Eat what you like and pay attention to how your body responds. Then make any changes, or decide to carry on as before. No point in stressing out over what you eat, is there?
If you get diarrhea, constipation, IBS or bloating, try cutting out something (wheat, dairy, gluten, oil, red meat, coffee, chocolate) for five days: just one thing at a time. If that doesn’t work, try adding something (hard-boiled eggs, red meat, coffee, chocolate.) If that doesn’t work change your drinking habit. Then think about how long you’ve had the diarrhea, constipation, IBS, bloating, and what was going on in your life when it started. If none of the above work for you then either put up with it cheerfully or go to the doctor.
Power Food: Grapefruit, Blueberries, Avocado, Bananas, Strawberries, Mangos, Peaches, Plums, Cherries, Steak, Salmon, Eggs, Cucumbers, Celery, Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Spinach, Tomatoes, Watercress, fresh vegetables, cereals. We have pointed teeth (canines) for tearing meat, sharp teeth (incisors) for cutting fruit and vegetables, and molars for grinding cereals.
Chocolate is good for you. It stimulates the thymus gland that looks after your immune system. It makes you feel happy. Feeling happy is energizing. The thymus is related to joy: large in kids it shrinks as we get older and more grumpy. In young soldiers – average age 19 – killed in battle in Vietnam, the thymus had atrophied. It doesn’t like stress.
Bupa suggests taking extra care to include the right vitamins and minerals in your diet during times of stress. Personally I’d suggest making it a habit! Sad that Kellogg’s is laying off workers because demand for breakfast cereals has fallen: people like to eat breakfast ‘on the go’ nowadays.
Folic acid and vitamin B can lower the levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid found in your blood which can cause depression. Foods such as wholegrain cereals, fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and folic acid, and not forgetting vitamin D, as a deficiency in this vitamin is connected to depression and seasonal affective disorder.
How much should I eat?
As much as you like – and pay attention to how your body responds. Then make any changes, or decide to carry on as before. No point in stressing out over how much you eat.
‘Being overweight can increase the temperature of the testicles through the formation of fat deposits in the groin area, but can also increase the level of estrogen circulating in the body,’ warns Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield’s Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine. ‘Both of these will make the testicles work less efficiently. In general if men have a BMI greater than 30, they are three times more likely to be sub-fertile. However, there is no evidence that losing weight will improve matters – that study hasn’t yet been done.’
Raw vs Cooked?
Well, the truth is, when you eat raw food your body has to cook it. That uses energy. Obviously some food is better eaten raw: fruit and salads for example. Otherwise, let your cooker do the cooking while you save your energy for eating, digesting and eliminating – why do you think you sometimes feel a bit tired after eating?
How should I cook for Peak Performance?
The debate goes on about microwave vs fire. A recent study (again!) by Harvard Medical School has brought some interesting comparisons, for example ‘…as a general proposition, cooking with a microwave probably does a better job of preserving the nutrient content of foods because the cooking times are shorter.’
Boil, steam or fry? This depends on what you’re cooking. Again, from the same Harvard Study: ‘As far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients leach out into the cooking water. For example, boiled broccoli loses glucosinolate, the sulfur-containing compound that may give the vegetable its cancer-fighting properties as well as the taste that many find distinctive and some, disgusting. The nutrient-rich water from boiled vegetables can be salvaged and incorporated into sauces or soups.
Is steaming vegetables better? In some respects, yes. For example, steamed broccoli holds on to more glucosinolate than boiled or fried broccoli.
But this is nutrition, and nothing in nutrition is simple. Italian researchers published results in 2008 of an experiment comparing three cooking methods — boiling, steaming, and frying — and the effect they had on the nutritional content of broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. Boiling carrots actually increased their carotenoid content, while steaming and frying reduced it. Carotenoids are compounds like lutein, which may be good for the eyes, and beta carotene. One possible explanation is that it takes longer for vegetables to get tender when they’re steamed, so the extra cooking time results in more degradation of some nutrients and longer exposure to oxygen and light.
But let’s not get too lost in the details. Vegetables, pretty much any way you prepare them, are good for you, and most of us don’t eat enough of them.
You can read the full Harvard report (and those for everything else I’ve quoted) by clicking on the links in the References & Resources.
Drink what you like, pay attention to how your body responds. Make changes, or carry on. No point in stressing. Ignore the fallacy that you need to drink 2 liters of water every day: how big are you? What kind of work do you do? What sport do you play? Drink when you’re thirsty: when the moisture level in your body drops ten per cent, you feel thirsty. Then’s the time to drink.
If you drink too much the excess fluid can be absorbed into your tissues. I had a friend who lost 3 kilos in three months just by changing his drinking habit from ten mugs of tea a day to ten cups.
The bad news for men is that alcohol has an immediate effect on sperm count. The good news? ‘Giving your body a significant break from alcohol can quickly correct the situation. Even if you are a heavy drinker, cutting out the sauce completely for six months will restore fertility to normal levels.
‘A heavy social drinking session will temporarily reduce your sperm count and regular heavy drinking damages the tubes that carry semen, reduces motility and increases the numbers of abnormal sperm cells,’ warns a spokesperson at The Bridge Centre. ‘Giving up alcohol completely for three to six months can, on its own, be sufficient to restore fertility if you drink heavily and have been doing so for some time.’’
What about Drugs?
Up to You. But let’s remember: ‘Cannabis leads to a lowered sperm count and an increase in abnormal sperm. Smoking one joint lowers testosterone levels for up to 36 hours. Cocaine negatively affects sperm motility and inhibits fertilization. Anabolic steroids may boost sex drive in the short term but, in the long term, they have the opposite effect and can cause a significant drop in sperm count.’
Pay attention to how your body responds. Make changes, or carry on. No point in stressing.
Well, you can fill your bloodstream with toxins from smoking, or from feeling guilty about it. Here’s from Bupa: ‘Smoking causes serious health problems, many of them life-threatening. In the UK more than 100,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases – this means about half of all regular smokers will die because of their addiction.’
We all have to die of something. The Taoists maintain that everybody is entitled to one hundred years of healthy life. Watch this space – I’ll let you know.