The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ was coined by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in his book ‘Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante’ which was published in1826. Brillat-Savarin wrote of the correlation between diet and, in this instance, gout; but it wasn’t until the 1920s that this phrase becomes part of the everyday vernacular. If the food you eat has such a huge impact on our body, what foods should you be eating to help both your physical and mental wellbeing?
Ideally, you should be eating fresh, organic and unadulterated products that have not been processed to the extent that they are unrecognizable from their natural form. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will:
- Improve your mood
- Help you think more clearly
- Increase your energy levels
Omega-3s and healthy saturated fats: Essential for cognitive function. You will certainly benefit from having a diet rich in fatty fish namely Alaskan salmon, anchovies, and sardines.
B vitamins: Studies have shown that diets rich in the B vitamins improve subject’s responses to medications. Foods that are rich in B vitamins include meat, green leafy vegetables, eggs and whole grains.
Vitamin D: Your brain development and function require vitamin D, and while you can boost your vitamin D by enjoying time in the sunshine, where you live can impact on the amount that you get, so it is important to eat foods that are rich in vitamin D to supplement – fortified cereals, bread, juices and milk.
Fresh foods will not disrupt your gut’s natural gut flora. Gut flora helps your digestive health – and overall health – by maintaining the balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria. Imagine your stomach and digestive system as a flower bed, just as weeds take the nutrients from the flowers you are intending to grow, bad bacteria can deplete the nutrients that your body craves and needs to thrive. Source the best food products to promote your wellbeing, if you visit an organic food store, you will be amazed at the selection of foods that are available to you that do not contain any ingredients that will disturb your body’s natural balance. It is also recommended that you cook your meals from scratch – you will then know exactly what ingredients you are using so that you can avoid:
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
GMOs are organisms that have been artificially modified to ensure that they are resistant to challenges that affect them in the natural environment. They are manipulated so that they become resistant to specific pests, droughts, or an alleged improvement to their nutritional benefits; however, studies with animals have shown that because they are loaded with pesticides and/or herbicides, they disrupt the production of tryptophan which is needed for the serotonin. Although labeling of GMOs is legislated for in many countries, in the United States it in not yet legal to do so, but reputable organic stores will only source food from GMO-free providers.
- Artificial sweeteners, added sugar and additives
Processed foods effect your body’s natural harmony by altering your gut flora, and consequently its health. Many of the additives to foods have never been tested for their safety for human consumption, and so care should be taken to avoid ingesting them. Aspartame is a controversial alternative to sugar, and has been found, for example, to affect some medications taken for schizophrenia.
Much like putting the wrong gas in your car, putting the wrong type of food in your body can affect its performance. By eating a varied, fresh and nutrient-rich diet, you are giving your body what it needs to perform at its best.