Walk into any supermarket or mall today, and what you will see is rows of shelves filled with a variety of different products. A big chunk of these products is food, mostly processed and packaged foods. Tons and tons of people walk into supermarkets and malls every single day to buy all these processed and packaged foods. This has been the norm for a very long time now, we all buy and eat them and depend on them for our daily feeding. But have we really stopped to ask ourselves if it is the right thing to do or rather if they are actually healthy for our consumption? Maybe yes, maybe no. Each and every one of us might have asked this same question once or a couple of times in their life.
What is processed food? By definition, a processed food is any food that has been altered in some way during preparation. Processed food includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways. As we can see not all processed foods are unhealthy, there are healthy and unhealthy processed foods. Unhealthy processed foods are those which have been altered and prepared through an inorganic process mostly to preserve it. Also processed foods could be unhealthy because the raw materials used to prepare the them are grown inorganically – this means that synthetic feeds, fertilizers or pesticides were used while growing the plant or animal. Unhealthy processed foods contains high levels of added fat, salt, sugar and sodium. These added ingredients often leads to diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. A lot of health campaigns have been conducted to educate consumers about the danger of fat, salt, sugar and sodium which have caused a lot of illnesses and damage to consumers through the past years.
Inorganic food have been the reason behind a lot of ailments and diseases, and most consumers are ignorant about it. According to medical, food and agricultural experts, consumers need to move from inorganic to organic food to ensure that they are consuming food that is good for their wellbeing and the environment in a sustainable way over a long period of time. Some of the other harmful substances found in most processed foods include artificial ingredients which are added by manufacturers to make food more palatable. These artificial ingredients are mostly chemicals like preservatives, artificial coloring, chemical flavoring and texturing agents. These are just a few of the chemicals found in most processed foods which makes them inorganic, therefore unhealthy to consume.
Another thing we need to know about inorganic processed foods is the fact that they contain low amount of nutrients compared to organic foods and other healthy processed foods. Most manufacturers often sort after synthetic minerals and vitamins to replace nutrients lost during processing. On the other hand unprocessed/organic foods and healthy processed foods contain healthful plant compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects and high levels of other nutrients. According to medical and nutritional experts, the best way for consumers to get the full range of nutrients needed to remain healthy is to eat organic or healthy processed foods.
We will save ourselves a lot if we stay away from inorganic or processed foods and focus more on eating organic or healthy processed foods. The former might be cheaper in terms of dollars spent but harmful health wise, the latter is the best route for us to remain healthy and get the necessary nutrients we need to function properly. Organic or healthy processed foods certainly has a natural taste which makes it taste better, therefore easier and faster to digest for the body to extract the nutrients. They might not have a longer shelf life, in the case of healthy processed foods but they certainly help in retaining the natural state of the body, which makes the body healthier and function in a sustainable way.
Going organic is not only good for the body, but also the environment. Going organic means that the soil in which food is grown retains its natural state because only natural substances and matter are being added into the soil. At the end of the day, when processed foods are consumed, the leftovers are thrown back to the soil or sea which destroys their natural state.
The lifecycle of processed foods starts from the farm where the raw materials are grown – be it plants or animals – and ends in the factory where they are being manufactured. Back on the farm, when growing these raw materials used in making processed foods, they are generally grown either through inorganic or organic conditions. Therefore if healthy processed foods are manufactured out of inorganic raw materials, it generally affects the condition of the product thereby making it unhealthy.