This is a very vast topic, but the foundation can be summed up in the following general principals which are the highest level basics to exceeding health in the mind and body:
1) Eat The Right Nutrients (Eat right and don’t eat wrong)
2) Drink Plenty of Water
3) Get Plenty of Restful (REM) Sleep
4) Avoid Allergens & Toxins
Step 1: Understanding What We Are Up Against
The first step is that you need to understand what you and everyone else is up against, specifically what kind of food is out there, presented to people to eat, particularly by large food companies that offer 99% unhealthy, and harmful food for people to eat.
This documentary explains that clearly: (Available on Netflix) http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=70255134&trkid=8169550&pt_request_id=e2966cf8-6071-4fa6-a13d-43b9cc19602c-408635&pt_rank=3&pt_row=1&pt_location=WATCHNOW
If you do not have Netflix, you can find it here: http://www.hungryforchange.tv/
Also when a person goes to the doctor with something very easy to fix via proper nutrition, such as depression or high blood pressure, 9 out of 10 times a doctor will not tell you how to eat healthy, he will likely offer you a number of intrusive prescription drugs that at best may only work 50% of the time, and create a whole host of other issues via side effects.
What is the Standard American Diet? (S.A.D.)
This is a brief description of the Standard American Diet, or “S.A.D.” for short: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_pattern_diet#Standard_American_Diet
It explains that people eat way too much fat, sugar, salt, and toxins today. Remember, 2000 years ago, in biblical times, people were eating much healthier because they didn’t have access to food like a sugar packed drink or a doughnut that is packed with saturated fat.
The first step, before you start to eat right is to stop eating wrong.
• Slowly cut out unhealthy fats (saturated fat, trans fat, reduce excessive omega-6 inflammatory fat) (One of the secrets that many people don’t know is that once a person consumes enough “healthy” fat, then their craving for “unhealthy” fat or sugar drastically decreases, as well as their cravings for all foods that contain unhealthy fat and excessive amounts of sugar. This means that eating the right amount of healthy fat can be the defining factor to cause a person to loose weight, clear out their arteries, reduce unhealthy triglycerides that would otherwise deposit fat, and no longer crave fatty or sugary foods.
• Slowly cut out all granular sugar; it is harmful across the board, and as you do, your taste buds will adjust and everything else will start to taste better that does not contain sugar…imagine a turkey sandwich being as tasty as a sugar packed cupcake. Fruit has a slightly more complex carbohydrate (sugar) which has a lower glycemic impact, so fruit is generally healthy as long as it is limited to 10%-15% of the total overall daily dietary regime.
• Eliminate as much sodium/salt out of your diet to the point where it is optimally no more than 2g (2,000mg vs 4,000mg potassium a day)
• Drink plenty of water (your weight in lbs/2 is how much water in ounces you should be drinking daily)
Now that you have seen how the food companies put 99% unhealthy food into the market for people to eat, and you understand the landscape of what we have to deal with as a society today, I can now point you in the right direction with regard to the solution, and help you start off down the right track toward exceeding health as well…
Many people think of food as fuel for our bodies, and then think of our body’s as having a gas tank to fill with fuel/food. That is essentially correct, but the problem is that people think of food as one type of fuel that goes into one gas tank in our bodies. They typically think of this because they have a very superficial perception about what food is; most think of food as the “Macro-Nutrient” categories, being Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein, but they do not think about food on the “Micro-Nutrient” level. Micro-Nutrients are all of the vitamins, minerals, amino-acids, anti-oxidants, and other micro-nutrient properties that make up the food and comprise its actual nutritional content.
The truth is that our bodies have about 40+ gas tanks, and each tank…(each nutrient) is in charge of its own chemical process in the body, with some being a part of hundreds of chemical processes in the body.. Many are “exclusively” in charge of their own process, and no other nutrient can take its place through biosynthesis, such as “tryptophan”…if people don’t eat tryptophan, or the proper amount of tryptophan, then they can’t make Serotonin, and if they don’t have Serotonin, not only are they depressed, but the brain will lack Serotonin that is needed to act as a regulator for all of the other neurotransmitters, so other neurotransmitters like Dopamine can become very low, while Adrenaline (Anger) can be high. If a person eats too much sodium (salt) vs. Potassium then they will likely have high blood pressure.
Those 40+ gas tanks are called “Essential Nutrients.” They are called “essential” because our bodies can not make them by converting other nutrients into them, and they must be taken in directly, through food. Now…our bodies have a natural way of telling us that we are low on essential nutrients, it’s called being hungry, or having a specific food craving, and it works by making the body crave the nutrients that it needs when it is low on those nutrients. The problem is that it is not an effective process if you don’t realize that 99% of the food available today is not healthy, and by eating one thing to secure your essential need for that nutrient can then fill your body with many other things that are harmful to your body, such as unhealthy fats, sugar, salt, and unhealthy chemicals used in processing.
Here is the list of the 40+ gas tanks that our bodies have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_nutrient
( I was the Wikipedia author of the ‘Fatty Acids’ section.)
For example, if your body needs 1000mg of Calcium a day, and your brain tells you that the only way that it knows how to get Calcium is in fatty foods like cheese on a pizza, and you can only get 100mg of Calcium from 1 slice of pizza, how many slices is a person going to eat before they get the Calcium that they need before their brain tells them that they have now consumed enough calcium? That’s right…10 slices, and at almost 300 calories per slice, that is 3000 calories just to satisfy the same amount of calcium that a person could get from eating enough fruit and vegetables that day.
How To Satisfy All Of the Essential Nutrients On A Daily Basis:
Most people satisfy their basic daily vitamin & mineral needs with a good inclusive multivitamin, like the MegaMen multivitamin from GNC; it is the highest rated from what I seen, and I have been taking it every day for over two years; that alone makes possibly the biggest contribution to establishing a healthy body equilibrium. The only thing that it lacks are the full daily recommended value (DRV) of Calcium (20%), Magnesium (13%), Potassium (2%), and Iron (0%). These are partially or totally left out because they can interfere with the absorption of the other vitamins and minerals, so they need to be taken in through food or at a separate time. That goes the same for other foods that are particularly high in any of those minerals as well. For example: if you consume 2 cups of milk in the morning, which is equivalent to about 600mg or 60% of your daily recommended value of calcium there is a good chance that it is interfering with the absorption of many of your other nutrients consumed in the morning. A great food that can satisfy a person’s daily requirements of Magnesium, Iron, as well as some Potassium is Pumpkin Seeds, which I regard as a categorical “Super Food.” A super-food is a food that has vast reaching benefit across the board in terms of benefit to the body. Due to the fact that Calcium inhibits the initial absorption of Magnesium, it is very difficult for people to consume very much magnesium in their diet, which leads to a deficiency. Only foods that are very high in magnesium by proportion to calcium can counter this balance, and Pumpkin Seeds is one of them.
Omega-6 fat is essential but it is excessively available in foods via vegetable oil, and because it is inflammatory it causes most of the population to incur chronic inflammation and thus muscle-pain. Most people need to reduce their intake of omega-6 fat instead of thinking about how to fit it into their dietary regime. You can satisfy your omega-3 fatty acids needs by either eating fish 2-3 times a week or just by taking a quality fish oil capsule every morning, like the triple filtered ones from GNC; it can be kept in the freezer to make it go down easy as well. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, which are both long-chain-polyunsaturated-omega-3-fatty-acids. These are the most important nutrients to act as the building blocks of neuro-generation, or the building of brain cells and neuronal connections. The brain is ~78% water, ~11% fatty-acids, 8% protein, and ~3% other elements. Many people consume water, protein, and some fat in some quantity, but exclude omega-3 fats entirely; some studies have shown that a person’s life-long deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids is a possible cause of alzheimer’s disease, which is the most well known disease related to neuro-de-generation, or lack of neuro-generation. A deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids is also shown in many studies to be a large contributor to a whole host of other preventable diseases, such as type two diabetes, heart disease (the number 1 cause of death in the US), high blood pressure, and others.
GNC has a fish oil capsule that also contains Ginkgo Biloba, which is a cognitive enhancer and acts as a neuro-antioxidant. I would also recommend taking in flaxseed oil as an additional source of fatty acids. I consider flaxseed oil a “super-food” as well, which is a type of food that has multiple and vast reaching health benefits. It lowers blood pressure, it improves cognitive power by acting as a body-wide anti-inflammatory, including a neuro-anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces inflammation of the brain and allows for greater neuro-circulation and also increases surface area of gray matter. It also acts as a fat-detoxifier which can remove toxins from your fat cells, including your brain, and also the layer of fat just below the skin; this is one of the reasons why it can make a person’s complexion look like they are 5-10 years younger, in addition to the fact that flaxseed oil also contains healthy omega-9 oil which is used by the body to hydrate the skin. It is just difficult to find a flaxseed oil provider that refrigerates the oil from the factory all the way to the grocery store, which also does not let the flaxseed oil touch oxygen by offering it in an enclosed capsule. This is important to maintain consistency, as it is extremely susceptible to oxidation. Also, in my experience, I believe that it is important to make sure the flaxseed oil is not just purified, but is also lignan free. I believe that lignans are not good for the complexion and can introduce impurities into the skin. I recommend Barleans Pure Flaxseed Oil (lignan free) capsules: http://www.Barleans.com.
Lastly, antioxidants are important to seek out and destroy the free radicals caused by natural oxidation within the body. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant).A good multivitamin will contain many water soluble antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, and C, but they typically only contain the daily recommended value of Vitamin E. If you are consuming more omega-3 oils you may want to consume a larger amount of a fat soluble antioxidant, such as a larger amount of Vitamin E, as recent studies have shown that the DRV of lipid soluble antioxidants are highly dependant upon the quantity of the individual’s intake of those fatty acids.
Healthy Nutrition That Reduces Body Inflammation/Pain
The main thing that you need to know is that you need to take in all of the essential nutrients each day so that your system can be so strong that it can combat things like allergens and toxins more effectively.
Something else that is important to mention is that Histamine is an essential chemical and neurotransmitter in our bodies, but too much histamine can cause inflammation, including the allergic response called rhinitis, which is still inflammation, it’s just inflammation of the sinuses. So, histamine is the main factor in body inflammation, and it is created in our bodies by consuming one of the amino acids contained in protein, called “Histidine”. Histidine is an amino acid in just about all protein foods, animal and plant, and can not be avoided, but what you can avoid is the parts of the biosynthesis chain that contributes to the creation of histamine as the final product. For example, copper is needed for our bodies to synthesize histamine, so by reducing copper intake, you can reduce histamine overproduction.
Also the typical ratio of inflammatory Omega-6 oil to anti-inflammatory Omega-3 Oil in the American diet is a very harmful 20:1, where the healthy ratio should be more near 4:1 or even 1:1. This means that if a person’s diet is packed with inflammatory fat (mostly from vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, ect.) as apposed to anti-inflammatory fat then they will have much more body-wide inflammation, incur the corresponding pain, as well as incur regular rhinitis (sinus allergic response, [stuffy nose]) much more than they would if the ratio was more balanced to the healthy level. Make a habit of looking at the ingredients and the nutritional content of all the packaged food that you buy…if it has a high content of “Polyunsaturated Fat” (which can be omega-6 or omega-3) and then you look at the ingredients, and they start with vegetable oils, then you can be certain that it mostly contains omega-6 fat vs omega-3. All dairy contains mostly omega-6 fat, including cheese, milk, ect, as well as most bread.
Other necessary nutrients/vitamins/minerals that reduce allergies and body-wide inflammation & pain include:
Fish Oil: Fish Oil is potent as an anti-inflammatory and in reducing the allergic response; it may be the best thing to mitigate allergies, and it is an essential nutrient that should be consumed on a daily basis anyway, and the main building block for neuro-generation; fish oil also acts particularly as a potent neuro-anti-inflammatory, which means that it reduces inflammation of the brain, and thus increases the surface area of gray matter, allowing more circulation and active neuronal connections; this, many times, makes a person more intelligent and can boost the IQ as much as 10%-20% or even more, depending upon the amount of inflammation prior to consuming the Fish Oil. Some people consume so much inflammatory omega-6 oil (such as vegetable oils) that they are only at 15% of their potential cognitive power. Also, fish oil is required for neuro-generation, to literally build the brain. The DHA and EPA are the fatty acids that act as building blocs to build the brain over time; if these are not consumed on a daily basis, then the body may be able to convert other fatty acids like ALA into EPA and DHA, but not at an efficient conversion level. Just to be clear, omega-6 fat is also required for the body and to build the brain, but it is typically consumed in the American diet much more than EPA and DHA, even 20x more in most cases, and counteracts the effectiveness of EPA and DHA, so it’s about the balance.
Magnesium (rather potent), and many people don’t take in the daily recommended value of magnesium. Magnesium is not included in daily recommended value amounts in multivitamins because it can block the absorption of other vitamins, so it mostly needs to be taken separately, or consumed from food.
Vitamin E: (A Lipid Soluble Antioxidant) (There are water soluble and lipid [fat] soluble antioxidants, which are antioxidants that works within the fatty parts of our body), including our brain, as the structure of our brain is mostly fat) Note: When it comes to an antioxidants, more is not necessarily better; beyond the recommended amount they can actually cause oxidation as apposed to reduce it, and cause brain fog, just the same as too much intake of common Vitamin C.
Vitamin E mainly works by reducing the oxidation of the fatty acids (oils) within your body, particularly omega-3 oils (DHA, EPA, ALA) because they are so susceptible to oxidation. The Vitamin E prevents these fats from oxidizing as much, which makes them fresher longer within your body, thus increasing the overall amount of these oils within the body, and as long as you are consuming the proper amount of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils vs. inflammatory omega-6 oil, then the net effect will be less inflammation; it’s the same as consuming more healthy oils within the daily diet.
As Always, the highest level basics to good health are (All 4 of these are Absolutely Critical):
1) Eat The Right Nutrients……..(Each essential nutrient is uniquely responsible for internal chemical processes)
2) Drink Plenty of Water………..(Note: Our bodies are 98% water, and the human brain is 80% water, [shown below])
3) Get Plenty of Restful (REM) Sleep…(Note: Required for the body to operate properly, particularly the Immune System)
4) Avoid Allergens & Toxins……(Even a small amount can very negatively effect the human body, and some are cumulative)
Everyone should be eating/consuming the following on a daily basis:
Essential Daily Vitamins & Minerals:
30+ Vitamins & Minerals: Via A Fully Inclusive, Full Spectrum Multivitamin, like those offered by GNC
Essential Daily Fatty Acids:
2g-5g of EPA & DHA (Omega-3 oil) via Fish Oil
10g – 17g Omega-6 oil (Linoleic acid) (Excessively Available In Too Many Foods)
Essential Daily Amino Acids Via Protein:
50g – 125g protein, particularly recommended from lean white meat such as turkey and chicken
(White meat has the highest level of tryptophan and a lower or absent level of processed chemicals or antibiotics)
Brain Health & Cognitive Power
The first step toward strengthening our brains is to stop consuming the things that break the human brain down, such as toxins in processed foods like Aspartame in diet cola, excessive unhealthy fats, excessive inflammatory omega-6 fat, and other critical things to avoid such as allergens which can open up/loosen the blood-brain-barrier and allow unwanted and larger sized toxins into the brain. Once harmful things are removed from your daily diet regime, and the healthy things are added to the daily regime, such as the proper nutrients, plenty of water, plenty of sleep, then you can focus on the building blocks of the brain, and things to reduce neuro-inflammation, essentially increasing the surface area of the brain’s gray matter, thus increasing intelligence.
Brain Composition/Building Blocks: 78% Water, 11% Fatty Acids (EPA & DHA, Omega-6), 9% Protein, ~3% Trace Minerals
(These need to be consumed at the proper amount daily to properly build the brain, and continue to build the brain over time)
Other Things That Increase Cognitive Power:
• Proper level of anti-inflammatory nutrients such as Omega-3 Oil, Magnesium, ect.; These act to reduce vasodilatation which reduces inflammation of the walls of the body’s veins and arteries, thus increasing blood flow
• Proper Level of Antioxidants: Lipid soluble antioxidants such as Vitamin E and water soluble antioxidants such as Vitamin C; there are also additional antioxidants now being discovered such as polyphenols and flavonols.
• Detoxification: Water is the main detoxifier, but there are many nutrients that detoxify our bodies and brains
• Nutrients that naturally increase neuro-circulation, such as those that increase Nitric Oxide like Vitamin C, D, and other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients: The more blood flowing into the brain means the more nutrients are flowing into the brain and the more toxins and free-radicals are flowing out.