Amongst all the wellbeing and health messages out there, which just tell you “what?” not “Why?” food is seldom written about in a health context. Food plays the most vital role in health besides water and sunlight.
Modern medicine is premarily based on “cures”. Modern doctors are no longer encouraged to promote “prevention rather than cure”. However, the House of Lords has continued to call for medicine to focus on “Prevention, Public Health and Patient Responsibility” as part of their long-term strategy for the NHS.
I started my research while feeling tired, having just recovered from a heavy, respiratory cold from December, with a long lingering cough, waking up with shortness of breath and feeling very chesty. Aged 49, I found the NHS vitamins and minerals page advised people in the UK we don’t get enough sunlight to make vitamin D for half the year and to take 10mcg supplement of D3 (animal protein) or D2 (plant protein). I had almost thrown my bottle of D3 away. I started taking it and felt immediately less drowsy.
This was confusing as I was born without a working thyroid and hearing loss, which is known today be a result of iodine deficiency in the womb. Supposedly, fresh fish wasn’t easy to come by in autumn 1970 in London or my mum had a genetic deficiency of omega 3. My DNA wellbeing test bore that one out. Although I live in Falmouth and regularly eat seafood, I started taking Omega 3 and cod liver oil supplements, which contain vitamins D and A.
The following meal suggestions provide the ranges of micronutrients to support your immune system back to health.
By avoiding certain foods (for those with northern ancestry as people descended from those with tropical fruit at their disposal would metabolise glucose differently and require Vitamin D all year round as well).
50% of what we eat is determined by our current lives and 50% by our genetics. It possible to find out about decreaases and increases of vitamin uptake from our diet via DNA wellbeing tests such as Living DNA, where I got mine done in January.
The idea is to have 3 tasty, satisfying and nutritious meals within an 8-10 hour window, which means 3-5 hours apart.
Water – ideally water is best drunk between meals and not with food. If thirsty, look to drink water before eating, ideally an hour either side so liquid doesn’t dilute the nutrients in your food.
Supplements – these are best only used to fill gaps in diet, which mean micronutrients are not accessed through food. A famous example is vegans and B12 vitamin.
Micronutrients – we only need a small amount of these, which is why combinations of real foods are nutritious, tasty and satisfying.
Porridge – Naturally gluten free and Vegan, oats deliver Vitamin B1, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. Copper is an anti-oxidant. Macros include protein, starch and fibre carbohydrates. Fibre is health for longer digestion period, feeding gut bacteria and releasing sugars slowly into bloodstream.
Method – Saucepan. Half cup oats. 1.5 cups water. Pinch salt. Minimum effort – put pan on regular heat on hob. Wait til bubbles. Turn to lowest heat and stir and leave for 5-10 mins to preferred texture.
Optional – banana (potassium) chopped. Goji berries (vitamin c, anti-oxidant), other fruit, dried or diced. Cinnamon.
Omlette – 2 eggs, whisk in cup. Small saucepan. Olive oil, heat up. with spatchelor, pour eggs into pan with hot oil. Pull egg from sides until no more runny liquid.
Options to go in Omlette – grated mozarella. Tuna. Crabmeat. Ham. Plain.
Steamed greens – Saucepan and steamer. Boiling water under steamer. Add mix of asaparagus, chard, kale, brocoli, spinach, sprouts, cabbage, leaks, spring greens to steamer. Takes around 5 minutes to cook. Anti-oxidants. Vitamin C.
Steamed salmon – can be bought from any supermarket. Read to eat.
Tapas – increase nutrients and combinations, flavour and satisfaction from meal with; olives (mono-unsaturated fats and one of healthiest foods on planet for genetics pre-disposed to fats), artichokes, hummus.
Salad – increase nutrition more with peeled slices of courgette, cucumber or other salad items available in fridge.
Salads – doused with olive oil and lemon a salad is a delicious mix of flavours, which delivers a range of anti-oxidants and vitamins.
Ingredients could contain: olives, cheese cubes such as feta, lettuce, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, tofu (basil comes in packets in natural or wholefood stores), basil, raw vegetables such as brocoli, peeled slices of courgette, spinach, red cabbage, onion, garlic and asparagus.
Plant based sources of vitamin A – While liver packs so much Vitamin A punch, that it only needs eating once a week (why French love their liver pate), vitamin A also comes from orange vegetables such as peppers, squashes such as pumpkin, butternut squash, root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato and swede and orange fruit such as apricots, papaya and mango.
Roast – joints cooked with root vegetables are highly nutritious, delivering most vitamins and minerals in one meal. Leftovers can add variety and flavour for future meals (as we do at Christmas).
Method – Choose a joint of beef, lamb, venison or pork or a chicken.
Remove gibbets etc (chicken) and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs.
Chop root vegetables plus courgette, parsnips into chunks. Pour over olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs. Chop in onion and whole garlic cloves. Cook for an hour, with turn and shuffle to distribute.
Foods to avoid
Fructose – fruits ought to be a last resort for any micronutrient as they contain sugars, which aren’t beneficial for recovery or health. Unless, you are from African origins, where your metabolism would be used to sugars from healthy tropical fruits and you may find you are intolerance to fats, such as those found in nuts, legumes and fish.
Likewise, little nutritional value comes from gluten (pasta, bread, cereal, grains, wheat, corn, flour etc).
Sugar has no nutritional value at all. Our bodies extract all sugar we need from fibre carbohydrates such as steamed vegetables. *Diabetics will know what carbs are best for them to get the insulin they need.
It seems people in colder climates adapted to live on fats to access minerals that weren’t available in vegetables and fruit. intolerances and allergies are messages on what foods to avoid. Unfortunately we can get addicted to these (Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It describes food addictions and intolerances well, as does Dr Zoe Harcombe).
My app prototype here (free to access and no contact info needed) provides information on all micronutrients we need in our food, the foods they come from and supplement daily doses (from NHS website) to fill gaps left from diet. Applies to any diet and leftovers, tapas, salads, eggs and porridge cooked with water can go a long way to provide plenty of nutrition cost effectively.
Process – if like to read up on food again, click here
- Click link on mobile phone (or other device). Logo and intro with ‘install on device’. Click this link.
- When prompted, install Appsheet.
- When prompted, can save to desktop.
- Dismiss messages if any about embedding Safari.
- OK to data pop up. Email optional, data from users ‘guest123445’.
- Should see logo, black background, pink OK button. Click link.
Here are the spreadsheets of vitamins and minerals with their foods. The meals above provide all these micronutrients:
A, C, E and copper – most important for recovery, boost immunity and anti-oxidants. Ideally get as many as possible. In Appsheet, see ‘Food Staples’ bottom left for nutritious foods, such as eggs, which deliver many micronutrients.
To guarantee you get enough of the right vitamins for fighting a virus, taking 1000mg of vitamin C will provide that support on top of plenty of greens. Vitamin A can be accessed best through liver, which is reasonably priced, kidneys or a steak.
Vitamin E is in olives and olive oil as well as nuts and seeds. To get all 9 amino acids, raw peanuts and raw brazils is the combination of nuts. Plus Brazils have plenty of zinc too! Vitamins A and E are best taken in diet and not too much. Ensure to get them every day. An omlette with olives will do that, plus porridge for copper. Low budget too.