Over the past few decades we have really shifted away from eating foods in their most natural form – whole. Wholefoods are foods in the form that nature intended. Most people notice a dramatic difference in their energy, gut function and mood by eating this way. There are so many benefits to eating wholefoods including: increasing energy, boosting “happy hormones”, slowing the ageing process, balancing hormones, and balancing your pH levels.
Increase and Balance Energy Levels
This is done by balancing your dietary hormones. Have you noticed over the day that your energy fluctuates up and down? When you eat a high carbohydrate meal your body releases insulin, this causes your blood sugar levels to shoot up and then drop down quickly. With this you may notice your energy change. It is important to reduce insulin because too much can lead to hormone imbalance, inflammation, poor sleep, weight gain and fatigue. By eating wholefoods you usually will get a reduction in excess insulin release.
Boost Neurotransmitter Production
These are your “happy chemicals” and they are made with protein and a cocktail of nutrients. They are the chemicals that your nervous system uses to communicate. If your plate is constantly lacking sufficient protein and nutrient dense foods you may find yourself feeling more anxious, depressed, tired and unable to sleep deeply. These are all signs of a neurotransmitter imbalance. Colourful fruit and veggies is key.
Slow the Ageing Process
Every single cell ages with time, and the speed of this is increased with a lack of nutrients. Make sure your plate is colourful. You need antioxidants and nutrients. Essentially the more colourful your plate is the more nutrients you will receive. Antioxidants are what keep our cells healthy, improve our energy and stop us from ageing so quickly. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explained the importance of increasing nutrients on your plate to prevent DNA from ageing. Vitamin C and E showed very protective properties. Think colourful fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds.
Support the Digestive System
You are what you eat, digest and absorb! The digestive system is like a root system to a tree. It is where your body gathers its fuel to function. The food you eat can either support or hinder its function. Processed foods or foods not in the most natural form irritate the gut lining.
There are four vital functions of the gut:
1. Absorb nutrients
2. Regulate immunity – 80% of your immune system is in your gut
3. Support neurotransmitter production
4. Detoxify toxins including those made by the body example excess oestrogen Bacterias in the gut help us absorb nutrients from our food. Some bacterias have been implicated in conditions such as IBS, anxiety, skin conditions, allergies, fatigue, muscular stiffness….. and the list goes on. It is important that you eat a moderate level of carbohydrate to keep these bacteria under control.
BUT you also need plenty of cruciferous veggies (such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and especially Sauerkraut) to help the good bacterias grow. Some bacterias such as a good strain of E.Coli love protein, these bacterias are important for CoQ10 (an energy nutrient) and neurotransmitter production.
Support Hormone Balance
Eating wholefoods increases nutrient density of food, provides the building blocks to hormones and reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a potent driver of hormonal imbalance. It is a physical stress response. This response puts pressure on the antiinflammatory pathways in the body, and as a result of a cascade of events following this your hormones are more likely to go out of balance. Eating this way assists in reducing excess oestrogen in the body. Oestrogen dominance is so common in both males and females. The cause of this is multifaceted – oral contraceptive pill, HRT, inadequate detoxification, lack of exercise, poor sleep quality, over consumption of processed foods and oestrogenic foods, inflammation and excess stress. Signs of oestrogen dominance may be: fogginess, fatigue, breast tenderness and enlargement in both males and females, acne like skin conditions, irregular period for females, depression, bilateral headaches, bloating, unexplained weight gain and difficulty shifting it.
Balance Your pH
pH is a measurement of assessing alkalinity (high pH and acidity low pH). If you have a fish tank you know that you need to keep the water a certain pH for the fish and plants to remain healthy – it is the same in our body. Blood pH has a very fine window and doesn’t change dramatically as your body knows how important that is. But some tissue pH, particularly the gut, can alter outside of the optimal range. This is a result of poor dietary choices. Friendly bacteria cannot live in an acidic environment in the gut, but unfortunately the “nasty” bacteria can. The body as a whole works better in an alkaline environment as opposed to an acidic environment. An alkaline diet is more anti-ageing. When they body is acidic it is harder for the antiageing “cell protection” process to occur.
Foods that are beneficial for promoting alkalinity include:
- Green leaves: Spinach, kale, beetroot green tops, lettuce
- Alfalfa and other sprouts
- Water chestnuts
- Almonds and hazelnuts
- Lime and lemon
- Brussel sprouts and cabbage
- Spirulina and sea vegetables 7 7 St