Food is the fuel that powers our bodies. It is a direct source of energy and nutrients, both of which are inherent to bodily functions. We often think of food in terms of calories. Yet a calorie is only a unit of energy. If you’ve been looking at a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, you probably think of calories in terms of excess weight. However, calories are not something we should fear but embrace as long as we appreciate how they can help the body.
Weight gain and health complications as a result of unhealthy body mass are linked to excessive caloric consumption. That doesn’t mean you should apply a restrictive approach to food. On the contrary, nutritional food brings valuable calories that can contribute to:
- Immune system
- Mood regulation
- Cognitive ability
It Supports Your Immune System
Your immune system is the first defense the body has against viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that can affect your health. The food you eat can support your immunologic response by giving the body the weapons to fight diseases and infections. The immune system benefits from vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, magnesium, and EGCG when fighting infections. You can find those respectively in citrus fruits and leafy greens, almonds, yogurt, sunflower seeds, and green tea, among other choices!
It Affects Your Fertility
If you are trying to conceive, a fertility-boosting diet, as suggested by experts from the Advanced Fertility Center, can make a great deal of difference. A well-balanced diet supports your overall health, including reproductive health. Sunflower seeds (again), are packed with folate and selenium, which are important for female fertility. According to a Harvard study, women who consume full-fat dairy products are less likely to experience ovulation problems and irregularities. Egg yolks are also packed with fertility-boosting vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. They can also reduce the risk of birth defects.
It Can Boost Your Mood
Can you eat yourself happy? Food scientists believe that some foods can help regulate the mood and raise your spirits. Fatty fish rich in omega-3s are notoriously linked with lower levels of depression. To maximize benefits, you can combine a fatty fish fillet with some beans and lentils which are a source of vitamin B. Vitamin B increases the level of happiness neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in your system. Why not finish your meal with a cup of coffee. Caffeine promotes alertness, but it also releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters (dopamine again).
It Can Make You Think Faster
We often ignore the link between brain functions and food. No diet will make you smarter. But the food you eat can boost brainpower. Fatty fish figures prominently on the list of brain food, as omega-3s contribute to the building of brain cells and nerve cells. It also supports learning and memory functions. Coffee, as mentioned above, enhances alertness and focus during cognitive tasks. Blueberries and other foods that are high in antioxidants slow down brain aging and degenerative diseases. Turmeric is also a popular ingredient in smoothies for its anti-inflammatory properties. But what you may not know is that the spice also promotes brain cell growth.
In conclusion, it makes no doubt that there’s more to food than just caloric intake. The food you consume can contribute to a healthier body and mind, supporting all essential functions. In other words, the better you understand how food affects your health, the more in control you can be.