Let’s talk more about the benefits of whole foods. It’s amazing! We really are meant to eat foods as God created them.
Recent scientific research has given the medical community the body of knowledge it needed to prove that what our mothers said was true — we need to eat our vegetables and fruits. Advancements in analysis of foods has allowed us to see beyond the value of traditional vitamins and minerals, which were discovered in the last century, to understand the literally thousands of food compounds in whole foods now known as phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals work as antioxidants in our bodies just as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium. Antioxidants are compounds in our foods that protect our cells against damage from oxygen and reduce our risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants and phytochemicals are found most abundantly in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
The most important principle about health benefits from these foods, however, is that whole foods contain the most phytochemicals. All of these compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, act synergistically as we consume whole foods on a daily basis. Single nutrient supplements may give health benefits to those with specific medical conditions, but, in general, the consumption of whole natural foods the way God made them gives us the most benefit.
The whole foods concept also includes meat, poultry, eggs and dairy in their most natural states. This means it is better to use organic products from grass-fed animals. Natural compounds in these animal foods, which are processed as little as possible, give us the most health benefits from sources that are not fully understood, just as those in natural whole plants.
Should we be surprised that the nutrients we need for healthy bodies (that God made) come from natural foods (that God made)? From the ability to isolate specific food components, we are learning that it is the working together of all of these nutritional components that gives the greatest protection against disease.
Importance of variety
These known nutritional compounds (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) and unknown ones, of which there are thousands, are all found only in whole foods. How convenient! In addition to these compounds working together in specific foods, there may also be a synergy of nutritional compounds interacting between these foods and others in the diet. The more variety, the better!
It may be more important to evaluate the patterns of foods we eat than what specific foods we eat. Clearly whole foods work together in complex ways for our overall health and wellbeing — ways that we are just now discovering. This is another example of our Maker providing from the beginning for all of His creation.
If you’d like to dig deeper into my journey of discovering God’s plan for health and wellness, check out my book, Made For Paradise: God’s Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest.