Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Get into a food Regimen... for now and for a healthy future

What you eat isn't the only determinant of your overall health status. There are plenty of other facets of your life that play major roles in determining how functional and energetic you are.

If you're consistently eating foods that nourish your cells and don't create cellular injury or inflammation, your diet can take a back seat to other high priority items, like getting enough rest, being physically active, being in a healthy environment, and spending time with people and projects that leave you feeling fulfilled.

If you're not eating the right foods for your health - foods that are injuring your cells and creating inflammation in your body with or without your awareness - then your diet deserves the bulk of your attention and resources, as taking care of other areas of your life while continuously crippling your body with your food choices is a recipe for chronic disease.

Figuring out what to eat to support your best health is a project that you best take on yourself, as no one else can observe all of the ways in which your body responds to the foods and beverages that you consume.

Put another way, it's virtually impossible for one specific dietary program to best support everyone because we're all unique in countless ways and we're always changing.

What is possible and effective for many is to follow a few specific principles that govern healthy eating, to continuously be mindful of how you're feeling, and to make modifications whenever necessary.

Sometimes, modifications may be called for immediately, as in the case of discovering a food allergy. At other times, you may find that changing life circumstances - like aging or even changing of seasons - require alterations to your diet to keep you feeling strong and healthy.

What follows are general principles of healthy eating.

1. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods.

Nutrient-rich foods are naturally abundant in one or more of the following health-promoting nutrients:

• Healthy protein
• Healthy fat (including cholesterol)
• Healthy carbohydrates (including fiber)
• Vitamins
• Minerals
• Enzymes
• Water
• Phytonutrients (nutrients found in plant foods)

Dark or brightly colored vegetables, fruits, and legumes are generally considered to be nature's most nutrient-rich plant foods that are typically well tolerated by the masses.

From the animal kingdom, eggs from healthfully raised birds and cold-water fish are good nutrient-rich food choices for many people.

Broths made from vegetables and/or bones from cold water fish or healthfully raised chickens are also deeply nourishing choices.

2. Minimize Or Avoid Consumption of Highly Processed Foods.

Foods that are predominately made of sugar, flour, and highly processed grains (found in many commercially prepared cereals) are generally low in nutrient value. Same is the case with vast majority of deep-fried foods like donuts and potato chips.

You may be able to indulge in highly processed foods without experiencing significant consequences to your health in the short term if your health is relatively good, but the more you stay away from this group of foods, the healthier you will be and feel in the short and long term.

3. Minimize or Avoid Consumption of Foods that Cause Cellular Injury or Inflammation.

Based on human health and nutrition, the worst offenders are:

• Pasteurized and homogenized dairy products.
• Foods that contain shortening or partially hydrogenated oils.
• Most varieties of highly processed luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon, and sausages.
• Factory-farmed flesh meats that have been cooked to a crisp.

4. Chew Your Foods Well.

Chewing your foods until liquid takes burden off your digestive organs, and allows your body to maximally extract and absorb nutrients in the foods that you eat.

You aren't what you eat; you're what you fully digest, and thoroughly chewing your foods is an essential requirement for optimal digestion and health.


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