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How do I know what is healthy in the world of too much information?!

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

These days we rely on google so much, from googling how to do something to trying to find out what foods are healthy and not. And you know what? Google is there for us it has an answer for everything and to be honest it validates any fact you want as well. Is coffee good for you or is coffee bad for you? Google will give you the reasons why it is good and why it is bad, so you can validate whatever choice you make. So how do we rely on this anymore, when we can find anything we want. This makes it difficult when trying to decipher what is healthy and what is not. So, I have some tips for you to make your own decisions.


The truth is, google isn’t wrong, everything has pros and cons and people emphasis the pros or the cons and that’s why it's confusing. Also, people will focus on one part of the study rather than reading it holistically.


Example 1: Coffee


Coffee has been quoted numerous times to be associated with:

  • a lower risk in cardiovascular death including strokes and congestive heart failure

  • improvements in type 2 diabetes

  • improvements in depression

  • improvement in obesity

  • protective against neurodegenerative disease

Which is all great news but the study (that people often leave out) is that this is based on observational data, with very few long random control studies being published on the benefits of coffee. The study also notes that coffee also:

  • increases anxiety

  • can cause insomnia

  • induce headaches

  • induce tremulous

  • can create heart palpitations

  • increase risk of fractures in women

  • for pregnant women can increase risk for low birth weight and preterm labour

How does coffee do this well it releases adrenaline and heightens cortisol in the body, the body then has to detoxifies these hormones and this takes up operating time of your body to heal and detoxify other toxins and food you eat. Therefore, if you have a stressful job as well as daily HIIT classes and then had coffee to this your body is put into a fight or flight mode where your immune system is compromised, digestive systems halts and your reproductive system stops operating. Now imagine you are doing this every day.


See, pros AND cons. So it's up to you, see both sides of the argument and then decide for yourself, what is best for your future. Now what questions should you ask yourself, I’ve included these below.


How to evaluate what food is good for you and not?


Food is either healthy (health promoting) or inflammatory (disease promoting), to decide between them consider the following:

  • How nutrient dense is the food?

  • How much antioxidants, phytonutrients and micronutrients?

  • What hormonal impacts will there be? E.g. blood sugar levels

  • What proportion of fatty acids? The omega 3: omega 6 ratio

Quinoa for example has protein, fibre, Magnesium, Folate, Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Flavonoids (Quercetin and Kaempferol which are anti-inflammatory and anti-viral) and high levels of antioxidants which sweep up all the free radicals within the body.


A piece of meat contains saturated fats, cholesterol (risk for heart disease), endotoxins, heme iron (causes oxidative damage) but it does have protein and some amino acids. However, when it enters the gut, the gut produces Trimethylamine Oxide (TMA) which traverses the colon wall and enters the circulation. This is what we call today ‘leaky gut’.


So chose wisely, focus on the four questions above. Every meal you get to choose again is this health promotion or disease promoting?


Sources:


O'Keefe JH, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lavie CJ. Coffee for Cardioprotection and Longevity. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 May-Jun;61(1):38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2018.02.002. Epub 2018 Feb 21. PMID: 29474816.

Velasquez MT, Ramezani A, Manal A, Raj DS. Trimethylamine N-Oxide: The Good, the Bad and the Unknown. Toxins (Basel). 2016;8(11):326. Published 2016 Nov 8. doi:10.3390/toxins8110326

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