We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat,” and we usually think of it when we’re about to tuck into that slice of red velvet cake. We tend to interpret it as “eat a lot of fat, gain a lot of fat”, but the phrase also takes into account all the good things we can eat.
All those nutrients – yes even the ones in that red velvet cake – go into your body to build cells and all your other systems. Your blood cells, your bones, your hair, your immune system, your digestive enzymes, they all need new atoms and molecules to build themselves up. Your body is constantly repairing, replacing, regenerating and recreating itself and so you need a ready supply of the good stuff.
Cells don’t live forever
Your cells all have a set lifespan – a red blood cell lives for around four months, while your stomach lining cells last for a day or so. Replacing all these vital structures takes a lot of building blocks and those building blocks need to be what we call “healthy”. What this actually means is that they contain all the elements your body needs to create new cells and synthesise all the essential compounds that drive the chemical processes in your body. Additionally, these building blocks shouldn’t contain too many harmful or toxic elements or compounds.
In layman’s terms, this means eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can, drinking enough water (a litre of water for every 25kg of your body weigh every day) and avoiding processed foods or foods with excess sugar and salt.
If your diet is poor, you’ll get by, in the main. Your body has evolved over millions of years to cope if there’s a lack of food, but it won’t thrive. You might find your hair and skin lack vitality, your joints ache, your sleep is poor and you are prone to all sorts of bugs.
This may seem hopeless, but remember the turnover times of your cells – a month for a skin cell, four for a red blood cell – you can soon turn things around by changing your diet. Many people who cut out excess sugar and salt and increase the amount of fresh produce they eat see a difference in just three weeks. It’s not magic, it’s just your new, improved cells coming to the fore!
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