Give or take, there are around 37-billion-billion chemical reactions taking place in your body every second, writes Navita Doshi (qualifying as a Nutritional Therapist), and Team member at Reflex Spinal Health. We need them for everything; thinking, breathing, making energy, movement, having a pee, you name it, and a chemical reaction is involved. All these chemical reactions use enzymes (made of protein). The enzymes, in turn, need a myriad of co-factors to make them work! These co-factors include vitamins, minerals, and plant nutrients (called phytonutrients) from our food. Without these co-factors, enzymes may not work as well or simply not work at all preventing certain chemical reactions taking place.
To ensure our bodies are supplied with all these nutrients, we need to eat a nutrient-dense diet. It’s very easy to eat large quantities of food leaving us full, yet totally lacking in nutrients. That yummy pepperoni pizza may leave you satisfied and provide your body with plenty of energy. However, these calories come in the form of poor-quality carbohydrates, fats, and (some) protein. This type of food is lacking in many micronutrients needed to make you function at your best.
Micronutrients are antioxidants (fighting molecules that damage our cells and DNA), anti-inflammatory, involved in cell regulation, detoxification, reducing cholesterol, inhibiting cardiovascular disease, inhibiting cancer causing agents, involved in hormone and energy production, bone density, the list goes on and on!
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The best way to ensure you’re getting as many micronutrients as you can is the ‘Eat the Rainbow’. Include as many different coloured fruits and veg in your diet as you can. The current government guidelines ask us to eat at least 5 different fruits and veg per day, but research has shown we need to be aiming for around 30 different types within a week. However, you can include nuts, seeds, spices, and different grains (think quinoa, pearl barley as good rice or pasta alternatives).
I’ve got a jar of 4-seed mix in my cupboard which includes sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds. I add this to salads and vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, or courgettes that I’ve quickly fried up in a little olive oil. I’ve also swapped potatoes and chips for sweet potatoes and butternut squash. My new favourite is making a butterbean mash instead or normal mash potatoes. Swapping white rice and pasta for their brown versions will increase your fibre intake (which is also great for gut health). In addition to all these micronutrients helping all the chemical reactions they are also feeding your good gut bacteria.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, has been attributed to Hippocrates the Greek physician more than 2000 years ago.
The Classic Hippocratic Oath:
The Revised Hippocratic Oath:
· I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism.
Notice the use of the term ‘best diet’ in the classic Hippocratic oath.
So, let’s focus on nourishing our bodies and giving our health the best chance it can. Let food be YOUR Medicine!
I think the statement that “you are what you eat” should make us all stop and think! An olympic athlete cannot fuel themselves on poor quality food and expect to perform. Whilst most of us do not aspire to be olympians it is very clear that what we ingest will have a direct impact on our health.
Andy Green, Chiropractor and Clinic Director at Reflex Spinal Health published his book, One Body, One Life: Don’t Screw it Up a few years ago. In it he names the three aspects of functional health as Frame, Fuel & Feel.
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Fuel predominantly relates to all aspects of food and drink that we ingest. As such each of us can control this to a very large degree, and let food be your medicine!
Frame relates to out musculoskeletal health. This is clearly an area that is specialised in at Reflex Spinal Health. Our fantastic team of chiropractors, osteopaths and soft tissue therapists help many people in the Reading area to feel great.
Feel relates to our mental health. In the wider population mental health has never been challenged as much for a very long time. Various factors including the COVID pandemic, and now the increase in cost of living, are placing many more people under mental strain. As there is a very clear link between mind and body it has been demonstrated how our mental health can directly affect our physical health and vice versa.
If you have any questions on these topics, or wish to speak to one of our team then please contact us at Reflex Spinal Health and we would be happy to help if we can.
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.