EATING FOR HEALTH & VITALITY
Disclaimer: I am not a qualified health practitioner. You should always consult a qualified health practitioner if you are sick. Opinions expressed on this website are my own or come from my own experience or research
It’s important to remember what our bodies need and why but so easy to forget in the ‘busyness’ of life.
The body needs both macronutrients (protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to keep it functioning correctly providing you with health, vitality and immunity.
Macronutrients provide energy and the raw materials that builds and maintains tissues
Micronutrients are involved in the vast number of processes and chemical reactions in every cell, organ and system in the body ensuring they work smoothly and in harmony with each other providing a healthy working body. There are nearly 30 essential micronutrients that the body cannot manufacture in sufficient amounts or simply cannot manufacture at all such as minerals and vitamin C, so they must come from your diet. Even though you only need small amounts of these micronutrients, failing to get these small amounts virtually guarantees problems.
I’m not going to go through every micronutrient but here are short overviews of 3 micronutrients to give you an idea of why they are so important.
EATING FOR LIFE
A Healthy Balanced Diet - Providing our bodies with what it needs
We can see from the above information on macro and micro nutrients how essential it is that the body receives a wide range of nutrients on a daily basis. The best way to achieve this, I believe, is by following either a plant based omnivore diet ie mostly vegetables, nuts, fruit, unsaturated fats eg olive oil, omega 3 fats, with moderate amounts of whole grains, legumes, eggs and a little meat and fish. In other words, a bit of everything. Or a broad vegetarian diet. Two diets that follow these principles are The Mediterranean Diet and the Budwig Diet.
In both cases, all food should be as organic as you can afford or find. Pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, all found in non-organic food, play havoc in the body. A reported 24 million pounds of antibiotics are used every year in the United States alone to prevent infections in livestock but also as a way to fatten poultry and livestock faster. The dairy and milk we consume is that of permanently pregnant cows eating high corn diets, being treated consistently with antibiotics.
Organic food is expensive and not many people can afford for their diet to be completely organic. However, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) bring out an annual list of what they call 'The Dirty Dozen', and the 'Clean Fifteen'. The EWG compiles its annual list by analyzing U.S. Department of Agriculture data “to identify which fresh fruits and vegetables are most and least contaminated with pesticide residues.”
This year, 2021, the USDA’s tests found residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides on nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S.,” A study of the blood from the umbilical cords of 10 new-born babies in the US in 2014 by the Environmental Working Group revealed over 287 harmful chemicals.
EWG said in a press release. “Before testing fruits and vegetables, the USDA washes, scrubs and peels them, as consumers would.
Here are the 2021 Dirty Dozen:
Bell and hot peppers
Here are the items on the Clean 15:
Frozen sweet peas
In case you might be thinking things are better here in the UK, the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK)analysed 12 years of government pesticide residue data and found unacceptable levels of pesticides on fruit and vegetables. Residues of 123 pesticides were found some of which are linked to serious health problems such as cancer and disruption of the hormone system. In many cases, multiple residues were found on produce.
PAN UK believe that scientists have little understanding about the complex interaction of different chemicals, termed 'the cocktail effect.'
If you can afford it, try to buy organic for The Dirty Dozen.
Some Final Words
It is possible that due to dietary restrictions/habits, you may be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. It would be advisable to consult a professional eg naturopath or functional medicine practitioner, who can test for deficiencies and prescribe a course to bring levels back to normal. A broad diet should then provide your body with what it needs.
There are 3 things I would urge you to think about supplementing with on a daily basis. Vitamin C, Vitamin D (see above), and plant-based minerals. I will write about plant-based minerals soon and why I believe they are so important....
But, briefly, research shows how the soil has been depleted of minerals over the years - selenium is now very depleted in soils so even if you are eating Brazil nuts, you may not necessarily be getting enough selenium. Whilst our bodies can make certain vitamins eg a healthy gut makes vitamin B, we cannot make minerals and can only obtain them from the food we eat. Whilst chelated minerals will provide benefit, plant based minerals are far and away the best source.
To reduce bloating, improve digestion and prevent over-eating, chew each mouthful of food at least 20 to 30 times. Digestion actually begins with the release of enzymes in the mouth. Chewing longer also allows time for the release of enzymes and HCL in the stomach, ready to receive the partially digested food from the mouth.
If your body is unable to tolerate either of these diets above ie to eat a broad range of natural, whole foods, I would strongly recommend that you consult a qualified health practitioner. You may need to heal your gut lining and restore the balance of bacteria in the gut or possibly uncover and address genetic issues. You will then be able to follow a broad diet that provides you with everything you need to for a healthy body that gives you energy, vitality and a Zest For Life!
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