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Are You Eating Too Much Processed Food?

By Sara Butler

Processed foods are everywhere, making them very difficult to avoid as you go through your day. Highly processed foods are convenient, which is why people tend to eat so much of it. How do you know if you’re eating too much? These signs can help clue you in.

Processed Foods Defined

Any food that has undergone an alteration is considered processed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all processed foods are unhealthy. Foods such as bagged spinach or frozen berries are considered processed, but they’re all very good for you. For most people, the processed foods they encounter each day are unhealthy. Potato chips, cookies, candy, and soda don’t exist in nature -- they’re slapped together in a factory somewhere, loaded with fat, sugar, and sodium. The more whole a food you eat, the better for you it will be -- which is why it’s important to steer clear of highly processed foods.

You’re Thirsty

Processed, packaged foods tend to be high in sodium to help prolong their shelf life. One side effect that may be noticeable to you by eating too much of these foods is thirst. Remember, sodium draws water out of your tissues, making the need to drink more water to stay hydrated necessary for your body to maintain balance.

If you find you’re often thirsty despite drinking a lot throughout the day, then it might mean you need to take a look at how many processed foods you eat.

Your Pants Don’t Fit

Another side effect of too many processed foods in your diet is bloating. The excess sodium in these foods may remove water from the cells, but it also makes it collect in different areas of the body, like the belly.

Add some potassium-rich foods such as bananas or sweet potatoes to your diet to help keep balance with the sodium and watch how many processed foods you eat!

Chronic Headaches

A very common cause of headaches is dehydration. All that excess sodium from processed foods makes you dehydrated -- even if you’re retaining water. This dehydration can cause headaches on the regular. Add in the fact that fermented or aged foods such as canned foods, pickled foods, and processed meats have preservatives that can trigger headaches in some people.

Eating too many processed foods simply isn't good for you. Do your best to get variety in your diet -- and be wary of anything that comes in a box from the shelf!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Austin, Tex.

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