Diet and Nutritional Analysis
How does diet and nutritional analysis affect your health? Diet and nutrition play a huge role in your overall health and wellbeing. The standard western diet is rich in refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, salt and sugar.
We are tricked into believing that low fat and fat-free products are a healthy choice based on the notion that fat makes you fat. Natural fats are flavoursome as well as healthy, and by removing the fat, processed foods become tasteless. Therefore, food manufacturers add both sugar and salt to make their products palatable.
These highly processed foods, along with the cocktail of chemical additives, cause inflammation to our digestive tract. It reduces the quality of the gastric juices in the stomach, increases intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, allows opportunistic pathogens to flourish in our small intestine; a condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and decreases the colonies of beneficial microbes in our large intestine.
All of this can lead to reflux, indigestion, bloating, gas, pain, constipation or diarrhoea and malabsorption of nutrients. Not surprisingly, this can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, IBS, increased blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, a decrease of our immune function, autoimmune disease and cancer as well as a raft of other chronic health conditions.
It is also a leading cause of mental health problems. The microbiome in our intestinal tract makes our neurotransmitters. Up to 90% of our serotonin is made in the gut. Reduced levels of serotonin, due to maldigestion, can lead to anxiety, depression, panic, fearfulness, decreased pain tolerance, sleep dysfunction and carbohydrate cravings. So, with carbohydrate cravings, it becomes a vicious circle.
For this reason, I like to prescribe an anti-inflammatory diet that is based on the three basic food groups
- A moderate amount of animal protein – fish, chicken red meat
- Fresh seasonal and locally grown vegetables
- Fresh seasonal and locally grown fruit
In addition, a moderate amount of healthy fats such as butter, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil. If you are vegetarian or vegan then it is important to get enough protein from a broad range of vegetable sources because no one source will provide all the amino acids needed. Also, some of the popular vegan processed foods are packed with pro-inflammatory additives.