The Power of Food
There are many ways to remain healthy. One of the key components is our diet. The phrase “you are what we eat” is prevalent in American culture, and it is extremely true. According to IdsMed’s article, what kinds of food we are putting into our body directly correlates with our mood, outer appearance, and our direct health. A huge part of being healthy is not only fixing the problems we face every day but also preventing them. By incorporating certain foods or replacing our favorite snacks with healthier alternatives, we could be preventing future health problems. Healthline recommends to split one’s daily food caloric intake into:
20%-35% from fats
10%-35% from protein
We should be getting a balance of protein, carbs, and fats from our food every day. An easy way to get a healthy amount of nutrients is substituting the foods we eat every day with a healthier alternative.
Food = Happiness?
If you’ve ever eaten ice cream after a tough day or picked up a chocolate bar for your kids, it is clear that sweets can provide us with temporary happiness. So why do kids love sugar so much? Because it provides them with a quick boost of energy and excitement. However, consistently eating a well-balanced diet with all the vitamins a person needs has been shown to boost a person’s mood and ease anxiety and depression in many cases. Nutrition has the power to heal the internal and external body, which includes our mood.
Incorporating foods high in beta-carotene, vitamin c, vitamin e, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin b6, vitamin B12, and vitamin d has been seen to combat depression and boost your mood. Some examples are kale, yogurt, oatmeal, lentils, nuts, chia seeds, and various beans. According to WebMD, foods high in the amino acid tryptophan have been correlated to making serotonin. Some foods that are high in tryptophan are turkey, chicken, and tuna. Additionally, foods like fish, berries, and leafy greens can help improve mental function. Incorporating fish into your meals three times a week is an easy way to get the omega-3 fatty acids our body needs. (WebMD)
Eating healthy foods not only prevents future problems but could also improve ongoing conditions. According to this article, it is highly recommended that they consume citrus fruits, beans and lentils, and berries if they have hypertension or are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. These are all foods that have been proven to aid in lowering blood pressure, and incorporating them into their diet will help their body tremendously. A study done in 2014 showed that ingesting combined with walking every day negatively correlates with systolic blood pressure. The more citric acid a person consumes and the more they walk, the lower their blood pressure will be. Making an effort to include lemon juice in our everyday diet and incorporating walking or running could help us with lowering blood pressure.
The foods we put in our body, like mentioned before, can change our mood significantly. Sugary foods tend to provide people with a small, satisfying feeling and a boost of energy; however, limiting processed sugars is extremely important. Around 88 million (34% of the US population) have pre-diabetes, and 90% of people do not even know they have it. Diabetes is prevalent but very preventable. If you have a family history of diabetes and are trying to control it, here are some great alternatives to your favorite sugary snacks.
Are You Craving a Brownie?
Look here for a delicious healthy recipe!
Are you craving some ice cream after a long day? Choose Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars as they are low in carbs and sugar but high in protein.
Replacing your highly processed carbs with whole grains in your diet could lower your risk of diabetes. For example, a great alternative to white rice is brown rice or quinoa. It’s hard to tell the difference in taste; however, it will decrease the ingestion of processed carbs.
Nutritious Food Can Heal and Bring Joy
There are many ways food can heal the body. Whether it’s preventing diabetes, lowering blood pressure, or even decreasing the risk of a heart attack, food can recover more than we know. Food can heal not only the internal body but also the external appearance and a person’s mood. Making simple changes like incorporating lemon, fish, 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables a day can improve not just your mood but also your overall health.
© Avineet Ghai, 2021 Pre-med Student Intern at San Mateo Primary Care and Apollo Health Care Center