In search of virtual truth

The Internet and social media are loaded with articles such as “5 best foods for…” or “7 healthiest ingredients…” and many others concerning almost all aspects of our diet and living. Many of us end up reading them and trying to apply their prescription. However, more often than not these articles are poor source of knowledge.

It’s important to bear in mind that everything is relative. Even though the Internet knows no boundaries, we do differ substantially in terms of genes, geographical location, climate or natural predispositions. Our diets may seem similar but are in fact influenced by our individual habits, cultural and environmental factors or even political reality. One-fit-for-all solutions are therefore to be taken with deep suspicion.

Next time you find yourself reading an article that starts something like: “3 best foods …” make sure that you pose for a second and consider the following three aspects.

The region you live in is important

Modern agriculture and marketing deliver all sorts of fruits and vegetables throughout the whole year. There is no winter anymore in the grocery section of our grocery stores. The apples for example are sold 12 months a year – the same applies to most other fruits and vegetables.

In fact the products you buy usually come from many different places around the world. They are harvested and packed many hundreds or sometimes thousands kilometers away and then transported to your shop. Processing and long-storing time contribute to the loss of nutrients in fresh products. Arguably therefore, choosing locally grown fruits and vegetables is much better for our health. They are richer with nutrients simply because they do not have to travel long. In other words, shorter storage time contributes to higher nutritious quality.

The point here is that instead of blindly following the “5 best tips…” articles we would do better to have a closer look at what our local markets offer. If you live in the north hemisphere the exotic fruits may not be the best choice especially on regular basis.

Be critical!

There are many articles on food and nutrition which promote various ideas and diets. Every author writes subjectively on certain subject depending on his/her background, education and experience.

We should not expect a vegetarian to write about five best meats, an omnivore promoting vegan diet or a vegan writing on benefits of drinking milk. Their approaches will be influenced by their personal preferences.

At the same time, the number of different diets and eating philosophies is enormous. We often feel lost, as many sources are contradictory. Finding a proper solution oftentimes proves to be much more difficult than we would expect.

That’s why we have to be critical and always bear in mind the background of the of particular article we are reading.

No pain, no gain…

It would be great if 5 or 7 simple steps could simply provide solution for a healthy life. Unfortunately, human body is more complex than that and we need to look at all aspects at the same time. Let’s be honest, food is important but it takes long weeks, months and sometimes years until we can benefit from our diet but it can cure some of the problems or even illnesses that we face. Any particular solution will most probably not apply to all of us.

In reality we have to make an effort and find the solution ourselves using the criteria specific or our personal background and environment. It will inevitably take time and lots of reading but hey, the reward is healthy and happy life! Isn’t that worth the game?