How Processed Food is Harming You and Your Children

Kids SnacksIf you eat a lot of processed foods, you may not be the only one you’re harming.

Processed foods are often stripped of natural vitamins and nutrients and injected with chemicals and modified to ensure longer shelf life. Genetic modification is also present in 80% of processed foods, but recent studies reveal even more compelling reasons to steer clear.

A recent study published in Nutrition Journal examined the effect of the Western lifestyle and diet on immune function. What they found was that our society’s over-indulgence on foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat may be seriously harming our immune systems.

The study revealed that the large number of calories in processed food lead to health problems like increased risks of cancer, inflammation, allergic and auto-inflammatory disease as well as reduced control of infection.

Even worse, the study’s authors added that poor diet choices are encoded into our DNA and the gut microbiome. What this means is that our food choices can permanently change our bodies. The balance of bacteria can be affected and our immune systems can be weakened, and these DNA changes can be passed along to our offspring.

To avoid these dangerous immune effects, it’s important to eliminate processed sugars and homogenized fats from your diet.

“What we eat has a direct effect on us and on our children. The foods we choose can be harmful or beneficial. Choose whole, fresh, organic, unprocessed foods to reverse damage and ensure health.” says Kellie Hill, Whole Foods Diet Expert at the Right Nutrition Plan.

It’s also important to remember that processed meat like sausages, salami, ham and hot dogs can be harmful as well, even though they may seem like a hardy staple of the average diet. A new study published in the Circulation Heart Failure journal found that middle-aged men whose diets are high in processed red meat may be at greater risk for heart failure because of the high amounts of extra sodium and animal fat.

The men in the study, who had no prior history of heart problems, were observed for 12 years, and researchers found that men who ate at least 75 grams of processed meat every day were 28% more likely to develop heart failure. The biggest processed meat eaters actually more than doubled their chances of death from heart failure.

If you eat processed meats, try to cut back on how much you eat each day. Eating processed meat for every meal might already be putting you at risk.

It’s hard to avoid processed foods these days, but there are still ways to cut down on them and improve your diet. Read the labels and look at sodium and sugar contents. Buy food fresh from your local farmer’s market or organic food store. Try to get in healthy snacking habits instead of turning to cookies or candy, and consult a nutritionist if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Healthy eating can be a challenge but it’s well worth it to improve your welfare.