Food has the power to enrich and alter your life in a multitude of ways—as fuel, as medicine, and even as love.
Food Is Fuel
You have one magnificent life to live. To fuel your journey, you need food. Protein is needed to build and repair muscle tissue, and to keep your immune system strong. Carbs are necessary for powering your muscles and your brain. Fats provide an important source of back-up energy and are essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins and minerals build bones, heal wounds, protect your eyes, and so much more. Antioxidants repair your damaged cells, and fight disease. Fibre feeds and nourishes the “good” bacteria that live all along your gastrointestinal tract. Water is a must for digesting food, delivering nutrients, and carrying waste away. Every time you sit down to a meal, an impressive orchestra of nutrients work in concert to keep your body functioning at its best. Even better, as the quality of your food choices increase, so does your quality of life or satisfaction with life. Healthy food provides the necessary fuel not just to live life, but to live a good life.
“If you want to stay well, you need to eat well. Nothing affects your health and well-being more.”
Food Is Medicine
It was Hippocrates who said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A healthy diet is non-negotiable if you want to decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and more. In the Global Burden of Disease Study—one of the most comprehensive, worldwide studies to date—a poor diet topped the list as the most important risk factor for illness in the world. Foods most harmful to health include red meat (in excess), processed meats, and highly processed foods that have been stripped of their natural goodness and come loaded with sugar, salt, or unhealthy fats. In contrast, a good diet powerfully protects your well-being. Healthy foods are antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory—this protects cells from damage that leads to disease. Eating well keeps blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight in check. Healthy foods also promote a strong and healthy microbiome, which is absolutely critical for good health. Foods that provide the most potent health protection include whole fruits and vegetables (especially dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and berries), nuts, seeds, beans, seafood (especially omega-3 rich fish, like salmon or rainbow trout), herbs, spices, and whole grains. The healing power of food is undisputable. If you want to stay well, you need to eat well. Nothing affects your health and well-being more.
“Ultimately, a meal shared with others is the perfect place to give love, to receive love, and to feel love.”
Food Is Love
The Dietary Guidelines for Brazil have been applauded for their uniqueness. Rather than focusing only on what people should be eating, they also emphasize who those meals should be consumed with. More specifically, they recommend whenever possible, to eat “in company,” with family, friends, or colleagues. They state that the sharing of mealtimes increases the enjoyment of meals, and should be treated as a time that is precious and important. Strong and consistent research backs this up. Frequent family meals are linked to:
- more nutritious meals, including the consumption of more fruits and vegetables
- healthier body weights, including a lower risk of obesity
- better communication skills and academic success for kids
- better mental health, including a lower risk of depression
- protection from disordered eating
None of this is surprising. Sharing a meal is a wonderful way to spend time with the people we care about. It’s the perfect forum for engaging in meaningful conversation that promotes being seen, being heard, and being appreciated. It encourages emotional bonding and cohesion, which is more important than ever in this technology-isolating culture in which we live.
Ultimately, a meal shared with others is the perfect place to give love, to receive love, and to feel love. Healthy food combined with love—is there a more perfect recipe for fuelling a long, happy, and healthy life? I don’t think so.