Australia's purest water

By Sam Mower and Katrina Nilan, founders and directors of Harness Your Health, a Sydney based health and fitness organisation. Visit www.harnessyourhealth.com for more information.

The health equation starts with what you put in your body; food and water. We have all heard the saying “You are what you eat”. This is a great starting point when considering your health.

Did you know that every single second there are 2 million red blood cells in your body that are dying and the same number that are being replaced? In fact in 120 days from now about 7 litres of blood in your body will be completely new! What are these blood cells being made from?

Your nutrition! So if the food you eat and water you drink becomes part of your body, the quality of what you’re eating and drinking matters. Would you prefer your body to be made from a nightly meal of hamburger and chips or a fresh, clean and lean meal of fish and whole grains? The choices you make every day really do determine the health of your body, and considering that the average person sits down to around a 1000 meals a year it is important for your health to get those choices right.

Foods from Nature

First of all we must think about how we view food and why we eat. Obviously not all foods are equal. We must respect that food is very powerful, it can act to heal the body or it can have a detrimental, even poisonous effect on us.

Good nutrition means that you feed the body what it needs to heal itself, grow and have energy and vitality. This means choosing foods that are close to how they are found in nature. Pasture raised meat, wild fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains all fit into this category. Anything processed or manufactured by man should be avoided.

Why is it important to eat fresh clean whole food? Because in today’s manufacturing of foods, man performs processes that remove much of the food’s nutritional value, while adding sugar and fat. With whole foods however, we eat to get all the nutrition of food: the protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and all the other micronutrients.

Whole foods contain all of the things needed for the optimal running of the human body. Important components of food often forgotten include the vitamins, minerals and other important micro nutrients. These micronutrients are substances sometimes referred to as secondary nutrients or food actives they include enzymes, co-enzymes, chlorophyll, antioxidants and phytochemicals. If you are eating processed foods that only contain the macro nutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates then you are missing out on some of the most vital parts of nutrition.

These important micro nutrients found in whole foods are needed for many reasons, such as; all cellular functions, to protect the cell & the DNA and also for the human immune system to be strong. Take for example white bread, it has had most of the nutritious part of the grain removed (the bran and germ) so that the white bread is fluffy and tastes nice but most of the nutrition is gone. It can be seen when manufacturers have to add back (man made isolated) vitamins to the foods in order to give them an adequate level of nutrition.

There is a big area of study in nutrition these days on “phytochemicals”, or phyto-plant chemicals. These are the chemicals in plants that give them their great colours and smells. Recently there has been more studying on phytochemicals and their disease combating abilities. Some of the categories are: Alkaloids, Anthocyanine, Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Isoflavones, Lignans, Monoterpenes, Organosulfides, Phenolic Acids and Phytosterols. All of these are found naturally in foods when you consume a variety of fresh raw fruits and vegetables. It is not yet fully understood how all these plant chemicals act intimately with our physiology yet more and more evidence is pointing to the fact that the healthiest diet on earth is one where the majority of the calories consumed, come from fresh raw fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Absorption

It isn’t completely true that we are what we eat, but more technically correct that you are what we absorb! Eating isn’t always good enough, we must ensure that food is properly digested. To ensure that food is broken down well enough to be easily absorbed the human body needs a good amount of digestive enzymes. These are synthesized by the body and allow food to be broken down in the stomach and intestines.

Consider this, when an apple falls off the tree and lands on the ground it begins to breakdown or decompose. Correct? This is due to naturally occurring substances in foods called enzymes. These enzymes begin the breakdown of foods or if you like the “predigestion” of food. When a diet is high in processed foods or manufactured foods from a factory, these foods do not include these natural enzymes. So when this predigesting is not present, our bodies have to work harder each time we eat and over time we can suffer problems due to a deficiency of whole foods.

Nutritional Support

Eating a variety of whole grains, fresh raw fruits and vegetables and lean proteins are the corner stone of a good diet. But with the busy lives we live today it isn’t always easy to meet our daily nutritional requirements to stay in optimal health. This is where nutritional support comes to plug any gap that may arise each day. Most vitamins these days are man-made, so be sure to look for nutritional support derived from natural, whole foods.

The ratio amongst the good fats, the omega 3 to the omega 6 is also very important. A balanced and sufficient intake of Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s can help you burn fat and give you more energy. Foods rich in EFA’s are fish, wild game, seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables. You may also consider using a quality Essential Fatty Acid supplement.

Good eating is not as hard as it would appear. By making some minor lifestyle changes and ensuring that whole foods are a regular part of your diet, you will quickly put yourself on a path to better health. Remember, above anything else, food should be enjoyable. And there’s nothing more enjoyable than eating food that’s as nature intended it.

By Sam Mower and Katrina Nilan, founders and directors of Harness Your Health, a Sydney based health and fitness organisation. Visit www.harnessyourhealth.com for more information.

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