Much like other popular diets and health terms, the word ‘wholefoods’ is used a lot in conjunction with nutritional health. It has become synonymous with healthy eating and is often listed as a ‘healthy food’ item, without further explanation. We receive a lot of queries as to what a wholefood actually is, and why it is considered such a nutrient dense dietary option.
So, what exactly is a wholefood?
We have heard all the dad jokes with this one; funny and facetious definitions of wholefoods such as, “If a donut fits in my mouth, whole, is that a wholefood?” are, alas, not a wholefood. (Although, ten points for trying). Rather, a wholefood is essentially any food that is unprocessed, unrefined and as close to its original state as possible. Or, as close to its original state to the point of being consumable (such as nuts inside an inedible shell). These kinds of foods are grains, whole fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts, free from (or very low in) preservatives and additives. Wholefoods are unprocessed and unrefined foods, so have no additional sugars and flavourings.
Why are wholefoods important?
Wholefoods tend to have a much higher nutrient content that have not been diluted by additives. This means the body is getting the maximum level of original nutrients that will nourish and fuel the body, without the hormonal, mood and health interferences processed and high refined sugar foods can do. A wholefoods diet offers you a higher probability of regulating physical and mental health issues that have been caused or triggered by a low-nutrient diet.
While a wholefoods diet is high in unprocessed foods, it’s not to say that any introduction of processed foods will undo all the good. Instead, it’s attempting to be more mindful about the food you have, and giving yourself the benefits of rich nutrients in the majority of what you eat.
Something to be aware of, though, is that the more you participate in a wholefoods diet, the more likely you are to immediately recognise effects of processed foods after you eat them; this is generally in the form of painful bloating, nausea, bowel issues or lethargy.
Can I eat meat on a wholefoods diet? Yes, absolutely!
As always, it is important to listen to your body and consult a professional when making big changes to your diet. There are some fruits and vegetables for example, particularly when eaten raw, that, while ‘healthy’, can cause bloating, digestive issues or joint pain for some people, and some types of seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables aren’t always recommended for people with certain ailments
. For example people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis may find avoiding nightshade vegetables (potatoes, eggplant, goji berries, tomato, chilli and capsicum) greatly reduces their pain levels and inflammation.
The bottom line is, while there is plenty of accurate evidence backing up the high nutrient value of wholefoods, it’s all about listening to your body’s needs and working to that.
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