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Why You Should Eat More Grains and Less Processed Meat

by Hanson Medical Systems

Heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity are at the forefront of medical concerns in the modern American world. The single best method of controlling individual risk factors is through mindful dietary choices. What we put into our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel, as well as our longevity. Not to mention eating better foods will allow your body to function properly.


Food Pyramid

Some of us may remember the food pyramid. This is a tool used by the government to highlight proper dietary balance. The top of the pyramid, for which we were intended to consume the least, would be considered unhealthy. Those food items would be cooking oils and junk foods, which generally contain many calories but not many essential vitamins and nutrients. You may remember that the base of the pyramid was grains and fibrous foods. This is because they are essential to a balanced diet. They aid in proper digestion for healthy individuals, and contain high numbers of essential micronutrients such as Vitamin A or Vitamin D. They also contain favorable amounts of fiber.


Benefits of Fiber

Deficiencies in dietary fiber have been linked to lowered metabolic rate, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. Fibers are generally consumed in green vegetables and whole grain food items. Making smarter choices with food is key. For example, adding a serving of vegetables to each meal or even swapping from white bread to wheat bread can boost your fiber intake.


Symptoms of Fiber Deficiency

What symptoms might someone have if they don’t eat enough fiber? Well, the first thing people tend to feel is that they become bloated or have trouble digesting food. This can lead to swings in energy levels that cause you to crash, or even trouble with constipation.

Weight gain is a common side effect of a low fiber diet. Keep in mind that diets low in fiber tend to be higher in sugar content or saturated fats. These types of nutrients can be found in foods at the top of the food pyramid.


Dangers of Eating Processed Meat

It’s no secret that the American diet is very high in processed meats. Bacon, deli turkey, beef jerky, and hot dogs are all examples. Consumption of these types of foods is associated with an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Individuals with diets high in processed meat have higher risks of stomach cancer, heart disease, and elevated blood pressure. This is believed to be related to the concentration of nitrite compounds. These compounds are added to the meat to improve flavor and make it last longer on the shelf at the grocery store.


Moderation is the Key to Health

When it comes to dietary choices, the wisest method is to regulate consumption through moderation. That means that rather than swearing off eating processed meats, simply try to develop habits that steer you away. You can avoid eating them on a regular basis, which is sometimes achieved by adding more healthy choices into your diet. Restrictive diets are generally less successful over the long term because we only have so much control over our environments.

Nobody is perfect, but being aware of the benefits of a fiber-rich diet will allow you to understand the impacts of your choices over the long term.

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