Mainstream North American dietary habits restrict vitamin, mineral and fibre consumption, leading to many undesirable symptoms and health problems. Health experts recommend a daily intake of 25 – 40 grams of fibre for a healthy body. The average North American consumes only 10 grams most due to consuming highly refines processed food.
Fibre is essential for a well functioning gastrointestinal tract, cholesterol reduction, and maintains a healthy level of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. There are two groups of fibre: soluble and insoluble. The latter exerts a mechanical action, whereas the former is more diverse and this depends on their chemical properties. Soluble fibres such as psyllium, flax and guar absorb water creating a greater feeling of satiation thus controlling intake of food.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fibre, as well as being low in calories. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate many fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains.
Researchers determined that there is no substitute to consuming natural vitamins. They are more beneficial, provide more pleasure, and happen to be less expensive.
In fact some peoples in North America (Inuit and First Nations) cannot absorb certain synthetic minerals and vitamins. Natural unprocessed, uncooked foods are better for the body than those grown with the help of pesticides, fungicides, or are irradiated “micro waved” or genetically engineered.
Cooking at high temperatures reduces proteins available in the food up to 50 percent destroys 60 – 70 percent of vitamins, and processed foods change the structure/ All of the above are vital for building and maintaining energy and health. Yet, most people prefer convenience to health. Convenience comes at a high price in form of time used to acquire natural food, the perishable nature of it, preparation and cooking. Harried life styles prevent time consuming food preparation, and make processed food a necessity for those short-sighted enough to set priorities in their lives.
When food is heated above 118C and consumed at this temperature, it damages inner tissues and enzymes are destroyed, all linked to health and longevity. Enzymes are vital in digestion, nerve impulses, detoxification, repair of tissues and a healthy mind. Properly prepared and cooked foods taste better, they play an important role in slowing the aging process.
Eating healthy requires attention to detail and those who practice it are richly rewarded
Treating food simply as fuel for the body inevitably proves costly in the end.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu