Most know that the food present on the dinner table is capable of enhancing or weakening our health. But a fact not known to many is that the same dinner table may also be responsible for the loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, water and air pollution, and global warming.
Modern farming practices have gained success in producing abundant food but the chemicals used for the production of that food has a detrimental effect on humans and the environment. Though the present scenario looks like it is out of control, it is not. A small life-changing approach makes a big change.
This approach is nothing but Eco-Healthy Eating. Yes, a few changes in eating habits not only gives us a disease-free, healthy, and happy life but saves the environment as well. This article explains how Eco-Healthy Eating is advantageous to us and the environment. So, here are the 5 benefits:
5 Benefits of Eco-Healthy Eating to Humans
1. Freedom from Added Sugar
Eco-Healthy Eating involves avoiding foods and beverages containing added sugar. As we know, added sugar gives rise to various health problems such as obesity, diabetes, increased blood pressure, etc. in humans, whereas practicing Eco-Healthy Eating gives us freedom from all the problems related to or caused by added sugar.
2. Freedom from GMOs
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are capable of damaging organs and harming the reproductive system of animals. Most food products are not labeled as GMO-free so we are always at risk of consuming GMO-rich foods. Eco-Healthy Eating not only keeps us away from GMOs but also from the dangers associated with them.
3. Freedom from Pesticides and Artificial Fertilizers
Eating organically is another part of Eco-Healthy Eating. Since no artificial fertilizers and pesticides are used in producing organic food products, the body remains free from the ill-effects of these chemicals when we eat organic foods. However, organic foods produced locally are the most nutritious.
4. Freedom from the risk of dreadful diseases
Today, we are involved in eating more meat products, processed foods, and other such options, which increases the risk of life-threatening diseases prevalent in these times. When we practice Eco-Healthy Eating, we also get freedom from the risk of such diseases.
5. A Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul
When we practice Eco-Healthy Eating, the body gets proper nutrition, savings increase in the long run, we remain fit and disease-free, and none of our eating habits hurt the environment. Moreover, our Eco-Healthy Eating practice empowers the economically weaker sections and motivates us to donate any extra food we might have. All this, when combined, gives us a healthy body, mind, and soul.
5 Benefits of Eco-Healthy Eating to the Environment
1. Healthy Agriculture Land
In order to increase the yield, food producers are not shy of using techniques and chemicals that harm the environment. They take away the power of agricultural land to produce nutrient-rich foods. Eco-Healthy Eating promotes the production of organic produce which eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, making agricultural land more potent.
2. Less Pollution
Eco-Healthy Eating causes less pollution because it involves avoiding sugary foods and consuming organic ones. Let us understand it this way – the harmful chemicals used aggressively for producing crops runs down to the water resources during rainfall, polluting these water bodies. The last phase in the cultivation of some crops, like sugarcane, involves burning the remains. This causes air pollution.
3. Freedom from Unexpected Climate Change
Eco-Healthy Eating also means avoiding meat and dairy products. Amplified consumption of dairy and meat products means increased use of farmland for livestock. In comparison to the vegan foods produced on the same farmlands, its use for the production of animal-based products causes global acidification and emission of greenhouse gases. This further causes global warming and leads to unexpected climate changes.
4. Less Waste
When we eat Eco-Healthy, we avoid extensively packed processed foods and drinks. A common practice is to throw the packaging away after consumption; but when it is thrown away, it becomes part of the landfills. And we are very aware of how harmful this waste is for the environment.
5. No Pollution by Burning of Fossil Fuels
Eco-Healthy Eating promotes eating locally and seasonally. It implies food products do not need to travel long distances from the farms to the end consumers. This prevents burning of fossil fuels which directly decreases the air pollution.
This is how Eco-Healthy Eating benefits humans and the environment. One thing is for sure, Eco-Healthy Eating saves human beings and the environment from the consequences of unhealthy foods.
Wholesome or whole foods are the essential components of a healthy diet. Most magazines, TV programs, dieticians, and other experts suggest that every person should eat whole foods. This is because whole foods are rich in nutrients and have fewer calories.
It simply means if you want your diet to be healthy, start eating more whole foods. Since whole foods are unprocessed and not refined before eating, it is very easy to prepare different dishes with them. In other words, your body can get all the essential nutrients even with easily prepared wholesome foods, there is no need to spend plenty on fashionable diets and diet plans.
Today, you are going to learn about 5 benefits of easy-to-prepare wholesome foods. They are:
1. A Gateway to a Healthier and Happy You
Eating wholesome foods ensures that you are getting a nutrient-rich diet. Consuming unprocessed, seasonal, and fresh foods means that you are eating less commercially made foods rich in sugar, salt, and fat. All the nutrients present in whole foods act together and infuse the natural synergy in you. With easy-to-prepare wholesome foods, your common ailments (if you are suffering from any) start healing, your immune system gets stronger, your body becomes healthier, and all this progress makes you a happier person. Remember, Health is Wealth.
2. Control Over the Quantity of Food You Eat
When you feed on commercially available processed foods, you eat much more (because it is tasty) than the required quantity and then also do not get any appropriate nutrients. But when you eat even a smaller portion of wholesome foods prepared easily at home, your body gets direct nutrition. Moreover, you can control the quantity you eat; these foods help you eliminate unnecessary temptation, and this is especially beneficial for people seeking to lose weight. Eat Less & Whole, Remain Young & Fit.
3. Saves Money
Easy-to-prepare wholesome foods are usually made at home so you save on restaurant bills which are loaded to include the costs for running it and the estimated profit. Secondly, these foods are not processed and packed as most of the processed foods available in the stores are. The wholesome foods skip all the costs involved with processing and packaging which makes them cheaper. So, when you eat the commercially processed foods, you pay more and get less whereas the opposite is true with easy-to-prepare wholesome foods. Don’t You Love Saving Money?
4. Culinary Discoveries
Whether you live alone or with your family, the easy-to-prepare wholesome foods gives you an opportunity to discover new and healthy recipes. Your choice to eat wholesome foods will lead you to search for relevant dishes in cookbooks or on the internet. This exposure to so many dishes and recipes could even motivate you to create your own collection of favorite recipes. For example, you will discover various new recipes which can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, so create one such collection. This practice is most beneficial when you are out of time and ideas. Discover How Wonderful Wholesome Foods Are.
5. Avoid Food Poisoning
Every year millions of people suffer from food poisoning and do you know the biggest culprit? Yes, processed foods are responsible for it. The processed foods you eat in the restaurants or get delivered to your home carry the risk of having food-borne pathogens like parasites, viruses, and bacteria in them. They are very dangerous and can severely harm or in the worst cases, kill you. But when you consume easy-to-prepare wholesome foods made at home, these risks diminish and you can easily avoid food poisoning. Eat Whole and Avoid Food Poisoning.
The benefits do not end here, continue searching and you will come across several others. It has become common practice to go out and eat tempting, high-calorie, and less nutritive foods but preparing and eating wholesome foods is also easy. After learning about so many advantages of wholesome foods, making them an essential part of your everyday diet has become even easier. However, it does not mean you have to cut processed foods completely from your life. Sit, relax, and evaluate the nutritional values of processed foods you wish to eat. If they look healthy, carry on but keep the portions small.
In the last few decades, the food processing industry has been scaling new heights. This is because businesses are aggressively manufacturing processed foods and we are more aggressively consuming them. Whether you give this credit to their taste or applaud their marketers, the truth is that we alone are responsible for such a huge production of processed foods. In fact, we do not even consider the fact that the production of processed food hurts the environment terribly.
We are satisfying our taste buds at the cost of environmental health. Today, you are going to learn 5 different ways about how the production of processed foods affects the environment.
1. Shortage of Fertile Land
By evaluating the market of processed foods, you will find that the major portion is occupied by animal-based and added sugar products. For the production of animal-based foods, large areas are used to keep the livestock (it can be non-arable) and fertile land is required to grow food for them. On the other hand, the production of sugar crops also occupies a lot of space and evaluation reveals that sugar production is not coming down in the near future. All this leads to the unavailability of fertile land.
2. Loss of Biodiversity
Production of processed foods affects biodiversity in different ways. For example:
- In order to increase the land needed for producing processed foods, deforestation is taking place at a rapid pace. As a result, it destroys the natural flora and fauna.
- To increase livestock production, more and more natural land is being transformed into pastures. Moreover, the areas where livestock graze and all other nearby surroundings become less natural and not fit for agriculture.
- The marine ecosystem is severely affected by the production of processed foods. The fertilizers and pesticides used in sugarcane and beet crops run down into the nearby water bodies during rainfall. This contaminates the water bodies and damages the marine ecosystem.
3. Reduction of Fossil Fuels
All the raw materials needed for manufacturing processed foods are transported from their origin to factories. Then after production, these finished processed foods are transported from factories to distributors, dealers, and then to your nearby stores. During this transportation, a large amount of fuel is burnt, and harmful greenhouse gases are emitted – and greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason behind the depletion of the ozone layer. All this harms the environment and also increases the amount of fossil fuels causing further damage.
4. Water Scarcity
Water is probably the major necessity for producing any kind of food; you require it for growing the crops and feeding the animals as well. A massive increase in the production of processed foods has also directly increased the consumption of water. The production of sugarcane requires a large amount of water in comparison to other crops. Moreover, meat products also require a large quantity of water; firstly, animals need a lot of water to drink and secondly, the crops they eat require water to grow. This critical need for water is often fulfilled by nearby natural water streams but increased use of these natural resources is causing water shortages.
5. Increased Waste
Processed foods come packed. When these foods are consumed, their packaging is of no use and goes into landfills. Any expired packaged food is also sent to landfills. All this increases the amount of waste which further creates problems for the environment. During the decomposition of this waste, methane gas is released. As you know, methane is one of the greenhouse gases and many scientists believe it adversely affects the temperature and climate of our earth. So, it can be concluded that one of the major reasons behind global warming or change in climate is increased waste.
Every step involved in the production of processed foods – production, processing, transporting, storing, distributing, and marketing – impacts the environment in one way or the other. A lack of awareness is behind the increased demand for processed foods, and food manufacturers in order to earn more profits, are avoiding facing the environmental impact of producing their processed foods. Yet, a few mindful decisions made by end consumers like you, can prove to be decisive in saving the environment.
Are processed foods good or bad? The confusion about processed foods is not going to end anytime soon because they are everywhere, even in your home. Yes, the packaged foods and beverages we purchase from our nearby grocery store or the supermarket are mostly processed ones.
Some say that most foods and drinks we consume are more or less processed. What is actually referred to here is mechanical processing such as cutting tomatoes, grinding, and boiling them to make tomato puree. And this in itself is not harmful. The dangerous part is the chemical processing that follows. When the sugar, coloring, and artificial flavors are added to the same tomato puree, it then turns out to be chemically processed.
Most of the packaged foods and beverages that keep us coming back for more, are chemically processed. All fast foods fall into this category and they are capable of severely damaging the health of human beings. Today, we are going to learn about the 5 side-effects of consuming processed foods. They are:
1. Weak Respiratory System
Processed foods contain extra calories and thus, are responsible for weight gain leading to obesity. Obesity further puts pressure on our lungs and heart and causes problems such as shortness of breath while climbing stairs, exercising, or walking. According to a study (Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three), children involved in consuming fast foods at least thrice a week are more prone to develop respiratory problems like asthma.
2. Colo-rectal Cancer
Processed foods may cause colon cancer in humans. The processed meat such as lunch meat, sausage, bacon, beef jerky, hot dogs, and others are treated chemically so that they remain preserved. When we eat such processed meats every day (even as little as 50 grams), the risk of colorectal cancer increases by 18 percent. The risk is believed to emerge either from the preservatives used or by the cooking procedure used to preserve them.
3. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases in humans occur when the immune system malfunctions and starts attacking its own antibodies. There are several autoimmune diseases but those commonly caused by processed foods are lupus, type -1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and Crohn’s disease.
Researchers have found that salt, glucose, organic solvents, gluten, and others commonly used in processed foods, allow the toxins to attack the body and eventually leads to the development of autoimmune disease(s).
4. Ineffective Reproductive System
The different ingredients present in chemically processed foods may negatively impact fertility. According to the study (Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the U.S. Population in NHANES, 2003–2010), fast foods contain phthalates. If you do not know about phthalates, these are the chemicals capable of interrupting the way hormones act in the human body. When we consume more processed foods, the body is exposed to increased levels of phthalates which further make the reproductive system ineffective.
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Processed foods are also responsible for triggering inflammatory bowel disease which is also known as ulcerative colitis. This is because of emulsifiers which not only increase the shelf life of a product but hold the texture and shape of the food as well. If we are consuming processed foods, we cannot run away from emulsifiers.
Yes, they are found in peanut butter, bread, salad dressings, cake mixes, yogurt, sauces, puddings, ice cream, processed cheese, and desserts. A surprising fact is that these emulsifiers are similar to the ones found in the detergents and soaps present in your home. They affect the gut bacteria which further compromises the protective layer of mucus separating microbes and the intestinal wall. This gives birth to inflammatory reactions and diseases in the bowel.
If we eat a lot of processed foods, it means the quantity and quality of the real food we are getting is less. As a result, the body becomes deficient in essential minerals and vitamins. Being mindful of our eating habits makes a big difference.
This awareness is capable of enhancing our lifestyle leading to a healthier one which frees us from various medical ailments. Always remember that the food we eat acts as a toxin or as medicine. Making our diet work in our favor is up to us.
Examples of processed foods are cereal, bread and frozen foods. What is processed food? Any food that is cooked, baked or pre-prepared in any way is processed food.