5 Things You Probably Don't Realise Are Deeply Impacted By The Food You Eat
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
- Virginia Woolf
Food is essential to staying alive. But, it's a lot more than sustenance that food gives us. What we eat impacts us at many all levels. No, really. You may think these are mere speculations, but years of anecdotal data has finally led researchers to explore just how, "we are what we eat." As science is confirming what our bodies have instinctively known forever, what we consume impacts our hormones, muscles, organs, and even mood.
Your skin health
A clean, healthy diet is often the key to clear, glowing skin. Dermatologists have known this for years. The biggest culprits of nutrition-related skin problems like acne, puffiness, and even saggy skin, are greasy foods, too much sugar, high salt content, and fatty protein.
Your body scent or odour
Although body odour is the result of many factors like our genetic makeup, age, and hygiene, our diet is a factor in determining how we smell. Foods with high Sulfur content and Carboxylic acids are responsible for unpleasant body scent. The former is found in seafood, eggs, organ meats such as liver and kidney, some cheeses, onion and garlic, broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, apricots and peaches. Although Sulfur is an important mineral for the body, in high quantities, it can make us smell funky. The latter - that is, Carboxylic acids (COOH) - is an organic acid commonly found in citrus fruits. Bear in mind, though, the key is moderation, not elimination.
A few years ago, I got afflicted by dengue. One of the side effects was hair loss. I thought I just had to live with my prematurely and unfairly thinning hair, until a dietician friend suggested I have a concoction of flax seed and curry leaves first thing in the morning. "You'll start seeing the effect in 10 days," she claimed with conviction. I figured I didn't have anything to lose. Sure enough, within 10 days, the hair fall stopped. According to this study, nutrition impacts both hair structure and growth. Some of the nutrients that are important for hair health include Zinc, Iron, Selinium, and Follic Acid. Vitamin D, A, and E deficiency also seem to be important for hair growth. That said, one must be careful because too much of these can also lead to problems, including hair loss in some cases. Like always, the key is moderation.
Your reproductive health
Everything from your hormone levels, to your menstrual cycle, PMS, and even infertility is impacted by the food you eat. Women who suffer from PCOD are commonly advised to avoid sugar. A balanced diet with the right amount of all the important nutrients, including carbs and good fats, is the secret to good reproductive health. What you eat can also impact your libido. We don't know about aphrodisiacs, but certainly, there are foods that can lower your sex drive.
Your mental health
In the recent years, researchers have discovered an important connection between our diet and mental health. Too much refined sugar can impact brain functioning, and worsen certain mental illnesses like mood disorders and ADHD. Food impacts our mood, too. Majority of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulation of mood, appetite and sleep, is produced in the GI tract, and is affected by the bacteria living in there. This means that if you want to be happy, load up on those pro-biotics!
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