Don’t Shortchange Your Health – Slow Down When You Eat.
You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” but did you know that the food you eat and even the speed with which you eat your food has been found to have significant life-saving benefits.
The French and Italians had it right all along. Slowing down while eating can be very advantageous to health. Not only are you more present and eat less when you slow down – thanks to the hunger hormone, ghrelin (hunger hormone) having enough time to tell the brain you’re full – you can also prevent and reverse disease.
Nitrates and nitrites are found naturally in food – especially whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Now we’re not talking about the nitrates and nitrites that are added as a preservative to meat and are carcinogenic. We’re referring to the naturally occurring kind. The good kind.
When you eat whole foods, such as kale, beets, carrot, and broccoli, something magical happens. The bacteria in the mouth turn the food into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is critically important to health. It causes the arteries to relax and expand, improving blood flow throughout the body. It beefs up immune cells so they can kill bacteria and viruses (yeah, we’re talking about you, COVID-19), and even cancer. It can boost brain cellular health and improve the oxygenation of tissues.
And that’s not all that nitric oxide can do! It can also limit swelling and pain from arthritis, reduce your risk of diabetes, protect bones from osteoporosis, help protect the skin against sun damage, reduce your risk for developing dementia, reverse erectile dysfunction, and more. Basically, this means that nitric oxide helps you stay healthy and live a better life.
But most of us are shortchanging our health and happiness by eating food way too fast. [Insert mental picture of Stand By Me’s Ray Brower in the blueberry pie-eating contest].
So what can you do?
Slow down. Take time when chewing food. Remember mom telling you to chew your food twenty times before swallowing? Well, she was a smart woman! Do as mom said!
Eat your vegetables – especially dark leafy greens, beets, and some fruit – particularly dark-colored fruit, such as strawberries, and red grapes.
Eat raw greens at every meal or at least daily. Cooking and dehydrating food kills the nitric oxide building capacity – so don’t think that broccoli covered in cheese sauce is going to help you live longer.
Eat fish or take fish oil to boost nitric oxide production.