Top Essentials For Daily Health -- What's Your Health Trend?

March 11, 2019 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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 Top Essentials For Daily Health -- What's Your Health Trend?
Health trends develop over time. What you do each day to support your body and offset life demands determines health trends. You may have underlying genetics of heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease, etc, but how you support your body daily with diet and lifestyle plays a tremendous role in whether genetic disease expression is turned on or off. Just like cleaning up dirty dishes, vacuuming, and taking out the trash must be regularly done to maintain a clean house, you must support your health daily.

Diets lacking nutrients but with excessive calorie intake have become a global concern. According to the World Health Organization “Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Most of the world's population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight. Forty-one million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight."

Did you catch this sentence - Most of the world's population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight. This is a statement about simultaneous calorie excess, nutrient malnourishment, loss of homeostasis and consequences of health trends. Numerous layers of dysfunction bring an individual to this point of health collapse and it can shorten your lifespan.

Challenges That Compete Against Daily Nutrition

Challenges come every day from hybridized foods, genetically modified foods (GMOs), and foods with traces of Round-up/glyphosate, other pesticide and herbicide residues, or other chemicals that interfere with the normal flora of our gut and absorption. These same chemicals interfere with energy and mitochondrial function and increase cancer risks

We consume foods that were harvested before they were ripe, then sprayed with chemicals to ripen and preserve them, and transported across the country. We have foods “enhanced” with food technology and chemicals that you need a PhD in food science technology to understand what it is. These same “Franken foods” are designed to hi-jack your taste buds to make it your new favorite food, yet have natural nutrients stripped out and then synthetically “fortified with the essential nutrients”.

Challenges come from flame retardants, petrochemicals, xenoestrogens, plastics, common household disinfectants, perchlorates, formaldehydes, synthetic fragrances and aerosolized chemicals, and others. Your body needs nutrients to detoxify from them, otherwise they build-up in the body and contribute to loss of health.

There are challenges of a lifestyle with sedentary behaviors, computer/desk work, EMF, blue light, disruption to the circadian rhythm and 24/7 lifestyles with night-time artificial light. 

Adverse effects from antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, and numerous other medications can severely disrupt the gut flora, cause SIBO and maldigestion, change the gut lining, damage mitochondria, dysregulate blood sugar function, and render chronic low levels of inflammation in the digestive tract. This floods the liver with more toxins and contributes to adverse nutrient absorption and sluggish metabolism.

Individuals are often burdened with high amounts of stress with family, social media, work, and finances. Stress of any kind, but especially emotional stress, creates inflammation and oxidative stress. This creates more functional stress on insulin, leptin, thyroid, immune system, digestive, bones, and adversely imbalances the brain, nervous system, and adrenal glands and a loss of vitality

Reading this list may overwhelm you to the point of giving up – but you can’t. You have to press on and make good, daily choices. You have a job to do for yourself and for those around you. Make choices to the best of your ability and build on that day after day.

Simple things can make a difference. Positive changes in diet quality lead to long-term weight loss around the belly and heart, and helps reduce cancer risk, neurodegeneration, rapid aging, damaged mitochondria, insulin resistance, heart disease, degenerative joint disease, and so much more.

Daily Nutrition Needs

It’s never too late to make daily changes to improve your health trend. From a nutritional point of view, you want to avoid nutrient poor, high calorie junk foods. You also want a good balance and wide variety of foods. Your gut flora thrives on variety. Most of the food you eat should be nutrient rich. Yes, there are times when other choices are made for an event, traveling, on-the-go, availability, etc but the goal is to have far more nutrient dense foods than calorie rich foods.

Let’s say you are eating about 50 percent whole foods, but the rest is convenience foods as prepackaged, restaurant, fast food or cafeteria food, etc. Make the choice to incrementally change this pattern one food and one meal at a time. Make choices for organic, whole foods, minimally processed and non-GMO as much as you can. What you consume today and every day going forward is either helpful or a burden to your body. What is your balance?

Learning to cook for yourself, food selection and preparation can be daunting if you haven’t had to do much of it. Plentiful resources are available to help. Online recipes, YouTube videos, and cooking shows are available. Pick up an “old-fashioned” cook book and spend some time reading through the recipes and food preparation suggestions. Take a cooking class with your local community education programs or local food coops. If your child is enrolled in a “Home-Ec” /Family and Consumer Science class, work together in the kitchen and grocery store to develop skills together.

Consider growing some foods in your own garden. As we anticipate spring and the opportunity to grow things, consider looking into community gardens, community supported agriculture, farmer’s markets, a little indoor garden or backyard garden, or even hydroponics. If your neighbor has a “green thumb” ask them for some pointers.

Despite even the best efforts, healthy diets are still shown to be lacking all of the nutrients necessary to meet the minimal RDA guidelines. The CDC reports that nearly 30 percent of the population is nutritionally deficient. To help yourself get back on track, focus on these essentials.

Core Dietary Principles

1. Follow the Five Rules of Leptin Diet. Go back to the basics of eating three meals per day, without snacks. Choose nutrient dense whole foods at each meal. As you do this, you will find that your appetite becomes satisfied. You will also find that this meal pattern helps your body’s rhythm get back on track. This helps the natural rhythm of metabolism, thyroid, energy, blood sugar, sleep, gut and healthy poop, gallbladder and liver detoxification and adrenals.

2. Avoid the worst pesticide/herbicide laden foods, i.e. the Dirty Dozen and GMO foods. GMO foods in the US include corn, soybean, cotton, potato, squash, papaya, canola, alfalfa, sugarbeat, and apple. Other foods are approved to become GMO. Other countries have banned them. Why hasn’t the US?

Core Nutritional Supplementation

Here are the most important supplements to support your health every day. These are a helpful nutritional boost to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

1. Multiple Vitamin: A multiple vitamin is the backbone of a nutritional program. One of the most important things that a multiple vitamin supports is the body’s need for B vitamins. Every cell needs B vitamins as these nutrients are vital for energy production with mitochondria, methylation, and myelination. B vitamins are made in the gut by healthy flora. However, anyone with digestive concerns, many medications, and high stress levels needs support. A multiple vitamin also provides the foundation with other vitamins such as vitamin A and carotenes, C, D, and E.

2. Multiple Mineral: A recent article recognized that inadequate dietary magnesium is a public health crisis affecting millions. Diets low in fruits and vegetables also lead to insufficient potassium intake. Research identifying nutritional needs of postmenopausal women found that most women were deficient in calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Other vitamins and minerals have been identified as “underconsumed” in the US population. These include inadequate intake of vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and choline.

3. Daily Fish Oil: Fish oil like omega-3 DHA and EPA are also called essential fatty acids. Essential means that you must get them in your diet every day. If you don’t consume them as fish oil or other omega-3 plant-based oils like flax, chia, walnut, or grass-fed meats, then the very core of your body structure, inflammation management, and cell signals becomes compromised.

All cell membranes, the brain, liver, skin, hair, cartilage, gut, thyroid, adrenals, lungs, heart, blood vessels, immune system, muscles, mitochondria, hormones like leptin and insulin, nerve signals, and numerous functions in the body need essential fatty acids. If you don’t have these essential fatty acids, then your body and brain ages more rapidly. Living in your body without these oils is like trying to make your car work without engine oil. Your “mechanic” will see you now.

4. Daily Antioxidants: Antioxidants are essential for healthy immunity, eyesight, skin, and cellular health.
Most Americans fail to consume 8-13 fruits and vegetables per day. Many do not even achieve 5-8 servings per day. It is easy to fall short as life gets busy or access is limited. If your fresh vegetables are starting to wilt a bit, make a vegetable stew. If you don’t like the taste of vegetables at all, try different methods – baked, roasted, stir-fry. Or use the trick of adding zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato puree, or carrots to brownies, muffins, or quick breads. It makes for a tasty treat.

5. Daily Detoxification: Your body is constantly detoxifying 24/7. Your lungs eliminate toxins with every breath. Your liver, gut, and kidneys spend an enormous amount of time every day managing the things you take in, so metabolism can occur. Waste products are ultimately excreted through breath, stool, urine, and sweat. The same hard work occurs inside your cells.

For this to occur, you must have appropriate nourishment from nutrient dense foods including protein, good fats, vitamins, minerals, and a bounty of antioxidants. Thank goodness we don’t have to mentally tell our bodies what to do and act like a traffic cop with nutrients and daily use. However, you do need to provide your body with the essential nutrients so it can do its job of maintain healthy structure and function. It matters what you put into your body.

Nutrient Intake Matters

Results from a recent randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial were published in January 2019 measuring the effect of a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that contained plant-based antioxidants. Adults who habitually ate a low fruit and vegetable diet were given supplemental support for 8 weeks and compared to those who did not. Those who received supplementation at the end of the study had significantly lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protected DNA from oxidative stress without altering the body’s own antioxidant system.

College students notoriously have unhealthy diets. A recent study demonstrated the importance of a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables with college students and good grades. The February 2019 study extensively evaluated Australian college students on their diet and their grade point average (GPA). University students who had a diet with high amounts of nutrient dense food and lower intake of sugar and nutrient poor/calorie rich foods had higher grades and GPAs. This is just a snippet of what good nutrition does for the whole body.

Your body requires proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, plant-based antioxidants, enzymes, and water to function. When the intake of high calorie, nutrient poor foods outweighs the intake of nutrient dense foods, then you must find a way to replenish the body.

Supplementation can make up the deficit; it does not, however, replace a lifelong healthy diet. If your cardiologist smoked a couple cigarette packs per day, ate a poor diet with high carbs intake, was overweight and didn’t exercise, yet advised his patients to make healthy choices, his advice would leave you shaking your head. You must be your own supervisor to this gift of the human body. Change and healthy habits start with you making daily choices. What is your choice today?

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