How to Select the Best Food

Figuring out which foods are best for you can be a very difficult process. We aren’t taught in school how to read food labels or how our food is grown. There isn’t any real regulations of food marketing and labeling so food companies make claims on the labels that can often be very misleading. You often see labels that claim whole grains or high in iron, but what they don’t tell you is that the food has been processed. The grains were processed, the fiber and vitamins stripped, and then iron added back in.

The best foods for the body are whole foods, meaning that they have not been processed and there are only one or two ingredients. Examples of whole foods are fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

So here’s a primer on how to read food labels and purchase the best, most nutritious foods.

1. The fewer the ingredients, the less processed, the closer it is to a whole food.

2. The first ingredient on the label is what constitutes the greatest percentage of the food. So if sugar is the first item on a cereal box you will know that there isn’t much nutrition or whole grains in that item.

3. Many foods are loaded in sugar. There are many names for sugar, so beware. These include: maltodextrin, fructose, glucose, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup. Most of these are refined sugars.

4. Beware of the salt content, salt is added to a lot of processed foods as a preservative. If you have high blood pressure you need to be aware of salt content in foods.

5. Foods that have a list of 10-20 ingredients are highly processed foods that give you no nutritional value.

6. Look for food that has been grown organically. These foods have been grown without chemical pesticides. Conventional growing methods use chemical fertilizers which get absorbed into the foods and then into our bodies.