Nutrients are critical to cell regeneration, which determines how our body functions, how healthy we are, and how long we live.
The human body is designed to be strong, have organ systems that perform well, have radiant-looking skin, have strong immunities to fight diseases, and live long lives, through cell regeneration, where the body constantly makes new cells to replace worn-out ones.
Cells regenerate in most of the body’s tissues and organs. Only a few cells, like of the brain and eyes, do not regenerate, but are designed to remain healthy, if nourished with nutrients.
Cells regenerate at different rates: from very fast, digestive cells (2-3 days) and skin (10-30 days); to slow, bone cells (10 years)
Nutrients drive cell regeneration, and daily consumption of all the right nutrients are required by all humans.
Not consuming nutrients results in: poor cell regeneration; early cell death; and deterioration of human body, which is less able to fight off disease.
For adults, the lack of nutrients in the diet means: heightened immune responses, rapid aging, and increased risk of chronic disease like heart disease and diabetes.
For children, this means impaired cognition and stunted growth.
The brain controls all functions in the body. A few examples are: heart rate, breathing, digestion, moods, sleep patterns, concentration, weight, physical and mental action to response to the environment, all major organ functions – everything.
The brain communicates with the body via neurotransmitters, which are chemical signals emanating from the brain and nervous system and carried throughout the body.
With healthy neurotransmitters, the body’s communication system functions well, but unhealthy neurotransmitters are often a cause of poor function of organs and their systems.
To remain healthy, our neurotransmitters need to be nourished daily by many nutrients.
The most critical nutrients are: the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, choline, vitamins B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamin C.
Not getting adequate nutrients reduces neurotransmitter production, resulting in poorly functioning organs that can result in impaired cognition, organ failure and physical problems.
Everything we eat needs to get converted to a usable form for the body.
Vitamins and minerals can help with conversion of food into energy and proteins for the body. But, these aren’t enough. Some vitamins and minerals need to be turned into other bioactive substances called cofactors.
Cofactors are non-protein chemicals that assists with targeted biological chemical reactions.
Some examples of cofactors:
Vitamin C: used to make collagen, which is the main skin protein
Thiamin: which makes a cofactor (e.g., thiamine pyrophosphate) that breaks down foods into sugars and amino acids that can be used by the body
Iron-sulfur clusters: are involved in energy production for all cells in the body
Some cofactors are made by the body like ATP, which gives every cell in the body energy.
Without adequate vitamins and minerals, cofactor production will become limited and adversely impact normal body functions, leading to serious disease and even death.
A nutrient-rich diet provides the necessary vitamins and minerals to make cofactors.
Immune response is very important to our health. It is easy to recognize on the outside of your body. For example, a heightened immune response develops as a result to a skin wound, and you’ll experience heat, redness, swelling, and a little soreness.
A heightened immune response can also occur on the inside of your body.
An active immune system is good, as it is the body’s response to protect against infection from foreign organisms in the blood. This allows the body to heal itself.
But most people have too active of an immune system, which is the source of many health problems.
A heightened immune system is caused by having too much body fat. This is detrimental to health and increases the risk of many serious conditions: diabetes, heart disease and stroke, arthritis, and other chronic diseases.
The root cause of changes in immune responses is poor nutrition. When our cells do not receive the needed nutrients, they become weakened, exposing the body to multiple disease states.
The best diet for a healthy immune response is to consume the right nutrients and in the right amounts, starting with nutrients like omega-3s.
The balance of dietary oils – omega-3s and -6s is very important to control a healthy immune response.
Omega-6s heighten the immune response, and during the past 100 years, have become massively overconsumed. This is related to the recent increases in obesity and chronic disease.
Omega-3s, on the other hand, dampen the immune response and are generally under-consumed.
A healthy diet should have a balance closer to 1:1 of omega-6 and -3. Today’s diet exceeds 10:1 in favor of omega-6s.
Trans (manufactured fats) and saturated fats (like from red meat) heighten the immune response.
Oxygen is critical for life as every cell in the body needs oxygen, but it can also be a source of major health issues.
Under stress (like when a cell works hard like a brain cell), oxygen turns into a toxin called a free radical.
Oxygen free radicals are unstable and attack cell membranes poking holes in them.
Oxidative stress, a commonly used term, occurs when free radicals overwhelm our body’s ability to counteract these toxins.
Toxic oxygen (oxidative stress) increases: neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, some cancers, and macular degeneration.
The body can deactivate the toxic oxygen before it causes damage, if adequate anti-oxidants are included in the diet.
Protection against damage caused by harmful, toxic oxygen free radicals occurs with the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, and zinc and selenium.
Healthy bacteria in the microbiome
A decade ago, there was little appreciation for the bacteria living in the intestine. In fact, for a generation, we have been killing off most of our bacteria with an over use of antibiotics.
Bacteria was thought to be inactive and to change very little, so there was no reason to protect it.
Today, we know that the microbiome is critical to our health and life. It contains 100 trillion cells (10 microbiome cells for every human cell). The microbiome mostly is in the gastrointestinal track, helping us to perform life-sustaining functions that we couldn’t perform without their help.
A healthy microbiome has a diverse and plentiful array of healthy bacteria and few pathogenic ones.
The microbiome is in constant communication with the rest of the body.
Too many harmful bacteria lead to increases in: diseases of the GI tract, neurological disorders, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, impaired immunity, and conditions related to a heightened immune response (e.g., asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies).
Today’s diet (i.e., rich in sugar and fat, and low in fiber) reduces bacteria diversity, leading to increased disease risk.
A nutrient-rich, fiber-rich diet increases diversity in the human microbiome and the effects are felt almost immediately. Within hours, fiber provides food for healthy bacteria and, within 2-3 days, nutrients support intestinal cells regeneration.
Fiber has the greatest impact on the microbiome. Healthy bacteria digest it, and they grow in numbers. Pathogenic bacteria eventually get drown out due to the high numbers of healthy bacteria.
The healthy microbiome bacteria make compounds like short-chain fatty acids, which provide energy for intestinal cells to heal. Some of these fatty acids are absorbed into the bloodstream to lower cholesterol and enhance immune function.
A nutrient-rich, fiber-rich diet is the best method to maintain a health microbiome.
Energy is universally desired by everyone.
Getting energy from the diet is critical. The macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats, from food are the only sources of energy for the body.
The problem is that most people consume enough energy-yielding foods, but still feel tired. Low energy levels may be related to a lack of sleep or being sick. But, these are not the main causes of low energy.
A nutrient-poor diet, rich in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats is the major cause of low energy levels. This diet increases hunger, leading to over-eating and eventually weight gain.
A nutrient-rich diet, coupled with low intake of sugar, salt, and saturated and trans fats, increases energy levels and promotes weight loss, according to a recent clinical study.
Foods that give a quick burst of energy are not a solution, as they are often sugar-rich foods and caffeine-laden drinks that give a quick energy pop, followed by a profound energy drop.
For sustained energy, consume a nutrient-rich diet that has protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Eating breakfast and staying hydrated helps maintain high energy levels.
Tissue growth and repair
The body is designed to heal itself, and this is called tissue repair.
The body continually is remaking itself (regeneration), and in times of injury and disease, repairing itself.
For children, tissue growth also occurs.
Nutrients are the drivers of tissue growth and repair.
For children: nutrient-dense foods support:
Growth, to achieve the greatest height and physical development;
Mental capacity, to achieve the highest ability level.
For everyone: to support regeneration and repair, and often growth:
The body continually renews and repairs itself (cell regeneration).
Muscle growth can occur from exercise and nutrition. Specifically, this requires high-quality protein, and essential nutrients like omega-3s and vitamin D.
Tissue repair is sometimes required for wound healing from things like a minor scrap, and major things like after surgery.
For tissue growth and repair, the right nutrients are critical. In addition, avoid excess sugars and bad fats, which slow the rate of tissue repair and growth. Specific nutrients are important: protein (essential amino acids), vitamins A, C, B6, and B12, zinc, selenium, folate, iron, and copper.
A nutrient-poor diet slows or prevents tissue repair and growth.
Taste bud rehab
Taste buds dictate food cravings. There are studies demonstrating that we “develop” taste bud cravings for certain foods, and are not born to love sugar and salt.
Taste buds are trained to crave different types of foods. Just because a craving exists, it doesn’t mean it can’t be changed to crave something else. Everyone’s taste buds can be trained to consume all the nutrients the body needs, as our tongue’s cell (source of taste buds) regenerate every 10 days.
Nutrient-poor, high fat-, sugar-, and salt-containing foods are addictive. But, the taste buds can also be trained to crave healthy nutrient-dense foods.
It is easier to treat food addictions than other addictions (e.g., smoking, illicit drug use, alcohol).
If you are presently craving unhealthy foods, you’ll readily be able to switch to crave the healthy ones.
Taste bud regeneration occurs every 8-12 days, which is the time it takes for cravings to be changed.
Dietary protein is consumed, but in reality, the body does not consume protein but rather amino acids, which make up protein. Amino acid consumption is critical to our health.
The body is a protein manufacturing machine. Every minute, the body uses amino acids derived from dietary protein to make new cells.
DNA dictates how many, and what proteins are to be made.
All body tissues contain protein, and they need a continually supply of amino acids. Some examples of what is made: muscles, organs, blood cells, hormones, immune-fighting cells, skin, hair, and nails.
Inadequate consumption of protein (amino acids) leads to slowed protein synthesis, increased disease risk, and even death.
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