March is National Nutrition Month and everyone knows how important nutrition is to live a long and healthy life…but do you? Do you have a hard time making healthy eating decisions? People are eating more processed food than ever and over the next decade, it’s almost certain that we will have more and more autoimmune diseases and illnesses related to the foods you put in your body. I decided to look into some scary facts about three commonly eaten processed foods – maybe this will help you make a better decisions about what goes in your body!
Processed Meats: Such as hotdogs, salami, sausage, bacon, and ham greatly increase the risk of many chronic diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bowel and stomach cancer. A statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) research agency classified processed meats as carcinogenic. It also found that eating 50 grams daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Yikes.
Healthy Alternative: Avoid pre-packaged stuff and deli counters – roast a chicken on the weekend and use that meat for sandwiches or salads for the week. If you’re short on time, buy an already roasted chicken.
Potato Chips: A 2011 study in “The New England Journal of Medicine” found that the link between potato chips and weight gain was stronger than the link between weight gain and other dietary components, including processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages. Not only did they find that daily consumption of a single ounce of potato chips led to almost 2lbs over four years, it increased the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some forms of cancer. Eeek.
Health Alternative: Unsalted (or lightly sea salted) Air-popped popcorn is a better option, providing extra fiber. It’s also very easy to pop your own popcorn using coconut oil and kernels popped in a brown paper bag! That way you don’t get any of the bad stuff from pre-packed popcorn!
Soda: A Danish study revealed that people that drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132-142% increase in liver fat, a 117-221% increase in skeletal fat, and about a 30% increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11% increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk. Gasp.
Healthy Alternative: For the soda drinker – try sparkling mineral water. For the something sweet drinker – try homemade lemonade using honey instead of sugar. For the caffeine drinker – try homemade iced tea using honey instead of sugar.