Have you set up an exercise routine and nutrition plan to help you achieve your personal health goals? Could you be sabotaging your efforts by eating foods that do not have all natural ingredients? Artificial food coloring, preservatives, and other additives can put a damper on your work toward excellent health. Here are 5 reasons you should choose foods with all natural ingredients.
Natural foods boost your omega-3 intake
When you choose organic meat and dairy products, you could be increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by 50% (over inorganic alternatives). Why does this matter? Healthy omega-3 fatty acids, or “good fats” are linked with:
- Lowering your risk of heart disease
- Improving your nerve function
- Improving your immune function
To take advantage of the health benefits of omega-3s, look for organic meat and dairy, and increase your intake of fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna. Other sources of omega-3s are:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Juices fortified with omega-3s
- Pumpkin seeds
Inorganic foods can be toxic
All natural fruits, vegetables, and grains have lower levels of the pesticides, chemical residues and toxic metals often found in conventional foods. Pesticide residue can be found up to four times more on conventional produce and grains than on healthier options.
These toxins can build up in the body over time and lead to illnesses down the road. If you are using inorganic produce to make your juices and smoothies, you might just be whipping up a chemical cocktail instead of a healthy breakfast.
Artificial food coloring contributes to inflammation
Aside from having no nutritional value, artificial coloring contains chemicals that can lead to inflammation. This is bad news for your nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. A quick look at the ingredients of food coloring will reveal chemicals such as propylene glycol, FD&C yellow 5, FD&C blue 1 and artificial preservatives. Better to stick with all natural and organic food coloring that comes from natural sources, wouldn’t you agree?
Foregoing processed coloring does not mean you are doomed to colorless birthdays and drab holiday celebrations. There are plenty of all natural and organic food coloring alternatives available. You can even make colors from ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Check out the following list of possibilities:
- Pink: pomegranate juice or canned beets
- Yellow: ground turmeric
- Purple: blueberries
- Green: spinach or powdered spirulina
Organic foods are better for the environment
One main reason people choose natural foods is that they are grown without genetic modification or synthetic chemicals. This is less harmful to the environment than conventional farming methods. Growing foods with natural fertilizers and pest control translate to fewer toxic chemicals going into the food, soil and water supply. Other ways all natural foods are better for the environment:
- Support biodiversity of plants, insects, birds, and animals
- Reduce nitrogen run-off pollution
- Less energy input, pound for pound
- Counterbalance carbon dioxide emissions
Foods with healthy ingredients are more transparent
Finally, when you look at the list of ingredients on your food, you should be able to understand exactly what has been used to produce it. If you can’t pronounce it, or the list approaches short story length, put it back on the shelf and look for something that will better support your health goals.