I’m sure that each one of you has stumbled upon a healthy recipe, connected with the consumption of certain foods, spices, herbs or a combination of several products. There’s also a good number of people, who resort to the power of the garlic, the honey or the ginger, when they feel certain discomfort.
Food can be a cure – that’s a world known fact. It’s no less known, that food can also be a poison, but this little detail somehow always remains at the background. Or, at least until the moment, we realise that “modern diet” is doing more damage than good.
Today we will talk about the modern diet, processed food and how our immune system feels like, when it’s constantly exposed to refined sugar, refined salt, trans fats, colouring agents, etc.
We won’t use complicated terms, neither will we go into deep researches, because there hardly are different opinions on the harm of the processed foods.
The aim of the material is to make us think more on the food that we buy, because often the unwanted consequences appear later during the years or through generations. Our purpose is to provoke those of you, who are not used to reading the labels, to rethink their actions. It’s worth reading the small script, because that’s an investment in your health.
The modern diet and processed foods – what does that mean?
Under the term “modern diet” we mean the mass diet in the industrialised countries. The one, where the packaged foods with a long expiry date, ready-made and processed foods prevail.
Processed foods are those, which contain trans fats, refined sugar and salt and additives. They often have a high caloric value, but are deprived of vitamins and minerals.
There are still people, who think that engaging in a sports activity can lower the harm of the junk food. They say that they sport regularly and burn the waffle and chips calories straight away. Well, unfortunately, not everything comes down to calories. What’s crucial is their source and what they bring to the body.
Processed foods and the immune system
Have you noticed how often the people around you are sick? The main blame falls on the environment and the dirty air, but very rarely any reason is sought in the way the sick person eats.
Researches show, that during the last couple of decades there is a significant increase in the frequency of autoimmune diseases, which is quite worrying fact. The aetiology of some of those diseases remains with a lot of unknown variables in the equation, but it’s considered that not only the genetic factor, but also the close correlation between it and the environment (toxic chemicals, pollution, infections and…food) are the main reasons.
The mass diet of the industrialised areas is much different than what it used to be in the past. It’s quite possible that your elderly folk and friends remember the foods from the past with a smile – those foods probably didn’t have the ability to remain fit for consumption for months. Now the food has new additives, the list of preservatives is quite long, whereas the harmful E’s are considerably more than the beneficial ones. New sorts and breeds of animals and plants are created and the genetic engineering is more and more discussed.
With the increase of the diabetes and MS (multiple sclerosis) diseases in the industrialised countries, the connection with the bad diet as a potentially risk factor is ever more observed and taken into account. The high levels of sodium in the food are in a close relation with high blood pressure or/and problems with the cardiac-vascular system. The low level of vitamin D are connected with arthritis, etc. A lot of allergies, asthma, and skin deteriorations are a result of too much processed food in the diet.
The pleasure of modern food comes too steep
After all, around 70% of our immune cells are located in the digestive system, thus being in a direct contact with the food we eat every day. It’s logical, that if we systematically feed with bad food, it can lead to unwanted consequences for the immune system. If it’s been infected with a food bacteria or considers the food as an allergen (especially because the synthetic additives in the processed foods), the immune system can trigger the inflammation alarm.
Inflammation is a way of the body to deal with the unwanted agents as a part of its healing processes. But what happens if we evoke constant inflammation, meaning we don’t change our feeding habits? We create a base for many health problems.
Too much consumption of simple sugars can lead to dysbiosis and an increased production of inflammatory cytoxins. The artificial sweeteners are a potential factor for intestine inflammation; the refined sugar can worsen the autoimmune sicknesses.
Dysbiosis (dysbacteriosis) is a state, in which the pathogen organisms in the body increase, whereas the beneficial microorganisms decrease in number. The symptoms can be different (fatigue, anxiety, change in the levels of the quantity and quality of the intestine enzymes, etc.).
Processed foods are bad for your heath
Personally, I’ve minimised the use of processed foods. I try to eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and I am also carefully picking the places where I shop for meat and fish. Some of you would say that meat is also infected, the vegetables are full of nitrates and so on, and they will most probably be right.
However, it’s hardly the same to buy fresh meat and ask to ground it in front of your eyes, instead of buying minced meat directly from the supermarket stand. I hardly doubt it’s one and the same to buy potatoes, cut them thinly and roast them in the oven, instead of buying a pack of chips. It’s totally not the same thing to cook a home dessert with fresh or dry fruits or sweeten your life with a cake from the nearby store.
You feel my point, right?
Processed foods (packaged foods with a long expiry date and an endless list of contents) are bad for the health. They can lead to:
- Addiction and overeating. The real nutritional food (rich in macro and microelements) brings nutrients in the body. Processed foods is deprived of those – it creates a pleasurable sense, but it’s not backed by usefulness;
- Disbalance of the organism, leading to hunger urges, digestive issues, dysbacteriosis;
- Depression and mood changes, because of hormone affection;
Pay attention not only to the “face” but to the “back” as well – read the labels
Our advice is to pick whole, unprocessed and unpackaged food. Yet, that can’t be completely applied in every case. In such occasions, we have to read the labels.
We are not familiar whether the control on the labels’ credibility is always effective. To a larger extent, though, the labels are true. Put simply, a few harmful additives are masked behind a certain number, which we can’t know for sure what it means, except if we haven’t made a good research. Here’s a good trick I learnt from my high school chemistry teacher – if the number of the additive begins with a number, higher than 6, then it means it’s trouble and you better avoid it.
A couple more pieces of advice
- If you want to be healthy, do not overeat processed foods. There’s nothing wrong with having some junk food from time to time, but don’t turn it into an every day activity.
- Lower the consumption of sugar and refined salt (replace it with Himalayan or sea salt).
- Provide foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics.
- Avoid shopping in the large commercial store chains when you are hungry or you are with the kids. Did you pay attention that the unhealthiest foods are around the checkout stands at the level of kids’ eyes? That’s not a coincidence. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, fresh meat and fish are at the periphery, whereas chips, waffles, cans, cakes are in the centre of the supermarket.
- Be informed and pay attention to your food. Many times I’ve heard the opinion that we only live once – we should eat everything.
Yes, we only live once, but does it matter how? Let’s fully live our lives as much as possible.