The purpose of this essay is to discuss why we should care about what is in our food. The essay will look at three main points as to why we should care about what we eat. This will then be followed by giving supportive arguments to support the ideas put forward.
The food we eat on a daily basis affects almost everything we do. Evidence has long been established between good foods and their benefits and, also, bad ‘unhealthy’ foods and the adverse damage they have on daily living. This has often included the devastating effects they have on long-term health and well-being. Furthermore, some foods have been known to have healing properties, whilst others are well known for aggravating diseases and disorders. It is therefore important to discuss why we should know what is in our food contents, and the discussion will commence by looking at how food affects mood and behavior.
Firstly, what we eat can have a remarkable effect on both our mood and behavior. The type of food we eat regulates our mood to the extent of affecting both our brain chemistry and blood sugar. As a result, we can become very irritable, moody, calm, or energetic and full of life. When foods high in refined sugar and simple carbohydrates are consumed, they quickly give us a high and a sense of well-being. This happens because they quickly flood the brain, and a large amount of dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure) is rapidly released into the brain causing an instant high.
However, shortly after these sugars are absorbed into the system, they make a person feel lethargic, provoke a decline in mood, and increase irritability since the brain can not hold these sugars for a prolonged time period and they quickly fade away. As a result, whole grain foods are strongly recommended as they fixate mood and decrease irritability by keeping blood sugar constant throughout the day. This is opposed to high sugary foods, which rapidly increase blood sugar and then reduce it to extremely low levels. More supportive evidence comes from the consumption of foods high in sodium. Research seems to suggest that the consumption of too much sodium in our foods leads to fluid retention and irritability. This illustrates that the so-called ‘bad’ foods do not only affect mood, but affect behavior as well. Therefore, if we are to maintain a positive mood throughout the day, great emphasis should be placed on foods that keep blood sugar constant throughout the day without any sudden spikes and drops. The examples above also illustrate that, to maintain good health and well-being, there is a need to know what is in our food.
Secondly, food content plays a major role in causing diseases and healing them as well. It has often been stated that consumption of foods high in simple carbohydrates causes obesity. Other research suggests that foods rich in vitamin A, C, and E are high in antioxidants, which, when taken in high quantities, act as a preventative agent for cancer. More research supporting the notion that we should be weary of the foods and the contents in them comes from research on Alzheimer’s disease. Studies in this area have often concluded that making dietary changes and pairing good nutritional supplements with consumption of functional foods goes a long way in preventing the disease. Additional evidence suggesting the importance of knowing what is in our food comes from the studies, which show that certain foods exacerbate the course of diseases and disorders. A good example of this is the effect sodium has on aggravating hypertension. Foods, such as those high in sugar, have also been implicated in making Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder worse.
Availability of foods known to have healing properties (functional foods) depends on one’s culture. For example, garlic is known to relieve problems such as boils and acne. A universal remedy for flue contains a mixture of hot water, lemon, and honey, though, depending on one’s culture, other ingredients such as pepper and ginger may be added. It therefore seems that maintaining health can only be attained by staying away from foods, which cause diseases, and consuming functional foods that prevent the onset of disease.
Thirdly, allergies have become a common phenomenon, making it very important for people to pay a great deal of attention to the contents of the food they purchase and consume. This is mainly the case in circumstances when one is aware that he/she has a food allergy or when preparing a meal for a person who may be allergic to particular food products. A food allergy can have mild-to-severe effects, and at times this can prove to be life-threatening and even cause death. Early detection and awareness of food allergies is therefore crucial, as there is no known cure for such allergies. As a result, the need to protect consumers became crucial, leading to the labeling of food products to protect consumers from ingesting foods that they could potentially be allergic to. The labeling of food has now become universal with an aim of protecting consumers.
In conclusion, it is impossible to maintain health and well-being without awareness of what we are eating and the effects the food we consume has on our body. Therefore, maintaining good health and well-being has to start with knowing the content of the food one consumes and its effect on one’s body. You are what you eat, after all.