“Nutritional Wisdom” is a controversial topic. At Temper, we think it’s foudational to having a good relationship with your body and with food. But many people dismiss it as anti-science woo, or misunderstand it as implying that it’s healthy to mindlessly eat donuts all day. Two recent research sheds some light on how Nutritional Wisdom works, and why it’s so important.
A recent study from the international research journal “Appetite” shows that while, on a basic level, humans have instincts to consume calories and energy to stay alive, we do have a degree of “nutritional wisdom” that helps us select the foods our systems need to function well. That means, without necessarily thinking about it, our bodies can intuitively choose healthier options that provide more nutritional value for overall greater benefits.
The research analyzed two studies of adults choosing between two pairs of fruits and vegetables in a series of tests. The outcome was that the researchers observed more selections of pairs that offered more micronutrients overall as well as a broader range of micronutrients (rather than same-food pairs, for example.) An excess of micronutrients, or “micronutrient redundancy,” was typically avoided.
In this way, it’s safe to say that micronutrient composition does influence food choice, even when micronutrients aren’t the intended focus or goal, and even though you can’t directly smell or taste the micronutrients.
Humans are not just “calorie monsters,” driven to eat as many callories as possible! The sophisticaed neuro-circity that determins when and what we’re hungry for is a lot more sophisticated than that. We shouldn’t be surprised that our subconsious is wise after biollions or years of evolution, but so many people are!
It may seem simple, but being mindful about your eating choices could be all it takes to make positive changes that optimize your eating and significantly improve your health. However, it’s not as clear as leaning into every craving that pops into your mind. The tricky part is understanding your body’s cues and keeping track of how your body is affected by what you choose to eat.
Nutritional wisdom vs. intuitive eating
While intuitive eating helps you detach from the rules and expectations of meal plans or diets and tune into what feels good to your mind and body, nutritional wisdom takes that understanding one step further to intuitively choose foods with nutrients that would be specifically beneficial to your body based on its dietary deficiencies.
Both intuitive eating and nutritional wisdom are your body’s way of indicating the timing and contents of an optimal diet that is specific to you. Both also take patience and focus to understand what it is your body needs at the time, but intuitive eating focuses more on having a healthy relationship with food, whereas nutritional wisdom is your body subconsciously searching for healthy ingredients that may fill in nutritional gaps.
Navigating your body’s nutritional wisdom compass
The only way to hear what your body is telling you to reach for is by pausing, listening and processing the signals your body is providing. But how do you decipher those signals?
Journaling is not only a great way to process life events, worries and gratefulness, it’s also a helpful tool in recording food and wellness data and feelings to start understanding your body’s processes and identifying patterns that may be hurting or helping you.
At a very basic level, food journaling and identifying accompanying feelings for the day – whether it’s feeling tired, agitated, energetic or elated – can help you get in tune with how the food you consume is affecting your daily activity and where your diet may be lacking and in need of some support.
Further than that, understanding in detail the taste of your food as you eat can be an important indicator. Studies show animals use flavor to identify the macronutrients their bodies need, but advancement and added flavors in the food industry can be falsely fulfilling and point you in the direction of unhealthy foods instead. Exploring this level of detail can help you analyze what nutrients your body is seeking and also where modern technology can be using nutritional wisdom against you.
Acknowledging nutritional wisdom during intermittent fasting windows
During a fasting schedule, there is a significant focus on exactly what to eat during eating windows to make the most of your metabolism, but especially what to eat first to break a fast. After a period of fasting and cellular refresh, your body will be signaling for replenishment and breaking a fast is one of the best times to acknowledge the nutrients your body needs. If you’re intentionally choosing beneficial foods, you’re fueling yourself well for the rest of your day and also avoiding binging on unhealthy meals and snacks within reach that won’t help solve your nutrient deficiencies.
Generally, sticking to your fasting windows is more important than the very first thing you eat to break a fast, but by analyzing your body’s cues before and after you eat, you can better discern what your body is truly in need of, more specifically than just feeling hungry for any food available.
Intermittent fasting takes continued commitment, assessment and practice, which is why it’s important to have tools and resources at your fingertips to help guide you along the way and keep you on track for success. Temper’s unique Citravarin Fasting Mints are a tried and tested craving-blocker formulated specifically for intermittent fasting so you can more easily stick to your fasting windows, but they also come with one-on-one support from a real person: your fasting coach.
The two together create a system for an expertly customized intermittent fasting plan that is easy to follow and built to support you from all sides. It’s more than a diet plan. Intermittent fasting and nutritional wisdom are part of a lifestyle that helps you understand your body, transform your nutrition and elevate your life.