People who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle have gotten the message loud and clear: processed foods are not good for you! Most coverage of this issue focuses in on the artificial sweeteners, additives, and the massive amounts of sodium and saturated fat many processed foods contain. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, foods that are healthy even though they are not a “whole foods” items. Seven of these exceptions are discussed below.
Plain Organic Greek Yogurt
Of all the processed foods available out there, this is one of the healthiest. It is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and Vitamins B12 and D, and is also an excellent source for probiotics that support good digestion and strengthen immunity. It also is free of added sugars, fillers and, unlike conventionally produced dairy products, it is hormone free.
Unsweetened Coconut or Almond Milk
Another processed food that is incredibly good for the body, coconut and almond milk contain more calcium and Vitamins B12 and D than dairy milk, but lack soy or dairy products, added sugar or MSG. It is important, however, to remember to buy “unsweetened” versions of these products.
Raw Nut Butters
Raw nut butters are surprisingly healthy, as they usually do not contain added sugar or sodium as many processed food do. They are also rich in the good, monounsaturated fats that are linked to clearer arteries and improved cardiac health, although moderate consumption is certainly the best approach.
While many people avoid coffee altogether for health reasons, it is important to remember that moderate amounts do bring health benefits, including magnesium, B vitamins and an array of anti-oxidants that increase immunity and promote liver health. Buying organic will insure that the coffee does not come with unwanted pesticide residues.
While many people shy away from this thinking it is high in sugar and calories, this powder is made up solely of processed cocoa beans. It gives people a “chocolate fix” when they need one, while at the same time helping to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even improve the skin.
Made from ground whole flax seeds, this meal is incredibly healthy. It is high in protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber and can even enhance the body’s ability to absorb these nutrients. It is also sugar- and gluten free, as well as being incredibly delicious.
Organic salsa – rich in vitamins and minerals and free of additives – is a healthy way to spice up any dish and not only improve its flavor but add to its nutritional value. It is particularly good on dishes like omelets or steamed vegetables.
While these foods have all admittedly been processed, they still bring with them a variety of health benefits such as those discussed above. This can make them an “exceptional” part of a healthy lifestyle and greatly add to one’s overall nutritional intake.
More by Christine . S