Aug 12, 2013

The Truth about the Power of Food

Our guest blogger is Lisa Francombe. Please welcome her as she shares the Truth about the Power of Food.

The True Power of Good Food

Everyone knows the overwhelming power food can have - it can have such power that you do nothing but think about those meatballs slowly cooking away in the crock pot all day long, it can have such power that your mouth becomes moist and you literally drool at the mere sight of a big, stodgy lasagna, and it can have such power that you dream about a good meal for days, even weeks after you’ve eaten it. That’s how food should be, but there’s actually much more to it than how it looks, how it smells, and how it tastes. Good food and good drink can have a power over your entire body, and we’re not just talking about ‘rabbit food’ and tap water here, we’re talking about the good stuff - even wine can be beneficial to your health!

Good Food can Prevent Cravings
Cravings happen because the body is missing something specific, or, more specifically, because the body thinks it’s missing something. You've probably heard people say they’re craving chocolate, or you may have even thought yourself that you could just kill for a bag of chips, but you’re probably not actually craving these things, it’s more likely that your body thinks it’s running low on an ingredient in these foods.

Of course, one way to banish the craving is to give in and indulge in the food you’re lusting after, but if you’re striving to maintain a healthy diet, this isn't always such a good idea. Fortunately, most cravings can be kicked through healthier alternatives. For example, if you’re craving chocolate, you probably need something with a bit of sugar. If you eat a bit of fruit that is high in natural sugars, you’ll likely find that the craving for chocolate disappears soon after. It’s the same with chips. You’re not actually craving chips, it’s more probable that your body is asking for salt. This can happen if you've been exercising or out in the sun and you've lost salt through sweating. Feed the craving with some meat or fish, both of which are high in natural sodium. Somewhat surprisingly, food can actually be the answer to preventing more severe cravings, such as nicotine. Around 43.8 million Americans crave cigarettes but, when coupled with drugs that balance chemical levels in the brain, foods containing tyrosine, such as eggs, cheese, and oily fish like salmon, can help banish these cravings.

Good Food can Lower Blood Pressure
An estimated 76.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension greatly increases the risk of coronary and kidney-related diseases, and should be regularly monitored and kept under control. One way to manage high blood pressure is through medication, but some dietary changes can also be effective, most notably an increase in Omega-3 intake. Omega-3 can be found in a wide range of foods, particularly those that are considered to contain ‘good fats’ such as oils, nuts, and seeds. This shows just how much power good food can have over the heart.

Good Food can Heal the Digestive System
Alcohol is bad for you, right? Not always! Of course, binge drinking and high alcohol consumption can increase the risk of certain cancers, and give you one banging headache the next morning and an insatiable craving for greasy bacon, but a moderate amount of wine could actually be really good for you. Wine can sooth certain stomach ailments, and was once a popular cure for travelers diarrhea. Wine has also been found to lower the risk of stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis, with one study in the British Medical Journal concluding that those who stayed away from wine were roughly twice as likely to die early than those who consumed between three and five glasses of ‘grape juice’ per day. This shows the power good food or, in this case, good drink, has over the stomach and digestive system.

Eat Well and Enjoy Yourself
To stay healthy, you don’t need to stick to boring foods all the time, as even some thing that we deem to be ‘bad’ foods can actually be beneficial. Mix things up a bit, and make some delicious, interesting, yet healthy foods for you and your family. You can find some great recipe ideas online, or check out some cookbooks for some new inspiration.

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