Have you wanted to know more living a more natural and holistic life but didn’t know where to start? One step towards a holistic mind-set is being more aware of what you put into your body. So many foods are heavily processed and contain chemicals, additives, MSG, and so many more ingredients that do not contribute to good health.
It helps to first understand what food additives are commonly put into processed food, which can help you decipher food labels. It is good to get in the habit of looking closely at the ingredients of any processed food you might buy, specifically for some of the following ingredients.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
There are multiple reasons to avoid food with high fructose corn syrup. The foods that contain this sweetener tend to be highly processed, so high fructose is probably just the beginning of unhealthy issues that the food product might have.
High Fructose is a type of additive that makes food sweeter, and can be hidden in foods that often do not need additional sweeteners. For example, some store-bought pre-made chicken salad that is used in chicken salad sandwiches contains high fructose corn syrup, even though it should be naturally sweet with cranberries and apples. Keep an eye out for hidden high fructose within foods. You might be surprised how often it is added into packaged foods today.
Sodium Nitrate is most often found in deli meat and other processed meats. It is a type of preservative that helps to keep food fresher longer, as well as giving it the salty flavor that some people crave. According to the Mayo Clinic, sodium nitrate, a preservative that’s used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could cause an increase your heart disease risk. It’s thought that sodium nitrate may damage your blood vessels. This could make arteries more likely to harden and narrow, leading to heart disease. Sodium Nitrate has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, higher cholesterol, and various levels of heart disease.
Lastly, look out for artificial food coloring in your food. If the color doesn’t exist naturally in the type of food you are considering, then it is an unnecessary ingredient. For example, the natural color of raw sugar is light tan. Any sugary food that has any bright color, is using an artificial color. Food coloring changes the color and brightness of food to make it look more appealing, but does not add any health benefits.
According to NPR.org: “Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA to enhance the color of processed foods.” The same base ingredient used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar is the same base ingredient to make food coloring.
Try to look for products that use natural ingredients for added color, or present themselves in a neutral color without dyes. Remember to make your best decisions and be at peace with your choices. If you don’t have peace, then choose differently next time. Life is all about choices.