Health is aptly defined as the amalgamation of the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of a person’s wellbeing. This simply means that he needs to be physically fit and free from any disease or illness as well as of sound mind and mental processes and abilities. He also needs to be able to form healthy relationships with both himself, the others around him, and one Higher Being.
Regular physical activities and exercises together with a healthy diet of fresh foods will significantly impact not only physical health but also one’s mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. While different individuals will have varying views on what constitutes good food, it is readily apparent that fresh, unadulterated, and unprocessed food items offer the best health benefits for human consumption.
More and more individuals are becoming aware of the need to consume more of natural fresh foods and less of the synthetic and heavily processed food items. As such, health stores such as the quality health food shops in Melbourne VIC as well as in other cities all over the world are gradually increasing their inventory of fresh produce in order to provide the ever-growing number of consumers needing to lead healthier lives.
What are Fresh Foods?
Fresh food items are products that are not processed either by canning, dehydration, smoking, or freezing, or any other method f extending the food item’s shelf life. These foods are usually brought to the supermarket, health shops, and other retail outlets fresh from the farm or the sea. They are still in their natural state without the need for any intervention that will significantly lengthen their shelf life.
Legally, fresh food items have been defined by the US Food and Drug Administration to those food products that are in their raw state and have never been subjected to freezing, thermal processing, or any form of food preservation. However, the definition excludes the use of approved coatings or waxes, the application of mild acid wash or mild chlorine wash, and the use of approved pesticides post-harvest. The US FDA also considers food items that have been treated with minimal ionizing radiation as fresh.
Health Benefits of Fresh Foods
The benefits of fresh food products are well-documented. Many of these health benefits are grounded on the theory that raw, unadulterated food products are able to lock in all of their nutrients which, if treated thermally or with preservatives, might otherwise be lost if processed.
Improves Immune System Functioning
Fresh foods are naturally packed with antioxidants that work primarily to improve immune system functioning. Non-specific immunity as well as specific immune responses have been shown to be greatly enhanced by the antioxidants Spirulina and Astaxanthin several hundred times more than carotenoids as alpha tocopherol. When these antioxidants are left untouched and undamaged, you can reap the full benefits of protection against infections and other health conditions where a fully functioning immune system will be required.
Provide Protection against Cardiovascular Conditions
Fresh foods contain antioxidants and other nutrients in their unaltered forms that are essential for keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy. Studies have shown that foods naturally high in antioxidants such as Vitamin E and beta carotene as well as lycopene can provide adequate protection against cardiovascular diseases particularly those related to coronary artery conditions.
Provide Healthier Skin
The beta carotene contained in freshly harvested farm produce is significantly higher than those that are found in highly processed food items. Together with astaxanthin, beta carotene, Vitamin E, and other antioxidants work to give you healthier skin. These substances are also essential in arresting the effects of premature skin aging so that you will not have fine lines and wrinkles even though you are not yet old. Antioxidants in fresh foods can also help prevent photodermatoses as well as the development of skin cancers.
Other Health Benefits of Fresh Foods
Fresh foods have been well-documented to be especially beneficial in protecting the body against eye problems, cognitive impairments particularly involving memory, and certain mood disorders.
The health benefits of fresh food items are directly related to the amount of unadulterated nutrients that they contain in their raw state. These same nutrients may be lost or altered significantly when processed. As such, it is always advisable to use only fresh ingredients in food preparations. If at all possible, fresh foods should be eaten as is, without cooking, in order to reap its full range of benefits. In a nutshell, the best foods for our health can only be found in nature.