In Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Lakers diet coach Cate Shanahan, MD, analyzes the common denominators all traditional cultures share that enable them to provide their genes with the epigenetic wisdom they need to function at their very best.
Here are Dr. Shanahan’s top seven nutritional strategies to boost the signal between your genes and Mother Nature:
1// EQUATE REAL FLAVOR WITH NUTRITION.
Processed snack foods have lots of flavor—that’s, in part, why they’re so addictive. But artificial flavors and empty calories are like prank calls to your body’s cells. The intense taste of junk food, which human beings naturally seek out, is accompanied by almost zero nutrition. The intense flavors of a perfectly grilled steak, in contrast, come from the fact that it’s a good source of all 11 essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle, minerals like iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, multiple B vitamins and—when from a pasture-raised animal—bone-building vitamin K2 and brain-building essential omega-3 fats. The more real flavor you can get with each bite, the better every cell in your body will function.
2// REDUCE YOUR SUGAR INTAKE BY HALF.
A lot of athletes balk at the idea of skipping the candy bar or the high-sugar soda because they grew up thinking of food as fuel. And what better fuel than what your cells run on—sugar! The problem is, our cells are not in reality engineered to use sugar as a preferential fuel source. They’re meant to run primarily on fat. When you eat too much sugar— refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, certainly, but also sugar from natural fruit juices—you’re essentially telling your cells to double-down on specializing in the creation of sugar-burning enzymes that make your cells addicted to sugar. This, added to the fact that high blood sugar levels disrupt hormonal balance, means sugar creates nothing but static in the conversation between your genes and your health.
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