Processed foods have been criticize for several health reasons, whiles unprocessed foods have been preached as a more healthy option. Maybe you might have heard about ultra-processed foods also, but how are the three different?
We obtain food from different sources and they come in different forms. The wheat grains you buy in a farmer’s market, milled whole wheat grains, and all purpose wheat flour, what do they have in common? And in what way do they differ? That is what this article explores.
What is Unprocessed Food?
Unprocessed foods are those that have not been altered from their original state. They may also be called whole or raw foods because they have not been cooked or processed at all – they’re as close to nature as possible!
You may consider organic foods in a farmer’s market or the fruit from your garden as an unprocessed food. The whole wheat grains fall in this category. Unprocessed or whole foods are among some of the healthiest foods one can ever get to eat.
Due to the increase in diseases related to lifestyle in these modern times, unprocessed foods are some of the best to help sustain a healthy way of life. It is however, difficult to find due to how busy our lifestyles have become. The organic section of most grocery stores are lined with highly priced products. It is mainly because of the labour requirements to get that food onto the grocery shelf!
What IS Minimally Processed Food?
Minimally processed foods are types of foods that have not been processed to the point of losing their natural nutrients. Most people consider these types of foods as healthy and nutrient-laden depending on the extent of processing. For instance washing, cooking, peeling, blanching, milling, fermentation are processing techniques but they do not necessarily alter the form of the food completely. They only add value to the food to make it easier to deal with.
At L&J Foods, this is our specialty – producing minimally processed foods. This ensures that nutrients are still available in the food in the natural state, while providing some form of convenience to the consumer. You can check out our Jala Spice brand, a perfect example of minimally processed food. The milled whole wheat is also a minimally processed food.
What is ULTRA-Processed Food?
Ultra processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state. They are a convenient way to get a full meal in a few minutes. Most people have become busy career people for crying out loud!
Processed foods are often cheaper than buying fresh produce and they’re usually available all year-round. They are also mostly shelf-stable for long periods of time, say 1 to 2 years. All purpose flour falls in this category.
They are however, usually high in sugar, salt and fat, which can lead to health concerns such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. They also often contain preservatives or additives that may be harmful to our health when consumed in quantities beyond moderation.
SO WHAT NOW?
Striking a balance is important in living a healthy life when it comes to eating. Good health through appropriate nutrition is of essence because almost every single day, we eat. A little bit of organic food, some minimally processed, and ultra processed, all taken in a desired balance is sure to be the forward. Have you heard of the anti-inflammatory diet?