“You are what you eat” is a nice reminder to focus on healthy foods and avoid too much junk and rubbish that makes us feel heavy and sluggish.
But what’s the truth behind this aphorism? On what level are our bodies the same as what we eat?
The Facts Might Surprise You
What you eat affects your body on the most basic cellular level – impacting how you repair, rebuild, and create your future self.
Nutrition And Your Cells
The food and drink you consume today will have an impact on your body and health for years to come.
That’s eye-opening – imagine how much you could influence just by making some smart and mindful choices with your nutrition.
Your Food Intake Can Affect Your Energy, Body Composition, Even Some Diseases
Cells are the units from which all your tissues and organs are made – everything from blood to skin to brain and bone tissue.
They are the smallest living organisms in your body and are in constant communication with each other.
We have about 30 trillion cells in our bodies, with thousands of cells being replaced every single day.
Pretty mind blowing when you think about what’s going on inside the body!
Nutrition – what you choose to eat and drink – provides the raw materials to create those new cells.
How you choose to nourish yourself has a direct impact on how your cells are created and how well they are maintained.
Your nutrition even impacts the DNA within your cells’ nuclei. Research tells us that a diet low in key nutrients, antioxidants, and phytonutrients can result in damage to DNA.
The end result of this damage may be inflammation, cell death, and some diseases including cancer. (1)
Healthy Foods For Cells
In general, the best foods to eat for your cells (and for your overall health and wellbeing) are natural foods in their original state or as close as possible.
These foods will bring a full range of micronutrients to your diet.
Wholegrains: these contain all three parts of the grain (the germ, endosperm, and the bran) and a host of nutrients including tocopherols, Vitamins E and B, and key minerals that protect cells from inflammation and damage. (2)
Vegetables And Fruits: eat as wide a range of fruits, berries, vegetables, and leafy greens as you can. There’s really no limit to how much veg you should get in your diet.
It is packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other micronutrients that will nourish your cells and set you up for a healthier future.
Vitamin C: Important for cell health, protecting DNA from oxidative damage and regenerating Vitamin E back to its active form. Good sources of Vitamin C include exotic fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, berries, kale, cauliflower, and melons (perhaps not all together in the same dish…!)
Healthy Fats: The membrane around cells is mostly made of fats. Omega 3 fatty acids (the ones found in oily fish) help protect the structure of this membrane.
This is particularly important for brain cells and the cells involved in the immune system. (3) Wild caught, cold water fish are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids,
Protein: the macronutrient protein is immensely important for bone strength and muscle tissue, but proteins play a key role in cell health too.
They help cells form energy, repair DNA, and protect that cell membrane where they help cells communicate and connect to other structures.
Nuts And Seeds: Different nuts and seeds contain different micronutrients – particularly antioxidant nutrients which protect cells – so try to eat a variety.
Eggs: Unless your dietary choices prevent it, I recommend you eat eggs a few times a week.
The yolks contain healthy fats and a surprising number of vitamins and minerals, including choline which creates phospholipids in cell membranes.
Foods To Avoid For Healthy Cells
Processed, manmade foods do nothing to nourish your cells and set you up for a healthier future body.
As far as possible, avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. Try to eat to my 80/20 rule (80% natural, healthy foods and 20% of what you fancy!)
Does the food you eat help you repair as a better version of yourself?
Or are you going backwards towards poor health?
Until next time,
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’
References for todays blog content: