Nutrition is undoubtedly an integral facet of every human, no one is exempt from what good nutrition can do for a positive mindset and health.
Every single part of you is broken down and created in a continual cycle of birth, life and death. There are roughly 30 trillion cells in the human body, that’s 30,000,000,000,000 written as a number. Each one of these cells will experience birth, life and eventual death.
This is where the magic of nutrition stars as the main act. Each cell created, hormone synthesised and enzyme used owns its life to the nutrients you place into the body. Nutrition is like anything in life that has a varied state of quality. Higher quality food will create healthier cells, these cells will be stronger, more resilient to damage and function better. You would often see this correlate to a healthier person with fewer health issues. On the other hand, cells created from poor nutrition will often demonstrate the opposite to the previous statement.
Picture this… 30 trillion cells all made from nutrient-deficient food, that’s a vast number of cells poorly functioning. The accumulation of those 30 trillion cells equals one human being with low energy, poor mental state, low immune system and a strong propensity to getting sick.
It would be a complete miss-justice to the human body to think in one piece of writing you can write the complete manual on what’s right and wrong for it but there are certainly some key points we can cover. The rest of the article will take you through some key pieces of the nutritional puzzle, covering what they are and what they do for the body.
When broken down in the human body proteins become amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, 11 which your body can make itself and 9 which must be consumed regularly to maintain a healthy balance of all 20. Protein can be consumed mainly through animal meats and plant-based foods. These are the two main sources of protein we recommend although you can find protein in other foods.
The cool stuff protein does for you:
Repairs and builds
Helps make enzymes and hormones, key compounds that regulate the human body
Can be used for energy through a process called gluconeogenesis
Known as triglyceride or fatty acids in its more simple structures, fat in the human body is responsible for an array of functions that keep the human body healthy. When consuming fat there are two main types of fat you can think about, saturated fat and unsaturated fat.
Saturated fat gets a lot of bad press even in today’s modern world. However, there are roles it plays such as making up the cell membrane of the 30 trillion cells in your body or absorbing minerals whilst guarding against the damaging effects of alcohol that we need in order to stay healthy.
The quality of the source of fat is a fundamental part when deciding whether the fat in question is harmful to you or not. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal meat, It will be accompanied by other nutrients which will help the absorption and use of the fat.
Unsaturated fat often relates to the fat that comes from plants, commonly these are deemed healthy alternatives to saturated fats or recommenced to people with high cholesterol.
For a healthy supply of fat, we recommend eating fat from both animals and plants with a strong emphasis on the quality of the products.
For the chemist, carbs are known as saccharides, they come in varying lengths of chains, the change in chain changes the type of saccharide it is. For easy reading, you will see sugar, more complex carbs such as grains and wheat, starch and cellulose.
Carbohydrates are very important for energy production and a healthy body. For the purposes of a healthy body, it is not often the elimination of carbs that is needed. Instead, it is the careful selection of the correct carbohydrates to best suit your body and goal.
A simple recommendation is to eliminate processed carbohydrates and select from whole foods.
Fruit, vegetables, rice, nuts, seeds, beans and similar foods are all great sources of carbohydrates. They also come packed with the majority of other nutrients you need which helps metabolise and balance your intake of nutrients.
This comes from the roughage of plant-based foods, it is the part of the food your body struggles to break down to retrieve energy from. Despite it not creating energy like protein, fat or carbs it still plays a huge roll in the health of your body. Some forms of fibre can be fermented in the body to help feed the healthy bacteria in the intestines. Fibre is also what allows for healthy stools, with lack of fibre people can become constipated.
Fibre can act like a metaphorical fishing net as it passes through your stomach and intestines. As it passes it can snare fat particles and other toxic substances consumed and eliminated by your body. This action helps eliminate unwanted nasty toxins and unwanted fat.
By consuming between 4 – 6 varying forms of fruit, veg, salad, nut or seed per day you will ensure your fibre intake is at a healthy level.
Often starred as the villain of the human body, cholesterol is often given a bad name. Cholesterol is incredibly important due to the role it plays within the body. Very few people are aware that cholesterol carries many roles that are needed by the body for a happy healthy human.
Cholesterol is essential as a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones, Vitamin D which are both incredibly important for good health. 30% of the cells in your body (which is around 30 trillion) are made from cholesterol. Cholesterol helps form the membrane and governs the fluidity of the cell.
Cholesterol is also released as an antioxidant and will often be released when inflammation is caused in the body to help reduce further damage whilst aiding repair.
Some studies have shown that when cholesterol levels are elevated it is due to chronic inflammation caused by a primary cause and that treating the elevated cholesterol level is only treating the effect of the primary cause. So when cholesterol levels are elevated investigations into a primary cause should be undertaken.
Vitamins & Minerals
The importance of this very special group of nutrients is often overlooked by even top medical doctors and health care practitioners. Simply put, they are one of the main factors for both simple and complex functions of your body.
For example, Iron is essential for blood production and the balance of Haemoglobin in the blood cells, reduction in iron can lead to anemia.
The family of B vitamins are essential for the breakdown and utilisation of energy from food, low levels of B vitamins will leave the person feeling lethargic.
Selenium is used by the thyroid gland as a cofactor to create thyroid regulatory hormones. These hormones are integral for energy balance and weight control. Dysfunction in Selenium levels can lead to an underactive thyroid which can lead to significant weight gain.
The intrinsic relationship between the body and vitamins & minerals is vast. It is of the most importance for the human body to eat foods nutrient-rich foods from all groups daily to maintain healthy levels. Colourful natural foods are often rich in nutrients, as are organic meats.
Phytonutrients and trace nutrients
These are types of nutrients that are not necessarily deemed as essential to live, but have been shown to have health benefits such as acting as antioxidants which can in turn help in the prevention of certain types of oxidative damage. They are found in a vast selection of plant-based foods.
So there it is, a ten-minute crash course into the universe of nutrition and biochemistry. This article was designed to help introduce you to the complexity of the human body and what we do to effect it. More questions should have now been asked than answered, followed by a greater appreciation of how amazing the human body is and what we should be doing to look after ourselves correctly.
We hope you enjoyed this article, for any advice around nutrition please contact a member of the team.