Having seen people with all sorts of health conditions, I have come up with my four cornerstones of health and well being
I have seen people eating really great diets, still struggle with energy and neurological problems such as depression. It’s not just what we eat – most people know we need to increase our vegetables and cut down on sugar – it depends on how well we digest and absorb the nutrients from our food. For example protein digestion depends upon good levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Without this, protein can’t be processed into the amino acids that are so vital for healthy mood and energy. As well as hydrochloric acid there are a cascade of digestive enzymes that are released to digest fats, cellulose from plants, carbohydrates, dairy and sugars. Stress can increase or decrease stomach acid and hinder digestive enzymes (more below). Without adequate digestion our food is not absorbed and used effectively – this is the key cornerstone to health.
The good bacteria in our gut are vital to our health. Insufficient bacteria can lead to an imbalance favouring harmful bacteria (dysbiosis). Antibiotics, NSAIDs, alcohol, processed and refined foods, contribute to dysbiosis. When bad bacteria rule the roost our immune system is compromised and we are more open to harmful bacteria, allergies, autoimmune diseases, depression, food cravings, lack of nutrients and IBS.
Stress impacts on every cell in the body negatively affecting many systems of the body. For a start it shuts down digestion and hinders release of digestive juices causing bloating, and nutrient deficiencies or it increases acid causing heartburn and ulcers.
Stress provides the right environment for bad bacteria to flourish in the gut.
Stress raises Cortisol which initially makes us wired and anxious, but if it continues can lead to physical and mental exhaustion.
Stress affects sleep, relationships and food choices, and yet people soldier on expecting the body to cope. As humans we are not designed to live the life that has been created in modern day. We are meant to relax, flourish, laugh and ‘work to live’, not ‘live to work’. People need to look at their lifestyle, their jobs and their relationship and see what can be removed to make a life worth living.
Most people assume that they don’t need supplements. In my opinion, the only ones who don’t are those:
a) Have perfect digestion
b) Have plenty of sun
c) Eat a homegrown organic diet rich in fish and red meat, good fats and lots of vegetables from nutrient rich soil
d) Have never had antibiotics, NSAIDs or contraceptive medication
e) Have no stress and are in good relationships
f) Live close to nature away from pollutants
g) Were breastfed by a mother who lived life as above
This does not apply to the majority of the population. Our soil, food storage, cooking methods, medications, stress and individual genetic makeup mean that many people are deficient. Most common deficiencies are magnesium, omega 3 fats, iron, iodine and vitamin D.
Taking a good quality multi vitamin that contains the right nutrients, in an absorbable form, in the right ratios can make a difference. Consult a Nutritionist for more information.