We all know that we need to eat to stay alive. We also know that what we eat will usually affect certain aspects of our bodies and how we feel. If I eat 10 donuts for breakfast, deep-fried French fries for lunch, and popcorn for dinner, I probably won´t be feeling too well and will be packing on the pounds pretty quickly. But why does that happen? We rarely stop to questions what food actually does in our bodies and how it impacts our health.
The food that we eat gives our body the information it need to work properly. Unless we have been born with some sort of birth defect, most of the times our bodies are born to work well, provided we give them the nutrition they need.
Our body is made up of millions of individual cells, and the nutrients in food are what allow those cells to do what they´re supposed to do. Different cells need different nutrients to perform their necessary functions, and when a certain nutrient is missing our health can deteriorate. Some nutrients and vitamins that our body needs we can get from the sun, or from the water we drink, but the vast majority of nutrients come from our food.
The food we eat can be considered a source of information for our bodies, kind of like we´re eating a library so that our body can get the data it needs to operate the way it is supposed to. Unfortunately, many modern diets and food gurus tell us to focus on what foods we should exclude. But if we consider food to be a source of information, we need to focus also on what foods to include in our diet so that our body can work correctly. Food is not an enemy to be avoided or controlled, but rather an element essential to our body.
Proteins, found in meat, dairy products, and legumes like beans, are like the building blocks of our diet that provide our cells with the amino acids they need. Proteins specifically help our body´s muscle, bone and skin tissue. Carbohydrates found principally in whole grains provide the energy our bodies need to help us carry out our day-to-day activities. Fats, though often considered the enemy, actually are good for our bodies in limited amounts as they are also a source of energy that can be stored for later use. Finally, vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and other sources help strengthen our immune system and skeleton, keep our eyes and skin healthy, and maintain our heart working well, among other functions.
These are just some of the properties of foods. Many individual foods also have certain phytochemical properties that can help prevent cancer, stop inflammation, and provide us with the antioxidants we need to continue living healthfully.
Food should never be considered to be a problem to our health. If we abuse food, or eat too much of one type of food or not enough of another, then our bodies will become unbalanced and suffer. But food is always necessary to keep our bodies performing the way they need to.