Food has a tremendous impact on our quality of life and longevity. And over the past year, when my daughter battled breast cancer, I learned that food also has components that can aid in healing from serious illnesses.

Despite knowing all this, many of us have poor diets. My work right now is about helping people become healthier not just spiritually, but physically as well. In the ministry I lead with my husband, Lighthouse Outreach Ministries, Inc., we have incorporated a food ministry, where we partner with Whole Foods to provide nutritious, organic, and healthy foods to area residents. We serve at-risk youth, the elderly, indigent, and working poor, providing high-quality food they may not otherwise have access to, as we do not believe healthy food should be a luxury afforded only to the well-to-do. Last year, we served more than 5,000 people. We average about 420 people a month.

If you are in the geographic area, you are welcome to come out to our Welcome Table Food Ministry. But if you are not, then you can still start to eat healthier. Here are some tips for doing that. Start by looking at the end of your fork. What are you putting in your mouth on a daily basis? Is it processed, fatty, sugary food of little nutritional value?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people eat this way, because it’s cheap, fast, convenient, and tastes good to them.

But eating like this day in and day out can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses and chronic conditions.

Choose more fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. These foods tend to have more nutrients than the overly processed foods many of us eat on a daily basis. The overly processed foods often have added sugars, fats, and salt that can make it difficult to achieve our long-term health goals.

While I am not suggesting you give up all of your processed foods, I am suggesting an easy way to begin to incorporate healthier fare into your diet is to make a point to eat more foods that look like they did when they came out of the ground — apples with their skin, leafy greens, raw almonds, etc. Head to the produce aisle at your local grocery store and explore. If you are like many people, you don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as you should.

Even if you are on a budget, you can afford to purchase produce, if you replace some of the processed items with the fresh fruits and vegetables.

Make a habit of eating more food like this, and you’ll see an improvement in your health.