People all over the world eat different types of food. In some areas people follow high carb diets; in others the emphasis is on eating foods high in protein. Some people remain in good physical condition eating food low in fat while others are perfectly healthy on high fat diets. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, most men and women should consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day, but people aren't clear on what kinds of food are best for them. Healthy diets seem to have one thing in common; they involve eating whole, unprocessed foods.
Although grocery stores are full of processed vegetables in cans with added salt, in boxes with butter sauce and frozen in bags with additives, the produce department has a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed vegetables full of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that help fight off disease and keep you healthy. Fresh, unprocessed vegetables include spinach, sweetcorn, beans, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots and peppers. Many brands of bagged vegetables are frozen without additives, including corn, beans, peas, Brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots, broccoli and mixed vegetables. Some companies even provide canned vegetables without additives, but you read the ingredient list to be sure. Low-sodium vegetables still contain a considerable amount of salt. If you do have vegetables in your pantry or freezer with added salt, most of it can be removed by rinsing them in cold water.
Fresh fruit is available in the summer and fall in areas with four seasons, but some fruit is shipped from other parts of the world and are available year-round. Bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, melons, grapefruit, mangoes, apricots, kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, avocados, pears, cherries and pomegranates are sources of a variety of vitamins and other nutrients. Berries are often frozen unprocessed for availability all year and some fruits including peaches, pears and pineapple are canned in their own juice without added sugar. Unprocessed dried fruits, including raisins, dates, prunes, cranberries and papaya, are available in throughout the year. Watch out for fruit with added sugar hiding behind label names such as dextrose, sucrose, fructose and corn syrup.
Many people avoid grains, believing they are unhealthy, when it's actually the processing and refining that causes grain to lose nutrition value. Many refined grain products hide behind labels like nutri-grain, multi-grain and hearty wheat, but unprocessed whole grains are available that contain all parts of the grain, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole grain products found in grocery stores include barley, wheat bran, rye, buckwheat, wheat germ, wild rice, millet, brown rice, oats and quinoa.