It seems like these days, healthy eating has become such a multi-billion-dollar industry that everyone knows what it’s like to get bombarded by ‘The New Health Food!’ ads for Acai whatnot and Goji Berry thingamajig. It’s an unfortunate aspect of our pharmaceutical culture that we’ve learned to look for cures for specific ills, and we treat food the same way. Cranberries for UTIs, carrots for vision problems, prunes for constipation…we’re treating food like it’s medicine, and it’s failing us. We need a new health food regimen.
It’s true that Hippocrates said “Make food your medicine and medicine your food”, but that’s not what he meant. By eating right in general — every day — we prevent far more illnesses than we could ever hope to treat. The point is not to respond to conditions by seeking a superfood, it’s to prevent conditions by getting proper nutrition.
Nutrition doesn’t stop at food, however. The body also takes in water, air, sunlight, and surface contaminants. If your water or air aren’t clean, or you don’t get enough sun, or you’re spreading chemicals on your skin that disrupt your body’s functions, all of the right eating in the world won’t give you perfect health. But it will help — more than you probably realize — to make your ALL of your food your ‘New Health Food’.
It starts with a proper quantity of protein and fats. There are proteins (amino acids) and fats (fatty acids) that your body cannot make on its own, but it needs to survive. They are called Essential Fatty and/or Amino Acids (EFAs and EAAs). Omega-3 and Omega-6s are the most well-known EFAs, and EAAs are so commonly overlooked that deficiencies in them are responsible for almost 80% of emotional disorders in the USA. (EAAs are the basis of mood-stablizing hormones, so if you don’t get them, you don’t get the hormones, which destabilizes your mood and causes depression, irritability, and ADHD.)
It’s critical to get at least 80 grams of protein in a day, including at least 80 grams per weeks from eggs and 80 grams per week from red meat. That will ensure that your body has enough protein to build tissues and repair organs with, and your brain will be able to create all of the hormones it needs to provide mental and emotional stability.
Protein: your New Health Food!
Similarly, fats are critical to your body’s ability to fight infections, injuries, and illnesses. Your body’s fundamental response to these things is inflammation: the ability for your body to focus heat, blood, and antibodies at the site of injury or illness and attack the problem head-on. Your EFAs are vital to your body’s ability to target inflammation in an effective manner. If your Omega33/Omega-6 balance is off, your body may not be able to become inflamed, and thus be unable to fight off injury or illness — or worse yet, it may become hyper-inflamed or uncontrollably inflamed, which causes problems like chronic pain, oversensitivity (of the physical kind), and even advanced problems like fibromyalgia and some kinds of cancer.
The key with fats is to get both Omega-3s (fish oils, olive oils, nut and seed oils) as well as Omega-6s (vegetable oils), in roughly a 1-to-1 ratio. This is very challenging for most of us, since we all eat vegetable, corn, or canola oils in almost everything, but peanut oil is expensive and fish oils are rare. Establishing the ratio, however, dramatically improves your body’s ability to maintain it’s own health.
Fat: your New Health Food!