A renewed interest in health has led to diet trends like the Virgin Diet, the Paleo Diet, and an overall emphasis on raw foods. So, is this just another diet craze that will fade into oblivion by the end of the decade?
The Internet has allowed us to find scores of information on our health and diet. People are starting to stand up and take notice that when they eat unprocessed foods that only have natural carbohydrates and sugars they feel better and their bodies respond much better.
On the other hand processed food will weigh you down and drain you of your energy, even though, you are often consuming far more calories than you would with a similar meal made from scratch at home. This is because they are not energy foods, and their calories are empty calories, which serve no purpose, except to turn into fat in our bodies.
People are coming to realize that the old fashioned way of doing things seemed to better for our bodies.
Why Are Whole Foods Better For Me?
I love the saying that my doctor told me and it is a good point of reference for knowing the majority of good foods from the bad ones. He told me “If you can get it in a box, a bag, or pick it up in a drive thru, your body can not process it correctly.”
Our bodies were made to process plants and animals without modifiers, preservatives, hormones, and other chemicals that are regularly pumped into our food supply. That is Mother Nature’s way.
Also to maintain costs and freshness much of your processed food has a majority of its nutrients blasted away before you even enter your grocery store. Your body’s cells perform better when they are getting all the nutrients that they need.
Processed foods often give your body calories but starve it of necessary nutrients, leaving you to feel tired, sick, and often will make you gain weight because your cells are unable to metabolize the food properly.
In the end processed foods are not worth all of the trouble that they cause to our bodies. To reinforce my doctor’s point I have also heard it said that when you shop at the supermarket to stick to the products along the walls or the periphery of the store and avoid the middle aisles because that is where the processed foods lurk.
What is a cell?
Cells are the fundamental units of life, you can think of them as the bricks from which all the tissues and organs are built. They are also the smallest living organisms in the body.
The cells are constantly communicating with each other and responding to what you do, and the signals they receive from you as to how your body should respond. This include, thoughts, movement of arms and legs and many hundreds of involuntary processes in the body.
When cell health is compromised the functioning of tissues and organs that are built on cells will not perform at their best and this will impact your health and can lead to chronic disease.
Nourishment is therefore key to optimal cell health. Also, with the exception of brain cells, body cells are replicated each day to replace cells that have died off, and this process requires raw material to work properly that comes in the form of proper nutrition.
Essential nutrients that support cell health are also required to protect them from damage so they can go on to do their job in protecting your good health.
Nutrients For Cell Health
Our bodies have high nutrient demands that with a whole food diet and some added supplements can easily be met.
While it is not a nutrient exactly, water is a vital component for your body to work properly. Your body is composed primarily of water and must be hydrated to perform at peak condition.
However, the majority of Americans are chronically dehydrated, even though we literally have hundreds of drink options when we hit the grocery store. While nearly every drink option you have is water based, the caffeine content of many soft drinks and energy drinks on the market today actually work to dehydrate your body.
You need at least 64 ounces of water a day. When you hear 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per day that sounds like a large amount of water, but, when you think about it 64 ounces is only 4 full bottles of the standard water bottles and 2 glasses of the large 32 ounce cups that you can get at most fast food chains. Getting enough water is much easier than most people want to believe.
The other nutrients that your body needs for cell health are antioxidants called, B vitamins that allow you to perform with energy, and protect the cells from damage that results from free radicals.
Other important antioxidants include, the vitamin E family compounds that are prominent in whole grains and Vitamin C found in citrus foods, as well as, carotenoids that come from vegetables and protect your DNA from free radical damage.
The cells also need amino acids and healthy fats, such as, Omega-3 Fatty Acids that help to build and support their protective membranes and play a key role in building and repair.
Without this wide range of nutrients, the cell membranes can become brittle and develop holes at which point they will not function properly and can cause mutations of DNA, which can lead to a decline in normal cell function and cancer.
How To Get These Nutrients
These important nutrients that you can find in fresh whole foods will give you a better quality of life, more energy, disease prevention and overall better health.
You can find multivitamins that have the entire or a portion of the FDA recommended daily dosage of each vitamin or mineral that you need, though, real food is always the best way to get vital nutrients into your body.
If you find some foods unappealing, but, still want to reap the nutrient benefits many health companies are now creating nutritional supplement drinks that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and often taste more like a milkshake than a nutritious meal.
Make sure to check ingredients and ask your doctor to be sure that you are not ingesting unnecessary salt and sugar that may be included in these meals.