Food: What are we made from?
I found this excerpt from Dr Mark Hyman MD on how the food we eat impacts our bodies very interesting and thought I would share it with you:
Every cell in our body turns over every 7 years. Some turn over daily, some weekly, and some take longer. Ever wonder how we make new cells, organs, tissues, skin, muscles, bone, and even brain cells? We don’t just manufacture them from thin air. The raw materials all come from what we eat. Do you want to be made of Doritos or grass-fed steak? Coca-cola or wild blueberries?
Our structure, which determines our function, is dependent on what we eat for the building blocks—the proteins, fats, minerals, and more that make up who we are.
If you are a healthy, lean male, your body is made up of 62 percent water, 16 percent protein, 16 percent fat, 6 percent minerals, less than 1 percent carbohydrate, and small amounts of vitamins. The problem is that our processed diet is about 50 to 60 percent carbohydrate, mostly low-quality, refined starches and sugars that are the raw materials for processed food. If those carbs don’t become our structure, where do they go? We burn some, but most get turned into dangerous disease-causing belly fat.
Your structure matters—not just to keep you all together standing straight up and not collapsing into a pile of muscle and bone on the floor. Every part of you has a structure and function. If you are made out of poor-quality parts, you will create a poorly functioning body.
Muscle loss and bone loss are huge factors in aging and age-related diseases. Muscle is where our metabolism is (low muscle mass equals slow metabolism and worse). The effect of poor quality muscles is an increase in diabetes, inflammation, and aging.
Imagine building your house out of rotten wood or disintegrating bricks. Remember the fable about building your house on sand? Or the one about the three pigs? Your structure and foundation matter. Why would you build your body from defective ingredients? For example, we need the best quality fats—our brain is 60 percent fat, our nerve coverings are all made from fat, every one of your 10 trillion cells is wrapped in a little fatty membrane. Do you really want to make them from oxidized damaged refined oils in your French fries or KFC?
We also need the best quality protein. The body makes most of its important molecules from protein including muscle, cells, and immune molecules. Not all protein is the same. The best type of protein to build muscle is other muscle—animal protein. You can get protein from plant foods, but the quality is lower and it has lower levels of key amino acids needed to synthesize new muscle.
There are also compounds such as phytates in plant proteins like beans and nuts that impair protein absorption. Rather than being turned into muscle, plant proteins are often just burned as calories.
If you are vegan, especially as you age, you need to ensure you get these by increasing the overall volume of protein-rich plant foods, adding protein powders, and supplementing with BCAA. If you want to eat less meat and include more plant proteins, combining them helps the body utilize the plant protein from beans. Think chili con carne!
And don’t forget all the vitamins and minerals we need to build tissues, muscles, and bones, including vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and more. Next time you chomp down on something, ask yourself if you are fine with it becoming part of you for the long term. If not, don’t eat it and find the best quality ingredients you can, ingredients that help you thrive.