Look to Whole Foods for Better Health

by Dr. Dana Rockey, DMD, Owner, Prescott Sleep Solutions

I believe two of the most important pillars of health are good sleep and good food. Good food means whole foods.

Our ancestors didn’t grow their brains and muscles by munching on sugared cereals and downing liters of soda or energy drinks. They ate — foraged, fished and hunted — for real foods. Whole foods are in their natural forms and haven’t been overly processed.

Examples include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Herbs
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pastured pork
  • Free-range poultry and eggs
  • Wild-caught fish

You find most whole foods on the perimeters of your grocery store, not in the center aisles.

When you build your diet around healthy, natural foods, you get a sum that’s greater than its parts.

For instance, your body makes better use of calcium to build strong bones and teeth when you also eat foods or supplements that contain vitamins D and K3. Eating broccoli and tomatoes together may work better at fighting cancer than either of those alone.

A single vitamin, for instance, has nutritional punch, but it has more punch when served in its original “packaging” of a vegetable or fruit that has more substances in it than we’ve yet identified.

Whole foods promote health

When your body gets all of the nutrients it needs and doesn’t have to process the “junk” in junk food, it works most efficiently and optimally. Eating whole foods boosts your immune system and has been demonstrated to protect against diseases, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Many types of cancer

Whether you’re paleo, vegan, keto or something else, as long as you focus on vegetables and fruits (preferably organic) with high-quality, nonfactory-farmed meat, poultry and fish, you’re good.

Whole foods are cost effective

You might bristle at the idea of giving up a factory-farmed burger in favor of a grass-fed burger when you compare the price tags. Organic produce and humanely raised meats, poultry and fish are more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts.

However, when you eat fresh, whole, natural foods, you’re not as likely to develop cravings, and so it’s less likely that you’ll overeat. Your body is less inflamed, too, so you’ll probably feel healthier. Over time, the costs of a whole-foods diet is offset by the money you don’t have to spend for medical care.