Hundreds of studies have revealed that a diet consisting of mostly processed and refined foods can be problematic.
Processed and refined foods lose some of their original nutrient contents during the production process. And your body can then struggle to function optimally because these foods are missing nutrients required for proper metabolism. This often includes processed foods that are fortified with vitamins. Just because something is fortified with vitamins, doesn’t necessarily mean the vitamins will be readily absorbed by your body.
It is recommended to limit your intake of refined ingredients, such as white flour, white sugar and refined vegetable oils. And also heavily processed foods, such as white bread, crisps, crackers, dried pasta, cakes and frozen meals.
Incorporating some raw fruits and raw vegetables into your diet will provide you with enzymes more abundant with nutrients. And you can get a lot of nutrients absorbed quickly into your body by incorporating vegetable juices into your diet. Buying a juicer is a worthwhile investment.
Eating more alkalising foods than acidic foods is recommended by many nutritionists for optimal health. There is some debate over the correct ratio, and everyone is slightly different, but approximately 75% alkalising food is usually suggested. Here is a chart of alkalising and acid forming foods.
One useful tip, is to squeeze half a lemon into water and drink this in the morning. Once digested, lemon turns highly alkaline in the body. So, if you have eaten a lot of acidic food the day before, you can counterbalance this quickly with lemon water.
If your diet consists of a lot of cooked foods, it will be beneficial to occasionally eat foods such as kefir, raw pickles, miso, sauerkraut or yogurt that contain beneficial bacteria and natural probiotics.
Excess inflammation in the body has been linked to fatigue, fogginess and mental imbalances. You can prevent excess inflammation by avoiding overly processed foods, limiting deep-fried foods, eating smaller meals, drinking more water and exercising regularly.
Gluten products in particular can cause excessive inflammation. Also, nightshade vegetables can cause excess inflammation for some people. Examples include: Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini).
You can decrease inflammation with antioxidant rich foods — berries are particularly effective, also pineapple, turmeric, ginger and Brazil nuts.
Nutritionists recommend to occasionally commit to a three day ‘Gut Reset’ diet. This type of diet is primarily designed to reduce inflammation and reinstate a balance of healthy bacteria within your digestive system, so it can function optimally.
Keeping your body hydrated will assist in the digestive process, but don’t drink any substantial amount of cold fluid shortly before, during or after eating — leave about fifteen minutes either side of eating. Warm beverages are best to have with food, and in moderation, will not interfere with digestive processes.
Grains that are soaked, sprouted or fermented will be easier to digest. Preparing grains through a slow fermentation process can provide higher nutrient levels. For example, sourdough bread is easier to digest and is high in B vitamins.
It is recommended to avoid non-organic gluten products as much as possible due to the high levels of toxic pesticides. A pesticide named Glyphosate is commonly used around the world, particularly on grain crops, and has been repeatedly linked to causing health issues.
Many non-organically produced foods are relatively uncontaminated by pesticides. But certain non-organic foods are found to be more contaminated, and are best avoided.
Do your best to avoid genetically modified foods. Foods such as soy and corn are often genetically modified. And if you eat meat or dairy, then organic and free-range is the best option. As otherwise, you will likely expose yourself to genetically modified foods by proxy, as that is what many livestock are being fed.
Animals who lived in the sun and had a natural organic diet, will be higher in nutrients. This also applies to eggs produced by free-range chickens who spend time in the sun.
It is recommended to limit consumption of industrially produced ‘vegetable oils’ and seed oils such as safflower oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil.. There can be toxins left over from the manufacturing process, and also, your body can become inflamed due to excess omega 6.
Consume cold-pressed oils or saturated animal fats. For example, you can use cold-pressed olive oil or avocado oil to dress food. Coconut oil, butter or ghee to fry or bake.
A rule that nutritionists often go by is, “If it’s advertised on TV, don’t eat it or drink it.” It is best to avoid eating at the transnational corporate fast food chains. Also, you have to be aware that many companies will use the word ‘natural’ yet will still load the product with toxins — do not be fooled.
Be highly prudent with any food or drink containing additional sugar. In particular, avoid the big-name corporate soda drinks that are heavily laden with refined white sugar. In moderation, use natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup.
For the most part, I suggest avoiding products with artificial ingredients such as colourings, ‘flavourings’ and preservatives. Usually, these are labelled as E numbers in the ingredient list.
Certain foods are more abundant in compounds that can assist the body to detox, and it is recommended that some of these foods are in your diet on a regular basis.
Sea salt is the most soluble type of salt for your body, and the less refined it is, the better. Celtic sea salt, also known as grey salt, is recommended for its high trace mineral content. It is best to avoid heavily processed and fortified table salts. Aluminium is often left over from manufacturing methods used to reduce clumping, whilst trace minerals such as magnesium are typically removed. Table salt will not be easily absorbed by your body.
Don’t use microwave ovens as they can destroy the nutritional vitality of food. And be aware that some non-stick pans and aluminium pans can begin to leech toxic compounds over time. The health dangers of Teflon are clearly established.
Well-produced iron pans will last much longer. You can buy iron pans that come ‘pre-seasoned’ and this provides a non-stick surface. Pans produced by Lodge, De Buyer or Solidteknics are recommended.
Your body goes through some form of detoxing process every day and is highly proficient at cleansing itself of toxins. It is fine to enjoy some occasional indulgences and just don’t worry about it.
But by making an effort to avoid toxins and by keeping your body hydrated, nourished and moving — whilst not being afraid of the inevitable toxicity you will encounter — your body will cope much better.
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*The information provided in this article should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.