In most cultures our bodies are considered sacred and great care is taken about what goes inside our bodies. In certain cases this belief is so extreme that people refuse to take blood from another even though denying blood would mean certain death.
Ever since we are born as kids, especially here in India, our parents took extra care about what food was given to us. Right from making sure that the water is “double boiled” to food is properly cooked; they take all sorts of precautions so that no impurity enters our body.
Even the almighty, when he created man, he (or she) created our skin to cover all vital organs and bone structure of our bodies so that none of the impurities from the outside world are able to enter our bodies and harm it. The only way in which something goes inside our bodies is when we eat something.
The food we eat serves as fuel for our body and provides it enough strength to power through the chores of the day. What we eat has the potential to either build up our body and make it stronger or conversely destroy it from the inside.
People of today are so lost in the web of taste and convenience that they have completely forgotten about this principal and are ready to put anything in their bodies as long as it tastes good or is available readymade.
This is where the importance of junk food has increased tremendously and the consumption of green leafy vegetables has significantly gone down.
Real Food Versus Junk Food
All food items can be categorised into two food groups: the ‘real’ food and the ‘junk’ food. Junk food is a collective term that includes all such food items that are not conducive to our bodily health. This may be because they lack in nutrients or do not provide strength or cause a build-up of cholesterol or fat or any other substance in the body that could lead to dysfunction or decay of the body.
Junk food is generally missing vital nutrients which are then supplied by the body’s emergency reserve thus depleting it and causing disease and degeneration. Junk foods also contain various toxins and harmful substances that may clog certain important passages in the body, making it less efficient.
The body thus has to put in extra effort to flush out these toxins which causes a strain on the body and over time decreases its ability to effectively fight these toxins. Pizzas, sodas, french fries, muffins, candy bars, etc are just some examples of this food group.
Real food, on the other hand, is the food group that contains complete nutrients that are beneficial for the body. The items in this food group are high on nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They contain all such elements as are necessary for the body to function properly and are complete energy packets in themselves that provide the requisite amount of nutrition to the body so that it is able to carry out its functions in the most efficient manner.
Real food thus provides the body with wholesome energy and replenishes any depleted reserves of the body. It is the positive fuel needed by the body to function in an effective manner.
Empty calories v. Nutritious Foods
Green vegetables and fruits are considered to be the biggest sources of the most required nutrients by the body. A vegetable and fruit rich diet helps reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, the list including heart attack and stroke.
Another benefit of regular consumption of food and vegetables is that it acts as a protection against certain types of cancer and also decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Most vegetables are also extremely low on calories and high on multiple vitamins and fibers and minerals, all of these being major contributors to the overall health of a person.
Junk foods, on the other hand, are exact opposites of healthy foods in that they are usually high on calories, especially the empty ones, which merely cause huge amounts of fat being accumulated in the body and do not provide any energy to the body whatsoever. They also do not have any notable reserves of nutrients in them which make them all the more useless to the body.
Junk foods are normally not only lacking in nutrients but may also contain certain nutrients that could damage your health beyond repair. Trans fats are the most dangerous types of fats that could go into our body since they raise cholesterol levels and cause fat to be accumulated.
Trans fats are also the most common ingredient in fast foods and are present in almost all forms of junk food, be it burgers or pizzas or any other such food item. Trans fats are also most commonly present in pre packed foods such as cookies, wafers, cracker, etc.
These trans fats are notorious for raising bad cholesterol while also lowering good cholesterol. The American Heart Association has also released a statement that excessive consumption of trans fats can significantly increase the chances of a person developing heart disease or getting a stroke.
On the contrary, since the healthy foods such as green vegetables and fruits are mostly consumed in their raw, natural state or are cooked at home in a light manner without adding excess salts or oil, they are a whole lot healthier for the body and do not contain any such harmful ingredients.
The Issue of Convenience and Taste
Normally the junk foods sold at the grocery store are in the ready to go form or require minimum time and effort to be spent by the individual to make them eatable. Real food on the other hand may require a little more effort and additional preparation time to make them eatable.
Most people hence, due to a paucity of time, prefer to pick up their food on the run or because they are too tired from the day’s work that they would rather order in than take the time to cook. In both these cases the food consumed is junk food.
People seldom take out enough time to make themselves a nice wholesome salad or prepare a nice dish solely of vegetables and other healthier options. There is also the fact that pizzas and burgers always taste better and look more appetizing than broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
For people who are more taste conscious than health conscious the fact that junk food tastes a whole lot better is a major attraction and hence they keep gorging on the junk without thinking about the consequences of this choice.