Updated: Jun 19
Last week we started talking about the importance of sleep for physical health. Continuing on the path of physical health for this month, let's dive into the basics of nutrition today. I will share with you a few basic guidelines to gauge how you're doing with your foods and what changes you may want to consider to avoid nutrient deficiencies and stress on the body. First, here are a few questions for you to reflect on:
1. How do you know you're providing your body with adequate nutrition?
2. What foods make you feel energized? Depleted? (any allergies/intolerances?)
3. What are the needed amounts of protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates?
Provide Your Body With Adequate Nutrition
The way to check how you're doing nutritionally is to take a blood test to check for possible deficiencies in your diet. Once you know where you are deficient, that information will provide a clearer path forward to make the daily adjustments where needed. A common indicator of nutritional deficiency is a craving for refined sugars and carbohydrates. These are usually a sign of lack of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Here is a general list of common nutritional deficiencies:
Complete Proteins - Supports tissue building
Healthy Fats, especially Omega-3s - Tissue and lubrication support
Complex Carbohydrates - Provides energy
Iron -Forms blood cells
Fibre - Cleans up cholesterol, helps stay regulated (~30g/day)
Vitamin D - Regulates calcium metabolism
Antioxidants - Reduces inflammation
Probiotics - Supports healthy gut microbiome
Choline - Helps bile flow more easily for better breakdown of fats
Allergies & Intolerances?
Sometimes the intolerances or allergies show up in mild forms such as the following symptoms: skin rash, pimples, canker sores, itching skin, bloating, gas, burping, etc. Allergies are immediate reactions, such as experiencing a sore tongue after consuming citrus. Intolerances to foods can show up as symptoms a few days later and are more difficult to detect. It's important to investigate what these allergies and intolerances are personally for you to prevent damage to the gut lining of your digestive system.
Your small intestine has tight junctions and the damage to these junctions allows foods to flow into the bloodstream. Damage to the gut lining causes various uncomfortable symptoms and negatively affects nutrient absorption. The goal is to restore the gut lining with proper nutrition and by avoiding damaging allergens and intolerances to your body.
November 21, 2018. Image highlighting the small intestine. Putting a Stop to Leaky Gut. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/putting-a-stop-to-leaky-gut-2018111815289. Accessed June 12, 2023
Sept 9, 2020. Cells that form the lining of the intestines are called enterocytes.
Permeability occurs when the junctions between these cells loosen and microorganisms and toxins can leak through.
Could You Have Leaky Gut? Help It Heal With Healthy Habits. Samaritan Health Services.
Required Amounts of Protein, Healthy Fats, & Complex Carbohydrates
Depending on your activity levels, your body requires a certain amount of protein every day. Here is a little calculation you can do for yourself based on either sedentary, moderate, or high activity levels.
Sedentary = 0.6g-0.8g of protein per kg of weight
Moderate = 0.8g-1.0g of protein per kg of weight
High = 1.0g-1.2g of protein per kg of weight
How do you know how much protein you're getting?
With a simple google search you can get an approximate total for the day based on what you eat (try keeping a journal for a few days to see how you're doing).
The amount of healthy fats consumed in a day can range between 1/4 and 1/3 of the daily diet with the goal of maintaining a healthy body weight. Finally, complex carbohydrates play a big role in metabolizing proteins and fats, and can make up to 1/2 of the daily diet. Complex carbs and low-medium glycemic index (GI) foods are best to regulate blood sugars without big spikes and dips to maintain steady energy throughout the day. Pairing your carbs with healthy fats or protein also is best to provide a more steady blood glucose level.
Hydration Next Week!
That's a wrap for today! Until next week when I'll focus on the importance of hydration to reduce stress, support good regulation & overall physical health.
Your Holistic Nutrition Counsellor,