Do you live to eat or eat to live? Do you have a complicated relationship with food? Read this article to find out more about food.

Magazine - Food


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Do we live to eat or eat to live? That is the question.

I remember as a child growing up in Britain having fish and chips or baked beans on toast at least twice a week on my lap while watching my favourite cartoon. Of course I enjoyed my food but it wasn’t something I often talked about. Now, I’m not blaming my culture for my lack of interest in food at an early age. Perhaps my silence was due to the fact that I didn’t know anything about food. How many children know that prawns only turn pink when they are cooked and that tuna does not come from a can? Now after having lived in Southern Europe, Asia and Australia I find myself talking about food all the time. The world has seduced my taste buds and opened my mouth.

Food that’s plain and simple is often the best but not always so. For many of us food is a need. For others, food is a friend. Yet to some others food is an enemy. Cravings grip us at all the wrong times while we struggle to follow a strict diet that turned all our favourite desserts into mortal sins. There are others who regard food as an investment. To them, food has some kind of special powers that can control their lives, for better or for worse. If that’s the case, it’s time to change and make food work for us.

Let’s start by using food the way you would use a pencil or a pair of scissors. We begin using food as a tool. Like tools, some food works well for some tasks and some is specially designed to accomplish others.

Let’s say you’re feeling down. You had a tough day or a tiff with a best friend that drove you round the bend. You decide to treat yourself to a bar of chocolate –nothing like chocolate to perk you up. Unfortunately you’re setting yourself up for a higher dose of the blues. That’s because chocolate bars have a hefty amount of fat and sugar – which takes a long time to digest and can draw energy away from your brain – and caffeine which will temporarily boost your mood and alertness but send you crashing back down as soon as its effect starts to wear off.

Does this mean snacking is a bad idea when you’re feeling down? Not at all. You just have to do it wisely. In place of a chocolate bar, have a slice of toast with chunky marmalade. Then instead of fat and caffeine you’ve just given yourself a dose of vitamin C that has been shown to fight depression. In addition, marmalade is loaded with the type of sugar that spurs the release of mood-lifting chemicals in the brain.

In fact you can manage your mood and boost your brainpower, metabolism, even your sex life, by eating the right food. Whatever your goals, you can custom-design a diet to help you meet them. Here’s how taking control of your food can help you take control of your life.

The next time you have an important meeting that requires mental processing, try some brain processing food that looks like this: tuna salad on whole wheat bread, green salad with tomatoes, a handful of nuts, bananas, a glass of skimmed milk. Tuna, bananas, nuts and whole wheat bread are high in vitamin B6, which has been scientifically proven to help preserve cognitive skills. Protein-rich food contains a nutrient called Tyrosine, which studies have shown, are linked to clear thinking and alertness. Greens such as broccoli and spinach naturally contain loads of vitamins and iron. Lack of these nutrients can lead to fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Having said all that, let’s not be too stressed about what we eat. Many scientists these days believe that indulging in life’s little pleasures may actually help improve your health because of the psychological lift it gives you. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’.





Hi Ayeche,
Have you tried entering this word into the 'Cambridge Dictionaries Online' box at the right-hand side of the page? It should give you the answer.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I did it. Is it a type of music or feeling or showing sadness?
Dose is used with substances like sugar, fat...
I think it is not important to understand everything.

Hello Ayeche,
I think you can work that out yourself! Is that part of the article talking about music or about emotions?
But you're right - it's not important that you understand everything in a text.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Quit good information about food ,there is a lot to be discussed about digestion and metabolism  however  ,  I  wonder if it is suitable to speak about which is or  what to eat when one is in a bad mood ,  I think in that situation one should eat the much more beloved food to himself ,it is not the time to think about metabolism and absorption neither the time to speak of the benefit of food on brain or stomach ,it is the time to indulge yourself by eating whatever you like even if it was a sin .
nevertheless I agree with the description of the vital components of natural food such as banana ,broccoli ,tuna and the whole grains thinking of their high amount of folic acid the most important vitamin for the living body .

hello everybody i am very happy about this opportunity to learn english.

I’m in agreement with the article; personally I think that food is a need and a pleasure, not at all an enemy. It can become an enemy if you eat unhealthy food, but it depends on people’s regulation and education about the food, once I read an article which says that people with a further education are more concerned about their habits, so they have a better food pattern.

This article is very useful. I don't know that bananas and broccoli help to develop cognitive skills. 

My personal belief is that food is very important for health. I have just read this topic and I found quite interesting to learn more about eat properly and healthy.
Nowadays, people prefer to eat fast food or make food with a low calories. I think that we do not eat balanced inevitably involve lashings of carbohydrate and high glycemic food, along with a wine glass. Therefore, it is changing a lot because of parents have to work and get back home exhausted and do not have time for making a properly meal.
The government should be provide tips and increasingly people feel motivation to feed proper. If when we are child and start to eat improper will just get to be obese, healthy problems, serious problem with the skin, problem with the heart, etc.
To summarize, one thing remains constant, you do have to commit and be determined. You have to learn when you say "no" to unhealthy food and "yes" to daily exercise and eat healthy.

Hi to everybody,
I really enjoy the food, especially meat food, just like all the other people from Bosnia. It's our tradition that every dish must have some meat inside :D
I have only one misunderstanding. It's about that old saying at the end of article. So if someone can help me, I would be very grateful.

Hi Eca,
Which part of the saying do you find confusing? Is it 'fancy' or 'does you good'?
The LearnEnglish Team