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Expert GuidanceHow the Body Reacts to Food

How the Body Reacts to Food

Why do some foods boost our energy, while others give us headaches? Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, author, and chef, shares tips for being more aware of the ingredients that make your body and mind feel good.

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Have you ever felt congested a few hours after eating and meal? Or perhaps you start to feel anxious after your morning cup of coffee. What you may not realize is that what you eat can actually play a large role in how you feel. Not just right after a meal, but even for hours or days afterwards. Hi, I'm Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Nutritional Psychiatrist, Author, and Professional Chef. Today, I'm going to take you through a few common physical sensations that just might have something to do with what you are eating. While we may associate what we eat with how our stomachs feel, how our bodies process certain foods can actually play a role in symptoms that may seem unrelated to digestion. Paying attention to how you feel across all systems of the body after eating, is helpful to guide how, what, and when we eat. I call this listening to your body intelligence. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right for you. So, what types of sensations should you look for, and what might be linked to food? A feeling of bloating has a list of more than 20 possible causes, many of which relate back to food. For example, your body uses various enzymes to help break down bigger pieces of food into smaller units that it can absorb. If your body doesn't have these enzymes or doesn't have enough, the pieces remain too big to absorb. And the bacteria in our guts begin to eat these foods, releasing gases, as a result. If you have lactose intolerance, this may sound familiar, but it can happen on a less extreme level as well, when eating things like lentils and beans. In addition, you may notice some bloating when you eat foods that are higher in sodium. Sodium makes your body hold onto water, which may lead to feeling puffy and uncomfortable. It may not seem intuitive to connect how your head feels with what you've put in your stomach, but there are many compounds in foods that can lead to headaches. A common culprit behind headaches is nitrates and nitrites. Preservatives found in foods like cured meats and red wine. They are added to foods because they stop the growth of bacteria, add to the pink colors, and enhance the flavors. In our bodies, these compounds act as vasodilators, meaning they cause our blood vessels to open a bit more, which leads to more blood flowing through the blood vessels at any given moment, potentially leading to a vascular headache. Another reason your head might hurt could be that nice piece of Brie or Parmesan you just had. That's right. Aged cheese is another potential culprit behind your headache. Not all foods make us feel bad. In fact, there are a whole host of foods that can make us feel really good. There are many nutrients and compounds in foods that can boost mood, give you energy, and help you focus. We've all...


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration5 min

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