As I have often observed, health is made far more complicated than it needs to be. Much like putting the right fuel into your car for its engine type means it will run better, so does putting the right fuel into your body make it run better.
It is also interesting when science eventually catches up with what is either obvious or has been “known” for a long time. Our ancestors had a much better idea about food and what to eat as well as the connections between foods and health than we have. Part of the reason for this is that they prepared food from ingredients found in nature rather than opening a box.
So here are four examples of the power of real food
1) Certain combinations of foods go well together. For instance the use of onion and garlic as the base for stir-fry or other forms of cooking. It has now been shown that iron and zinc absorption from meals (say with meat, chicken or even rice and chick peas) is virtually doubled when they are cooked with onion and garlic. The theory is that it is due to the sulfur content in the onion and garlic.
Given that many people (especially women) can be low in iron this is a simple way to improve levels in the blood stream.
2) Capsaicin, which is the component of chilies which gives them heat and flavor has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Particularly, it seems when this is consumed on a regular basis. Now that does not mean you have to eat them everyday, nor do you have to eat the hottest ones. It does show that adding color to your meals is good for your health.
3) Still in the blood vessels and cocoa flavinols have also been shown to assist blood vessel repair and function. This may explain previous findings about how consumption of small amounts of chocolate improved recovery and survival after heart attacks and stroke
Getting enough antioxidants whether from your diet or supplements helps blood vessels and has been shown to reduce blood pressure. This is aside from the benefits to the immune system, the skin and slowing the ageing process.
4) And just to cap it off, research from Queensland (Australia) has found that people who consumed full fat rather than low fat dairy (over a 16 year period) had the lowest rates of heart disease. This is a real slap in the face to the low fat zealots who have scared people off eating real food in favor of modified food.
It turns out that eating real food is, surprise, surprise better for us.
From the other side, putting the wrong fuels in your body creates problems. The likelihood of children developing symptoms of attention deficit is doubled if they are on a typical “western” diet of processed and packaged food compared to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and with adequate omega 3 fatty acids.
The take home message is simple. Sometimes science catches up with the obvious if it is not too busy researching new uses for drugs. Regardless of whether it does or does not, eating real food matters.
Eat food that your ancestors would have eaten. This is food without labels or ticks or numbers. It is food that till recently was moving or growing somewhere.
This is easy to do and brilliant for your health.