1. Loaded with important nutrients
Unprocessed animal and plant foods provide the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
For instance, 1 cup (220 grams) of red bell peppers, broccoli, or orange slices contains more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Eggs and liver are especially high in choline, a nutrient essential for proper brain function.
And a single Brazil nut provides all the selenium you need for an entire day.
In fact, most whole foods are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients.
2. Low in sugar
Some research suggests that eating sugary foods can increase your risk of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease.
Generally speaking, real food is lower in sugar than many processed foods.
Even though fruit contains sugar, it’s also high in water and fiber, making it much healthier than soda and processed foods.
3. Heart healthy
Real food is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that support heart health, including magnesium and healthy fats.
Eating a diet rich in nutritious, unprocessed foods may also help reduce inflammation, which is considered one of the major drivers of heart disease.
4. Better for the environment
The world population is steadily growing, and with this growth comes increased demand for food.
However, producing food for billions of people has an environmental toll.
This is partly due to the destruction of rainforests for agricultural land, increased fuel needs, pesticide use, greenhouse gases, and packaging that ends up in landfills.
Developing sustainable agriculture based on real food may help improve the health of the planet by reducing energy needs and decreasing the amount of non-biodegradable waste that humans produce.
5. High in fiber
Fiber provides many health benefits, including boosting digestive function, metabolic health, and feelings of fullness.
Foods like avocados, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and blackberries are particularly high in healthy fiber, alongside beans and legumes.
Consuming fiber through whole foods is much better than taking a supplement or eating processed food with added fiber.
6. Helps control blood sugar
According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 400 million people have diabetes worldwide.
That number is expected to surpass 600 million within the next 25 years.
Eating a diet high in fibrous plants and unprocessed animal foods may help reduce blood sugar levels in people who have or are at risk for diabetes.
In one 12-week study, people with diabetes or prediabetes followed a paleolithic diet combining fresh meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and nuts. They experienced a 26% reduction in blood sugar levels.
7. Good for your skin
In addition to promoting better overall health, real food nourishes and helps protect your skin.
For instance, dark chocolate and avocados have been shown to protect skin against sun damage.
Studies suggest that eating more vegetables, fish, beans, and olive oil may help reduce wrinkling, loss of elasticity, and other age-related skin changes.
What’s more, switching from a Western diet high in processed foods to one based on real food may help prevent or reduce acne.