Healthy Shopping ≈ Fresh First

Written by: Rebecca Baird, June 16, 2010

Shopping for healthy food has become an art form. There are so many choices to make, how does anyone know which item to choose? Well, a good place to start is to choose fresh first. When you enter the grocery store, start in the produce section first. Items to look for are: organic, local, and high fiber fruits and vegetables. Most markets have a fairly good selection of organic items in the produce section.

Why choose Organic? Organic foods offer more in the way of nutrients than foods grown in the conventional way. Organic foods are grown in a way which allows nutrients to be composted back into the soil, hence allowing the future plants access to these very important nutrients. Conventional farming does not allow this process to occur; the land is stripped of nutrients every year and chemicals are used to enhance the growing process. So, if you can find organic, buy organic. Another good source for organic produce (and other neat products) is the farmers markets.

As soon as you finish with the produce section, you will venture to the other portions of the store where you can find processed foods in all shapes and sizes. Beware of the packages marked low fat as these products tend to have more sugar than the normal fat products. Also, if you can find whole grain products, buy those before choosing the refined grain products. Refined grains are simple carbohydrates, which are linked to high triglyceride levels, weight gain, and increase free radical damage in the body.

Choose meat and poultry which are hormone-free, antibiotic-free and if possible organic. Eggs (cage free/organic) are a great source of protein and do not contribute to cholesterol levels in the blood (BBC News, 2009). Fish and shellfish are great sources of protein; stay away from canned or processed fish which may contain nitrates. Nuts and seeds are a good source of non-essential proteins and a source of good fat. Stay away from packaged meats and deli meats which contain high amounts of sodium and preservatives. Some markets have deli meats which are nitrate free; check sodium content if you are sodium sensitive.


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