You may hear the term “whole foods” or “whole grain” and not clearly understand it. Whole foods refers to foods that are minimally processed and they typically do not contain added sugar, fat, or chemicals. They are typically foods in their natural states without added ingredients and this is the form in which they offer us the most benefits, such as minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.

Dietician and author of the Cancer Dietician, Julie Lanford, explains why it is important to eat whole foods.

“There are many health benefits to the nutrients that come along with foods in their natural, unprocessed form. The flip side is that consuming a processed diet can be harmful and stressful to your body.   Of course, there will be some processing involved on occasion. You would never eat a grain that wasn’t cooked or at least soaked! Sometimes you add some salt and a little oil to flavor your broccoli.  However, the type of processing that we don’t like is the kinds that completely alters the nutritional make-up of the food. Think about white bread. They take a nice, healthy grain; strip out the bran and germ (which contains a lot of fiber, minerals, healthy fats and vitamins), grind it up, add a multivitamin and bake it into a loaf. Or think about some of the “granola bars” or “breakfast bars”. When you read the ingredient list, you might realize that you’re eating more processing agents than you are eating actual food!  Those additives and processing are not beneficial to your body, adding stress to your organs which try to process through large amounts of sugar, fat and salt. In addition, you are also missing out on all the great nutrients that were in the food before all the processing took place!”

The bottom line is that the majority of foods you consume should be WHOLE foods – real, unprocessed food. If you’re not sure, check the ingredient list, you may just be surprised what you’re putting in your body.

Visit Julie’s Blog, Cancer Dietician at http://cancerdietitian.com/