Internal wellness begins with what we put into our bodies to fuel them. It is essential to have an understanding of what our food consists of and why certain foods are better than others.
Consider our food as grouped into carbohydrates, fats and protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water (all classified due to their molecular structures), and what these do in the body.
Carbohydrates are rated on the way they raise blood glucose levels in the body. This is known as the glycaemic index.
Saturated fatty acids (from animal fats such as meat, egg yolks, dairy and shell fish) and
Unsaturated (from plants such as corn, olive, sunflower and peanuts.
are simple fats combined with other chemicals such as phospholipids(seen in cell membranes) and lipoproteins(transport molecules in the blood). The lipoproteins are important as they are commonly tested on lipid/cholesterol tests that GPs perform. Lipoproteins are of 3 classes; high density (HDL), low density (LDL) and very low density (VLDL). The HDLs are the good lipoproteins that take cholesterol away from blood vessel walls to the liver where they are broken down by bile and excreted into the intestines. Exercise can increase HDL’s. LDL’s are ‘bad’ lipoproteins as they carry cholesterol through the body allowing it to deposit in arteries.
are combinations of simple and compound fats eg. Cholesterol. Not all cholesterol is bad as the body does need some cholesterol to make sex hormones and vitamin D. Its having too much that makes its dangerous.
Just a note on vitamin and mineral supplementation
There is much controversy regards supplementation being a waste of money. This would be true if we ate fresh food from the garden which had no pesticide exposure and a high soil nutrient content. Nowadays, this is an unlikely situation and so for efficient body functions to occur supplementation is essential. However, many of the over the counter preparations consist of low doses with low grade ingredients. The result is that you need more to get the desired effect. So when choosing supplements select only high grade, concentrated products. These will be cost effective. Your anti-aging doctor should be aware of these and can make recommendations. Ask what they use for themselves and their families!
THE GLYCAEMIC INDEX
The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating of carbohydrate foods from 0 to 100 indicating how these foods raise blood glucose levels in the body when eaten. This is important when dealing with insulin resistance and diabetes as those foods with lower GI require less insulin to control blood glucose rises.
The GI rating is not the only factor in choosing suitable carbohydrates in a diet. Generally the slower the digestion the better the glycaemic control as well as appetite control. Factors that slow digestion of carbohydrates include
The amount of carbohydrate is equally important as the type. This is indicated by the glycaemic load calculated as
Glycaemic load =
GI of food x amount of carb in a normal serving
|In this case|
> 20 high
11 – 19 medium
< 10 low
The ideal GI food is high in fibre and low in fat.
A point of importance in reference to diets is the use of the word ‘diet’ itself. To many this word implies temporary eating changes to produce a desired effect, usually weight loss. I prefer to use the word ‘lifestyle eating plans’, as it is only long term changes that will provide satisfactorily lasting results. The word diet in this context simply means an eating plan.
All anti-aging diets, i.e. lifestyle eating plans, should be tailored to the individual. However some basic rules can be applied.
They should be balanced with
50 to 60%
20 to 30%
15 to 20%
Calorie intake should be around 1800/day for the average 70kg moderately active person.
This balance will change depending upon exercise, insulin resistance and maximizing the use of growth hormone.