Eat This, Not That! News Story

Huda Mir | Student Correspondent TBT | BSS Gujrat

"In our days, we used to eat desi ghee; the fruit was so fresh it would have left you people in awe! And the vegetables - as if they had in them all the love and energy of the fertile soils!"

Hopefully all of you have heard similar words, or maybe even the same ones, from your grandparents numerous times, just as my grandmother often taunts me with the evident sad reality that today we are deprived of the fresh produce reared with Mother Nature's love in fertile soils that used to be so abundant in the past. That delicate balance has been greatly disturbed by the advancing footsteps of man.

I bet she was referring to our increasing use of modern fertilisers and pesticides in farming, the youth's addiction to junk food and, generally, a poor and abysmal diet and lifestyle. "Though I resent today's fruits, I still do eat them! This packet of chips would get you nowhere! Even the milk is but chemicals!" my grandmother adds with a sullen expression and a sigh that is characteristic of fond reminiscence.

I do agree with you, Grandma. Today, sadly, as we hail a 'modern era', simultaneously we are tottering to our fall in terms of food, health and energy.

But since 'hopelessness is a sin', I prefer to be still hopeful that we can manage a healthy diet. Though reviving the element of 'desi' in our food seems next to impossible - the word itself sounding archaic and old-fashioned - yet we can use our available resources to great effect. With that glimmer of hope, I was searching the Internet for healthy food choices when I came across this article that listed such food, focused on good mental health. I share it here so that I may be able to lend a hand out of this abyss that we are sinking into.

1. Berries:

A tasty delight, ie berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries etc, are mentioned as brain boosters, particularly as they contain compounds known as anthocyanin that protect memory neurons, thus ensuring a long-term, sharp memory. A cup of blueberries a day can actually improve your memory!

2. Apples:

'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. This fruit, with a low glycemic index, contains catchins, chemicals that once again protect the brain. However, if the fruit is showered with too much pesticide, it may affect the catchins as these are present in the apple's skin, the part exposed to the chemicals.

3. Chocolate:

Yes, this irresistible love-of-the-tongue contains Flavanol compounds that improve your circulatory system and ensures proper blood flow to your brain. In 2009, a study proved this point when students were asked to count backwards and the group which had been treated to chocolate beverages calculated more quickly, less exhausted than the rest. But be sure you take a proper amount and one less sugary would be better, as it is actually sugar that causes tooth decay - oh please don't blame poor helpful chocolate for that!

4. Pumpkin Seeds:

Pumpkin seeds can boost your mood and brain health, as the tryptophan in them is used to create serotonin, the basic compound needed for relaxation and sleep.

5. Hot Peppers:

Yes, I agree with you! Even I didn't know hot peppers, too, could be useful! But they are because of the capsaicin compound, a natural fat-fighter and pain reliever. Besides, the heat-packing compounds benefit our brain, and the stress-reducing endorphins, released by capsaicin, are another helpful thing.

6. Lard:

Lards, if grown through organic farming, can do wonders for our brain. Apart from being a rich source of Vitamin D, they contain oleic acid - a monosaturated fat that lowers the risk of depression.

7. Brussels Sprouts:

Brussels sprouts are proven to be filled with molecules that our bodies convert into di-indolymethane, an immune-boosting compound that protects new brain cells. Additionally, the store of antioxidants in brussels sprouts clears up carcinogens.

8. Kale:

Kale, a member of the cruciferous plants family, can act as an anti-aging agent for the brain. Amazingly, it can lower our brain's age by 1 to 2 years according to one study!

9. Beets:

This purple veggie is a rich source of Vitamin B, which can help us grow smarter and sharper. Fresh ones serve as antidepressants as well, and don't leave out the beet greens! They are packed with heart-protecting folate. However, beware of the canned ones: the containers might be full of Bisphenol A, a chemical that disrupts the hormonal system.

10. Anchovies:

This little fish is a big source of Omega-3 fatty acids - something on which our brain thrives and is known to sharpen memory and protect the brain from ageing. It also helps fight off depression! As a bonus, anchovies contain much less quantities of seafood contaminants such as mercury, and contain both Vitamin D and calcium.

11. Eggs:

Yes, I do mean eggs, but the pastured ones where the hens are brought up on green pastures in a natural environment and organic feed. Such eggs can be called the perfect brain food, as they too are packed with Omega-3s, two times more then the store-brought ones, and contain three times more Vitamin E, an antidepressant and cure for the Alzheimer's Disease. The yolk of these eggs, in particular, is rich in choline that promotes neurotransmitter health.

You can find the article here.

Though we still may not be able to earn our elders' approval, and Grandma, I may not grow as smart as you were, but adopting these foods as a part of our daily diet may serve to bring us closer to a healthier lifestyle.

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