“You are what you eat”, the old saying goes – but you shouldn’t take it literally – you won’t turn into a plant if you go vegan, and are unlikely to transform into a member of the Suidae family if your preferred veggie is pork. But the saying has a lot of truth in it, as in what you eat has a massive impact on how your body will function in the long run. And it’s not only about fitness and fat deposits either – the effects are, so to say, more than skin deep. By following a few relatively simple dietary guidelines, you can fine tune your body to work like a well-oiled machine. Choose food for gamble: eat better, win better, choose “food for thought” and think better, and so on. So let’s begin.
As many studies have proven in the past, the brain relies on glucose as its main source of energy, glucose we introduce in our body through eating and drinking. But don’t think that if some glucose is good for the brain, more of it is better. A study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Montreal and Boston College has shown that excess glucose consumption harms both the memory and leads to cognitive deficiencies. For a brain-healthy diet, keep your sugar consumption balanced. And don’t worry if you are on a sugar-free or ketogenic diet either – the brain can use up ketone bodies as a source of energy when glucose is scarce.
To keep your brain healthy, cut back on sugar, eat oily fish, chicken, eggs, leafy greens, and add fruit like blueberries, blackcurrant, and tomatoes to your diet.
Protein is the main “ingredient” of your muscles, needed to help them grow. But growing is not the only thing our muscles do – there is that small thing we know as “contracting”, which allows us to move and function. To do their part, muscles need more than just protein: they also need calcium, magnesium, and a whole alphabet of vitamins.
Calcium not only keeps your bones healthy but it is also essential for your muscles to contract. The variant found in dairy is the easiest to be absorbed by the body – you can add milk and cheese to your diet to take care of it. Calcium is also abundant in leafy greens and eggs. Magnesium is another vital mineral for muscle function – you can find it in adequate quantities in whole grains and leafy greens. Biotin and Vitamin B6 have an important role in the formation of glycogen, the storage form of glucose that powers your muscles. To ensure optimal glycogen production, make sure to consume enough biotin (about 30 micrograms a day) and Vitamin B6 (between 1.3 and 1.5 mg a day). The former can be found in abundance in legumes, meats, nuts, and egg yolks, while the latter is present in meats, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry.
The heart is also a muscle – but a special one that constantly moves from your birth to your passing. Thus, it is very important to keep it healthy for as long as you can. Aside from a few heart-healthy “superfoods“, a generally healthy and balanced diet is what you should be aiming for to keep it running for a long time. In general, you should avoid trans fats, excess sodium (salt), excess sugar, and heavily processed foods, but you can eat all of the foods listed above – what’s good for your heart is good for your whole body, after all.
And make sure to do cardio to eliminate any potential fat deposits around your heart to make its job of pumping blood all over your body easier. It will thank you for it in the long run.