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In 3 Easy steps

What to eat has become very confusing. It seems every time you open the newspaper (if you still read it) go online, or even open up your emails, there is some new and often contradictory information about what to eat.

We’ve got to stop going through life stumbling, thinking we’re “fine.” Now is the time to OPTIMIZE your immune system (this was written during COVID-19).

Your nutrition matters. Quite simply food is information for the body, information that is deciphered by every cell which either puts out inflammation, or adds to it. Sorry folks, there is no “Switzerland” food when it comes to inflammation. At all times, we should be looking for ways to tamp inflammation.

Epigenetics teaches us that although genes influence our health, they are NOT our destiny. The food we eat turns on markers for certain diseases and thus we develop an autoimmune condition (think hypothyroidism (aka, Hashimoto’s), diabetes, Celiac’s, etc.).

It would be impossible for me to share all I know here in this Note. Suffice it to write there are numerous resources you can dig into that will educate you and whet your appetite for a life-long quest on the magic and marvels of the human body. You can also be your own biohacker by listening to what your body is telling you after every meal.

Here are some basic guidelines for what to eat.

  1. Choose nutritionally dense foods at every meal.

  2. Include healthy oils such as: Olive, coconut, avocado, ghee, butter and red palm oil (sustainable, please). For more information on oils, click here [link coming soon].

  3. Hydration is key. Choose between 6 – 8 8 oz glasses of water a day. Your body will tell you what the right amount is. Add lemon and Himalayan sea salt to your water to ensure proper hydration.

Let’s look at what “nutrient dense” foods mean. Nutrient density identifies the amount of beneficial nutrients in a food product in proportion to energy content and weight or amount of detrimental nutrients. I.e., these are foods high in nutrients and low in calories. Terms such as nutrient rich and micronutrient dense refer to similar food properties.

Nutrient dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Examples of nutrient dense foods include fruits and vegetables, dairy products, seafood, lean meats or fatty meats depending on your eating style, eggs, peas, beans, and nuts.

In contrast to this, “empty calories” are chips, candies, corn, etc., i.e., all of the highly addictive trigger foods that we can never seem to get enough of. These may also include simple carbs.

Please know that if any of these foods cause stomach upset it is best to avoid them. I.e., just because they’re good doesn’t mean they’re good for YOU! Conversely, just because they’re not on the nutrient dense list doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed sporadically. Please adjust this list according to your dietary requirements and tolerance.

Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados also contain protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Those same good fats help your body absorb all those vitamins.

Beans and Lentils
Packed with protein, these additions are a staple in vegetarian meals and an excellent side dish if your body can tolerate them. High in fiber and rich in zinc, pulses (which is another name by which they are known) can contribute to a healthy immune system. Research has found that, in addition to providing heart-health benefits, beans can reduce the risk of breast cancer, and they may help improve blood glucose and insulin levels in diabetics.

If beans make you gassy or otherwise upset your stomach, it’s best to avoid them. Alternately, you may want to sprout them before cooking.

Another problem with beans is that they are full of lectins which makes them very difficult to digest. Beans and lentils are also known as “pulses” and they are a problem for a large percentage of the population. Again, just because it’s good doesn’t mean it’s good for YOU.

Rich in vitamin C and fiber and a good source of folate and potassium, berries get their superpowers from their phytochemicals, specifically anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for their intense colors. Those anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that fight cell damage and may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Blueberries, in particular, have been shown to improve memory and brain function in lab animals.

Again, please know that like any produce, it is best to consume them when they are in season. When not in season, the nutritional value is gone, and so is the taste. If you’ve ever had an orange, blueberry or any other fruit when it’s not in season, you will notice you only taste the sweetness and not taste the fruit itself.

This is one of my personal favorites; yet I must be cautions with them as they create a lot of gas and bloating in my body. These are in season in February and consists of cabbage and its many cousins, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. All of this wonderful brassicas are loaded with vitamin C and fiber and rich in cancer-fighting phytochemicals. These cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower incidences of different types of cancers and have been found to help heal stomach ulcers.

And here’s another one of my personal favorites —

This high-quality protein provides amino acids tryptophan and selenium, and are hard to come by a source of natural vitamin D. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age. Research has suggested eggs may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

The best eggs you can get are from Free Range Pasture Eggs. And here’s another tip: the darker the yolk, the richer the taste. Additionally the thickness of the shell can to some degree indicate the health of the chicken. If the shell is too thin, the chicken will not carry it to term.

Dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, and arugula pack a plate full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and K, folate, potassium, and fiber—with not many calories. Like eggs, they supply lutein, which contributes to good vision and may help protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.

Nuts and Seeds
Tiny-but-mighty, nuts and seeds are a good source of vegetable protein and provide good fats that can promote nutrient absorption. Not just for crunch, they’re also known to lower the risk of heart disease. These make great salad toppings and are often used to top entrees in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Protein-rich salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3, a fatty acid necessary for proper brain functioning and a healthy cardiovascular system. Pro tip: Don’t toss the salmon skin, it’s not only delicious but is also loaded to the gills with good-for-you fatty acids. Salmon is pricey but well worth it. Your best bet is to get fresh caught (or previously frozen) salmon as farm raised is highly toxic.

Sweet potatoes
Loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and B6. Sweet potatoes also offer an energy boost. Because their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, they offer a balanced source of energy, without spikes in blood sugar that can lead to fatigue. Bonus: Purple sweet potatoes are high in anthocyanins, antioxidants known to protect against degenerative diseases. However, sweet potatoes are very high in sugar and can be a trigger for many people.

As always, I’m here for you!  If you have any questions, click the “CALL ME” button below to connection with me directly!

In health, ease, joy and glory,
Oralia Acosta
Certified Health