What You Eat

Why Pleasure Matters When It Comes to What You Eat

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This article identifies dimensions of eating pleasure and their likely favorable or unfavorable links to dietary behaviors and health outcomes, and presents promising intervention strategies.

2. It Can Help Overcome Disordered Eating

For many people, eating is one of life’s great pleasures. Pleasure is important for a healthy relationship with food and it can help people overcome disordered eating. Pleasure is also linked to healthier eating habits, such as regular meal times and mindful eating. Pleasure can also play a role in helping people feel better when they are struggling with an illness or stress.

Most people are familiar with vitamins A, C and D, but vitamin P may not be as well-known. Also known as bioflavonoids, vitamin P is a group of natural plant compounds, such as quercetin, myricetin, and rutin. These phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their color and protect plants from UV rays and infection. They also provide health benefits, including antioxidant properties and the ability to strengthen blood vessel cell walls.

While a little-known nutrient, vitamin P is incredibly important for your health. The health benefits of this vitamin include its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune-boosting qualities. It can also improve cardiovascular health, enhance digestion and support weight loss.

When it comes to the pleasure of eating, there are three types: anticipatory pleasure, which is the enjoyment you experience while thinking about or planning a meal; actual pleasure, which is the feeling you have when you actually eat the food; and remembered pleasure, which is the joy you recall afterwards. Research suggests that a lack of anticipatory and remembered pleasure is associated with poorer eating behavior and increased food anxiety.

If you’re someone who tends to avoid pleasure when it comes to food, it’s time to rethink things. Trying to force yourself to eat foods that taste “healthy” without any enjoyment can lead to a skewed perception of what makes a healthy diet, and it can exacerbate an eating disorder.

So next time you sit down to a plate of broccoli, try to think about how much you enjoy it and make this a priority in your diet. You may find that you enjoy it a lot more than you thought! If you’re interested in learning more about how to incorporate pleasure into your daily diet, many coaches, dietitians and therapists recommend a slowing down of the eating process and a mindfulness approach.

What You Eat

3. It Can Promote Healthy Eating

For many people, savoring food is one of life’s great pleasures and offers important health advantages. Pleasure can improve digestion, enhance your relationship with food and help you overcome disordered eating. Pleasure may even be as important to healthy dietary behaviors as nutrition itself. But until recently, there has been little research into the role of pleasure in eating.

Many people assume that a healthy diet requires some degree of flavor sacrifice, such as enjoying bland tofu dogs or foregoing desserts altogether. Some nutrition experts believe that this is a myth, and that it’s possible to make healthful choices while enjoying the flavors of your food.

This idea is based on the notion that pleasure and health are incompatible, but recent studies have shown that pleasure can actually be a powerful driving force when it comes to healthy eating. In fact, some dietary guidelines, such as Canada’s Food Guide, now promote enjoyment of food among their healthy-eating recommendations.

A large part of the reason for this is that pleasure promotes mindful eating, which can lead to healthier choices. Pleasure helps you pay attention to the food on your plate and appreciate its unique textures, tastes and aromas. This can make it easier to identify the foods that are highest in nutrients and lower in unnecessary fat and sugar.

Another way that pleasure can support healthy eating is by promoting the intake of vitamin P, which is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including onions, broccoli, kale, tea, chocolate and grapes. Also known as flavonoids, these natural plant compounds provide a wide range of health benefits and are also found in the skin, hair, blood vessels and other organs of the body.

As a phytochemical, vitamin P provides an antioxidant benefit to the body, protecting it against free radical damage on a regular basis. In addition, vitamin P helps protect your eyesight and can aid in preventing eye diseases.

4. It Can Help You Feel Better

For many people, food is one of the great pleasures of life. And that pleasure, in turn, has a host of benefits when it comes to our health. Pleasure from food can support digestion, improve our relationship with food and even help us overcome disordered eating. And in some circumstances, savoring our meals and getting enough “vitamin P” (or vitamin mmm) may be just as important as what we eat.

Also known as flavonoids, vitamin P is a group of polyphenol plant compounds that act as antioxidants and offer a number of possible health benefits. These include anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties, lowering risk for heart disease, and improved brain function. (1)

Foods high in vitamin P include berries, citrus fruits, onions and green tea. Apples, for example, provide up to 15% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin P and are also packed with vitamin C and a host of other nutrients. Green tea contains a similar amount of vitamin P and is also rich in phytochemicals, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

While not a “traditional” vitamin, the bioflavonoids that comprise vitamin P are crucial components of a well-rounded, healthful diet. Whether enjoying the delightful taste of blueberries, the aromatic flavour of onions or the comforting warmth of green tea, enjoy these vitamin P foods regularly to fortify your body and mind. (2). Then get back to doing all the things you love – including savouring your meals.

What You Eat

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