Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Food effect: we are What we Eat


Food effect: we are What we Eat

For thousands of years, people have believed that food could influence their health, personality and well-being. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, once said: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”; in medieval times, people started to take great interest in how certain foods affected their mood and temperament. Many medical culinary textbooks of the time described the relationship between food and mood. For example, quince, dates and elderberries were used as mood enhancers, lettuce and chicory as tranquilizers, and apples, pomegranates, beef and eggs as erotic stimulants. In recent times, we have seen immense progress in research, primarily short-term human trials and animal studies, showing how certain foods change brain structure, chemistry, and physiology thus affecting mood and performance. These studies suggest that foods directly influencing brain neurotransmitter systems have the greatest effects on mood, at least temporarily. In turn, mood can also influence our food choices and expectations on the effects of certain foods can influence our perception.
Scientifically, the relationship between food and brain is confirmed. For example the scarcity of nutrients such as iron and iodine can impair cognitive and motor development, and these effects are often irreversible. Iodine deficiency can lead to enlargement of the thyroid and irreparable mental retardation in infants and children whose mothers were iodine deficient during pregnancy. , chlorine, folic acid, and zinc, to name just a few—have been linked specifically to early brain functioning. It has confirmed children who do not have enough to eat wind up with diminished capacity to understand and learn. quality of food and certain nutrients such as vitamins A, D, B12 and K2 are the most critical factors for the brain to form, to develop and to function properly, for good mental health and for nervous system to function normally, and deficiencies manifest as psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, irrational anger, depression, manic depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Also there is relationship between food and mood; According to one study, insufficient amounts of thiamine or Vitamin B1 caused “introversion, inactivity, fatigue, decreased self-confidence and generally poorer mood” in participants. Improved thiamine status increases well-being, sociability, and overall energy levels. Thiamine is contained in foods such as cereal grains, yeast, potatoes, cauliflower, oranges, and eggs and can influence mood states. In addition, Iron deficiency represents one of the most common nutritional problems in both developing and developed countries affecting over 2 billion people worldwide. Iron deficiency anemia can result in depressed mood, lethargy and problems with attention. A low iron status is most common among women, children, vegetarians, and people who follow a diet. Iron deficiency also results in a decreased ability to exercise. Foods rich in iron include liver, vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, and parsley, seafood, iron-fortified grains, greens, nuts, meat, and dried fruits. Also Studies have found that diets low in carbohydrates increased feelings of anger, depression, and tension and diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates increased anger. Diets high in carbohydrates have a generally uplifting effect on mood.
According to a study, female and male participants were asked to report how their eating patterns changed with emotions of anger, fear, sadness, and joy. When experiencing anger and joy, participants experienced increased hunger as compared to feelings of fear and sadness. Anger increased comfort and impulsive eating, and joy increased eating for pleasure. It also found that people eat more less-healthy comfort foods when they are sad. Participants of watching a happy or a sad movie and were provided with buttered popcorn or seedless grapes throughout the movie. The group watching the upbeat movie consumed significantly more grapes and less popcorn than the group watching the sad movie. as well, when participants were provided with nutritional information, the sad people consumed less popcorn than the happy people and the happy people did not alter their consumption.
In short, we are those low quality foods that we eat and slowly affected over our personality, brain and health but we forgot the importance this matter. We forgot if we get stressed in the family, easily get impatient with neighbor or our children fail in example might be the direct reason of food causing health problem, mental disorder, and mental impairment. Almost 90% our food items are imported but there is no accurate system to ensure they impose no problem to our health. For instance, we excessively use the lowest wheat flour while the wheat, especially the modern and the processed wheat, is being increasingly blamed for the onset of other health conditions, like obesity, heart disease, neurological impairment, dementia, cataracts, diabetes, arthritis and visceral fat accumulation. The modern flour is processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour - the standard for most wheat products means that 40% of the original wheat grain is removed. So not only do we have an unhealthier, modified, and hybridized strain of wheat, we also receive the removed and degraded nutritional value. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain - its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Any processed foods with wheat are akin to poison for the body since they cause more health risks than benefits. The body does not recognize processed wheat as food.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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