Are YOU Getting The Right Nutrition From YOUR Food!

Last month we looked at nutrition; vital part of our ongoing health. 

With so much processed ‘dead food’ available, (which can sit on a shelf for many months), the chemical process it goes through to maintain it is fit for human consumption, means by the time we eat it the food can be devoid of much of its nutritional value and you are still ingesting a string of unpronounceable names that need to be added for longevity.  The nutritional content is so poor, that unless we are vigilant in obtaining fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, we can be sure that over time our body will be deficient to a point where it can start to break down. 

Vitamin C is essential in the human diet because our bodies cannot make this compound on their own. We need it to make some hormones and collagen. Vitamin C is easy to get from fruits and vegetables but is extremely difficult to source from meat. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for an adult is 75-90mg. However, scientific studies recently have shown that 3 times this amount is ideal to optimize immune function and resistance to disease and infection. When combined with Vitamin D3 (sun) the combination can help to boost immune function which can fight a wide range of health issues without resorting to drugs and supplements, the majority of which are synthesized anyhow. To get enough Vitamin C from a standard meat diet can be difficult. However, by replacing the meat with a variety of fruits or vegetables presents no such problem. My own daily intake is around 400mg 

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects tissues while fat is burned for energy. Severe deficiency is rare, but low intakes of Vitamin E have been linked to high oxidative stress and tissue damage. Vitamin E deficiency can also cause nerve pain (neuropathy). The recommended daily intake of Vitamin E is 15mg and it is difficult to source from meat. It may be difficult to get enough Vitamin E without looking to plant-based sources.

Nuts, especially almonds are rich sources of Vitamin E, along with a wide range of fruits and vegetables. My normal daily intake is around 15g and I eat a lot of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables! 

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism. Deficiency may cause bleeding and osteoporosis. Leafy greens are high in Vitamin K (K1), but this vitamin is more difficult to source from meat. Kale, spinach etc added to your veggie curry is required to get your daily intake up. The daily recommended intake of Vitamin K is 90-120mcg, but Vitamin K2 is another problem! For most people, K2 will be low regardless of whether or not you eat plant based or standard type of diet. Thankfully a good quality supplement of Vitamin D3 will often have K2 added. Both work in unison to move calcium spurs from joints and other areas back to where they are supposed to be. For more detail on the Vitamin K2 problem go to this link – veganhealth.org/vitamin-k/

Potassium is an essential nutrient that regulates fluid balance in cells and blood pressure. Symptoms of deficiency include increased blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, muscle weakness and irregular heartbeat. The daily recommended intake of Potassium is 2,600-3,400mg for an adult, though the USDA recommends 4,700mg. Fruits and vegetables are rich in Potassium, while meat is not a great source. Salmon contains some Potassium, but this is low compared to plant foods.

Magnesium is one of the most essential dietary minerals. It is important for energy metabolism, mood, protein building, bone development and DNA production. Over time, low Magnesium intake can lead to nausea, vomiting, fatigue, numbness, muscle cramps, seizures and even personality changes.

The daily recommended intake of Magnesium is 320-420mg and is most abundant in nuts and beans. It is difficult to source from meat. 

Manganese is important for metabolism and bone formation. Symptoms of deficiency include slow growth and poor bone health. Manganese deficiency may resemble Vitamin K deficiency. The daily recommended intake of Manganese is 1.8-2.3mg for adults. Plant based sources include nuts, beans and legumes such as lima and pinto beans, oatmeal and bran cereals, whole wheat bread, brown rice, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, fruits and dark chocolate.

The best antioxidants are plant Polyphenols. Some scientists consider them essential to human health. Plant Polyphenols help protect the body against cancer, heart disease, nerve damage, and more. In multiple studies, people who got less of these compounds in their diet developed more age-related diseases. People who eat plant Polyphenols tend to have fewer bad and more good bacteria in their guts. This link is even more important for meat eaters because of the bad bacteria that grows on meats, such as E. Coli.  Plant Polyphenols are potent antioxidants that combat cancer, infections, heart disease etc. Meat contains no Polyphenols.

A healthy digestive system contains dozens of species of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria are collectively called the ‘gut flora’ or ‘gut microbiota’ and they help digest our food, produce beneficial chemical compounds and boost immunity. According to several studies, gut bacteria composition is sensitive to changes in a diet.

Fibre is essential for healthy human ‘gut flora’. When we don’t eat enough Fibre, the ‘gut flora’ eats away at the mucus of the intestinal wall, which many researchers believe makes us more likely to get sick. Meat contains no Fibre. The daily recommended intake of Fibre is around 25gm per day for women and 38gm per day for men. Fibre is also beneficial because the gut bacteria use it to produce short-chain fatty acids such as Butyrate, an anti-inflammatory compound that nourishes the lining of the large intestine. Fibre feeds your gut bacteria, which are essential for immunity, nutrient digestion, reducing inflammation and more. Strict carnivores don’t get dietary Fibre!

Myo-inositol is a healthy compound found in a lot of foods. The foods richest in Myo-inositol include fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. Diets rich in these foods can provide 1,500mg of Myo-inositol a day, whereas a meat-based diet (2lbs of meat) will contain less than 300mg a day.

Oxidative Stress

Diets high in red meat have been linked to heart disease and cancer, perhaps because cooking meat releases substances (heterocyclic amines) that increase Oxidative Stress. These substances build up when meat is cooked at high temperatures (150-200°C), such as by barbequing, grilling and pan-frying. Cooking methods that don’t brown the meat, such as slow-cooking, could potentially prevent these compounds from accumulating.

People who eat more meat also tend to have higher glutamyltransferase (GGT), a marker of Oxidative Stress.

A plant-based diet has in the past been highlighted as deficient in some of the above nutrients. However, as you can see, this is not the case. In fact many would argue the reverse is actually true. The fact is that plant-based foods will deliver the nutrients that God intended for us humans in the correct amount to sustain a healthy and long life without going through the middleman, animals.  Animals eat plants naturally to create the second-hand nutrients we are told are vital, such as Protein and Calcium. Going plant-based will bring about huge benefits in your metabolism, your immune system and general wellbeing, whilst dropping weight and reducing cardio vascular disease with massive shifts in blood markers which shows reduce inflammation, the number one cause of systemic disease. Try it for one month to see how you feel.

If you want more details of what I eat in a day just email me on andrewhurrell200@yahoo.com