If you consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins you’re probably way ahead of the nutritional curve. However, there is a possibility that you make mistakes by choosing unhealthy foods without even realising it.
Not all foods are produced in the same way, even healthy ones, and you may not get as many vitamins and nutrients as you think.
In fact, it’s possible that you’re inadvertently filling your body with excess sugar and sodium.
Therefore, in this article we identify the worst foods you can eat and your healthiest alternatives, so you can close the gaps in your nutritional needs.
The worst foods for your body
Anything in a can
Canned vegetables are often depleted of fibre and other nutrients, and also loaded with sodium. If you eat canned vegetables frequently, you will experience a decrease in nutritional quality.
Vegetables with starch
Corn, peas, potatoes, squash and yams tend to contain less vitamins, minerals and less fibre than other types of vegetable.
In addition, they often contain between two and three times more calories per serving than other non-starchy vegetables.
Canned baked beans
Just like regular canned beans, these baked beans contain 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving and 50% more sodium.
Processed fruit drinks
They’re often marketed as “real juice”, but the labels on these products prove otherwise. They’re loaded with sugar, empty calories, and artificial sweeteners.
Some companies try to avoid sugar in fruit drinks by adding artificial sweeteners. However, cravings for fatty, sugary, salty, and other unhealthy foods may increase.
Canned or dehydrated fruit
Fruit is naturally sweet, so it shouldn’t have to have any added sugar or “sugar-based flavour enhancers” that we often find in certain preserves.
Think about it, a raisin is just a wrinkled grape, so a cup of raisins will contain many more calories than a cup of whole grapes.
White bread and pasta
Refined grains, which include white bread, pasta, rice, and crackers, are devoid of bran or wheat germ.
- These types of grains have a higher glycaemic index, which means that sugars can be absorbed into the bloodstream faster.
A large bowl of cereal can contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar. To know if a cereal is too high in sugar content you should check the label.
You should avoid all cereals that contain more than 12 grams per serving.
Red meat (which includes beef, pork, and lamb) is high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
Eating meat has been linked to several chronic diseases, including heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
- Red meat may also increase the risk of diverticulitis, a common inflammatory bowel condition.
It’s always a good idea to limit your intake of processed foods of any kind, and proteins are no exception.
- Processed meats, such as cold meats, sausages and cured selections, tend to be high in sodium, preservatives and saturated fats.
Many flavoured yoghurts contain up to 30 grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving.
Steer clear of drinkable yoghurts, since many contribute more calories of sugar and can leave you feeling less full.
In other words, have a flavoured yoghurt drink for breakfast and you’ll be hungry again before lunchtime.
All About Trans fatsTrans fats are found in fried foods, baked goods, and processed snacks in the form of partially hydrogenated oils.
Also, trans fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while reducing the good cholesterol (HDL). This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The best vegetables are the darkest and richest in colour, such as spinach, kale, romaine, turnips, and broccoli.
They’re some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help protect cells and strengthen the immune system.
- Try to eat between 1 ½ and 2 cups of these vegetables every week.
Chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans are a healthy alternative when combined with whole grains and vegetables.
They’re very rich in fibre and vegetable proteins. Not only that, but the consumption of cooked beans has been found to be connected to a reduction of the risk of chronic diseases and obesity.
Avocados contain a lot of fats, but these are healthy for the heart, since they are monounsaturated fatty acids.
Avocados contain more than a dozen essential nutrients. They’re rich in fibre, vitamins B and E, and potassium.
The dark pigments of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries provide polyphenols and anthocyanins that offer antioxidant benefits.
Berries are also high in vitamin C and low in calories. Cranberries in particular are rich in anti-oxidants and have even been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and dementia.
Unless you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should eat whole grains every day. They’re full of fibre, vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Oats are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, fibre, and potassium, which makes them a healthy heart food that lowers cholesterol and burns fat.
- Avoid packaged packages which have plenty of added sugar. Instead, eat simple oatmeal and sweeten it with fruits and honey.
Fish and seafood
Seafood may be the healthiest type of protein you can find.
Packed with omega 3 fatty acids, it reduces inflammation in the body, regulates blood pressure and reduces the risk of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome.
People who eat a lot of fish and shellfish are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Tofu contains 10 grams of protein per serving, making it an excellent source of nutrients, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
Eating moderate amounts of tofu provides ample benefits, including a healthier heart.
With twice as much protein as regular yogurt, Greek yoghurt will satiate you for longer while also being a good source of calcium.
- The best type to buy is low-fat Greek yoghurt, as it contains a higher amount of protein, with less fat, per serving.
Keep these recommendations in mind the next time you go food shopping. Remember, you are what you eat.