Welcome to this article about healthy eating. Many people reading this article will be pretty clued in and nothing I tell you will be much of a surprise, but I am also aware that a lot of this information is not freely available and, frankly, you won’t get the full benefits from food or health supplements without knowing these facts.
A good diet cannot GUARANTEE you good health in the future but it does reduce your chances of falling foul of the so called “silent killers” (heart disease, strokes and cancer).
In this article I hope to show you what and how you need to eat to be really healthy and the role that health supplements can play in this.
Some Basic Facts
The following statements are absolutely and categorically FALSE.
a) The only way to achieve health and longevity is through good diet and exercise.
Health and longevity is achieved through a combination of diet, good genetics, the degree to which the body is able to cope with mutation and damage from environmental poisons that the body ingests from food, the air and in water (the most common being pesticides, herbicides, pollution and radiation) and mental or spiritual factors (how happy you are, how free of guilt you are etc.).
Other lifestyle factors apart from diet also play a role, such as exposure to STD’s via a promiscuous lifestyle or engaging in casual sex, unnecessary exposure to harmful microorganisms by failing to keep yourself and your living spaces clean, etc.
As we are only really scratching the surface in understanding the health effects of some of these factors, then anyone who promises GUARANTEED health and longevity through one or more of these is at best misguided and at worst a con man. You can of course reduce the risk of poor health by improving one or more of these factors, but that’s an entirely different statement.
b) Health supplements can be used as a substitute for a balanced diet for health and longevity.
There is no single health supplement; multivitamin or even super food that provides every single nutrient that has an important role in human health. The closest yet discovered, that is commercially available, are Spirulina and blue green algae (such as Klamath Lake, Chorella and edible seaweed is a type of blue green algae also), but even though that food gets pretty close it does not provide everything the body needs. The body needs vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients to be properly fed. There are over 60000 enzymes that are obtained from plants, over 60 antioxidants, (though some are also classed as vitamins, co enzymes, herbs and other types of nutrients, but we only know the importance of a few of them), and over 600 phytonutrients or phytochemicals in total have been discovered (including antioxidants that are also classed as phytonutrients).
It is not possible for a manufactured health supplements to duplicate this highly complex system that has taken billions of years to develop. We also know that enzymes, vitamins and different phytonutrients work together complimenting and increasing their benefits to health and this is important for the absorption and effectiveness of nutrients but not enough research has been done to really understand these complex processes and relationships.
Suffice to say that this also means that, for this reason, a manufactures health supplement or single food or natural health supplement cannot get even close to substituting for a varied diet rich in different types of fruits and vegetables.
c) All of the necessary nutrients for health and longevity can be achieved simply by purchasing food in the regular shops.
Now this is interesting because it is the mantra I hear from doctors, nutritionists and “experts|” on the internet.
You will notice I use the expression “from regular shops” The reason I say this is because if you are prepared to go to a lot of effort you can in fact get all the nutrition you need from food and this is a very valid route to go but it depends on the following:
a) The foods is grown in good soil conditions.
b) The plant is allowed to fully mature.
c) The plant is as fresh as possible.
d) The plant is free of artificial chemicals, poisons, heavy metals and radiation (yes this is a problem in some parts of the world).
e) You ensure 50-60% of what you eat is plant food (fruit and vegetables) and at least 50% of THAT should be appropriate raw plant food.
In other words the health of the plant you are eating will determine how much nutrition you receive, the plant also absorbs whatever is on the soil or is sprayed on it, passing it onto your body. The raw food ensures you are getting the maximum vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients.
Most food is grown intensively, using artificial fertilisers and chemical insecticides and herbicides. As the crops are grown year on year without resting the soil or allowing nitrogen fixing plants like grass to grow on it and replenishing it with rotting vegetation or manure the plants a deficient in minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients.
So why should I take Health Supplements?
When I talk about health supplements I am referring to nutrition products that created by companies to provide boost of healthy nutrients to a person’s diet. I am not including herbs in this as they are natural medicines rather than health supplements. Health supplements can be man made, as in vitamin supplements or a natural raw food such as Spirulina or Seaweed or can be a combination of any of these two types/ While, as we have already covered, supplements cannot replace a varied and balanced diet they do have their uses:, which are:
Man made vitamin and nutrition formulas:
These are vitamins, minerals and other supplement formulas that have be made by companies or isolated in a non natural way.
a) To boost a healthy balanced diet by ensuring that the body is getting enough of the essential nutrients.
b) To provide extra essential nutrients where food quality, harvesting and storage reduces the amounts that can be obtained from normal diet ( as in much of the supermarket fruit and vegetables).
c) To remedy a deficiency in an essential nutrient as advised by a qualified health practitioner.
d) To remedy a specific health problem or support a medical program as prescribed by a qualified health practitioner.
e) To provide the need for extra specific essential nutrients due to a specific genetic requirement of your body.
Natural Nutrition Supplements
Natural Nutrition Supplements are FOOD or combinations of foods or natural products like probiotics that provide essential vitamins minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients or a specific health benefit. They are therefore the best supplements for overall health and wellness, containing hundreds if not thousands of different healthy nutritional compounds including enzymes, vitamins minerals, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that it is impossible to replicate in man made supplements.
Using supplements badly
None of the above supplements will be of any use if you have a diet consisting mostly of processed food and laden with bad fats and refined carbohydrates like refined sugar. Boosting your diet with supplements won’t help much if you are on a suicide course with your diet, so if that’s a problem, handle THAT as a priority.
A word about natural essential nutrients.
Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids obtained from food are absorbed more readily into the system and utilised by the body when they are obtained from food, as that is the natural way to take them. Bodies have evolved over billions of years and have developed a complex relationship with food that we have only really scratched the surface of in terms of understanding. For this reason natural nutrients are best for general health.
Certain types of super foods are available that are extremely rich in enzymes and phytonutrients; there are quite a few on the market. They are not what you would choose to eat for dinner but the best ones in my opinion are Spirulina Blue Green Algae and Seagreens. All of these foods or even a combination of them will give a tremendous boost in Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Spirulina is particularly rich in phytonutrients including many antioxidants and it is the richest source of several of them including beta carotene. Spirulina has a huge nutrient profile but is particularly high in complete protein, amino acids (which are used by the body to form enzymes) and iron.
The body requires the natural food and a diet containing all the food types, protein, unrefined carbohydrate, natural oils of all types, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Research into the complex relationship between food and the body is in it’s early states, there are possibly 6-8,000 different phytonutrients and enzymes that are either obtained form food or are manufactures using compounds found in food. The point being that, even when a nutrient is not essential, is made by the body, some sort of phytonutrient or enzyme that IS derived form food is involved in the manufacturing process.
Eat fruit and vegetables, avoid refined carbohydrates, manufactured fats, sugar and eat lots of vegetables, a lot of it raw. That’s the way to reduce health risks through diet and nutrition.