Everyone in Houston, TX, has ample opportunities to eat unhealthy foods, which are often labeled processed food. That’s because it’s the easiest way to describe them. But not all processed foods are bad for you. When you read processed food, you often think of the junk food aisle and chips, pork rinds, burgers and fries come to mind. Not all processed foods are bad. In fact, some of the healthiest processed foods should be included in your diet. Processing can include everything from cleaning and freezing food, to highly processed that contain ingredients that look like they came out of a chemistry lab.
When you cook tomatoes, you process them.
While some vegetables lose vitamins when you cook them, such as vitamin C, tomatoes actually become healthier. The longer you cook tomatoes, the more lycopene they contain. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. However, the vitamin C in them is diminished. In order to find the unhealthy food, read the label. If you see the words refined grain or bleached flour, put it back o the shelf. The act of milling the grain removes the nutrient laden area, the bran and the germ. The bran has the fiber and the germ has all the nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, fat and protein. Opt for whole grain options.
Frozen vegetables are processed, but may be better for you than fresh.
Fresh vegetables have a limited shelf life. They’re often picked before they’re ripe and allowed to ripen as they come to market. They sit on the shelf for a while, too, before you buy them and then wait a day or two before they’re eaten. There are fewer nutrients when picked before ripening, and the nutrients diminish each day after picking. Frozen vegetables are left on the vine until peak ripeness, picked and immediately frozen. They’re fresher and filled with more nutrients than many of the fresh fruits and vegetables on the shelf.
Not all canned foods are bad.
Check out tuna, salmon and even some canned fruits and vegetables. They’re all healthy and good for your body, plus have the added benefit of being affordable. You have to make sure they don’t have added sugar or salt. If you buy a canned good, like beans, and see sodium, you can rinse them several times to reduce that content. Fruit with added sugar is definitely not healthy. It’s linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, dental carries and other diseases.
- When you buy peanut butter or nut butter, check the label. Make sure it contains one ingredient, nuts. You may have to stir it, but it’s worth the effort in taste and healthy benefits.
- Definitely pass up the snack area and pastries. They contain empty calories and often have trans fats, the unhealthy fat, chemicals and tons of sugar. There’s no up side. Even granola or protein bars are often filled with sugar and chemicals. Eat fruit, nuts and vegetables for snacks.
- Yogurt with live culture is healthy, but watch out for added sugar. Low fat yogurt is particularly bad, since sugar is added to make it to improve the flavor that removing the fat created.
- Instead of eliminating all processed foods, opt for those that are minimally processed with the fewest ingredients on the list of ingredients. You don’t have to break the budget to eat healthy and using frozen and some canned foods is a big help.
For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness