Do you believe that you are what you eat? Let’s ask another question – if we consider that our bodies function based on the function of the cells that make up our bodies, and that the function of each of these cells is based on the energy they receive to do their work and that the energy the cells receive is based on the food that we eat each day, then it stands to reason that the food that we eat eventually works its way down to the cellular level and makes a difference in the way that the cells function.
In other words, we really are what we eat. When we feed the cells of our body processed foods that are sadly lacking in vitamins and minerals or are high in sugar, our bodies aren’t able to work at their optimal ability. By giving our body the nutrition it needs to perform, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to live the lives we were meant to.
All of this means that the way we look, prevention of aging process and even our energy levels are all based on the types and how much food we eat each and every day.
Each day there is new information from researchers that supports the idea that the best nutrition we can acquire is through raw foods and not the super-sized double cheese burger or deep fried ice cream – all of which tastes just dandy. Instead, it is the nutrition from fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds that best feeds our body.
Multi-vitamins give our body an additional boost. However, they should never be used as the only way in which we receive vitamins and minerals. They are meant only as supplements to a well balanced diet.
There is no magic food that will keep us looking or feeling young forever. However, our diet will affect how our skin looks and ages and will also affect how the remainder of the supporting organs function. One of the biggest factors in the aging process that scientists have uncovered is free radicals. These free radicals are the product of metabolism of our food. They are a normal byproduct but must be addressed using foods rich in antioxidants. Free radicals are destructive to the cellular structure and infrastructure of the body. Anti-oxidant are nutrients which bind with the free radicals and do not allow them to become destructive. (1,2)
Nutrition from the inside out should address an adequate amount of vitamins in the diets. This includes vitamin C which helps to form collagen and reduces wrinkling. (3) Beta-carotene is involved in the growth and repair of body tissues and can help protect against sun damage. Beta-carotene is found in green plants, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots and green peppers. (4)
Vitamin E. helps to protect cell membranes and guard against ultraviolet radiation damage. (5) Selenium can help safeguard the skin from sun damage and improve quality and elasticity. (6) Omega-3 fatty acids are important and cardiovascular health and can be found in flax seed, salmon, walnuts and sardines. (7)
These are only a few of the vitamins which are necessary for the optimal functioning of the human body. But it is not only necessary to get the correct nutrition, it is also necessary to limit the kinds of foods which are unhealthy and our diet. For instance, scientists have discovered that foods high in carbohydrates such as white rice, bread, bagels, crackers and pasta, increase the amount of insulin which is secreted by the pancreas is and also increases the amount of fat which is developed in the body. (8) Sugars and refine starches can also cause difficulty with this cellular process and the immune system. Sugar will deplete the function of the immune system for several hours after it is eaten.
Because our bodies are made up of such a large amount of fluid and water it is incredibly important to remain hydrated. Our skin helps to flush toxins from the body and without water, it is not an efficient process. Water also helps to keep the skin clean and clear as well as support the kidney and liver functioning, immune system and even assists us in weight loss. (9)
The cornerstone to successful nutrition is tailor making the nutritional needs of an individual and dovetailing that with lifestyle choices. General guidelines can help to address overall needs but only through sound nutritional planning can an individual find the right balance of nutrition with integration into current lifestyle choices.
(1) Nutrition: Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Nutrition
(2) National Cancer Institute: Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention
(3) MedinePlus: Vitamin C
(4) American Cancer Society: Vitamin A, Retinoids and ProVitamin A Carotenoids
(5) Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E
(6) University of Maryland Medical Center: Selenium
(7) MayoClinic: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, Alpha Linolenic Acid
(8) Journal of Nutrition: White wheat flour lowers plasma cholesterol and increases cecal steroids relative to whole wheat flour, wheat bran and wheat pollard in rats
(9) KidsHealth.org: Why Drinking Water is the Way to Go