseases due to consuming a diet high in processed foods is extensive compared to the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables [3,4].

Furthermore, choosing whole foods is more environmentally friendly. Processed foods utilize a lot of packaging that leads to nonbiodegradable waste that litters our landfills. It also contributes to greenhouse gases and high pesticide use. Choosing a whole foods diet helps to support local farms in your community instead of large grocery chains. Many who choose a whole-food diet also opt for plant-based however, this is not a requirement [5].

Consuming more whole foods and less processed foods can also make a big difference in your mental health. According to a large study conducted by the British Journal of Psychiatry, those who ate whole foods had fewer symptoms of depression compared to those who consumed a lot of processed foods. So choosing more whole foods can elevate your mood. It can also contribute to a variety of nutrients in your diet and avoid deficiencies [6].

There are really no downsides to consuming a whole foods diet. Although it may not be as convenient as reaching for some of those processed items, you will be thankful for taking the extra time to nourish your body for the future.