How many of you actually stop to read the labels on the food you purchase? With diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity on the rise it is so important to fuel the body with the correct nutrients, I am a strong advocate of cooking everything fresh from scratch so you know exactly what you have put in your meal. It is so important to look after your body from the inside so you feel well and full of energy. You would be surprised what consumers put into breads, sauces, tinned foods. cereals, snack bars and all processed foods. Even a seemingly healthy granola bar or protein bar can have hidden ingredients which are bad for your health. When you buy a ready made meal you really do not know what is inside. Remember the horse meat scandal?! Here below are a few tips to help you know what to look out for.
Salt is added to everything to increase shelf life. Have you noticed when you bake something fresh yourself it goes off after a few days but some products from the supermarket can last for weeks. Salt is added to tinned foods, sauces, salad dressings, pretty much everything! Too much sodium based salts are bad for you as they disrupt your potassium balance. A diet hight in sodium based salt can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, water retention and cellulite. Personally myself I would not buy anything with added salt. I prefer to add himalayan pink salt, kelp or nori flakes to my cooking.
Sugar is another culprit that just like salt is added to everything. It is important when reading food labels to watch out for all the different starches and sugars which come under the name of: dextrose, all syrups, honey, malt, fructose, cane sugar. You may be thinking you are buying a healthy cereal or oat bar and its full of sugar. if a product has 12.5g of sugar per 100g it is too high. Sugar is a big poison for the body. It is incredibly addictive and can cause depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. it also causes blood sugar inbalance, giving you a spike of energy and then making you crash back down. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and do not exercise the sugar gets stored as fat. I buy nothing that has sugar in it. Even a simple healthy bar or a protein bar can have sugar. So always read the label. I prefer to make my own oat bars and protein bars so I know what sweetener I use and how much I put in.
Watch out for hydrogenated fats which are very bad for you. These fats clog up your arteries leading to heart disease, strokes and cancer. You can find these in biscuits, cakes, margarine and in lots of ready made meals and processed foods. I would not buy anything that has any vegetable oil added to it. Again I would stress the importance of cooking everything fresh using extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to cook with.
Colourings, Flavourings and Preservatives
Watch out for all colourings, flavourings and preservatives. They all start with the letter E followed by 3 numbers e.g. E129 which is a colouring. Other names to look out for in this category are: Monosodium glutamate (MSG), benzoic acid, sodium sulphite, sulphur dioxide, aspartame. saccharin etc. Basically any name you are not familiar with do not buy the product. All these have a negative impact on your health affecting your mood which can cause depression. Also children who suffer from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) should stay away from these products as it will make them even more restless and hyper.
Too many ingredients do not buy
If a product has an endless list of ingredients put it back on the shelf immediately. A healthy product will not have a long list of ingredients but a short one.
Hope the above helps you to make healthier food choices.