In our last Blog, “What Is Food?”, (click HERE to read) we discussed the importance of good quality food, and the importance of consuming all three macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) to stay healthy and energized. In this issue we will take it to the next level and discover why food is so powerful when it comes to your health. For many of us it could be the “missing link”…
After all, food is:
- A building block for the body
- Ammunition against disease
How can food heal and energize…
The body is constantly trying to heal itself, to maintain a balance called homeostasis. One of the key factors that contribute to this balance is the food we eat. The complex process of food digestion and absorption leads to an almost magical process that can influence how your body functions. At one end good quality food can help restore health and at the other end poor quality food can have a detrimental impact on overall health and wellness.
Most of us don’t believe we are eating ‘that badly”, at least that’s how I used to feel. I thought of myself as a ‘foodie’ who ate a pretty healthy vegetarian diet. I bought into a lot of the misinformation out there not understanding the complexities of how food impacts how our bodies function.
Food is Information…
Food acts as messengers, telling our bodies how to act, when to act and what to do:
“Do this” / “Don’t do this”
“Release this hormone” / “Don’t release that one”
“Strengthen and duplicate this cell” / Don’t duplicate that cell”
“Switch this gene on” / Switch this gene off”
It really is amazing, but each molecule of food can kick-off a cascade of events that impact the function of the human body. And, let us not forget that our thoughts, moods and feelings can affect how our bodies process these nutrients.
So if you’re freaking out trying to eat healthy, eating too fast or chowing down on food you don’t enjoy – it will impact how our bodies use the good food we are feeding it.
Food is a Building Block for the Body…
The body has the ability to make its own “building blocks” out of whatever amino acids (part of a protein) are on hand. However, there is one important limitation—some of those amino acids are only available in food. These “raw materials” (amino acids) must all be present to build the body properly; if they are not, the body and its systems, like a building made with poor quality materials, will not stand up over time.
Protein helps to build bones, cartilage, skin, and blood, plus your hair and nails are made mostly of protein. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and it is the precursor to the mood enhancing / memory improving neurotransmitters in your brain.
All food contains some protein, but what foods are complete proteins:
Examples of a complete protein include: Red meat, Fish, Eggs, Milk, Cheese, Yogourt, Quinoa, Legumes (soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas) combined with grains = a complete protein
But don’t be fooled, just because these are all ‘complete’ proteins they are not all created equal.
According to Dr. Weston A Price, “In order to consume adequate amounts of amino acids from legumes and grains one must consume so much that they may not have room in their stomachs for other foods and therefore miss out on other nutrients.”
Food is Ammunition Against Disease…
Inflammation is a necessary metabolic process in the body to kick-start a healing process when a person is injured or sick. Examples include: swelling when an ankle is sprained, or a fever with a flu. In both cases inflammation is helping the body to heal. BUT, chronic inflammation that persists, day in and day out, even when it is not needed can become your enemy. Uncontrolled, chronic inflammation plays a role in almost every major disease, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s….
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation doesn’t come from the pharmacy – it comes from the grocery store.
Choosing good quality foods can help reduce your risk of illness – while consistently choosing the wrong ones (processed and/or laden with chemicals) can accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
Food is Fuel…
The “Food is Fuel” statement is obviously overly simplistic and not really accurate, especially if we are thinking in terms of calories in and calories out. BUT, if we look at food as the building blocks to what we are, the messengers that help to keep our bodies functioning optimally and ammunition against disease – Food is capable of helping us to have the energy we need to live fuller/happier lives.
To Keep it Simple…
There is so much confusing information about nutrition available today. To keep it simple, the next time you go to eat something ask yourself,
“Will this food help to move me towards health?”
If it’s something your great grandmother would have recognized as food, then there’s a good chance you’re making a decent choice. PLUS, keep in mind the quality of the food you are eating. For example, “What did that animal eat?” And, “How many chemicals and pesticides were used to grow the grain, fruit or vegetable?”
In short, the missing link to your health is the food you eat everyday….