Go shopping

A healthy diet starts in the supermarket. Of course, it would be fantastic if you could grow your own food or prepare it from scratch using basic, raw ingredients. But for most of us that just is not feasible. We don’t have a garden and we don’t have the time. After all, that’s why humans have invented grocery stores and supermarkets, so you don’t have to produce your own foodstuffs and can have a job and buy your food with the money earned.

We often have a preference for unhealthy food (© Ivonne Wierink - Fotolia.com).

We often have a preference for unhealthy food (© Ivonne Wierink – Fotolia.com).

Unfortunately, many of the products on sale in the supermarket are not good for your health. They taste good, though, and thus capitalise on our preferences for sugary and fatty foods. But in the long term, they may have negative effects on our health. Not only will they damage heart and blood vessels, but also the brain. Bad eating habits have proven to contribute to cognitive decline. Or, to put it in a more optimistic note, long-term habits of healthy eating have a positive effect on our cognitive functions and may prevent problems in the ageing brain.

Shopping tips
A little bit of attention while choosing what to take from the shelves in the supermarkt will get you a long way when it comes to healthy eating. I’ll write down some simple tips.

  • Fill up your shopping trolley in large part with vegetables and fruits, in all the colours of the rainbow. If there is a choice, go for organic.
  • When choosing carbohydrates, take the right kind of carbohydrates since these are of utmost importance in a healthy diet. Don’t go for simple carbohydrates, found in flour, sugar, most snacks and baked products, crackers, and many types of bread. Look for complex carbohydrates, found in products made with whole grains, in beans, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Especially dried beans and lentils are cheap and very healthy alternatives.
  • To obtain the much-needed healthy fats, put unsalted nuts and seeds into your trolley. And use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, baking and frying.
  • Do not buy carbonated soft drinks, but fruit juices without sugar or sweetener. Avoid above all products containing glycose-fructose syrup also known as high fructose corn syrup, an extremely unhealthy sweetener.
  • In the refrigerated department, look for dairy products without sugar. If you absolutely want to eat TV dinners make sure you take the ones that contain as less salt (sodium chloride) as possible.

    Salmon is one of your best choices for omega-3 fatty acids (© helenlbuxton - Fotolia.com).

    Salmon is one of your best choices for omega-3 fatty acids (© helenlbuxton – Fotolia.com).

  • Some eggs have been enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. They are an excellent addition to your often hard to get amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the seafood department for these omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, if possible wild salmon from Alaska, is an excellent source. Other sources are flaxseed, hempseed, and walnuts.
  • In general, when buying canned food and prepackaged foodstuffs, pay attention to the salt content. You will be amazed to find out how many products contain salt. You may even get down quit a lot of salt via your ‘healthy’ bottle of mineral water. Preferably buy products without sodium chloride or look for the lowest salt content.
  • But the best would be to avoid ready-made food. The more foodstuffs are treated, for instance to make them less perishable, the bigger the chance of losing healthy vitamins and minerals and of adding possibly dangerous chemical substances.

Toxin
Sugar should be considered a toxin, according to a group of scientists in the United States. Sugar raises blood pressure, elevates cholesterol level, and increases chances of liver problems, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Numerous scientific studies have shown sugar and other sweeteners may cause considerable damage to our body. In fact, sugar is just as bad for our health as alcohol and tobacco. That’s why this group of scientists thinks the use of sugar by the food industry should be controlled by the government.

Sugar can be very toxic to the body (© Zsolt Biczó - Fotolia.com).

Sugar can be very toxic to the body (© Zsolt Biczó – Fotolia.com).

Sugar not only yields a large amount of useless calories, but is also a chemical substance that may become toxic if you ingest too much of it. Our body needs glucose, also known as dextrose or grape sugar, as fuel for its cells. However, only half of table sugar (sucrose) is glucose. The other half is fructose, a sugar that has to be turned into glucose by the liver. Since so much sugar is added to all kinds of food products, the liver can’t cope with the large amount of fructose that enters our body and this will generate problems.

The use of sugar in the world has tripled in the past fifty years. This leads to an enormous growth in the number of people with obesity and diabetes. According to the World Health Organisation, worldwide there are more people now who are too fat than people who suffer undernourishment. Diseases brought about by what we eat presently cause more deaths than infectious diseases.

That explains the appeal to halt the addition of sugar and sweeteners to so many food products. For the time being, we will have to take our own responsibility and decipher the ingredient labels on the packages in the supermarket. Go for the products with no added sugar!

Images

Shopping trolley © Kurhan – Fotolia.com
Extra virgin olive oil © babisss – Fotolia.com

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