Monday, September 27, 2010

How's your health equation?

“Our nation's food choices have produced a population with widespread chronic illness and health care costs spiraling out of control. You cannot escape from the biological law of cause and effect -- food choices are the most significant cause of disease and premature death. We cannot win the war on these diseases by putting more money into medical interventions or drugs. We must unleash the disease-fighting artillery in our own kitchens.” ~Dr. Joel Fuhrman
That quote is from this article in The Huffington Post by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (a Penn Med grad, btw!). 

He brings up the importance of the ratio of micronutrients to macronutrients in our diet. 
  • Micronutrients: Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals which contain no calories but are important for DNA repair, free radical deactivation, immune function, and more.
  • Macronutrients: Calories. They provide us with energy in the form of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
The higher the ratio of micronutrients to macronutrients, the higher the nutrient density of the food. Eating high nutrient density food prevents over-consumption. Conversely, eating low nutrient-density food leads to over-consumption as our body craves more nutrients. 

He provides a health equation, and argues that the nutrient density of your food predicts your future health: 

The Health Equation:  
Health = Nutrients / Calories

Here are two obvious ways we can improve our health equation:
  1. Eat more high-nutrient foods (high-nutrient, low calorie): i.e. leafy greens, colorful veggies, fruits, beans, nuts.
  2. Eat less low-nutrient density food (low-nutrient, high calorie): i.e. refined sugars, processed packaged foods.
And while food is extremely important, it's certainly not the only factor in our health equation... so I’m wondering how we can fit things like exercise, sleep, and stress-level into it? 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Christina
    I don't need to say that these words are close to my heart. It's what we talk about all the time in my nutrition (CR) groups.