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Processed Foods: Yay or Nay?

By Sara Butler

There's a lot of information out there that warns you to stay away from processed foods. While this is not a false statement, it's important to understand what is really meant by the term processed. The truth of the matter is that even healthy food can be somewhat processed. Here's what you need to know in order to help you make the best choices when it comes to processed foods?

Processed or Unprocessed?

The food that you buy, whether it's healthy or not, has been processed in some way. Whether it's a microwave dinner or a bag of salad, they've been changed from their original form to create something new. Some foods have been processed in a way that fortifies them for added nutrients, adds ingredients, or are packaged for your convenience. Still, some are packaged for safety or to make it last longer on your shelf. Even foods labeled as organic or natural can be processed.

Highly processed foods that are manufactured with ingredients that you wouldn't normally use in the cooking process when you're at home. Those are what you need to really be on the lookout for because they're normally foods of convenience that are not very healthy.

What You Can Do

There are several things you can do to reduce highly processed food in your diet and stick to food that's been minimally processed. You can do this by reading food labels so you can see just what's in the food you're buying. Also try to stick to simple, healthy dishes when you're eating out at a restaurant.

You can also avoid highly processed foods by cooking more meals at home. Swap out highly processed foods, such as macaroni and cheese from a box, for less-processed options. In other words, try making your favorite convenience foods from scratch yourself.

Also, be on the lookout for sodium content in the processed foods you buy. Chicken, pizza, canned soup, cold cuts, and bread have a lot more sodium than you may think. Too much sodium in your diet can have a negative impact on your health, so strive to keep it under 1,500 milligrams per day if you can. If you cut out highly processed foods, then you're going to have an easier time controlling your sodium intake!

Eating highly processed foods is not good for your health, but some processed foods can be a part of a healthy diet. The trick is to know the difference.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.

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