What you find at the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market is an abundance of foods that are in their natural state with little or no processing and no artificial ingredients. Like many things, food falls on a spectrum. At one end you have the healthiest options such as fresh whole foods, at the other end are highly processed foods.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great examples of whole foods. Whole foods tend to be nutrient-dense which means they are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and don’t have added sugar, sodium, or unhealthy fats such as trans-fat. Minimal processing like washing, cutting, freezing, or even cooking can be helpful and healthy.  Processing can come in the form of buying a salad that is pre-washed, canned beans, frozen fruit, or even whole grain bread.

At the far end of the spectrum are highly processed foods. Highly processed foods often have sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, and preservatives added to extend their shelf life and look and taste very different from their natural state. An important distinction is that highly processed foods are energy-dense (lots of calories) but not nutrient-dense and can lead to obesity and chronic disease over time.

The takeaway is to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. Supporting local farmers is a tremendous way to do this and begin to improve your well-being. Be sure to check in next week to learn how Thomas prepares the whole foods he bought today into an absolutely delicious, mouth-watering meal that will please your tastebuds and everyone who gathers around your table.

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Shelley Argabrite
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