Humans may possess innate food intelligence

Humans may possess innate food intelligence

The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is exceptional at choosing food that is nutritionally dense and likely to help it thrive in the wild. The same might be true for humans wanting to thrive in their lives.

Research published in the journal Appetite found that humans may have the ability to intuitively choose foods based on the different types of micronutrients the foods provide.

In the study, authors looked at whether people selected multiple food items that would provide a range of different vitamins and minerals when eaten together. Participants were shown different pictures of pairings of vegetables and fruit, and asked which they favored. In both experiments, participants picked photos of foods that had a greater variety of micronutrients.

Then, analyzing data from a larger diet and nutrition survey, the study’s authors found that typical meal combinations people made increased the breadth of nutrients they consumed.

Although there is no evidence to shed light on how a person might respond to their body’s need for a specific nutrient, British sailors who suffered from scurvy often found themselves almost immediately craving fruits and vegetables.

But sometimes, the processed food industry can capitalize on our natural knack for nutrient-sourcing. For example, our North Star of micronutrients is typically our taste buds. When processed foods are imbued with artificial flavors or synthetic flavoring, it can make us believe we are eating something more nutritious than we actually are.

So, while we may not be as sensible about food as a lemur, when we do make nutritious choices, we can trust we’ll pick the best combinations.

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