Is There a Shortcut to Health? - Blog # 54
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. With so many diets, weight-loss recommendations and magic bullets out there, I wanted to look at health from a different perspective. We can be totally overwhelmed with what nutrients need to be supplemented, what diet should we be on, what foods to avoid, what foods to eat and what to do when we are so busy in our lives. So, is it possible to shortcut our way there?
First, I have to share that I was inspired with this concept listening to a podcast interview with Marcus du Sautoy, a British mathematician. As a young elementary school math student, his teacher gave the class a math problem that he felt would take them the whole class period to solve. Here’s the problem: “Add all numbers from 1 through 100.” The students got busy: 1+2=3, 3+3=6, 4+6=10…A few moments later, Marcus wrote the answer on his paper and took it to the teacher. The teacher, feeling he was being insolent, started to protest and accuse that there’s no way he could have solved the problem so fast. Then he realized that Marcus had written the correct answer! The teacher just had to know how he reached the correct answer so fast! Marcus told him, everyone is starting at the beginning of the problem. I skipped to the end. How? He explained how he took the beginning and end, 1+100=101, 2+99=101, 3+98=101. So, there are 50 pairs of numbers that = 101. So, the answer is 5,050. Brilliant!!!! He postulates that this math symmetry concept can be applied to nearly every problem in life.
“There is probably no scientific field in which applied mathematics has not made its necessary presence. On the other hand, symmetry is about identification and use invariants to any of various transformations for any paired dataset and characterizations associated with. Inside applied mathematics, symmetry may work as a powerful tool for problems reduction and solving. Applications include probability theory (all probabilistic reasoning is ultimately based on judgments of symmetry), fractals (geometry), supersymmetry (physics), nanostructures (chemistry), taxonomy (biology), bilateral symmetry (medicine), and the list can go on.”
Shortcuts allow us to skip tedious and time-wasting steps and solve the problem, which then frees us to begin to solve even bigger problems. Bacteria and viruses do this all the time. It allows them to “jump species” to further their propagation in the world. Our bodies are highly symmetric. We can draw a line down the center and have a mirror image of one half of our body. When we want to enhance function to one side that is injured, we can target and treat the opposite side without actually touching the injured side.
Okay, taking this concept and looking at HEALTH as the outcome or end result, we can simplify the problem. Food is medicine. When you go to the store, think of it as a pharmacy for health. You want to gather and add all the foods that will impact your body to promote health, while avoiding or subtracting foods that will impact your body to promote disease. In other words, here is the formula. Jump to the end to see the outcome. It leads you back to the beginning so you can literally manipulate the outcome.
- Nutrient-dense food + impact to body = Health.
- Nutrient-poor food + impact to body = Disease.
Now, obviously this is oversimplified. But really, is it? Now, when we look at these equations, the underlying common thread is impact on the body. This happens in our digestive tract. We eat foods that contain their own set of microorganisms and natural chemicals that protect the plant - from insects, microbes and the environment. By choosing nutrient-dense foods, we populate our intestines with the good microbes - and all those protective polyphenols and phytonutrients! Our bodies can function in harmony and promote health throughout our lifetime.
When we choose processed, nutrient-poor foods, they are typically modified/processed and filled with additives, preservatives, hidden sugars and gums that harm our microbiome and cause inflammation and leaky gut. These foods are lacking the good microbes and their protective phytonutrients - they actually promote the growth of bad/pathogenic microbes! (Check out blog # 50). The lining of our intestines is one-cell-layer thick. That’s all there is to keep the sewage, undigested food particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses from leaking out into the rest of the body. This starts with inflammation in our gut, decreased ability to absorb nutrients, deprives our good microbes of nutrients, deprives our enterocytes (intestinal cells) of nutrition making them weak. We can’t close our “tight junctions” as well. This allows things not supposed to leave the intestine to leak out and migrate to other areas of the body - and guess what? - thankfully, nearly 70% of our immune system is right there on guard! Unfortunately, some of these undigested proteins literally “mimic” other body tissues like the thyroid, for example. This sets us up for an autoimmune disease - where the immune system begins to attack what looks like that undigested protein that leaked out of our gut - liver and thyroid are often attacked in this way.
When we give bad “medicine” (nutrient-poor food) to our bodies, we may end up with cardiovascular disease, T2D (type 2 diabetes), fatty liver disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s or even cancer - depending on our individual genetic weaknesses. It’s important to realize that our cravings are actually driven by our gut microbiome. When we crave sugar, understand it is the bad microbes demanding to get fed. By changing our food choices, we can literally starve the bad guys out and repopulate our gut microbiome with the good guys. When we look at “functional foods” - that is foods that impact our bodies in a positive way - in addition to the nutrition it provides, it gets us closer to our goal of health. (Check out blog # 51). So, learning what these foods are gives us the tools with which to achieve our desired outcome. Fix your intestines, for example, and you’ll see so many other issues go away.
One of the healthiest, functional foods on the planet is EVOO. The higher the polyphenol count the better! Including this amazing fat in our diet is key to promoting our healthspan as well as lifespan. In fact, we want those to be equal! You can literally reverse your biological age and live younger longer. Let’s take a look at some of the top foods that help us achieve this goal = shortcut to health.
- HP-EVOO - ABSOLUTELY FIRST ON THE LIST!! High polyphenol extra-virgin olive oil - provides oleic acid to heal the linings of the gut, blood vessels and many other organ systems - polyphenols as epigenetic factors that turn OFF cancer genes and turn ON tumor suppressor genes, food source for microbiome, tells our mitochondria to “uncouple,” divide and make more of themselves to pull the workload - check out blog # 73! Consume at least 4T raw daily and use more for cooking. You can also use fused and infused flavored EVOO as finishing oils on salads, soups, fish, chicken, steak and multiple other dishes. EVOO also enhances the absorption of ALL your fat-soluble vitamins, while providing vitamins E and K! Adding EVOO to tomatoes enhances availability of lycopene.
- Vitamin D3 - Really a very important hormone and antioxidant. It has multiple functions in every part of the body, but very involved with immune function. Get sunshine on bare skin daily for around 30-60 min - don’t get burned, but you’re body makes vitamin D from UV exposure. Expose your mushrooms to sunshine and they will make vit D for you. In the winter, or if you can’t get outside enough, you’ll need to supplement. Most of us are deficient. Ask your MD for a blood test and see what your level is - ideal is 60-80mg/dL. You may need to supplement as much as 40,000 IUs if you are low.
- Curcumin - Turmeric - potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and contains epigenetic factors. Make a turmeric oil with EVOO and add some dried turmeric, or use fresh turmeric blend with EVOO and use right away. Crack some black pepper to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin. Most curcumin appears to be food for our microbiome, but we get the benefits.
- Betaine - Beets, spinach, pastured eggs, liver - betaine is VERY important in preventing cancer, preventing/reversing fatty liver, is able to be converted to folate and to convert homocysteine back into methionine.
- Methionine - spirulina, anchovy, salmon, sardines, mackerel and other seafoods, beef, lamb and egg. This is the only sulfur-containing essential amino acid - our body cannot make it - It is heavily involved in the methylation process and epigenetics and provides sulfur for the production of glutathione. Helps our liver with detoxification processes.
- Choline - Pastured eggs (pastured eggs are more nutrient-dense: 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene), grass-fed liver, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, trout, mushrooms, cauliflower, seaweed. Precursor to betaine - prevents/reverses fatty liver, required in synthesis of neurotransmitters, membranes, brain function.
- B Vitamins - pastured eggs, liver, salmon, tuna, beef, turkey, nutritional yeast, spinach, seaweed, asparagus, daikon radish, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, berries, legumes - helps regulate blood sugar, works with folate to turn off pro-inflammatory genes. *raw egg white inhibits biotin absorption*
- Fermented foods - sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, miso, pickles…These provide prebiotic fiber, probiotics and postbiotics! Eat some every day to promote a healthy microbiome that is capable of producing many vitamins, short-chain fatty acids and other molecules that promote health and discourage disease.
- Omega 3s - DHA, EPA - found in fatty fish, pastured eggs and micro algae - very important for brain health, regulates many enzymes involved in methylation, DNA adaptogenic properties, important for skin, blood vessel and neurological health. You can get ALA from plant sources - chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds, etc. However, the body must convert ALA to DHA (the usable form) and loses 85% in the process. These are still important to add to your health food list for the prebiotic fiber they contain and promotion of gut health.
- Wild harvested colorful fruits and vegetables - these plants have to work harder to grow and produce more phytochemicals to protect themselves from the environment. When we eat them, we get the benefit! Eat wild when you can get it, organic is second choice. Choose a variety of colors for the whole variety of vitamins and minerals in these foods. Huge epigenetic factors, polyphenols and prebiotic fiber for our microbiome.
- Grass-fed beef and dairy - lower in fat and calories, tastes better, higher in healthy fats, higher in nutrients, antibiotic free, no added hormones, heart healthy, fights cancer, less contaminated by staph and other bacteria, better for environment and we get the benefit of vitamin K2 (they converted for us). This helps to prevent calcium deposits on arteries.
- Trace minerals - nuts and seeds provide zinc, selenium, magnesium and other trace minerals needed for many enzymatic reactions.
- Potassium - avocado, arrowroot, tomato, spinach, mushrooms, daikon radish, cocoa, coconut, apple, salmon, cod, clams, legumes, flax seeds, chia, sunflower and many other nuts, seeds and legumes. Most of us are low in potassium and high in sodium. This doesn’t mean cut your salt - just increase your potassium! It helps your kidneys health as well (unless you are in stage 5 kidney failure).This electrolyte is very important for the sodium-potassium pumps throughout the body - heart to pump, muscles to contract, nerves to fire, cellular transport…
- Magnesium - dark leafy greens, spinach, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweed, Greek yogurt. Magnesium is a cofactor for >600 enzymes, can have a laxative and calming effect. It is required for preventing high blood pressure, muscle cramps, insomnia, constipation, heart palpitations - It is required for DNA replication, repair and to prevent oxidation - and is required for our energy. ATP has a small spot for magnesium to activate it- like a key in an ignition. Most of us are depleted and need to supplement - alcohol, sugar, coffee depletes - our food is already depleted. It is important to get an absorbable form.
- Sulfur - alliums (onions/garlic), cruciferous vegetables (arugula, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, coconut, spinach and many more), egg, salmon, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes. Very involved in epigenetics, methyl donors and detoxification processes. Serotonin, for example, MUST be sulfated before transport to the brain! These foods are ANTI- cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, fatty liver, cardiovascular disease.
- Zinc - mushrooms, cocoa, oysters, lamb, beef, pumpkin seeds, tartary buckwheat, pine nuts, sesame and poppy seeds. SOOO important! It is a co-factor for >300 enzymes and involved in >1,000 processes in the body - required during methylation processes, DNA stabilization and immune system function.
- Himalayan sea salt (formed before the invention of plastics), full of trace minerals and lower in sodium. Hawaiian red clay sea salt is another option.
This is not a complete list, but you get the idea. These minerals and vitamins work together - so make sure you get enough of ALL, including selenium - eat 2 Brazil nuts/day. Eat real food. Before you put it in your basket, ask yourself did this come direct from nature, or is it highly processed? Is it GMO? Is it full of pesticides, preservatives, emulsifiers, gums and additives? Does this food get me closer to my goal of HEALTH? Or does it take me on the road to DISEASE? Food for thought, no pun intended. We all want a long healthspan throughout a long lifespan with quick brain function, strong body and muscles and never require a nursing home or hospital.
You can get very creative in making a desert for example. Try using EVOO or grass-fed organic butter and ground almonds to make a crust. Embellish it with lemon and orange zest. Filling: organic grass-fed Greek yogurt, ricotta, coconut cream, chia seeds, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, monk fruit or a drizzle of local honey. Top with fresh berries and organic grass-fed whipped cream! This is actually good for you and you won’t even miss the sugary desserts. Your microbes will be happy.
So, until next time my friends…Drink, Drizzle, Digest HP-EVOO 4T raw daily, - use more for cooking and drizzling onto your food - eat the rainbow of organic or wild-sourced veggies (7-9 C) and low-glycemic fruits (to get the rainbow of gut microbes!) Eat wild-caught, pasture-raised, grass-fed, get plenty of sunshine + supplement magnesium, zinc, vitamin D3 + K2, get your trace minerals and electrolytes with good sea salt *Himalayan was formed before plastics, eat foods high in lutein, drink your body weight in oz of water, get a good pre/probiotic (if you have wiped out your gut microbes with antibiotics), consume digestible and indigestible fiber for your gut microbes, fermented foods for the post-biotics, adaptogens (such as mushrooms) and methylation donors (kale, beets, spinach, cruciferous, lion’s mane…), marjoram, rosemary, oregano, parsley and other herbs to detox, enhance overall health and reverse aging and disease, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, take a hot epsom salt bath and follow with a cold shower/ice plunge, remove EMF (electromagnetic frequency) devices and blue light, use IR (infrared) from incandescent lighting, non-toxic ca or light a fire to enhance sleep and...turn off the light!! #HP-EVOO