I was flipping through our local, healthy-living magazine "Natural Awakenings" yesterday (they are free and I find them at the library) and came across an article on phosphates being related to heart health. "Researchers at The University of Sheffield, UK, have demonstrated a connection between high intake of phosphates and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a leading cause of heart disease."
Phosphates occur naturally in many foods. The good news is that we need a limited amount of them in order for our body to function properly. Phosphorus helps our body to build strong bones and teeth. As a matter of fact, 85% of the phosphorus in our bodies can be found in those two locations.
The problem lies in an over consumption of phosphates. As usual, too much of a good thing always ends up leading to something bad. Processed foods contain some of the highest levels of phosphates. They are added to these foods in many sorts of inorganic (chemical) forms...mostly as preservatives and flavor enhancers. The word "phosphate" may not even be listed in the ingredients, because it comes in so many shapes, sizes and forms.
I get this question a lot..."What is a processed food?". The answer...anything that isn't in it's natural form. Of course, there are mega-processed foods like soda, microwave meals, packaged baked-goods, lunch meats, salad dressings, marinating sauces and so many more.
So what to do? Easy...cut out the processed foods. Try it for a week and tell me how you feel. I'd love to see some posts in the comment section about your experiences! Don't get too particular and make yourself nuts. Just take it slowly. Start with just buying products if the ingredient list is very short and you can read all the items on it. For instance, I do like to buy kettle chips on an occasional whim (one day I will stop being lazy and just try making these). The organic sea salt flavored bag has only organic potatoes, sea salt and organic palm oil listed as ingredients. This I can live with :)