To begin, let me say that the following answers are based upon my training and experience as a holistic nutritionist. Opinions on what’s best in nutrition are highly controversial which is the reason so many consumers are confused about making the best choices.
Keep in mind that you are unique, and your genetics, lifestyle, age, and even where you live factor into what might be the best choices for you.
However, there are some absolutes that the nutrition community agrees upon. Highly processed foods, chemicals, additives, refined sugars of any type are unhealthy. Consuming them on a regular basis will harm your health. Consuming meat that contains added growth hormones and antibiotics is unhealthy as well.
Below you will find some frequently asked questions and my response to them:
Full Fat vs. Low or Non-Fat Milk and Yogurt
Q. What are the benefits of full fat milk or yogurt versus low or non-fat in our diets? Is it safe to say full fat products are less processed?
A. Healthy fats play a vital role in our brain health and in helping us feel satisfied. However, when you narrow it down to dairy fats, full or low, consume them in limited amounts. Many people are sensitive to any dairy and the sensitivity can show in acne, digestive issues, phlegm in the lungs or sinuses.
Dairy is not the only answer to acquiring adequate calcium as the Dairy Council might suggest. There are other calcium rich foods. And remember to have adequate Vitamin D intake daily. It aids absorption of calcium and is a proven deterrent to serious Covid illness.
Plant Fat vs. Animal Fat
Q. If all plant fat is healthy and animal fat is dangerous, does that mean it is healthy and safe to eat margarine for example and dangerous to consume butter?
A. Quite the opposite when it comes to butter v. margarine. Butter is a saturated fat, and when derived from grass-fed/antibiotic-free/added-hormone-free cows, it is a rich and nourishing food – when eaten in a limited amount. It is true that your brain needs fat to flourish and maintain healthy performance.
Around 60 percent of your brain is made up of DHA – an omega-3 fat that you get from algae and fish. A little butter in the mix is also fine for the brain. (An early treatment for epilepsy, a brain malfunction, was a full fat diet because of fat’s importance in nourishing the brain.)
And forget about the margarine. Early versions of margarine contained hydrogenated or trans fats. They have been upgraded to contain interesterified vegetable oils which is also highly processed. Modern margarine may contain several food additives, including emulsifiers and colorants.
Put simply, modern margarine is a highly processed food product made from vegetable oils, while butter is basically concentrated dairy fat. You want to eat real food. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
Food and Inflamation
Q. What is inflammation and how is it affected by what we eat?
A. That’s a great question. You may not realize it, but that back pain, joint pain and headache probably stems from your diet. It all starts with what you eat. If you are eating highly processed foods with artificial ingredients and chemicals, your body is charged with processing these unnatural products.
They take longer to be disposed of because the liver’s function is to filter out toxins, and the products in processed foods are indeed toxic.
So, imagine that eating this way is a way of life for you. Eventually, your digestive system will break down because of a lack of healthy foods that produce needed gut flora that regulates metabolism, mood and immunity.
Your energy will fade, leading you to overeat to somehow find the nutrients that the processed foods aren’t giving you. It creates a vicious cycle. Your brain, your muscles, and your joints, along with your digestive system, will need tobcarry on without the vital nutrients these systems need. This is what creates inflammation.
It will show up as headache, acid reflux, back pain, sleep disturbances and joint pain. Don’t pass it off as part of your age; it is your diet, not your age that triggers inflammation.
Q. Does eating a cup of blueberries every day help maintain brain health?
A. It definitely will help, but it’s only one piece of the dietary mix that will keep your brain healthy. Blueberries prevent oxidative stress in the brain, so they are definitely beneficial.
You also need healthy fats in your diet that come from walnuts, salmon and avocado. There is never just one food that makes you healthy; it’s a combination of fruits and vegetables of many colors, nuts, seeds and grains, and clean antibiotic-free meats if you choose to eat them.
What nutrition questions have been on your mind? Do you wonder about nutrition conundrums? Have you connected your diet to any particular health conditions? What do you do to keep your body healthy?