Beige Food versus Rainbow Food.

By Sally Evans

Beige Food – do you know the negative effect this type of food has on our health?

This type of food is often ultra-processed food (UPF). These are food items that have undergone significant industrial processing, often containing high amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. They also contain lots of ingredients and colours.

They are often high in calories, low in nutritional value, and can contribute to chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These foods have become increasingly common in our diets and are often cheaper and more convenient than healthier options.

Examples of ultra-processed foods include:

·        Sugary drinks like pop and energy drinks

·        Sweets and chocolate bars

·        Fast food items such as hamburgers, french fries, and chicken nuggets

·        Instant noodles, soups and sauces

·        Breakfast cereals with added sugars

·        Packaged snacks like chips, crackers, biscuits and cookies

·        Frozen and pre-packaged meals

·        Processed meats like hot dogs and sausages

While it's not always possible to avoid ultra-processed foods completely, it's important to limit our consumption of them and focus on whole, minimally processed foods that are high in nutrients and can provide numerous health benefits.

Research is showing that consuming ultra-processed foods can have a range of negative health effects, including increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Let’s explore the importance of avoiding ultra-processed foods and choosing healthier options.

Choosing Whole Foods for Better Health

Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, are minimally processed and retain their natural nutrients. Eating a diet rich in whole foods and full of the colours of the rainbow, can provide a range of health benefits, including:

Improved Nutrient Intake: Whole foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. Consuming a diet rich in whole foods can improve our overall nutrient intake and support good health.

Better Blood Sugar Control: Whole foods tend to be lower in added sugars and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to better blood sugar control and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Reduced Inflammation: Ultra-processed foods often contain high amounts of unhealthy fats and additives, which can increase inflammation in the body. Inflammation leads to poor mental and physical health and has also been linked to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

While it is not entirely clear how chronic inflammation contributes to the development of these illnesses, it is thought to play a role in damaging cells and tissues, impairing the immune system, and disrupting normal bodily functions. In contrast, whole foods are often anti-inflammatory, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Weight Management: Whole foods tend to be more filling and satisfying than ultra-processed foods, which can help with weight management and reduce the risk of obesity.

So, reach for some of the following examples of colourful whole foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory and beneficial for our gut health:

·        Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)

·        Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard)

·        Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)

·        Colourful bell peppers

·        Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic

·        Fermented foods (yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha)

·        Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds)

·        Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats)

Eating a variety of colourful whole foods can help reduce inflammation in the body and promote gut health. These foods are high in antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that can support overall health and well-being.

In summary, avoiding ultra-processed foods and choosing whole foods can have a range of health benefits. Whole foods are rich in essential nutrients, support good blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and help with weight management.

While it may be tempting to reach for convenient and cheaper ultra-processed options, trying to incorporate more whole foods into our diets can help us live longer, healthier lives.

Why not aim for a rainbow diet of fruit and veg every day. Your body and brain will thank you for it!!

Sally is Founder of LifeBuddy, an Organisational Psychologist and Certified Principal Business Psychologist