ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are Whole Foods?

Updated on February 4, 2019
Kaysha Reid profile image

Kaysha is a holistic wellness enthusiast with a meditation teacher certification and an appreciation for DIY projects.

What are Whole Foods?

Whole-foods are unprocessed and unrefined. They are also produced without the use of any chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. So in essence this type of diet ensures that we are eating meat and produce in a state which is most beneficial to the body.

Additionally, a whole foods diet allows our metabolic and digestive system to function more efficiently. This allows for the proper absorption of nutrients, as well as improved well-being and the maintenance of a natural, healthy weight. Yet what most characterizes a whole foods diet, is that it typically incorporates a well-balanced variety of all the required groups; namely proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, as well as fats.

Protein

Source

Protein is an essential nutrient. In fact, every cell, organ and tissue in the body contains this very important substance. However, meat and eggs are not the only protein sources. We can also obtain this nutrient from plant-based protein sources.

There are basically two types of protein sources: complete and incomplete protein.

A complete protein is a protein source which contains an acceptable proportion of all of the nine (9) essential amino acids the body needs to build cells, as it is not able to make it on its own.

Examples of complete protein sources include animal derived protein, such as meats, fish, poultry, as well as milk and eggs.

Incomplete proteins on the other hand are protein sources which are lacking in one or more of the nine (9) essential amino acids.

Examples of incomplete protein sources include plant-based protein, like nuts, whole grains and beans.

However, two incomplete proteins that compensate for each others' amino acid inadequacies are often referred to as complementary proteins. The two incomplete proteins combined make up a complete protein.

According to the Utah Department of Health, complementary proteins do not have to be eaten at the same time. Therefore, as long as they are eaten within the same day, they are still considered complementary.

Examples of complementary protein sources include:

  • Brown rice and beans
  • Peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain cereal with milk
  • Cheese and whole grain macaroni
  • Yogurt with ground flaxseeds
  • Spinach salad with walnuts

The USDA recommends that the average adult consume 5.5 ounces of protein and 3 cups of dairy each day.

Fruit and Vegetables

Source

Fruits and vegetables contain many essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. As a result, according to the USDA, a diet rich in these two food groups may aid in maintaining healthy stress levels, lowering caloric intake and even averting certain diseases.

It is therefore necessary to consume the required amount of fruit and vegetables each day.

Based on U.S.D.A. requirements, the daily recommended intake for the average adult is:

Fruits - 2 cups for men and 1.5 - 2 cups for women

Vegetables - 3 cups for men and 2.5 cups for women

Note: Determined by sex, age and the amount of physical activity performed each day.

Carbohydrates

Source

The cells in our body require carbohydrates for them to function properly; making carbohydrates the primary source of energy for the body. Besides that, glucose, a component of carbohydrates, is the main nutrient that the brain uses for fuel.

Both simple and complex carbohydrates convert to glucose.

Simple carbohydrates are found in processed sugars such as sodas and candy. However, they also occur naturally in fruits and milk.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand, are found in veggies, peas and whole grains.


Whole Grains

When it comes to grains, we are frequently told to opt for whole grains over refined grains. According to the Whole Grains Council, “eating whole grains instead of refined grains can lower the risk of many chronic diseases.”

Whole grains can be consumed in the form of pasta, rice, breads and cereals to obtain the benefits of these healthy carbohydrates. However, some people do have an abnormal immune response when their body breaks down gluten during digestion.

What exactly is Gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein in wheat. The most prevalent form of gluten intolerance is Celiac disease. This is an auto-immune disorder which causes harm to the small intestines and affects the absorption of certain vital nutrients.

Doctors usually recommend a gluten-free diet for individuals with an abnormal response to gluten - avoiding all foods with gluten like pasta, baked goods, cereals and beer, then choosing other gluten-free alternatives.

The USDA recommends that the average adult consume 6 ounces of whole grains each day.

Fats

Source

Fats provide the body with a concentrated source of energy. Healthy fat sources (good fats) help to ensure the proper functioning of the immune system. They are also responsible for the health of the cell membranes and help to maintain a good hormone balance.

The following are healthy fat sources:

Monounsaturated Fats - Monounsaturated fats are in a variety of whole-foods; including nuts and high-fat fruits. Essentially, these healthy fat sources lower LDL cholesterol (known as the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.

Sources: walnuts, almonds, pistachios, avocado, olive oil.

Polyunsaturated Fats - Polyunsaturated fats are mainly in plant-based oils and fish sources.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are found both in fish oil and in plant-based sources. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It may also lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is another omega-3 fatty acid which is present in some plant-based sources, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, spinach, kale and soybean. The body converts ALA to DHA and EPA.

Sources: Sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts.

Omega-6 fatty acids – Omega-6 fatty acids are found primarily in plant-based sources. They may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Sources: Soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil.

According to the USDA, the daily allowance of oil for the average adult is 6 teaspoons per day.

Incorporating More Whole-Foods Into the Diet

Source

Ultimately, the key to consuming more whole foods is being more conscious of how you plan, shop and prepare them. So here are some helpful resources:

PLAN:

ChooseMyPlate.org - An online resource provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for planning healthy, balanced meals.

SHOP:

LocalHarvest.org - A directory of family farms and farmers markets, along with restaurants & grocery stores that provide fresh meat and produce in your area.

PREPARE:

CookingLight.com - A website where you can search easy recipes for preparing healthy meals.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kaysha Reid profile imageAUTHOR

      Kaysha Reid 

      6 months ago

      Thank you. The benefits of whole foods are so extensive. Made every effort to keep it concise. Happy you found it informative and helpful.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 months ago from The Caribbean

      Very informative and helpful. Thanks for laying out these fact on whole foods in such detail. Good presentation.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)