Why is nutrition so complex?
Many of us want to lose weight or eat better in order to naturally cure conditions like cramps or inflammation etc. Governments give recommended food guides, but they don't really help.
As I was getting older I developed high blood pressure and by 45 I was starting to get arthritis. I assumed it was just natural aging. But the older I got the worse it got. By 55 I was in constant pain. Not disabling pain, most of the time, but pain that moved from joint to joint seemingly at random.
I started looking up natural remedies. I knew that if I had cramps, eating a banana would cure it. Was there anything that could at least help arthritis? I found out that turmeric is an anti inflammatory, but I hate the taste of the powder, so I bought the whole roots and ate a gram a day. I found out later it takes a year for the full benefits to kick in. Then I found out it doesn't absorb into the body unless taken with an 8th of a spoon of black pepper. So I had wasted weeks eating it without.
I was also looking for a way to get off high blood pressure pills. I heard that potassium lowers blood pressure, and too little can cause it. Bananas have good potassium content which is why they cure cramps. But they only have around 300 mg. I found out the recommended daily intake for men is around 4700 mg or 4.7 grams a day. That's what? 16 bananas a day? Avocados have 5 to 700 mg each. But the sugar and fat count would be too much for anyone trying to lose weight. Now, lots of foods have small amounts. I've seen some nutritionists say the best way is eating at least 9 portions of leafy greens per day. Who can do that? I have trouble with more than one.
So I looked for supplements. They were hard to find, and when I did I couldn't find any stronger then 99mg. I'd have to take the whole bottle in one day to get my recommended daily. Why? Apparently it's because too much potassium is as bad as not enough. Not only that, potassium in pill form can harm your stomach lining. Natural is best.
So I was getting a bit depressed. Then I learned something else; potassium is regulated by magnesium, and potassium regulates salt. But to properly absorb potassium you need vitamin D3, and calcium. And to properly absorb D3 you need K2.
So it became obvious that this nutrition thing was complicated. Then to top it all off I discovered that the magnesium content in food is often less than advertized because of bad soil management. Same for potassium. Apparently most people are deficient in magnesium and D3 since it comes mainly from the sun.
So I did get a supplement for both. After a week of taking 500mg of magnesium all my pain was gone. It was amazing. Not saying it works for everyone, but sure worked for me. It also lowered my blood pressure, as well as apparently curing my optical migraines that started around the same time as my arthritis.
I've been pain free for two years now and I just turned 65. It wasn't just aging, it was not eating healthy food. As I said, all my arthritis pain was gone. But once in a while I'd get bursitis. It didn't last long and wasn't too painful. I also occasionally had a bit muscle pain.
When I started intermittent fasting to lose weight I cut out all starches like bread, potatoes, rice, etc, along with processed foods. All that pain went away too. But all my life bread has been my favorite food, so I started adding a whole grain fermented rye (as opposed to yeast) sandwich every other day. Multi whole grain bread has a lot of nutrients.
But a few days later I started getting mild bursitis pain again. So I started looking into why. Wheat and rye have gluten. I thought only people with gluten allergies felt effects from it. But it turns out that it's a protein that humans can't digest, so it hangs around and can irritate your stomach lining causing leaky gut disease, and inflammation. So it's really not good for anyone, though the young seem to do better with it for the most part unless they have celiac disease.
So I stopped eating bread for a while and the bursitis went away again. I tried the experiment twice more with the same results. So many processed foods and meats have gluten in them for texture. And wheat is everywhere. It's on fish in batter form, chicken nuggets and of course pies and cakes and even things we wouldn't dream have it. And I love it. But I can do without the pain.
You can go gluten free with oats, quinoa, etc. But the bread is hard to find and expensive. Not only that, it's filled with starches to make up for the gluten.
So, why is it we basically have been living off wheat since the stone age and now it's bad for us? Why? Well, it's because the wheat we grow now is not the wheat our bronze age ancestors grew. We've altered it by selection for specific traits. The original still had gluten, but not as much and it had other compounds that mitigated glutens effects.
Which brings me to GMO. A lot of products are genetically modified to withstand being sprayed with pesticides like Roundup. Problem is, the pesticides don't stay on the outside so you can wash it off, they get absorbed. And they are in such amounts it's criminal. This stuff can kill you, and one of the worst found in studies is GMO corn.
Therefore, it's best to go non GMO organic, meaning any fertilizers or pesticides used are organic, not chemical, and safe for human consumption. But yeah, they cost more.
To me it's criminal for farmers to produce food that could potentially kill us just out of greed. yes, farming isn't easy and can be risky. and I appreciate that and them, but making their lives easier and more profitable while causing us untold ailments isn't right. Not to mention the makers of these toxic pesticides. And it shocks me that governments allow it.
So besides all that, nutrients are complex because they all rely on each other. They tell us salt raises blood pressure. True. But only if you lack potassium. Studies show that if you have enough potassium you can have a much higher than recommended intake of salt and it won't raise your blood pressure but actually lower it. You need salt . And your thyroid needs iodine, naturally found in pure rock salt, but added back into commercial table salt.
But to absorb potassium you need D3 and calcium. If it isn't properly absorbed it accumulates in the blood. Not good. It also means it can't do its job with the salt, lower blood pressure or help your heart.
And if you don't have enough magnesium it's even worse. Again, D3 needs K2 for absorption. And it's never ending. All your vitamins and minerals are inter related. The closer you get to perfect balance, the healthier you'll be.
I treat food like medicine, and eat only enough and only those foods that get me closer to balance. But it's not easy. Some nutrients are easy to get like vitamin C. One orange or half a red bell pepper or a whole green one give you all you need. Yet you may need supplements of D3 and calcium if you don't drink milk or eat dairy.
But multi vitamins are not the answer either. yes, it gets even more complicated. Some nutrients shouldn't be taken together at the same time. Also, not all versions of a mineral absorb properly, or in some cases the compounds can't be made into the things that produce other nutrients like omega 3 or vitamin A, which is produced from beta carotene. So it takes research to find out if your supplements are worth taking.
Therefore I go natural as much as possible, and only take magnesium supplements, and D3 in winter. I wish I had paid more attention to my eating habits earlier. But when you're young you can eat what you like without too many problems. Problem is it catches up with you.
If you want to live a long and pain free life, research nutrition and let food be your medicine.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 21, 2020:
Greetings Mrs. Arledge,
I am not Mr. O'Brian. He is the author of this piece of writing. I'm just an intruder lol jk Also, my diet is meat with a side of meat. That's a White Wolf You see in the small photo. A wolf that can type. It happens sometimes lol
All the best to You!
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 21, 2020:
Guess I need a bit of sugar then so my brain can get my thoughts rolling on the page again.
Goodluck with your fruit diet.
Ron Hooft (author) from Ottawa on November 20, 2020:
Hi Brenda. Thanks for reading.
"We are told we can eat fruit...but then grapes, bananas, pineapple are all bad. Who knew? I mean..isn't all fruit...fruit?"
Right. Fruit is hi in sugar. But it's usually also high in fiber which reduces the sugar effects and makes most of them fairly low glycemic. The problem is juice. No fiber, you're getting a sugar rush even from pure hand pressed orange juice. But if you put the pulp back it's better..
I'm actually on a mostly fruit diet for all the nutrients; but I don't know if it would be wise for someone with diabetes.
Another interesting fact; you need some sugar for brain function. It can't use fat for fuel. It's all a question of the right amounts.
Ron Hooft (author) from Ottawa on November 20, 2020:
Hi Mr Happy. Glad to see you again.
" I was going to mention that potatoes are high in potassium. "According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a medium-sized baked potato with skin provides about 170 calories and 950 milligrams of potassium, or 27 percent of the daily value."
Right, but most of it is in the skin. But you are right, it's healthy, and I usually eat them with skin on, usually fried in olive oil. Never fries and never soy or other estrogen rich cheep oils. But to lose weight I dropped all starch.
"We allow it because we are the government. I mean, if it was an issue the politicians would have to talk about it but it's not so they don't care."
Right, but we have health departments. Why aren't they making it an issue? And I agree that garbage food is cheaper, but at what cost? Great, big pharma makes millions off us, farmers make more money, Chemical manufacturers make millions. And then, as you say, it's adictive. It's criminal.
But what I think is that governments are afraid to step in and protect us. People are adicted, so would complain. It's our choice, they'd say.
And all the people making money off our bad health would be on their backs telling them how many jobs will be lost.
So yeah, it's up to us to make it an issue. To me, it's criminal.
Thanks again for reading. Be happy And try magnesium supliments. If they work, wonderful. If not, at least you know it's not that. ;)
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 19, 2020:
You sound like you are not too happy.
I'm with you. I think this is all too confusing.
It would be nice if they would make it simple.
Yes the times have changed from the old days of farming. Ah...the good ole days.
I'm not sure what a person is to do. We have recently been dealing with diabetes.
We are told we can eat fruit...but then grapes, bananas, pineapple are all bad. Who knew? I mean..isn't all fruit...fruit?
So alas I feel your struggle.
I do hope the magnesium keeps helping you. It might be worth a try.
Thsnks for the article.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 19, 2020:
"Apparently most people are deficient in magnesium" - I am and I can get some bad cramps sometimes but that could also be from dehydration.
"I cut out all starches like bread, potatoes" - I was going to mention that potatoes are high in potassium. "According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a medium-sized baked potato with skin provides about 170 calories and 950 milligrams of potassium, or 27 percent of the daily value."
"To me it's criminal for farmers to produce food that could potentially kill us just out of greed." - They say it costs less and so it can be affordable to more people. That's basically the idea behind McNasty: garbage food for a relatively cheap price which the masses can afford (and eventually get addicted to).
"And it shocks me that governments allow it." - We allow it because we are the government. I mean, if it was an issue the politicians would have to talk about it but it's not so they don't care.
"All your vitamins and minerals are inter related." - The Medicine Wheel teaches that all things are inter-connected.
"I treat food like medicine" - That's what the First Nations Elders teach as well. If we wait until we get to the "medicine" from the pharmacy, we may be too late. Food is the real medicine. Thus, we should always be aware and careful of what we eat/drink.
"But when you're young you can eat what you like without too many problems. Problem is it catches up with you." - That's usually the case with most people.
"Therefore I go natural as much as possible" - I find that to be the best way when it comes to food. It boggles my mind when I read the labels on cow meat and it says "Grass Fed". Like ya, cows eat grass. What the #$%^ were You feeding them (and thus me) before?! Haha!! We've turned Nature up-side-down and with that our own health. Then, we wonder why we have problems with our health lol
Well, thank You for the article. Diet is always a tricky thing because it has to be created for each individual. What is good for me, may not be necessarily good for someone else. It's good to do research though and it looks like You went through lots of that.
All the very best!