Ever heard the phrase ‘You are what you eat? You might have heard of nutritionists, doctors, dieticians, dermatologists, and nearly every person quoting this phrase quite normally. But, are you really what you eat? Well, the food you put on your plate reflects on your mental health and the outer layer of your body i.e. your skin.
The food you eat plays a significant role in the mood you feel. Processed and sugary foods are sure to make you grumpy and moody. While healthy and nutrient-rich foods will make you feel more positive and energetic. Your body is made of a certain combination of nutrients. You need to replenish it frequently with those nutrients to keep its original composition intact.
A lack of any one nutrient like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins might tip the balance. It’s important to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that you are eating everything in an adequate amount.
With that in mind let us shed some light on what ‘are you what you eat literally means. We Will also talk about the importance of healthy eating. Also, the foods you should eat to look and feel healthy will be discussed.
Are you what you eat – Scientific Explanation
The food you eat becomes a part of your identity. It reflects on your body and your skin. People who incorporate plenty of greens in their diet and drink sufficient quantities of water have younger-looking skin and an energetic aura surrounding them. While those who consume fried and sugary foods are quite lethargic let alone their dull and wrinkled skin.
According to The Student Scientist, your body is composed of four different macronutrients i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and nucleic acids. Your body requires all these nutrients to function properly. The excess of one nutrient like fats might result in their storage below your skin cells. This leads to obesity and a plethora of other diseases associated with it.
According to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, food and stress are powerful modulators of your mind and body connection. This connection is unfortunately upset in obese people. The study reveals that you prefer eating chocolate while under stress. It is due to the instant comforting tendencies it possesses.
Similarly, processed foods are extremely bad for the outer envelope of your body i.e. your skin. The grains and sugar in these foods cause the degradation of collagen and elastin in your skin. This ultimately results in a loss of elasticity causing sagging, premature aging, and wrinkling of your skin.
Therefore, the saying ‘You are what you eat said by Ludwig Feuerbach in 1848 holds true. The food you eat not only affects your body’s shape but also its appearance. So, traditionally and scientifically what you eat you become!
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What Should I Eat To Look Healthy| 6 Nutrients You Must Include In Your Diet
The human body is made up of a mixture of components that it cannot do without. Some of these are macronutrients i.e. you need them in large quantities. Others are micronutrients i.e. your body requires them in smaller quantities.
To maintain your body’s composition it is essential for you to incorporate these macro and micronutrients into your diet daily. There are six main groups of macro and micronutrients. Also, it comes with a list of foods that will not only fulfill your daily dose of these nutrients but also keep you healthy.
Proteins are the building blocks of your body. From the largest organ to the smallest cell in your body everything is made of proteins. It is one of the three macronutrients, the other two being carbohydrates and fats.
Proteins are important because they consist of Amino Acids and most of our cells are composed of it. It not only helps in building, repairing, and making new cells. But is also an important ingredient that takes part in every reaction within the body. The enzymes in your body that act as biological catalysts in all the reactions are made up of proteins too.
The exact quantity of protein intake depends upon various factors like age, activity level, body weight, and other factors. However, if you are an athlete or do vigorous weight training exercises your body’s muscle mass is constantly been torn and repaired. That is why weight trainers and bodybuilders go nuts while talking about proteins because it builds your muscle mass.
Food Sources for Proteins
It is essential to provide your body daily with a sufficient quantity of amino acids to maintain good health. Although some of the proteins can be made by your body there are others that it can produce itself. But you can fulfill your protein requirements through some beneficial outward sources. According to Britannica, ‘food contains 20 different amino acids, 9 of which are indispensable to the human body.’
You can get protein from plant and animal sources. Popular and beneficial animal sources include milk, fish, eggs, meat, cheese yogurt, and poultry. All of these provide complete amino acids to your body. However, if you are vegan or don’t consume dairy products you may want to fulfill your protein requirement by eating plant products. Important plant sources include fruits, cereals, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. Out of these soybeans and quinoa are considered sources providing you complete proteins.
So, if you want to look healthy don’t forget to fill up your body with adequate portions of proteins during the day.
Carbohydrates are the fuel for the body. Just as your car needs fuel to run efficiently similarly your body requires energy to work effectively throughout the day. Carbs give your body sufficient energy that you can use to work actively during the day.
Although carbohydrates have acquired a bad reputation over the years. Though to maintain a healthy body and mind you need to eat this macronutrient daily in sufficient quantities. Among other benefits, one of its most important benefits is that carbohydrates are an instant source of energy. It keeps you full and fuels your brain, kidney, central nervous system, and heart muscles.
On the other hand, a carbohydrate-deficient diet will cause headaches, lethargy, fatigue, and weakness. It may also lower your concentration span and you would end up laying in bed the whole day. However, a diet rich in carbohydrates will also end up in weight gain which is not what we want, right? Thereby, it is important that you add carbohydrates to your diet in moderate quantities
Food sources for Carbohydrates
While there are plenty of sources through which you can fulfill your energy requirements it is important that you choose the healthy ones. Refined and processed carbs such are white bread and pasta are more dangerous for you rather than beneficial. Similarly, canned juices will end up in the form of fats and increase your blood sugar level.
Healthy food choices will make a healthy you eventually. Some of the best sources of carbohydrates are
- Fruits (like apples, bananas, melons, etc.)
- Whole grains (like barley, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)
- legumes, starchy vegetables (like sweet potato, corn, peas), and milk products.
You should always opt for healthy and nutrient-rich sources if your goal is to maintain a healthy body and mind. The key here is to limit the portion sizes and avoid processed foods not the whole group of beneficial nutrients! In the end, you are what you eat and if your diet is deficient in a nutrient then it will reflect on you in one way or the other.
Though the most dreaded category of nutrients but research shows that healthy fats are important for a healthy body. Over the years fats have acquired a bad rap but their benefits outweigh their dangers in many aspects.
Fats are essential for a healthy mind and functioning body. Your body requires fats in the form of fatty acids which helps in various bodily functions. From blood clotting to absorbing various vitamins and to providing energy fats play a vital role in all these areas.
Additionally, according to the Harvard Medical School people in Greece despite consuming a high-fat diet have a lower risk of heart diseases. This was due in part to the consumption of good fats namely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are vital for your muscle movements and lower your risk of heart disease by lowering harmful LCL cholesterol.
Also, fats are powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients. They may lower the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. The inclusion of healthy fats in your diet will most likely prevent you from the onset of many harmful diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Food sources for Fats
Some of the popular polyunsaturated fatty acids include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You can get Omega-3 fatty acids through the consumption of fatty fish like Salman, mackerel, etc. Or by incorporating fish oils and supplements into your diet. Other sources include flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be obtained from corn oil and walnuts. Coconut Oil is also a very healthy source of fats. Adding coconut oil to your diet helps in appetite control as well.
Lastly, to maintain a healthy body you need to avoid consuming Trans fats at all costs. Also, animal-based fats like butter, cheese, red meat, and ice-cream intake should also be limited.
Coming to the second category of nutrients i.e. micronutrients. Micronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in smaller quantities. They include Minerals and vitamins. Minerals are further divided into two categories i.e. major minerals and trace minerals.
These nutrients support your body’s functions. Thereby an adequate amount of both these minerals is required by your body for optimal health. Some of the major minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and sodium. They play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Along with that, calcium is required for a healthy bone structure with some vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin K.
On the other hand, copper, iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, manganese, chromium, and molybdenum fall into the category of trace minerals. They play a crucial role in strengthening bones, preventing tooth decay, and carrying oxygen. Also, they support the immune system in carrying out its functions effectively in addition to supporting healthy blood pressure. Trace minerals also help in blood clotting.
Collectively minerals are important for your body as they facilitate your body’s biochemical reactions like energy production, healing, and growth. They also ensure the proper utilization of vitamins and other nutrients.
Food sources for Minerals
Your daily dose of mineral intake can be met by eating foods that you normally consume. These include meat, seafood, poultry, nuts, vegetables, fruits, egg yolks, beans, legumes, etc. However, in certain instances, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement daily to ensure that your body is getting the minerals. Including iodized table salt in your diet but less than 2300 mg, a day is also beneficial to fulfill your iodine needs.
A healthy diet should include a balanced amount of minerals in it daily along with other vital nutrients. Deficiency of any one mineral will result in early aging and other diseases. Like copper deficiency results in greying of hair.
The second category of micronutrients is vitamins. Vitamins are essential for your body as they help carry out important functions and ward off diseases.
There are two types of vitamins i.e. fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins as the name refer directly absorbs into your bloodstream.
As 60% of your body consists of water, therefore, water-soluble vitamins easily roam about in your body. Kidneys constantly play their part in regulating their levels, the excess of which is shunned out of the body. Water-soluble vitamins include
- Biotin (vitamin B7),
- Folic acid (folate, vitamin B9),
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2),
- Thiamin (vitamin B1),
- Niacin (vitamin B3),
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5),
- Vitamin B6,
- Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C
Coming to fat-soluble vitamins i.e. A, D, E, K. fat-soluble vitamins are not directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Rather upon the digestion of food, these vitamins enter the lymph vessels escorted by proteins along their way. They then enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. The excess of these vitamins is stored in the liver and fat tissues. These requirements are tapped by the body for fulfilling any deficiencies.
Food sources for Vitamins
Vitamins are present in a variety of food sources that you normally eat. Carrots are good reservoirs of Vitamin A similarly citrus fruits lemons, oranges have vitamin C in them. Green leafy vegetables carry vitamin E which is good for your skin, hair, and nails growth.
All in all, if you are consuming a healthy and wholesome diet then you won’t be needing any vitamin supplements. Also, you merely need them in small quantities and as the excess of everything is harmful so are vitamins. An excess of one vitamin might lead to the blockade of another mineral. For instance, vitamin C hinders your body from assimilating a vital mineral copper.
It is important to keep your vitamin intake in check to not tip the balance. Remember what you eat is what you are! Just as the deficiency of any nutrient is harmful similarly is the excess dangerous too!
Water is perhaps the single most important nutrient that your body needs in large quantities every day to function properly. It is the most important ingredient in your body. Nearly 62% of water makes up your body.
Human life can think of existence without water. That is why there is so much of a hue and cry about the water crises around the world. A person can go weeks without food intake but cannot survive in the absence of water.
The major important functions that water plays a vital role in are in carrying oxygen throughout the body and brain. It circulates nutrients to all your body parts. Along with that, it helps in the assimilation of other nutrients like minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other important nutrients. Also, water regulates your body temperature and helps in flushing out toxins from your body.
The effects of dehydration are intense on the other hand too. Consuming a lesser quantity of water than the recommended minimum may result in fatigue, tiredness, and lethargy. Additionally, your body won’t function properly as nearly all the functions within your body takes place in the presence of water.
Food sources for Water
To prevent dehydration it is important that you drink 8 glasses i.e. 2 liters of water daily. However, if you exercise intensely or sweat a lot then your water intake will increase accordingly. Also, you don’t have to drink just plain water to fulfill your requirements. Eating fruits and vegetables high in water content is also beneficial like watermelon, spinach, or cucumber. You can also add a slice of your favorite fruit or veggie in water if you aren’t a fan of plain water.
A healthy mind and body can’t be built and worked for in isolation. It is the food you eat that reflects outward. Therefore, to be healthy physically and mentally you need to eat a healthy and balanced diet. A diet composed of all these six essential nutrients coupled with some physical activity daily is sure to keep you fit. In the end, you are what you eat! If you won’t fulfill your requirements you would be facing health problems and diseases sooner or later!