The old saying “food is medicine” rings true. Natural foods are loaded with essential nutrients that help keep you healthy and better able to ward-off illness. Eating foods in their most natural form means that you’ll lower your risk of chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and certain cancers. Natural means that the food is as close as possible to its natural state, unprocessed, free of chemical additives, artificial flavor or colour.
Unprocessed animal and plant foods provide the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for overall health. A perfect example is our local fruits, which when eaten natural, contain no added sugars but you will enjoy the benefits and taste of what is called “natural sugars”. Natural sugars are found in fruits as fructose and in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as lactose. Eating excess amounts of added sugar can increase your risk for obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Fruits in their natural form also have high water and fiber content. Water keeps you hydrated and consuming fiber through whole foods will boost digestive function, metabolic health and helps with proper bowel movement. Eating a diet high in fibrous plants and unprocessed animal foods, may help reduce blood sugar levels in people who have or are at risk for diabetes. Once your body adjusts to eating whole, unprocessed foods, cravings for sugary, fatty, processed foods could decrease.
Natural foods are rich in antioxidants that may protect your cells against free radicals, preventing damage to your body and lowering your risk of infection and disease. Antioxidants can be found be plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats) can be found in natural animal foods such as salmon, herring and sardines. Avocados and nuts also contain healthy fats that helps fight inflammation and promote heart health.
Believe it or not, it is cheaper to eat natural, healthy foods instead of processed foods. This is because eating healthy improves your overall health and will lower your risk of chronic diseases. Therefore you may have to spend less money to treat preventable diseases like diabetes, obesity and hypertension.