Get to the root of the problem
If the roots of a tree are healthy, the trunk, branches and leaves will all reflect that state of health. The same is true for humans. When the foundational roots of our health, including our diet and our ability to digest it, are solid, our mood, behavior and intelligence are vibrant. To learn more about each root, click on the tree below.
Roots – In order for a tree to thrive, it needs strong, vibrant roots. Similarly, when we give our bodies the proper nutritional foundations, we thrive with optimal intelligence, mood and behavior. While every individual is unique, requiring different nutritional needs to maintain optimal health, we all share similar nutritional roots, including:
A nutrient dense, properly prepared, whole food diet: Our bodies thrive on the nutrients found in nature — specifically organic, unprocessed plants and animals. Fast foods, processed foods and high sugar (and corn syrup) foods are relatively new inventions which are deficient in many of the nutrients our bodies need to thrive.
Proper Digestion: Digestion is the process of converting the foods we eat into substances our bodies can absorb and use at the cellular level. The food and liquids we eat contain vital nutrients our bodies need to move, think and feel. Unfortunately, these nutrients are of no use unless they can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that the digestive system has to be working properly in order to absorb these nutrients into our body. Some obstacles to proper digestion include low levels of stomach acid or digestive enzymes, an imbalance of good v. bad bacteria, inflammation or allergic reactions to certain foods. Nutritional therapy can ensure that we are able to utilize the nutrients we consume in order to achieve optimal function and health.
Blood Sugar Balance: Sugars and refined carbohydrates can really tax your body’s system, causing severe deficiencies in the nutrients that regulate blood sugar. This can lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Sadly, the average American consumes 170 pounds of refined sugar in a year (approx. 45 teaspoons/day). Hidden sources of sugar are disguised under different terms in the majority of processed and packaged foods. Moreover, refined carbohydrates, such as bread and chips, break down very quickly and act essentially the same way as sugar, sending a surge of glucose into the bloodstream. If your energy levels are not where you would like them to be, the first system to consider is Blood Sugar Regulation.
Mineral Balance: Minerals serve as “spark-plugs” in the body. They help regulate the Autonomic Nervous System (which controls the automatic body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, muscle contraction and relaxation), nutrient transfer across cell membranes, and the regulation of tissue growth. They are also critical for enzyme reactions – such as balancing pH, nerve conduction, hormone and hydration levels – and aiding nutrient absorption and digestion. The balance of these minerals is important for proper function. For example, while most of us get enough calcium, we often lack the cofactors that allow the body to absorb/use it. Our bodies cannot produce these minerals. They can only be obtained from nutrient-dense foods and beverages, such as mineral-rich bone broths, unrefined sea salt, vegetables, and mineral-rich water.
Fatty Acid Balance: Fat is critical for optimal health, intelligence, mood and behavior. The brain is 60% fat and your brain requires healthy fat – Omega 3s, 6s, 9s and saturated fat – to function and thrive. Fats also enhances immune function, protects the liver, provides integrity to cell membranes, bolsters fertility and increases aerobic capacity. Fats serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body, slow the absorption of food for proper energy regulation, and improve the taste of food. More importantly, fats are critical for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and the adequate use of proteins. A low fat diet can lead to a deficiency of healthy fatty acids and with it a host of problems, including musculoskeletal issues, endocrine issues, cardiovascular issues, poor immunity, depression, irritability, allergies, skin problems, and impaired hormonal function.
Hydration: Water is the most important nutrient in the body. It is found in every tissue and most of the volume of cells and body fluids is water. Water is also the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population. Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps and headaches. Mature signs include heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation, colitis, among other diseases. Ideally, we should drink ½ our body weight in ounces of water each day, and even more if you are physically active or have been drinking caffeine, soda, alcohol or fruit juices. Also, make sure not to wash your food down with too much water during meals or guzzle too much water at a time. Do your research to find a good source of water or invest in good filtration systems for both your drinking water and your shower.