‘You are what you eat’. A phrase we heard so often that we have stopped paying attention to what it actually means. Or maybe, we never grasped this idea in the first place? After all, it is made of 5 little words that we use constantly on a daily basis.
Food, after water, is our most important need. It keeps us energized, keeps our body moving and our hearts beating. It’s like gasoline and our bodies are cars. Just as car’s come in different shapes and sizes, so does gasoline, which can be cheaper or more expensive depending on its quality. So, if you put a cheap gasoline in an expensive car, or even an old one, both engines will start performing worse. And after constantly feeding the engine with low quality oil, the car gets ruined and stops running.
This analogy is perfect for describing our own bodies. We all come in different shapes and sizes, but what matters most is the fuel we put into ourselves. Whether your body is in tiptop shape and is the latest model, or an average car, the food that you put in it will have similar effects. Good food will help keep you energized and your heart engine running for many years. Low quality food doesn’t discriminate with bodies and likes to ruin them all.
Now that we know a more broad idea behind the small phrase, we can take a look at how it plays out in real life. With information from countries in different parts of the world we can paint a picture of how our diet affects our life. To do this, we analyzed various cultures of the world and tried to see whether the food the population eats has any effect on their health.
The results we found were not surprising. People in Asia eat fish, and a lot of it! The sushi capital is Japan, and eating fish is part of their culture. In theory this diet should be very healthy, but recent rise in mercury contamination has actually made it a source of health problems. In USA, where fast food nature comes installed in every newborn, people suffer from a different illness, one that causes obesity, thanks to all the fat and processed food consumption. The healthiest people on the list are the French. In fact, their Mediterranean diet went through a phase of popularity, with everyone being eager to adopt it in hopes of getting a perfect body, without giving up on tasty food. And this is clear; on the French diet you can eat all the dairy, bread and drink all the wine you want, without becoming obese. The secret is portion control and a less sedentary lifestyle. In Africa, lack of physical and economical access to sufficient and nutritious food has left most of its population food insecure and malnourished. Currently, about one third of the continent’s population lives in chronic hunger.
So what does this picture paint? Those 5 words are very important and shouldn’t be taken so lightly. After all your food makes up who you are and how your life plays out. You can choose to be healthy or not by the type of food you put on your plate.
1. Folaranmi, Temitope. “Food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa: Current trends, causes and consequences.”
2. Bowers, Alena. ”Healthy French Diet.”
3. NRDC. “Mercury Contamination in Fish.”
posted by Hokuma Karimova