Why Nutrient Dense food is Key to a Healthy body & Skin

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates. Your nutritional status plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. Macronutrients carbohydrates: simple and complex, proteins: amino acids, and lipids and micronutrients (vitamins, electrolytes and nutritionally essential minerals) work together to maintain the barrier functions of skin. Changes in nutritional status that alter skin structure and function can also directly affect skin appearance. As we age our bodies don't absorb nutrients as well as they used to, yet we tend to need fewer calories and eat less. It is therefore vital to make the most out of the foods we do eat.

Choose Nutrient Dense Foods

Food isn't just fuel it's information - Nutrient-dense foods contain an abundance of nutrients both macro and micro nutrients along with, fiber, protein, and healthy fats—but are not excessive in calories. 

Author and lecturer Michael Pollan notes that there are 80,000 known edible plant foods, about 3,000 of which have been, or still are, in common use in the human diet. And yet over 60% of calorie intake worldwide consists of just four highly subsidized, industrialized crops: corn, rice, soy and wheat.

Meaning that people obtain many of their daily calories from foods that don’t offer many nutrients. Making a few changes to what you decide to eat, (yes people you must take responsibility for what you choose to put in your mouth!) in a few short weeks the changes you can make to your health and wellbeing is nothing short of astounding. Your future self will thank you. Not convinced? here are some examples of conditions you may wish to avoid, in some cases reverse, or lessen if you have already started to show symptoms:

  • Depression, Anxiety, Diabetes 
  • Autoimmune Diseases - Alopecia, Alzheimers, Inflammatory Bowl Disease, MS, Osteoarthitis, Parkinsons, Psoriasa Rheumatiod Arthritis Thyroid Disease. (There are currently over 80 known autoimmune diseases.)

Foods to Eliminate

Processed Foods - They contain preservatives, hydrogenated vegetables oils, dyes and sugars.

Refined Carbohydrates & Flour - They contain pesticide sprayed grains and is it made from allergenic grains. These can spike your blood sugar by stimulating the release of insulin at levels that end up dropping blood sugar. This causes anxiety, nausea, irritability fatigue the list goes on..

Allergens - Gluten, soy and corn have each been identified as allergenic foods. Due to the nature of their being processed via genetic modification renders these foods unrecognisable to our immune systems. Gluten along with processed diary create peptides that once though the gut barrier can stimulate the brain and immune system in inflammatory and even mind altering ways!

Sugar - All forms of sugar cause changes to our cell membranes, arteries immune systems hormones and gut. Our bodies are just not built to tolerate sugar. Here are a few of the complications associated with excess sugar: 

  • Sugar can cause premature ageing // more antibodies are necessary to get rid of ageing cells
  • Sugar can lower you Vitamin E levels which can initiate the autoimmune process
  • Sugar can cause food allergies
  • Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA
  • Sugar can make your skin age by changing the structure of collagen
  • Sugar can slow down the ability of your adrenal glands to function.

Choose: Honey, maple syrup or coconut sap sugar.

  • Fructose - Processed Fructose is derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Once in your body fructose goes straight to the liver to be processed, the liver often deals with it by creating fatty deposits. This does not have an immediate effect on blood sugar but over time studies have shown it is associated with glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and hypertension.
  • Glucose - Is used by the body in ever cell as a fundamental energy unit. Glucose is a simple sugar and an important energy source for our body. Most complex sugars and carbohydrates get broken down into glucose. Foods naturally high in glucose include honey, agave, molasses, dried fruit, fruits, and fruit juices.

Purified Fructose has a Drug-like Hold On Our Bodies industrially processed fructose in isolate form, which may be as addictive as alcohol and perhaps even morphineOur dietary exposure to fructose, is primarily through either sugar (sucrose) or through high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In processes packaged foods. Pasteurised fruit juices are another concentrated source of fructose, but increasingly even pasteurised fruit juice is being adulterated with additional sugar or HFCS for reasons that have mostly to do with protecting the manufacturer's bottom line. Take a look on a food ingredient label can you see: Corn Syrup, Invert Sugar or Fructose Syrup? Don’t eat it. Put this back on the shelf and head to the 'real food' isle.

Glyphosate - This is a chemical used to spray food. A weed-killing herbicide used by conventional farming practices - worldwide. Why? In March 2015 seventeen experts from eleven countries met at the WHO'S International Agency for Research on Cancer in France to discuss the cancer-causing effects of pesticides and glyphosate in particular. Concluding that it is probably carcinogenic to humans. Many of glyphosates adverse effects are found in very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment, challenging the the notion that there is a safe threshold of exposure. Glyphosate is used by conventional farming practices in Australian.

Monsanto to Pay $289.2M (USD) in Landmark Roundup Lawsuit Verdict - August 2018: A San Francisco jury returned a verdict in the case of a former groundskeeper with terminal cancer against Monsanto Company, ordering the agrochemical giant to pay $39.2 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages for failing to warn consumers that exposure to Roundup weed killer causes cancer. This is why Human & Kind {organics} chooses certified organic and bio-dynamically farmed ingredients.

Foods to Eat

Eat whole foods: This means you or someone in your household has to cook, alternatively, you may be able to source, depending on where you live, pre-prepared unprocessed meals. Vegetables, fruit, pastured meats (pastured raised // free-range// grass-fed and or organic) Wild-caught fish, free-range/organic eggs, nut and seeds, fats from unprocessed sources think - olives, avocado, and coconut oil. Broths from meat bones, chickens or fish. (Click here for Bone Broth Recipe including vegetable stock.)

Don't cut out the Fats:  Fats help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E & K.
Good Sources of saturated fats - Red Palm oil, animal meats, ghee, dark chocolate, coconut oil.
Omega's 3 & 6 - (polyunsaturated fats) Cold water fish, flax oil, macadamia nut oil, grass fed meat, eggs nuts and seeds.
Omega's 9 - (monounsaturated fats) Olive Oil, avocado, almonds, eggs and lard.

Fresh Herbs and Spices: Not only do they add flavour to your food, you can grow them yourself but they have many additional benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Controlled blood sugar and appetite
  • Strengthened immune system (antibacterial, antiviral)
  • Improved digestion and gastrointestinal health
  • Improved blood lipids (triglycerides, cholesterol)

Top Spices: Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cayenne/Paprika, Cloves, Cumin Cardamom, Fennel Seeds, Peppercorn (Black.) 
Top Herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano (Marjoram), Sage, Basil, Mint, Ginseng, Tarragon, Cilantro (Coriander), Dill.

Lifestyle Choices

Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Ketogenic diet and the low-FODMAP diet are lifestyle choices and not 'fad diets' in the sense of losing weight quickly - these are long term ways in which you eat and live. A side effect may well be that you lose weight. Sometimes you need to experiment to find the lifestyle that suits you and your family, but the fundamental 'core ingredients' (forgive the pun) are eating the most nutrient-dense, high quality, non-processed and real foods. Side effects? You will feel and look better, have more energy, a healthy immune system and have a better quality of life. 

Fasting - Intermittent fasting mimics caloric restriction (CR), which is the most effective way we know of to increase life span. Fasting gives your cells the ability to detox and recycle, so your body can slow down ageing and even prevent age-related diseases. Studies have shown that fasting can prevent cancer and even slow or stop its progression. It can also kill cancer cells while boosting the immune system. It improves cognitive function and stress resistance, increases neurotrophic factors, and reduces inflammation.

Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and your brain responds to that challenge by adapting stress response pathways that help your brain cope with stress and disease risk. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise — both increase the production of protein in the brain (neurotrophic factors), which in turn promotes the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and the strength of synapses.

When it comes to intermittent fasting, there are several options - Some people eat only during an eight-hour window. For example, you can eat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., then fast from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Or you can fast for 24 to 36 hours once or twice weekly. Personally I eat, as a rough guide, between 10.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. creating a 15 hour fast period daily. I often only eat two meals per day, like any lifestyle changes it takes some time to adjust too. I craved carbs for about a month! I have them of course but in the form of starchy vegetables and rice.

A note to remember - with regards to avoiding gluten is that GF foods are not always a good choice as these too are processed and depending on the quality of the ingredients used, may well cause other sensitivities. I will perhaps once of twice a month have a slice of Organic Sourdough - the fermentation process that gives the bread it's distinctive sour taste also makes it more gut-friendly. The wild yeast and bacteria in a sourdough starter break down some of the carbohydrates (called fructan) and proteins (gliadin and glutenin combine to form the protein called Gluten) found in flour, which can cause the sensitivity. The quality of the ingredients matters, I can tolerate this locally baked Certified Organic Sourdough in a gut health sense and its a 'treat' I enjoy in moderation.

Here are the Top 21 Nutrient Dense foods - don't just think of this list as 'additions' make these foods the basis of what you eat, think soups, broth based bowls with perhaps rice or and zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, slow cookers are amazing and ideal for all the super-busy super-mothers out there! Pancakes using high quality buckwheat flour, steel cut oat flour with chia seeds and nut or plant based milks. Delicious. Smoothies with banana, avocado, mixed berries with coconut water (you can easily add hemp // pro-biotic // spirulina powders (children will not notice) freeze the smoothie into an icy pole so refreshing in the summer months. Personally I don't particularly enjoy cooking however I do enjoy being healthy and feeling alive (anyone who has, or is struggling with a chronic illness or disease will understand this!). I want to be here as long as possible to annoy (enjoy!) the bejesus out of my son as he grows up! 

Top 21 Nutrient Dense Foods Nutrient density

  1. Seaweed
  2. Liver (Beef & Chicken) 
  3. Kale, collards & dandelion greens 
  4. Broccoli rabe
  5. Exotic berries: acai, goji, camu camu 
  6. Spinach, watercress & arugula 
  7. Broccoli & cauliflower 
  8. Cabbage 
  9. Capcicum
  10. Garlic
  11. Parsley
  12. Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  13. Asparagus 
  14. Carrots 
  15. Beets 
  16. Wild salmon & sardines
  17. Bone broth  
  18. Grass-fed beef 
  19. Green beans 
  20. Egg yolks  
  21. Pumpkin 

CONCLUSION - Food for thought, remember you have the power to make change, some of us dive in and make a complete lifestyle change in one go, others need time to adjust with implementing one change at a time. The only right way, is the one that works for YOU. Listen to your body, take note of what happens when you eat a particular food, are you bloated, is your stomach rumbling as soon as you consume a particular food, are you experiencing gassiness, how do you feel? Keep an open mind and remember life is 'work in progress' as we learn and discover more about health, disease, causes and preventative measures. 

Until next time...

be human | be kind | be you






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