It is common knowledge that during the night our bodies do a lot of repair and maintenance housekeeping. At night our brains process information, our body floods with hormones to stimulate repair and your immune system releases chemicals to help repair damage. Many of these processes such as our immune system work 24/7 to protect and heal.
Our bodies have incredibly complex processes to repair damage and prevent disease. In all cases this requires our bodies to make or modify compounds in order to restore balance. These activities are directly related to nutrient intake.
Complicated food advice
If you follow diet recommendations in the media they will invariably focus on macronutrients. These are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. One diet, say the Keto/Paleo will stress the importance of minimum sugars and carbohydrates while others advocate low fat and any combination you can think of.
My comment is that we are designed to be able to function well on a range of different macronutrients. Traditionally many societies lived mostly on carbohydrates, others high protein and high fats. While it may sound boring most people do well on a balance of quality protein, healthy non-inflammatory fats and complex carbohydrates.
One thing most diet commentators agree that refined carbohydrates, too much sugar, added chemicals especially colours and preservatives all help tip our bodies towards disease. It is also worth noting that some health conditions demand stricter diets such as those with Diabetes, Cardiovascular, Autoimmune or Neurodegenerative disease. I prefer to create these on an individual basis.
Damaged healing processes
The very presence of a chronic disease is an indication that some healing processes have been damaged. Putting aside genetic and infectious diseases you will see that all chronic disease is the result of a damaged or dysfunctional repair system. If these were working well the disease would have been repaired!
What is surprising is that most disease processes involve two destructive processes that of unwanted inflammation and damage from free radicals (oxidative stress). Free radicals are reactive molecules with unbalanced electrons that readily damage cells and tissue if not neutralized by antioxidants.
Healing and nutrition
There is direct link between healing processes and nutrition. We all know that food provides energy but it is also the way our bodies receive daily top-ups of the tools our body needs to protect and restore. I have created a comprehensive Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition guide. Email me (below) if you would like a copy.
Micronutrients are critical
Once we have adopted the macro nutrient diet suitable for our circumstances we turn our attention to Micronutrients. These are the minerals, vitamins and food based compounds (especially antioxidants) that power our healing processes.
Let’s look at just one example. Our survival depends on a specilaised enzyme called glutathione peroxidase (GPx). This is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage and helps to maintain the natural healthy balance in a cell. If GPx levels are low this will create potentially devastating changes to cells and the tissue they comprise.
Now here is the important point. Our bodies make GPx from the trace mineral selenium. Unfortunately NZ soils are known to be low in selenium and we have lower body selenium levels than recommended by health authorities. Low selenium means low GPx. Low GPx means your body will be pushed towards many disease states. If you ever wanted evidence to support mineral supplements this is it.