Nutrition and Diet

Processed Foods Can Be Good For You

Processed Foods That May Do You Good

Healthy processed foodsIt has become almost a mantra in the health and wellness circles. Avoid processed foods like the plague. The presumption is that anything “easy” or precooked also comes with a health trade-off, right? Well, not always.

Think about this; nutritional supplements are, typically, nothing more than condensed foods in a pill, liquid, powder, or other form. They are, in other words, processed food concentrates. Yet, we often have no problem popping, chewing, or drinking these “foods” to improve our health.

Then, there is the matter of processing foods for convenience as well as ensuring safety to the consumer. Milk, cheese, and butters fall in this category. Not many of us want to churn our own butter, and the milkman has long gone the way of the dinosaur.

Here’s another fact; the processing of food happens right in your kitchen. When you cook food you are actually processing it. Other forms of food processing include freezing, dehydrating, and smoking. Of course, the best known and perhaps most “unpopular” type of processed food is the canned variety.

In all these processes, some compromising of nutrients is almost inevitable. For example, Some vitamins such as B6, B12 and vitamin E are sensitive to heat. Vitamin C is especially susceptible to heat, water, and even air. But this is topic for another post.

Granted, most processed foods out there are not only garbage, but also pose certain health risks especially when they contain chemical additives.

So, which processed foods may be good and healthy for you? Well, here a few:

Instant brown rice: Yes, you read that right. Many brands of instant brown rice contain as much fiber as regular brown rice. They (instant varieties) have even been shown to have a lower glycemic score, meaning they may be better for your waistline.

Frozen fruits: I love to mix these into my protein shake. Even better, frozen fruits are often picked at the peak of their ripeness, and then flash frozen. Unlike your “fresh” varieties that may have been rushed to the market because the farmer needed some cash.

Canned tuna and sardines: Added to a salad, these can provide you with quality proteins for building lean mass. As you may already know, lean mass also helps burn fat.

Yogurt: Provides protein as well as healthy bacteria (probiotics). Opt for the organic, plain, Greek varieties. Avoid yogurts with added sugar or fruit. Run from “fruit in bottom” varieties. You can add your own fruit, fresh or frozen to the yogurt if like.

Chicken broth: Used to add flavor to many types of dishes including soups. I would go for the organic varieties.

When shopping, you may want to avoid anything “fat free”. The “fat free” trend has not made as thinner or healthier. And there is usually a trade-off here. Plus, some foods are better eaten with all their fat contents. Taking a multivitamin may be a good idea as well.

You can read a more detailed article on this at the Huffington Post website.

Photo Credit: avlxyz via Compfight cc

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